I’m having a bit of a Gloranthan Renaissance writing RuneQuest 2 adventures for publication in the next Issue of Hearts in Glorantha.
Today I’ve cooked up a small treasure hunt under a mysterious hill…known locally as DUCK HILL!
Crontas The Duck by John Ossoway
The Legend of Duck Hill
Once upon a time, back in the God Time, the first tribe of Ducks arrived in Dragon Pass. It was a stormy time, and the Ducks were driven to the high ground by Orlanth and his brother gods. It is said that in those days, not knowing how to build hill forts, the Ducks took refuge in the trees. Chief Two Feathers, found a particularly steep hill with an unusually tall tree. What was interesting about this hill was that it had a cave entrance on its side. “Perhaps I can lead my people underground and find safety there?” he asked his advisors. “Bugger that” hissed the wise and wonderful Sage Brightfeathers. “Who’s to say some cheeky Troll isn’t in wait there already” he continued. But Chief Two Feathers was having none of it “Well sod you and yer tacky stick-on beard. I’m going to take my bodyguard down that hole and give it good checking out” he responded. So he got his warriors, the faithful five, and because he didn’t trust the rest of the tribe as far as he could throw them, he took the tribal treasure down the cave as well. He was never heard of again. So Sage Bright feathers became Chief Brightfeathers the Smug, who negotiated a treaty with the Storm Tribe and settled his people around the rivers and lakes of Dragon Pass.
The point of my tale? Well see that yonder hill, that’s the Hill in my story. Nobody’s ever found the first tribe’s treasure that Chief Two Feather’s took down there. Worth a look eh? Remember my cut for telling you is 25% of whatever you find.”
As told by Crontas the Duck, adventurer, warrior and blaggard.
Behold to the right is the cheerful scamp himself…Crontas The Duck Adventurer (creation of Guy Milner, author of Burn after Running, from one of his 13th Age Glorantha games at Furnace gone by), art by longtime d101 collaborator John Ossoway (Savage North for OpenQuest and Cthulhu Rising for Call of Cthulhu).
Hearts in Glorantha is speeeeeeeeeeeding along!
After a long period stuck in production hell, issue 6 of Hearts in Glorantha is suddenly whizzing along.
Peter Town (who did the art for Book of Glorious Joy and numerous bits for previous issues of HiG) has just turned in the last batch of art, and Steve Hammatt has been helping me with proofing/editorial. I reckon we are at least two-thirds of the way there. Also Ian Cooper (HQ line editor, author of numerous Gloranthan works, both official and Fan) has a five-page interview in the bag, which covers his full career.
Today I’ll spend some time with it and see what I need to get it finished, but I reckon a release by the end of this month is not unreasonable 🙂
In the meantime here’s some of Peter’s art from Matt Ryan’s excellent HeroQuest scenario The Lightbringer’s Quest.
Before the HeroQuest, by Peter Town
After the HeroQuest by Peter Town
GenCon 50 starts today. If you are there, run, don’t walk over to the Chaosium booth and pick up a copy of the RuneQuest Preview edition, which is the main rule book without art.
While I won’t be there since I’ll be chilling out at D101 HQ on the other side of the pond, I’ve been very privileged to receive a copy for review purposes from Chaosium ( like I did for HQ Glorantha) which I shall do shortly once I wade through all 400 pages!
The short version
- It’s RQ2 on steroids! Like Jeff Richard has been promising in his design blog posts, it’s based on RQ2 which extras, like Sorcery, built on top and integrated.
- The main rule book is comparable to the Pathfinder Core Book, ie. its got all the rules for the players/gm. But no GMs advice, deep setting info and Monsters, those are going to be separate books that follow on from the core.
- Glorantha is baked in at every step and like the HeroQuest Glorantha book, it gives enough to robustly play in the setting.
- It’s extremely clear and well written, despite being a beast of a book. Even in its no-art form.
- Damnit I want to play this!
The long version…coming soon once I digest the beast 🙂
These annual fanzines to support the Tentacles Convention were always a high point of my year.
Now you can return to ’98 and buy the first one in pdf.
Also if you click through to their publisher’s page, you’ll see issues of the formidable Tradetalk fanzine.
I regularly attend my local gaming conventions held at the Garrison Hotel, an old Napoleonic era Barracks, Furnace in autumn and 7 Hills in spring. When I helped organise Furnace we always ended up with a Gloranthan Track of games, where you could come to the con and play Gloranthan games from the start of the convention to the end, in the first three years or so of the con. In fact there’s always been a bit of a smattering of Gloranthan games at Furnace/7Hills until the last couple of years when its kinda died off.
However this coming 7 Hills, 22nd-23rd April, Gloranthan gaming is making a bit of a comeback…
Winds of Chaos
System: Glorantha Powered by the Apocalypse
GM: Newt Newport
“It is the time of the HeroWars…
Over the distant Hills in northern Upper Karia, dark clouds gather over the Tombs of the Gods. In the settled south vigilant warriors of the Storm Tribe in the city of Watcharkat, prepare their swords for the corrupting winds of chaos that will blow down from the north. What will they bring? Hordes of beast headed Broo pouring out of the farmland? Monstrous, Krashtkids tunnelling underground and erupting from basements? Or perhaps something more vile? An enemy from within. Friends and family who have been corrupted by chaos, their hearts turned foul, their minds twisted turned to the worship of foul Chaos gods.“
I’ll be dusting off my 90s RuneQuest setting, Karia, and running it with a quick Dungeon World inspired Hack. No knowledge of Glorantha needed. I’m keeping it simple and beginner friendly. I’ve found that the Apocalypse World family of games really is the best way of introducing deep settings and letting the players discover it through play.
Mythras (Runequest 6) Glorantha
GM: Simon Beaver
Merchant caravans of all sizes are a common sight in Prax. Nomads, oasis people and city dwellers alike travel and trade across the wastes and the Long Dry, in order to reach the legendary city of Pavis.
The caravan of Joran Trailmaster is a typically cosmopolitan group, travelling from Pimper’s Block to Pavis. Merchants, refugees and wanderers banding together to take advantage of an expert guide and to find safety, and perhaps anonymity, in numbers. For there are many dangers in the wastes of Prax – nomad raiders, malign spirits, dark Chaos creatures and the ever-present patrols of the Lunar army and their local auxiliaries.
As members of this little wagon train, you will help Joran get everyone safe and sound to Pavis. In theory it should be an easy trip with a nice group of people, on a route well travelled by caravans such as yours. It remains to be seen what dangers will appear, either from without or within.
No previous knowledge of Runequest or Glorantha is required.
The Phoney Express
GM: Stuart Mousir-Harrison
System: Toon (set in Glorantha!)
Hippy Irrippi’s Same Day Courier Service face their biggest challenge yet, escorting The Baggage back to it’s (f)rightful owner – whether it wants to go or not – in the heart of the Uphill Swamp of Harshest Tarsh.
Sanity is entirely optional but humour essential in this outing of the classic 1980s cartoon role-playing game. Character generation will take place in the game slot.
Registration for the convention is still open if you fancy coming along.
Duckmeister Stewart Stansfield has brought his immeasurable artistic talents to bear for the cover of Hearts in Glorantha Issue 6.
HiG#6 cover by Stewart Stansfield
Work on the magazine itself continues, with it being content complete and going forward into proofing and art commissioning.
I plan to have it out OCT/NOV 2016.
Well after a spell on the back burner, the fires of inspiration have shot forth and Hearts in Glorantha issue 6 is now content complete!
- Lightbringers Quest a different take on a familiar tale by Matt Ryan, which allows players and narrators new to HeroQuest and Glorantha dive right in and see what is special about the rules and setting.
- God Forgot, by Barry Blatt gives his take on this Zzaburi State within the Holy Country..
- Light and Death is a Lunar Adventure set in Dara Happa by Neil Smith.
- The Awakening is an adventure by Scott Crowder set within exactly 500 Years after the Dragon Kill in Dragon Pass, where the heroes face being trapped in the Dream of a Dragon.
- Why the Story is the Best, Mythological fiction by Dr Moose
- The Land of Flowers a mini-Kralora setting by myself, filled with Kick ass Kung Fu heroes and weird sinister adversaries.
Oh and Stewart Stansfield is back with his Ducks….
Mildred the Vingan Duck by Stewart Stansfield
More soon about release dates and previews of the content 🙂
Ian Cooper’s Red Cow Saga aka The Coming Storm is out in pdf form via Chaosium.com. If you buy the 150 page pdf now they will deduct the cost from the printed version when it comes out later in the year (no eta yet). This part 1, which meticulously details the Red Cow, their lands and their enemies (lots of maps and character portraits as a result), while part 2 which should be along shortly is all the adventures.
Join in the discussion with author Ian Cooper over on Rpg.net. Ian gives lots of detail about the supplement, for example why its been split into two parts, and is open to questions.
Here’s some page layouts, which give the table of contents, that Ian posted on the above thread.
The Coming Storm Part 1 sample page layouts
and of course Jon Hodgson has turned in another awesome iconic cover for the book.
Cover by Jon Hodgson
So I’m preparing my pitch for the 7 Hills Convention in April, where I’m going to unleash my mega-adventure for HeroQuest Glorantha upon 4-6 players. Even if the players are familiar with Glorantha I want it to be mega-fun rather than mega-complicated, because even with a four hour slot I’m not cramming in 16 hours + of my home campaign (with all its plot twists and stuff that my players have painstakingly built up), I’m creating a sandbox with story seeds and plot threads that the players can pick up and have fun with.
So with this in mind I launched into writing my pitch. I came up with two versions, a long pitch (approx 300 words) and short pitch (approx 200 words).
At the Dawn the land of Karia was made the Centre of all the World’s Religions by Nysalor the the New Sun. Here this glorious mortal-made God created a special temple to celebrate the mystries of the five elements – Water, Air, Darkness, Earth and Fire. When Nysalor betrayed his worshipers and all creation by revealing himself to be the chaos God Gbaji the Deceiver, the hero Arkat Chaosbane revealed the Temple of the Elements’ true purpose ad been created to enslave the elements and channel the worshipers magical energy to Nyslor himself. Then Arkat and his armies destroyed the Temple and ravished Karia, suppressing many vile chaos cults in the process. Arkat would finally forsake his human form to take on that of a Troll to defeat Gbaji in the far off land of Dorestor. Even when he returned to the west as a human to establish his Dark Empire, Karia remained silent and haunted by the destruction he had wrought there.
Now in the Third Age, King Aruzban Ironarm of neighbouring Delela has declared the old Undying curse of Arkat broken by his hand, and that life has truely returned in its fullness to Karia. He has encouraged his tribesmen to inhabit the land, of which they have taken the lower third. Heretics from the Duchy of Naskorion to the west have also settled in the land, as have Trolls from the Queendom of Halikiv. An uneasy peace exists amongst these traditional enemies, and its focus is the city of Watcharkat. Here a group of followers of the various faces of Arkat, who call themselves Arkat’s Council, watch for the re-emergence of old magical enemies. Their mystics foretell the rediscovery of the temple saying in the present “one day the Five Pillared Temple of the Elements will be discovered and there in the sacred precincts Gbaji will be arisen”.
I wrote the long pitch almost automatically, straightout of my head which is crammed with 30 odd years of Gloranthan knowledge. I sat down to revise it and realised that it was confusing even to me, and instead wrote the second Short pitch.
In the time of the Dawn there was a powerful temple in the land of Karia, called the Temple of the Elements. It was a peaceful place where followers of the man-made god Nyalsor the New Sun, contemplated the mystic energies of the five elements – Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Darkness – that had created their god.
Then the god-slayer Arkat, came with his armies from the West. He said the temple filled with falsehoods, their peaceful meditation were merely studies in enslavement and Nysalor was actually an evil god of Chaos called “Gbaji the Deceiver”. He destroyed the temple and slaughtered its worshipers. Since the five pillars of the temple were created by a god and beyond his means to smash, he buried them.
It is now the Third Age and Karia is being gradually resettled by people from neighbouring lands. In the city of WatchArkat the Council of Arkat, a group of powerful monster hunters, live in plain sight amongst their enemies in an uneasy truce. Only they know the prophecy
“One day the Five Pillared Temple of the Elements will be discovered and there in its sacred precincts Gbaji will be arisen”.
This is the pitch I’m going with. Not only is it quicker to read, which is important since folk will either be reading it on the website (always write at least 25% less for the web) or quickly on the signup sheet on the day. The first pitch falls into the trap that it mentions too much that is really out side the scope of what I should be telling folk in an introduction. Its contains detailed background information that the players may never even discover in game (although I’m now intent on putting in King Aruzban Ironarm with his Troll crushing arms in the scenario some how). Its the sort of show off info-dump that I might show to a fellow Glorantha-phile in the vain hope of impressing them. Pitch 2 is mega-complicated while Pitch 1 is more mega-fun. It sets the scene of the Temple and its importance in the fight of Nysalor vs Arkat, and its link to the horror god Gbaji both past and present. Best of all it points out the player characters are “a group of powerful monster hunters” :).
Quick update on where I’m up to with D101’s Gloranthan efforts at the beginning of 2016.
Gloranthan Adventures #3 Defenders of the Dark slipped, in the face of all the work I had to do around Crypts & Things (which is now a huge and mysterious thing). Good news is the text is ready to proof by a dedicated proofer and the art is commissioned.
Hearts in Glorantha #6 (aka Vol 2 issue 1) didn’t take off as I planned. It seems that I’m back at the stage where I was with issue 1, where I have to build up a bull pen of regular writers. This means I’ve moved my adventure Dead Man’s Scrolls from GA#3 (which makes sense since it makes that book an all UZ book) into HiG#6. Fortunately HiG regulars Stewart Standsfield is back with a series of Caladraland articles while Jane Williams is working on an adventure.
I’m still looking for submissions for Hearts in Glorantha #6 so if you are interested please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloranthan Adventures #4 is already on the cards. This is going to be a mega-adventure set in the land of Karia, an area in the East Wilds haunted by the legacy of Nysalor and Arkat. I plan to have this in a playable form by 7 Hills in April and be able to offer it at UK Games Expo and Continuum later in the year.
I had feared that the Gloranthan flame had gone out here at D101, due to huge work pressures of our other game lines, but after a bit of refocusing we’re back up and running. No idea when these books will be out (C&T dominates our release schedule because its a Kickstarter in fullfillment) but I hope to have something out by UK Games Expo, were we will be on a stall behind our friends at Chaosium 🙂
If you are interested in helping out with HiG or GA, please get in touch at email@example.com.