The Heights of Orlanth @ Glorantha Games 2020

I’ve finally pulled my finger out and at the eleventh hour, I’ve offered the following for Glorantha Games, the vrtuall version of the Glorantha convention normally held in Birmingham UK.

The Heights of Orlanth
RuneQuest
4 players.
Having escaped the massacre of their phalanx after the fall of Pavis, the Lunar Tarsh officers had thought they were walking through the magic mirror in the ruins of the Lunar College of Magic’s secret complex and stepping out in their homeland of Tarsh. Instead, they are somewhere in Sartar, looking up at a massive rock that reaches into the sky that the locals call “The Heights of Orlanth”. One of them helpfully says a quick short cut home is up there on its summit.  The fact that this expert is a duck called Crontas the Windlord doesn’t fill them with optimism. But as elite followers of the Lunar Way they are used to strange magical happenings, and these are desperate times.
No familiarity with the setting, Lunars or the strange ways of ducks needed for this game of RuneQuest Glorantha. Just the willingness to get stuck in and engage with a rather strange set of characters in weird circumstance

I’ve previously run it as a 13th Age Adventure, and it was a complete hoot. I’m running it now as a RQ G game, partly out of curiosity on how it will compare but also because its now the sequel to A Dry Run in Prax, which is a RQ G adventure. Like Dry Run it will be appearing in Hearts in Glorantha #8 (more about that in a different post).

 

Future Issues Delayed and Past Issues Available Again

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

Well, I said June for Issue 8, well I’m a big fookin’ liar and my pants are on fire 😀

Other priorities here at D101 Games and the ongoing slow down due to Covid-19 are the reasons for the delay, but I’m still confident it will be out for the end of the year.

When it is available as part of the preorder you’ll be able to order PRINTED copies of HiG 1-5 as separate issues.  Its come to my attention that there is a lot of interest in single copies that people have missed during the original time they were available – especially issues 4 and 5. While I don’t want to make these issues available again on a permanent basis, I’m happy for collectors to have the opportunity to get hold of a copy at a reasonable price form me (rather than the inflated prices that it goes for on eBay or Noble Nob).

If you are interested in registering which copies you are out for, please fill out the following form. If I get enough interest I may even get a small print run done via a Digital Printer, which is vastly superior quality.

Here are the covers of the back issues if you are unsure which ones you not got.

Hearts in Glorantha Issue 2 cover

Issue 3 cover by John Ossoway

HiG #4 cover by John Ossoway

HIG 5 cover by John Hughes

The Long Way Home Part 1 Preparing the Way

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

I have a big confession to make here. Despite many convention games I’ve not run a Gloranthan Campaign since about 2010 when I ran a quick HeroQuest game to playtest material in the Book of Glorious Joy, Jamie “Trotsky” Revell’s non-canonical vision of the Gloranthan West.  That was a ton of fun, a sort of Harry Potter Collage of Loskalm for wannabe heroes, exploring the marshes on the edges of the college’s grounds and encountering Viking Ducks! Before we ended up fighting spirits and going a bit investigative in a grungy medieval take on the setting which was more Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay than Glorantha. We took a break from me writing the games and played Pathfinder due to me being in rented accommodation as part of a nine-month house extension. When we got back into the home game, it was a virtually new line up of players for whom Glorantha was a hard if not impossible sell. Plus I’d burnt myself out in the previous decade.

Even before Covid-19, I was planning a resumption of gaming online, due to face to face being currently impossible at home due to my family circumstance. Several of my d101 projects kind of demand long-form playtesting. But Glorantha wasn’t on the radar, and certainly not RuneQuest. Go back to playing a game I moved on from a good 20 years ago, despite a fierce love of it (I had the best years of my gaming life in the 90s running an RQ 3 game damnit!), no way? But I’ve had a winning streak of online games of my D100 systems (OpenQuest / Skyraiders of the Floating Realms ) and that as well as having several members of the Grognard Files gaming community, who are a refreshingly cheerful bunch made up mainly of recent returnees to the hobby who like their games old. So suddenly encouraged by my recent runaway success of getting players for games that I would have struggled at conventions, and heavy interest from a couple of the players (Mitch and Doc) suddenly I have an ongoing campaign.

My current plan is to run a short mini-campaign which started with a convention scenario I have already run several times – A Dry Run in Prax.  Then from there move on my old home campaign of Karia, that was the basis of my 90s RuneQuest 3 game.

Reason for this:

  1. Get the players and me up to speed with the new RuneQuest: Glorantha system. Personally, speaking my head is still in the land of the glorious, but in places fatally flawed, RuneQuest 3.
  2. To work out how the group’s playstyle. Was it going to be gritty-roll-the-dice-and-die wargaming, were each hit point was logged, each hit-location roll significant, that choice of battle magic or a more laid back lazy style of storytelling where there may only be three rolls all session (that, to be honest, is what I prefer).

You’ll see a lot of this in Hearts in Glorantha since I’ve already come up with some ideas for articles as well as the scenarios/encounters we play out as well. In fact, A Dry Run in Prax is going to feature in Issue 8.

Next post >> Session 1 A Dry Run in Prax.

Toran Deathfinger

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

The centrepiece of issue eight is the scenario I’ve been running at conventions/online since RuneQuest Glorantha came out, a Dry Run in Prax. It takes a group of six Lunars, from Tarsh, who are trapped on a rocky outcrop in the wastes of Prax at the start of the adventure. Each character has a quick background, their answers to questions about the current situation, and a list of what they think of the other characters in the party. This is all to quickly introduce the players, be they longstanding Gloranthafans or newcomers, to this group of interesting and diverse characters.

Here’s a quick preview of one of them, the group’s Humakti, because everyone wants to be a Humakti, it’s all about the Swords 🙂

Toran Deathfinger

Initiate of Humkat/Regimental Champion

Background

Toran is a grim and steadfast embodiment of the God of Death Humakt. They have died their hair black, painted their nails and lips with black makeup. They wear a black hooded robe. Their Humakt is a mix of the Lunar view, where Humakt is the embodiment of unavoidable death, and the Orlanthi one held by the Tarsh peasantry who see death as an everyday occurrence for both them and their livestock, so worship him to keep him away from their homes. Toran joined the Bastards after a family tragedy at home back in Tarsh, which they never ever talk about.
Like most Humakti they are obsessed with their sword (“this is my sword, there are many like it, but this is mine”)

What are your views on…

So, what do you think of life in the Lunar Army?

It’s home, it deals in death. Its where I want to be.

What do you think of the Praxian Animal Nomads?

I don’t think about them, I just kill them when they get in the way of my sword.

How do you feel about the expulsion of the Red Moon Army from the walled city of Pavis?

You win some, lose some.

What do you make of your current situation?

We are in a tight one to be sure. Everyone is tied and someone is going to mess up. I best be ready with my sword for when they do.

How desperately do you want to go home to Lunar Tarsh?

Home is wherever I lay my sword.

What is your biggest worry at the moment?

I am completely devoid of worry. When you are Dead you know no Fear.

What do you think about your companions?

Toran Deathfinger Initiate of Humakt and Warrior/ Regimental Champion (Me).I don’t think about ‘me’ much, except in a strange third person. I am filled with the oblivion of death. When I become a Sword of Humakt (Runelord) “I” will cease to exist.

Yarnal Farseer Initiate of Severn Mothers, Noble/Morale Officer. She is obviously mad. She was annoying when she was trying to turn the locals to the Lunar Way, before the Battle of Pavis. Now her poor mind has snapped and she believes she is turning into the Red Goddess!

Jarvel Moonglow Initiate of Issaries and Noble/Regimental Scribe and Quartermaster. A weak warrior who can barely lift his sword, but he knows more about our current situation than he lets on.

Benitu Badtooth, Initiate of Eurmal and Bandit/Probationary Scout. A worthless scumbag with no honour.

Nelda Sternmother. Initiate of Seven Mothers and Warrior/ Regimental Punishment Officer. Almost as good a fighter as me but distracted by her duties.

Ora Sunbright, Initiate of Yelm/Regimental Scout. A strange one. An ex-grazelander who rode into Tarsh when he was a teenager and fought with us in the wars against the Sartarites. Doesn’t say much but deadly with that bow of his.

Hearts in Glorantha #8 is coming this June

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

My friend, and Gloranthan Tribe Minster, Dr Moose says that once you are a Gloranthafan, you can never really get away from Glorantha and that it eventually drags you back in when you try.  Well, that is certainly the case here, and after a hiatus of only six months, I’ve decided to get back to work on Hearts in Glorantha and Gloranthan Adventures. Part of this is due to the rather strange times we are in giving me time and space to work on D101’s Gloranthan Fanzines alongside the other work that I’ve got on.

There will be some changes to how I put together HiG and GA.

First off, I won’t be doing an open call for submissions. The fanzine will be done more in-house, with me contacting writers/authors that I want to work on it. With the Jonstown Compendium up and going I feel that’s a better place for Gloranthan fans who have a quick, intense burning desire to get stuff out there quickly.

Second, with RuneQuest Glorantha well and truly out now, both zines will use that system as its default. It’s not to say that I won’t publish HeroQuest or 13th Age Glorantha. I’m currently more intrigued by the new edition of RuneQuest as well as it being something that I’m enormously familiar.

Finally, each issue of HiG will have a theme by default. Previous issues of HiG had themes that emerged as the submissions came in. Now that I’m doing it in-house so to speak, it helps to have a unifying theme to keep the team of contributors on track.

Finally, artists Peter Town and Dan Barker are drawing for the next issue of HiG #8. Here’s a preview of Dan’s front cover, which should give you a pretty good idea of this issue’s theme 🙂

Hearts in Glorantha Officially on Hiatus

In case you were wondering what is going on with the latest issue of Hearts in Glorantha, I’m sad to say that for the time being HiG#8 has been cancelled and the magazine is going into indefinite hiatus.

The main reason being that I’m currently overstretched with other projects, so having one or two years off HiG and being upfront about it is a good idea.

Will HiG return, who knows?

Meanwhile, back issues of HiG and Gloranthan Adventures are available via

The RuneQuest Slipcase has arrived

RuneQuest is a roleplaying game that I have a long history with. It was one of the Big Four RPGs that Games Workshop used to have the licence for, after Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (UK) picked it up from Greg Stafford (the game’s creator/publisher) when they were the only European Games Company at one of the early GenCon’s in the 70s.  Fast forward forty odd years and the latest edition is out.and in a word it’s GORGEOUS!

The main rulebook has been out for some time since last summer along with the pdfs of the Bestiary and Gamesmasters Screen Pack, but now all the books are available in print and as well as separately they are available in a heavy-duty cardboard slipcase from the Chaosium web store

I’m sure I’ll do a full review here at some point, but if you are interested in a quick appraisal of the three things you get in the slipcase.

Main Rulebook: All the rules that the players and GM need to play/run the game. At its heart, it’s RuneQuest 2 with a smattering of new rules (Runes and Passions being a big one), which may put off some folk expecting a streamlined modern take on the ruleset. But its instantly familiar to old hands like myself. I ran a convention game pretty much straight off, without having to absorb 400+ pages, like the game had never gone away. Also its newcomer friendly, with all the Glorantha you need being hard-baked into the rules. In my opinion its the best out of the box representation of Glorantha ever.

Gloranthan Bestiary: This 202 page book is a feast of Glorantha’s weird and wonderful creatures. It also includes monster cults for playable monsters like Uz (Trolls), Elves and Ducks. Yes, there are ducks 🙂

Games Master’s Screen Pack.  Other GM’s Screens have Dragons and scenes of adventurers fighting. Not this one,  it has a scenic picture of one of Glorantha’s greatest mythological landscapes, the Gods Wall which shows all the sun-worshipping Dara Happan Deities in their correct hierarchal positions, in a massive fresco carved into a cliff overlooking the sacred river Oslir, that was commissioned by Yelm the Sun-god himself. It not only fits in with the concept of a screen perfectly, but it provides a good talking point for new players. “What the heck is that?” they will go, and the resulting discussion will give them a good idea that they aren’t in their typical fantasy setting anymore 🙂 The contents of the rest of the pack are: A Gloranthan Calendar, Two versions of the character sheet (the plain one that is in the rulebook, and a rather colourful one), a big a3 map of Dragon pass in colour, a double-sided map of the Colymar Tribal lands, a map of the city of Clearwine backed with another map of Dragon pass, all the pre-gens from the main rulebook as separate handouts, a npc sheet, and finally, a booklet of GM reference tables  and an adventure book of 123 pages, that has a starting setting of the Colymar tribe and three adventures.

13th Age Glorantha, My Verdict

13th Age Glorantha, My Verdict

So I ran 13th Age Glorantha at Go Play Manchester 3, where 2 games worth of tables nestled snuggly between games of D&D and a BIG Card Gaming Tournament.

Here’s the game I ran at Go Play Manchester 3, which I’ll be running again at Glorantha Games in Birmingham at the end of the month.

My Verdict on 13th Age Glorantha.

I LOVE IT!!!

The basic rules as a D&D version, meet my criteria of being light enough to hold in my head, yet have enough depth and options so the players can have a fun time.

The Runes and the One Unique Thing rules enriched the roleplaying sections and let the players take ownership of the game, where normally it’s more too and fro of me answering questions on the finer nitpicky details of Glorantha.

Combat was WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHOOO the big epic clash that the art and prose of Glorantha have always promised, but neither RQ or HQ has delivered, and again the Runes and OUT as well as the player led Feat/Special abilities system powered that.

It’s likely to be my vehicle for Glorantha for the foreseeable future and I’ll be looking into using the main rule book as written for fun fantasy frolics too. There’s a good chance that it might get a Sci-fi/Video game inspired standalone using the 13th Age SRD :)

Full review to follow.

In the meantime, Guy Milner is running lots of 13th Age Glorantha at UK Games Expo 2019,

As he recently tweeted:

If you’re off to and haven’t sorted your RPG schedule yet, I’m running ‘s Glorantha on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. There will be ducks!

Call for Submissions issue 8

I’m putting the call out for submissions for content for Issue 8.

To help inspire you this issue has a Sacred Time theme.

What I’d like to see are articles/scenarios about what Gloranthan folk get up to during these festive two weeks where the veil between the mortal and Heroplane is thin. Sure its a time when damn big Heroes and Heroines go off on BIG IMPORTANT WORLD SAVING HEROQUESTs, feel free to write about these, but what do the little people do?  From my first encounter with the idea in the Genertela box set in the early 90s, I’ve been fascinated with what happens during Sacred Time.

No worries if you don’t want to write to the theme, and have something else in mind.

Send your pitches in (500 words max) by the end of this Month (Feb 28). I’m aiming to get this issue out by April.

Some of the regular contributors already have their pitches in, and Stewart Stansfield is doing the cover again (which may be only slightly Duck related).

As ever I look forward to seeing what people come up with.

13th Age Glorantha at Furnace 2018

So not just RuneQuest at Furnace 2018 this coming October, since Guy Milner is running a couple of 13th Age Glorantha games.

First off on Saturday Night is this original adventure:

Into the Wasps Nest

The pygmy wasp riders of Wasp Nest used to be allies of Sartar, but you haven’t heard from them in decades. A new threat to Whitewall requires their aid, though, so you must venture into the Troll Wood to find the last person to visit Wasp Nest and come out alive. Either way, you are going to have to brave the flying, stinging guardians of the ancient town in order to save your tribe.

And then this 13A G take on the classic Apple Lane.

Gringle’s Pawnshop

Apple Lane is a peaceful village in the borderlands territories near Dragon Pass – but all is not well! Crafty Rune Lord Gringle and his improbably-named duck servant Quackjohn have made dangerous enemies, and fear an assault on their shop. Can the adventurers help them and save Apple Lane from the Baboon invasion? This is a 13th Age update of the classic RQ2 adventure by the high shaman of Glorantha himself Greg Stafford. It’s been updated for some modern sensibilities, but expect Baboon-filled highjinx and Home Alone-style slapstick, tied together by the tight 13th Age system.

Guy’s is a great GM and although relatively new to Glorantha he’s got both Glorantha and the 13th Age system. He’s also the author of The Beard of Lhnykor Mhy for 13th Age Glorantha in Hearts in Glorantha #7.​​​​​​​