So I’ve decided to run some RuneQuest Glorantha at Furnace 2018 at the beginning of October. This introductory post is the first in a series where I post about my experiences, prepping and running the game.
It’s going to be a one-shot war-movie inspired game, with all the characters being soldiers from Lunar Tarsh trapped in the wasteland of Prax after the Lunar defeat and expulsion from Pavis, which has happened in the timeline of the new game. Here’s the full pitch that I’ve given for the convention’s game programme.
So “General” Baldrox is dead. Good riddance.
You can just leave him there in the dust and let the vultures eat his corpse (or maybe not, perhaps even Vultures have taste). Now your unit from Lunar Tarsh,survivors of the fall of Pavis, can make a run for home. The problem is that your group is known as Baldrox’s Bastards amongst the locals, home is hundreds of miles away across enemy territory, and supplies and morale are running low. Your only hope is to make it through the desert from the hole you are currently hiding in. Avoid the Beast Riders who are hunting you. Pray you don’t stumble across any foul chaos monsters. Then you might be able to find the testing ground that Sorcerers of the Imperial College of Magic set up in the Wastes. Perhaps they have a Moon Boat which you can sail all the way home?
So chin up solider. The Red Moon Will Rise Again!
This is a game using the new RuneQuest Glorantha rules. No familiarity is needed with either the setting or the rules (although if you are familiar with Call of Cthulhu you are halfway there). Be aware you are playing the villains of the default set up, in a game that riffs of the tropes of spaghetti westerns and World War 2 Movies from the perspective of the Germans.
I’m finally using RuneQuest Gloratha in anger, quickly flipping through the pdf it mentally working out if I can use it for a quick convention game at Furnace in October (so I’ve got to get up to speed with it quickly).
I must say the signs are immensely positive. Utility and inspiration boxes have been ticked, and it all feels comfortably familiar yet sooooo much more expansive. Already two scenario ideas have jumped into my head, spinning around a desperate band of Lunar Tarsh soldiers post-Dragon Rise. A quick spin and one emerges as stronger. Behold “A Dry Run in Prax” riffing off Spaghetti Westerns and WW2 movies, starts to form in a playable form. This is like riding a bike. Let’s see what they done with the gears 🙂
I had thought that I’d put RQ G to one side for a bit and run some 13th Age Glorantha (which magnificently landed through my mailbox last week) but my mate Guy Milner is already running a duo of 13AG at the convention (one game that sees the return of Crontas the Duck and the other which is going to see Guy’s unique interpretation of Apple Lane) and not only can you have too much of a good thing, but even in its PDF form (which HURTS MY EYES DAMNIT!) its familiarity won me through this time. But I have things planned for 13AG, a short campaign is being plotted, so its not entirely put to one side 😉
One of the things that defines the initial run of HiG (issues 1-5) was that we were constrained by the availability of the games. HeroQuest and sort-of RuneQuest 3 were the only options.
Now as of last month we have four options:
RuneQuest Classic (or RuneQuest 2). OK this one is perhaps for the Grognards or playful folk like me that want to enjoy a barebones Gloranthan experience, with minimal rules. The adventures The Secret of Duck Hill (in the last issue) and The Golden Gorp (see page 36) are the results of me just using the reissued RuneQuest Classic rulebook, so there is a lot of mileage here.
HeroQuest Glorantha. It seems strange that there’s not a HQ adventure in this issue since it was the workhorse of the last ten years. On a personal level its time for a break but I’m sure that it will be back. HeroQuest does BIG DAMN HEROES/HEROINES like no other system on Earth. If you’ve not come across HeroQuest before, Ian Cooper current HeroQuest Line Editor at Chaosium goes over what makes it so unique in his article Who Gets to Speak (page 18).
13th Age Glorantha. Familiar with D&D? Particularly modern feat based D20? Well, this is your stop. Mixing the narrative-driven 13th Age rules and a fair bit of rules tinkering to make it more palatable to us established Gloranthan fans. Of all the four rulesets perhaps, it’s the most accessible and directed. From word go it has even 1st level characters as larger than life people on Hero Quests. There’s also a lot of fun stuff, such as troll characters and Eurmali Tricksters, that you get to play right out of the first book. This is probably going to be my next game after I stop mucking about with RQ Classic, but my mate Guy Milner is way ahead of me having run The Beard of Lhankor Mhy (see page 23) multiple times at conventions.
RuneQuest Glorantha. Using RQ 2 as a base, and drastically upping the page count to cover the entire Dragonpass region in detail, this is the 400 plus page titan that fans have been wanting from the old days. The classic game expanded and updated with a rock solid Gloranthan base. While I’m still ploughing through the pdf of the main rulebook, Stewart Stansfield has charged ahead and used the Duck stats from the Bestiary Preview that Chaosium has made available as a taster for the full book available later this year and created Slipbeak a Seven Mothers Initiate and Lunar sympathiser (see page 16).
So there’s no longer any excuse. Get out there and play, create and submit the results to Hearts in Glorantha 🙂
All the above games are available from Chaosium.com and Hearts in Gloranthan issue 7 is currently on pre-order via the D101 Web Store.
My mate Guy Milner not only runs regularly at UK convention but he organises the monthly Go Play Leeds and runs a blog about the joys of one-shot games.
He’s recently fallen for Glorantha hard and has been running 13th Age Glorantha games, even in its beta form, at cons for the last couple of years. Here’s his blog post about running convention games in Glorantha.
Joining the ever-dependable Peter Town and Peter Frain (who did the marvellous Tonk The Chaos Duck, see the post earlier in the week) on art for HiG#7, is Daniel Barker who old-time Glorantha fans will remember from his work in Tales of the Reaching Moon. More recently Dan was part of the two man team, along with Peter Frain, who did the outstanding work on Monkey the Roleplaying Game.
I’ve long been a fan of Dan’s work and I feel honoured that he helped out by providing some unused pieces from his archives. One piece was quite timely, an illustration of the Red Goddess riding the Crimson Bat (which I provide a detail from below, you’ll have to buy HiG#7 to see the full illustration 😉 ), which goes along quite nicely with Lev Lafayette’s and Erica Hoehn’s story, How A Rubble Runner Destroyed the Crimson Bat at The Battle of Iceland.
A detail from Dan Barker’s Red Goddess riding the Crimson Bat.
Our 10th Anniversary Issue, featuring 48 pages of Myths, Articles, and Scenarios (13th Age Glorantha and for RuneQuest 2) in softcover A4 format, is now available to pre-order.