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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Pavis Boxing Association A RQ3 Hero Cult by Leon Kirshtein.
- How A Rubble Runner Destroyed the Crimson Bat at The Battle of Iceland. A short tale by Lev Lafayette and Erica Hoehn.
- Strange Broos. A very strange RuneQuest Classic encounter with scenario seeds by Scott Crowder.
- Boatduck’s Lunch. Stewart Stansfield details what’s on the Duck menu.
- Snipbeak. A Duck with Lunar sympathies for RuneQuest Glorantha by Stewart Stansfield.
- Who Gets to Speak. Ian Cooper, Line Editor for HeroQuest, talks about what makes HeroQuest so unique among role-playing games
- Orlanth, Heler and the Dragon. An Orlanthi Myth told by Stuart Mousir-Harrison.
- The Beard of Lhankor Mhy. An adventure for 13th Age Glorantha by Guy Milner.
- Heroic Tales. Two scenario seeds, each with three possibilities, by Newt Newport.
- The Temple of the Golden Gorp. A Short Adventure for RuneQuest Classic by Newt Newport.
Here’s Stewart Stansfield’s marvellous cover.
I seem to be on sort of a break as far as running Glorantha is concerned. I think that’s due in part to me being busy writing other D101 Stuff (Crypts & Things esp) over the last six months, and I’m still taking in the sheer breath and depth of material in the Guide and the new HeroQuest Glorantha books.
Instead I’ve taken the opportunity to play in some games using very different systems from what I’m used to (HQ/RQ).
First off is Evil Gaz’s Savage Glorantha. Evil Gaz is one of the infamous Smart Party, a group of friends who collectively run convention games at UK cons, and now courtesy of Gaz and his mate Baz have a rather excellent pod cast “What Would the Smart Party Do?”. Now Gaz is a big fan of Glorantha from the RQ2 days, and the more direct play style of those days, before all the navel gazing mythological stuff that came after it. Savage Worlds is his go to system so he’s running a game using the old RQ2 Classics material specifically Borderlands and Beyond (I’m not paying too much attention to it, because its been long enough for me to remember the outlines but not the details which would spoil the game for me ) as the setting/adventure and Savage Worlds as the system. The conversion is very quick and on the fly but he’s paid enough attention so that RQ2’s magic systems (Battle and ]Divine) are in it, and the advantages and disadvantages (which do the main heavy lifting to make sure that one Fighter isn’t like another Fighter) make the characters fell Gloranthan. He’s running the game via quick two hour Google Hangouts sessions, and apart from myself the other three players are all new to Glorantha. Character gen was basically a suggest a concept to Gaz and he came up with a character. I pitched Morgan “Short beard” Gonch a rather adventurous Lankor Mhy student with a short scruffy beard, whose been taught a bit of swordplay by his local Humakti swordmaster, and is on an ongoing quest in Pavis/Prax to recover magical knowledge stolen by the villainous Lunars. This quest had lead to his capture by the Seven Mothers, and drafted into the service of Duke Raus, a local Lunar Noble with an estate out in the Praxian wastes. I was joining the rest of the party , a group comprising of a Humakti, Stormbull and an Orlanthi, a couple of adventures in, and the opening scene was literally Morgan walking up to the campfire, making introductions before the group set off to continue their patrol of Duke Raus’ ‘Grant Lands’. We encountered an ancient tower, with the sounds of squealing pigs. The Stormbull decided to charge his Rhino into the stone double doors to gain entry, and away we went. Given the nature of adventure, what followed was a tense two hour grindfest, but both Gaz and the other players kept it going a pace so that it never dragged or got boring. Savage Worlds worked well as the system for representing Glorantha. On one hand if you just swing your sword and hope for the best, its like RQ right down to its fragility of characters. However once you start spending ‘bennies’ (Savage’s equivalent of Hero/Fate points) or using the special combat moves, where you have to give an explanation of how you are pushing it, the game suddenly felt heroic, and up there with HeroQuest for that side of things. It was the best of both worlds. The adventure saw my wet behind the ears academic handle himself with enough bravery to be accepted into the group of warriors 🙂
The second Gloranthan game I played with a different system was Guy Milner’s 13th Age Glorantha game at Furnace just gone. I can’t go into to much detail about it, because the playtest packet is currently under NDA, but I can say that the game was a resounding success, despite my misgivings that as basically being a D20/D&D derived game (with a heavy dose of Narrativism). Like the Savage Worlds game, the basic rules played Glorantha to the system’s strengths, so it was all Class with Level based goodness that any player familiar with the World’s Favorite Roleplaying game in its D20 variant glory (feats although straightforward are still a big thing as push-button powers in combat). 13th Age’s Narrative elements really shone through in letting each character have their moment in the spot light and the use of the Runes (like HQ Glorantha each character has three to start with) within that framework (rather than the more rulesy Feats) was inspired, and allowed us to excitingly deal with situations within the game quickly and colourfully which might have otherwise been reduced to a series of bland dice roles. This alongside 13th Ages “One Unique Thing” really highlighted that even at 1st Level our characters where Gloranthan Heroes and Heroines 🙂