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.
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 😉
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.
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” :).