Dark Side of the Moon
Submitted by Loz on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 08:27
Quite a week, with Mongoose announcing it has parted ways with Issaries and, coincidentally (true, no matter how it looks), myself and Pete Nash joining the Moon Design team. I’ve watched the various forums with a mixture of interest and dismay. Interest because its always interesting to see how people react to business decisions like this. Dismay at some of the accusations, assumptions and other things beginning with ‘a’ that have been hurled, shunted, and posted from one pillar to the next. But this is life. RuneQuest passed from Chaosium to Avalon Hill, and then from AH into… well, obscurity until the license returned to Issariues and then passed to Mongoose. For the most part I enjoyed my Mongoose tenure. The pace was punishing, and there are some points I didn’t enjoy, but the pluses for me were being able to work on titles I loved, like Elric, and branch into new territories – specifically Glorantha. Some of my best work was on the Gloranthan titles. I think Dragonewts, Mostali, Dara Happa Stirs and Pavis Rises are amongst my best books. All very different, all very challenging, but all very rewarding. So its a delight to be let loose on Harrek Saga and I’ll be blogging about this more and more over the coming months. But here’s where I am at the moment. I’m still digesting background material. Lots of it. From King of Sartar through to obscure texts Jeff has pushed in my direction saying ‘Read This. Now.’ I also have the Argonautica to provide additional inspiration, and I’ll be getting together with Greg too to discuss Harrek, his journey, and how all this can be pulled into a playable campaign. I have maps, timelines, places, names and events. Once assimilated I can start working out the scenarios (I’m thinking either eight or ten; eight seems right, but ten’s a nice round number) and what the plot arc will be. This has to follow the traditional saga format whilst remaining accessible. There has to be a recruitment, a victory, a defeat, a delay, a betrayal, a search for the truth, a conquest and, finally, a victory. There’s my eight. So, there’s the kernel of a plan, such as it is. More will develop as I start to write it. Dara Happa Stirs had a similar genesis: lots of background reading, a game plan (hammered out with Jeff in Berlin, over lots of coffee, beer and wine) and then the fevered work of writing, which is where some of the most memorable parts came into being, like the Scarlet Concubine and the Golden Dragon’s daughter and the Blue Serpent HeroQuest. I love letting things develop at their own, unconscious pace, and I’m sure Harrek Saga will be no different. Actually, it will. I have a lot longer than a month to write it in – and for that I’m extremely grateful… More anon.
Submitted by Harald Smith (not verified) on Mon, 30/05/2011 – 17:25.
It would be great if there was a hook/link to the Sky Ship/boat planet story from the Gathering Thunder book. Perhaps recovering a key part of the ship in their plunders, or saving a key figure needed for the ritual to raise the boat? Will be interesting to see what develops.
Submitted by Rungard (not verified) on Fri, 27/05/2011 – 20:32.
This looks great, great, great! Will it be possible to play Harrek as one of the PCs?
Submitted by Evan (not verified) on Fri, 27/05/2011 – 06:40.
I was disappointed to see the parting of ways between Mongoose and Issaries. RuneQuest and Glorantha benefitted from the partnership. We saw products that I never dreamed would ever come out. While the line was not perfect, we have to remember that perfection was not the model for the Chaosium or Avalon Hill lines either, but they produced a lot of things that really rocked. Mongoose did well too. I am sorry that we will not see coming from Mongoose some of the other Second Age supplements that had been on the to do list like Vithela, Carmania Conquers, The Castle of Lead, and Beastmen. I am glad that additional creative talent will be working on Mood Design’s Third Age books. I hope that the quality will continue and the pace will pick up. Whatever you may have thought of the stewardship of Mongoose over Glorantha, it really produced an amazing amount of content and I will miss that steady stream of revelations. Best of luck on your new venture.
Submitted by Pete Repeat (not verified) on Fri, 27/05/2011 – 06:31.
I look forward to seeing more of you work under your new banner.
Submitted by Hervé CARTEAU (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 22:30.
Welcome back to the Gloranthan fold. Harrek and company are the big boogey-men of our 3-years Fay Jee campaign – yet they never showed up… except once, when PCs were aboard the Ship of Fools, and saw that even the Wolfs didn’t dare to attack it. Plans are underway to build a Fools’ Sea Park to deter attack. How does that sound ?
Submitted by Gregory Molle (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 21:23.
This is greatly promising, good luck !
Submitted by Harald Smith (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 17:11.
Great to see you on board! I loved what you did with Dara Happa Stirs — in my mind, it was the first Glorantha work to really capture the full flavor of a truly epic campaign. Looking forward to seeing what you do with Harreks Saga.
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 16:53.
Bloroll? I don’t think I want to know…
Submitted by Keith (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 13:56.
Just remember to watch some Yggle DVDs: Get Ready to Yggle, Scary Bear, Pirate Party. Wake Up Rathori! The modern translations by the Wiggles might be the best you can get
Submitted by Nathan Baron (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 13:28.
Congratulations on your new job! I hope it goes well. I’m looking forward to seeing what Gloranthan material you’re going to write. In the mean time, I’ll add your blog to my bloroll.
Submitted by Dr Moose (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 12:49.
Nice to see you on-board Loz and looking forward to your stuff! (Still intrigued by the co-incidental nature of public announcements, but life is stranger than fiction!) See you am-Rhein!
Submitted by Mike Gibb (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2011 – 11:39.
I’ve heard lots of good things about DH Stirs Loz so must make sure I get hold of a copy while I can. And if that’s what you can do in a month, I will look forward to Harreksaga all the more! Just a shame I can’t be at Bacharach to press you about it. Enjoy! And best of luck with all your new ventures!!!!
You Can Be Harrek!
Submitted by Loz on Fri, 27/05/2011 – 22:34
On another forum yesterday, someone asked if you’d be able to play Harrek in Harreksaga. My first thought was ‘Don’t be bloody stupid,’ but then this got me thinking. Should I gave it as an option? The difficulty of writing a campaign where you have a powerful character as the main driver is that the players can get left in the shadows. A way of getting round this is to have the Uber NPC off doing his superheroics stage left whilst the PCs do their own thing stage centre. This was the tack I took with Dara Happa Stirs and I think it worked well. It also means that canonical events can proceed more or less as written in sources like KoS whilst the side events the PCs are involved with can go in any direction they like. The downside, though, is that the PCs miss out on some of the earth-shattering events that would be really fun to get involved with. And, if they end up averting said events, as PCs are wont to do, then canon gets cannoned. So its a tough call to make. Then you have the trouble of statting Harrek. Now Jeff is vehemently against providing game stats for major characters and I can see his point, but if you offer Harrek as a character then you really are going to have to have stats like: Rathori Hsunchen 10w3 Bear Spirit 5w2 Bad Temper 11w2 Wolf Pirate Leader 8w3 Hate Lunars 19w2 Hate Everyone Else, but Especially the Bloody Lunars 10w2 etc, etc. And oops, I just statted Harrek (don’t worry, its NOT official). And then this demigod puts all the other characters in the shade with the entire campaign revolving around him. So, back to the original question and ‘Can you play Harrek in Harreksaga?’. The answer is No, sorry, cool as it might be, there are more cons to pros. Greg Stafford came up with a great bit of advice that I included in Dara Happa Stirs and I’ll include in Harreksaga: This book should be about the player characters. They should be given the opportunity to act as heroes and emerge as heroes. At the story’s conclusion Karvanyar’s name is the one that shines, but that radiance cannot be possible without the efforts of others. History will remember the Emperor, but contemporaries will remember those who did the dirty work. Its sound advice, and I’m sticking with it.
Submitted by Kevin J. Maroney (not verified) on Tue, 14/06/2011 – 01:02.
James Wallis faced a similar problem when he was mulling the Baron Munchausen RPG–everyone will want to play the Baron, and he can do *everything*. So James made the game purely about that. This in turn raises the very frightening idea of a Harreksaga game played with the Baron Munchausen mechanics.
Submitted by Keith (not verified) on Sat, 04/06/2011 – 03:50.
There is, of course, the song “Harrek, where’s your troosers” I just got in from the Isles of Ygg I’m not very shy and I’m awfully big the ladies shout as I go by– Harrek where’s your trousers. Chorus: Let the winds blow high, Let the winds blow low, down the street in my cape I go — And all the ladies say hello– Harrek where’s your trousers 2. A lady took me to a ball And it was slippery in the hall I was afraid that I would fall ’cause I didn’t have on my trousers 3. They’d like to wed me everyone Just let them catch me if they can — You canna put the brakes on a Super Hero man Who doesn’t like wearing trousers. 4. To wear the bear is my delight, It isn’t wrong, I know it’s right. The Yggite would get afright If they saw me in trousers. 5. Well I caught a cold and me nose was raw I had no handkerchief at all So I hiked up my bearskin and I gave it a blow, Now you can’t do that with trousers.
Submitted by Hervé CARTEAU (not verified) on Thu, 02/06/2011 – 01:26.
Back in the days of HW 1, a french GM had all of Harrek’s stats written. It took one line, which said “Kill anything 1M4”. Voilà.
Submitted by Harald Smith (not verified) on Wed, 01/06/2011 – 23:31.
Sounds like a good adventure set amidst the Amazons of Trowjang while Harrek is busy fulfilling the role of Tolat [see Mike Dawson’s comment re: Busy Wenching and Drinking 10W2].
Submitted by Mike Dawson (not verified) on Tue, 31/05/2011 – 19:56.
Harrek won’t overshadow the other characters if you add just a couple other stats: Busy Wenching and Drinking 10W2 Can’t be Bothered 5W2 Doesn’t See the Point, But Feel Free 7W2 Harrek is bearlike in personality too: Leave him alone, don’t be too tasty looking, and he ignores you. Piss him off or have something he wants, though, and you’re in huge, short-lived trouble.
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Mon, 30/05/2011 – 06:43.
So, let’s just stack this up against the great Glorantha campaigns… Pavis – explore the city whilst avoiding Gimgim the Grim and the Lunar authorities. Get food poisoning and Geos and double-cross Griselda and Wolfhead. Defend the Cradle. Big Rubble – delve into the immense ruins; navigate puzzle canal and steal into Balastor’s Barracks. Borderlands – venture on behalf of Duke Raus into the Grantlands slaying broo and other nasties. Harreksaga – steal Harrek’s cloak so you can get his trousers back before he notices they’ve gone. Hmmm. Why did I sign up for this?
Submitted by Bruce (not verified) on Sun, 29/05/2011 – 21:08.
Actually there has to be a blackly humorous part of the saga in there. E.g. “The War of Harrek’s Pants.” They are the most dangerous pants in the universe and Harrek’s lost them. No one can know. Especially not Harrek. Somehow they have to track down them down and then get them back onto Harrek without a) him noticing and b) getting devoured. “It’s the wrong trousers grommit! arrrgh.” etc. Admittedly there’s nothing I’ve read which says his pants are also made from a God…
Submitted by Jeff Richard (not verified) on Sun, 29/05/2011 – 10:33.
Nick the Cloak? Man, it does more than EAT YOUR BRAIN!!! It devours your soul and body. And that cloak most definitely outlasses the PCs. It is the most dangerous bit of clothing in the universe. And I’m certain it cannot come off without awakening Harrek in the worst kind of way. Dan’s absolutely right how you do that. You make a faux cloak and hope: 1. Nobody looks and everyone takes you for your word; and 2. None of Harrek’s countless enemies have decided to seek revenge against the White Bear while you are masquerading as him. The demigod despot of Dindako might be no match for Harrek, but he sure as Ompalam can condemn the PCs to endless undead toil!
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Sun, 29/05/2011 – 03:33.
Dan’s too, possibly.
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Sun, 29/05/2011 – 03:33.
Consider this idea nicked.
Submitted by dan (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2011 – 23:31.
And the Cloak EATS YOUR BRAIN!!! Even his cloak probably outclasses the PCs. Surely, what you do is make a cloak that kinda looks like a Polar Bear (would anyone actually know?) out of seal skins and bit of other animals you found lying around in the bilges and you loudly bullshit that you are Harrek knowing that if anyone actually looked, you’d die a horrible death in the infernal guano pits of Goan Goan (or is that Yawill Yawill).
Submitted by Simon Bray (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2011 – 22:47.
Of course at some point you must have to ‘borrow’ Harreks Cloak to impress the Queen of the Goan Bat People, due to the fact that the old white bear was nursing a monster hangover from his encounter with the Shakh of Faladje and nineteen temple dancing girls!
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2011 – 18:42.
I completely agree Harald. The deeds of the heroes will become blurred with the deeds of Harrek – and perhaps vice versa.
Submitted by Harald Smith (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2011 – 18:24.
I agree with your conclusion — Harrek should be Harrek, not the PC’s. However, that doesn’t mean that the PC’s aren’t the ones who are subsequently remembered as ‘Harrek’ — their deeds and actions become part of the stories attributed to Harrek.
You Had Me in Stitches
Submitted by Loz on Mon, 13/06/2011 – 03:30
I hope Julia Rawcliffe forgives me the pun, but in describing Eternal Con, this is quite apt. It was, quite simply, a hilarious experience from end to end.
First there was the Thursday afternoon/evening get-together of the Early Birds; those dedicated souls who decide to get a head-start on the hedonism and congregate the night before to get the party started. About 20 of is invaded sleepy Bacharach, drank a prodigious quantity of excellent German beer, and then went in search of more to take to the patio of the Early Bird HQ guest house. This involved buying the entire contents of the local Kebap Haus’s fridge, much to the bemused owner’s delight and financial gratification.
We drank into the wee, small hours. Poor old Almost Evil Ed suffered somewhat from an unknown complaint that was to claim the health of me, Jeff, and a few others across the weekend, but, as True Heroes, we battled on and became more hedonistic.
Friday saw the invasion move from Bacharach to Burg Stahleck. Several true heroes walked the Walk of Heroes whilst several lesser models chose to be chauffered by Jeff and Claudia in the Finnmobile. J&C are, obviously, exempt from the Lesser Model status, as looking after Finn is, in itself, a HeroQuest, but… well, you know who you are. We True Hill Walking heroes lost valuable shoe-leather and became a more devout band because of it. So Ya Boo Sucks.
As Friday afternoon wore into Friday evening, much Beerus Germanicus was consumed in true, Hill Walking Hero style. Old friends (some of them Hill Walking Heroes) arrived and the Tribe reconvened. The Opening Ceremony was an exercise in brain-devouring humour which, courtesy of Johan, Charlotte and Eini, was very well delivered and received. From there we went to drinking and… well… things escalated from there.
There was, for instance, Elemental Wars, hosted by me, Pittel and Johan. We’ve done this gig before and always had a wonderful time, but never on this scale. For example, we’ve never had such a fickle panel of Grey Maidens before (take a bow, Suzie, Kiki and Aliscia), or an Attractive Score Keeper who chose to record the bleeding scores in Persian (I shit ye not), or Male Nudity (he shall remain unnamed, because I fear Tressy’s wrath), or Johan in a dress. But, needless to say, the forces of Global Warming, Fiscal Crisis. Facebook and Paris Hilton were defeated in incredibly entertaining styles and I laughed my arse off, thus claiming the first of the stitches referred to in this miserable blog’s title.
I think most people broke the 3 o’clock rule. Tough.
Saturday had me start the morning in sun glasses which, whilst obviously betraying my Game-God Rock-Star nature were actually hiding a pair of eyes that felt like they’d be soaked in Beerus Germanicus for a few months (they had). However, I recovered enough to thoroughly enjoy, and be moved by, Tressy’s Blessing for Finn. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I felt privileged to be a part of it. It was a joy to see a happy, blond, 2 year old boy be so entranced by bubbles and the chance to dig for buried treasure whilst the Rhineland Goddesses brought their fair winds to watch over him. Tressy was wondrous and the ceremony genuinely moving. A memory I shall treasure and I’m sure Jeff, Claudia and their families will too.
Post Blessing meant prepping for ‘Injustice Syndicate’. This was one of several freeforms running at Eternal Con, and it was the first. Now, I’m not a natural freeformer, but when Jeff let’s me channel Heath Ledger to play The Joker, wild horses wouldn’t keep me away. So, along with my dormitory mates of Lewis (Evil Spock), Nick (Doctor Victor von Doom), Charlotte (Harley Quinn – soon to be Mrs Joker), Rick (Kneel Before Zod) and Franzeska (Cruella de Ville), the transformation began. Y’know, there’s something weird when you have four people crammed into a bathroom caking-on facepaint. One (he shall remain nameless, but might have played a Star Trek character) applied his makeup daintily with one of those incredibly arty little brushes you just know Hair and Makeup people on film sets use); the other two applied it to each other (equally daintily, with similar brushes), and I just slapped the stuff onto my face in a haphazard fashion, hoping I’d resemble something approaching Heath Ledger icon status.
The end result reduced children to tears. No, really, it did. Four of them. One of them actually had to hide behind his father’s legs when he saw me coming in full makeup and costume. The poor visitor’s to Stahleck that day must’ve wondered what had bloody descended.
The freeform was A BLAST. Elevator Pitch for it: Lots of Fictional Arch Villains Get Together To Screw Each Other Over and Rule the World. It rarely gets better than this. Playing the Joker I found myself immediately harnessed to Harley Quinn, played by Charlotte, and thus in the fortunate position of having a willing, devoted, mute, companion to go out and cause mayhem.
I concerned myself with securing the arch-nemesis status of Batman’s chief adversary only to be foiled by Count-Bloody-Duckula (Almost Evil Ed). Duck a-l’orange was swiftly on the menu. Fortunately I managed to strike a cunning deal with Duckula, Cruella and Harley to become Batman’s arch-nemesis and so pledged life-long (the life in question being Duckula’s, not mine) friendship with Duckula and selling my soul to Cruella. Harley, of course, was only too overjoyed (I swear I saw little tears of happiness) to assist me, and so I faced-off against Batman. And got my arse kicked.
From there, I escaped from Arkham Asylum, was reunited in jubilant fashion with my beloved Harley, found that the scheming Poison Ivy was attempting to seduce her away from me (my suggestion to marry both of them resulted in death-threats) and my betrothal to Ms Quinn. Want the definition of crazy-shit? A clown-faced psychopath being wedded to a mute-mime, with Batman as the Best Man, Count Duckula giving away the bride, the wedding conducted by The Master, and the wedding cake booby trapped by both Norman Osborne (aka the Green Goblin) AND the Joker and Doctor Doofenschmirtz. The weeding was, literally, a blast. The happy couple escaped, kicked Batman’s ass, and had their honeymoon in the Batcave. Harley killed all the bats and I gave Duckula all the kryptonite.
To cut a long story short-ish, this was the funniest freeform I’ve played in. It was fast, funny, had brilliant costumes, great plots and a superb bunch of players and GMs. Jeff is to be congratulated once again on producing the Most Fun You Can Have In Six Inches of Makeup and I await the next of his freeforms in which I can play the Joker (hell, I bought the costume…).
Are we still on Saturday? Fraid so. Saturday evening was consumed by the obligatory ‘I’ll run something quick’ by Simon Bray. Jeff, Claudia, Bazz, Dogboy, Neil, Johan, Colin, Dave S and Rick joined in, and, in the space of around 4 hours, developed laughter hernias. Now, myself, Simon and Colin are used to the kind of puerile humour roleplaying games we come out with on occasions like this, but I’m not sure about some of the others (Dogboy excepted). What happened was roughly this…
Simon wanted to run Post Apocalypse; Claudia wanted something on a spaceship. Claudia won.
We all created bloody stupid characters: Chuck Norris; Bruce Campbell’s Chin; Abe Feroda; A Dolphin in a Walker Suit; Bender the Bending Unit; Hank Venture; Dolph Blue, Spectrum Agent; The Producer; and Britney Spears (with Fluffy the Poodle). The scene: frozen for thousands of years in cryogenic pods our heroes (ha!) are released by Dolphin and Bender to find they’re on a spaceship controlled by the Dolphin and the Bender with rapidly increasing radiation levels. Oh, and under siege by Martians that looked like mobile scrotums. We then proceeded to roleplay the most outrageous innuendoes, double entendres and bad jokes possible, inducing several hernias and possibly a divorce case. In the course of this complete mayhem we worked out that we were, in fact, on the film set of ‘Aaaaaaaaaargh II’ (tag line: It Was An Orgy of Testicles’) and that Colin’s character, the Dolphin, was really a CGI effect with Andy Serkis as stand-in. We climbed/fell/got shotgunned down a ventilation shaft; we landed in goo; Chuck ‘The Norris’ Norris ended-up with Britney in one arm and Hank Venture, sans-pants in the other; and Dolph Blue, Spectrum Agent became paranoid beyond compare. Then the frigging martians attacked. Bruce Campbell, now reunited with his chin, was anally probed by a soul-sucking tentacle; Hank used all his pantless charm to ‘Impress Theee Laydeeeez’, and Britney Spears got dropped in goo (but thankfully her fluffy poodle remained dry). Kudos goes to Claudia for providing the one description of her character’s apparel (i shan’t repeat it here: this is a Family Blog) that resulted in more filth, smut, innuendo and childish belly-laughing than I’ve ever see in a roleplaying game. And this includes the many Danny Bourne’s been a part of.
Now, if we’d ruptured various organs over Britney Spears and her dry fluffy poodle, it all went to hell-in-a-hand-cart when Bender reminded Chuck ‘The Norris’ Norris that he was, actually, third fiddle to none other than the Immortal John ‘Enter the Dragon’ Saxon and had had his arse mortally whopped in said film. I mean forget Bruce Lee, The Norris didn’t even go down to the main hero; he went down to a Supporting Role. Well, concuss me with planks. For The Norris that was the final straw. His will broken (and his ankle broken too, after delivering a round-house kick to the Bender’s Shiny Metal Ass), it was left to Hank ‘Gee, What Would Brock Samson Do’ Venture to save the day. I can’t remember how, or if he actually, did, but we all got flushed down the toilet. Apart from Britney. I think. I can’t remember; I was laughing too hard.
I have deliberately omitted the obligatory porn scene between Fluffy the Poodle and a desiccated dolphin – and believe me, I’m doing you a favour (it will be in the Director’s Cut), but this was, hands down, the funniest roleplaying scenario I’ve ever participated in, and kudos to Simon for sticking with it, and the rest of the players for diving-deep into the smut bucket to provide the best group entertainment one can possibly get with a few pencils and a D20.
Thus closes Saturday. You know what? Its late and you’ll just have to wait for Sunday.
Oh, and forgibe the spelling erorrs. Ive Had a Gladd of Wine.
Submitted by Jeff Richard (not verified) on Sun, 17/07/2011 – 17:58.
I just reread this, but even though I was Bender the Bending Unit – I had no idea we were on a spaceship! I figured we were just in a cola packing factory on post-Apocalyptic Earth.
Submitted by Julia (not verified) on Sat, 18/06/2011 – 22:42.
I’ll gladly forgive you the pun, provided you give us the rest of your con report! (I’ll also forgive you the blatant plagiarism of my facebook status upadate!)
Submitted by dan (not verified) on Tue, 14/06/2011 – 03:31.
I have only one thing to add: Go, team SAXON!!
Hammer of the Gods
Submitted by Loz on Sun, 31/07/2011 – 03:34
Now that the excitement surrounding the launch of The Design Mechanism and RuneQuest 6th ed has died down, I’ve been able to return to Harrek Saga. The scenario I’m nearing completion of concerns what happens when Harrek decides to invade Teshnos. The best way I can think of describing this particular chapter is ‘Conan Meets 300 at the Siege of Troy Whilst Led Zeppelin play The Immigrant Song from the battlements with amps turned up to 11’. And it has elephants. Lots of elephants. Should be good, clean, wholesome carnage for All the Family.
Submitted by Loz on Thu, 22/09/2011 – 02:18
Harreksaga has reached Teleos, and the section I’m writing is riffing on as many cannibal holocaust tropes as I can possibly think of. Some of the old 30s and 40s Tarzan movies spring to mind, as do all the hackneyed head-hunter images one used to see. I’m reminded of one jungle adventure film I saw where the heroes, captured by savages, witness some their number lashed between crossed, springy saplings that are then allowed to whip free, ripping the unfortunate sacrifice in two. Wondering now how to fit that little nasty into the great scheme of things. But, I hear you cry, isn’t Teleos all about the different coloured tribes and the child-trade meeting? Why, yes it is, gentle reader, but there’s one tribe that is isolated from the rest and the characters – the Argrath, no less – must traverse their domain in their quest for a fabled treasure. So this is one scenario that Narrators who enjoy being really mean to their players will thoroughly enjoy. Even if the players don’t. Back to work. I’ve just thought of some more unpleasantness to include…
Unrest in the forest, there’s trouble with the trees…
Submitted by Loz on Fri, 14/10/2011 – 18:59
Harreksaga now finds itself in Yanchi City where the foliage is seriously hungry and the locals forced into a seasonal migration to avoid being eaten. Well, they [i] were [/i] until Harrek arrived… ‘The Trees That Ate Yanchi’ is the latest Harreksaga instalment and, instead of going for cannibalism as its rifforama, is going more for ‘Day of the Triffids’. But there’s also a large slice of ‘righting serious wrongs’ in this scenario, especially when it becomes clear how the peckish plants are being controlled. The characters also get to journey to the Errinoru Jungle. Which is Nice. Discussing this scenario with some friends in the pub last week, one of them remarked ‘Carnivorous trees. Hm. What would happen if you use the wood from them to repair your pirate ships?’ Its an idea just too good to waste. On a completely separate yet related topic, Herve Corteau, Gentleman and Jrusteli Scholar, begins his playtest of Harreksaga today. I wish them well and hope they have lots of fun on Mad Igan’s Island. I’d like to post reports on their games here, but that would expose the whole creative process and, of course, spoil the campaign massively for everyone else, but I’ll share what snippets I can.
Submitted by Hervé (not verified) on Sat, 15/10/2011 – 23:33.
Hammer of the Gods landed in Dombain, with his new lieutenants : – the enthusiastic, eager-to-please young rathori cousin who uses no weapon except h a greatbow – the authority-hating, limb-cutting marazi amputatrix – the arkati assassin with a cunning streak – the shangaied rightarm island fisherman who keeps saying “it’s all a terrible mistake” – the fringe malkioni knight with the Grimoire of Destructive Disorder in his hands This is the kind of crew you can build when you sail with Harrek. With places to go, people to kill. Lots of them.
Submitted by Charles Corrigan (not verified) on Sat, 15/10/2011 – 18:27.
Don’t put your hand there! Why? You get to keep the stump… 🙂
Submitted by danm (not verified) on Sat, 15/10/2011 – 15:44.
Can’t wait to see how “permanent waves” will factor in to the next installment of Harreksaga! Everything so far sounds like doubleplussgoodfun. excellent stuff!
Submitted by loz (not verified) on Sat, 15/10/2011 – 05:59.
Comment from Gianni Vacca on the first playtest session: “M.A.S.S.I.V.E F.U.N” Presumably they haven’t done the Teleos scenario yet… But if it was Mad Igan’s Island, which was also slightly playtested at Eternal Con, then I hope they shared the insanity we all shared. Anyhow, nice to have some initial positive notes.
Happy New Ye… Ummm. Oh, its happened already
Submitted by Loz on Thu, 12/01/2012 – 09:53
2012 has kicked off with several events worthy of the Mayan calendar. First, I’ve finished the opening scenario to Harreksaga AND ‘The Trees That Ate Yanchi’. So that’s progress. From Yanchi Harrek and his fleet of social workers sail towards Laskal where the Great White Bear has decided its time to make an empire. Well, when you’ve raided everyone, deposed kings, imposed queens, stolen incredible magical treasures and HeroQuested where no HeroQuester has Quested before, what else is there to do? So the next stage in Harrek’s saga – and so the characters’ – is to make an empire out of the recalcitrant Laskali city-states. This means fending off Afadjann, cleansing the Forest of Disease, uniting the cities and defeating the bat-people. This empire-building, its not easy. And Harrek being Harrek, he’s relying on the Argrath to make him look good. Secondly, and on an entirely separate theme, Design Mechanism launched the RuneQuest Archives on DrivethruRPG. Here we’ve taken a selection of MRQ1 and MRQ2 books (under an agreement with Mongoose) and made them all available for $1 each, or $10 for the Gloranthan bundle of 10 books. Now, most of you reading this miserable blog will already have most of these, but if you don’t, then I urge you to hurry across to Drivethru and make the investment. At these prices there s little excuse not to sample Glorantha’s Second Age and/or the various, exhaustive races books which can be used with any system you like. Shameless self-promotion over, I’d like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year and promise to keep you updated on Harrek’s rampage across the Gloranthan oceans. After Laskal, its onto Jrustela. You just know it won’t end well…
Submitted by James Spivey II (not verified) on Tue, 07/02/2012 – 00:29.
Thanks for the tip on the old Mongoose stuff repackaged. I will get it. When is the Pavis Book coming out?
Submitted by Peter Metcalfe (not verified) on Thu, 12/01/2012 – 11:38.
This means fending off Afadjann Golden Kareeshtu surely?
Submitted by Jim Groves (not verified) on Thu, 12/01/2012 – 10:54.
Thanks for the Runequest Archives! Between Harreksaga and Ian’s Coming Storm this looks to be an awesome year for Moon Design. I want to see both of those books in Editing ASAP.
A Tiger? In Africa?
Submitted by Pete on Fri, 30/03/2012 – 03:23
For those of you who have an interest in Gloranthan monsters, the good news is that the Bestiary has been finished for quite a while now. In fact I completed it more than a month ago, but due to the release of Pavis and my own hectic workload for RuneQuest 6, I haven’t gotten round to posting anything about it.
So to help out Jeff, I thought I’d write a bit about the book and the design concept behind it.
When Jeff first approached me with the concept of writing a Bestiary I was somewhat wary. My enthusiasm was jaded by the work I’d previously put into Monster Island, which due to certain circumstances I ultimately did not submit to Mongoose. Jeff’s irrepressible enthusiasm however, soon got me to change my mind. What he envisioned was not yet-another splat book full of characteristics and combat skills, but something in homage to the Sandy Petersen’s Field Guide publications.
For those of you who have never seen one of these Petersen’s Field Guides, they are stat-less but very evocative descriptions of the weird creatures of the Dreamlands and Cthulhu Mythos, supplemented with stunningly beautiful, full page art. After Jeff posted me his own personal copy to wet my appetite, I was hooked and began to think about how the text of the book should be presented.
Since Jeff knows that I’m an armchair classicist, he suggested I write the book as if it the author was a Second Age God Learner, in the style of Herodotus, Pliny and Aelian. That is to say, philosophical discourses well peppered with entertaining anecdotes. That sealed the deal and I agreed to write a Gloranthan Bestiary, with Jeff’s proviso that I come up with a truly insane explanation of Jack-o-bear ecology.
I had foolishly imagined that tossing this off would be a matter of six week or so of solid writing. Yet the more I considered just what exactly should be included in the book, the deeper my anxiety about the level of research would be required. I quite literally sat around for a couple of days considering the different approaches I should take.
There are, as with any work which has to fit into a huge body of established lore, issues concerning accepted canon. Glorantha has several ways of sidestepping this problem, not least the fact that there are very few objective truths in the world. However, a book which simply regurgitates the same old myths and information which have been published a dozen times before, won’t win it any fans – no matter how good the art!
To make this a worthwhile purchase then, I would have to create new material or present known knowledge in an exotic or wildly misinterpreted way. That is a dangerous path however, especially if my imagination took things so far into left field that even Greg would baulk.
So I came up with an idea I pitched back to Jeff. I would deliberately exaggerate the theories and observations of the God Learner author (after all, that’s what makes reading Pliny fun), then Jeff and Greg could append footnotes decrying everything recorded as wrong, in the most sanctimonious style of Minaryth Purple, the 3rd Age Lhankor Mhy scholar transposing the work. This would not only avoid messy editorial revisions, but also add to the whole entertainment.
My next thought was how to come up with so much material. With an average of 1,500ish words required per creature, I was going to run out of ideas pretty quickly and the text would indeed descend into bland psuedo-scientific categorisations. I flipped back through some of the early RQ2 publications and decided what was needed was a on-running narrative, in the style of Biturain Varosh. Not only would this ease the creative workload, but it would allow the bestiary to become more akin to a compiled travelogue.
Thus, with those two concepts in mind I began to sketch out the epic explorations ofDanakil Thesager, early God Learner naturalist, explorer and exile of Jrustela. I decided his records would present creatures in the order he encountered them, which would preserve the timeline of the anecdotes. I then looked at Gloranthan history to search out the most famous events which occurred during the early empire, so that the narrative could provide brief eye witness accounts.
This took several more weeks of planning, but I finally decided on beginning in 823 with the expedition against the Umaliath fireberg and ending in 843. During that time Danakil would unwittingly embark on several Heroquests, participate in the Too Tall Battle and even witness the destruction of Duke Dorvis at Ezel – and these would not even be the most spectacular events he would have a hand in. At the conclusion of his journey he would have circumvented the world, visiting most of the major land masses and written about an awful lot of creatures.
Thus it began. I re-read all my books written by famous 19th and early 20th century British explorers. Watched lots of Ray Harryhausen movies. Delved deep into certain forbidden tomes of the Stafford Library.
Now nearly 100,000 words later, we have the epic and sadly fragmentary accounts of a God Learner explorer whose light hearted, almost comedic experiences, slowly change from wonder, to astonishment, incomprehension and finally growing horror. We see his thoughts and attitudes evolve as his grasp of myth grows and we see how his Runic Sight colours his opinions. There’s also a lot of fun stuff about all the creatures he meets too – and yes, he does come up with an explanation of Jack-o-bear ecology.
Are his wild tales true? Did he accidentally awaken the Faceless Statue, sail the Worm Sea on a mile wide raft of living timinits and witness the greatest monster of Loral Island? Are aldryami really carnivorous, do mostali actually exist? Was there a fundamental objective truth to his reports which has been revised out of existence with the re-weaving of Arachne Solara’s web? That is for the reader to decide and for me to shut up about…
Submitted by Pete on Tue, 18/09/2012 – 04:29.
It sounds terrific. Any word on availability yet?
None yet I’m afraid. If I recall correctly, the last I heard from Jeff was that the Guide to Glorantha needed to go out the door first, then it was toss up between Monster Island and another book to see which was next in the production queue. So not this year, but hopefully not too long afterwards, as I’m just as eager to get a printed, illustrated copy myself!
Submitted by GianniVacca on Tue, 18/09/2012 – 03:34.
I am awe-struck. This is going to be the ultimate Gloranthan book. Very, very eagerly waiting for this one!
Submitted by Herve on Mon, 17/09/2012 – 07:14.
Want. Read. Fast. ASAP!
Submitted by davecake on Mon, 17/09/2012 – 04:41.
It sounds terrific. Any word on availability yet?
Submitted by Invain63 on Mon, 02/04/2012 – 11:46.
Must. Have. This. Book!
Submitted by Pryderi on Mon, 02/04/2012 – 10:30.
This sounds insanely good. Hope it includes the grotaron!