Home Forums Gaming in Glorantha HeroQuest HQ:G Personality Traits from Runes -Players Have Lots of Questions

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  • #15577
    Profile photo of Clay
    Clay
    Spectator

    The rules regarding personality traits and rune affinities are a little fluffy and feel incomplete overall and I have more questions from my players regarding this part of character creation than any other.

    1) Do all my rune affinities affect my personality? Do I have to know what all the ins-and-outs of each rune’s personality traits are? Or do I just pay attention to my temperament rune? Or to my most powerful rune? Or to the rune I initiate with?

    2) Why do the rules say runes affect my personality, then explicitly say that only initiates can use their runes like personality traits?

    3) I am member of Seven Spirits Society and Spirit is my most powerful rune affinity, but it has no personality trait. Do I not have any personality traits associated with the Spirit Rune? Or the Magic Rune?

    These are all questions I’ve had asked to me in the past couple of days, more than on any other section of the rules during clan and character generation. Seems to me that’s a red flag of some sort.

    Clarification would be appreciated.

    #15669
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    1) Think of the Runes as archetypes. If your character has powerful associations with a Rune (and especially if it uses Rune Magic), then the Runes help define their personality. Like anything in HeroQuest Glorantha, you pay attention to it when it is interesting to do so.
    2) Even though every character created in HQG can be an initiate (since they all start with an eligible rune), I wanted to carve out the possibility of characters that are not initiates of any cult and thus don’t use their Runes in an substantive manner.
    3) Neither Spirit nor Magic have a personality trait associated with them. Same with Law.

    #15673
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    I figure it might need some further explanation, since this might help you and your players figure out what this whole business with personality traits mean.

    The basis for this lies in the way theistic and rune magic works in Glorantha. To simplify things, you perform Rune magic by aligning yourself with a god or goddess. You do this through your Runes – the magical manifestations of your soul and being. An important part of runic magic is emulation – worshipers acting like their gods. This is what gives the worshipers power, and what gives the gods a kind of way in which to act in the Middle World, while still being bound by the Great Compromise.

    However, since this emulation is not of a person, but of a god – something so much more powerful and vast than the mortal worshiper, some loss of individuality or free will is inevitable (though not really viewed as such by the worshipers themselves). A person’s soul is subsumed to some extent with the god they worship. Because of that their own soul (and from there, their personality) becomes to resemble that of the god. If you are initiated into the secrets of Orlanth and make sure to always uphold his virtues you will begin to act and think like Orlanth – you will feel compelled to be brash and explosive, to uphold your honor even if this would bring suffering, to lust after the Earth goddess and try and win her favor and love and attention.

    In HeroQuest, all of this is associated with your runes. The ultimate expression of this principle are the divine Feats, when a person completely succumbs their being into that of their god, usually taking on the widely accepted appearance of that deity (this is called heroforming) and usually losing almost all of their individual will while the feat lasts. For a brief moment, they *become* their god.

    Because of this, rune like Law or Spirit usually don’t have such compulsions associated with them, since the magic they are used in does not involve the emulation of greater beings.

    Has any of this been helpful or am I just rambling?

    #15677
    Profile photo of Clay
    Clay
    Spectator

    Oh, a little rambling ;-). That’s OK. It was all worth the *excellent* nugget at the end:

    “Because of this, rune like Law or Spirit usually don’t have such compulsions associated with them, since the magic they are used in does not involve the emulation of greater beings.”

    I did not know that. That would be a nice little sentence to add somewhere in the rune description section, if it’s not already there.

    I still, however, think I will struggle to explain why or why not a player should be affected by rune-related personality traits in corner cases. For example, one player has initiated to Issaries through communication, but his runes are Illusion, Communication, and Water. A very odd selection, but nothing was opposed, and his clan does in fact have a historical relation with the water rune. He had (unknowingly) described a Donandarian-like character, but he wanted to initiate to Issaries with a strong Illusion rune. I nodded, said nothing explicitly about Donandar and made plans in the back of my head.

    At creation he bumped his Illusion to 6W (from 1W) and his Communication to 2W (from 17). He cannot access the Illusion rune directly (and he understands this), and his personality traits are coming from his Communication rune because that is the rune of the god he’s choosing to emulate.

    Sound rational?

    #15679
    Profile photo of Clay
    Clay
    Spectator

    And when the Kolating picks Spirit 1W, Magic 17, and Air 13…then looks at the rules (as players tend to do because the rules tell them “your runes will have a powerful effect over your personality”) and asks “What’s my personality like? The Orlanthi initiate over there has clearly defined personality traits. Wait. I got nothing. So..I’m just…inhumanly boring…or am I vaguely restless and adventurous?”

    🙂

    #15680
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    For the Issaries cultist – I’d say yes, he is mostly influenced by his Communication rune. Although, since that other rune is Illusion and not something else, I’d actually say it would fit to have it influence him as well. The Trickster, after all, is all about disregarding the rules, so why would he care about this one? 🙂 Either that or, if he continues to bump up his Illusion rune, start making the Trickster interested in him. That will spice things up for sure!

    As for the Kolating – no, it doesn’t mean that. I suppose I still didn’t explain it well enough. The personalities that are described in the runes is what people are compelled to act like by the god or gods they follow. If there is no such compulsion acting upon them, that means that their personalities are just all their own. The Kolating can act however he wants to act.

    #15681
    Profile photo of Clay
    Clay
    Spectator

    Thanks!

    #15682
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    Clay –

    That sounds like totally normal player choice.

    #15685
    Profile photo of Roko Joko
    Roko Joko
    Spectator

    Clay,

    As you’ve seen the text is contradictory. Personally I’d say that trader, and everyone else, gets personality from all of their runes that have associated personality traits.

    The Kolating gets personality from Storm. Also, HQG tells you to take one rune as a power rune, and they all have personality traits (except Law, but it’s ambiguous whether it can go in that slot.) So by RAW (given my interpretation in the previous paragraph) everybody gets personality from at least two runes.

    (In general I think non-theists feel second class in the current stuff, though.)

    Anyway, HQG also puts personality on your character sheet with your mandatory characteristic, and with any other personality traits that you want to write down, which it tells you can do and then use them for in-game effects, and with the flaws that it explicitly suggests you write down. So cosmology aside there’s a lot of personality stuff there.

    #15690
    Profile photo of Harald Smith
    Harald Smith
    Spectator

    While there isn’t a formal ‘personality’ for Spirit and Law, those tend to lead the character towards certain magical outlooks that could easily be described as part of their personality.
    Law logical, rigorous, materialistic (as in desiring to use/manipulate the runes/magic to their own ends), judging (or judgmental)
    Spirit ecstatic, spiritual, connected (with the spirit world), aware
    And your players can probably riff on those thoughts to align with their characters.
    As for Communication and Illusion together – sounds like someone who might be smooth-tongued, lying, etc.

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