Home Forums Gaming in Glorantha RuneQuest King Broyan and the Crimson Bat

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  • #16102
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    A lot of people get the misconception that King Broyan had to have incredible stats – maybe what was called Super Runequest stats – in order to take out the Crimson Bat. A quick glance at the sheer runequest horror of the bat would seemingly bear that out. 85 armor points everywhere. Wings alone have 234 hit points each. And then there are those chaos features and truly epic attacks.

    Meh, not so much. Once Broyan figured out the secret, killing the Crimson Bat was so easy, even a Balazaring could do it.

    Broyan climbed up into a tree and stayed there for several days. He had commanded his men to scour the countryside for bats. From his perch he would practice disabling the bats so that they couldn’t fly. Now this was tricky business. It’s a simple matter to disable a tiny bat when you’re a large human. But when fighting the Crimson Bat, he would be the tiny one, the bat would be huge. So Broyan had to disable a bats wing using tiny, precise cuts.

    It took a lot of time, patience and bats, but finally, the King figured out just what precise points he had to make his little cuts so that the bat could not fly. Now it was only a matter of preparation.

    The Bats scream could affect both mortals and spirits, so simply plugging ones ears might not do. He needed magical protection vs madness. Lhankor Mhy is known to have many wards against mind affecting spells and madness being the primary mind affecting spell of the Lunar Army, it stands to reason King Broyan would have just such a spell easily at hand.

    The Eye Spit and the Tentacles are useless to the Bat against attackers on its wings.

    The Breathe Cloud would be dangerous, but proper protection spells can alleviate the damage of the Bat nuking himself in an acid cloud.

    The tongues will be the main danger, that and the ticks. The tongues hit for too much acid damage to parry and they hit far too well to effectively dodge. Three tongue attacks in a round on average results in two special hits and a critical hit. That’s three of the Kings men dead. That could either be considered an acceptable loss in exchange for killing the Bat or Broyan may have had a plan to keep his men alive. Great Parry comes to mind. It prevents all damage. This would include the acid damage as well. Since Great Parry is considered to have turned aside the attack, even the constriction damage is prevented since the tongue does not grasp its prey in this instance. Broyan would have men assigned to the task of blocking any incoming tongue attacks.

    This just leaves the ticks. 1D6 ticks per round. They do 8d6 damage. That’s on average 28 damage. An iron target and decent armor should take care of that. Truesworded broadswords with bladesharp 6 and Strength spells so everyone attacking has a +2d6 damage bonus – remember, we’re talking King Broyans Hero Band here, these guys are all runelords – and the ticks should prove no problem.

    Which just leaves disabling the bats wing.

    Since Broyan knows from his experiments exactly where to strike and what cuts to make, (and since, as the GM I know that “historically” Broyan succeeds) it is a safe bet that every strike is automatically for critical damage. He knows exactly where to strike, that’s the whole point. So let’s say Broyan and two others are assigned the task of disabling the Bats wing. They TrueSword. They cast Strength spells and Bladesharps. Your basic broadsword does 1d8+1. Truesworded it does 2d8+2. Critical hits do 36 damage. Then add Bladesharp. Then add +2d6 damage modifier. Then add anything for these three guys have especially nice blades – gee, ya think?

    50 pts damage each swing, each Hero, minimum. The first round, the Bat is taken by surprise as they teleport in and strike. That’s 150 damage and next round they finish the job. These guys would probably be swinging as fast as SR4 or 5. Meaning 1d6 ticks get one attack each. The Bat screams, breathes on them and gets its three tongue attacks, all of which are Great Parried. The priests and cultists don’t have enough time to respond, even considering they become instantly aware.

    The second strikes disable the wing and then some, Broyans men teleport away, Red Bat Down.

    So easy, even a Balazaring could do it.

    #16107
    Profile photo of Simon Phipp
    Simon Phipp
    Spectator

    Our River Voice PCs recently took out the Crimson Bat.

    Here’s how they did it.

    They let themselves be swallowed, used their Enter Void ability to travel safely into the Bat, then used other magical abilities to turn the Bat inside out and transport it to the Underworld, where they washed it in the Styx to drain the Bat of chaos and nailed it to Hell using an adamantine spike.

    Easy peasy.

    #16109
    Profile photo of Jonathan
    Jonathan
    Spectator

    Awesome stuff! Loved the in depth walk through!

    #16127
    Profile photo of Hannu Kokko
    Hannu Kokko
    Spectator

    Compel surrender special effect? Force Failure? Special effects might help here…

    #16132
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    Well, I was mostly working with a RQ3 example. Until Adventures in Glorantha comes out and we’ve got updated materials, there isn’t enough there to guess how it could be done in RQ6.

    With damage being so nerfed in RQ6, however, I doubt it could accurately handle Broyan killing the bat in the way I’ve described. The Might Folk Magic spell is tepid. Same for Bladesharp. Even Truesword is so castrated in RQ6 that it is good as worthless.

    You can’t compel the bat to surrender for two reasons: first, the conditions of having a tangible advantage does not exist. Two, that’s not historically correct. Broyan disabled the Bat and it fell from the sky. He didn’t capture it or make it surrender. I’m not considering how the game can handle the question How CAN we beat the Bat? I’m trying to show how the game can handle the question how DID Broyan kill the bat?

    I think there’s been a trend for 20 odd years that started with the misconception that Runequest 3 could not handle high level adventuring on the epic scale of the Hero Wars. Yet, one of the most epic battles of all was Broyan defeating the Crimson Bat and Runequest 3 made that so easy even a Balazaring could do it. The result of this mistaken mindset was the delay of the Hero Wars product for 20 years as well as the evolution of RQ3 into RQ6 which is frankly so nerfed it actually cannot handle the Hero Wars. it’s like they gave up and only printed a nerfed version of Runequest to satisfy the old timers instead of realizing the First Rule of Issaries: The customer is ALWAYS right.

    #16144
    Profile photo of Runeblogger
    Runeblogger
    Spectator

    I love that explanation on how Broyan disabled the Crimson Bat! XD
    I also think RQ6 has been nerfed a lot, and I am extremely curious to see what they have done with that in Adventures in Glorantha.
    Now, Pentallion, pleeeeeeease tell me how Harrek managed to kill the White Bear God!

    #16149
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    By the time Harrek slew the bear god, he’d already killed the Red Emperor. going on a heroquest and slaying a Bear God is impressive, but it’s not like slaying Orlanth, or Shargash, it’s just a bear god. The Red Emperor was probably a much tougher fight.

    And in the end the bear wears Harrek as much as he wears the Bear. So it may have been by mutual agreement.

    #16155
    Profile photo of Runeblogger
    Runeblogger
    Spectator

    My own theory is very similar to yours. I think that the Dart War satraps who sponsored Harrek so he could kill the Red Emperor must have given him powerful weapons specifically designed to kill a demigod, and they must have let him worship Humakt up to the point where Harrek perhaps mastered the Death rune. Then, after killing the Emperor and leaving Peloria behind, he must have thought: “I want to travel far and see the world, be a demigod myself”, and then came up with the idea of killing his own god and being his own god. Or, as you say, being one with his god and at the same time being able to take him in his voyages. He must have killed the Bear God with the powers he was given in order to kill the Emperor. But what powers are those? How much charged are his axe and kopis? And how high was the magical and mundane armour of the Red Emperor in RQ terms?

    #16188
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    Well,there are websites that have that stuff statted up, but they’re not official. The Crimson Bats RQ stats, however, are official. The spells I described on how Broyan could manage to kill the Bat are official. But we have nothing to go on when it comes to Harrek, the Red Emperor or the Bear demigod. I’m certain, however, that it wouldn’t require 20 years and a narrative rpg to do justice in answering any of these questions, RQ3 could handle it just fine.

    #16892
    Profile photo of Dissolv
    Dissolv
    Spectator

    I gave this post a lot of thought before replying.

    We did Glorantha back in the RQ2 days, with significant adventures coming after the shift to RQ3. The hard core realistic rules, particularly the combat, skills, and learning was an amazing juxtaposition with the almost mind-bogglingly mythic scale (somewhere above epic) of the setting. We loved it.
    ……

    But the published source material is very typically — you encounter a war/hunting party. Most of the group are fairly ordinary but there is normally one, sometimes two Rune level threats. It always seemed that to use the published material the players were almost forced to quickly ascend to Rune status themselves. Given time, we too wound up with a very high powered campaign with the players making direct, personal contributions to the Hero Wars.
    …..

    Nothing wrong with this, exactly, but it was at times tough to keep the players out of “too much” trouble, or to explain that not every group of Lunar soldiers had a Rune Lord with them. The power curve was all over the place, and the unevenness of it pushed the players to get better — and fast. And that normally culminated with characters with multiple uses of Shield 4, Truesword, Sever Spririt, bucketloads of stored PoW, and so on.
    ….

    After looking over RQ6, it is incredibly clear that a direct and easy path to all of this has been taken away. And honestly that’s a good thing imo. Want to fight one on one with Beastmen all day? Might want to look into some Heroquests, or get the fabled item of “red cloak of dodging” or such. The base RQ6 characters are actually a bit more powerful than the base RQ2 characters. Rune magic right off the bat, stored PoW from sacrifices right off the bat to power it–well once or twice anyway, and the incoming damage has been toned down so that it isn’t always “the Wyrm hits you on the arm for 1d6 claw damage + 10d6 strength bonus. Talk about making a mockery out of armor! When you combine that with skills over 100% it just got carried away far too quickly.
    ….

    But the RQ6 neophyte doesn’t face that. Even a troll enemy may only have 1d4 strength bonus with a d6 club. If the Troll has a PC-like skill of say 60% with cultural weapons, and not too much armor, and not too much magic, then it is a reasonable foe. I recently had 2 PC’s get dropped by a Troll just like that, so it isn’t a gimmie either.

    That opens up the chance for a more level gaming universe, in terms of power. You work your way up the ladder with skills, magic, and equipment. But not enough that it can’t trump role-playing power such as status in the tribe, allies that you can make, or glory from deeds won.

    You can’t take on the Crimson bat in RQ6. You simply can’t get the tools like you could in the 80’s. Well, not without the “go outside the rules” Heroquest style option.

    But this also, I like. If the players feel pressure to “power up” due to external threats on the horizon, then that’s the time they can give Heroquesting a go — and then get the rules-breaking power that puts them on the path to greatness in the Hero Wars. In the meantime though, you are free to have a nice base universe where Rune Priests are not common as their Initiate followers, and 130+ weapon skills are not trivially handed out to man and beast alike.

    So basically I think RQ6 gives the better run at the low and medium end of the power curve, the potential to jump up without finding every artifact in the Plunder book, and ultimately will require a Pendragon style solution to problems like Crimson Bat. But this is far preferable to me as a GM than a game universe that has mechanics that push the players into becoming mini-Harrek’s. That should be extraordinarily difficult to accomplish, even if allowed. It shouldn’t be simply the realization that one has 20+ Runespells of the right variety, full iron gear, and 200+ points of stored pow, so why the heck not beat up the bat. That’s my opinion, anyway. The game mechanics do make the higher end play a bit trickier it looks like — the players may have to resort to Arkati-like tactics…… 🙂

    Dissolv

    #16990
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    It shouldn’t be simply the realization that one has 20+ Runespells of the right variety, full iron gear, and 200+ points of stored pow,
    Did you not read my post? It was so simple even a Balazaring could do it. Figuring out HOW was the great genius of King Broyan. No 20+ runespells or 200 points stored power required.

    No, all the players have to do now is just take Bleed.

    That seems to be RQ6 in a nutshell. “1 pt damage got past your armor? I take Bleed for my combat effect. You lose.”


    Oh, and btw, it’s not the game systems fault if characters walk around with 200 pts stored power when the published material hands out power crystals like candy.

    But the published source material is very typically — you encounter a war/hunting party. Most of the group are fairly ordinary but there is normally one, sometimes two Rune level threats. It always seemed that to use the published material the players were almost forced to quickly ascend to Rune status themselves. Given time, we too wound up with a very high powered campaign with the players making direct, personal contributions to the Hero Wars.


    Your job as the GM is to balance the scenarios. Take the runelords out if they’re too powerful for your PCs. make them just as weak as the rest of the people you encountered. As the players get more powerful, start replacing the ordinary enemies with more runelord equivalent opponents. Or make the runelords more powerful.

    As for balance, that is also the GM’s responsibility. Characters cannot go up “too fast”. They can only go up as fast as the GM lets them. And the dice don’t always allow it either. So how fast the players go up isn’t in their power to control. Nor should the GM let it be. That is true with RQ2/RQ3 and still with RQ6.

    After looking over RQ6, it is incredibly clear that a direct and easy path to all of this has been taken away.

    Care to explain what this “direct and easy path” is? I’m betting it’s really just a GM letting the players control how often they roll to go up. Because the increase in skill mechanic has ONLY been altered to limit the number of rolls, while actually increasing in many cases the frequency. “roll to go up” in RQ3 is not the same thing as automatically going up. A lot of people act like the players somehow can just game the situation. “I climb a tree to see what’s up ahead. I get to mark my climb.” Well, noooo, actually, you don’t. The GM says if you get to mark your skills after a successful use.

    There is not a night of gaming in which I don’t say something like “you made your search but you don’t get to mark it.” and multiple times I’m asked “I made my “X”, can I mark it?” and many times the answer is no. There has to be skin in the game, if you catch my meaning, for a roll to qualify to be marked.

    Which renders pretty much your entire complaint untrue. You go up no faster in RQ3 than you would in RQ6. And if you do happen to, so what? It’s not like getting heroic is a BAD thing, although Greg and Co. sometimes act like it is.

    You can’t take on the Crimson bat in RQ6.


    And therein lies the problem. As I said in another thread, they didn’t promise the Gardener Wars, the Tula Wars, the Glorious Storyteller Wars or the Low Level Adventurer Wars. They promised the HERO WARS.

    After three decades, they need to deliver.

    #17004
    Profile photo of Hannu Kokko
    Hannu Kokko
    Spectator

    “That seems to be RQ6 in a nutshell. “1 pt damage got past your armor? I take Bleed for my combat effect. You lose.”

    It requires opposed roll of “Endurance” against the original attack roll. So there is hope for the defender. With Bat the endurance is 2000+ so it is unlikely to fail – possible but unlikely.

    For others it means that make sure your Endurance is great as well and use the time you have left well.
    Use Heal (as it will stop all bleeding)

    If you fail and cannot heal for many it means that assure your lines of communication are open, turn towards them and advance at maximum speed throwing cannon fodder and decoys while retreating… Outmanoeuvre, overextend/trip/compel surrender – use of retreat spells (mobility, darkness etc), use of spirits to counterattack the attacker and prevent him from attacking. Good tactician makes sure that the group is not cut off or vulnerable to pursuit as much as possible. Sometimes you might want to have a rearguard sacrificing themselves to hold the enemy while the key people even if badly wounded escape.

    If the defender cannot retreat then you need to vanquish your opponent in 4th round.

    Depending on the original fatigue state it will take first to winded = 2nd round – you get the hard penalty – not too bad.

    3rd round = Tired -> hard penalty and movement minus

    4th round it starts to hurt = Wearied -> Formidable (by half) this starts to hurt a bit depending on the skill level and slows you down in strike rank etc

    5th round Exhausted -> skills by half, take away one action point (this is bad), strike rank is down as well plus movement

    6th round Debilitated -> skills to one tenths. Take away two action points = really bad.

    7th round Incapacitated – the opponent is pretty much out as action points are down by three…

    So up to and including the 5th the attacker still needs to survive.

    With Crimson Bat on the 4th and fifth the bat still has 184% chance to hit with 15d12+6d10. Most opponents are likely to be demoralised from the chaos shriek (212 willpower vs Endurance). According to some stats it cannot be surprised and it is immune to magic… Bat only has 85 armour and 240+ hit points per location. I guess bat would like to drop the opponents or do something nasty to them – Bat is also rarely alone… Bat is very hard and might require luck/bad luck also to destroy

    RQ6 – so many opportunities and angles… Let the discussion continue…

    #17007
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    I wasn’t referring to bleeding the bat. I was just responding to the previous posters last points. In fact, the whole Bleed mechanic should be available only on crits IMO. By it’s very definition it represents the severing of a major artery. And that is by its very definition, a critical hit. So I would change RQ6 to make Bleed only available on critical hits. That would change a lot of weapons, but it is necessary IMO.

    #17009
    Profile photo of Hannu Kokko
    Hannu Kokko
    Spectator

    By all means have a house rule for that if you think it is necessary.

    The bleeding is easily countered with folk magic Heal or it encourages you into other strategies like mentioned in my post above which I think is a good thing as it means that fights will end sooner rather than later.

    #17019
    Profile photo of Pentallion
    Pentallion
    Spectator

    I think variety is important. I think most people are attracted to RQ and Glorantha because of the varieties of roles they can play and the freedom to evolve their characters in any way they desire.

    Which is why forcing every character to carry a Heal Folk magic spell is not really acceptable. Yet it’s mandatory if Bleed is a combat maneuver you can take even if only one point damage gets through. If Bleed had a minimum damage requirement, I’d not be so against it. But we’ve found that the one point damage is enough requirement to be a major exploitation point in the entire mechanic.

    Bear in mind, Bleed is cumulative. So multiple bleeds really increases the clock. Also, heal takes an AP. so now you have one less parry. Which leads to more bleeding, which counters the whole heal action spent in the first place. And still your skills are decreasing. And all my party has to do is get one point of damage through to their opponents and they’ve started this whole vicious cycle. Now sometimes other combat maneuvers make more sense, but 90% of the time, Bleed ’em all and let Orlanth sort ’em out is the best strategy.

    If I could post gifs on here (or knew how), I’d post a gif of one point of damage in a sword and sorcery setting (the guy from Princes Bride gets his cheek nicked) and a gif showing one point of damage in RQ6 as written (Pugsly chops off Tuesdays arm on the stage, blood sprays all over the audience “A most powerfable hit!”)

    That and the current version of the rules you can’t simulate things that are known to have happened in the games setting (such as kill the Crimson Bat). Now granted, when the new version of RQ comes out, that may be solved and that would be great. I just don’t see any impetus in that direction. The game seems to be going in another direction entirely.

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