Forum Replies Created
April 24, 2015 at 12:10 am #15543
That’s a good point. I had a player actually give up on HQ after one session because he expect a fight to be an Extended contest and I treated it as a Simple contest. Granted, that was an extreme reaction, but it made me aware of that problem. So I like the idea of letting a player have a voice in this.April 24, 2015 at 12:08 am #15542
Thanks for confirming that suspicion.
So what produces silver? There don’t seem to be enough moon-affiliated things to justify its prevalence until a LOT of moon people were killed in the Godtime.April 23, 2015 at 4:47 pm #15528
In my experience, the biggest issues tend to come with the combat moments. Because HQ treats combat very differently from RQ, you may occasionally have to expend some ingenuity to figure out how to get the same degree of interest from a scene. All combats in RQ are run the same way, whereas combats in HQ are run differently depending on how narratively important they are.
Example: In the River of Cradles scenario, the first fight comes when the River Folk ask the heroes to fight a group of mudsharks that have been killing people. In RQ, the fight itself is inherently a moment of interest and focus because the fight will probably take 15-20 minutes of players rolling dice, casting spells, and so on. In HQ, a simple fight is over with one die roll, and even an extended contest is over in 5-6 rolls. So it’s necessary for you as the GM to think about how to make this particular fight seem dramatic and interesting to the players. My solution was the emphasize the tension of navigating the mudshark lair–what was around each corner? who was holding the torch so they could see? Was there another mudshark waiting to come in during the fight? What was that strange globe they found buried in the mud? In other words, in converting from RQ, you need to think about the narrative function of each combat the scenario expects and how to keep those scenes interesting and distinct from each other.
You also have to allow for the possibility that a fight will be replaced with a social contest. That’s not generally an option in RQ scenarios; the players usually want to fight, and they all have fighting abilities (even Chalanans have some use in a fight as support, casting their Sleep spell, etc), but in HQ, you can easily have PCs who virtually no combat abilities at all.
Example: I have twice run the Thanos’ Treasure scenario from the Scrolls of Wisdom Con booklet. In that scenario, a Babeester Gor priestess persuades King Thanos’ daughter to run away from home and undergo a BG initiation instead of an Ernaldan initiation. The PCs put the clues together, track the missing girl to an abandoned BG shrine, and intervene just before the girl has to make a decision. She’s reluctant to commit the killing that is necessary for her initiation. The scenario as it is written expects that the issue will be resolved through combat; the PCs will have to fight the priestess and her warriors, and how they handle the conflict will ultimately influence the girl’s religious destiny. But both times I’ve run the scenario in HQ, the PCs used non-combat abilities to address the conflict. In one session, an Elmali who had a Tells Hard Truths ability confronted the priestess, saying, “if you force her to kill that man, you will be as bad as the men you hate so much.” He scored a Complete Success and so the priestess admitted her error and allowed them to take the girl away. In the other scenario, an Ernaldan decided to go into the shrine alone because they knew it was hostile to men. She used her Earth rune to manifest Ernalda and told the girl there was another way to deal with her unhappiness. It turned into an Extended Contest between her and the priestess to see who could win the girl’s heart. The Ernaldan won and the girl left with her. In both cases I was really pleased, because it showed that the players were really thinking about how to address a conflict in a way that created interesting storytelling, and not just doing combat because that was what they expected to do.
So as you’re converting a scenario, try to avoid the assumption, “Ok, the PCs have a fight now because there are a couple of guards protecting the tower.” Approach it more as “Ok, the PCs now encounter a problem. How do they get into the tower? Here are a couple possible ways they might solve it. Option 1: they have a Simple Contest fight, because this isn’t a very important moment. Option 2: The sorcerer might use his Darkness Covers All spell to help them sneak past. Option 3: the Eurmali might lie their way past the guard.” Figure out what the possible complications and ramifications of each option are. And then, players being players, expect they will probably come up with Option 4.
A third issue is that RQ scenarios require a consistent application of the game mechanics. If the PCs have to make a Jump roll to across a gorge to get to the treasure, logically they have to make another Jump roll to get back. But in HQ, the PCs only make rolls when something is narratively interesting. Jumping across the gorge to get the treasure is interesting. But jumping across the gorge to get back isn’t; it’s anticlimactic because they’ve already been there and done that. So either skip the second Jump roll and just tell them “Ok. you found the narrowest point when you first jumped, so it’s really easy to jump back” or lower the difficulty so it’s only a minor obstacle. Or, find a reason to make that second Jump roll more dramatic. “When you picked up the golden idol, that caused a boulder to start rolling behind you. Now that Jump is going to be Hard difficulty, because you don’t have time to prepare.”
In other words, focus on running the scenario as if it were a movie script. Only demand fighting when a fight would actually be interesting for the plot
Some players have trouble with the flexible nature of the HQ system if they’re used to Runequest or other more mechanics-driven systems. A while ago I decided to convert an established RQ game set in a Praxian clan into a HQ game. One player was extremely reluctant because she wanted to convert all her spells directly into HQ spells, and was confused about why she had to take taboos (they were becoming spirit charms). That really disrupted her sense of who her character was and what she could do. I was really surprised by that, because the player was normally really disinterested in rules, and had thought she would love the looser, more story-focused nature of the system. Another player, a long-time Glorantha fan, was totally willing to convert his character but then got really unhappy in the first scenario. They encountered a older Storm Bull who was a washed-up drunk; a chaos-worshipper in his clan had intentionally given him free booze as a way to ruin him so he wouldn’t be able to rally the clan against him. The same chaos-worshipper engineered a fight between the PC and the drunk Storm Bull, to get him killed. The Player was expecting a big dramatic fight, and got REALLY mad when I ran it as a Simple contest. I chose a Simple contest because I wanted the combat over quickly so we could get into the scenario and eventually the PCs would start getting the clues that they had killed an innocent man, but the Player didn’t know that at the moment and he essentially derailed the game by complaining about how poorly HQ managed combat. He dropped out of the campaign as a result. When I told him months later what was actually going on in that fight, he was really embarrassed about how much he had over-reacted. My personal experience is that players who really enjoy 80s-style dungeon crawling or other very mechanical activity will often HATE HQ because it violates their expectations of how System relates to Story.April 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm #15031
Both good suggestions. Thanks!November 20, 2014 at 5:08 am #11635
Are you sure? Quoting from David Scott’s summary of what is changing in HQ-G: “Narrator becomes Games Master”
Obviously, it’s no big issue at all. Just a pet peeve of mine, that’s all.November 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm #11561
Thanks for the update on HQ-G. Is there any word about a release date?
And as a minor question, when did ‘Games Master’ replace ‘Game Master’ as gaming lingo? As an old-school gamer (since about 1975 or so), I have to say that I hate the phrase ‘Games Master” with an irrational passion. To me it implies that one person is always going to do the GMing, since he’s in charge of multiple games, not just the current one. I don’t know why this irks me so badly, but it does.October 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm #11376
David, thanks for the thoughts on this. But if any magic can affect them, doesn’t that seriously reduce their threat. Almost everyone has magic in HQ, so if any kind of magic works, then they’re not particularly scary.September 12, 2014 at 12:23 am #10856
I know! The suspense is killing me.August 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm #10513
Wow, that reading of the ritual makes it extremely powerful. Thanks!August 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm #10428
Ok, thanks! It’s too bad it’s delayed, but the GtG is an excellent reason.August 14, 2014 at 3:46 am #10421
Has there been any update about when Heroquest Glorantha will be released?August 12, 2014 at 10:49 pm #10400
Another question: how does spirit magic work vs divine magic in a test (for example, an Orlanthi fighting a Praxian shaman)? The scenario Ghosts of the Ridge (S:Koh) seems to suggest that it is difficult for divine magic to resist spirit magic (it comments that if the ghosts attack, there are few appropriate for resisting them), but nothing really spells this out. I’m just wondering if there are rules I’ve missed somewhere.August 5, 2014 at 2:04 am #10284
In Germanic society, the dynamic of feud tends to follow a standard pattern, at least in the literature. It starts with something small, perhaps an accidental injury, an insult, or some matter that cannot simply be forgiven (forgiving a slight makes the target look weak and unmanly and invites further aggression). The victim seeks to balance the injury (which may be injury to his honor, property, kin-group, or body) by inflicting a reciprocal injury on the person who inflicted the injury or on another member of his kin-group). In theory, an equal injury was all that was allowed, but in practice, the retaliator wants to up the score slightly to intimidate the original instigator. So if Lars insulted Frith, Frith will want to injure Lars. But doing this now gives Lars the right to retaliate and up the score, so Lars ambushes Frith’s brother and kills him. Then Frith gathers a group of supporters and raids Lars’ stead; they kill two men and steal livestock and piss in the well. Each side continues upping the stakes until one of three things happens; 1) an outside force (like the tribal king) intervenes to resolve the dispute, 2) one whole family has been killed, or 3) one side agrees to pay compensation for the injuries to resolve the feud (this last solution tends to work only temporarily; a few years or a generation later, someone starts the feud up as a way to avenge the family’s honor).
Feuding was a recognized, legal, and permissible activity. It is disruptive to the clan, so there is pressure from the chieftain to resolve the feud, and the Chalanans are always trying to oppose feuding, but no one can make you do anything, so if Frith is determined to pursue the feud, he has that right. However, as tempers flare, there is a good chance that someone will do something outrageous (kill a woman or child, desecrate a holy place, burn down a stead, get support from Lunars or Chaos, accidentally or intentionally kill kin, etc). At that point, outrage will either force the clan to stop the feud or force the clan to take drastic action to avenge the outrage.
So in a campaign there are two easy ways to work a feud into the story. The first option is to have a relative of a PC come to him/her and explain that some sort of injury has been done to him. (“I was looking for a lost sheep, and when I found it, the Hengistssons claimed it was theirs. They attacked me and broke my arm and kept the sheep. I need your help to recover the sheep and show them that they can’t push us around.”) If the PCs refuse, he shames them and finds another relative who will help. If the PCs help him, make sure that combat breaks out, so even if the PCs only retrieve the lost sheep, the other side has more serious grievances to drive them to continue the feud.
The other option is to set up a couple pre-existing feuds in the clan’s history. The Orlmarth and the Greydogs have feuded for generations. The Greydogs are still angry about how an Orlmarth chieftain burned the Greydog Inn a generation ago, and they really want to recover their chieftain’s sword, which hangs in the Orlmarth clan hall. Things have been quiet for a decade, but whenever you want, the Greydogs can renew the feud. Or the PCs can be taunted by someone (a Eurmali, an old woman or a Greydog) into renewing the feud. Maybe on Ancestors’ Day, the PC’s dead father appears and shames her for not avenging his death years ago.
The suggestion to read Njal’s Saga is an excellent one. Or read one of the other sagas, such as Laxdaela Saga or Hranfkel’s Saga; almost all of them deal with feud in some fashion, and they can provide excellent color for a campaign.July 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm #8586
Part of what I’m reacting to is a passage in Arcane Lore (p. 23) where Greg says that Heroquests have five stages, the third of which is the Journey. That seems to mean that all hero quests have a journey component, which got me thinking about Campbell and the other things I mentioned in my original post. Now, obviously, Arcane Lore was a decade ago and lots of things have changed since then, and the text is not even complete. So I’m don’t want to overemphasize the point. But every published hero quest I can think of involves a journey, including the three female ones in KoDP. Perhaps people can remind me of some I’ve forgotten. I think it would just be helpful to have some quests that don’t emphasize journeys, since broadly-speaking that seems to be more of a male-centric form of personal transformation and spiritual growth.June 30, 2014 at 1:14 am #8295
So I have a different question about Heroquesting. When heroquesters are doing a God’s World quest, they disappear from the mortal world, whereas when they are doing a This World quest, they don’t. So let’s say that Hrolf is doing the Orlanth and Aroka hero quest as This World quest. Hrolf’s perceptions change and he sees the world as Orlanth did during that myth, and when he meets the bandits who are playing Gagarth, he sees them as Gagarth and his followers. Presumably the bandits see Hrolf as Orlanth who suddenly appeared during some ritual they are doing.
But what does everyone else see? Do they see Hrolf start the quest, and then just walk away from the place where the ritual began? Can they follow him as he walks off over the hills and runs into a group of bandits? Can they jump into the fight and help him by killing some of the bandits to make the fight easier? If they did that, would that somehow suck them into the myth? Obviously if the audience is playing a support role by praying and sacrificing, following the quester is out of the question, but what if Henrik just stumbles across the sacred grove where the quest starts, and is therefore not a supporter of the quest? Can he follow along to see an interesting show?