02 August 2018

20 July 2018

Worlds United

The Design Mechanism, publishers of Mythras (formerly known as RuneQuest 6th edition), have announced a new source book for H2 2018, whose title is Worlds United, and that will enable you to play 50s Pulp SF planetary romance adventures.

The book should contain approximately 128 pages. I have no further details at the moment, as there isn't anything about Worlds United on TDM's web-site or on their forum.

The funny thing (well at least for me) is that the announcement has been simultaneous with my re-reading my fabulous Flash Gordon hardcovers by Titan Books. The books feature the admirably restored full-colour Sunday strips by Alex Raymond, which are incredibly evocative of the marvellous atmosphere of Flash Gordon's adventures on the mysterious planet Mongo, with its many villains, astonishingly beautiful queens and princesses, and monstrous creatures!

15 July 2018

Glorantha Bestiary Announcement

I guess most of my readers already know about this, but just in case I am reproducing the announcement about the upcoming Glorantha Bestiary for the last edition of Chaosium's RuneQuest.

Of course, 20 July 2018 is the release date of the PDF; the dead tree version will be available 3 to 4 months later (i.e., by November 2018).

And here is the contents page of the Bestiary to further tease you:

Note: the Bestiary will also contain all the character generation rules for the Elder Races, as well as their main cults; but no family genealogies.

22 June 2018

Gods War - The Final Rulebook

I have already mentioned the Gods War boardgame on this blog, since it has prominently featured at THE KRAKEN gaming retreat during all the stages of its creation and its playtest. Glorantha: The Gods War (full title) is a large, intense boardgame similar to Cthulhu Wars (but much better in my opinion) that pits the major factions of Glorantha against each other at the time of the, er, Gods War† — hence its name. The game was successfully kickstarted but, alas, I did not participate because I don't know where I'd store the huge box and its many expansions. It appears that some Texan people do not realise what the average size of a Parisian flat is. And I do not have a cellar. Anyway, Sandy Petersen has just announced that the final version of the Gods War rulebook was available (from here).

Even if you are not interested in overly-sized boardgames please do download it, if only for the incredibly evocative art, and for the scores of ideas that will inevitably pop up in your mind whilst reading it.

†For a description of the events of the Gods War and of the destructions it has wrought, please refer to the Guide to Glorantha, p116-117 and p684-693.

15 June 2018

An Excerpt from our Ongoing RQ:G Campaign

I have a RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha campaign set in Chern Durel and northern Kralorela that has been going on for about a year (since the time we received the RQ:G playtest pack).

Last Wednesday's session was so good one of the players (Hervé) wrote it down to share it with anyone curious about our RQ:G game. Warning: this is a GONZO game, YGWV.

in Tzu Ling

Chern Durel Campaign - Session 12GM: Gianni. 3 players: Patrick (Xu), Teva (Skull Sucker), Hervé (Kro Tal). 4-hour game

After escaping from the Slug-Men’s prison, Xu and Kro Tal go to the Black Sun Temple in the Ignorant Quarter of Tzu Ling. It is still Sacred Time and they pray to regain all used Rune Points (success). They also convince some of the younger priests to send them to the Other Side again, to establish contact with Blackstone, the God [GM: more like a Demi-God] who killed a Dragon long ago; they want to learn its secrets to help Ignorance fight against the Kralori dragon-lovers.
They are led into the Temple’s inner sanctum and wreathed in Basko’s black flames. The roof disappears, and a black sky appears, with the Black Sun in its full glory. It opens its maw and swallows both characters. Inside its mouth, they see its teeth change into stalagmites. They realise they are back to the entrance of Blackstone’s Temple of Bones, which they visited in their dreams a short while ago.

Inside the Temple of Bones, they invoke Blackstone with the sacrifice of a Kralori portrait of their Dragon Emperor Godunya, which they tear and spit upon. (Worship Blackstone 5% + sacred time /major temple / sacrifice bonuses). It is a success and “somewhere, a dragon whines” because of the outrage we commit upon Godunya’s effigy. Yet Blackstone is not to be found. It is Not Here. By focusing deeper and further, Kro Tal feels a great pain in the chest (loss of 1 HP) and realises Blackstone’s Heart is gone.
Using Spirit Travel (despite not being shamans, with the huge lingering bonuses), they set after the Heart, following its cold trail. On the way, they stumble upon the prone form of Skull Sucker, an Uzko warrior of Zorak Zoran with whom they have already co-operated in the Dream World (he has been dispatched there to fight the returning God Learners). He says Blackstone called him for help in his dreams; he came and fought off Kurix the God Learner lich, the eponymous master of the city of Kurix in the Dream World. It seems that the sorcerer’s magics got the better of him.

Further along the way, to their distress, they find a pool of the dark godling’s Blood and drink from it, also filling their water-skins with it. The Blood aids them to track the Heart and even gives some energy (Magic Points) back to Skull Sucker. They are then attacked by an earth demon rushing under the ground and trying to trap them in a pit it opens under their feet, but they jump or climb their way to safety. Upon entering a large cave, they must fight off a pack of Kralori zombies which they pulp. But the earth demon returns and swallows Xu, crushing the life out of him (12 point damage to ALL hit locations, enough to kill him outright despite 5-point armour and a 4-point Protection spell). It immediately rushes away.

Both Kro Tal and Skull Sucker rush to his aid and call upon their Gods with Heal Wound rune magic spells, barely bringing Xu back to life at the cost of their whole psychic energy (2 or 3 Magic Points left at this stage). By limping around to find a safe spot to recover, they realise the earth demon always follows the same “track” and pass its end.

After having somewhat recovered in the Darkness (both Xu and Skull Sucker have Darksense, and by now Kro Tal is developing something like it too), they notice the cave tapering at its end, with a chasm in the wall leading further ahead. Skull Sucker goes to investigate by Sneaking and Hiding and fails. He is speared by two light crossbow bolts and dies (one crit and one impale, both legs crippled). The mad race against death starts again but this time Kro Tal uses his False Healing spell, allowing Skull Sucker to limp back to safety and to call again on Zorak Zoran to heal his wounds. Some First Aid is also applied, but by then all characters are down to 1 MP each†.

They retreat in a side tunnel and after a long exhausting march (roll of CON×5 to press ahead), find themselves back among the Green Dragon’s bones, the one which Blackstone smothered and petrified! They decide it is a safe place to sleep or Meditate (Xu recovers about 10 extra MPs in 8 hours’ Meditation), but the place’s magics begin altering their Runes after a few hours, augmenting Disorder and Life. Both Skull Sucker and Kro Tal are Death worshippers and they leave the place, yet noting they now know a way out: the Dragon’s resting place leads to the ziggurat connected to the bottom of Tzu Ling’s cesspit, a way they went through before.

This time they call on Subere’s and on the Black Sun’s powers and use Dark Walk to approach the chasm and kill the crossbowmen, which turn out to be trollkin wearing the same colours as the servants of their Slug-Man captor! Pressing ahead, they find Blackstone’s Heart, levitating above ground, wrapped in many ropes and pulled by fifteen trollkin led by a Slug-Man. While Skull Sucker mows down the trollkin, Xu casts Attack Soul on the Slug-Man and keeps him too busy to notice Kro Tal jumping on the Heart, then close to him, then punching his skull off. The remaining trollkin scatter. Victory belongs to the characters, who immediately try to commune with Blackstone.
What they learn is… surprising.
Blackstone, whom we thought was bound by the Slug-Men and eager to break free and ravage the Kralori city, is actually happy with the current state of things, growing fat on the sacrifices his servants and clergy, the Slug-Men, siphon off the Kralori! He says this is in continuity with his battle against the Dragon and does not want the status quo to change. He also says the trollkin were pulling back his Heart to its rightful place, among the dragon bones where the characters slept! He explains a sorcerer called Kurix and his warriors had surprised him and beaten off his guards before he could chase him off, rescued by his Slug-Men worshippers.

After much doubt from Kro Tal, all three characters initiate to Blackstone, learning his special spell‡. The God marks them for recognition and acceptance from his Slug-Men servants. The dark godling reveals that his power over dragonkind could be given to them if they re-open his old and forgotten temple in Karaköse, the City of the Dead, many “li” to the west of Tzu Ling. For this, they would need his sacred book, which is now held by the sorcerer Kurix. Kurix seems stranded here, in this Dark Place, and most of his soldiers have been killed or wounded. They have taken refuge in a nearby Ziggurat.
The characters set off to hunt the Sacred Book, unsure whether they will kill Kurix or try to ally with him against their mutual enemy, Sturm Martex the talking head, dread sorcerer from Orathorn.

†upon reflection, this save should not have worked. A character at 0 general HP or below dies at the end of the melee round in which he was hit. But we did not remove the impaling bolts from Skull-Sucker’s legs, which should have been necessary BEFORE healing him. Yet this rule was forgotten by everybody, GM included; too many years of HeroQuest have made us less regarding of rules. 

‡it was decided on the spot that Blackstone’s Runes were Darkness and Stasis, and that a special, stackable spell would be designed, something like Coils (from the Book of Drastic Resolutions volume  Darkness) or Suppress Lodril, but working against Dragons and dragon-kin, including anyone with at least 1% in Draconic Mysticism, i.e. any Kralori.

03 June 2018

News from UK Games Expo 2018

Alas, I was not able to attend this British con, but there was a Chaosium panel and Ian Cooper (HQ line editor) tweeted about it. Since it contains a lot of HeroQuest-related information that had only vaguely been hinted at during Chimériades and the Eternal Con, I thought it would be of interest to my readers if I copied Ian Cooper's tweets here:

Chaosium will be delivering an SRD of the HeroQuest engine, licensed under the OGL. We want you to use this engine for your own genre packs and games.

We'll keep the HeroQuest brand for Glorantha and the SRD will have a new name, as we think the brand makes more sense as a Gloranthan name than a generic system.

We are going to release some new genre packs for the game (ways to play a given genre). Ron Edwards is working on cosmic superheroes for us, we have discussions about a pulp setting, we will probably do a SF one, and touch something a little more left-field.

We want to show what the engine can do.

We will continue to tackle Glorantha. In Dragon Pass we will focus on 1625— to distinguish from the RQG 1625+ period. We want to cover the Dragonrise and how your players can lead that great event, the key to the liberation of Sartar.

And we are going to tackle Fonrit. We think it is an ideal Sword & Soul setting, presentable with all Glorantha's richness bit will no publication history before now, a great opportunity for folks to get in on the ground floor of a Gloranthan setting.

27 May 2018

Back from the Eternal Con 2018

Yet another great convention. This one was a mere fortnight after Chimériades, resulting in a very weird 'embarrassment of riches' situation. I wish cons were regularly interspersed throughout the year...

the pathway to Burg Stahleck

As always we were welcome at beautiful castle-turned-youth hostel Burg Stahleck and given our room numbers. I ended up in the notorious snoratorium but since I had wisely added earplugs to my luggage everything went perfectly well.

Burg Stahleck - the Tower

I have already mentioned that the Eternal Con was a very family-friendly con, with many families with kids attending; I think this is the year when we saw most kids... If you have never been to a gaming con and have a family— honestly, this is the con to be!

the view from the castle

FRIDAY 18 MAY, 19:00, Grand Opening Ceremony

This year Franziska presented us the schedule and the activities under the form of a choose your own adventure book. As a long-time T&T fan, I really liked the idea!

FRIDAY 18 MAY, 21:00, Chaosium Panel

I won't bore you with the general RuneQuest stuff because (a) it was pretty much the same Jeff had already talked about at Chimériades, and (b) there was a dedicated RQ panel on Sunday (q.v.). As a result, I will focus on the non-RQ news that struck me as interesting.
First of all, we shall witness the return of two old favourites: the Credo card game, and the Nephilim role-playing game. The new edition of Credo is pretty advanced, whereas the new Nephilim is still under development.
There will also be a new edition of HeroQuest that will be non-Gloranthan in content so as to enable third-party publishers to publish games using the HQ engine.
As for Wyrms Footnotes, there should be a new issue soon (?) for some of the stuff that won’t get into the new RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (RQG) books.

SATURDAY 19 MAY, Morning

I just spent the morning relaxing with friends— after all these years, and with pretty much the same people attending, the Eternal Con has really become a gathering of friends!

relaxing with friends

Then I prepared the pregen PCs for my afternoon game (see below).

busy busy
SATURDAY 19 MAY, Afternoon

This was quite interesting. I have been running an RQG campaign set in Eastern Genertela in Paris as one of the playtesting groups for about a year, and two of my Parisian players were also attending the con. So I ran a one-shot RQG adventure that I also managed to include in the overall story arc of my RQG campaign game. That showcased to the new players (4 of them) how deeply intertwined with Glorantha the new rules were.

weird artefacts at the castle

SATURDAY 19 MAY, Evening

Played Massive Darkness, an incredibly daft miniature boardgame: open door, kill monster, take treasure... Jesus, are we still playing this in 2018??? The cool thing, however, is that the material is fantastic, and the miniatures quite evocative. Alas we got killed at about 3/4ths of completing our Quest.

SUNDAY 20 MAY, Morning

Played Maria, an AWESOME three-player wargame by Histogame about the War of the Austrian Succession. I was playing Maria Theresa and had to face two enemies on two different fronts: the annoying Louis XV of France on the Western front, and the sly Frederick II of Prussia on the Northeastern front. Louis XV was trying to prevent my husband Whatsisname to become Holy Roman Emperor whilst Frederick II was quietly stealing large swathes of land from my northernmost estates. The first extraordinary idea of the game is that the same player who plays my enemy Frederick II on the Northeastern front plays my ally George II on the Western front, which led to... interesting developments. The second extraordinary idea of the game is that everything (battle results, diplomatic achievements, purchase of supply trains and/or reinforcement troops for the armies...) is fuelled by the use of cards so you're always hesitating as to how you should use them (obviously you never have enough of them) and, as we all know, a good game is about difficult choices.
And in the end I got to crush Louis XV and to slightly come ahead of Frederick II, so I was elated.

the perfidious Franco-Bavarian attack

in dire straits — luckily I managed to keep a cold head

make Alsace deutschsprachig again!

the political board

SUNDAY 20 MAY, Afternoon

I got to play Illuminati for the first time in my life— can you believe that, the game has been around since 1982! I was playing the Servants of Cthulhu (whose aim is to destroy cards rather than to control them) but I think I exaggerated on the 'not controlling any groups' side and as a result I was always cash-strapped. Anyway, a good starting impression of this classic game.

my game (with four destroyed cards)

the winner's game

Then I played an old favourite of mine, Nations the Dice Game, a very fast game of civilisation-building with a pleasant 'rolling dice' aspect (we gamers do love dice).

SUNDAY 20 MAY, Early Evening

The sad, sad Closing Ceremony. I want to let you know that next year is the 10th Eternal Con and the 30-year jubilee of the cons in Bacharach, so there should be some special events. Be sure to attend!

SUNDAY 20 MAY, Late Evening

The dedicated RQG panel. Here are a few news on top of the ones I've already mentioned in my Chimériades blog post. The triptych books should be available in hard format by Christmas 2018.
We had looooots of discussions about art, in the core book as well as in the future books. Jeff wants all of the future RQG books to look as good as the core book; e.g., Gods of Glorantha is fully written but work on art hasn’t started yet. And it’s going to take time because it will be good.

another RQG-playing table

supplies for the late-night singalong

the songbook of the singalong

definitely not Volvic water

excerpt from the singalong book

all the beautiful pics are by Heinrich Helms — all the ugly ones by yours truly