15 December 2015

Hit Location Tables and Their Evolution

Note: I will restrict my post below to humanoid hit locations, which are anyway the ones I use most when I'm refereeing RuneQuest, as my favourite “monsters” are human opponents. I also believe humanoid hit locations are the ones that have been modified most in the various incarnations of RuneQuest and of the Basic Role-Playing System.

RuneQuest 2 had a simple universal hit locations table, which was applied to a humanoid target irrespective of whether the attack was via a mêlée weapon, a missile, or a spell. The table is the one in the first column (Mêlée) in the illustration at the bottom of this blog post. There were a few modifiers to be taken into account if the attacker was on horseback or riding a high llama (one of the bizarre riding animals used by the Praxian animal nomads).

RuneQuest 3 kept the same table as RuneQuest 2 whilst restricting its use to mêlée combat and adding a second, slightly different, table for the results of missile combat — which made perfect sense. Please refer to the tables in the first two columns (Mêlée and Missile) in the illustration at the bottom of this blog post.

The Basic Role-Playing System “Big Gold Book” (BGB) used the same exact tables as RuneQuest 3.

RuneQuest 6 has introduced a slightly different table, which is supposed to replace both the Mêlée and the Missile tables from RQ3 and the BGB; please refer to the table in the third column (Unified) in the illustration at the bottom of this blog post.

Personally, and in contrast to the latest outcries about Chaosium splitting the RQ fanbase again with yet another version of the RQ rules, I find the various incarnations of the rules sufficiently similar that I can use them interchangeably; e.g., I have recently run my RQ6 Swenstown scenario twice, and I've used the RQ2 hit locations both times... only realising whilst re-reading the various rules sets to write this blog post that they were actually different!

Anyway, my suggestion is to use a mix of the RQ2/3 and RQ6 hit location tables as follows: the first column for mêlée combat, the second column for missile combat, and the third column in all other cases (e.g., falls, spells) or if you only want to use a single hit location table.

Also please remember that a combatant in a superior position adds +1 to the D20 roll for hit locations.

10 December 2015

Gloranthan News from Dragonmeet 2015

Dragonmeet is an annual British tabletop gaming convention that takes place in early December in London. It is one of the largest UK conventions and it is attended by many professionals and famous guests.

Unfortunately, I have never been able to attend, as London has become ridiculously expensive. Anyway, after the two German conventions (Eternal Con and The Kraken) and the Chimériades in France, it's certainly the most important convention for European fans of the world of Glorantha, so I'm sure I'll make the extra effort one day.

Moon Design/Chaosium have made quite a number of announcements at Dragonmeet regarding the future of the world of Glorantha and of the Chaosium role-playing games, which have put in turmoil the various forums and G+ communities of the Gloranthan aficionados so, even though I was not present, I have decided to copy a post by Steve from BRP Central for the benefit of the readers of this bog. Aren't I nice.

  • The RuneQuest 2 re-issue (via the Kickstarter) is progressing well, and the rulebook itself is ready. Jeff held up a softback "test" copy printed via Lulu.com.
  • A European fulfilment centre is being set up and will start from February 2016, including the HeroQuest: Glorantha rulebook.
  • Prince of Sartar - a colourist has already been brought on board, despite this being a later Patreon goal. The next chapter is New Pavis, then the following chapter will be the classic Cradle scenario. The Patreon campaign means that Prince of Sartar can continue; before this there were problems given that this isn't a product being sold, it's a free web comic. There will be a monthly Google hangout with Jeff and Kalin for backers.
  • The Glorantha sourcebook (for 13th Age, but rules-free) is waiting on the final 13th Age in Glorantha manuscript so that Jeff can finish it off. Art is being commissioned now.
  • The Coming Storm - this advances the timeline from 1618 to 1625. Apparently Greg has joked that "it only took 40 years" to advance these seven years! The first book is the setting, the second is the campaign. It is planned that all the major NPCs will be depicted in art in the books, and many examples of this (great!) artwork were handed round, plus several maps.
  • The Gods War boardgame, by Sandy Petersen, is on course for a Kickstarter in 2016.
  • The “new” RuneQuest will be later in 2016.
  • Trollpak (the new three-volume version, not to be confused with the reprint stretch goal in the RQ2 Kickstarter) is at the stage of commissioning art.
  • The Guide to Glorantha will be reprinted in 2016, in the same format as before. It won't be in general distribution though.
  • The RQ2 reprint might be in stores, or it might not. This is being looked into.
  • Sandy Petersen is very involved in the “new” RuneQuest.
  • Jeff's very brief comments on what the “new” RuneQuest will be have been reported (and mis-reported) elsewhere [e.g., here], and are better explained in Jeff's forum posts on the RQ forum and in the Chaosium press release.
  • The Reiner Knizia Gloranthan board game that was previously announced by Chaosium was referred to by Jeff as "Khan of Khans". It's set in Prax, and a key theme seems to be stealing stuff from other players.
  • Jeff announced that in late 2016 there will be a Kickstarter for a "re-modelled" Dragon Pass board game. This is being totally revamped by Chris Klug, it's not just a reprint. Basic KS goals will include cardboard figures for Harrek, Jar-Eel etc, with stretch goals for plastic figures. It is aimed for between 2 and 5 players and around 90-100 minutes of play.

07 December 2015

Entropic News

the beloved BGB
A few weeks ago, I asked, somewhat rhetorically and jokingly: Is D100 Dead?, because of the news from early this autumn that Chaosium would be scrapping the 2008 incarnation of the Basic Role-Playing system, fondly known amongst aficionados of the BRP system as the “Big Gold Book” (BGB), and the only one currently available.

[Yes I know about OpenQuest and Legend.]

Well, it now seems we're soon going to experience quite the opposite of the death of the D100, i.e., a plethora of D100-based systems! For those of you who do not follow G+, the gaming forums, etc., here are the latest news:

  • The BGB will indeed be scrapped, and replaced with a new generic product called BRP Essentials, itself based on the classic RQ2 rules and “incorporating 30 years of progress”.
  • The Design Mechanism isn't working on the new Gloranthan version of RuneQuest any longer (see announcement here); as a result, RuneQuest 6 will continue under a new name.
  • Alephtar Games' Revolution D100 has successfully funded.

It hence appears that we will soon have three simultaneously in-print D100-based engines: BRP Essentials, the as-yet-unnamed generic D100 system by The Design Mechanism, and Revolution D100 by Alephtar Games.

These are the generic D100-based role-playing games; I'm not even mentioning that there are going to be two in-print Gloranthan D100-based FRPs in 2016: RuneQuest Classic and the “new” RuneQuest! An embarrassment of riches...

18 November 2015

The Hanging Garden, Issue No.4

Howdy dear readers. (Yes, I know I'm late.) The fourth issue of my supposedly bimonthly 'zine, The Hanging Garden, is available for your perusal and enjoyment.

Issue No.4 is a single-themed issue as it is 100% devoted to the description of the city of Swenstown in the mythical world of Glorantha. It features a kind of mini-sandbox with random tables, enabling the referee to use the city for 'urbancrawl' adventures, or as a base for your adventurers whilst they explore Sartar and/or Prax. The 'zine also includes a short scenario set in Swenstown and appropriately titled Swenstown's Sour Secrets. It is quite dark and adult and, as a result, may not be to everyone's taste. I GM'd it twice for two different gaming groups, and it was well-received both times, despite some unsavoury elements.

I have tried and kept the rules-y parts to a minimum. Whatever stats are present are for RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha, and they can be easily converted to other D100-based FRP games or even to other Old School systems.

Well, anyway. Feedback and comments are welcome, as usual. Cheers!

11 November 2015

Classic RuneQuest Reprint

As revealed at The Kraken, Chaosium is going to re-publish the classic 2nd edition of RuneQuest as a hardback in 2016, to celebrate Glorantha's 50th anniversary. The first images have been leaked to the G+ RQ2 community:

And, for an old grognard like me, it is a dream come true!

06 November 2015

Random Dragon Pass Wilderness Generator

This Random Dragon Pass Wilderness Generator is a hack of Éric Nieudan's own more generic classic fantasy random wilderness generator.

What you need:
 - A standard 52-card deck with French suits (♠♥♦♣); remove the jokers and the 2's.
 - Dice.

1. Draw cards to make a 7×7 grid; leave centre of grid empty. The centre is your main point of interest (city, dungeon, whatever) and is up to you — see picture below:

2. Terrain the remaining 48 areas according to card suit; face cards mean there is a steading. See tables below:

  plains or plateau 
 ♣ woods or swamp 
  hills or dunes 
 ♠ mountains or canyons 

 Jack: village, hamlet or camp 
 Queen: temple, shrine, other holy place 
 King: tower, keep or fortress 
 Ace: town or trading post 

3. Encounters and events. For each card, roll d20 and compare to card value (Jack = 11, Queen = 12,  King = 13, Ace = 14) on the main table below. Choose or draw another card for subtypes.

Variant: Use a d12 for step 3; use a different type of die in the light grey rectangle around the centre of the grid, see above; e.g., if the centre is a city (civilised) then use a d10 in the light grey area; if it is a dungeon (wild) then use a d20.

 Die   Civilised Encounters
Die roll < card value 
Die roll = card value 
 Wild Encounters
Die roll > card value 
 1   Farmers travelling ♣foraging poaching ♠fleeing 
 2   Fishermen working ♣mending nets famished ♠building a dam 
 3   Merchants caravan ♣lost being robbed ♠loaded with gold   Ambush or trap 
 4   Acolytes preaching ♣looking for help begging ♠on a pilgrimage   Impromptu market   Aldryami elves ♣dryadpixies ♠runners 
 5   Men-at-arms mercenaries ♣soldiers at war militia ♠recruiting   Freak weather   Dwarves industrious ♣wise hungry ♠curious 
 6   Ducks assassins ♣traders confidence artists ♠family   Blocked roads   Newtlings scared ♣hostilefriendly ♠on a pilgrimage 
 7   Wizards master & retainers ♣illusionists necromancer ♠witch   Fire   Animals herbivores ♣wolves pterodactyls ♠mountain lions 
 8   Adventurers bruised & beaten ♣hostile friendly ♠richly equipped   Flood   Monster dinosaur ♣manticore jack o'bear ♠minotaur 
 9   Barbariansin battle ♣on a heroquest raiding ♠hiding from foe   Battle   Nomads Grazelanders ♣Pol Joni Praxians ♠Morokanths 
 10   Trolls merchants ♣patrol messengers ♠raiding   Ghosts   Spiders hive ♣parasites with hosts giant ♠sentient 
 11   Bandits river raiders ♣on the run hiding ♠carrying plunder   Country fair   Trolls slavers ♣Zorak Zorani Tusk raiders ♠cave trolls 
 12   Thieves street thugs ♣running from the law spies ♠burglars   Chaos nest   Bandits pirates ♣folk heroes highwaymen ♠mercenaries 
 13   Dragonewts ambassadors ♣warband mercs ♠travelling   Siege   Humanoids baboons ♣centaurs satyrs ♠wind children 
 14   Plague   Thanes visiting ♣prisoners at a wedding ♠travelling 
 15   Undead wraiths ♣vampires zombies ♠ghouls 
 16   Chaotic broo ♣dragon snail ogres ♠scorpion men 
 17   Lycanthropes Elurae ♣tusk brothers wolfbrothers ♠tiger sons 
 18   Abomination gargoyle ♣basilisk walktapus ♠cockatrice 
 19   Elemental gnome ♣salamander undine ♠sylph 
 20   Special cultists ♣demon magical sheep ♠sky bulls 

As always, I welcome any feedback for improvement.

18 October 2015

Random Sartarite Name Generator

Art © Dario Corallo
I needed a random Sartarite name generator so I created one. I think this is better than the guidelines on p26 of Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes.

We assume the sex of the NPC has already been determined, else D6: 1-3: Female, 4-6: Male.

 D20   Name Type 
 1   one-syllable name (please make it up) 
 2-10   two-part name with initial + final elements (roll below) 
 11-16   three-part name with initial + middle + final elements (roll below) 
 17-18   four-part name with initial + middle + final elements + suffix (roll below) 
 19-20   three-part name with initial + final elements + suffix (roll below) 

D100 Male Initial Element
1-3 An-
4-6 Ar-
3-9 Bro-
10-12 Caras-
13-15 Dang-
16-18 Derd-
19-21 Eo-
22-24 Ern-
25-27 Far-
28-30 For-
31-33 G-
34-36 Ga-
37-39 Gar-
40-42 Har-
43-44 Hen-
45-46 Heort-
47-49 Hof-
50-52 Jar-
53-55 Kal-
56-58 Kan-
59-61 Kor(o)l-
62-64 Min-
65-67 O-
68-70 Orl-
71-73 Rakel-
74-76 Rast-
77-79 Sali-
80-82 Sar-
83-84 Sil-
86-87 Tar-
89-90 Ter-
92-93 To-
95-96 Vad-
98-100 Ven-

D30 Male Middle Element
1-2 -al-
3-4 -am-
5-6 -an-
7 -as-
8-9 -d- before a consonant / -dr- before a vowel
10 -dangh- before a consonant / -dangy- before a vowel
11 -g- before a consonant / -gr- before a vowel
12 -gh- before a consonant / -gy- before a vowel
13 -h- before a consonant / -y- before a vowel
14 -kal-
15 -ki-
16 -kin-
17 -ma- before a consonant / -m- before a vowel
18 -n-
19 -nel-
20 -o-
21 -ol-
22 -on-
23 -or-
24 -orl-
25 -os-
26 -ri-
27 -rob-
28 -st-
29-30 -v-

D30 Male Final Element
1 -akt
2 -al
3 -an
4-5 -ar
6 -arg
7-8 -arl
9 -arm
10-11 -ast
12-13 -ath
14 -g
15 -ik
16-17 -il
18 -in
19 -is
20 -ist
21 -k
22 -lai
23 -ng
24 -on
25 -or
26 -rai
27 -rev
28 -sar
29 -tar
30 -tip

D20 Male Suffix
1 -alor
2 -aran
3-4 -d
5 -des
6 -di
7-8 -er
9 -f
10 -(g)ian
11 -in
12 -ing
13 -le
14 -os
15 -stan
16 -star
17 -ste
18-19 -(y)th
20 -var

i. Siblings will often share the same initial element(s), e.g., Sil·kin·ist·er and Sil·kin·or
ii. Individuals with the Darkness rune or from a Darkness-influenced clan may replace one or several vowels in their name with a 'u'.

D100 Female Initial Element
1-2 A-
3-4 Ar-
5-6 Be-
7-8 Bre-
9 Bry-
10-11 Dar-
12-13 Dara-
14-15 Do-
16-17 Du-
18-19 E-
20-21 Ent-
22-23 Erin-
24-25 Ernal-
26-27 Es-
28 Esrol-
29-30 Grisel-
31-32 Ha-
33-34 Har-
35-36 Heort-
37-38 Inster-
39-40 Ivar-
41-42 Jar-
43-44 Jarnar-
45-46 Jen-
47-48 Kal-
49-50 Kel-
51-52 Ken-
53-54 Le-
55-56 Li-
57-58 Lis-
59-60 Lon-
61-62 Marer-
63-64 Mer-
65-66 Mor-
67-68 Natal-
69-70 Ondur-
71-72 Onel-
73-74 Oran-
75-76 Sartar-
77-78 Sen-
79-80 Senren-
81-82 So-
83-84 Soa-
85-86 Tar-
87-88 The-
89-90 Ul-
91-92 Vin-
93-94 Yan-
95-96 Ye-
97-98 Yor-
99-100 Yr-

D20 Female Middle Element
1 -g-
2 -gan-
3-4 -i-
5 -in-
6 -is-
7 -kal-
8-9 -l-
10 -lan-
11 -mel-
12 -nal-
13 -ne-
14 -noth-
15-16 -r-
17 -ra-
18 -re-
19 -sul-
20 -vu-

D30 Female Final Element
1 -a
2-3 -d
4-5 -da
6 -ea
7 -een
8 -en
9 -eth
10 -ga
11 -ia
12 -in(a)
13 -is(sa)
14 -ka
15-16 -la
17 -na
18 -ne
19 -nt
20 -ola
21 -oth
22 -ra
23 -sa
24 -shi
25 -t
26-27 -va
28-29 -ynn
30 -yr

D20 Female Suffix
1-2 -ella
3-4 -er
5-6 -ina
7-8 -lla
9-11 -na
12-13 -nina
14-16 -rella
17-18 -rios
19-20 -ta

16 October 2015

Better ReD100 Than Dead!

A few days ago, I provocatively and rhetorically asked if D100 was dead. I do know that D100-based role-playing games are from being dead, what with the new version of Mythic Iceland in the works or with the announcement by Chaosium at THE KRAKEN that a hardback 'nostalgia' version of RQ2 and a new, Gloranthised RQ6 would be published in 2016.

However, all the role-playing games mentioned above are standalone books. Apparently, the new management at Chaosium are convinced that generic universal rule sets are not selling at the moment, and that the public favours standalone role-playing games. I have no idea whether they have made any marketing research or analysed data of which books sell and which ones don't, but I'm ready to believe them. After all, Chaosium has been doing much better since the new management took over.

This being said, I am sure there still are many GMs and players out there who would like to have a 'toolbox' kind of D100-based rule set, and who are going to miss the BGB.

Fear not, brave souls, for Alephtar Games has started a crowdfunding campaign on Ulule to fund exactly such a role-playing game! Revolution D100 will feature a solid and modular implementation of the D100 system with quite a few new niceties (like Traits). I encourage you to have a look at the web-site of the crowdfunding campaign and, of course, to back it!

11 October 2015

THE KRAKEN 2015 Report

The following statements are both true:
1. The Kraken is a gaming vacation.
2. The Kraken takes place every second (even) year at Schloss Neuhausen in Brandenburg.

However, it is also true that there was a mini-Kraken this year. Not a gaming vacation, no— a gaming retreat. And it was as good as the real McCoy except that –alas– it was much shorter.

FRIDAY 2 OCTOBER, afternoon

I drove all the way from Paris with my daughter and a friend. On Friday afternoon, we arrive at last, after 1,000km of heavy metal, noise pop, folk punk and Autobahnbaustellen, and get our Krakeneers' kits and schlüssel.

The weather is fantastic, which keeps the illusion of the gaming vacation, and Fabian doesn't look too stressed (yet). Sandy Petersen, the Only Old One, is already busy running demos of Gods War.


Playtesting session of my (formerly) Secret Project. Lots of fantastic input from Mark and Patrick (thank you, guys, I'm already taking your feedback into account for version 2).
People slowly start arriving; I get to see old friends and new ones. Chatted about the new supplement of The Cardinal's Blades with Rémy. Jeff and Claudia explained me at length the pros and cons of the various gaming conventions; apparently I miss a lot by never going to Essen.

veggie food – thank you, Fabi!


Played the gianormous wargame Operation Market Garden by Odile and Louis; lost twice in a row.

the gianormous map

my starting position

heavy fighting

Then attended the What's Up, Chaosium? seminar with Jeff, Neil, MOB, Sandy. Here are the main highlights:

Chaosium is now a fully virtual company (they've closed the Hayward office). What this really means is that there isn't any warehouse any longer. US fulfilments will be via Brainerd MN; European ones are in view via a UK company, who will also be carrying Moon Design and The Design Mechanism products.
Big focus at the moment is the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition kickstarter. Printing is underway, they are waiting for the physical proofs. Still working out the shipment details. Once this is solved, they expect to be in full working mode again, with lots of products and scenarios down the road, e.g., Infectious Fungi From Outer Space, a collection of short, unrelated, standalone scenarios by Sandy Petersen set at various different time periods (not the 1920s). If it is successful, expect more of those.

RuneQuest is back to the fold. The new version (referred to as Chaosium RuneQuest, CRQ) will be out by next year's Gen Con. It will be a shorter book, set firmly in Glorantha, back to the look and feel of RQ2, with brand new material (cults, scenarios). By the way, to celebrate Glorantha's 50th anniversary, the original RQ2 will be re-released as a hardback.

Basic Role-Playing System. The line is still alive. A new standalone Mythic Iceland will be the first book in this line (with new stuff, of course, e.g., more magic). Should be out before CRQ. MOB insisted that the BRP had not been killed off.

All the HeroQuest products are going to be published by Chaosium from now on; the Red Cow books, the new three-volume Trollpak, are the next ones in the pipe.

13th Age in Glorantha (13G): the 3rd playtest pack has been released today [i.e., on 3 October].

Credo, the Game of Duelling Dogmas. Updated the game of 21 years ago.

Secret announcement for Krakeneers only: another boardgame will be KS'd next year. Ultra-secret. Come to Paris and buy me a beer if you want to know more. [Note: I could see on G+ that some pictures had been leaked...]

Q&A Session

Q: Are you going to publish conversion rules for 13G/HQ/RQ?
A: No, because those rules sets aim at different gaming experiences.
Q: What happens to non-Gloranthan RQ6?
A: No standalone core engine, no third party products; any future "RQ6"-like product by TDM will be a standalone game à la Mythic Iceland.
Q: What do you suggest as an introduction to Glorantha for newbies?
A: HeroQuest: Glorantha, or the upcoming 13G or CRQ. They are all self-contained Gloranthan books.
Q: Talk to us about your fiction line.
A: We definitely want to revive it; we feel it's been neglected. At the moment we're still in the assessment phase.
Q: What happens to Magic World?
A: We simply do not have time to focus on all game lines.
Q: What happens to 3rd party licences?
A: The Laundry stays. Alephtar Games have lost theirs. Jeff says "If anybody has a great idea, they just come to me". But the idea is, again, to aim at standalone games.
Q: Are your games going to be available at game stores?
A: CoC 7e and 13G certainly.
Q: What about Pendragon?
A: Ask Greg!

on display

the new Chaosium

We then had a sort of short Sandy Petersen Games panel on top of the Chaosium seminar. In the pipe:
 - Cthulhu Wars Onslaught (extensions, new figures)
 - Gods War. New improved version compared with last year. KS early next year.


Tested the new Gods War. The game mechanics have been slightly improved. The game is still pretty long (more than 2hrs for a four-player game). And I really, really would like to see some statistics. I think Chaos is too strong, no matter what they say.


Played Cthulhu Wars with the new factions extensions, I got Yog-Sothoth (and summoned Him too late).

Played Operation Market Garden and won at last.


Playtested my game again, and rather successfully too.


Played in Jason Durall's The Akkadian Stars Are Right, powered by Magic World but set in a hybrid Bronze Age/Sci-Fi world, not unlike my own Glorantha in Space. I enjoyed the adventure very much!

SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER, early afternoon

GM'ed my RQ:AiG scenario, Swenstown's Sour Secrets, that I had been preparing for weeks (I had forgotten the pain that stat blocks and creating pre-gens could be for such a detailed system). I was so immersed in my GM'ing that I forgot to take any pictures!

my daughter preparing the map for the Swenstown game

Anyway, it was fantastic fun. I am planning on running it another time in Paris and then I'll probably publish it in The Hanging Garden.

SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER, late afternoon

Pancake Wars– Which ones are the best? Finnish or Dutch? Honestly, BOTH.


Sandy Petersen entertained us to many anecdotes from all his years of gaming and of running gaming companies. Enormous fun.

that was before he started giggling

And then the closing ceremony, and then the sad farewell on Monday morning. I don't even want to recall that part. There should be a Kraken every three or four months!!!

my daughter


29 September 2015

Is D100 Dead?

For various reasons, chief amongst which the fact that I have been directly impacted [my book The Celestial Empire cannot be sold any longer, see below], and yet I strive to remain impartial on my blogs, I haven't blogged much about the latest news in the small world of D100-based role playing games. For those of you who are unaware of the latest developments, here is a short summary of what has happened during this eventful summer.

  • Moon Design has taken control of Chaosium and announced that they wouldn't publish the 404-page Big Gold Book any longer. Instead they will publish a 32-page booklet called BRP Essentials. 32 pages? That's tantamount to setting the clock back to the 80s and the slim Chaosium BRP booklet :-(
  • Ben Monroe, who was the driving force behind Magic World, has left Chaosium.
  • The Design Mechanism's RuneQuest licence — which has made gateway (i.e., non-Gloranthan) RQ products such as Luther Arkwright possible — has expired and will not be renewed. Loz and Pete will now work on an upcoming fully Gloranthan version of RuneQuest for Chaosium (ETA mid-2016).
  • Third party licences (e.g., Alephtar Games') have also been rescinded. As a result, celebrated historical RPGs such as Rome (which had won a silver ENnie) aren't available any longer.
Except for D101 Games' OpenQuest, this doesn't leave us with much non-Gloranthan D100-based gaming left. Is D100 gaming dead?

15 September 2015

Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

I have already mentioned Sandy Petersen's excellent panel about Gloranthan secrets, called “Elder Secrets of Glorantha”, that I had the privilege to attend during last year's The Kraken convention, er, gaming vacation. I believe that much of the information divulged by Sandy at his panel was quite novel.

Well, Fabian Küchler has made the transcript available as a ‘chapbook’, i.e., a fundraiser booklet for The Kraken. The PDF will probably be publicly on sale, but the dead tree version is only going to be available for attendees; it will have art by Jon Hodgson and be a limited and numbered print run.

If you want to pre-order a print copy of this chapbook, write to fabian [at] the-kraken [dot] de. More information here.

01 August 2015

Future of RuneQuest [6]

This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog entry.

The Design Mechanism has posted the following statement earlier on today, both on FB and on their forum:

The recent news that Moon Design Publications’ management team (Rick Meints, Jeff Richard, Neil Robinson and Michael O’Brien) would be taking over at the helm of Chaosium has naturally created a lot of interest and speculation. It has clear implications for the Design Mechanism, and Pete and I would like to issue a statement of making clear where we stand as a company and where RuneQuest stands as a game system. We cannot and will not speculate or discuss Chaosium’s existing game systems such as Call of Cthulhu, Basic Roleplaying or Magic World.

We (Design Mechanism) license the RuneQuest trademark from Moon Design Publications. We entered into a licensing agreement that comes up for renewal around this time next year and part of the contract and business plan I proposed when first negotiating the licence was to insist in a full review and assessment of our progress with RuneQuest as a property. Our licence is not perpetual, and that review process had already begun before the recent announcement.

With Moon Design now becoming part of Chaosium, the RuneQuest trademark transfers to Chaosium – its place of birth. Until the licence we have expires next year, RuneQuest will continue to be published by the Design Mechanism and the core rules will remain in print. From July 2016, the following will take place:

1. RuneQuest reverts to Chaosium.
2. Pete and myself
[Loz] will become the new lead writers for RuneQuest as a Chaosium brand line with specific responsibilities for developing the system and its supplements.
3. The Design Mechanism as a company will continue. Chaosium and Design Mechanism have signed a new contract whereby we can continue to write, produce and distribute our own RuneQuest supplements, and can continue to support the lines we have already started to develop.
4. The RuneQuest 6 mechanics remain the core of the system, but as the trademark is now held by Chaosium, we have been contracted to develop a new version of the game based in Glorantha called, simply, ‘RuneQuest’. This game will appear in July 2016 (or possibly earlier). This new version will roll together all the work we have done on ‘Adventures in Glorantha’ into a standalone RuneQuest game.
5. At that point, RuneQuest 6 will go out of print as its own title. Design Mechanism will find ways of ensuring full compatibility across our supplements, the new version and RQ6.
6. Effectively immediately, Chaosium will sell Design Mechanism’s existing (and future) books through its various channels. Indeed, this increases Design Mechanism’s exposure, extends its reach and removes a huge administrative burden from the shoulders of a two-man team.

Pete and I are delighted to be working with Chaosium. We are pleased to be able to return RuneQuest to Chaosium stronger than it has been since it left home for Avalon Hill back in the mid 1980s. Even better, it comes back to a revitalised Chaosium that carries a clear mandate of excellence, transparency and commitment to its fans and creative contributors. We are especially happy to have the opportunity to work closely with Rick, Jeff, Neil and Mike and to become part of the Chaosium family. But what makes this even more special is that the Design Mechanism carries on as a company, continues to publish and support RuneQuest, and will always engage with its loyal and faithful fans.

More details will emerge as various pieces come together. We will communicate and discuss them with you just as we always have. Pete and I really are excited and happy with the new direction and we hope you will share our enthusiasm and optimism for the future!

Long Live Design Mechanism!
Long Live Chaosium!
Long Live RuneQuest!

31 July 2015

New Ownership at Chaosium — Implications for RuneQuest 6

It's been a hectic year in our industry... It's been slightly over a month since Charlie Krank got ousted from Chaosium and replaced by Greg Stafford and Sandy Petersen, and now it's been announced that Moon Design are the new owners of Chaosium. It's been all over the internetz now so I won't go into the boring details (which are here).

This is tremendous good news for Moon Design, for Chaosium, for the world of Glorantha, and for the Call of Cthulhu line. However, after reading the various press releases, announcements, FB and G+ posts, etc. etc., I was really really concerned and worried about the future of RuneQuest 6 and of its Adventures in Glorantha supplement because they were not mentioned anywhere.

So I was really relieved this morning when I read the following by Loz on The Design Mechanism's forum:
[All] this has implications for RQ and Design Mechanism and I will be posting a fuller discussion/news piece as soon as time permits. I can assure all our fans, however, that Design Mechanism isn't going anywhere, the RQ6 system continues, all our books will remain on sale and we will be continuing to release our own RuneQuest material.

But Pete and I will be working very closely with Chaosium, in official capacities, and we'll explain more as soon as time permits.

I can assure you all that this is Good News.

People tweeting from Gen Con, however, wrote that 'a new version of RuneQuest' had been mentioned during one of the Chaosium panels. So I guess at the moment the best we can do is wait for further official announcements from the various parties after the dust has settled.

30 July 2015

Guide Gets 2015 Diana Jones Award!

Moon Design wins the 2015 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming for the Guide to Glorantha.

That makes Greg Stafford a twice-winner, as he had already received the award in 2007 for The Great Pendragon Campaign.

Kudos to Greg Stafford, kudos to Moon Design, and kudos to all my friends who were involved in the project, and in particular to illustrators extraordinaire Dan Barker and Éric Vanel. We are all Us!

26 July 2015

Priests as Characters in TnT

This is an old quandary, possibly as old as the game itself: should there be Priests as a character class in Tunnels & Trolls?

The discussion has recently popped up on the Let's Talk About Tunnels & Trolls Facebook group. The Trollgod himself, Ken Saint-André, has explained that “there are no real gods in [Trollworld] T & T—just a bunch of very high level wizards pretending to godhood.” However, “priests, acolytes, monks, priestesses, temple girls, etc. are all common enough in Trollworld T & T. They are job descriptions, just like sailor, baker, tax man, attorney, shopkeeper, etc. If they use magic they can also be wizards, rogues, paragons, specialists, or citizens. If they don't use magic they can also be warriors or citizens. That's a big difference between That Other Game and T & T. TOG classifies character types by appearance; T&T goes by ability/function.

I can agree with the explanation above. However, if you're not playing in Trollworld but in a fantasy world where gods are real, how do you manage that? Various ideas have flown round the FB group, mostly about having priests as a mere 'skin' for wizards or rogues. I have mentioned that I use T&T in Glorantha and that, true to the RQ2 feel I try to emulate, ‘priest’ in my games is a title and not a character class.

And then the article titled Mirabile Dictu!: Priests as Characters in T&T, by Dorothy V March, which was published in issue 17 of Sorcerer's Apprentice (1983), was mentioned again. This article gets mentioned each and every time the quandary is tackled, yet I still have to find someone who's really used it in actual play.

Anyway, since I'm tired of people e-mailing me and asking for a scan of said article, I will summarise it here.

There is a new prime attribute to be added to the other ones at character creation: DEVotion, and there is a new character class, the Priest, that uses DEVotion to fuel their spells — much like wizards use WIZardry to fire off theirs.
As explained earlier, priestly spells (called ‘miracles’) cost a given amount of DEV to be fuelled; when the priest's DEV is low and casting a miracle would require more DEV than available, the excess may be made up by drawing upon STRength at the cost of 2 STR points for 1 DEV point.
DEV regenerates through at least one full hour of prayer and meditation; lost STR will only regenerate after DEV is completely restored, at the rate of 6 ST points per hour.
Priests may only use one class of weapons, the one favoured by their patron god(s).
A priest may have a holy symbol that functions just like a wizard's staff in terms of focus and cost reduction.
Minimum attribute values to cast miracles of a given level are the same as the wizard's but replacing IQ and DEX with DEV and CHR.
The Acolyte is to the Priest what the Rogue is to the Wizard; he doesn't have any weapon restrictions.

The article then ends with a long spell list that takes up 4.5 pages, from the 1st to the 20th level. The spells are not whimsical and quite D&D-ish in their scope.

10 July 2015

[dT&T] It's Here!

I have actually just finished downloading my copy of deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. At a whopping 385 pages, I gather it'll take me some time to digest it...

21 June 2015

The Hanging Garden, Issue No.3

Howdy dear readers. The third issue of The Hanging Garden is available for your perusal and enjoyment. This issue had been scheduled to be a “Vikings” special and it ended up being a Mad Max: Fury Road special instead, complete with a fully-fledged post-apocalyptic role-playing game: Maximum Road!

To fully savour Maximum Road, you may first want to download the following:

Atomic Highway (free post-apocalyptic rpg Maximum Road is based on)

Maximum Road Player and Vehicle Sheet


10 June 2015

Return of the Great Old Ones (cont'd)

Now another podcast sheds more light on the whole Chaosium affair.

Apparently, the change in management was slightly less rosy than the fairy tale that has circulated on social media...
Sandy, quite candidly, tells it all in the podcast: after Lynn Willis (the majority shareholder of Chaosium) passed away, his shares were divided amongst the surviving members of the board of directors: Charlie, Greg, and Sandy. All of a sudden, Charlie and Greg ended up having exactly the same share, and Sandy became the kingmaker, so he sort of organised a coup to oust Charlie because he considered that the latest CoC-related Kickstarters had not been well managed. As a result, Charlie and his relatives have all left (his shares will be bought by Greg and Sandy); all the other employees have remained on board.

Future Chaosium plans as revealed by Sandy:
 - Manage the CoC Kickstarter failings
 - more Basic Role-Playing books (woot!)
 - Keep the Chaosium fiction line strong

03 June 2015

Return of the Great Old Ones

Based on all the blog posts dedicated to this event that I have seen round the web today, I guess I'm late in jumping onto the bandwagon, yet I still want to mention this...



Greg Stafford (as CEO) and Sandy Petersen are back to Chaosium! Obviously this won't affect us Gloranthan gamers since all the rights to Glorantha and to RuneQuest were sold to Moon Design. This having been said, Jeff Richard of Moon Design has mentioned on G+ his willingness to continue his close work with Greg and Sandy.

On the non-Gloranthan side of things, I presume we can expect renewed production in the 7th ed Call of Cthulhu lines and, hopefully, some more Basic Role-Playing publications.

27 May 2015

Back from The Eternal Con

The Eternal Con takes place every year round about Pentecost in Burg Stahleck, a castle-turned-youth hostel overlooking the Rhine. We've had a nice surprise upon arriving there: the castle has been refurbished! All clean, lots of new furniture, new decoration, new windows.

the castle


The Eternal Con — this was the 6th edition — has become so dense in events (we even had academic events this year, see below) that, just like last year, I will only concentrate on the ones I managed to attend.

FRIDAY 22 MAY, 19:00, Grand Opening

After the usual check-in, emotional meeting with old friends and exaggeratedly early German dinner, we took part in the traditional Grand Opening ceremony. Despite some initial blunders, it was better than the previous years. Franziska and Charlotte were our delicious hosts and entertained us with their witty humour and — this was a novelty this year — very funny shorts that were projected on a big screen and which explained the 'rules' of the con and of the Jugendherberge in an easy to understand way. It was the very first time the con went digital!

Grand Opening — picture by Heini

FRIDAY 22 MAY, 20:00, Presentation of the German version of HeroQuest

Robin Mitra of Humakt eV gave a presentation (auf deutsch) of what HeroQuest was, how it was different from other role-playing games, and why people should buy it. Unfortunately, no physical copy of the German version of HeroQuest was available yet ☹

Humakt ♥ ✝
the manuscript — picture by Heini

FRIDAY 22 MAY, 21:00, Moon Design panel

with Rick Meints, Jeff Richard, Neil Robinson talking (well... it was mostly Jeff doing the talking); Jan Pospíšil and Kalin Kadiev were showing their art.

The hottest piece of news:
King of Sartar (hardback, first in a new line of 'fiction', see below) is at the printer!
It will be followed shortly by HeroQuest Glorantha.
It'll probably take some time to ship them.

What comes next?
The Coming Storm (a huge Sartarite sandbox-cum-campaign covering 1618-25) by Ian Cooper is SO big it'll be published in two volumes. Moon Design will try and make them available as soon as possible (i.e., in 2015 — the first volume will hopefully be available in time for Gen Con).

Also for Gen Con: the first three chapters of Prince of Sartar out as a kind of trade paperback comic book.

Volume 2 of The Coming Storm will hopefully be out in time for Essen, where Moon Design want to have a greater presence.

Sandy Petersen's mammoth boardgame, The Gods' War, will be Kickstarted at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. At the time, they are all super busy working on the miniatures for the game.

Kyger Litor concept art

In the pipeline:
- TrollPak vol 1 (of 3!) by Dan McCluskey - all about Trolls
- Big Rubble
- 13th Age in Glorantha ~ aiming at the end of the year. This will be in 2 volumes: a rulebook, and a generic source book set in 1627, heavily focused on Gloranthan myths.
- Gods of Glorantha - this will be Kickstarted so as to have fantastic art in it.
- Riders of the Storm - Nomads of the Wastelands (formerly known as PraxPak), a supplement about the Praxian Nomads and Genertelan shamanism, by David Scott

You may have noticed that Moon Design are much more active than in the past. Their new target is 4-6 books a year. They're also looking at having older products available via Lulu.

What comes later? What are their projects for the future?
- TrollPak vol2: Uz characters
- TrollPak vol3: a big campaign for Uz characters set in the Redstone Caverns
- A campaign pack with six scenarios set in the six parts of the Holy Country; at the moment, tentatively containing:
   Casino Town
   New Crystal City
   Sacking the City of Wonders
 - A city guide for Nochet with a map as detailed as New Pavis'
 - A Pyre for Gods and Heroes - a novel by Jeff Richard based on Greg Stafford's Harmast Saga. The idea is to have a 'fiction' line, with one book out per year.

FRIDAY 22 MAY, 22:00, Rabbit Hat Games panel

Rabbit Hat Games' very own MOB was in from Australia and presented us his card game UNFamy. It was hilarious, especially since the losers had to eat a piece of Vegemite-flavoured chocolate bar.

SATURDAY 23 MAY, morning

We prepared our HeroQuest characters for Hervé Carteau's Harreksaga in the afternoon using a nice questionnaire. I really love this character generation method.

SATURDAY 23 MAY, 14:00, Gifts to the Gods (Religion in Bronze Age Europe)

This is one of the academic events mentioned above. Dr Christine Reich presented us the latest findings in the field of Bronze Age religion. As incredible as it may seem, despite the lack of written records, and without many new findings, scholars such as Christine are still able to find new facts about Bronze Age religion by comparing findings, by analysing the way they were buried and the area they were buried in, by comparing pieces from different museums and trying to find common patterns... A very informative and mesmerising conference!

SATURDAY 23 MAY, afternoon, Harreksaga

This was actually but an episode from the Harreksaga, a series of interconnected adventures inspired by Harrek's saga in Glorantha. This was started by Lawrence Whitaker a few years ago, and has then been continued by Hervé Carteau. The present episode was set in Tarahorn and in the Inland Sea against the evil Kareeshtan empire. The emotional high point of the adventure was at the Oenriko Rocks, where the Vadeli and the Kareeshtan had fought a naval battle 30 years ago. The bottom of the archipelago there is full of dead drowned sailors.  At the top of the largest rock, a coven of 17 Kareeshtan socerers were enacting a necromantic ritual... We plunged underwater and ended up fighting 17 Kareeshtan liches who were protecting the underwater cemetery whence the undead sailors were about to be summoned!

Harrek couldn't resist the Vingan's sword dance

While we were playing our game, we could get glimpses of an ongoing Asterix freeform mostly aimed at kids.

der berühmte Pittelix
und der berühmte Philippix — picture by Heini

SATURDAY 23 MAY, evening, Pendragon

After all these years attending the Eternal Con, I played in my very first game of Pendragon, which was set... in a castle above the Rhine! It was a quite mysterious adventure with its faire share of false leads. Kudos to Louis Kolkman for keeping a straight face whilst we spurted out the craziest theories for the strange behaviour of the Baron. Siegfried and Etzel were also in. As one of the players said, "A Pendragon dungeon crawl?!"

SUNDAY 24 MAY, morning, Trollball

The traditional Trollball game. It was VERY wet, even at some distance from the field.

the trollkin — picture by Heini

the dreaded two-headed trolless — picture by Fischl

SUNDAY 24 MAY, 14:00, The Mystic Wood

Watched as some friends were playing the Mystic Wood (1980). Nice little exploration game.

SUNDAY 24 MAY, 15:00, Into the Gloranthan Odd

Yours truly GM'ed Into the Gloranthan Odd.

advertising the games

This was the blurb that I had posted to advertise my game:

The Guide to Glorantha says: "The [evil ruins of the Machine City] sit atop a high cliff by the sea, and no matter what the tide may be, there are waves which still reach hungrily up the cliff face far above the sea level, aching to destroy once again. The trolls left a cursing shadow which slowly rolls over the ground, even at full noon. The dwarves left fiendish traps for the overly curious. Now, even approach to the site is forbidden by the local rulers."

Somehow your party has managed to pass through the local guards and to avoid the Mostali traps. You start your descent into the mysterious ruins of the God Learner city...

Into the Gloranthan Odd is my Gloranthicised version of Odd Dungeons by Éric Nieudan, which itself is a hack to render more mediaeval the very, er, odd late modern role-playing game Into the Odd by Chris McDowall.

into the odd gaming room

SUNDAY 24 MAY, late afternoon, Nations the Dice Game

A super fast "build your own civilisation" game. Perfect as a filler.

Third Age, but not in Glorantha

SUNDAY 24 MAY, 20:00, Gloranthan Q&A

Gods' War well underway, Kickstarter later this year. Now working on the miniatures that go with the boardgame. 3D is a big challenge, compared with 2D.
Realised there was no "in-Gloranthan" depiction of Gloranthan gods.
The 'illumination' picture in HeroQuest Glorantha is one of Moon Design's first conscious attempts.

New, improved prosopaedia. The draft is being used a lot internally as source material. This will be the basis for Gods of Glorantha.
Lots of new gods, esp. in Fonrit. (Followed by a lengthy discussion about Chaos in Pamaltela, and how everybody's used it, the Fonritians, the Artmali, the Vadeli). Followed by a short history of the Artmali and their fleets (used Mastakos' powers).

Q: difference between sorcery and veneration?
A: Sorcery uses the laws of the universe to bend reality.
Veneration is simply when you recognise the importance of ascended masters.

Q: differences between Genertelan & Pamaltelan shamanism?
A: Not many. Pamaltelan shamans may be stronger but that's mostly for historical or demographical reasons.

Side remark: ancestor worship is actually probably the most prevalent worship in Genertela. It's just not mentioned much in the rule books because they are... gaming books, and not anthropological treatises about a make believe place!
By the way ancestor worship would be better represented by the Man rune than by the Spirit rune.

Q: how many [core] runes are there?
A: around 30 to 40
Minor runes (e.g. the Yinkin rune) are not really "runes" as classified by the God Learners.

SUNDAY 24 MAY, 21:30, Grand Closing Ceremony

So sad. Too sad. See you next year, everyone!

Farewell — picture by Heini

SUNDAY 24 MAY, 23:00, Singalong

Uh oh. This was definitely not like the one at the Kraken last year. Too many people, some of them quite besoffen. Ah, well.