Re: More various comments

From: martin (102541.3423@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Thu 02 May 1996 - 01:32:27 EEST

>Your fellows were PCs, Onslaught is an NPC. I've yet to see a PC rise above
>180% weapon skill and I've never seen a PC with anything like Onslaughts

Mark Smylie:
You commented on the dichotomy between the rules and Onslaughts capabilities. I
for one am the first to admit that such a character is really getting beyond the
rules and its been noted many times that the rules do rather break down at these
levels, particularily when heroquests are involved.

I agree that it is highly irritating to meet NPCs who are astoundingly tough and
make your long slaved over character appear like a munchkin but Onslaught
doesn't do that in my campaign. Frex, one time the players decided to enter the
Rubble to raid an enemy of theirs. They had avoided the Rubble for the fearfull
place that it was. They were nerved out and constantly checking around them,
sneaking, making sure they weren't followed etc. Basically they were suitably
nervous of the place. Thats when Onslaught appeared around the corner running
and breathing hard.
        One of the players had been trained briefy by the Big O and asked "Sword
Onslaught, what do you do out here?"
        "Training." Was his reply as he stopped before them. They noticed the
big backpack he was carrying.
        "Your training? Out in the Rubble? Isn't that dangerous." asks one
        Onslaught grins. "Yeah! Great isn't it. Nobody's attacked me yet
though." He looked disappointed.
        "Whats in the backpack, treasure? Loot?"
        "Rocks. Helps tire me out better if I carry a big bag of rocks. You
should try it lads. Run ten miles with 80lbs of rocks and you'll feel great!
Wanna come with me?"
        Collective comments about being busy etc soon followed.
        "ah well, your loss. Time to get going, just two more laps I think."
        And off he went.

Mostly I just use him as one of those background characters or events that gives
them (the PCs) a pin on where they are, whats happening etc. I see him more as
an elemental force, rather like an earthquake.

Anyway, back to my first point which is this: Yes, in a pure rules sense,
Onslaught is incredibly unlikely but then so are heroes and Glorantha has a fair
few of those. I think thats really the point with heroes, they break all the

You talked about NPC stone killers from various sources for comparison:
>In almost all of these cases, there is both a heavy price to be paid for
>power and a communal context in which such powers arise. Onslaught the Man
>Alone, who despite being presented as a virtual avatar for Humakt is still
>using an _axe_, for crying out loud, seems to have no apparent weaknesses or
>any community to draw support and power from (although Deville seems to also
>be a one-man community; I suppose that the two of them together could be
>considered their own small country).

Hmm, I think that Onslaught pays the greatest price of them all, losing his
humanity. Deville loses his place in the Empire which he loves (as an
ideological concept but not in reality). I guess it depends on what you see as
being a bonus and a price. Okay so Onslaught is fantastically good at fighting.

Does he have a son to teach it to? Does he have a people who can laud his
skills? No he doesn't and I think the Death he weilds and seeks to perfect in
himself is (as Loren ably pointed out) likely to scare the shit out of people.
Only those hardened to this like adventurers or other Humakt or Death rune
cultists would mange his company for long.

Using an axe is another Onslaught peculiarity. The same as his martial arts.
Unless geased he tries to be competant with all weapons and his use of the axe
to him is still killing which is what its about to him. He, like his God

prefers swords but he doesn't believe thats all he should weild. Deaths first
form was the sword but it is in many other forms too.

As for company to draw support from, as I've said, in my Glorantha Humakti have
an open door policy and he is more of a merc god with many wandering types
passing through all the time. They adapt to this and worship the ideal rather
than the community and hence the ties of kin and social structure are less

Colin Watson:
>A Conan-conversion to RQ stats would be extremely vulnerable to the effects
>of the RQ rules. He simply wouldn't survive for long as a RuneQuest character.
>But thankfully he's not a RQ character; he is a literary figure.

I agree, he'd have to be awesome beyond Onslaught even.

>Now, before I saw Onslaught's stats, I could imagine him working as a
>literary character. I quite enjoyed the stories, although he's a little
>too Dark an anti-hero for my tastes. But seeing his stats in
>black-and-white spoils this for me (clearly this is only IMHO; Martin
>seems to like the idea). Writing out the stats cheapens the character.
>I'm now not impressed with Onslaught's exploits in the story because
>I realise just how easy a time he is having and how little risk he is
>actually taking.

Please remember that foes in my Glorantha are also tougher so he was parried by
Nolon Darkwalker in the Deville story for a few rounds of combat. I would rate
Darkwalker at around 200%+. As for writing stats for literary efforts, I find
myself agreeing with you. Onslaught was first an NPC however and had stats
written as a result, as was Deville. I haven't any stats for the other
characters though. I do like stats and I like facts. Without them I find it
hard to define the subject. I like to define the subject as much as is
possible, hence my quest for detail.

>For the same reason I wouldn't want to see stats for Harrek or Argrarth
>or Conan (and I wouldn't believe them anyway).

I would, just to give a framework to work by. If I had seen such stats the
perhaps Onslaught would have been very different.

>BTW, instead of resorting to such dubious items as crit-proof armour
>I think it would be far more satisfactory to use some kind of
>plot-manipulation rules (Hero Points, Confidence Points, whatever)
>to let Onslaught & Co do amazing things and survive against all odds.
>This seems more in-keeping with the heros of fiction, rather than
>overburdening characters with magical devices and bizarre spells
>to cope with embarrasing rules shortfalls.

I absolutely agree with this point. A kind of "Heroic Escape" system. Karma,
fate Points whateve would be a great idea. I toyed with a kind of Fate Rune
manipulation system as a method of doing this. Perhaps the user of this power
draws on the power of Arachne Solara to change possiblities from their set
course. I'm not to sure of the problems with determinism though. Any thoughs

Martin Laurie


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #527

RuneQuest is a trademark of Avalon Hill, and Glorantha is a trademark
of Chaosium. With the exception of previously copyrighted material,
unless specified otherwise all text in this digest is copyright by the
author or authors, with rights granted to copy for personal use, to
excerpt in reviews and replies, and to archive unchanged for
electronic retrieval.

Send electronic mail to with "help"
in the body of the message for subscription information on this and
other mailing lists.

WWW material at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:31:03 EEST