Glorantha Digest: Those poor harrassed heroes

Those poor harrassed heroes

From: Martin Laurie (102541.3423@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Wed 15 Jan 1997 - 20:47:16 EET

Nick Effingham comments on my opinions of Simon Phipps heroic level campaign:

> From the man who has players that clobbered Harrek, Argrath, Ralzakark and
>_stopped_ the Hero Wars because they didn't "like" them?

>Having spoken to Simon, and read the notes on his campaign, I find it plausible
>that what happened, happened. Firstly, are you stating that if your characters
>came up with an infallible way to slay a major NPC i.e. Ralzakark, that you
would >prevent them because it interfered with the Timeline?

No I wouldn't but I'd never let them get into that position in the first place.
For a start, I've talked to Sandy about this (he wrote Ralzakarks stats) and he
made it clear that the stats don't tell the whole story, there is Ralzakarks
ability to summon the Sky Terror frex which Sandy said was about as tough as a
superhero in DP terms. He said the big R had many other powers and abilities
beyond the bald stats but said there was no point in putting them in.

I don't necessarily agree with this, as I like to see descriptions of heroic
powers but it seemed clear to me that Ralzakark is extremely dangerous and would

be almost impossible to reach by any normal method that PCs could ever reach.

>Surely this removes a large portion of the ffun from the game that the chance
to >change the world is reserved for Greg's own favourite characters.

Who cares whether they're Gregs characters or not? Its irrelevant. What is
relevant is scale. Glorantha is a world with clearly defined areas of history

and action. Its not a gameworld where your meant to take over or build an
Empire that transcends all others. The interaction in Glorantha comes _from_
the mythic and historical pre-determined path. To stop the hero wars is
pointless, just run your campaign three hundred years earlier if you don't want
things to be messy or if you want to rule the world, play another game world but
you can't call it Glorantha because it no longer is the Glorantha that we spend
hours dissecting.

If it really bugs you move your campaign to the fourth age and show us all what
you've come up with but why bother fiddling with something that could be little

>Ralzakark has stats, and IMO so do all other heroes. Harrek was once a mere

I think you are missing the point - Harrek is NOT a mere mortal nor ever has
been - he's a hero from the start or else he wouldn't be what he is in 1620.
Its like saying Conan was just this guy who happened to get incredibly strong,
the best swordsman in the world, the most cunning, ferocious and intelligent
warrior of an age - yeah he just was walking along and all this heroism fell off

a lorry and landed on him and POW he became Conan.

When you start killing the heroes you've killed the wonder, killed the star to
reach for. When Harrek bites the dust in a campaign whats next - lets go and
kill Humakt to get his cool sword?

>Lastly, you obviously believe that the PC's woke up one morning and decided to
go >and kill some Heroes. To my knowledge, this isn't correct. Even if the
reason was >purely material ("*I* deserve that bloody bear skin, not him...")
then the character >would be well roleplayed. Simple greed is so often
undervalued as a real motive.

Sheesh, greed smeed. Greed's fine as an emotion but to clobber Harrek simply to
get his bearskin is just plain tacky. How would someone concieve of such a
desire? How would anyone survive meeting him and saying "yeah, he's tough but I
can take him, cool rug he's wearing, I fancy that!" like he was some guy that
the local thugs were eyeing up to mug?!?

>I think you overestimate the powers of the Infinity Rune. I am not quite
>sure how powerful it is, but would hope that the exact definitions of the
>Rune are available in a set of future HeroQuest rules. Just because
>something is defined by the rules does not degrade or ruin it -- the rules
>are merely a vehicle for your imagination, and if your imagination needs you
>to know what the Infinity Rune does then so be it.
It was mentioned in RQ2 but if you take a peak at DP and look at all the
counters with it (superheroes & true dragons) I think its evident power needs no
more explaining. As I said NOTE that DRAGONS and SUPERHEROES are immune to
MAGIC. Its pretty bloody clear about that and thats because of their control
over the powerflow.

>I believe that the Infinity Rune would give Harrek a powerful edge, but
>still not make him immune to dying.

Of course he can be killed but not by anything short of another superhero,
dragon or god.

>>The example of the Axe Maiden was merely there to illustrate that
>>it is possible to kill Harrek, not that it is the way to do it. In my
>>opinion, only a group of powerful Heroes would have a chance. Of
>>course, if your campaign has reached that stage, then why not?
>Because its boring.

> You think making world devastating decisions and risking your life in
>pitched battles that bards will tell tales of for years to come in amongst
>the ranks of Heroes plying for the true title of Ruler of Glorantha is
>boring!!! Geez, what *does* turn you on :) But seriously, I see that you're
implying >that at this level, there is no contest in playing the game. I
disagree. At this level, >the contest is merely increased. Just because your
foes now include Heroes, and >the type of monster that scared you when you first
began ("RUN AWAY!! Duck >bandits!! Rune for your lives!!") is now mere cannon
fodder, does not mean that >the game is boring. The High-Level campaign is the
true test of a GM's mettle,
>how to put foes against the characters without making it seem unrealistic
>("Another Crimson Bat!! In Orlanth's name, this is the third today...").
>However, it *can* be done. It just means you fight less, and need to
>politically out fox your foes. When the fights do break out, they're just
>BIG and dangerous. In Simon's game he has the firtune that his players are
>quite happy to find their own foes. Having run a High Level game, I found a
>lot of fun in ad libing as a character chooses their OWN destiny for once,
>rather than having to select from my designs. The power level should be seen
>as an opportunity, rather than some form of shackle.

Look, there's nothing wrong with this kind of stuff, it can be a great laugh but
all I'm trying to say is that its no longer Glorantha you're playing. Its so
far from the written word that it transcends it utterly and becomes another
game. Call it "SuperRQ with a Gloranthan setting" or whatever but its not
common or garden Glorantha anymore, the pleasure of which comes from exploring
the _mythic_ and social implications of actions.

>Many people would accuse me of being a power gamer and many people, including
>myself, would be nearly right but I draw the line at nobbling Superheroes.

> Powe gaming has nothing to do with Power level. Power gaming is trying to
>become as fast as possible at the expense of realism and roleplaying, in a
>low level campaign this may just be switching weapons in the middle of a
>fight when you've got a tick in your main weapon. Or using disrupt on your
>next door neighbour to get the POW tick.

This is true enough, well said. I was commenting on Simons signature which was
something like: 'Taking power-gaming to new levels"

>>You - say why not? I say - why bother?

> Beause we CAN!! After years of hard graft you don't want to merely reture
>your characters, in Glorantha a Hero doesn't fade away! You bother because
>this is your chance to shape the world, to partake in the epic stories, and
>not just the small ones. That's why.

Well maybe its just me but I like to have heights I can't reach, it keeps me
reaching even harder but I'd be bored if I reached em.

>>When you play characters that tough, you've rewritten the game world,

> The characters didn't summon magic Hero powers out of nowhere, they worked
>for them. And they worked for them to use them. That's why the characters
>are that tough. A high level campaign doesn't rewrite the game world, it
>merely allows players a greater chance to direct it. But this happens on a
>smaller scale in low level campaigns. Example, your players are all members
>of a village, if they begin to rig elections, or run for Thanehood etc...
>they're rewriting your conception of how this village should be -- but who
>are you to stop them? They're just doing what comes natural, wanting to be
>better than they were.

There is a difference though between micro and macro changes. changes within
the broad pattern of Glorantha are excellent and entertaining but when you
change one big thing, it changes everything.

When you stop the Herowars, you stop the destruction of the moon which stops the
creation of the white moon, the return of Dara Happan power, the freeing of
Shargash etc. When you kill Harrek, you no longer kill Jar-eel which means the
Empire is likely to secure its borders and conquer Maniria and presumably a lot
more after that.

At that scale, the cause and effect knock-ons become overwhelming. Changing a
clans politics has much less impact except within the local area. It might
change history a little but it won't unravel the whole mythic and historical
weave that makes Glorantha so damn interesting.


Harrek and the others must have a defence against criticals because the laws of
probability indicate that they would be very dead by now otherwise.

Martin Laurie


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