"Prince Argrath: The Gloranthan Storytelling Game"

From: Michael Schwartz (mschwartz@mindspring.com)
Date: Fri 31 Oct 1997 - 06:41:48 EET

Hey folks,

While reading David Dunham's excellent "PenDragon Pass" rules recently, I
was struck by the notion that a more freeform set of mechanics might
better model "Gloranthan reality" as well as being easier to learn and
play. Hence, I've begun work on a variant of Pendragon's younger brother,
_Prince Valiant_, which I call "Prince Argrath".

For those unfamiliar with _Prince Valiant_, the basic mechanic involves
throwing a number of coins equal to the appropriate attribute, skill or
combination thereof and comparing the number of coins which come up heads
against an opposing coin toss or a difficulty factor. Modifiers, such as
for armor, fame, injury or morale, may increase or decrease the number of
coins which a player has available to throw for a given resolution.

The advanced game adds further options to character creation and reward,
and introduces the notion of cooperative storytelling via shared
gamemastering opportunities. Ordinary dice suffice in place of coins, as
the "either-or" probabilities of the coin toss are expressed equally well
using even-odd die rolls.

"Prince Argrath" will add a third attribute (Insight) to govern character
interaction with the Other Side, as well as rules for divine invocation,
folk magic, mythmaking, religious ritual, sorcery, and spirit combat.
Emulating one's god (or a cultural hero) on a heroquest becomes as easy
as roleplaying the appropriate personality trait perhaps combined with a
successful Ritual or Emulate (deity/hero) or Mythology throw.

My intent is to focus on the characters' interaction and identification
with their cultural myths, rather than on speculative heroquest in the
manner of Arkat, Ethilrist or Harrek. It will certainly be *possible* to
strike out on entirely new heropaths within the framework of "Prince
Argrath" but, as a general rule, such activities are beyond an ordinary
character's capabilities even with the support of clan and cult. However,
ordinary people are sometimes thrust into extraordinary circumstances
which require they transcend their limitations and become *more* than
they once were. This is the essence of what Gloranthans call the Hero
Path, which our more mundane world names "personal growth".

I'm certainly open to collaboration and/or brainstorming with my fellow
Gloranthaphiles. I hope to eventually publish "Prince Argrath"
electronically or as a GloranthaCon Compendium insert, Greg willing.
Perhaps both. Feel free to contact me at the email address below if

Michael Schwartz mschwartz@mindspring.com Ann Arbor, MI USA
"What if life actually *was* fair, and we somehow deserved all the
truly awful things that happened to us?" -- Marcus Cole, Babylon 5


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