Re: Blank Balastor etc

From: Loren Miller (loren@wharton.upenn.edu)
Date: Sat 24 Jan 1998 - 02:03:45 EET


richard <richard.develyn@nwpeople.com> sez:
> I am reaching the conclusion that I cannot play in THE Glorantha - and
> I'm a bit disappointed about that.

Here's the problem. Gloranthan information covers a span of years. If your
campaign has any powerful characters they are sure to change something
about the way Glorantha works in those years. There's no way around it. And
in all the other Glorantha campaigns things will change differently. There
is no possible way that your campaign and everybody else's campaign can
mesh perfectly with each other OR the "official" glorantha that comes out
of Greg's neuroses, obsessions, and whims. It just cannot happen. And the
reason why is that there is already "official" information about the future
timeline. The only setting I've seen that was immune to this was Harn, and
the only reason was that all background development was set in time. It all
was set at a certain date. So once you started your Harn campaign you had
to generate everything that would happen in all the lands from that point
on. Scenarios set far away from where your campaign started would not exist
any more when your characters got to them. That's how Harn made sure that
everyone could play in the official Harn, by only allowing it at one
instant in the campaign, which would forever afterward diverge from
official Harn in which time never changes.

You know what? I'd rather have the problem that I need to change one or two
local event lines than develop all of them at once.

As for Argrath, there is a common theory that Argrath was a composite
figure made up of several heroes who fought against the Lunars. One hid in
the rubble during the cradle incident. Another fought the lunars on board
the cradle. There were plenty more of them, and doesn't it seem peculiar
that the same Argrath who was in his prime in 1618 should still be in his
prime 52 years later in 1670 when he starts off on his heroquest to

retrieve Harmast? Isn't it more likely that there was someone else who
*called himself* Argrath?

> However, if this Head was either returned or destroyed there
> would be tremendous repercussions in the world, and it's unlikely I
> would be able to use the existing Hero Wars stuff without a lot of
> rework on my part.

Untrue. It happens, but why are the people talking about Argrath destroying
the Devil's Head? Your player characters did it, but everybody thinks that
Argrath was responsible. They ask the PCs what Argrath was like in person.
They take to calling the PCs Argrath, and the Lunars take an interest too.
Know what? Maybe some of your PCs were the ones who did the deeds that the
histories state so smugly were Argrath's doing? Don't you know that history
is written by the victor, and generally by an employee of the victor with
the most money and power?

> Now as soon as my new campaign reaches that stage I'm going to start
> having to re-write more and more of the published stuff - especially
> anything that looks forward from my campaign date.

The only way to avoid it is to stop developing Glorantha at a point in
time, and then there's NO hero wars information for you.

Someone on this digest has run a campaign in which the PCs killed the real
Ralzakark (thereby denying Oddi the pleasure) and were capable of defeating
the Kingdom of War or destroying the Castle of Lead. That's not the kind of
action that the official hero wars alot to unknown actors. But you know
what? I think that if your PCs are capable of making changes that major you
should feel honored by the players' skill and interest.

Sure, the history of the hero wars will change, but Greg tells us in his
most recent documents that only 80% or 85% of them should be taken as
truth. The rest is likely to be pure BS. The key is that YOU get to decide
what is true and what is BS in your own official version of Glorantha.

> Unfortunately if you want to provide a campaign which includes a
> developing saga, i.e. you're not just giving a setting, you're giving a
> *future*, especially where that future is a culmination of events which
> have made the setting (and, dont get me wrong, I think you're providing
> a very beautiful thing in doing this), then I as recipient of that
> campaign accept that I will have to have some straight-jacketting. If I
> disagree with that then I can have the "setting" but not the "future".
> However, my complaint is still that the straight-jacketting is too much,
> and I seem to be being told that either I accept it as it is or I
> discard the "future".

You made the same point I did above.

Let me get this straight. You are willing to accept some restriction of
action in order to be freed from the odious task of making up the hero wars
yourself. Plus, you are not willing to accept some restriction of your
actions. Plus, the hero wars aren't written up enough to give you enough to
work with, so you don't get out of the odious tasks in any case. Is that a
fair representation of your position?

Because if it is, then it's a tough position. It's not easy to have your
cake and eat it too.

Back to the point I was making, which is this. The names of heroes are
sometimes more famous than their faces. Who is to know whether it was the
"real" Argrath who rescued Sheng Seleris or someone else who later got
tagged with Argrath's name? Same with Balastor, Jaldon Toothmaker, Jar-Eel,
Hon-Eel, the Red Emperor, Arkat, Harmast, Harrek, Minaryth the Purple,
Kallyr Starbrow, Ironhoof, and so on. Maybe your PCs did EVERYTHING that
was attributed to these people? Why not? Can you say for sure that they
didn't?

- --
Loren Miller <loren@wharton.upenn.edu>
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; but invention is the
sincerest form of criticism.

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