Blank Events etc and THE Glorantha

From: Smith Harald C (smith.hc@mellon.com)
Date: Mon 26 Jan 1998 - 21:03:00 EET


Richard laments:
>I am reaching the conclusion that I cannot play in THE Glorantha - and
I'm a bit disappointed about that.

I'm going to take issue with this statement. Loren already gave a very
good response, but I thought I'd add my two clacks in here.

>It isn't that I'm keen to set up high powered games - it's just that I
am reluctant to set up a campaign where high-powered actions are
ultimately not possible.... we could
have some Rune-level people around. What are they going to do?

I always ended up with high-powered campaigns. My PCs were always working
on becoming rune levels/sorcerors/etc. I wanted them to feel like they
could take part in the Hero Wars--that was one of the things that drew me
to RQ years ago. Did I ever feel like they couldn't because the Hero Wars
were already mapped out? No, because the Hero Wars aren't already mapped
out.

You ask about having Blank Events/Blank Heroes. I argue that they exist
and in a flexible timeframe. This is what King of Sartar gives you. Who
are the Blank Heroes? Argrath for one--Argrath means "liberator" (as does
Arkat for that matter). Can't your rune levels be liberators (if they are
Orlanthi or anti-Lunar)? The Red Emperor is another--who is the real Red
Emperor? He may just be a composite of the Egi--powerful Lunars who shape
the Imperial Face. Can't your rune levels be amongst these (if they are
Lunar)? Yes, Jar-eel and Harrek are unique. But are the events they are
credited with actually performed by them? Not necessarily. Did Harrek
really sack Sog City? Even if he did, was there an impact? You can
determine
what it means to sack such a city.

It has been pointed out to me by several people that the characters in
DP are composites or drawn from differing individual heroes simply to get
interesting scenarios. Not all of those "individuals" necessarily crossed
paths. Your hero could be the Argrath of Saird, the leader of the battle
at Dwernapple, or Annstad of Dunstop who wins that battle by seducing
Jar-eel.
(For all we know, Annstad is simply a title, too!). Alternately, the hero
who led that battle could be from my campaign. I had PCs who went on a
great quest to reassemble the treasures of Imther in order to preserve that
kingdom. Though that campaign did not reach a conclusion, ultimately, one
of the PC's would have proved himself to be the new king of Imther and would
have befriended Gonn Orta in the process. It may be this king who brought
the Pass Giant (Gonn Orta) to the battle of Dwernapple and turned the tide
for the anti-Lunar forces.

My point is that most events/people from King of Sartar are Blank Events/
Blank Heroes. Even the timeline is indeterminate. But it is also enough
of a timeline, that you, as GM, can utilize it to your advantage.

>Now you could say that's my own fault for running a campaign with such a
major theme to it - but you know, rune level guys like to do that kind
of thing. It's what gets them away from spending 90% of their time
dusting the temple candelabras.

There are many things rune-levels can do in this period. Quests are amongst
them and I've certainly used them. But they can also be more localized and
have a theme that is as powerful as any long distance quest.
My last campaign found the PC's establishing an Imtherian colony along the
Elf Sea. Bringing a foreign culture into a region is not just "let's set
up fort here". For most colonies to work, their religion needs to work.
That means either placating or defeating the local spirits/deities/etc if
you want your crops to grow, your fort to stay sturdy, your people to have
successful marriages, your folk to stay warm through an icy winter, etc.
There is nothing to say that invocations of ceremonies will not transport
your characters into the Spirit Plane/God Plane while doing so. All stuff
of legend--locally if nowhere else.

>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. This is what
disappoints me. I wanted to use the Hero Wars, in all their detail and
glory. I wanted my characters to be part of it without having to
re-write it.

Well, this depends on where you are playing and how you are interacting
with published stuff. If you are playing in the River of Cradles, then
there are some published dates. The Giants Cradle is said to occur in
1621 as you note. If it occurs in 1622 or 1625 in your campaign, what
does that change? Argrath is said to liberate Pavis in 1625, but maybe
in your campaign there the Giants Cradle comes down in 1625 and sparks a
revolt from the local Lunar government. Word of this revolt spreads across
the plains of Prax to say that Argrath the Liberator has come to Pavis
and now marches west--in reality, it is your PC's fresh from defending
the Giants Cradle who march west and all they have are a few allies with
them. What have you really rewritten? The Brown Dragon still awakens
in 1625 and devours half the Lunar regiments in DP. Your PCs arrive in
the aftermath and become Argraths in their own right, working to liberate
individual clans, who do or don't want your assistance.

>It might limit you, it would *enable* me. You probably know Glorantha so
well that you could allow PCs to do pretty much anything, including
giving them some pretty major quests, and figure out all the
repercussions throughout the world and throughout upcoming events. Your
world would still feel perfectly consistent and beautiful even if some
lucky PC torched the cradle before anyone else saw it. Maybe whoever's
floating the thing down would just send down another one (I mean - what
a *weird* thing to do to your children!). I could make a guess/decision
as to what to do but I'll probably start screwing things up. Maybe there
can only be one cradle; I don't know.

Yes, you can make a guess/decision--that's your job as GM. That's what
makes GMing FUN. There is a rough outline there, but that's the big
picture. And as you go, create the REAL history, the one where it is
your PCs who make the difference--not the history from six hundred years
later done by some pasty-faced scribes who only have scraps of paper left
to go on.

> That's a big part of the problem - there's too much I don't know.
There's an awful lot unpublished as well. That's why I need someone else
to look after the big picture for me - but give me some nice juicy hooks
for my PCs to adventure.

There's always more to know than you (or anyone else) will ever know.
Years ago I made a decision to start a campaign, selected a land which
I thought would be fun (Imther in my case) and created a campaign using
bits of Griffin Mountain, the Genertela Book, and my imagination. The
central point--the King of Imther will die soon without an heir.

Do the same. If you're unsure of possible implications, ask others in
this forum. But it all comes down to you--it is YOUR campaign and it
requires YOUR work to do.

>This is all fine as long as there isn't anything I could do here to mess
up events in the rest of the world.

Even if your PCs accidentally raise Wakboth the Devil in the midst of
Dragon Pass, so what! For the Orlanthi, chaos=kinstrife are your PC's
are now the cause of great kinstrife and have to deal with the consequences
(i.e. they are sent to Hell to rectify their errors). Sounds like a
good campaign to me.

Harald

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