Re: Friends and Forts and Convulsion '98

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Tue 03 Feb 1998 - 12:03:09 EET

Paul Wegner asks:

> Anybody have any suggestions on how to catch up fairly quickly? I
> have read Sun County, Lords of Terror, part of Shadows on the Border-
> lands, and most of GoG. I also have a dog eared copy of CoP that I
> have read several times. Besides these products, I have Strangers
> in Prax, an old issue of Wyrm's Footnotes, and the first issue of Codex=

If you want to build on what you have read so you can play games set in
a part of Glorantha, get the following recent products:

River of Cradles campaign background for Praxian games,
                        from Corflu up to Pavis and the Rubble,
                        including RQ3 versions of many CoP cults.

Strangers in Prax adventures featuring powerful foreign NPCs
                        set in several places described in RoC:
                        some fully detailed scenarios, many hooks.

Tales of the Reaching two-part "Praxian Special", including the
   Moon, issues 14-15 RQ3 versions of the cults of Waha and Eiritha,
                        many Praxian Spirit Cults, plus background,
                        map of Wastes, detailed oases, adventures, etc.

The Book of Drastic collection of miscellaneous materials which,
   Resolutions, v.Prax combined with the above, pretty much completes
                        our knowledge about Prax and the Wastes: inc.
                        cults, creature stats, spells, treasures, and
                        background (places, plants, tribes, more!).

Taken together with Sun County, Shadows on the Borderlands, and the
first Codex, that should be enough to get a meaty campaign underway.
Early scenarios: I recommend "Gaumata's Vision" (in SotB) if you want
a Sun County player character group (Yelmalion hoplite militia: the
notorious "uptight Spartans in the Wild West"), or "Troubled Waters"
(in RoC) if you want a more miscellaneous, capricious, or varied PC
party. The pregenerated PCs in RoC are dead good, FWIW.

I have a longer article on David Dunham's homepage ("Nick Brooke's
advice on What To Buy First") that fleshes out the advice above.
Essentially, if you want to know Glorantha, get "World of Glorantha",
"Gods of Glorantha", "Elder Secrets" and "Wyrms Footprints; if you
want to fight overwhelmingly nasty monsters, get "Dorastor: Land of
Doom", "Lords of Terror", and "Drastic: Chaos"; if you want to play
troll games (i.e. humans among trolls, or trolls as PCs), get the
Troll supplements, "Trollpak", "Troll Gods", "Into the Troll Realms",
and "Haunted Ruins". If you want to get *everything*, do so!

For details on what's available (and how to order it), visit these
two websites:

Tales <>

Glorantha <>

Were-Ralph asks a quick one:

> Who or what are Boggles, and where can I read about them?

They're creatures of Disorder. You can read about them in "Wyrms
Footprints" (Celestial Court myth of Uleria and the Boggles), in the
Prosopaedia of GoG (under Ratslaff), and in Tales #14's account of the
Plateau of Statues (esp. p.59, an account of what happened when Sandy
Petersen's players went to the Castle of Boggles, by Jeff Okamoto).

Jeff's "Five Friends" is a lovely idea, which I commend to anyone. The
idea that the "PC Party" could be *either* a sad joke made up of incom-
patible misfits and troublemakers *or* a mythically-resonant band of
doughty tribal saviours makes me giggle unreasonably. Plus, until they
start to prove themselves, nobody will take them seriously at all.

Likewise Harald's suggestion of using Secret Societies -- though this
will generally require all PCs to share one main cult (e.g. Sword
Brother Humakti, Bullock Storm Bulls).

Andrew asks:

> Um, wouldn't [a GL origin for Knight Fort] put it smack dab in the
> middle of the EWF? Who had quite amicable relation with the Praxians?
> (As in, whole tribes belonged to the EWF?)

Firstly, nope. Machine City and God Forgot were certainly within the
Jrusteli sphere of influence, and they're hard by Knight Fort. When you
consider the friendly relations between the Pure Horse Tribe (dominant
in Prax for much of the Second Age) and the EWF -- though I sincerely
doubt this meant they "belonged to" the Empire! -- having a strong fort
on the debatable border between valuable God Learner holdings and the
desolate wastes of Prax appears even more essential.

I'm keen to preserve a distinctively "Western" style for the fort,
rather than have it left over from the Dara Happan look of the Bright
Empire. Krac des Chevaliers works for me -- this is the pinnacle of
Western fortress construction.

Steve Lieb asks about more forts. Yes, they're everywhere, except where
you wouldn't expect to find them. You wouldn't expect to find them in
barbarian countries (where they're tribal population centres and places
of refuge, as there are no "armed forces" separate from the populace:
cf. all the Stockades of the Dragon Pass wargame); you wouldn't expect
to find them in empty nomad countries (like Prax), where most of the
inhabitants don't believe in settling down anywhere (and where settled
inhabitants need protection, so you wouldn't have a settlement in Sun
County without some defences against nomad raiders); you wouldn't expect
to find them in primitive lands like Balazar; and those cover most of

the places we know about in Glorantha.

The West is studded with zillions of mediaeval-style castles, and you
can visit examples in Prax (Knight Fort -- High Jrusteli style, like a
Crusader castle in the middle of the desert) and Dragon Pass (Muse Roost
- -- modern Safelstran style, a "scientific" Renaissance fortification).
In modern regions like Loskalm, they're going for the full concentric
works -- though there have been few castles built in the last century
or so (under the Ban and Idealism), I'm sure there are plans to fortify
the borders now. In backward parts like Jonatela, the "average" castle
is more likely a plain keep or motte-and-bailey mound. Seshnela has the
traditional French-style pointy-turretted towers you see in fairy-tale
illustrations; and King Ludwig the Mad of Bavaria would have felt right
at home in the old fortresses of the Castle Coast.

Carmania has its strongholds for the Great Houses, perched on clifftops
and crags above the "soft" settlements of the serfs below. It also left
great fortifications (often smashed) across the Pelorian Bowl -- for one
example, the city of Haranshold is *not* a "fortified city", but rather
a city built within an ancient fortification, the camp built for the
army of Shah Haran the Great during his ten-year campaign against the
city of Alkoth. (Naturally, this became a place of refuge after the
Dragonkill, but there was no settlement of note there before the Carma-
nian Army).

And we've all seen Lunar military fortifications -- camps and towers
and the like -- most recently in "Tarsh War". The two big differences
between Lunar and Roman fortifications AFAIK are that the Lunars have
not gotten into the business of permanently fortifying frontiers a la
Hadrian's Wall or German Limes (the Great Wall of Carmania, currently
under construction, is a Carmanian initiative), and they don't seem to
build permanently-occupied forts out in the middle of nowhere. Mind
you, the places we really know what the Lunars are up to don't really
count as "the middle of nowhere" -- and the existence of Soldier Fort
on the borders of Balazar is at least a pointer towards what the more
unsettled fringes of the Empire will look like. (If there aren't Lunar
cavalry forts along the Orayan/Redlands border, dashing to the rescue
of embattled frontier settlers, I'm horribly confused).

As for Kralorela, I leave this to the experts: Sandy, Nils and Peter.
They have their Iron Forts (Great Wall of China analogue); I'm sure
they have forts and strongholds and watch-towers within the country.

But the overview we have of Glorantha naturally focusses on population
centres (which we can assume are defended and protected by smaller
outlying fortifications) rather than on the forts themselves. Only in
the regions where the entire population is mobilised or endangered in
war will population centres and fortifications be generally colocated:
by coincidence, this covers most of the parts of Glorantha we know
about: Sun County (fortified villages and temple-towns), the Grantlands
(fortified Lunar settlements and outlying farmsteads), Sartar (clan
strongholds and stockades), the Risklands (Fort Hazard), Balazar (the
three Citadels)...

I wouldn't worry about it, really!

Hanging is a ritually-horrible death for an Orlanthi to inflict on
anyone: it "chokes your wind within you", and leaves it trapped in
the body to rot. Anyone playing a game with a high Resurrection count
should treat death by hanging similarly to death by crucifixion (in
the Lunar Empire) or death by the executioner's Sword (in the West):
a special case, making resurrection more difficult or impossible.

Duncan Rowlands asks:

> Message for any and all organisers of Convulsion '98:
> !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!What's Happening Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Any booking forms, freeform details or anything else available. I
> e-mailed from the web site eons ago and nothing's come back.

Convulsion '98 *is* happening, on July 24-26 this year, at College
Hall, Leicester University, UK. (Same venue as Convulsions 1 & 2,
which has been redecorated and improved since our last visit).

Confirmed Guests of Honour include Greg Stafford, Sandy Petersen and
Michael O'Brien. The major freeform will be Reaching Moon Megacorp's
"Life of Moonson". We are working on the usual mix of events, panels,
games, frolics, etc., and I fully expect to be able to update you
after our next committee meeting (scheduled for 15 February).

Please continue to send any queries about membership, bookings, etc.
to Lewis Jardine <>. If there have been
delays in replying, you may want to contact another member of the
committee (as belt'n'braces) -- and I will do as well as anyone else.

Other committee members include:

        Colin Phillips <>
        David Scott <>
        Rick Meints <>
        Nick Brooke <>

Please do *not* contact David Hall about Convulsion '98: he is not
involved in any part of the organisation of this year's convention
(wisely opining that three cons is enough for anyone), and is getting
cranky about forwarding mis-posted messages to your humble servants.



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