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Author Topic: Settlement of Dragon Pass Game  (Read 3749 times)
rstites
Member

Posts: 12


« on: August 21, 2006, 08:54:54 PM »

I'm starting a HQ game this Friday that will center around the (re)settlement of Dragon Pass in Glorantha.  I think it'll be a good place to start for a group that's not familiar with Glorantha since they'll be playing players that are new to the area and exploring it for the first time.  (This means less of the knowledge curve to get into Glorantha, hopefully!)

I want their characters to be the leaders of the clan, so am planning on having them start with some significant experience.  I was planning to ask opinions about this, and I'll still take them.  However, I found Mike's page on creating veteran characters and might just use that as is:  30 Advanced experience points to keywords, 100 points to other abilities, and a special ability/item/followers/etc.  I want the characters to be up-and-comers or even leaders on the current clan ring.  Any comments,  suggestions, or criticism?

I'm also looking for some ideas for the first session of play.  They'll create their characters at the beginning, but I'm hoping to have time to introduce them to the setting and give them something to do.  Obviously I'm doing this blind since I don't even know what their characters are at this point.  Any good ideas out there?  I'm hoping to have them narrate what lands they settle and why...and add as much detail as they're comfortable with,  but I'd also like to be prepared if they feel overwhelmed by that in the first session.

Ross

PS.  Mike, thanks for introducing me to the group here.  I've been gaming with them all summer now, and did run a short HQ scenario for them a couple of months ago.  Sorry about falling off the face of the earth on my homebrew...other things ate up all my time this summer.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2006, 04:36:57 AM »

Ross,

Glad you're playing. I think the general concept is a good one. Here are some links that might help in terms of content:
 http://www.pensee.com/dunham/glorantha/todp/


As for the experience thing, there's a lot of ways to tailor it. I've given the players a lot of discretion in terms of how high or low they want to go with keywords. This has the tendency to have players "stack," to put as many points on the one thing that interests them most about the character. A more constrained option is to start with a higher base level than 17, and add fewer points. For instance, you could have all keywords start at 2W, and add 15 to these, no more than 10 to any one keyword. Or just say that all keywords start at 7W.

Play around with the parameters to get the characters you want to see.


Regarding what to have in the first sessions...well, as backdrop, I suppose you should pick an area for them to come into, and have some events based on what's likely there. So, for instance, if they settle near snake pipe hollow, they may encounter chaos stuff coming out of it. That's just a guess, BTW, I really don't know Dragon Pass well. But the point is to simply figure out some of the landscape and base the challenges on that stuff.

But, of course, don't count on that as the source of drama. Again, that's just the backdrop. For drama, I can see a few options. The first is that these colonists are pretty early on, and there are no other groups to interact with. In that case, either have them interact with some of the "elder races" or simply have some conflict within the group. Perhaps on the subject of where to settle precisely. Those looking to raise sheep want location X, those wanting to do mining want to be nearer to certain hills, those wanting to hunt want to be near a wood. Something like that.

If they come in later, and there are settlers already there, then the conflicts can be with neighboring clans trying to work out the issues of kingship. The new clan comes into the area, and the leaders have to decide who to support.

I'm sure there are other fun options one can come up with. But the point is to have some central conflict, and then to build NPCs around that conflict who need the PCs for various conflicting reasons. You can start slow developing this, and then when you have your players' heroes, you can then tailor the reasons that the NPCs need the heroes to ensure that they highlight the things that make those characters cool and interesting for the player to play.

Structurally:
1. Decide on a central conflict
2. Build some NPCs who have agendas related to this conflict, and some NPCs who are close to these NPCs
3. Look at the players' character sheets, and look at what the character values (pay special attention to the personality traits, and relationships, but consider their important skills and such as well).
4. Mold the NPCs such that they need the heroes in a way that will highlight their interesting features. If a PC is a warrior, then somebody will seek him out to eliminate a foe, for instance.
5. Make sure that the NPCs approach to the hero or heroes in question will raise some interesting question. If the characters act one way with respect to the request, Good Thing A happens, and Bad Thing Y happens. If they go another rout, Good Thing B happens, and Bad Thing Z happens. Or have the situation have lots of options and various ramifications. But no matter what they decide, things happen.
6. Base further NPC acts and events off of the repercussions of the heroe's choices. NPCs in their clan, and related to the NPCs who approached (and those NPCs as well if they're not satisfied) react to the decision. Make sure that these reactions raise the same sorts of situations that require decisions from the PCs.

Keep this chain-reaction of player decisions and events going until the central conflict is resolved along with all of the other side conflicts that probably have become more important in the meanwhile. This should be enough to keep you going for several sessions if you make the NPC web complex enough. And, then keep pushing the mood by having the dangerous environment pressurize the heroes with attacks, or other problems based on the locale. Again as backdrop, not as the central source of drama.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 05:47:19 AM »

There were supposed to be more links above, but I couldn't find a couple that I had recalled seeing previously.

Mike
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sebastianz
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Posts: 51


« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2006, 08:28:17 AM »

Over at RPGnet there was a thread about roughly the same topic. Therein you can find some links that might be useful.
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=278250

Sebastian.
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rstites
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 01:55:25 PM »

Thanks for the links.  I've already checked them out.  Longterm, I'm good to go.  My problem right now is just trying to find something interesting, but not too cliched for the first evening when I don't know anything about the characters.  I just hate spending an entire evening doing character creation, especially in a game like HQ where it's pretty fast and simple.  I know that I'm going to allow the players to create their background clan(s) and bloodlines as part of character creation.  I also would like to hand as much power over to them for their new tula lands as they feel comfortable with.  If they announce that they "settle in the third valley, with the naiad waterfalls, and plentiful stream because the lands are very fertile...", etc. that'd be great, and I'd roll with it.  Ideally, they'll build as much of this as me because it's such an open concept that their character selections should totally drive where things will go.


As for the experience thing, there's a lot of ways to tailor it. I've given the players a lot of discretion in terms of how high or low they want to go with keywords. This has the tendency to have players "stack," to put as many points on the one thing that interests them most about the character. A more constrained option is to start with a higher base level than 17, and add fewer points. For instance, you could have all keywords start at 2W, and add 15 to these, no more than 10 to any one keyword. Or just say that all keywords start at 7W.

I'm planning to open it up as much as possible.  I'll start them with the standard 4 keywords at 17 and allow them 30 Advanced points to adjust those as they wish.  They can also spend an advanced point to start a new keyword at 13 to show a shift in cultures or one in profession.  Then I'll give them 100 points to buy other abilities, increase them, get followers, etc. I even like the one Special Ability part and will leave it very open to player interpretation.

Quote
Regarding what to have in the first sessions...well, as backdrop, I suppose you should pick an area for them to come into, and have some events based on what's likely there. So, for instance, if they settle near snake pipe hollow, they may encounter chaos stuff coming out of it. That's just a guess, BTW, I really don't know Dragon Pass well. But the point is to simply figure out some of the landscape and base the challenges on that stuff.

This is where I'm struggling actually.  I'm leaving the Dragon Pass geography ambiguous and will let it develop through the campaign rather than trying to stick with anything official.  Like I said above, I'd actually like to see them tell me what kind of location they want to start at, and why.  In fact, ideally the first thing they'll do is hammer out where they're going to settle based on their characters interests:  good farmland, good fishy, good hunting, highly defensible, sacred land, etc.

Quote
But, of course, don't count on that as the source of drama. Again, that's just the backdrop. For drama, I can see a few options. The first is that these colonists are pretty early on, and there are no other groups to interact with. In that case, either have them interact with some of the "elder races" or simply have some conflict within the group. Perhaps on the subject of where to settle precisely. Those looking to raise sheep want location X, those wanting to do mining want to be nearer to certain hills, those wanting to hunt want to be near a wood. Something like that.

What I said above! :)

Quote
I'm sure there are other fun options one can come up with. But the point is to have some central conflict, and then to build NPCs around that conflict who need the PCs for various conflicting reasons. You can start slow developing this, and then when you have your players' heroes, you can then tailor the reasons that the NPCs need the heroes to ensure that they highlight the things that make those characters cool and interesting for the player to play.

Structurally:
1. Decide on a central conflict
2. Build some NPCs who have agendas related to this conflict, and some NPCs who are close to these NPCs
3. Look at the players' character sheets, and look at what the character values (pay special attention to the personality traits, and relationships, but consider their important skills and such as well).
4. Mold the NPCs such that they need the heroes in a way that will highlight their interesting features. If a PC is a warrior, then somebody will seek him out to eliminate a foe, for instance.
5. Make sure that the NPCs approach to the hero or heroes in question will raise some interesting question. If the characters act one way with respect to the request, Good Thing A happens, and Bad Thing Y happens. If they go another rout, Good Thing B happens, and Bad Thing Z happens. Or have the situation have lots of options and various ramifications. But no matter what they decide, things happen.
6. Base further NPC acts and events off of the repercussions of the heroe's choices. NPCs in their clan, and related to the NPCs who approached (and those NPCs as well if they're not satisfied) react to the decision. Make sure that these reactions raise the same sorts of situations that require decisions from the PCs.

Actually, I'm pretty confident I can come up with things once I know the characters.  I was just looking for some ideas going in blind to the first session.  (Well, if I do need help after that, I'll be back asking more!)
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Mandacaru
Member

Posts: 60


« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2006, 07:29:48 AM »

Ross, I don't know if it is too late but I would definitely recommend a halfway house. That's to say, not jumping in to play but setting up a string of say six events to narrate and allowing each player to describe how their character responded to it. Each narration leads to a new ability for the hero is the key - I had at least one needing to be a flaw and one a relationship to one of the other heroes if I recall correctly.

The idea is basically the same as the clan generator which quizzes you about your response to the Pharaoh, to the Uz and so on and so forth.

I kicked off my PbEM game with this, here: http://www.eiderweb.net/firetribe/index.html - see the first seven episodes on the left. I used this to introduce some of the major players in the game as well, the Warriors of the Sun, Chaos of all sorts, the local Zorak Zorani and the local Uroxi. One of the episodes was based upon a Zorak Zoran heroquest.

I think if you did something along these lines it'd allow the players to get into their characters' 'voices' a bit but without too much pressure and is something which can easily be expanded to fill the time available or let them think about for the next session to kick that off. I think it sets a slightly mythical (or something) tone as well as each one is speaking in the past tense.

Sam.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2006, 09:29:04 AM »

I just hate spending an entire evening doing character creation, especially in a game like HQ where it's pretty fast and simple. 
Well, first, I'd say that an investment in an evening to get the charaters so that you then have time to go over them to prep is well worth it. But, first, what I do is to get the characters via email before the first session. This way you waste no time at all in getting going, and have the advantage of knowing what to prepare. If you do it by list and encourage players to talk to each other, then you get the same sort of synergy you get in a group creation session.

Second, actually I'm also all for just diving in. But, in that case, go radical, and just use the "As You Go" method. In OtherWorld demos, I just say, "Four figures come over the horizon - Playe A, what does yours look like?" Which is even more radical than the book version.

Like Sam says, then what you do is create events that spur the players on to decide what their characters are like. This can probably take up the whole first session. For instance:

Quote
I know that I'm going to allow the players to create their background clan(s) and bloodlines as part of character creation. 
OK, have a scene where a godi asks them each to tell a bit of the history of the clan. First character tells a bit, the godi then asks the next character to continue the story, etc.Each can incorporate his character's bloodlines' important contributions as they go.

Quote
I also would like to hand as much power over to them for their new tula lands as they feel comfortable with.  If they announce that they "settle in the third valley, with the naiad waterfalls, and plentiful stream because the lands are very fertile...", etc. that'd be great, and I'd roll with it.
Cool, so have a scene where they wander the newly settled tula, and have them describe it, and why they selected it due to the attibutes (or despite, if they're really creative) that they create.

"The water of the pool is sweet, but there's a sorcerous creature called an Undine that lives in the pool. We've gotten along with it so far."

Quote
I even like the one Special Ability part and will leave it very open to player interpretation.
In hindsight, I'd simply make this into a keyword that doesn't have to belong to any category. That covers most of the "special ability" options. And it means that a magic item or such taken this way will be very special indeed. Instead of a Strong Ability at 10W2, I'd go with having a Strong Keyword that has lots of abilities all of which can augment in certain situations (Lift Massive Load, Shove Opponent, Impressive Biceps, etc). Which will actually make it more effective an an augmenting set of abilities, and less unbalancing in terms of ability "height."

Quote
This is where I'm struggling actually.  I'm leaving the Dragon Pass geography ambiguous and will let it develop through the campaign rather than trying to stick with anything official.  Like I said above, I'd actually like to see them tell me what kind of location they want to start at, and why. 
Well, here's the thing. Dragon Pass, while pretty well enumerated, doesn't have complete detail on what exists throughout. The point is that you can take whatever elements the players create for the place, and put them pretty much anywhere. That is, let's say that you choose to have the big Dragon Newt city nearby (I forget the name). Well, then it just so happens that the place that they chose with all of the attibutes happens to be near that city.

I'm not seeing why their selecting what the tula is like means that it has to be anywhere particularly on the map. Oh, sure, if they say it's rolling country, you can't have it in the mountains. But you can always put it near enough. Also you might just have a few ideas for what to have nearby prepped before hand.

The point is that Dragon Pass has a lot of interesting features, and you might as well grab some to give the backdrop colorful. Maybe they're near spinosaurus flats, with Kero Fin dominating the skyline to the north. Meaning lots of potential religious significance for the mountain, and regular invasions by errant dinosaurs. That sort of thing.

Quote
Quote
... Those looking to raise sheep want location X, those wanting to do mining want to be nearer to certain hills, those wanting to hunt want to be near a wood. Something like that.

What I said above! :)
Well, the difference here is that you're saying that the location is already a done deal. What I'm saying is that you could reel back to the moment of settlement, given them a choice of places to settle, and make the choice of whether to be nearer to the hills, or nearer to the forest, etc, a conflict for them to settle in play. Instead of backdrop that's already established, the decision on where to settle becomes an issue for play to resolve. So, yeah, the whole clan agrees to settle north of Spinosaurus flats (despite the pesky dinos) in some vale of the Dragonspine mountains. Which vale? There are three suitable ones, but each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. You can even create these advantages and disadvantages once you see the characters evolve a little, and can make it contentious between them.

Like the scene can be set up with you saying:

"There are three vales to choose from. Your character likes the furthest north. Why?"

"Player B, your character likes the vale in the middle, why?"

etc.

This gives you some stuff to resolve in play, and it helps define the characters, again.

Here are other sorts of scenes that I put into OtherWorld sorts of games:
 - Have a scene where some stranger arrives on the scene injured. How the characters react to this says a lot about them on a primal level. Do they believe in helping everyone? Are they wary of strangers? Feel that people outside the clan aren't worth helping at all (maybe not even human)? How much resources are they willing to expend on a stranger (make the injury require the use of a herb from outside of Dragon Pass to heal well)? Will they use their magic to heal if they can do so?

 - Present everyone with a survival problem like finding shelter for the night. Maybe the group is out scouting around the countryside, and they get lost, and night is falling. You can learn a lot about somebody by how they respond to such a situation. In terms of both what abilities they bring to bear on this, and how freaked out they get.

 - Have them come across an opening to the Hero Plane when there's some big problem brewing. Indicate to them that they can probably solve the problem with a heroquest of some sort, and that they might want to make it up. This'll say a lot about their beliefs.

Just some ideas.

Mike
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rstites
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2006, 02:08:20 PM »

I just hate spending an entire evening doing character creation, especially in a game like HQ where it's pretty fast and simple.
Well, first, I'd say that an investment in an evening to get the charaters so that you then have time to go over them to prep is well worth it. But, first, what I do is to get the characters via email before the first session. This way you waste no time at all in getting going, and have the advantage of knowing what to prepare. If you do it by list and encourage players to talk to each other, then you get the same sort of synergy you get in a group creation session.

I love the concept, but from what I've seen of this group, a list creation doesn't seem very feasible. 

Quote
Second, actually I'm also all for just diving in. But, in that case, go radical, and just use the "As You Go" method. In OtherWorld demos, I just say, "Four figures come over the horizon - Playe A, what does yours look like?" Which is even more radical than the book version.

I like this idea, a lot.  In fact, I really like the idea of combining it with what Sam has above and you mention below to help them define their characters in the context of the world as they discover it.
 
Quote
I'm not seeing why their selecting what the tula is like means that it has to be anywhere particularly on the map. Oh, sure, if they say it's rolling country, you can't have it in the mountains. But you can always put it near enough. Also you might just have a few ideas for what to have nearby prepped before hand.

The point is that Dragon Pass has a lot of interesting features, and you might as well grab some to give the backdrop colorful. Maybe they're near spinosaurus flats, with Kero Fin dominating the skyline to the north. Meaning lots of potential religious significance for the mountain, and regular invasions by errant dinosaurs. That sort of thing.

Agreed.  I wasn't clear in my first post if you think I meant something different than this.

Quote
Well, the difference here is that you're saying that the location is already a done deal. What I'm saying is that you could reel back to the moment of settlement, given them a choice of places to settle, and make the choice of whether to be nearer to the hills, or nearer to the forest, etc, a conflict for them to settle in play. Instead of backdrop that's already established, the decision on where to settle becomes an issue for play to resolve. So, yeah, the whole clan agrees to settle north of Spinosaurus flats (despite the pesky dinos) in some vale of the Dragonspine mountains. Which vale? There are three suitable ones, but each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. You can even create these advantages and disadvantages once you see the characters evolve a little, and can make it contentious between them.

Like the scene can be set up with you saying:

"There are three vales to choose from. Your character likes the furthest north. Why?"

"Player B, your character likes the vale in the middle, why?"

This is what I wanted.  This does what I was initially after, but also give the characters something to define their differences to start with.  I also like the idea of introducing various early storylines and letting that define some about the characters.  Let them run into some trolls, elves, dwarves, and dragonnewts ask them how they react and why?  Let that define something about the clan's general outlook.  Introduce an initial battle and let them determine what they do with the captured enemy afterwords, etc.  Basically take all those things from the clan generator, but rather than just ask the players about them, introduce something in play for the character to react to and determine from there what the clan's take is.

I also like the idea of the various "vales" and immediately putting them in a position of having different opinions about things.  I'd already thought about doing a round-the-table creation of the clan lands, but it'd be more interesting this way...and take more of the work out of my hands! :)

I like the idea of an early heroquest.  In fact, I know some of the players really want to play with this.  I thought introducing an early quest with a local entity would be a good idea.  If nothing else, the Making of the Storm Tribe quest would be good early one to put the new clan together and tie it into their lands. 

Ross
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2006, 04:26:06 AM »

When you say "local entity"...you're saying some entity worshipped by somebody else local to the group? So called "landscape entities" could, theoretically, have heroquests associated with them, but getting power from such a being can be accomplished more directly by simply going to the being and observing the appropriate form of worship (or even an inappropriate one). So if there's a daimone that inhabits a hill, they just go to it and learn feats from it directly by sacrificing to it. This actually diminishes the entity in question and has it's own set of rules about it generally.

Which is to say, do both. Just realize that there are separate rules for each sort of activity.

I'm going to start a new thread related to this.

Mike
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