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Keenan Scott
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Heroquesting as truth-creation.

I commented on this post, but it turned into something I wanted to save.

The way I understand heroquesting and history is that it changes history… for them. Belief is truth, in Glorantha, in a way.

I take the beginning of the Theyalans as my model for that: the Lightbringers returned the sun to the sky, but it turned out to be only true for their people. When the Theyalans travelled to celebrate with the rest of the world's people, they found lands of darkness still. The people there didn't have the revelation of the returned sun, because they weren't part of the cult/belief structure of those who returned the sun. Theyalans had to spread the “good word” to other peoples before those other peoples noticed that the sun had returned (and then they became Theyalans themselves).

I see echoes of this in Hero subcults: a subcult is built around a cult secret that says something about the divinity of the Hero. Your subcult gains a cult secret related to this uncovered truth.

So when you heroquest and change history, you come back with a cult secret: a truth that only your cult/culture now holds (that the god lives on and has always been alive, though hidden). The rest of the world see the old truth (the god is really dead and has always been), but your people know better. This can either stay a cult secret, giving your cult power but reducing their influence on the rest of Glorantha's truth, or they can spread the cult itself, make it a major cult, and reveal the new truth to many people, so that even other cults perform similar heroquests and incorporate this truth into their myth structures.

So truth in Glorantha is relative, and heroquesting to change history is easier to understand on that basis. How many people commit themselves to a myth (new or old) is what determines how true it is, and for whom.
 
I am struggling to wrap my head around how to run a Heroquest. I mean, I used to play Everway and many of the Quests in that game are very archetypal psychodramas filled with symbolism, dream-like landscapes, and universal themes. I figure that is how a Heroquest needs to be run BUT there is the matter of how it changes things in Glorantha also.

So, if my players went on a Heroquest to resurrect a long dead hero...how would that play out? Would it make sense that they went into the Godtime to the day she was slain and prevent it from happening by taking on the role of her and her companions in the original, ancient adventure? So, using the same analogy, lets say the heroes succeed and the dead heroine was...never killed? Or returned to life? Does Heroquesting change history?
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I have a Balazaring in my game who may be initiating to Eurmal (or “Trickster Squirrel”) soon. I want to do the initiation on-screen, so I've been thinking of what it might look like. Here's a very rough draft of what might become a portion of the ritual:

—Your kin will abuse you, so you may teach them the right way to live. You are the Fool.
—Your clan will blame you for misfortune, so you may take their burdens from them. You are the Glutton.
—You will be outside the law, so you may be truly free. You are the Thief.
—You will be many, so that you may be yourself. You are the Shapechanger.
—You will be cut apart, so you may never be confined. You are the Dismemberer.
—You will take by wit, so you may always live. You are the Rogue.
—You will ruin, so you may create the world anew. You are the Destroyer.
—You will kill, so you may change lives. You are the Murderer.
—You will die, so that you may live again. You are the Deathfinder.

—You will amuse them, so that they may laugh away their pains. You are the Imp.
—You will cheat them, so that they may learn wisdom. You are the Mask.
—You will entice them, so they may recognise their harmful desires. You are the Seducer.
—You will terrify them, so that they may live in peace. You are the Fright.
—You will teach them terrible things, so that they may live. You are the Firebringer.
—You will betray them, so that they may see the path. You are the Downboy.

—Your people will reject you, so you may become invaluable to them. You are the Trickster. You are Squirrel. You are Eurmal!
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If you get a chance, go see "Tanna", the first feature film ever made in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. It's an authentic tale of a forbidden romance in the midst of a tribal war, and features wonderful performances by "Kustom-lifestyle" villagers who'd never seen a film before, let alone acted in one. (It also features the immortal line, "Catch her! She stole my penis sheath!", and a brief cameo appearance from the islanders' living god, Prince Philip.)

There's so much to draw upon and think about from it for Glorantha - the interactions between the tribal chieftains are wonderful (in "King of Dragon Pass" terms, there's definitely a Peace Clan and a War Clan involved, with a Balanced Clan in the middle), and the parts where the tribal shaman takes his granddaughter up to the volcano to listen to the spirits there could have been filmed in Caladraland. A scene where the star-crossed lovers briefly toy with the idea of taking refuge with the nearby Christian converts, only to be "weirded out" by them, made me think of Lunar missionaries and their white shirts. 

My wife and I actually went to Tanna island about 17 years ago. We visited Yakel village (and the nearby active volcano) where the film was made. It was an amazing experience, and it's great that this film can respectfully and entertainingly bring a story about the lives of the people there to a wider audience. The film is based on real events that happened in 1987 that led to the Kustom villages changing their tribal marital laws. How this is expounded in the film could happen in exactly the same way in a HeroQuest-Glorantha game...
With its magnetic cast and Venice award-winning cinematography, this film treads the familiar theme of star-crossed lovers with shimmering vitality
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Keenan Scott

Myth and Culture  - 
 
I have a Balazaring in my game who may be initiating to Eurmal (or “Trickster Squirrel”) soon. I want to do the initiation on-screen, so I've been thinking of what it might look like. Here's a very rough draft of what might become a portion of the ritual:

—Your kin will abuse you, so you may teach them the right way to live. You are the Fool.
—Your clan will blame you for misfortune, so you may take their burdens from them. You are the Glutton.
—You will be outside the law, so you may be truly free. You are the Thief.
—You will be many, so that you may be yourself. You are the Shapechanger.
—You will be cut apart, so you may never be confined. You are the Dismemberer.
—You will take by wit, so you may always live. You are the Rogue.
—You will ruin, so you may create the world anew. You are the Destroyer.
—You will kill, so you may change lives. You are the Murderer.
—You will die, so that you may live again. You are the Deathfinder.

—You will amuse them, so that they may laugh away their pains. You are the Imp.
—You will cheat them, so that they may learn wisdom. You are the Mask.
—You will entice them, so they may recognise their harmful desires. You are the Seducer.
—You will terrify them, so that they may live in peace. You are the Fright.
—You will teach them terrible things, so that they may live. You are the Firebringer.
—You will betray them, so that they may see the path. You are the Downboy.

—Your people will reject you, so you may become invaluable to them. You are the Trickster. You are Squirrel. You are Eurmal!
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One thing that occurs to me about advancement and the HQ:G system... the problem arises that for a player concerned with "winning" most of their engagements (itself a problematic construct, but bear with me for a sec), the dominant strategy is to choose one or two abilities to keep improving, and try desperately to link everything to those two keywords, even when inappropriate, until you reach the point of storyteller fiat that no, you cannot use your XYZ rune for Everything. 

If the difference between the top abilities and my less-favored one is greater than 12, then mechanistically, you would always prefer to take the stretch penalty (-6) over the less-good ability, even if it is perfectly appropriate (+6).

HQ:G acknowledges this problem, and suggests the addition of some "catch up levels" each time those big abilities round out a Mastery level, but this strikes me as a sort of "patch" to the system that doesn't affect the underlying incentive structure. 

Something that occurs to me is to make the Stretch penalty (and the bonus for appropriateness) grow in proportion to the difference between highest ability and 13 (the default rating for a new ability). 

Now, obviously, there are some minor bookkeeping questions there, but has anyone experimented with this?  Initial thoughts about how this would Break The System Terribly?
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Posted my Glorantha intro for virgins to Nick's thread and found some other background stuff for my now complete Sartar campaign.  Here's a sample.  COWS.  Let me know if anyone wants more:

COWS

Sartarites think of wealth in terms of cows.  For some people, this is an abstract measurement, like horsepower.  But for anyone living outside Sartar's seven or eight cities, this is a very real measurement.  You own cows.  You spend cows.  You trade for cows.
 
One cow is worth one gold piece or about twenty silver pieces.  
 
Gold pieces are called Wheels because they have a wheel stamped on them.  They are minted by the Dara Happan (Solar) trade cult of Lokornos, the wagon god.  
 
Silver pieces are called a variety of things.  Most of the silver in circulation in Sartar are Lunars, minted by the Lunar trade cult of Etyries.  They have the Emperor's face on one side and an image of the Red Goddess on the other.  Sartarites don't much like these coins and often deface the coins or rub them down so the images are not discernable.  Still, they're convenient to use and have gained some popularity, especially in the cities.
 
There are other silver coins in circulation.  The old Sartarite princes minted silver Crowns which featured images of the reigning Prince on one side and one of his major building projects on the other.  Many Crowns are still in circulation.  The merchant guilds of the Holy Country to the south mint silver Guilders which display various trade guild insignia on one side and Issaries runes on the other.  Guilders are fairly numerous.  Most Sartarites call all silver coins Guilders, regardless of their origin.  
 
There are also smaller coins in circulation.  Dwarves mint and circulate Klaks, small copper coins.  Dwarves also trade in Nails, actual function Bronze carpenter's nails.  Finally, Trolls trade in Bolgs, lumps of non-magical lead.  Bolgs have a practical use in that a Troll can throw 10 Bolgs into his mouth, chew them for a while, and spit out a lump of lead useable as a sling stone.  Few humans will accept Bolgs in trade.
 
Exchange rates:
 
1 Wheel = 1 Cow = 4 Sheep = 20 Lunars = 20 Guilders = 20 Crowns = 200 Klaks = 200 Nails = 400 Bolgs.
 
Most prices are stated in Lunars.
 
But back to Cows.  All your characters own Cows.  Your Cows are Milk Cows, and live in the Clan herds.  Clan herds are kept by each bloodline separately.  Because you are busy adventuring and saving the world, your Cows have your personal brand on them.  They are cared for by Cottars, low ranking freemen who don't have their own farms.  They harvest the cows' milk (and meat when necessary) in exchange for watching over your Cows.  In a normal year, you number of Cows stays steady, with births replacing loss from slaughter, predators, etc.  In a good year, you may gain a Cow or two of wealth.  In a bad year, you may lose some Cows.
 
Your bloodline pays taxes in cows.  There are four types of tax:
 
Clan Tax:  Cows are given to the Chieftain to pay for Clan expenses.  This is normal and expected.
 
Tribal Tax:  Cows are given to the Balmyr tribe for tribal expenses.  This is normal and expected even though the Balmyr King is a crazy, useless, greedy bastard.
 
Protection Tax:  Cows are given to the local Dragonnewt city (to the North, where the Splittongues live).  In exchange the Dragonnewts patrol the wilderness around you, keep monsters away, and don't kill you all.  This is normal and expected.
 
Lunar Tax:  Cows are given to the Lunar Authority in Wilmskirk.  This is bullshit.  You have to pay to be oppressed?  WTF?  The old Princes of Sartar did not tax directly, they took their tax from the Tribal Kings, who got it from the Tribal Tax.  The Lunar Tax is a burden.  Treefell Clan cheats on their Lunar Tax.  When the Clan was first assessed, the Lunar Authority only counted two of the seven Treefell Bloodlines (Inwall and Outwall) and neglected to count the five bloodlines that live up the cliff (Upcliff, Windfollower, Splittongue, Fallhead, and Creekside).  For the last 18 years, the Treefell Clan has only paid 2/7ths of their Lunar Tax.
 
After taxes and such, the Treefell clan herds are fairly stable.  This is in contrast to many other local clans whose herds are slowly shrinking due to the extra tax, an increase in raiding, more predators, deserters, outlaws, etc, etc, etc.
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Eight pages of evocative goodness.
 
There's no way to be absolutely sure that my first recommendation to this curation is the right one but... But... I'm pretty sure this is about as close as I'm gonna get to the perfect first. The Night Garden by +Curt Thompson is an eight page long, playable, beautiful BEAUTIFUL game. It's also free, so, very accessible to get us started. Curt's awesome as a human being, and his compassion and inside beauty shows in every phrase of this game. Read it. Play it. Do it. 
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Famous Ducks of the Hero Wars! No. 3. Next ('Next Year', at this rate): Duck cavalry. (Not Duck Calvary. Behave.)
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Yessssss Ducks
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Keenan Scott

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Remember, ISIS long ago publicly declared their strategy is to get non-extremist Muslims hated in the West, so that ISIS is the only place they'll be welcome, and they'll grow.

Don't dance to ISIS's tune. Refuse to hate the innocent.
 
This seems like a fairly accurate framing of the thing, to me.
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Do you think there's a deliberate parallelism in 'King of Sartar' between Sartar and Argrath? Sartar, building a pretty great kingdom without use of (hardly any) violence; Argrath, participating in ruining the world through all-out magical warfare. In particular, Sartar handling the Telmori Question through their inclusion in the kingdom, and Argrath handling the Telmori Question through genocide and then skinning them for war magic?

Sartar seems like a genuinely great guy; Argrath looks like a bit of a douche even in his own propaganda piece.
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Some early concept sketches we've been working on. Some of you might recognize a few names and characters...
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Some early concept sketches we've been working on. Some of you might recognize a few names and characters...
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