Freezeday, 6th week of Earth Season, 1625
East of Nochet, in the plains beneath the Shadow Plateau there lies a manor house of Mirava, daughter of Celesta, of the Hulta Clan. However, this is not her story, it is the story of those that surrounded her, and their rise to greatness.
Earlier in the year, Mirava had finally married. Against her family’s wishes she married a handsome young Lunarian nobleman who stay behind in Esrolia when the Lunar armies had been pushed out after the Battle of Pennel Ford. He was called Illario, son of Fazzur and was loyal to King Pharandros. He was badly wounded, and abandoned by his unit. Upon later hearing of the rift between General Wideread and the King, disillusioned with how things were going for the Lunar Tarsh, he stayed in Esrolia with his cousin Vostor at his side.
After a whirlwind romance, he married a local noblewoman and moved out of Nochet to her family estate with lands near the Trollwash. Vostor, idolizing his cousin now acts as his retainer and constant companion. Life on the estate is not hard, but it was difficult for Illario to find true acceptance with Mirava’s people given his background and heritage. Still he tried each day to show them his honorable nature and true intentions.
This is our first player character, played by Allen. Illario, son of Fazzur (not that Fazzur), Lunar Tarsh Nobleman, and Initiate of Humakt. At the start of the session he asked me if he could have a retainer that was family. The book says you have to pay for retainers, unless they are family. I had him make a Reputation roll. He succeeded, and thus was born the first retainer of many this nobleman will likely have: Vostor, cousin of Illario. We also discussed the make up of Illario’s (Mirava’s) 5 hides of land. Two are for growing of grains and other crops, one is an orchard, one is graze land for a herd of sheep, and the other is graze land for a small herd of cattle.
Among the people working on Mirava’s estate was her trusted advisor, Irvanos. A member of the cult of Lhankor Mhy, Irvanos acts as scribe and advisor to Mirava’s household. Esrolian born and raised, Irvanos has spent little time outside of the temples of Lhankor Mhy and the various estates he has served as scribe at. He had been at several major battles, but not as a warrior, but an advisor and caretaker of maps and the like.
After marrying Illario and returning their manor, Mirava introduced Irvanos to Illario almost immediately. After Illario had left the room she pulled Irvanos aside. “I love him,” she said, “But I do not trust him. You will advise us, and you will watch him, and be my eyes on him when I am not able.” Irvanos gulped and nodded. He had a feeling keeping an eye Illario would mean stepping well outside of his comfort zone. He was soon proven correct, in a most harrowing way.
This is our second player character, played by Steve. Irvanos, son of Orestina, Esrolian philosopher, initiate of Lhankor Mhy, and sorcerer. We are still working through his role in the party outside of the plot. His sorcery is limited in usage (as any starting RQG sorceror is), so we will have to see if it develops well for him. He had little to do in the coming conflict, hopefully Steve won’t get too bored before he develops.
In a sacred grove just outside of Mirava’s lands there lies a grove. The humans of the area just call it the Grove, or the Elf Grove. The Aldryami call it the Grove of Milindiana, named after the druid that lives in the massive oak tree looking over a idyllic pond in the center of the kilometer wide forest. Once a part of the Tangle, now disconnected from the Tangle by years of harvesting, wars, etc.
To this grove has come Lieren, a young green elf Priestess-Shaman of Aldrya. Milindiahna wishes to grow a new grove further into the human lands. She has had good relations with the local humans, and feels that young Lieren is the perfect emissary to help secure lands on which to grow this new grove. Additionally, Milindiahna senses great power within Lieren, and knows with time, her rune magic will grow strong enough to grow such a grove. Within Milindiahna’s shadow is another Dryad, Milindiahna’s daughter. The grove will be hers when she matures.
The third player character is played by Read. Lieren, the green elf priestess-shaman of Aldrya. We used the rules in the Bestiary to create the character. We know the Dryads mate with elves. Is this the way young Dryad’s come about? I assumed so, I also thought it made sense that they would not bond with a tree until they reached maturity, so finding a grove for her not yet mature daughter would motivate Milindiahna to have some of the elves that protect her interact with the humans. Specifically, Read’s character.
Lieren left the grove and explored the village of Laodice, near the manor, causing a bit of a stir among the locals. While they know Aldryami live in the grove, they rarely see them. Word reached Mirava and she summoned her husband, asking him to go to the grove to inquire as what it is the elves were looking for in the village. Mirava told Illario to take Irvanos and Egajia with him on the journey. While he had met Irvanos many times, living in the same household, he did not know Egajia well.
A Praxian hunter, Egajia was a veteran of almost as many campaigns as he was. Vostor told him he had been on a campaign in Prax, and the people there herded and ate people. Illario knew this was going to be an interesting journey. Having wandered the lands of Dragon Pass at a young age, taking part in many of the major conflicts within, Egajia settled down after the Battle of Pennel Ford in Mirava’s lands and soon worked for the noblewoman, providing game and leather to her household.
The fourth player character is played by Pete. Egajia, Praxian hunter of the Impala Tribe, daughter of Varaema, initiate of Yinkin. Our joke intro is now complete… “A hunter, a noble, and a sorcerer go to talk to a priestess-shaman…” Yeah, I got nothing.
The following day the four (Illario, Vostor, Irvanos, and Egajia) saddled up three horses and an impala, gathered a gift of two baskets of figs, and a donkey to carry them off and set out to the edge of Mirava’s lands to the grove. Within they could feel someone watching them. Lieren and a brown elf name Evirali watched them. Milindiahna began to sing. While intended to indicate to the humans it was safe to approach, this only caused them to take pause. Lieren stepped onto the game trail they were on and pulled back her leaf cloak, welcoming them.
Illario indicated they were there with a gift, and the group was welcomed into the heart of the grove. There they treated with Milindiahna and Lieren, discussing how Lieren was in the village looking for Mirava to discuss a matter of great importance to the grove. Milindiahna indicated that she knew Mirava. As a devotee to Ernalda, Mirava and the Aldryami of the grove have always gotten along.
This scene had a few dice rolls. Hide, scan, and listen checks, and a lot of Speak Other Language (Esrolian) rolls. I had warned everyone early on the campaign was going to start in Esrolia, so most everyone not native had dropped at least a few points into being able to speak the language. I think the lowest was 30%, giving a 60% chance to understand. Most rolls were made, and jokes about Irvanos correcting grammar and conjugations were common.
I’m not planning on making people roll that check every time they talk, just when complex matters come up, or possibly tense situations. Regardless, everyone got to check a few experience boxes, and we also discussed things like the game systems around being Inspired and having one skill roll aid another skill roll.
In exchange for the gift of the figs, Milindiahna gifted Lieren’s services to Mirava for a season. The young elven priestess would go to the humans serve in whatever manner Mirava would have her. The dryad indicated to the shocked young priestess that this would give he great experience with the humans, and that this could only help their quest to acquire land for a new grove for Milindiahna’s daughter.
The rest of the elves came out of hiding and accepted the gift fruits from the humans and bid Lieren safe travels, knowing they would see her again soon. After all it was a short distance between the grove and the manor.
Returning to the manor with Lieren with them, the heroes met with Mirava who welcomed their new guest. The welcome was short lived, as an old shepherd, one of the tenant families of Mirava’s household came to ask her aid. One of his sons had not returned from tending sheep on the north side of Sweet Berry Hill. Being that the whole manor is within sight of the Trollwash and the Shadow Plateau, he feared the worst for his son. Mirava bade Illario and his new companions to look into the matter with all due haste.
Enough talking! Lets see how deadly this combat system really is! I’d warned the players that Runequest could be deadly, and swingy. We soon found out just how much so.
Upon arriving at the hill, Egajia quickly found tracks of the missing sheep and shepherd heading down into a ravine that lead towards the Trollwash. Irvanos tried to use his sorcery to guide them, but he was having trouble weaving the right energies into place.
Poor guy is made to do one thing. Find things. Failed Meditate. Abandoned that, to try rituals. Failed to do any proper Ritual Preparation. Okay fine. Just roll the spell check. Failed. All three rolls were at or over 50%. Bummer. I decided to only charge him the base cost of the spell, rather than the full intensity, saying that range of the spell would grow as he cast it and when the initial casting did not work he need not spend the rest.
Also, the fact that Lhankor Mhy initiates don’t get spirit magic seemed odd. That means he is reliant on only sorcery and rune magic. Both are really limited. Will have to dig into that a bit more.
Since the tracks led into the ravine they scrambled down in, leaving their mounts behind. Egajia tried to call upon the Air rune to enhance his or his hunting cat’s sense of smell (having lost the tracks) but Orlanth instead decided to challenge the group. A clap of thunder and rain began to pour down into the ravine.
Fumbled on an Air rune magic casting. Fun times.
The group looked for sign of where the sheep and shepherd had gone, but finally Illario saw movement in one direction. They began that way, then began to hear bleating and cries ahead. Both Illario and Lieren’s sugar glider called on their spirit magic power to speed them along their path.
Lieren’s family heirloom is an awakened sugar glider. It lives among the leaves of her cloak or hat.
Soon enough the five heroes came upon a group of Rock Lizards, the missing shepherd and the remains of his missing sheep. The shepherd was down, his leg being ravaged by one of the lizards, while four others engorged themselves on the carcasses of the sheep. The heroes flew to action, Illario and Vostor engaging the closest lizards, while Egajia and Lieren loosed arrows at the unengaged ones.
Did I mention Irvanos feels useless in a fight. No armor, a dagger, and sorcery spells that are all about knowledge. Also, yes, I totally stole this fight from the Quickstart. I just wanted to see how fighting went and didn’t think throwing a troll at them early was a good idea. Even though I set that up narratively, I don’t want to just be like, oh the only danger near the trolls are the trolls.
The battle was intense for the heroes, while Irvanos watched from the rear. When Lieren heard something behind them, he spun, just as he was loosing an arrow, or so he thought. Loosing the arrow late into the rock right beside him, it ricocheted off and embedded in the elf’s abdomen! She slumped to the ground. Irvanos rushed up to apply first aid, preventing the elf from bleeding to death while the others finished off the rock lizards. When Irvanos looked up, he saw what had caused Lieren to turn, a sixth lizard approached from behind!
That fumble was dumb. Read rolled a 00 on his Elf Bow attack, then a 97 on the fumble chart. Hitting himself in the abdomen with an arrow? Ricochet? I should have ruled that differently. Same damage same, everything, but it should have been her slipping in the mud while turning and getting impaled on a sharp rock or something. You don’t accidentally shoot yourself with a bow.
There are all sorts of other things you can do to injury self while using a bow, shooting your own abdomen is not one of them. Heh. The mechanical result would not have changed, I just didn’t like the narrative I used to explained it. I’ll blame it on it getting late.
Vostor had both legs clawed up in the combat and was not in any shape to join Illario as he charged the final beast, knocking it back and off its feet. Irvanos tried stabbing it with his dagger, but failing that quickly fell back and let the others dispatch the beast. The final beast dispatched, Egajia ran to the shepherd, but found him deceased. Illario wondered if they had been more brave, might they have rushed in and engaged the lizards rather than using the tactics they landed on, might the boy still be alive.
Lieren and Vostor were healed with spirit magic. Upon regaining consciousness, Lieren used her own spirit magic to heal herself the rest of the way. Gathering up the boy’s body, the lizard, and sheep carcasses, they all returned to the manor. Mirava and the shepherd’s father were saddened by the boys passing, but did not play the companions, for they knew that had done what they could Illario was not sure they had.
Illario made a check against his loyalty for the village/manor’s people, and I gave him an increase like a skill check, representing his failure to save the boy driving him to want to show the people of the village and manor even more that he could be their protector. At this point the session was over, so we did end of season bookkeeping.
Everyone picked one thing to be researching, and rolled that and all their normal skill checks. We dug into holy days, etc. and just decided rather than go deep into when each cult’s holy days were, with an adventure per season being the normal a seasonal holy day would be allowed after each season. High Holy Days will be up to the player to track, if it matters. Only a few rune points were spent, so it didn’t matter to much, and everyone ended up back at full.
Oh, and the sugar glider raised its POW. Too funny. I considered not letting the NPCs/awakened animals not get better, but thought I would leave that up to the players. If Allen wants to make skill checks for Vostor, that’s fine.
All in all I think we had a lot of fun in our first real foray into Glorantha. It felt Bronze Age(y) enough. We are still figuring out somethings, like some of the more intricate complexities of strike rank, how to make Irvanos interesting during fights, etc. But all in all I felt the session was really fun.
I’m trying to go very much based on the players and their characters, not plan some great plot and narrative ahead of time.
I’m going with the idea of prepping the area and some minor plot hooks, but not digging in doing deep session prep and seeing what I can get away with if I just know enough about the world, the rules, and so forth. So far so good. I had none of the stuff with grove planned before hand, all I knew was where the manor was, because I knew Allen’s character was married into his holdings, and that there would be a rock lizard/shepherd thing.
Everything else was off the cuff, and flowed really well.
Hope this is helpful to others, or at least an entertaining read. – Jared