09 May 2018

Back From Chimériades VI

Back from the first con in con season! Funnily enough I was re-reading my 2016 report from Chimériades V, and at the time I was complaining that I had had too much work and hadn't been able to prepare anything for refereeing. Well... apparently April is a bad month for me because I experienced a much similar situation. As a result, the following is also going to be a very short report.


I will refer you to past blog posts for information about the incredible location, the beautiful château, the breathtaking views... The first piece of news is that this was officially the very last Chimériades con, as organisers extraordinaire Camille and Philippe expressed their desire to do something else in the future. There were various rumours circulating about other people organising a similar con in the future in the same area (Provence) but nothing your favourite sleuth could get any firm confirmation about.

True to its roots (and, to be honest, also due to Mark Rein·Hagen's accidental absence), the 6th edition of Chimériades was very much Glorantha- and RuneQuest-centred. It was heartening to see that, even though the last widely-distributed French-language RuneQuest edition set in Glorantha (the Oriflam one) dates back to 1987 –more than 30 years ago!–, there is still a large fanbase, and younger RPGers are still attracted to the game (the amazing art and maps for the upcoming RuneQuest:Glorantha that were being shown around probably helped).
Also, I felt more French gamers than usual made an effort to play in English.

As a result, maybe up to 1/3rd of the gaming tables were RQ:G tables. This bodes well for the future. Speaking of the future, we had several informal chats with the Chaosium staff present at the con: Jeff Richard (Vice President and Creative Director), Jason Durall (RQ line editor), Neil Robinson (COO), and also with several freelancers and/or 'old sages' who are currently helping Chaosium on the gigantic effort to rekindle our favourite game, plus there was a big panel on Monday morning about the future of the RuneQuest line.

I guess the news everyone is most eager to hear about is with regard to the new core book. Well, we had a physical printout of the core book and it looked really finished, i.e., it included layout and art. The PDF should be available around mid-June, and the dead tree version around early August. The next books in the pipe are the ones that will complete the initial RQ:G triptych, namely the Bestiary and the GM Pack. These should be available around early December, although it wasn't clear if that would be in PDF or dead tree format.
The Bestiary is not only a Gloranthan creatures book (over 150 creatures, with stats and with a piece of art for each creature); it also contains everything needed to play non-human characters (chargen, cults, etc.). The GM Pack is really a setting pack, a Sartarite sandbox centred on the Colymar clan, with an astonishing map of Clearwine that was circulated, several scenarios, and a heavy emphasis on statted NPCs with a comprehensive background. Early 1626 Apple Lane will be the default base for player characters, in a kind of Wild West atmosphere of lawlessness after the demise of the Lunar Empire.

Many other books are currently being worked on, including some that are in an extremely advanced state of completion (i.e., they are not vapourware) like the Gods of Glorantha book, of which a printout was available for our perusal. The book contains lots of extended writeups or even entirely new ones, all in the familiar format from Cults of Prax. The cults in the Gods of Glorantha book are mostly player character-oriented cults; Jeff is working on a Cults of Terror-like book for the Chaotic cults. This latter book will probably include scenarios since it will be supposed to be read by GMs only.

Next in the pipe is a GM Book with rules for heroquests, magic items, and 'high-level' characters that is currently being playtested, and several other exciting ones, about which I have alas sworn an oath of secrecy.

the Chaosium panel

But Chimériades is not only Glorantha.  My first game was in Jason Durall's Lone Star, a new RPG set in the independent Republic of Texas (1836-46, much smaller than today's state). The game uses the Pendragon engine, and, surprisingly enough, runs really well. As someone who really likes the Old West genre and its tropes, I am looking forward to this game, as there is a glaring absence of West-themed role-playing games WITHOUT magic/undead/whatnot in them.

My other two RPG games were both RQ:G games, one also by Jason with a short incursion into the Dream World, and the other one by Andrew Jones, which was a Runequestification of the introductory HeroQuest Red Cow scenario.

playing the introductory Eleven Lights adventure

And, last but not least, I played two games of GMT Games' Command and Colours: Napoleonics on a giant table with painted miniatures, all created and refereed by the immensely resourceful and talented Grégory Privat (with help from Jean-François Bounes). We played with four people per side: one commander-in-chief, who played the command cards and who was not allowed to touch the miniatures or the dice, and three generals, one per battlefield section, who ordered and moved the units, and rolled the dice. Each commander-in-chief had 5 command cards and could use two cards per game turn that were given to two of the generals, the third general only being allowed to order a single unit (the one stacked with their leader). The orders also had to be sent at the end of that side's previous turn, in order to simulate the time it took for orders to reach the leaders from headquarters. As a result, we were always one turn late in term of reaction possibilities, which realistically enhanced the fog of war impression, and which basically added fun.
This being a game by Grégory, we also had fun objectives such as retrieving Wellington's ale barrels (for the British player) or the marshal's favourite caterer (for the French) for extra victory points.
A beautiful gaming table, fun rules, nice fellow gamers, two victories in a row— this was definitely my favourite part of the con ☺

pictures by Andrew Jones and Jean-François Bounes

19 April 2018

Upcoming Book by Chaosium: ‘The Gods of Glorantha’

This piece of news is so important for fans of Glorantha and RuneQuest that I am copying it verbatim from Chaosium’s web-site:

The Red Goddess, by Jacob Rebelka

(This is Jeff Richard writing) ‘I just finished the draft manuscript of The Gods of Glorantha, which is about 50 RuneQuest cults done long-style (as was done in Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror).
We’re going to include all the old favourites like Storm Bull, Humakt, Yelmalio, and of course Kyger Litor (albeit fully updated and expanded for the new rules), and cults that feature major overhauls like Orlanth, Ernalda, Maran Gor, Lodril, and Yelm, plus plenty of cults that have never had a long version write-up before (like say Babeester Gor, Dayzatar, Gorgorma, Lokarnos, Odayla, Valind, even the Red Goddess, and plenty of others). This is the culmination of work I first turned to after we finished putting the Guide to Glorantha together, and I finally have a vehicle to get this into print!
The book is done with a strongly God Learner perspective, and provides lots of guidance as to Gloranthan mythology itself. You won’t need anything other than the RuneQuest rules and maybe the Bestiary to use this book (since obviously if you want to make Kyger Litor, Zorak Zoran, or Aldrya worshippers, you’ll probably want stats for dark trolls and elves!). And for grognards, the new information and revelations will definitely make this a must-have.
This is going to be a big book – probably the size of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rule Book – and it is going to take time to get the art commissioned on it (and I am sure we’ll be editing and tweaking this for quite some time). But the manuscript now exists— we might even make a few copies of it available at some point in the not so distant future.
And just to be a completionist, I’ve been finishing up the cult descriptions of the Cults of Terror – the updated and revised write-ups of the main gods of Chaos. These cults won’t be included in The Gods of Glorantha, since they are antithetical to most of the gods (although the Red Goddess might disagree), and because they are really not intended as player character cults. But having that done now helps us have resources for the scenario writers.’

As a RQ referee, I do hope we will also be able to have access to the latter cult write-ups!

16 April 2018

The Design Mechanism to produce the Lyonesse RPG

I must admit I haven't followed the RuneQuest 6 line much since its rebranding as “Mythras” and its departure from the Gloranthan roots of RuneQuest.

Anyway, The Design Mechanism have just released an announcement about the upcoming release of a stand-alone, fully-fledged role-playing game based upon the Lyonesse Trilogy, a high fantasy trilogy by Jack Vance. The ‘engine’ of the Lyonesse role-playing game will be based upon the Mythras rpg.

It is unclear at the moment how much the Lyonesse rpg will differ (or not) from Mythras, especially with regards to the magic system(s), but The Design Mechanism will certainly communicate on the various groups dedicated to Mythras on social media (G+, MeWe...)

mock cover

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Sample Page Revealed

As you already know if you are a true blue Glorantha and/or RuneQuest fan, play tests for the new RuneQuest rules are over, and the new rulebook, simply titled RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is currently at the layout phase.

Jeff Richard has declared on social media that he was aiming at having the art not only embellish but also illustrate the rules. Here is one of the samples he has posted:

13 February 2018

13th Age in Glorantha - PDFs Delivered to Backers (At Last!)

At last! Backers of the 13th Age in Glorantha crowdfunding campaign have received the PDFs of the two books that were part of the basic pledge:

  • The rule book for 13th Age in Glorantha itself (466 pages),
  • The new stat-less, engine-neutral Glorantha Sourcebook (226 pages) that sets the gaming clock forward to the time of the Hero Wars.

Both PDFs will be available for general purchase from the chaosium.com web-site later this month, respectively at USD 26.95 (appr. EUR 22) and at USD 19.95 (appr. EUR 16).
Now I have 692 pages of Gloranthan goodness to read, so I think I am going to disappear from public life for a while...

06 February 2018

13th Age in Glorantha - Infinity Rune & Earth Priestess

Another incredibly inspiring piece from the upcoming 13th Age in Glorantha book. Can't wait for the book to be out... Even though I am not planning to use that particular rule set, I know I will extensively mine the book for ideas and inspiration.

10 January 2018

Hearts in Glorantha, issue No.6

Issue No.6 of the British Gloranthan magazine Hearts in Glorantha is available for pre-order. If you purchase it, you get the PDF right away, and the dead tree version once it's available.

If you only want the PDF, it will be available from Drivethrurpg later on.


09 January 2018

John Carter of Mars RPG

The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the John Carter of Mars role-playing game by Modiphius is live! And since it is the first day, and it has already reached £17,532 out of £20,000, it is certainly going to be funded.

The system's engine is called 2D20, and it is the very same engine as the one for the new Conan RPG, which I have tried and enjoyed at the Eternal Con in 2016.

There are many different pledge levels, and lots of add-ons. Actually maybe too many pledge levels— I have trouble figuring out which pledge level you must choose depending on what you want to get. For instance, there doesn't seem to be a way to only get the PDFs (which is what I would have liked to pledge).

You may want to download the sample chapter to get an idea of how Modiphius have rendered Barsoom as a role-playing setting.

05 January 2018

City Generator

There is a nifty on-line City Generator available here. It says 'mediaeval city generator', and Glorantha is an ancient world rather than a mediaeval one, but I still find it extremely useful to prep my RQ games.

I haven't fully explored all its options, and in particular the implications of the toggle on/off of the various features (some of them seem to remove the previous ones), but once I master the tool I will probably post some bits of advice on how to use it, and maybe on how to Gloranthise the results.

Also the City Generator has quite a community of users who submit new ideas to the developer, meaning the tool is probably bound to get further improvements (e.g., numbered buildings).