Sunday, November 06, 2011
I am sitting on the couch, reading a biography of Philip K. Dick (Emmanuel Carrere's I Am Alive And You Are Dead), when I hear one of the cell phones in my house ring. But the ring tone, a short piece of the song 'Fokofpolisiekar' by the band of the same name is one that I have not used for many years. Upon further investigation, I find that one of my old cell phones has just received a new text message.
However, this phone, a Motorola RAZR, has not been active for many years. The message is in Italian ("d mi laboratorio") and the number is also an Italian one. Perplexed, I try and make an outgoing call on the phone to see if it has somehow become reactivated. But no, it has not.
I'm at a loss to explain it.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
One of the advantages of a staying at the Red Bear Inn when one frequents the citadel of Trilus is that one is very likely to get a decent room. Alas for the owner, that is not because the rooms are themselves of a much higher quality than those of the other inn in the citadel, the Stuck Pig, but because the Red Bear is not a very popular establishment. It's owner, Regus Whitehair, is a Lunar citizen and Etyries initiate and as such the subject of many scurrilous rumours spread by local Triloi. It's even said that he consorts with demons. (Though come to think of it, perhaps that ain't that unlikely.)
So if you are looking for a bit of quiet downtime to recuperate from your adventure wounds, perhaps this is the inn for you. Or perhaps you have developed a taste for Elkoi Beer and are looking for a reliable source. But if getting to know the locals and hearing all sorts of juicy rumours is more of a priority, then get ye to the Stuck Pig.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I duly took part, resolving to focus on the fantastic old RuneQuest campaign setting Griffin Mountain, but only got up to P before my various character flaws (laziness, drunkenness, short attention span, etc) got the upper hand and thus on the 19th of the month I threw in the towel.
However, I regret nothing finished. Plus, the Griffin Mountain entries are among the most popular of my blog. (Though, admittedly, that ain't really saying much.) Thus will I begin again in a desultory fashion, and will gradually claw my way to Z.
However, the bugger about starting back up with Q is that Griffin Mountain as written does not have much for that letter. It is rather lacking in "Queens," for instance, though now that I think about it perhaps I should start a Google+ Circle for those.
Quarga Zar is a mistress race Troll and Kyger Litor Rune Priestess. She is accompanied by six of her Trollkin children. Any party of non-Troll adventurers will find her aloof and haughty. She in fact only speak to non-Trolls via her eldest daughter.
In all my various Griffin Mountain based campaigns, I can't recall ever having a party meet Quarga Zar and her happy little band. Luck of the dice, I suppose.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
The first of these is led by the Wind Lord Torath Manover, and consist of the following folks: Torath himself is an older (30) warrior who has been in Balazar for some time now. The local Balazarings like him well enough, and he has even participated in a few Great Hunts. Apart from searching for the Windsword, he is vehemently anti-Lunar, and may well lead an attack on the garrison at Ellkoi these days.
With him is Throggar Giant-Baiter, a young Barbarian and Orlanth Priest, Lyson of Swenson, a Sartarite townie, Eucleia Stormfollower, an illegitimate daughter of Skilfil Heartpiercer of Dykene, and Raveena, ex of Apple Lane in Sartar.
Leading the second Orlanth group is the young Rune Priestess, Pay Surney. She is not a natural leader, being indecisive and not exactly of authoritative mien. But not being a good leader is not the same as being a pushover in a conflict, as many have found to their cost. With Pay are: Frettrick Vonvest of Sartar, a rich Sartarite noble, Andretta Wolfheim, incredibly charismatic and competent with the sword both, Dalfar Skyseeker, an aventurous youngster, and Harkenseye, who seems to aspire to being a walking arsenal.
Both groups may be found just about anywhere in Balazar or the Elder Wilds. Of the three citadels, they probably spend most time in Trilus, where there is a respectable Lightbringers Temple.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
In Trilus, however, it is a different story. King Yalaring Monsterslayer, the first of his dynasty, was a mere 21 years old when he seized the throne. He is a hunter through and through, indeed a winner of the Great Hunt before becoming King. And he is rather prejudiced against domesticated animals, and those who tend them. However, he does recognise the vital role that pigs play in the diet and economy of the citadel of Trilus, so rather than chuck them out altogether, he has banned them from the staying within the walls.
Thus it is that that the pig tenders of Trilus live with their animals in a flimsy stockade outside the citadel. Which may prove a bit of a bugger for them if there is ever a war, as the stockade is not much protection at all.
Friday, April 15, 2011
|Area around the citadel of Trilus|
|Area around Dykene|
|The Elder Wilds. Lots o' open space to play with.|
|Where Hen Cik hangs out|
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Like the ancient Romans in our own world, the Lunars tolerate indigenous religions. Thus Elkoi is home to a temple of Yelmalio (which also has shrines to Found-Child and Balazar), and a Hero Shrine to Elkoi himself. But the Lunar state religion is also being introduced, and its focal point is a very large pavilion that is under construction just outside the northern walls of the citadel proper, and right next to garrison's barracks.
The interior will be sumptuous when it is finished, quite unlike anything else found in Balazar. There will be seven separate chapels, each dedicated to one of the Seven Mothers deities. Comfortable living quarters for the clergy will be located right next to the pavilion. When finished, the whole thing will be far and away the largest and most impressive temple complex in Balazar.
While the locals be impressed enough to come round to the Lunar way? I have my doubts, and perhaps this may lie more with the personalities involved than with any stonework. Luckily the first Seven Mothers Priestess to make Elkoi her home, Elecora Kindtongue, is a kind and gracious old lady, much beloved by all. Unfortunately the next one was Marusa, nicknamed the Shrew and a Priestess of Jalakeel the Witch, a completely different prospect altogether.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The King's Inn is the only boarding house in the city of Elkoi. It is a pleasingly homely place, though getting a cheap room is often difficult due to the overflow of Lunar troops billeted there. The grub to be had is bread and pork, and, of course, Elkoi Beer flows freely.
The owner is a chap by the name of Moraring Broom. He was a pig tender before getting a job at the inn, then had the good fortune of inheriting the whole business after the childless and alcoholic old owner broke his neck in a drunken fall. His pig tending ways behind him, Moraring now sports a paunch and much flashy clothing. He's a pleasant sort, though.
Turning to the citadel of Dykene, Karazar is the young son and heir to the throne of his father, Skilfil Heartpiercer. He's a bookish young lad of 10, more interested in learning than the arts of fighting and leadership. This does not sit overly well with his father.
Finally another giant. Karl the Midget is so called because he is a mere four meters tall, and will not be growing any taller. (Unless a Dispel Magic 4 spell is cast upon him, but Karl doesn't know that.) This sad state of affairs is the result of a curse placed upon him by a shaman, after Karl clumsily disturbed his mediation.
This has made him bitter and petulant, and he will be hostile if encountered. Usually he hangs out with his buddies Red Rockhammer and Tiny Treekicker, and the three of them delight in fucking shit up and generally being belligerent assholes.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Joh and his aforementioned wife Zix Porub (an Issaries Rune Lord herself) are an interesting study in contrasts. Whereas he is round and jovial, she is tall, thin, and taciturn. Though Joh himself ain't nothin' to fuck with, he usually leaves any fighting to her, or their scary bodyguard. Joh is beginning to show and feel his age, while Zix is still young and vigorous (she is his second wife). yet they are devoted one to another, and make a formidable team, whether trading or fighting.
As Joh Mith's influence is fairly ubiquitous in Balazar, he is a character that the referee can develop fully, to enrich player interaction. There is always a temptation to play Joh as a kind of impersonal storefront - if a character needs to obtain something, to take it for granted that they can find Joh Mith and buy it. It's far more fun to flesh out his character as much as possible, make his interactions with players full and thought out. That Joh ain't no bland NPC.
Joh's son (by his first marriage) Djimm Mith runs the Stuck Pig tavern and inn in Trilus, and will no doubt follow in his father's footsteps some day soon.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Not that the Dragonewts actually reside in the area - they are traveling through the area on a quite specific errand. Their leader, Inoi Sessela, was recently killed by a human adventurer who flayed him and and made armor out of the skin. Inoi has since been reborn (see the Glorantha wiki for Dragonewt rebirth) and is seeking vengeance.
Nowhere in the book is it mentioned who the perpetrator may be, this being left to the referee's discretion. The interesting possibilities are legion (for example, one of the characters could be approached with a view to buying some "unique armor".)
If encountered, Inoi Sessela's band will be quite garrulous for dragonewts, as they are seeking information that will help them out in their quest. At no stage will they become allies or friends, though. Dragonewts just ain't like that.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Boshbisil is the leader of a small group settlement deep in the Rockwood Mountains in the southeastern section of the Elder Wilds. This settlement is actually the one terminus of Joh Mith's regular trading route, though its location is known to few outside of his caravan. (Hopefully Joh will be the subject of Tuesday's "J" entry.) The permanent inhabitants include Boshbisil, fellow Giants Sa Mita and Hen Cik, the Trollkin Paneye and Glockmoor, Mr. Greatness the Morokanth, Slang the Bear, Hrill the Roc, and Scree the Bear.
Hen Cik, is a 6 meter tall giant, and not the brightest in the world. He moons over Sa Mita, following her around, who tolerates him patiently. Hen is the proud owner of a pair of massive stone dice. These dice, 2 m³, were originally made by the Gods of Law and Change before time began. Each used them to prove a point: the God Law pointed out that the chance of a number coming up was always constant. The God of Change in his turn pointed out that any number could come up on the next roll.
Hen Cik himself does not use these dice for such lofty purposes; he plays crap with them, rolling them down a large depression. Little guys (that is, everyone except Giants) can use levers to move them.
Playing dice with Hen Cik was a real highlight of my first Griffin Mountain campaign, in which I was a player and my friend Patrick was referee. I was in High School then, and used to get a ride to Patrick's place in Duynesfontein, by the Koeberg nuclear power plant. Those were the days.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
Friday night. Long week. Just got in after having a few beers. Missus is already in bed asleep. Desire for blogging non-existent. So here for G is a hastily taken copy of the Griffin Mountain book.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Balazar is pretty well mapped out, but the Elder Wilds to the north has much open space, and it is up to the referee as to where various "points of interest" are located. One of these, making for an excellent mini-adventure, is the prison of the goddess Firshala.
Firshala is a fire spirit that was imprisoned during the conflicts of the God Wars, and is now forgotten among the creatures of Glorantha. It happens that her prison is actually located somewhere in the Elder Wilds. Adventurers traveling through the region may chance upon a small earthen mound, upon which are two four meter plinths that are made of a bluish, waxy stone. It would be easy enough merely to pass these by (perhaps hurrying on to Griffin Mountain and the quest for the Wind Sword), but a sensible adventurer should think to cast a Detect Magic spell on the plinths. If they do, they will see the imprisoned Firshala in the form of a glowing woman, appealing to the adventurers to let her out of her jail.
Indeed, Firshala can be released merely by a Dispel Magic 4 spell. The gratitude of Firshala manifests itself as various Rune Magic spells for her rescuers, a stone that gives a one time Divine Intervention spell, and the chance to be her first worshipers in this new age. Indeed, if the players so choose, they can at this point develop the new Cult of Firshala themselves, within the logical boundaries inherent to Her nature as a fire spirit.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Elkoi Beer tastes quite watery, but has a bit of an unpleasant kick for the unwary. Those used to it drink it like water (to which it is rather close), but those sampling it for the first time have to make a resistance roll as if it were poison of potency 6. Fail the throw and you loss 1D8 of strength for 1D4 hours, as you spend your time ralphing, clinging to the floor, groaning, and generally wishing that Orlanth had chosen this moment to call you home.
Elkoi beer is served in the King's Inn (pictured below with proprietor Moraring Broom in the background) and in private hovels throughout the citadel. In addition, it is also served in the Stabbing Cat Lodging House and Tavern in Dykene, and Trilus' Stuck Pig Tavern.
Of course E also stands for the Elder Wilds, that area north of Balazar in which are found all manner of creatures and adventure. And among the numerous "E" non-player characters is Errap Barbacon, who earns his money as a wandering minstrel, but is actually scion of the royal house of Elkoi, traveling in disguise. And of course there are the Eleven Big Giant Mountains in the Elder Wilds, in which can perhaps be found.... well, giants.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
The most prominent cult among the native Balazarings, introduced in this campaign module for the first time, is Found-Child the Hunter. The only requirement for lay membership is that one subsists at least in part on hunting. Thus most Balazarings, with the exception of townfolk, are members. Further advancement is largely dependent on a hunter's performance in the Great Hunt which takes place annually.
Allied to the Found-Child cult is his Hearth-Mother, similar to Eiritha, and Brother Dog, described in the previous post. Further, there are various hero cults: Balazar (after whom the land is named) and his children Elkoi, Trilus, and Dykene, after whom also the three citadels of the land are named.
Balazar himself was a Yelmalio cultist, and that cult has a significant presence in all three citadels. Interestingly the High Priest of the cult resides in Elkoi, which is presently under Lunar rule and thus also a center of the Seven Mothers religion. Yelmalio cultists can also be found among the elves of the Elder Wilds.
The Lightbringer deities (Orlanth, Issaries, Chalana Arroy, and Lankhor Mhy) are found especially in the citadel of Trilus. This citadel is thus also the home base of the Issaries Rune Priest Joh Mith and his wife, the Rune Lord Zix Porub. The peripatetic Joh can serve both as a useful font of information (and perhaps employment) for players, and well as being on of the only sources of metal weaponry in Balazar.
Of course there are also the deities favored by the various non-human populations of Balazar and the Elder Wilds: Aldryami among the elves, the dwarven Mostali, and Kyger Litor and Zorak Zoran for the trolls. Further, the ancestral worship of the Daka Fal cult is popular among baboons, and their is even a Humakti duck wandering around Balazar.
Finally, mention should be made of the chaos cults to be found in the Elder Wilds. Cacodaemon was introduced in Griffin Mountain book and is the deity of choice of a particularly vicious caravan of ogres that a player party may be unfortunate enough to encounter. Other chaos deities are mentioned only in passing, though the various noxious broos of the land typically worship Malia, the mother of disease.
Tomorrow, on to D and (probably) the citadel of Dykene.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
For the most part, Giants are only found in the Elder Wilds, rather than the more civilised (relatively speaking) Balazar a little further to the south. Unlike many of the other Giants, Bunscotto is always friendly to any player character that is lucky enough to come across her. Indeed, Bunscotto is uniformly good-natured: whether they be gentle Chalana Arroy cultists or the vilest of chaos cultists, she treats all non-Giants like they were all cute little kids to be pampered.
In my last campaign, Bunscotto gave the party a good meal and a sanctuary for the night, and even taught one of them the Healing 6 spell for future use.
Of course B is also for Balazar, which is both the name of the geographical region in which most of the Griffin Mountain action takes place, as well as the hero of the same name. Bluebird the Lankhor Mhy Priest and Blueface the Shaman are both important people for the characters to get to know, as is another Giant, Boshbisil. As far as religions go, the canine oriented cult of Brother Dog (allied to Found Child the Hunter) can be interesting to play. And of course there is many a Broo to be found in the more chaotic areas of the Elder Wilds. The fine looking Broos below were drawn by Paul Jacquays.
Friday, April 01, 2011
And secondly, the subject matter is not going to be one that is even remotely interesting for most people, so I would sooner that these posts be found by search than a link on whatever site it is at which one registers for this month long event. I am going to be writing exclusively about aspects of the old Griffin Mountain campaign setting for RuneQuest 2nd Edition. I have long thought that this campaign represents a high point of the RPG, and frequently reread it with pleasure.
And thus to my first post - a shorter one.
A is for Allosauri
Allosaurs are giant carnivorous dinosaurs, and there are two of them found in Balazar and the Elder Wilds, the area of Glorantha in which the Griffin Mountain campaign takes place. Since there are only two of them in a large geographical area, there is little chance of encountering these fearsome beasts. On the other hand, if you do meet them, you have a good chance of being pretty fucked. Voracious carnivores, they "may attack anything they encounter unless they have just eaten a very large meal."
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
Every day, I bring a carrot, a piece of chicken, and an egg for lunch. Hey, it's minimal effort and it hasn't become boring yet.
My workmates get much amusement from me bringing this same meal every day. One of them used his skills to concoct this, and put it on the wall outside my office.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
After a brief introduction to Smith's early poetry, the work goes on to discuss those short stories that may be considered part of the larger Lovecraftian mythos. Although the discussion of each story is very brief, it provides those not familiar with Smith's 'Cthulhu Mythos' tales with a useful checklist for future reading.
Following an equally short description of Smith's weird sculpture, Tenebrous gets to the meat of the matter: a discussion of CAS from an occult perspective. It is here that I find what is perhaps the most interesting idea of the paper: why Smith cut back on his literary work after around 1934:
In the same way as an Occult lodge may be established in order to transmit a particular magical current over a particular period of time (perhaps determined by astrological considerations), it appears that the 'Lovecraftian Circle' of writers provided, in the late Twenties and early Thirties, a focal point or 'receiver' for the elements of the Mythos. The fact that this process was largely a subconscious one, merely demonstrates that it is when the imagination is operating most strongly, and helping to block the rational, conscious mind, that the transmissions of 'magical' knowledge is likely to occur...
I'm not sure I buy it, but it's an interesting idea.
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