Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Praxenia (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

King Skilfil Heartpiercer of Dykene keeps three concubines. The youngest of the three, Praxenia, was born a Lunar citizen. She can tell a convincing story of life's vicissitudes and how she ended up in Dykene, but in reality she is a Lunar plant. Unfortunately Skilfil has proven to be rather malleable in her hands, and her influence is beginning to grow in the royal court. Praxenia reports back to Marusa, the Priestess of Jalakeel the Witch in Elkoi (mentioned here).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Orlanthi (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

The Windsword is a legendary magical weapon found somewhere in the depths of the Elder Wilds, probably within Griffin Mountain itself. And apart from any player characters that may decide to hunt for this wondrous weapon, there are a couple of Orlanthi groups searching the region for hints of its whereabouts.

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

"No Pigs" Edict of Trilus (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

By far the majority of indigenous Balazarings are hunter-gatherers. However, there is a large minority who live in the citadels and earn their livelihood as pig herders. In Elkoi and Dykene, the pig herders live and rear their animals within the walls of the city, on the opposite end to the royal compounds.

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

Maps (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

I find myself in the same position as I did around this time last week - tired, muscles aching after the gym, and still needing to do my bloody blog entry in this April A-Z thingy. So it's photo time again, this time one of the maps that come with the campaign book.

Area around the citadel of Trilus

Area around Dykene

The Elder Wilds. Lots o' open space to play with.

Where Hen Cik hangs out


Balazar

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lunar Pavilion at Elkoi (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

Elkoi is the westernmost of the three Balazar citadels, and one on the furthest outposts of the Lunar Empire. It was only recently occupied by Lunar forces, and the inhabitants are not enamored with their new overlords. Nor is acculturation yet taking place to any large extent, although there is now a small amount of agriculture in the area around Elkoi. (Thus the advent of Elkoi Beer.)

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

King's Inn (A - Z of Griffin Mountain)

There are no major characters, geographical locations, etc. in the Griffin Mountain campaign book that begin with K. So here are a few minor ones:

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 Mith (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

Sooner or later, every player will interact with Joh Mith. Good old Joh is an Issaries Rune Priest, based out of the citadel of Trilus. Most of the year, however, he is on the road with his wife Zix Porub, bodyguard Xigxag (a bloody big Troll), and the rest of his caravan. His trade route ranges from Elkoi in the East, to Dragon Pass, to the Eleven Big Giant Mountains in the Elder Wilds, and most places in-between. As long as you are prepared to pay elevated prices, one can get goods that are otherwise very hard to find within the boundaries of backward Balazar. (Like metal weapons and armor, for instance.) And for beginning players, being a guard with Joh Mith's caravan can provide a valuable source of income and experience.

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

Inoi Sessela (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

As far as non-human races go, Elves, Dwarves, Giants, Broos, and the like are quite plentiful in this campaign pack. But just as there is only one named Duck that can be found in all of Balazar and the Elder Wilds, there is only one party of Dragonewts that players are likely to encounter.
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

Hen Cik (A - Z of Griffin Mountain)

Although few in number, Giants are among the most memorable of the various characters in the Griffin Mountain setting. They range from the kindly Bunscotto to the wise Boshbisil to the assholes Tiny Treekicker and Karl the Midget.
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

Griffin Mountain - the book (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)


Griffin Mountain
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

Firshala (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

Griffin Mountain is a large campaign book - a full 202 pages in length. There is an amazing amount of stuff for the characters to see and do, from getting involved in the politics of the region, to adventuring and fighting chaos, to seeking out interesting characters for fun and profit.

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 (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

Yesterday's entry introduced the three citadels of Balazar, and focused on one of them: Dykene. It may be expected that today's entry would center on Elkoi, but alas, time is lacking. Instead, I'll mention one of Elkoi's stranger products: Elkoi Beer.

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

Dykene (A - Z of Griffin Mountain)

The region now known as Balazar was named after a hero of the same name that settled the land during the Second Age, in the year 1082 of the Gloranthan calendar. Balazar had three sons: Trilus, Elkoi, and one daugher: Dykene. Today three citadels in this region bear the names of Balazar's children; Dykene is the easternmost of the three.

Dykene is presently ruled by the 40 year old King Skilfil Heartpiercer. Though settled now with his young son and his three concubines, in his youth Skilfil wandered the length and breadth of Balazar and the surrounding terrains. In the Greatway Mountains to the south he made lifelong contacts among the dwarves, and laid the ground for an economic relationship which exists today. Dykenian hunters travel south to the dwarven mountains to hunt wild game meat for them, and return to their citadel with bronze weaponry. Visiting dwarves can also be found at times within Dykene itself.

An old buddy of Skilfil's, Ostakker Three-Scar, owns the Stabbing Cat Lodging House and Tavern, the only inn of this small citadel. Ostakker sports three parallel scars across his face, a trophy from the run-in that he had with a sabre toothed tiger during his last adventure with Skilfil. Weary adventurers and other travelers can rest their weary bones for the night at the Stabbing Cat, and, if they are feeling brave, quaff down a mug of Elkoi beer.

Besides hero shrines to Balazar and Dykene, there is also a small temple to Yelmalio in the citadel, but no other formal cult buildings.

And with that, so much for D. Writing one blog entry per day has been useful discipline so far, even if it can make for rather hurried and clumsily written posts.


Previous posts:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cults (A - Z of Griffin Mountain)

The region of Balazar, in which most of the action of the Griffin Mountain campaign pack for RuneQuest takes place, is now home to a wide range of cults, and their interaction is one of the most interesting parts of any campaign. The native cults of the indigenous hunters now exist alongside lightbringer and other deities from Sartar, and invading Lunar deities from the west.

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

Bunscotto the Kind Giant (A - Z of Griffin Mountain)

Giants are among the most memorable of the characters that one can meet in the RuneQuest Griffin Mountain campaign setting. My favourite is perhaps Hen Cik, the young gambler, but here I'll mention Bunscotto the Kind Giant.
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

Allosauri (A-Z of Griffin Mountain)

On one of the Old School RPG blogs that I read I came across an intriguing concept: on each of  the 26 non-Sundays of April, one posts every day, going up the alphabet to find subject matter. So I may as well give it a go here. I understand that one can sign up somewhere and commit oneself to it, but I'm going to skip that. For a start, I'm not a very prolific blogger and will probably not fulfil any post a day commitment.

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."

A is also for the Aldryami. Elves are common in the Elder Wilds and can also be found in Balazar, especially the citadel of Trilus, where they are developing a special relationship with King Yalarang Monsterslayer. However, more on that in subsequent posts.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

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