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Epilogue: down in the dark

There was one thing left to discover: what happened with Karva, priestess of Oome, devotee of Qar, and Jynathon, who is simultaneously the greatest threat to her power and its best immediate shot at restoring it - perhaps re-making it.

After all, the first few minutes of our game brought these two characters face to face. Now they get a chance to talk, after some intervening events.

I wrote earlier about playing NPCs in this game, and Karva presented her own unique challenge for me. I did not want to play her as little-girl-lost, just a tool of Onive who was now blinking in bewilderment and perhaps ready for saving by our stalwart heroes. Nor did I want her to be an irrecoverable abomination, similar to Mariah the broo girl from Shadows on the Border, fit only for killing.

As always, I did not rehearse but let it "come" to me, which sometimes works and is sometimes forced to be merely adequate at best. The result solved no mysteries, largely because I didn't want to rely on some specific incident from Karva's past that was supposed to explain or justify anything. I tried instead to give enough content to provide a real portrait of her life and desires as they stand now, while acknowledging that she is indeed crazy in terms of social function, but not ... well, not in any way that her goddess would object to.

Jynathon did have a choice. I can't say telling her no would have ended well for him in any way I could anticipate the game mechanics permitting, but it was an option.

As a final note, I had decided long ago that I'd build the community of play based on what gods the player-characters decided to focus on. In this case, Oome was the only one, which is why I conceived of the region ("Hag's Nook" to outsiders) as dominated by her cult.

I look forward to playing this material again. It would be very interesting to see what a differently-comprised community would look like.

Department: 
Actual Play
Games: 
RuneQuest
Tags: 
initiation

Comments

Ross's picture

So that seemed like a fitting epilogue - teen coming of age stories probably need a healthy dose of philosophical debate and just as I was thinking the system wasn't helping you out here all the initiation stuff, which I don't understand but seemed cool, kicked in.

As I said in the comments on the previous post I've really enjoyed following along with this, so thanks.

Love D's picture

Yes! both this game and your D&D game have been great and a blast to follow! Such great characters all around. I can appreciate or perceive that the runequest rules worked with the group, enabled believable characters and their small and big transformations. The rules also created tension in many situations. The initiation rules seem very cool, but I don’t understand much of it either.

I hope you will continue with this game. The setting is very unsettling in all the right ways, and the thing that really makes it interesting is that the player characters are very much inside it, transforming it, and in that process they transform too. 

Ron Edwards's picture

Initiation is a big topic in Glorantha. You can be a layman of many cults, especially related ones, but initiation means committing in a multi-layered way. Depending on the cult, you may be joining an intentional community of some kind, but at the very least will be recognizable as an observant participant. You will be part of a hierarchy and web of social obligations and benefits, including specialized training and spirit magic, and you get access to Rune magic on a one-use basis.

The precise social meaning varies a lot; in some cults it's not much more than a jumped-up layman, and in others it's arguably more significant in social-power terms than the Rune levels.

In these rules, becomeing an initiate requires a test of some kind, left vague in content, but most often characterized by the rules text, "convincing the examiners." That even became the title of a much-reprinted article in one of the early zines or supplements.

The core rules provide generic roll for that test: (Power + Charisma + each d100 Lunars) multiplied by 3, divided by 5. It's not very forgiving, but the idea is that you try once per season until you get it (and thus are going to be seeking lots of money by hook or crook or Rubble-crawl the whole time).

The two Cults books are much more interesting, as each cult is shown to have extremely specific tests for inititation, often involving cult skills or required actions. That's what I was hoping to get to for Oome eventually, but as is typical for this game, we got there before I'd written anything down and so I improvised a little from the generic core book version, using the cult lore skill in place of the money.

Really enjoyed following the story here. It became incredibly absorbing and very atmospheric. From a viewer perspective it felt like the progressive layering of the setting and development of the characters worked very well, kept my interest to hear the next session. RQ2 is a classic system and your role playing here fairly highlighted its great strengths (and some rule book difficulties). 

Still amazed that the young PCs overcame the Shade in the earlier session. I was certain they were done for at that point. Great fortune when it was really needed. 

Thanks again for the efforts in running and posting a great adventure. 

Ron Edwards's picture

Thanks to you for sharing with it! I am a little bit floored at successful the video presentations turned out to be. Something about the moody and uncertain fictional content is curiously reinforced by the face/panel experience of viewing us. I don't really understand that but it apparently works.

I plan to revisit this setting for sure. I am right in the middle of serious paying projects for the next few months, but working on this is quite refreshing as an occasional break, and I can't wait to see what the other cults and gods will be like, or rather become, when they are "touched" via play.

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