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Grim teenfic RQ at Gothcon, 10 AM

My goal at Gothcon was to be, basically, not weird. I didn’t want to show up as representative of some sector of hobby identity, but as fellow role-player. I’ve been playing a lot of Sorcerer lately and felt like resting it a bit. I knew that the founding Swedish RPG was originally a RuneQuest hack (in the sense of “with love” or naivete, not cynical rip-off), and I felt like getting my mind off superheroes for a little while. I’ve never lost at least a peripheral gaze on that odd, gritty, teenfic setting that I’d set up for old RuneQuest and played last year (posted at this site; scroll wayyyy back).

I have a pretty good idea, a driving/founding concept for this thing. In a philosophical Glorantha context, one might phrase it, “What if it were anarchy, not Chaos?” Or, from my notes:

... it's not a good society. People aren't evil, but the institutions are evil, spawned from the influence of distorted gods. The characters are growing up in a bad place and a bad space, in which viciousness and deception set the standards for excellence, and in which most adults succumb to compliance, rationalization, and denial just to survive.

For the patrons who’ve seen the design notes, I focused on the god Ord Lindas, the warchief, and (in the other session) Cze Gá the Devil, or as his followers call him, Cosmic Light. This is in contrast to last year’s game, which focused on Oome, the witch, her captive goddess Vrisha Himlá, and Néa the Murderer, or as her followers call her, the Blind.

I’d originally planned to play on Saturday, and do something else Sunday. However, upon learning about the game, Saturday swiiftly metamorphosed into two play sessions (10 AM and 10 PM!) with an impromptu Glorantha/Stafford panel in between, and as it happened, I joined a game in the Indie Room too. So it was pretty busy.

Anyway, this was the first RuneQuest session, setting up for a thought-provoking contrast with the one to come, as the participants in this one were in their twenties (at most) and those in the next would all be about my age or not too much younger. So I got a look at the same deeply adolescent material, including the pregenerated characters, with an age/stage contrast.

I think it makes for wonderful viewing, so I won’t babble much more, except to say that I was trying a new camera setup and therefore accidentally out of shot for the entire time, therefore promoting that view of the GM that I hate so much, as disembodied godly voice. I was careful to fix it for the other events.

Last point: for a subtle creative debate, let’s focus on the player who decided “my dad has a boat” at a critical point and how that was handled mechanically.

Department: 
Actual Play
Games: 
RuneQuest

Comments

Ross's picture

Really enjoyed watching this! I had wondered if a single session might be too short, compared to the slow burn of the Green Rock game but it seemed like the players really picked up their pre-gens and ran.

On the "my dad has a boat" point, I thought it was interesting how easily it just got accepted into the fiction - am example of shifting constantly between stances as you have talked about before? Certainly it followed on logically from the established setting, starting with the river on the map you showed the table it makes sense that the traders would use boats. Mechanically, although I'm assuming there's no "20% chance my father has a boat" stat, the character creation does, if I'm remembering the notes you shared on the patreon, include choices about background, e.g. traders rather than outriders, and so arguably provides some mechanical justification to bring that in to play where relevant. I'm not sure in this instance if that would have weighed on the players response given they didn't go through character creation though.

Final thought - would there be a different effect if it had been "I have a boat" instead?

Ron Edwards's picture

I really want to get the other session up for comparison, because the buy-in for that one was just as immediate and fervent, and you can see a similar build-up of response as I go sentence by sentence through the introduction. I'm a little surprised about that; I seem to have generated a very effective pitch.

You nailed it about the boat. It's especially significant because Veeronika (the character) had the council family background, not the traders, but I missed that during play and assumed a trader background in the moment.

The characters in the later session also fled in a boat, but that time it was the trader's kid who set it up, and we'd actually played a scene on the boat earlier anyway, so it was, if you will, "already there" for such use. Whereas in this session, the player actually created the whole damn boat from whole cloth, with only the river and "my dad" as a familiar reference point, and I think you are right in citing that as important. I might have quibbled about boat availability if I hadn't stumbled mentally that way.

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