Black Horses in Glorantha

This was taken from a comment about my views on Glorantha.

The bit that excited me about it (Glorantha) was the Hero wars cosmic scale stuff (my memories of the following are a bit bad so forgive me). My character was a Narcissistic black horse troop lieutenant. He ended up being gay, which we decided was against the rules of the Orthodox Malkoni. No problem though, my characters reading of the sacred texts and understanding of the journey of Ethilrist made it clear to him that actually being gay wasn’t bad. In fact it was more holy. So he started a sub-cult where we had gay orgies in a place called the green room. Things escalated and he ended up having great power. I got to meet Malkon and was basically told that ‘no being gay is bad.’ So I ended up storming Solace with all the demon horses. I think I’d made all the demon horses gay members of my cult. Anyway it failed and I was cast into some kind of hell where I plotted my revenge.

I think that fulfilled any desire I had to play in Glorantha. I think doing another story on the cosmic level would feel too much the same and that’s the only level I’m interested in.

We used an unpublished system called melodrama but I don’t remember much about it (it was a bit similar to Heroquest) so I can’t contribute much in the way of system dicussion.

3 responses to “Black Horses in Glorantha”

  1. A topic I love

    When mythic fantasy explodes into culture and transcendence, with swords, monsters, and body paint.

    I'm also absolutely nuts for Black Horse County, as you know from the Patreon. I'll go ahead and share my latest draft there, soon.

    There's another parallel too. I have not played "Glorantha" in any dedicated fashion since 2002 or so – after our epic Hero Wars experience culminating in the advocacy for Thed, which directly influenced the experimental play that led to Sex & Sorcery and which I credit, in retrospect, for the origin of Trollbabe. I have a similar feeling of closure which doesn't stop me from wanting to play with/in the setting, but inclines me to invest heavily in doing so, and to feel disinclined to play without the investment.

    Maybe that's not a good idea or position. Maybe I'd be better off relaxing a little and not conceiving of one prior game, twenty-to-eighteen years ago for Pete's sake, as a standard expectation.

    Since I wasn't in this game, and I don't know how long it was played, I can't tell how much time was spent in play on mundane, tech-specific, rather tactile aspects of life, including casual interactions with a considerable number of NPCs who have little or no "plot" activity. That's a feature of both RuneQuest and HeroQuest which – if played, and not blown past – tends to establish and reinforce a special love of the setting, Glorantha or otherwise.

    I mention this because my own cosmic-judgment game experiences in Glorantha involved considerably long-term play. By the time characters were actually asserting themselves within heroquests and powerful social roles, we had strongly felt or carried out multiple, multiple "real-ish" fictional events, including childbirth, bronze-working, latrine digging, tribal re-location, tattooing, sleeping arrangements + morning routines, and more meals than I can count.

    That experience, it seems to me, fed into the heroquesting in a significant way.

    • The actual detailing of the

      The actual detailing of the culture was pretty lacking in the game. My character was fighting on behalf of people but they existed more in the abstract, so there wasn’t a lot of emotional resonance there.

    • It seems mean to say, but in

      It seems mean to say, but in the interests of genuine responses, that experience runs counter to your discussion of immersion in the Monsterhearts post. Or maybe it's related without contradiction, in that, since you didn't experience the kind of cultural, tactile, interactive play I described in this HeroQuest game, the only quality or content it had for you was the ideological "bumper sticker" debate. And once that point was made, I can see why you'd be disinclined to play again, as whatever was there to do, you did.

      Well, "see" is too strong. "Rudely speculate about another person's emotions and point of view, without permission," is probably what I'm doing here. Tell me whether I'm going too far.

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