Re: Epic NPCs and their stats

From: David Dunham <david_at_snmsSEZ62Gx4MX0DSYv-UAurgX79kLENgoffgf-Yaf7klbC21pLbtNYD52ADW9nlW2186O>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 18:22:02 -0700


>Jar-eel's stats are a widespread wish just because everyone would like
>to know what figures are considered the top rank of the ladder in third
>age Glorantha, not because one wants to actually use her in combat
>against player characters.

Good point, but what if your PCs are better?

In our games, they already were. The sample combat ability of a superhero (explicitly Harrek or JarEel) is 10W4+ [HeroQuest p.274]. I think in the Orlmarth game, our combat master was in the W4 range. My own character was good, at 4W3, and could easily augment to 10W4.

(You can argue about the "+" and whether something listed under Sample Resistance is a resistance or a raw value that would then be augmented. But the possibility remains that any published stats won't be high enough.)


>why publish any stats at all?

There really isn't any need to. What is worth knowing however is what JarEel can *do*. Knowing her most useful abilities allows the narrator to describe what happens. But the actual numbers are going to vary by campaign. (And they're not always "characters+20" -- we probably were catching up to JarEel by the end of the game, but certainly weren't close at the beginning.)

At the beginning of my game, I originally wrote down stats for "the best swordswoman in Vralos." This turned out to be problematic for a couple of reasons:

  1. Player characters have more detail, so it's easier to squeeze out more augments. Especially as PCs gain new abilities during play.
  2. Player characters improve over time. I do think they had every right to catch up, but the swordswoman was off heroquesting and adventuring too, and should therefore have been improving as well (though presumably at a slower rate, so the PCs could catch up).

For both of these reasons, my original numbers (which I was happy with at the start) felt more and more wrong as the game progressed. I think I would have been better off with generic descriptions:

Sword Fighting: Excellent
Magic Sword: Good
Death Magic: Very Good
Graceful: Good
Hatred of Slavery: Very High

which would let me describe her in a fight. (Here, I could talk about her superlative bladework, with frequent mention of the magic on the sword, and less frequent mention of her dancing through combat or the blade itself.) I'd also know that she's not the best Death magician around, but that few hated slavery more.

Finally, knowing all the specific numbers wasn't that useful -- I'd have to figure out the total each time. The generic values would let me calibrate to any actual combat much more quickly.


David Dunham
Glorantha/HQ/RQ page:


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