I use this method for every entity with which the heroes contend: NPCs, impersonal forces, armies, nature, monsters, dragonewts, and even the scenario itself.
The method is: to write about 100 words (or a more appropriate amount - depending on how important to the story the entity is) about the entity's _role in the story_ and then underline key phrases or words that represent how it can act or be acted on, what it's nature is... Fundamentally, what it is like. Just like the 100 word narrative method in the HQ rule books.
This is where I stop with my prep for these entities. It's almost pointless to even start writing down the abilities or keywords that these underlines reveal _until the hereos are in a scene with the entity_. In HQ2 it is totally pointless to write down any numbers next to those abilities _until the heroes are in contest_ with the entity (see Pass/Fail Cycle in HQ2). In HQ1 I always made resistances relative to the heroes' abilities anyway (which is what my reference to HQ2 is all about, for those who can't get a copy yet) and just worried about how hard I wanted the contest to be.
The only remaining thing to do happens in the actual contest. It's at this point you will know best which aspect of your 100ish words is being contested; you can then pull out the ability and write down its skill rating based on the heroes' own ability skill ratings. In other words merely decide on a difficulty level (formalised in HQ2) - how the two abilities in the contest compare.
This is what I now think is wisdom. It has been hard-won, I can tell you. I used to think I had to prepare every entity by writing down the stats I would need - to make the game run smoothly. This is just not true but it's hard to break away from because it promises a degree of confidence and support and also something akin to professionalism.
As Jeff says: "The story should be driving the rules, not vice versa.". I'd add that we use the rules to find out what story is revealed and roll dice as a catalyst.
I hope this helps, if you want to discuss it further then we should at least start a new thread.
From: WorldofGlorantha_at_yahoogroups.com [mailto:WorldofGlorantha_at_yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Richard Sent: 17 February 2009 07:16
Subject: Re: How powerful are City gods, Tribal spirits, petty gods...
<snip> I'd write a short paragraph describing what you think that battle should look like, physically and magically. It then becomes much easier to use various rules systems to model that event. The story should be drive the rules, not vice versa.
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