Re: How to introduce the elder races

From: jorganos <joe_at_...>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:06:16 -0000

> Greetings,

> I'm a newbie to Gloranta and was wondering how you introduce dragonnewts, elves, and dwarfs to your players?

> I know a little bit about them but am afraid to include them in play due to their bizarre culture. Especially the dragonnewts and dwarfs. The elves are a little more Tolkien than the others.

I wrote a German language RuneQuest scenario set in Malani lands on the Creek and beyond (towards Dragon's Eye) for the German RQ magazine Free INT many years ago which had a cattle raid turn into a possession by dragonewt spirits strangeness, slowly leading the characters (assumed to be guests of the Malani clan the Berlin group of Gloranthaphiles had published, also in German) into dragonewt lands and facing dragonewt strangeness. I don't quite remember whether this scenario was translated in some issue of Tradetalk (and am away from my collection right noe).

The aldryami are similar to a Tolkien species, but it isn't the Sindar or Wood elves, but the ents. Smaller in stature (human-sized), but think ent rather than Mirkwood Elf, but add a few traits of the latter.

> Is there anything out there that gives you an introduction to these races? I have the Mongoose books but each are more than a 100 pages.

The definitive publication (the Guide to Glorantha) is available as pre-layout pdf via Kickstarter and ought to be at least as useful as the "Introduction" text.

There are short chapters in the "Introduction to Glorantha" published for Hero Wars which should be fine as basic introductions.

The old RuneQuest publications "Gloranthan Bestiary" and "Elder Secrets" aren't worth hunting for with the Guide taking all the useful information of these into a new format.

Much of the old information is covered in the Buserian index to Gloranthan information and the Gloranthan Wiki, but neither are introductory guides.

The Mongoose Elf book is nice. I wouldn't expect all of the details to be straight canon, but the general tone of the publication is great, and it is the most detailed description of Aldryami I have read. It does have good introductory texts, but as a Second Age Mongoose RuneQuest publication it goes into quite a bit rule-derived detail which probably won't apply to your game.

The best approach to dwarves is probably the Flintnail Cult in Pavis, because those are some of the least typical Mostali in Glorantha, meaning the most human-like and human-understandable. Apart from a few enclaves in Dragon Pass and the great mountain dwarf community of Greatway, most other dwarf colonies are way more orthodox and unapproachable - both for human players and for human characters in Glorantha. As opponents, the orthodox dwarves are easy - absolutely single-minded, possessing really strange magics and/or steampunk technologies and extremely hard to contain. Unless you have hungry trolls on your side.

The Mongoose dragonewt book is quite useful as a guide to dragonewt actions and behaviour. There will be dragonewts behaving completely different from these descriptions, too... not everything in this book is canonical, but pretty much all of it not MRQ-rules-related can be used one way or another.

My usual approach to introduce these races is first as a hinderance encounter which doesn't bring outright conflict unless the players want to act suicidally. Introducing Elder Race artifacts is a good way to prepare the players for contact with (quite often irate) members of the elder races. Find something strange, have a sage or scholar explain some of its function and origin, then face the owners or the owners' kin.

Dragonewt artifacts are dragonewt skin, dragonewt skin armour, dragonewt weaponry or (if you really want big trouble) dragonewt eggs. Apart from the weaponry, preferably damaged.

Dwarf artifacts are mechanical gadgets. Blackpowder weapons or heavy machinery won't lie around except in shards, and even those will be jealously sought after by the dwarves. Dwarf gifts or trade objects are rare and valuable, e.g. iron.

Elf artifacts are strange seeds or plants, or lesser aldryami creatures like sprites or runners - there is hardly any material culture among the aldryami. Elf missiles are freely distributed, though, if one trespasses, generally point first.            

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