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[RuneQuest] a demo session

Started by ffilz, September 17, 2004, 10:49:39 PM

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Earlier this summer I ran a RuneQuest demo session for two of my players to give them the opportunity to weigh in on their interest.  I felt this session went really well.

We had created characters the week before (a third player had also created a character, but was not available to play). We had Geico Mandersaal, a newtling worshipper of Orlanth and a bit of a thief, and Aundina Aerotech, a pixie follower of Aldrya. To round out the group a bit, I provided an NPC Praxian follower of Waha.

The purpose of the demo was to expose the players to several aspects of play. To this end, I decided they would earn experience rolls after each encounter.

For their first encounter, they were independantly wandering through a village and noticed a gang of trollkin mugging a townsman. They flew and charged to the rescue, quickly defeating the trollkin. The townsman took them to the town hall where they were rewarded with some free training (to show them how that worked).

They then tracked the trollkin to a small cave. For the cave, I used the sample dungeon poster the Dunjinni folks were passing out at Origins and GenCon. They found a small room with a locked door. Through that door, they entered the dungeon and explored it over the course of a few hours. They got a chance to fight skeletons, gorp, a spirit (spirit combat), broo (chaos creatures), meet a dark troll follower of Zorak Zoran (who wanted to kill chaos and became their ally - after a bit of discussion about pixies for desert and trying out some magic mushrooms [which nearly killed the pixie, and increased Geico's POW]). They also fought some chaotic roots that tried to strangle them.

My preparation for this scenario was an hour or so to write up the stats of the various creatures encountered, a couple hours of digging through my miniatures to find suitable minis, and a few minutes to settle on a village map and the dungeon map.

The detail in the dungeon map provided inspiration during play to what encounters to have. The 2nd room had skeletons on the floor. Guess where the skeletons were. The gorp was in the small stream. One cavern had a table with a sword on it. The sword was possessed by the spirit. I had considered using the mushrooms, but wasn't quite sure, until they entered a large cavern with an exit to the depths, that had mushrooms drawn on the floow. This became the place they encountered the troll. A nearby room held the broos. Earlier I had given them an arrow that was good against chaos. Geico shot it at the broos but missed. He ended up stabbing a tree root with it later. Another room had a statue, that when I looked closely, reminded me of a newtling, so it became a statue to the newtling god and Geico received some minor boon for cleaning it up.

What made this so enjoyable was the combination of very little preparation time, and being able to smoothly wing things based on the little details that I noticed as they explored the map. I was able to reveal some of the cool aspects of the world (I think Glorantha was the first setting that really drilled into me that one could turn the normal expectations of "monsters" on its head and have things like trolls who wanted the same things PCs wanted).

So where is this post going? I guess mostly it's just an opportunity to share another experience I had. Perhaps it's a bit of self examination. Why did I enjoy running that session with those two players yet overall I am frustrated by them?

Part of my enjoyment was certainly due to sharing something I really love and enjoy. Part of it was that somehow I was able to ignore the fact that one of the two players is just not very participatory. Her husband was having a blast, and she seemed to enjoy the game.

But these same players seem uninterested in delving into the detail Glorantha offers. They are interested in the little bits of sharing, but they make no attempt to really find a place in the world. No thought as to what would be appropriate names.

Frank Filz

Ron Edwards

Wow, that is old-school RuneQuest! I just had a high-school era flashback.

Lookit all that stuff there was to do ... drugs! Zorak Zoran worship! Broo and gorp! And the never-ending fascination of trolls.

Tunnels & Trolls officially introduced playing monsters, I think, but it was mainly an excuse to enjoy pillaging and rampaging with all the gloves off. In RuneQuest, you got to play a troll or whatever who had notions about stuff.

I'm not too surprised that people didn't commit to the setting at the outset, or after just one session of play. In my experience, that comes in two ways, especially for Glorantha: (1) playing a fairly standard fantasy-adventure, and slowly coming to realize that "something's different" about it, eventually turning to one's own cult writeups or a map or something to learn more; and (2) for those of a philosophical bent, getting pumped-up about the mythologies and cult histories.

Did the characters start at the minimal abilities, pretty much with hay in their hair, as the early editions assumed? Maybe 25% with a sword, 30% max in practically anything?

QuoteWhy did I enjoy running that session with those two players yet overall I am frustrated by them?

These are the folks you've mentioned before, right? And the wife has some form of learning disability? Still, it does seem as though you were off to a good start with this game. Any reason why it didn't continue?

I don't want to get into an elaborate discussion of social logistics so much as to know whether you or they said "Let's not play this again." And if no one said that ... well, then, hey, play it again!



Old school RQ - you bet! I have implemented various bits and pieces from RQ2 and RQ3, but I still think of myself as running RQ1. They did start with pretty low abilties, though the pixie did start with Heal 6 (which sadly meant she had no offensive spell capability, and she wasn't doing that much with a sling).

Yea, T&T did introduce running monsters, though it was through the supplement Monsters! Monsters!

You're right about people taking time to get into the world. This couple showed little interest in delving into the Diamond Throne setting for Arcana Unearthed, but then there wasn't really much to that setting and I wasn't pumped about it. I should give them another chance, but somehow I'm just frustrated by them.

Why didn't we continue? Ultimately I really have my heart set on running Cold Iron (the college friend's homebrew). Knowing I wasn't going to get lots of commitment during the summer, I was just demoing some different games I found fun.

I have a feeling I'm going to wind up trying RuneQuest again because clearly I do enjoy it (my most recent campaign that I really enjoyed was RQ - but the influence of that was that I've been wanting to do Cold Iron for like 15 years).

Frank Filz