Sunday, August 1, 2010

MythConceptions (hang on, that's been done, hasn't it...?)

The new issue of Rule One Magazine (an online Glorantha zine) is out and has a few nice articles.  In particular, there's this article about the use of Gloranthan myths in games.  I've had mixed success in getting my players to adopt Gloranthan attitudes, and the major obstacle has been a lack of knowledge of the various mythologies.  The Mongoose I Cults of Glorantha volumes aren't detailed enough and the Heroquest stuff is just overwhelming in its detail, so what we really need is a Cults of Prax equivalent for the new systems (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes  does manage this for the Orlanthi gods, but I need something more Praxian).  Hopefully Loz's Cults of Glorantha remix will suffice when it comes out.

So Gregory Molle's approach strikes me as a great way to introduce myths into the game.  It also would probably mesh well with Loz's Mythic Resonance rules, which I haven't used so far.  My players' characters currently worship Humakt and Vinga, with another slowly learning about sorcery by researching a fragment of the Book of Arkat, given to her by, if I remember right, Kyger Litor during a Heroquest.  So these are the myths I'll give them (comments welcome):


Humakt the Champion (Resonance 80%): Behaviors – act honorably, fight tirelessly, stand your ground, appreciate the power of death.  Insights (skills involved in the challenge) – influence (leadership), resilience, combat style (sword.)
I’ll tell you how… Humakt became the First Weaponthane.  When Humakt wore the sword called Death, Orlanth wanted it.  First Orlanth tried to treat Humakt like a thrall, but Humakt told him he would never be lord over Death, fought him for sixteen days and nights and slew many of his thanes.  Then Orlanth tried to treat him as a cottar, but Humakt told him safety and shelter were small things compared to Death.  He fought Orlanth for four days and nights and slew many carls.  Then Orlanth treated Humakt like a carl, but our god told him that a thing, once killed, could never be the same, fought him for a day and a night and slew many cottars and thralls.  Enemies came then, and Orlanth was too tired to fight them.  Humakt slew them all. Orlanth said to him, “You shall have a place at my side, not as my brother, but as my champion.  Your weaponthanes shall answer only to you.”

How Humakt commanded his warriors (Resonance 50%): Behaviors – think quickly, exhibit bravery. Insights – influence (leadership), lore (tactics).  Myth as per card.


How Vinga Joined the Thunder Brothers (Resonance 75%): Behaviors – stand up for yourself, do not settle for second-best, it is best to have the last word in a contest, trust in your own abilities.  Insights – resilience, any skill used in a contest, combat style (javelin).
I’ll tell you how…Vinga joined the Thunder Brothers.  After coming second in a series of contests, Vinga proposed her own challenge.  “Let each of you take up a javelin,” she said, “and we will see who is the better man.”  She let her brothers throw first.  When they had all finished, Vinga turned three circles and let her javelin fly with a piercing shriek.  All her brothers watched in admiration as it flew a full mile and shattered the marking stone at the border of the next field.  The Thunder Brothers carried her on their shields to toast their newest member with Minlister’s best brew.

How Vinga Gained New Powers (Resonance 40%): Behaviors – it is best to show mercy, vary your combat styles.  Insights – combat styles (any), insight.  Myth as per card.


How Arkat Stole the Power of Sorcery (Resonance 45%): Behaviors – deception is often better than combat, do not trust Western sorcerers, keep your promises. Insights – sleight, stealth.
I’ll tell you how…Arkat stole the power of sorcery.  To defeat D’Wargon, Arket vowed to bring the power of sorcery to the Uz.  He journeyed to the Dread Isle of Zzabur, the Brother of the Devil.  He invited himself to his Castle, and stayed with him.  He got him drunk on troll drinks, and hid Zabur’s Blue Book in his jerkin.  That night he slipped away, using the good dark to hide him.

How Arkat Defeated Gbaji (Resonance 90%): Behaviors – always fight against chaos, do not give up, trust your companions, wounds are not serious, destroy your enemies utterly.  Insights – virtually anything.
I’ll tell you how…Arkat defeated Gbaji.  Arkat was called Kingtroll because he was acknowledges the supreme fighting leader of all living trolls.  In this capacity, he sent out the Ebon Net of All Hooks to muster Uz in his struggle against D’Wargon.  Arkat led the boldest and bravest in the final fight inside the Spiral Heart of Silence where he thre down D’Wargon and then confronted Gbaji, the deceiver.  In a hand-to-hand struggle in which all his old wounds reopened, Arkat saw within Gbaji and dealt him the dislocating blow which severed him from chaos.  Gbaji’s parts were separated in the Manner of Arkstintoris, and the parts taken and hidden in the spirit worlds by Arkat’s surviving henchmen.


  1. I have the same problem with my players, but if I gave them information of the myths of their gods, they wouldn't care to read it. That's why I think this system could work well. Tell me if it does for you, please!!! :-) I think giving the players a gamist reward is the best motivation for them to be interested in the gloranthan myths.

  2. BTW, how does Resonance work?
    I guess, at the beginning it is best for you to give them myths that can be applied to most situations, like these examples. Later, more focused myths will force them to look for the correct situation. Further on, as you strive to find more myths for them, you could tell them to invent them themselves!!!
    I guess initiates of greater gods like Orlanth have an advantage, as these gods have more myths and broader spheres of action.

  3. Resonance is the way a myth both helps a worshiper, giving them insight through reflection on the myth, and constrains them, by enforcing patterns of behavior. The higher the resonance, the more helpful it is and the more difficult it is for PCs to act contrary to it. Loz gives an example in the core rulebook of a worshiper of some sultry demoness who was in a position where she could slip away from a lustful captor but is forced by the myth to seduce him instead. Finally, divide the resonance by ten and that's a guide to the number of stations on the relevant heroquest. it's all quite elegant really.

  4. What kind of advantage does the player get for knowing the myth?

  5. That looks absolutely usable. The advantage can be an extra HP, but I can see a lot of ways to reward a player for playing true to mythology.

    We have a system where players that play bravely will receive 'hero tokens' which can be used in a number of ways to get out of trouble or to perform a difficult task against the odds. I could easily see how this system can be integrated into our games without any trouble at all. An additional improvement roll might be another option.

  6. The followers of Arkat gloss over the blue book, and pretend Arkat stole the book and read it, but the truth is Arkat stole the blue book and consumed it, using foul Thanatari magic. How else could he become a master of sorcery overnight?