Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Unplanned Campaign: RQ6, Griffin Mountain & Wednesday Night

This weekend, I read the old Chaosium RuneQuest book, Griffin Mountain for the first time (well, 2nd or 3rd if you count flipping through digital pages) and I was completely inspired. My RPG upbringing didn't touch on BRP-related stuff until the early 90's, and then it was entirely Call of Cthulhu. I knew of the early existence of the RQ system, if only through the conversion notes presented in my copies of All The World's Monsters, but no one I knew had ever played it nor did they have experience with anyone who had. What I knew came by way of ads in Dragon magazine and gaming catalogs (I'm pretty sure I used to always get TSR's Mail Order Hobby Shop catalogs back in the day), which didn't tell me much. However, I had different gaming fish to fry, so RQ went on the back burner, and for the most part (other than CoC), I've only ever read RQ stuff, never actually played any.

One of the big stumbling blocks to entry was that I never felt I knew enough about Glorantha to run RQ. It's not like back in the day they were publishing setting books about Glorantha (to one degree or another, all books were setting books) and those that have been published since are less written for folks getting into the setting than for the already initiated. I thought about kicking for that hugely expensive Glorantha setting KS a year or so ago, but that thing was too expensive. I think that one of the things that TSR did right throughout the 2e era was that they never stopped teaching people how to play and kept introducing players to their settings in one way or another. What I had wanted with Glorantha was an entry point; a point where someone with minimal Glorantha/RQ experience could tap in, start running and learn as they go.

Griffin Mountain is that product, and no one ever told me.

Well, old issues of White Dwarf may have told me. Like, the ones where Griffin Mountain is reviewed in the first place. That's probably where I got the idea to start there.

Long time readers of the Dispatches may remember that I talked about running a Runequest campaign I was calling "Exiles In Eden." The idea here was heavily influenced by the King of Dragon Pass video game, wherein several decisions you make at the beginning of the game about your tribe's history affect how the game plays. Similarly, "Exiles In Eden" was going to allow the players to define some things about the tribe's past to define their future. Basically, the players would answer a few questions about their tribe and those answers would shape the future of the tribe. Many of these ideas are things I've borrowed from Fate and The Quiet Year and I'd like to see them put into play.

Coming off my Griffin Mountain high over the weekend, yesterday +Jason Hobbs let us know that he's not going to be able to finish his tenure as DM for our rotating-DM Wednesday night game; he'll be able to play, just not to run. So, I offered up my "Traveller'd by the Apocalypse" thing as well as a possibility of doing RQ6 set in Griffin Mountain alongside +Gabriel Perez Gallardi's 5e Greyhawk. Surprisingly, the thing we've never talked about before, RQ6, won. Now, I've got some prep ahead of me before tomorrow night and, instead of doing that, I'm writing about it.

So, here's the plan. I'm going to use Griffin Mountain as the sandbox it's intended to be. The PCs will start out as hunters of one of the nomadic Balazaring tribes. In fact, they'll start out as kids going through their rites of passage to become hunters. There will be no tribal allegiances with any of the different citadel kings going into the campaign nor any looming conflicts with Lunars or chaos beasts. All of that will come about as a result of the PCs choices and what the PCs explore rather than any preplanned "story" that I choose to foist off upon them.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow.