jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2020

Playing RuneQuest Glorantha: The Den of the Scorpion Men

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The following text was written by David "Trotsky" on the BRP Central forum, and it is a detailed example of the RuneQuest Glorantha combat rules in play, as well as the chase rules. I found his effort useful for new players to learn the rules, so I thought it would benefit from a little more visibility. Trotsky gave me his permission to publish his example of play here. Enjoy!

»»Puedes leer esto en español««
The art above is by Simon Roy for the Gloranthan videogame Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind.
The images throughout the text are from 2-Minute Tabletop

The Den of the Scorpion Men
An exercise in learning RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha

I am planning to run RQG soon and so have been reading and studying the core book. Here is me playing through a scene to gain some experience. I used whatever the dice gave me and tried to play both sides fairly.

Since the Dragonrise and the Lunar retreat from Sartar, the Ernaldori Clan have been busy cleansing their lands of Lunar remnants. A disturbing report was brought to Baranthos son of Dunorl, chieftain of the Ernaldori Clan, that a scorpion man was seen not far from Little Starfire Ridge.

‘No doubt it is a friend of the Red Goddess, another abomination from those Chaos lovers. The last thing we need now is a scorpion queen to settle in our lands. Send out a band to track it down and kill it.’ Baranthos commanded.

So, five days later, a small band of Ernaldori warriors who had been sent to track the creature down, came across it…

The Ernaldori warriors consisted of Balgan (a heavy infantryman and initiate of Orlanth Adventurous), Korig (a light infantryman and also an initiate of Orlanth Adventurous) and Saroangan the Wolfskinner (heavy infantrywoman of Sartar, initiate of Yelmalio). These three characters were straight from the Cradle of Heroes website and you can check their stats by following the links in their names. The scorpion men I used were randomly generated as "weaklings" from the Adversaries generator. Check their stats here.

On the edge of a clearing, the three heroes took a Listen skill check, both Balgan and Saroangan could
make out the sound of a crackling fire and the sound of scuttling a little further ahead – frustratingly just out of sight…

Saroangan was the hero with the highest Move Quietly skill (still only 30%). So, they all agreed she would move forward and try to take a look at whatever was making the sound. She removed her heavy scale hauberk before proceeding and readied her bow. She skirted around the clearing using the vegetation as cover, moving towards the source of the sounds.

Unsurprisingly, with such a low Move Quietly skill, Saroangan made quite a noise as she traveled through the vegetation. On reaching a vantage point, she could see a small cave opening in the mountain and outside a scorpion man idly poking a fire with its club… Despite her noisy approach, the Chaos creature did not appear to have heard her (it failed its Listen roll).

Saroangan was sorely tempted to loose an arrow or two straight away, but without her heavy armour she thought better of it, instead, she decided to Listen again and Scan the area paying particular attention to the area around the cave mouth – she wanted to know if the creature was alone. The Listen roll failed to reveal any new information but the Scan of the cave entrance revealed that there was an additional club leaning against the rockface – maybe indicating there was at least one more scorpion man nearby.

Failing her Move Quietly roll again, she made her way back to the others, where she explained what she had seen and put on her hauberk. Unbeknownst to her, the scorpion man had made its Listen roll and had begun to move towards where she had watched from. The scorpion man was making no attempt to Move Quietly and Balgan heard the clicking of its many legs on the rocky ground before it appeared – the heroes tried to blend in with the vegetation – making a Hide roll.

The creature failed to spot the heroes lurking in the bushes, and after a failed Listen check, turned to return to its fire. At this point, the heroes prepared their missile weapons to take the scorpion man down.

Combat Round 1

The heroes made their statements of intent:

Balgan had already prepared his shield and drawn one of his two javelins from his back. His javelin would resolve on SR 2, this would free his hand to cast Protection-1 on himself using the focus on the back of his shield. It would take 5 SR to prepare the spell. The spell would take 2 SR to cast so would take effect on SR 9. Saroangan who had by now got her armour back on, had her composite bow ready – she would let loose arrows on SR 1 and SR 7.

Korig would cast Disruption (1) at the creature on SR 3. Then get his shield from his back which would take 10 SR. This would not leave him enough SR to do anything else that round.

They hoped that would be enough to take the creature down. The creature would be surprised, but as it was over 9 meters away wouldn’t get a SR penalty, but wouldn’t be able to act until alerted – that would be Saroangan’s arrow on SR 1.

Combat Round 1 resolution

SR 1Saroangan’s first arrow. She had an 80% chance but rolled 81! The scorpion man was alerted and took a Scan roll to try and identify where the arrow came from. It was successful and the creature could now act. Being a violent but relatively dumb creature, it decided to be aggressive. It would however attempt to cast Protection-1 on itself first, which would take 5 SR to prepare and 2 SR to cast – the spell would be ready on SR 8, then it would charge to the heroes…

SR 2Balgan threw his javelin and his 60% chance was successful, and with the scorpion man having no shield, it couldn’t attempt to parry and so attempted to dodge instead, which it did with its 50% Dodge ability. The javelin clattered against the rocky floor.

Korig’s Disruption spell was next. His POW of 12 gave him a 60% chance of casting. He successfully cast it and then it had to overcome the scorpion man’s paltry 4 POW, a 90% chance of success. It was successful and the scorpion man took 1 point of damage. As the scorpion man was still preparing its spell, its concentration was broken and so it started the process again – the spell would now be ready on SR 10.

SR 7Saroangan shot her second arrow. It struck the creature’s tail but only caused 3 points of damage which was not enough to penetrate the scorpion man’s thick skin or even break its concentration in casting its spell.

SR 9 – Balgan failed in casting Protection on himself. 

SR 10 – the scorpion man attempted to cast its spell, with a POW of only 4 its chances were not good (20%). However, it rolled a 04 and succeeded, adding another 1 point of armour to its already tough 3 point skin. The creature rushed forward 3 meters as the round ended.

Well, the round didn’t go as well as the heroes hoped, and with the creature rushing towards them they would need to prepare for a closer encounter than they had planned for…

Combat Round 2

The heroes made their statements of intent:

Balgan with his shield already prepared, he would ready his 1H spear, this would take 5 SR. He would also step forward a few meters towards the Chaos creature (the movement being in tandem with preparing his spear – but moving straight away as he wants to engage the creature first as he already had his shield ready). He then would ready himself to receive the charge of the scorpion man - thrusting with his spear on SR 10.

Saroangan, seeing her previous arrow bounce off the creature’s skin, dropped her bow and drew her broadsword, it would be ready on SR 5, she would then step forward when her sword was ready and try to strike the scorpion man on SR10 (again combining drawing the sword with movement).

Korig would finish readying his shield on SR 1 (an action he had started the previous round). He would then draw his broadsword taking 5 SR to do so and cast Bladesharp-2 on it using the focus on its hilt, the spell would be completed on SR 10.

The scorpion man would scuttle forward and engage Balgan who was moving towards it. It would take 4 SR to close the distance, as it was around 12m (after Balgan had stepped forward). It would then strike with its club on SR 9 and its tail on SR 10.

Combat Round 2 resolution

SR 1Balgan stepped forward out of the vegetation.
SR 4 – The scorpion man scuttled forward and engaged Balgan.
SR 5Balgan had his spear ready
SR 9 – The scorpion man struck at Balgan with its club, Balgan tried to parry it with his spear. Both failed their rolls.
SR 10 – With a DEX of 19, the scorpion man acted first and tried to sting Balgan with its tail, Balgan again tried to ward off the stinger with his spear, but was now with a -20% as it was his second parry. The tail strike was wide of its mark, but the parry was successful. Balgan’s successful parry against the failed sting attack caused 11 points of damage. Since this was higher than the 3 points of armour plus 1 point Protection of his adversary, the scorpion man's tail lost 1 HP.

Next was Saroangan with her 18 DEX. She stepped forward and engaged the scorpion man, but failed to make contact. Then Balgan thrust with his spear scoring a special success, the creatures’ club failed in its attempt to push aside the spear. The special success for a spear is impaling – it does x2 damage (2D6+2 plus 1D6 damage modifier) and could get stuck in its target. The spear did 15 damage straight through the chest of the creature. Skin and magic reduced the damage to 11. As this was 3 times its HP in the chest, the scorpion man died clutching the spear in his chest… Balgan successfully rolled ½ his attack probability and pulled the spear free of the scorpion man’s body. Finally, Korig (DEX 11) cast his Bladesharp-2 and his sword pulsated with the power imbued in it…

Combat round 3

There was little time to celebrate for the heroes as two more scorpion men appeared from the direction of the cave – their clubs and bodies shimmering with magic (Yarsh had cast Bludgeon-1 and Protection-1 on both of them).

The heroes made their statements of intent:

Balgan would cast the Rune Spell, Lightning, on one of the scorpion men and then charge forward. The Lightning would be cast on SR 1 and as the scorpion men were also charging forward, they would be engaged on SR 3 (move of approx. 6m). He would thrust with his spear on SR 8.

Saroangan, still with one hand free would cast Coordination (2) on herself. It would take 5 SR to prepare and 2 SR to cast, being ready on SR 7. She would then charge and engage the creatures on 9 SR (move of approx. 6m).

Korig would charge forward and engage with his Bladesharp-enhanced sword. 2 SR to move (approx. 6m). Striking with his sword on SR 8.

Both scorpion men Yarsh and Rarsh would scuttle forward and engage Saroangan and Balgan respectively. 2 SR to move and then attack with clubs on SR 8 and stingers on SR 9.

Combat Round 3 resolution

SR 1 - Balgan cast the Rune Spell Lightning spending only 1 Rune point on it. Lightning is represented by the Air Rune, Balgan had 80% in that rune and rolled a 62. Balgan targeted Rarsh, who was looking towards him. Rarsh had a POW of 7 compared to Balgan’s 12 giving the spell a 75% chance of success. A 13 was rolled and a streak of lightning bolted from the overcast sky and struck Rarsh. The spell stuck Rarsh’s left middle leg causing the maximin damage of 6, only reduced by the creature’s Protection-1 spell. The creature let out a spine-tingling screech, and then began to scuttle towards Balgan

SR 3Balgan, Korig and the scorpion men charge forward and became engaged.

SR 7 – Saroangan successfully cast her Coordination spell.

SR 8 – Korig, Balgan, and both scorpion men attacked in DEX order. Balgan and both scorpion had a DEX of 15 so I determined randomly who would attack first and both scorpion men achieved better results. Yarsh struck at Korig whilst Korig attempted to parry with his medium shield. Yarsh rolled a special success which was parried by Korig’s shield. Yarsh’s club rolled 17 crushing damage (1D8+2+1+1D6+6). Korig’s medium shield began to splinter from the blow, losing 5 of its 12 hit points and reducing its effectiveness to an HP of just 7 (at least it was not his sword taking the hit!). The crushing damage smashed onto Korig’s arm with two points getting through his cuirbouilli vambraces (3 AP).

Rarsh swung his club at Balgan who attempted to parry with his large shield. The scorpion man’s swing was good but Balgan replied with a special success with his parry. The blow was pushed clear but the shield did not damage the scorpion man’s rather substantial club.

Balgan thrust at Rarsh with his spear whilst the creature attempted to parry. The spear found its mark, but was parried by a special success. The club did insufficient damage to harm Balgan’s spear. Rarsh then swiped with its stinger at Balgan who parried with his sword, at -20% as it was his second parry. Balgan called for inspiration from his Air Rune to aid him in his defense. The Air Rune is associated with the sword, so he could attempt to become inspired by it. Despite having 80% in that rune he rolled an 87 and failed, causing -20% to his sword skill. Rarsh taking advantage of the doubt in Balgan’s eyes successfully struck with his stinger. Balgan failed to parry. The stinger struck his abdomen but only caused 3 points of damage insufficient to penetrate his armour – maybe Orlanth did favour him after all…

Korig now engaged Yarsh. He rolled a critical success which the creature failed to parry. Korig’s slash did 22 points of damage to the creature’s thorax (9+9 from his broadsword, +2 from his damage bonus roll, +2 from the Bladesharp spell), bypassing all armour, it caused the creature to instantly drop to the ground dead…

SR 9 – Saroangan rushed to engage the remaining scorpion man.

Combat round 4

Things are not looking good for the remaining scorpion man…
The heroes made their statements of intent:

Balgan would thrust with his spear on SR 5.
Saroangan would slash with her sword on SR 4 (due to her Coordination spell).
Korig would move to engage, taking one 1 SR to move, and striking with his sword on SR 6.
Rarsh would attempt to disengage by retreating – it might be slow, but it was not stupid!

Combat Round 4 resolution

SR 4 – Saroangan slashed with her sword whilst the scorpion man attempted to parry with its club. The sword swung wide and so did the parry.

SR 5 – Balgan struck with his spear whilst the creature attempted to parry. The result being a successful hit and failed parry. 7 points of damage to its right foreleg. Three got through to render that limb useless.

SR 6 – Korig slashed with his enhanced sword and the creature tried to parry again but now at -40%. The sword hit home but despite its magic only caused 2 hits to its abdomen.

At the end of the round the last remaining scorpion man had successfully disengaged – but could it get away?

With Rarsh’s attempt to flee and the heroes wishing to follow, there was a chase situation. All had a base MOV of 8. The GM (me!) determined that the scorpion man would begin the chase at ‘two lengths’ range as it had successfully disengaged.

1st Chase roundBalgan decided to cast Mobility on himself – so he dropped his spear and successfully cast the spell, he then picked up his spear – he would not be able to chase this turn and would fall behind, at least temporarily. The other participants stated they were going to move as fast as they could. The scorpion man and heroes made opposed DEXx5 rolls. Korig attempted to augment his chase roll with his Movement Rune – rolling a 15 he made a special success, boosting his DEXx5 rolls by +30%, as if he had now DEX 17.

Rarsh, the scorpion man, rolled a regular success, as did Saroangan. However, even with his boosted DEX, Korig failed. In the chase, Korig and Balgan fell behind but Saroangan was still on the heels of the scorpion man.

2nd Chase round – The chase continued. Rarsh rolled a special success and moved two ranges forward (effectively moving the chasers back two ranges on the aid I was using). However, Balgan now having MOV 16 due to his Mobility spell caused Rarsh’s roll against him to be at -40%, which caused his special success to be only a regular success against him and so moved back only a single range. Balgan rolled a success and moved forward a range band. Saroangan failed her roll and failed to move forward. However, Korig recovered from his previous stumble and made a regular success and moved forward.

Despite its previous injuries, the extra legs of the scorpion man put distance between it and the heroes. Saroangan lost sight of the scorpion man in the rocky terrain but she could still see Korig to follow. Balgan accelerated and moved to within ‘close’ range of the scorpion man.

3rd Chase round – Even at -40% against Balgan, the scorpion man was successful against all the heroes. Balgan and Saroangan made regular success rolls maintaining the status quo with the scorpion man. Korig fumbled his roll and fell off the chase track – he would have to make a Track roll to pick up the route the others have gone…

4th Chase roundRarsh was successful against Saroangan, but failed against Balgan who was still under the influence of his Mobility spell. Balgan and Saroangan had successes and Balgan was now almost within range with his short spear. Saroangan could still just about see Balgan in the distance. Korig failed his Track roll and would have to try to pick up the trail again next round.

5th Chase roundRarsh failed its roll against Balgan, who succeeded with his own roll and moved level with the scorpion man. Saroangan scored a critical success, she saw a shortcut and she dived off into the underbrush to appear just behind Balgan and Rarsh

6th Melee round – with Balgan and Rarsh side-by-side, they exchange blows and become engaged. The scorpion man would strike at SR 6 with its club and SR 7 with its stinger. However, Balgan would strike first on SR 5. His thrust was successful but was met by a critical parry from the scorpion man’s club. The club smashed the thrusting spear causing 17 (4+2+5+6) points of damage, so the spear took 7 damage… Rarsh then swiped at Balgan with his club, which was easily parried. Then the scorpion man’s tail struck – hitting with a critical success which Balgan almost matched with a special success using his shield. The Bestiary does not state what type of special damage the stinger does, but as it looks like it would bludgeon – I used that. It caused 15 damage (6+1D6+6), which luckily was not enough to overcome Balgan's large shield's 16 HP. If the damage modifier roll had been at least 5 for a total of 17 points of damage, the stinger would have wounded Balgan's shield arm, and he would have then needed to make a CON roll to resist the scorpion man's venom (POT 11)! With both Balgan and Rarsh engaged, Saroangan rushed in to join in the combat.

7th Melee roundBalgan and Saroangan would strike on SR 5, and Rarsh on SR 6 with its club
and SR 7 with its tail. Although the effects of her Coordination spell had already worn off, Saroangan with her better DEX struck before Balgan. Her sword hit home as the scorpion man failed to parry. Hitting its left middle leg again, it caused only a single wound. Balgan rolled a special success with his furious spear’s attack, causing 11 damage to its left hind leg. This was too much for the creature and it finally dropped down dead.

A minute or two later Korig appeared, out of breath…, ‘Is it dead?’ Despite a heavily damaged spear and shield, the heroes were relatively unharmed, with only Korig nursing a sore shield arm. Saroangan then began the trek back to the cave to retrieve her bow…

This was a lot of fun…

Want more? Follow the link to read the next episode: Chaotic possession!

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