However with BM having its 15yr birthday, and marking almost 10 years of my own involvement I decided to return to my gaming roots and run RQ game of Pavis & Big Rubble. Besides I wanted to see how RQ compared after running HQ for the last five years or so.
The con was small so I only got to run once with three players on the Saturday morning.
The party comprised of a Dark Troll Warrior, a Lunar Solider and a Sartarite Hunter. A much more combat based group than its HQ equivalent, who decided straight away to do away with any socio-religious bickering and work as a group who had meet up on the road and stick together for mutual protection. A HQ equivalent would have been a much more diverse group occupation wise and they would have made it part of the drama, via the personality and relationship rules, the cultural and religious differences between the characters. It would have been quite likely that they would have come from the same culture in HQ.
Once we got started with them entering Pavis, this simple grounded approach carried on. They were good citizens and went and registered for work at the Administrative building and were given the task of sorting out a rat problem in the Farmers Quarter.
First off to get some Rat Traps from the market and they were quickly directed to one of the Flintnail Temple Dwarfs who was the city's official "Ratter". He showed them some marvellous Dwarfen rat traps, metal collapsing cubes of various sizes. Unwisely they let it slip the traps weren't for personal use, but for a job that would have normally gone to the Dwarf. Said dwarf then got in a mighty huff and the players quickly left.
Since it was now midday and they hadn't eaten yet they signed up for lodgings at Gimpys and bought lunch. They pumped the bar keep for info, ate their meal and then went on their way.
Reaching the Farmer's Quarter they quickly found a house overrun by rats. Problem was that the owner wasn’t letting them in. Eventually they forced their way in as tides of rats poured through the house from the cellar. Seeing the Troll the Sartarite farmer and wife flee. The troll investigates the cellar and finds the reason for the house owner’s reluctance to let them in. A stash of arms and armour to be used in a revolt against the Lunar occupation force. Also more ominously there is a tunnel opening in the cellar wall, leading into a four foot high and wide tunnel going down and out beyond the city walls into the Big Rubble.
The Farmer returns with his mates, and threaten to burn out the Trolls! The party decide to go down the tunnel rather than face the angry mob.
Down and down they go, passing junctions of other tunnels. Careful inspection of the walls revealed that they had been dug out by rats…..very big rats!! Shortly afterwards they arrive in a very large cave with multiple passageways leading off it. In the centre of the cave is a pole with dead rats tied to it and a large rat skull ‘looking into’ the passage the players are currently in. Correctly working out that this is a magic pole which is attracting and directing the rats, the pcs work out a way of breaking it without touching it, involving the never-ending ball of twine they bought earlier in the market. Just as they get ready to pull the pole down, ten rat headed broo rush into the cavern. A fight ensues during in which in true RQ fashion one of the Broo fumbles and kills one of his mates and one of the PCs engages successfully in spirit combat with the disease spirit bound into the pole released as he breaks it.
With more rat broo on the way, the Dwarf Rat catcher reappears. After a tense moment where he tells the pcs that they are daft sods for breaking the pole, and that they should have left it to the professionals. The pcs gladly ‘hop it’ back to the surface, but make a quick detour by using the same tunnel the Dwarf came through, leading them through the back rooms of the Flint Nail temple. They report to the Administration building and pick up their reward for dealing with the rats.
Overall I enjoyed this. The players enjoyed it because unlike HQ it was less intensive setting wise. As a GM I initially missed some of the wonderful personality/interaction rules that HQ has, but the players were more than up for role-playing their characters. Definitely be taking back this simplified approach to Glorantha, ie don’t explain show as it crops up in the game, into HeroQuest and defiantly thinking about running this game again at a future con.