Monday, 9 March 2015

King of Dragon Pass - first year done!

I've started putting my toe into Glorantha again. Like the background to games like Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader, any RPG that draws on Glorantha mines a deep background of history and mythology which writers and gamers have been working on for more than 30 years. It can be difficult, when you're a player used to Dungeons and Dragons, where gods largely take a back seat to the proceedings, other than lending some divine power to the party's cleric, to get your head around a world that, if anything, is more complex and sophisticated than Middle Earth.

Hence, King of Dragon Pass, which is available in the iStore, is a good introduction to the world and legends of Glorantha. In this case, your're running a tribe in Dragon Pass, one that has only recently moved there and is trying to find its feet. The game works well on the iPhone as it does not seem to require a bigger screen as it is not a graphics intense offering. Lords of Waterdeep, which I'm now playing on the iPad and enjoying immensely, might look a bit cramped on the iPhone, although I confess freely to not having tried it yet on a smaller screen.

KoDP feels a bit like a Fighting Fantasy game book, except you are making decisions which will affect the fortunes of your tribe.

I intend to chronicle my tribe's history on this blog, for as long as the game holds my attention, and perhaps include a little explanation of some of the background that the game explores. I have no idea at this stage how easy it is for a tribe to be wiped out, so its annals may be curtailed sooner rather than later. But the game is convenient to dip into when you are waiting in a queue or taking a train ride, so long as the phone's battery holds up. The background music is a bit irritating, and I've not yet worked out how you turn that off.

KoDP generates a history for the tribe as you go along, so that you can refer back to your exploits, and I will be publishing it here as I progress.

Starting background

During the marriage of Orlanth and Ernalda, the Anmangarn men whooped and drank with Orlanth, making Orlanth our main deity. Our clan’s earliest famous event was when Roitina, lady of dance, first performed the Clan-Making Dance. During the Storm Age, we adopted strangers into our clan. Our worst enemies in those days were the trolls.

We were originally a Balanced Clan. At the Dawn, we first awakened Orlanth, the Father. Our attitude toward dragons and their ilk was neutral; we did not go along with them nor actively make war on them.

The above background is really determined by a series of initial choices the player makes, a little like rolling up your starting character in Pendragon. Before the Dragon Wars in Glorantha, the Orlanthi were somewhat divided between those who supported the Empire of the Wyrms' Friends and those who resisted it. This seems to be part of the background to the Second Age, which was used for the Mongoose Publishing version of RuneQuest.

And thus it begins...


We made the dangerous trek to Dragon Pass, and claimed more land than we needed, to grow into. We built a clan hall, some steads, and a temple to Orlanth. But when we left Heortland, we lost much of our connection with the gods.


The alynx spirits chased off the vermin spirits; there would be few rats this year.

The Issaries priestess Sora Goodseller came to our clan and asked if we had any white horses to trade. We had no white horses. We offered a different horse, but she only wanted a white.

Eonislara, betrothed to Jorator of the Isolting clan, was seduced by Korol, the notorious troublemaking poet of the Heran clan. We went to the Herani and said that we expected Korol to marry her. “You mistake my intentions,” Korol said. “I meant not to eat the whole cake, but merely to sample the dough.” When our people heard this, they were outraged.

We raided the Herani and eluded their patrols. We drove the Herani from the battlefield, and were able to plunder their tula. We celebrated the humbling of lecherous Korol’s clan.

We were raided by the Horse Nomads. Orlaront caused great damage to a group of Horse Nomads who were attempting to circle behind us. We drove the Horse Nomads off, and their survivors left without plundering our tula.

NB - Orlaront - I think - is one of the cast of characters who acts as the clan's ring, an advisory council that you can turn to for their opinions. They are a little like a modern cabinet, in that some of them seem to also have particular areas of knowledge or responsibility, like health or farming.

Eonislara turned out to be pregnant. Her kinfolk were embarrassed. We left the matter to her kinfolk. People were happy that the ring did not interfere.

Explorers found the warrior Astella, who fled from the injustice of the Pharaoh, and said we should give her asylum. We adopted her as a weaponthane. The people were glad to welcome a foe of the Pharaoh.

The harvest was plentiful.


So there you have it, the first year completed in Dragon Pass, and right now the clan is looking good, although I'm expecting we'll get some trouble from the Herani in the future. I'm a little more concerned about Astella, as she brings with her the wrath of the Pharaoh. I was personally not keen to give her a place in the clan, but most of the ring and indeed the tribe wanted to keep her. The Pharaoh, it seems, is not popular around here. We had lost one of our weaponthanes in the fight with the Horse Nomads, and Astella is handy in a fight, so I made her a weaponthane. Some of the women in the ring thought this was going a bit far, and perhaps they will become jealous of her, but if conflict arises, we can always attach her to a future exploring party.

I've been helped to a large extent by the game's tutorial feature, which has guided me through the first year. We shall see how well we do without it in the future.


Orlanth: One of the many sons of the god Umath, known for early his rivalry with the gods of light, particularly Yelm, whom he killed with the weapon Death. Considered to be responsible for the Lesser Darkness as a result, which also allowed Chaos to creep into the world.  Remorsefully, he rallied the Lightbringer deities, and was confirmed chief of the Air Gods. He currently has three commonly recognised aspects, namely Orlanth Adventurous (adventurers), Orlanth Thunderous (weather / storms), and Orlanth Rex (kings / nobles / poets). In Prax, he is not known under his Thunderous aspect, as Storm Bull is considered lord of storms there.

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