First, this is not a 104 pages supplement, but has 190 pages.
It clearly comprises two different parts: Dara Happa description (around 80 pages, includFirst, this is not a 104 pages supplement, but has 190 pages.
It clearly comprises two different parts: Dara Happa description (around 80 pages, including a special Dara Happa characters creation section) and the campaign itself.
As it is becoming usual in Whitaker supplements, the description is in some places scanty, although this may be intended. In any case, it seems to serve to the Your Glorantha May Vary (in this case, Your Dara Happa May Vary) policy in order not to tighten your own campaign or scenarios.
Whitaker takes some pains in the cultural and theological/mythological description of Dara Happa, which is more than welcomed. However, the more mundane aspects are not so deeply treated, except for the description of the society's structure. Then, the geographical and common descriptions of Dara Happa and Peloria are barely treated and except for the some important cities and places relevant to the campaign (which receive special description, sometimes within the campaign part, as in Alkoth) the rest is more or less left as 'terra incognita' on the premises that Dara Happa society is city based.
Again, as it is also becoming standard in Whitaker's supplements, there are quite scant maps and geographical aids, which turn to be sometimes misleading as they do not always correspond with the descriptions given in the texts. Specially, Raibanth description is quite annoying in this sense.
Anyway, if you plan some campaign or scenarios within Peloria, you should read this supplement, as it is dubious that any other supplement dealing with it might be edited.
As for the campaign itself, it is quite 'railroading' as Whitaker also admits. Obviously, any other outcome but Karvanyar's ascension to Dara Happa throne and the EWF being expelled will bring quite a different Second Age history. Anyway, there are enough room to role playing and to take part in this hero-making campaign will be undoubtedly fun.
As a last remark, in my opinion, this seems to be a quite PC killing campaign. Whitaker advises to have at least a pair of characters made since the beginning, which is a sensible thing to do. However I advised to make them in the high-level side since the beginning (Master level rather than Veteran). Otherwise, your group will have little options to survive even the first encounter. As the campaign goes on, I adhere to Whitaker advise to GM to have an open hand in Hero Points and improvement awards. Dealing with demi-gods and going to Hell is quite a dangerous thing to do.
Finally, I am greatly disappointed of the only HeroQuest here described. Not matter what the PCs do (win or fail, although they play secondary roles), the outcome is fixed, which is not the way I see HeroQuests. Certainly, God Learners use HQ extensively as a way to modify myths, don't they?
This supplement deals with role playing states, kingdoms or even empires just as if they were a player character, with its own characteristics and skiThis supplement deals with role playing states, kingdoms or even empires just as if they were a player character, with its own characteristics and skills. It seems quite nice solution and an original approach to rule states in a RPG. Furthermore, brings them close to standard game as it gives the procedure for an ennobled PC to run its own state or manor, with its own funds, problems and so on. Also, how being a high and active member of a kingdom/empire may affect its skills.
The examples for Glorantha, Elric and Rome are quite enlightening.
It is annoying the lack of maps and the sense of copy&paste from previous RQIII and old Gloranthan data, which leads to some monumental errors.
ThIt is annoying the lack of maps and the sense of copy&paste from previous RQIII and old Gloranthan data, which leads to some monumental errors.
The maps are scant and sometimes misleading or blatantly wrong compared with the descriptions given in the main text. Also, as it is usual, there are some slight differences from Third Age knowledge, but you may think it is intended: the guys on the Third Age does not have it all always right about how things were at the Second Age.
As a bad example on how a description may be wrong, Sog City's map and description are paradigmatic. The description is based in the exceptional The Lonely Lozenge Guide of Sog City from Michael O'Brian and Nick Brooke, but it is mostly pasted right there with some minor alterations to add a Second Age flavor. There are incomprehensible major flaws: for example, to include Rokari here 400 years before Saint Rokar was even born!!! or to put the waertagi not only in decadence, but also in extreme poverty when this occurred only after they become marooned here at the arrival of the Closing. The thing does not go well when you see that Sog City map is simply a slightly adorned copy from that at Nick Brooke's webpage (a Third Age Sog City!!!), but were North and South have been interchanged. Certainly, the original map had it wrong, but the result is that all becomes a mess when you read the description and try to match it with the map. Sometimes even the description follows as if a 90 degrees turn has been made to the Compass Rose drawn... Another point is that although the Vadeli have been wiped out from this description of Sog, there is still Vadelot quarter in the map, even with the breach in the city walls that will occur in the Third Age...
It is plain to see that the writer was himself in pains trying to match everything. Needless to say that he failed.
Something similar happens with Charg and Golaros descriptions and Fronela main map (the only source available to map all the places). Also, there are some contradictions concerning Charg and the EWF influence.
For these errors (which have not the right to be in a source book as this one), it is somehow annoying and disappoints me deeply.
Finally, the proposed adventure (to recover Galastar's bones from GL) is simple and straightforward. Nothing special about it. There are incredible faults in the brief NPC descriptions, however. Some examples: how to cast a Magnitude 8 spell with the skill Manipulation(Magnitude) at 45%? One may assume this is a typographical error, but then comes the next: how is that a major wizard of a special order is a half-wit with INT 9? How is that a standard human can reach POW 23?
In any case, Fronela in the Second Age seems a nice place to be and play (it offers plenty of background stories to develop as adventures and even campaigns) and it answers some blind spots from previous Glorantha sources. This is why it grows from 1 to 2 stars.
Moreover, this plain, black and white paperback is extremely expensive for the quality it offers. It is becoming a standard that RQ Mongoose supplements and books are of medium-poor quality, so it is a good idea to have it just in PDF and make yourself a copy in paper. This will bring it close at what you get from Mongoose except for the covers. ...more