More RuneQuest specific posting today. I’m a big fan of RuneQuest.
But first, lemme talk briefly about my previous love, Amber DRPG. In this world, there is One True Throne that everyone1well, kinda wants2At least, if you believe the RPG. But the one single throne is the reason people argue a lot.. It’s one central prize, and to some degree, when you get it, you’ve won. For a long time, that model served me well; people WOULD argue about the throne, but once you were on it, you were established, and you could to some degree rely on the service of those around you. You had to argue with your family about it, but they were unlikely to challenge a monarch who had proved themselves, and besides, everyone’s functionally immortal – they can wait.
A reason to love RuneQuest is the lack of stability. Sartar, my favourite area, has the same sort of set-up, where only one royal family can really rule the area, but there is not the same dynamic of that whole family struggling for the throne, because there are only about two people who could take it. The Throne is just a thing that happened on the way to greater glory. It is a plot point for establishing a long arc and no more. Still, this is Glorantha, and there’s a fun thing that happens here; the official history could be wrong.
In our Glorantha, the person who should have died stayed on the throne. Kallyr Starbrow, heir to the kingdom of Sartar, dies in battle in the official timeline. Our group saved her. Now she relies on us for certain things, and is a giver-of-plot. The other person who wants the throne, and is also heir to the kingdom of Sartar, is suddenly a not-quite-enemy-not-quite-friend. We generally like him, we’re happy with him as a King – elsewhere – and we’ve got an awkward pinch where we’re loyal to both but for different reasons.
The throne has become a plot point for our arcs, because it’s a thing that two people want, not a settled point without contention. It’s a plot generator, not a plot reward, and not a plot giver. To me, that’s a very satisfying way of doing things, and it makes a mundane, dull item into an interesting one, through conflict.