As we all know, the Maximum Game Fun principle is simple: in a nutshell, when writing, thinking, and gaming about Glorantha, you ask yourself, "now, in this situation what will be the most fun?"... and then you go with it!
You can keep this principle in mind no matter rules you use - MoonQuest, GoonQuest, BODGERS, Pendragon Pass or (gasp!) even bog-standard RuneQuest 3. Or, for an evening's light diversion, why not give the MGF Rules System(tm) a go?
When writing this article for publication, I tried setting myself a self-imposed limit of one page to describe the MGF Rules, but I failed abysmally. Nevertheless, despite crapping on for however many words, I'd better be frank about the rules right up front: there ain't none. Yep, that's right: the MGF Rules, as they are, are in fact more about character generation than the actual mechanics of the game. So, just as Lord Norwich in his magnificent 3 volume history of the Byzantine Empire artfully disposes of the Byzantine economy in one-and-half sentences, here I will be a little more generous and devote a whole paragraph to how you actually play the game...
There are no hard-and-fast rules. Things happen, spells work, weapons hit at the discretion of the GM. In any situation, go with whatever you think will have the most MGF potential. Be prepared to take the plot in all directions, and keep the Petersen Principle in mind at all times (as expounded by Sandy on the Glorantha Digest):
"The party will come up with things you never expected, and these plans and explanations might not bear any resemblance to what you anticipated. So what?!"
If you do want to randomize things, you could use some dice, though I have used the tops off beer bottles just as effectively in the past. Of course, as the game proceeds and more beer is drunk, there are more bottle tops at your disposal and more possible variations: handy as the game approaches its dramatic climax! In the forthcoming Advanced MGF Rules System (tm), randomising potential is increased by making sure there are at least two brands of beer. Different values to the assigned to the various brands - following standard Glorantha-Con practice, we urge that lite beer should be rated less than full strength.
Okay, okay, that was two paragraphs, but any rules system that actively encourages excessive consumption of alcohol is probably worth spending some time on. Anyway on to...
The storytelling dynamic of the MGF system lends itself very well to on-off tournaments, and the character generation operates accordingly. Unlike most tournaments, where the players are given a pregenerated character with personality, background and aims already outlined, here in MGF the players get to create their own characters before the game begins!
Character generation is stupidly simple. Dice are not needed, and bottle tops are only a factor if you're thirsty.
Ideally, with MGF character generation, you begin by deciding what sort of background the characters have: in the first MGF-style tournament I ran - Mike Dawson's Embarrassment of Riches - the characters are Jonatelan peasants. In my homage to Stanley Kubrick Rune Metal Jacket , they're all Lunar soldiers fresh out of boot camp. And in my new tournament The Getting of Wisdom, you'll get the chance to play eager beaver Lhankor Mhy apprentices, cramming for their initiate exams!
As peasants, all the characters in Embarrassment of Riches knew basic 'peasanty' things. In Rune Metal Jacket it was assumed the characters had elementary hoplite training, and knew simple drill, basic commands, how to care for their armour and equipment, and so on. For The Getting of Wisdom, as apprentices, it is assumed that all the characters can read/write a bit, and know how to cut quills, prepare ink and parchment, trim candles, and run errands for their masters.
The interesting bit for the players is to decide how their character differs from the archetype.
This is done by answering a number of simple questions, which can be written on the Generic MGF Character Sheet or, if you're playing one of my MGF tournaments, the Rune Metal Jacket MGF Character Sheet or The Getting of Wisdom MGF Character Sheet.
In The Getting of Wisdom, these are the questions and some sample answers. Write down:
FIVE THINGS YOUR CHARACTER DOES BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE APPRENTICE
Examples could be:
FIVE THINGS YOUR CHARACTER DOES WORSE THAN THE AVERAGE APPRENTICE
FIVE THINGS EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU
FIVE THINGS NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU
THREE THINGS YOU BELIEVE ARE TRUE
A FAVOURITE POSSESSION
A SPECIAL SPELL
|Origins of MGF
The term 'MGF' was originally coined, I think, by Loren Miller, one-time guru of the Glorantha Digest.
My first real experience of the MGF style of play was running John Hughes's immortal baboon-fest Seven Mothers do 'ave 'em at Arcanacon, in Melbourne, 1990 (when, after nearly three hours, we hadn't got past the first paragraph of the written plot, but no one seemed to notice or care).
The rules themselves mutated out of Mike Dawson's 'character sketch' ideas for his tournament Embarrassment of Riches, which featured at the original RuneQuest Con in Baltimore 1994.
While Rune Metal Jacket and The Getting of Wisdom were written specifically for the MGF-style of gaming, several published scenarios also ideally lend themselves to MGF. These include:
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