Hordes of the Things (HOTT)
an article by Simon Miller, pictures by Richard Crawley.
Aldryami vs Uz
Many of us played Runequest in the early 1980's, and learned to love the very imaginative and coherent fantasy world that the game system was set in, with it's Ducks, Broo and Mistress Race Trolls. Then the rights to the game system were sold and new module releases failed to inspire, and for years Runequest was in the doldrums. More recently the development of the Heroquest game system has given this world a new lease of life and a rapidly expanding community.
Battle of the troll bridge
I was introduced to HOTT in 2001 (thanks Ian!) and initially enjoyed playing with generic armies of Goblins, Elves etc. When it came to thinking which army I would next paint, I found myself drawn back to Glorantha, and started to come across excellent sources on the Web (some of which are listed below). My first army of Orlanthi was based around a core of Pictish and Scottish figures I painted many years ago; I kept being inspired by new miniatures and adding to the army. Many historical armies can be used in a Gloranthan setting after a few "tweaks" (break out the bronze paint!).
The Last battle
In mid 2002 Ian and I ran across the Glorygeeks community, a subset of the Yahoo HOTT Group, dedicated to Gloranthan Wargaming. Sebastian Rogers was kind enough to organise, host (and feed) the first "GloryDay" in Feb 2004 when six fully Gloranthan armies battled for control of the ruins of Old Pavis. Most of the armies were freshly painted and featured elaborate conversions; I believe Greg is planning to show some photos of the battles. Gloryday 2005 is planned to be on a theme of "Dragon Pass"; and the forces are already mustering....
The HOTT rules system is extremely flexible and can be used to represent most of the nations and creatures encountered in Glorantha. Forces of the Lunar Empire, for example, can be represented using HOTT Spears for the Stonewall Phalanxes; HOTT Mage elements for the magical regiments; HOTT Blades for the Steelsword Legion and so forth. Gloranthan heroes fit neatly into the HOTT Hero category; and I personally play Harrek as a Paladin (not because of his innate goodness, but because of the magic resistance that Superheroes have in Dragon Pass). Larger creatures can be portrayed as Behemoths (Great Trolls or Rhino Riders); the Crimson Bat could be a Dragon or God; several actual RQ Gods from Prax (e.g. Oakfed) also play well as HOTT Gods.
The only category that I personally feel is missing from HOTT is the light troops; I'd love to see a category of Skirmishers to cater for Trollkin, Dragonewt Scouts, Ducks and their ilk (who I don't see as HOTT Shooters). I know that Ian Notter feels the need of an equivalent mounted category to help represent all the light mounted types found on the plains of Prax. Hopefully when V3 of HOTT Comes out we can get something included…
Collection and Painting Gloranthan Miniatures for HOTT
There's an excellent selection of miniatures available for Glorantha gaming. This includes the current range of Lance and Laser figures specifically designed for Heroquest; historical miniatures from manufacturers such as Gripping Beast and The Foundry; fantasy miniatures from a wide range of manufacturers and also the older Citadel, Ral Partha and Metal Magic miniatures which can regularly be found on Ebay.
Sable vs Lunar
One of the nicest things about modelling for HOTT, is that miniatures are combined to form elements, 60mm wide and between 20mm and 120mm deep. I personally believe that whenever possible each element should tell a story, and I combine miniatures from varied sources to this end. An example of this is my "Stomp the Giant" element, which includes a Grenadier chaos giant I picked up ready-painted on Ebay, a citadel goblin converted to become a dwarf, and a Ral Partha dwarven thief.
Stomp the giant (Simon's picture)
Different people have different approaches as to the figure scale they choose to represent an army with. I build mine on a roughly 1:50 scale because I personally like the look of a regiment with 16 foot or 12 mounted figures. Others choose to use an element to represent up to 1000 men or creatures, so can represent the whole of a tribe of Nomads from Prax, for example, as one army. All these approaches are valid- the nice thing about HOTT is that this really doesn't matter. In fact, when not fighting in Glorantha your army can fight any of the other hugely imaginative Hordes armies out there!
Now there are quite a few Gloranthan HOTT armies around, it's very tempting to fight larger battles with 3 or 4 players to a side; I call this Big Battle.
Harrek kills an Uz shaman
The HOTT rules cater for this, but as the number of players increases, the game slows down somewhat, and becomes much longer. On occasion we've finished 2 or 3 two player HOTT games in an evening; four player HOTT games, however, always seem to take most of an evening to play. Ian recently came up with a suggested mechanism to speed up multi-player games, by allowing pairs of players to play at their own speeds within the battle as a whole; I'm very keen to try this out.
Orlanthi vs Lunars
Also for Big Battle I'd like to explore adding/changing the troop types available for HOTT, to bring out more of the colour of the Gloranthan world. This could include adding new troop types; giving elite units a combat bonus; a more complex magic system including some regimental magic; and giving some units special properties. This all needs a great deal of thought and play-testing, Ian and I should get around to thinking about it some time after Gloryday next year.
Orlanthi vs Broos
This site, of course,
Light of Action : Roderick Robertson 's site (miniatures and wargaming in Glorantha).
Glorygeek yahoo site : Gloranthan HOTT mailing list.
The stronghold : a great site about HOTT where you ll find many other HOTT sites.