Glorantha - How was it back then and how is it now?

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
Personally, I think of Glorantha as only comprising Dragon Pass, the Holy Country, Dagori Inkarth and Balazar: [...]
Covering poor Six Ages and Saird's ears to protect their delicate feelings! :grin:
 

rmeints

Active Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
28
Reaction score
89
Thanks for the reply. Understood and understandable. I wonder if Jamie Revell is available...
Jamie tends to not want to write scenarios to go with his background material.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
Jamie tends to not want to write scenarios to go with his background material.
The longest journey, many hands, etc. I'll admit it's not the very highest thing on my want-list either, but ever-curious about what might be coming.
 

SJB

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
229
Reaction score
558
Covering poor Six Ages and Saird's ears to protect their delicate feelings! :grin:
I should have included Dorastor from Cults of Terror. The OP did ask about the difference between then and now. Very little from outside the RQ2 core seems to have stuck.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
I should have included Dorastor from Cults of Terror. The OP did ask about the difference between then and now. Very little from outside the RQ2 core seems to have stuck.
I suppose if you look at the terrifyingly short list of what's "canon", it is a little like the setting might as well have been on a 30-35 year Career Sabbatical. (And some people evidently think that even RQ2 was dangerously revisionist!)

But we've seen a lot of development of Sartar, which was an interesting-looking thing on the left-hand bit of the Prax map, but barely developed at all in the Era. Whether you file that as canon, post-canon, fanon, headcanon, or total nonsense. We've had broad-strokes sketches of the world as a whole, and stabs at details of some "off-map" stuff. How much of what we've seen on (say) the Lunars and the Malkioni holds up remains to be seen...

So I guess the "has stuck" angle is partly in the realm of YGWV, and partly in "time will tell"...
 

Acmegamer

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
1,603
Reaction score
3,911
The Starter Box Set is now released. I just ordered it. :grin: Oh, while it's on my mind, R rmeints You might want your webmaster take a look at the Starter Box Sets' download area. I don't think it was meant to have a long scrolling multi-panel of parts of the product on the left side. It confuses the look and feel of what the person thinks they can/should download. Hope that makes sense.
 
Last edited:

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
The Starter Box Set is now released. I just ordered it. :grin:
Very tempted to myself, even though I don't have any immediate use for it in Actual Play(TM). Especially don't want to take the shelf-space hit right now, and no PDF-only option for now -- I assume that'll arrive in time, given the precedent of the CoC SB.
 
Last edited:

Acmegamer

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
1,603
Reaction score
3,911
Very tempted to myself, even though I don't have any immediate use for it in Actual Play(TM). Especially don't want to take the shelf-space hit right now, and no PDF only option for now -- I assume that'll arrive in time, given the precedent of the CoC SB.
Yeah, I just couldn't resist snagging it. I love Chaosium's box sets, they really set the standard decades ago. Even if I didn't have a use for it I'd want it.
 

SJB

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
229
Reaction score
558
I suppose if you look at the terrifyingly short list of what's "canon", it is a little like the setting might as well have been on a 30-35 year Career Sabbatical. (And some people evidently think that even RQ2 was dangerously revisionist!)

But we've seen a lot of development of Sartar, which was an interesting-looking thing on the left-hand bit of the Prax map, but barely developed at all in the Era. Whether you file that as canon, post-canon, fanon, headcanon, or total nonsense. We've had broad-strokes sketches of the world as a whole, and stabs at details of some "off-map" stuff. How much of what we've seen on (say) the Lunars and the Malkioni holds up remains to be seen...

So I guess the "has stuck" angle is partly in the realm of YGWV, and partly in "time will tell"...
Alternatively, one could just note that Stafford, Perrin, Jaquays, Petersen, et.al. were probably the most outstanding group of RPG creatives ever assembled: it’s little surprise that their work has endured.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
Alternatively, one could just note that Stafford, Perrin, Jaquays, Petersen, et.al. were probably the most outstanding group of RPG creatives ever assembled: it’s little surprise that their work has endured.
I suppose one could if you wanted to take the "how many folks singers does it take to do the Lightbringers Quest" approach! But for me what's "stuck" only loosely correlates with any or any combination of those, some more than others. YMMV, WGWV.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
I suppose if you look at the terrifyingly short list of what's "canon", it is a little like the setting might as well have been on a 30-35 year Career Sabbatical. (And some people evidently think that even RQ2 was dangerously revisionist!)

But we've seen a lot of development of Sartar, which was an interesting-looking thing on the left-hand bit of the Prax map, but barely developed at all in the Era. Whether you file that as canon, post-canon, fanon, headcanon, or total nonsense. We've had broad-strokes sketches of the world as a whole, and stabs at details of some "off-map" stuff. How much of what we've seen on (say) the Lunars and the Malkioni holds up remains to be seen...

So I guess the "has stuck" angle is partly in the realm of YGWV, and partly in "time will tell"...
I'm trying to grok what you're getting at here...
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
Yeah, I just couldn't resist snagging it. I love Chaosium's box sets, they really set the standard decades ago. Even if I didn't have a use for it I'd want it.
Oh, they succeeded in me wanting it all right, and I think it's just a matter of time before I get it, including in physical form (even if and when that's not the only option).

If I have a hot-take negative on the contents -- sight unseen, let me acknowledge -- it's the lack of character-generation. Now that's very understandable, as that takes up 61 pages of my hardback copy of the rules. To which you'd then have to add yet more by way of the additional cult and magic options to back it up. But according to the Neil Robinson (via a Kraken video) there's a "quick chargen" system coming, which I assume will also be considerably shorter. So maybe that'll end up the RQ8SB! Though I'm not planning on holding out that long. (And I don't need to, indeed, already having the aforementioned!)

That's maybe somewhat harsh (pre-)marking, but I feel Chaosium set the bar rather high with their "goes where no starterset has gone before!" pitch, and I've heard people say that lack of character generation was a dealbreaker for them.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
I'm trying to grok what you're getting at here...
Keep me posted on how that goes for you.

I'm sure I'd be entirely willing to elucidate any given points in particular, but "say all of that again, but said entirely differently" is rarely an attractive offer.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
OK, let's try this again...
I suppose if you look at the terrifyingly short list of what's "canon", it is a little like the setting might as well have been on a 30-35 year Career Sabbatical. (And some people evidently think that even RQ2 was dangerously revisionist!)
What short list of what's canon? I don't get the impression there's a short list of canon from the Chaosium. And who thinks even RQ2 is dangerously revisionist? I've stated for myself that I prefer RQ1 while pointing new folks to RQG (and even RQ2 before that). And besides all that, what's wrong with being happy with the setting as it was 30 years ago?

[But we've seen a lot of development of Sartar, which was an interesting-looking thing on the left-hand bit of the Prax map, but barely developed at all in the Era.
Sure, and that's why I DO have some interest in the newer stuff. But what I don't have interest is the long winded conversations about what Sartar clan life is like this round and the changing equivalent Earth culture used as a reference.
Whether you file that as canon, post-canon, fanon, headcanon, or total nonsense. We've had broad-strokes sketches of the world as a whole, and stabs at details of some "off-map" stuff. How much of what we've seen on (say) the Lunars and the Malkioni holds up remains to be seen...
It does sound like there's changes to that part of the world, though I've never paid it much attention, in part because it was undeveloped in the RQ2/3 product line (and I didn't see much of the fan RQ3 era material until the late 90s or early 2000s), and in part because Dragon Pass and Prax are plenty of space for me to run campaigns in.
So I guess the "has stuck" angle is partly in the realm of YGWV, and partly in "time will tell"...
So just what do you think is stuck? What elements of the above come off as "stuck" to you? Is someone stuck because they don't run a world gallivanting campaign, or run each campaign in a new part of the world? Is someone stuck because they don't follow the cultural anthropology debate and change their campaign up constantly?
 

rmeints

Active Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
28
Reaction score
89
I suppose if you look at the terrifyingly short list of what's "canon", it is a little like the setting might as well have been on a 30-35 year Career Sabbatical. (And some people evidently think that even RQ2 was dangerously revisionist!)
I don't know which specific list you were looking at, so I will respond broadly. We aren't really into declaring something canonical, or non-canonical. The "lists" I have seen the Chaosium RQ team mention are the main sources they usually refer to when writing new material for RQ. As always, please use whatever you want from the past 40+ years of publications in your game, as little or as much as you want.

I'll also note that a number of publications over the past 40 plus years revised what had come before them, and that is not something that started happening with the latest edition of the game. We can't be in line with everything published previously. We picked a general course and will try to stick to it. We're trying to maintain more consistency going forward. Undoubtably we will not be perfect though.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
I don't know which specific list you were looking at, so I will respond broadly. We aren't really into declaring something canonical, or non-canonical.
I was thinking specifically of the "Gloranthan Canon" article on the WoD, and more generally of assorted statements over time that certainly appeared to suggest something was "non-canonical", whether in those exact words or something that at least appeared to me to be functionally equivalent. Now to be fair, often the agency may be from fans demanding to know whether something 'still official', and definitely won't ever be contradicted in the future -- good luck with that!

The "lists" I have seen the Chaosium RQ team mention are the main sources they usually refer to when writing new material for RQ. As always, please use whatever you want from the past 40+ years of publications in your game, as little or as much as you want.
Well, naturally! I certainly wasn't in any way trying to suggest you'd ever indicated otherwise. And fairly sensibly as well as magnanimously pluralistically, as if you were to tell people not to...
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
And besides all that, what's wrong with being happy with the setting as it was 30 years ago?
Thirty years ago was a great time for the setting! The Sartar Tribes Map, the cult of Maran Gor, and Pendragon Pass just published! The Tales Hero Quest Special just coming out! *wipes away a sentimental tear of nostalgia*


So just what do you think is stuck? What elements of the above come off as "stuck" to you? Is someone stuck because they don't run a world gallivanting campaign, or run each campaign in a new part of the world? Is someone stuck because they don't follow the cultural anthropology debate and change their campaign up constantly?
I think you're now using the term "stuck" wildly differently from its actual context here, which was "Very little from outside the RQ2 core seems to have stuck." That's what I was responding to, and I used "has stuck" (not "is stuck") in exactly the same sense.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
Thirty years ago was a great time for the setting! The Sartar Tribes Map, the cult of Maran Gor, and Pendragon Pass just published! The Tales Hero Quest Special just coming out! *wipes away a sentimental tear of nostalgia*
Of course, other than absorbing some of the Avalon Hill RQ3 material, I did not see any of the fan stuff, so all those things you mention, I missed or didn't see until later...

I think you're now using the term "stuck" wildly differently from its actual context here, which was "Very little from outside the RQ2 core seems to have stuck." That's what I was responding to, and I used "has stuck" (not "is stuck") in exactly the same sense.
OK, that's fair. Part of my not clearly understanding your post was "stuck" seemed like it was maybe referring to previous comments you've made to me, some on that other forum.

So yea, in light of the WOD article you referenced in your response to Rick Meints, I now understand your intended meaning, and I agree that a lot of the 90s and 2000s setting direction has been discarded. And that twisting and turning of the setting is part of what puts me off from the post-RQ2 stuff, particularly the endless discussions and that those changes back and forth have seemed to really fuel those who seem to mostly engage with Glorantha as an exercise in "cultural anthropology" as I label it, and not as gaming material. Though I do realize at least some of those folks really do game. Still, that discussion puts people off, and it contributes to people seeing Glorantha as unapproachable.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
So yea, in light of the WOD article you referenced in your response to Rick Meints, I now understand your intended meaning, and I agree that a lot of the 90s and 2000s setting direction has been discarded.
No, that was closer to what SJB SJB was saying (as I understand it), and I was that-dependsing.

Still, that discussion puts people off, and it contributes to people seeing Glorantha as unapproachable.
Some people, no doubt. As far as I'm aware though, participation in online is entirely at people's own discretion, much as the content of one's own games and one's own Glorantha is. Including discussions about what other discussions shouldn't exist, and so on.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
Some people, no doubt. As far as I'm aware though, participation in online is entirely at people's own discretion, much as the content of one's own games and one's own Glorantha is. Including discussions about what other discussions shouldn't exist, and so on.
I'm just offering that I see this general "mystique" that Glorantha is not a very accessible setting, and I've seen enough comments about the forum (and mailing list before that) discussions as being a cause of that "mystique". And all of that is why I stress that you can just pick up a few bits and start playing, and then drink slowly or not at all from the fire hose. Pick up the reprint of RQ2 (or even RQ1 :-) ) and Cults of Prax or pick up RuneQuest Glorantha, or even the brand new Starter Set (which I ordered yesterday after months of anticipation). Those are ALL good options to get you started. Then make Glorantha your own. But people will persist in having the (mistaken) idea that Glorantha is unapproachable.

I do appreciate that the Chaosium folks are consistent in advocating that canon ONLY matters if you are going to write FOR Chaosium. If you have a different idea and publish in the Johnstown Compendium, you can present whatever vision of Glorantha you have (I suppose within some bounds). And that's cool.
 

soltakss

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
1,322
Reaction score
2,204
Does anybody want Lunar Coders in Pavis or feel that the scenarios in Strangers in Prax are any good?
Yes and yes.

I would love all the RQ3 Gloranthan material to be available as PDF and, if people want, PODs.
I keep looking around for my dad when you say Mr. Meints. (I'm not that old)
You will be, soon ...
 

SJB

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
229
Reaction score
558
This is sheer surmise on my part, but I suspect the Strangers Dangers are quite low. Doesn't really work in the 'default' startdate, right? Of course they might decide to go slightly off-piste and (re)publish things for support of other parts of the timeline, but I'm guessing less likely as an immediate priority. And when you consider what they've currently bitten off...
  • The Starter Box -- actually off all(?) the boats now and about to be released, woo!
  • The Equipment book;
  • The Gods set, which will be thick enough to stun two-and-half oxen;
  • The GM book;
  • Six-to-seven separate Homelands books (or indeed maybe whole boxed sets);
  • New in-timeline adventures;
  • Standalone additional characters;
  • The Elder Races do-over;
  • Prax/Big Rubble à la Laws;
  • The GM book;
  • Jonathan Tweet's project of mystery.
Then at that point (or interspersed to taste) you have other RQ2 and RQ3 reprints that aren't so problematic to draw on, and whatever other madcap idea they've had in the meantime. (Elves, dwarves, Lunars?) So that's quite a lot of Problem for Another Day buffer, at the least.
According to a thread on BRP Central Ian Thomson and other fans are resurrecting Strangers in Prax for publication.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,878
Reaction score
13,713
I'm just offering that I see this general "mystique" that Glorantha is not a very accessible setting, and I've seen enough comments about the forum (and mailing list before that) discussions as being a cause of that "mystique". And all of that is why I stress that you can just pick up a few bits and start playing, and then drink slowly or not at all from the fire hose. Pick up the reprint of RQ2 (or even RQ1 :-) ) and Cults of Prax or pick up RuneQuest Glorantha, or even the brand new Starter Set (which I ordered yesterday after months of anticipation). Those are ALL good options to get you started. Then make Glorantha your own. But people will persist in having the (mistaken) idea that Glorantha is unapproachable.

I do appreciate that the Chaosium folks are consistent in advocating that canon ONLY matters if you are going to write FOR Chaosium. If you have a different idea and publish in the Johnstown Compendium, you can present whatever vision of Glorantha you have (I suppose within some bounds). And that's cool.
The impenetrability comes mainly from the community, not the texts, especially if you eat the elephant one bite at a time. Here's what I wrote in another thread...

What intimidates the hell out of me are Glorantha and Tekumel. If I want to get into the weeds with Middle Earth, I know exactly what to buy and read. If I want Glorantha or Tekumel knowledge, it seems like you have to have access to hidden, unpublished texts filled with decades of notes from those who hoard such knowledge like ancient priests. As I said earlier, Looking at the materials available for RQ1 and 2 and looking at the discussions people have, it doesn’t seem like that incredible depth of knowledge can come from those materials. It’s like going to tvtropes, everything is self-referential with no non-jargon explanation...anywhere. You even have people making jokes using Glorantha References...
”that‘s like the Red Goddess in Lhankor Mhy’s library”
(everyone LOL’s)
”more like the Myth Irippi Ontor grabs Storm Bull by the horns”
(everyone ROFL’s)
 

T. Foster

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
562
Reaction score
1,581
According to a thread on BRP Central Ian Thomson and other fans are resurrecting Strangers in Prax for publication.
This reminds me of what someone just said a couple days ago in another thread about D&D - once something has been introduced into the canon it’ll stay there forever and people will keep resurrecting it and adapting it to the latest edition regardless of if it was actually any good in the first place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SJB

Jaeger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
198

Glorantha - How was it back then and how is it now?​


It was an esoteric niche setting back in the day and it is even more so now.

Glorantha's relative popularity within the RPG hobby benefits enormously from the fact that RQ was one of the first alternatives to D&D that had a well thought out unified system.

If Glorantha was released today as a setting it would go the same way that Mongoose's new Shield Maidens setting will go. Some early good PR - then a fade into RPG obscurity.

The learning curve Glorantha present's as a setting to the average RPG player is an obstacle that has kept the RQ down. There is a reason that CoC with it's more relatable Mytho's setting is the bread and butter of Chaosium.
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
According to a thread on BRP Central Ian Thomson and other fans are resurrecting Strangers in Prax for publication.
Interesting. And shows all I know. :smile: Is this going to be a JC pub, in the original SiP timeline? A worked one in the 'official Chaosium' present? Or some other permutation?
 

SJB

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
229
Reaction score
558
Interesting. And shows all I know. :smile: Is this going to be a JC pub, in the original SiP timeline? A worked one in the 'official Chaosium' present? Or some other permutation?
The debate continues …
 

Alai

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
133
Reaction score
160
The impenetrability comes mainly from the community, not the texts, especially if you eat the elephant one bite at a time.
People gonna be people. See: people, ibid. But the two obviously interact. If I have text A, and you have texts A and B, or I prefer text C, and you prefer text D, and there's subtle difference of emphasis between them -- or wild contradictions indeed -- then you have the seeds of a fairly Chaotic -- or at the very least, highly Disorderly -- elephant right there.
If I want Glorantha or Tekumel knowledge, it seems like you have to have access to hidden, unpublished texts filled with decades of notes from those who hoard such knowledge like ancient priests.
Eh... Kinda depends which bits of alleged "knowledge", I guess? There's pretty important stuff that had mass-market printing but that's been out of print for 30-40 years. There's stuff that's had rather more niche "official" (at least at the time, whether or not since repudiation) publication. And then there's all sorts of grade of fan material, ranging from what are professional quantity zine and supplements to random jottings on web forums. I guess there's some unpublished stuff, but there's plenty published to keep people arguing.

The trick is not minding what other "know", especially if what they "know" doesn't seem like it'd be to your taste anyway.
As I said earlier, Looking at the materials available for RQ1 and 2 and looking at the discussions people have, it doesn’t seem like that incredible depth of knowledge can come from those materials.
But Glorantha "texts" didn't stop at RQ2. Nor begin at RQ1, come to that. It's been in rolling development -- and degeneration, and the wheels falling off entirely, and things being declared "post-canonical" -- for 56 years. And counting.

In theory RQG is in the process of doing what (it sounds like) you'd want. Rework and expand the RQ1-3 material, not-invented-here the HW-HQ era and the fan pubs, big up the monomyth, knock the edges off the overly complicated, anthrowanky, contradictory, and for my money some of the more interesting bits, build on that for un- and under-covered regions and cultures, and turn it all into big coffee-table books with an Old-School-Lite ruleset. Quite how well they'll deliver on that and how long it'll take are open questions.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
According to a thread on BRP Central Ian Thomson and other fans are resurrecting Strangers in Prax for publication.
Not Strangers in Prax (Ian Thomson wasn't involved in that), but the Pavis & BIg Rubble Compendiums:

 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
The impenetrability comes mainly from the community, not the texts, especially if you eat the elephant one bite at a time. Here's what I wrote in another thread...

What intimidates the hell out of me are Glorantha and Tekumel. If I want to get into the weeds with Middle Earth, I know exactly what to buy and read. If I want Glorantha or Tekumel knowledge, it seems like you have to have access to hidden, unpublished texts filled with decades of notes from those who hoard such knowledge like ancient priests. As I said earlier, Looking at the materials available for RQ1 and 2 and looking at the discussions people have, it doesn’t seem like that incredible depth of knowledge can come from those materials. It’s like going to tvtropes, everything is self-referential with no non-jargon explanation...anywhere. You even have people making jokes using Glorantha References...
”that‘s like the Red Goddess in Lhankor Mhy’s library”
(everyone LOL’s)
”more like the Myth Irippi Ontor grabs Storm Bull by the horns”
(everyone ROFL’s)
Yes, the impenetrability definitley comes from the community. My answer to that is pick the published sources you are interested in, and if you spot a choice bit or two from the community, use it. Otherwise, make Glorantha your own. I've been doing that since 1978 and I've not had any trouble with players bucking against MY Glorantha, and that player base includes one John Medway who is at least somewhat of a name in the community. Sure, John filled me in on some of the detail from the community when I asked (and he called someone else on his cell to try and answer another question), but if I decided something different from what was going around the community, he was just fine with it.

So yes, MY Glorantha DOES include stuff that's not in the early publications, and players may be able to contribute more, but I don't have to be overwhelmed. In fact, I sold off a bunch of my Hero Wars/Hero Quest era stuff, including most of the fan materials from that era, because it was just too much, plus a lot of it was at different time periods that I usually run my campaigns at. Now I'm very picky and choosy of additional materials I purchase.

IF I ever dive into Tekumel (even more unlikely now), I would use EPT, Swords & Glory, and maybe a few more things I own. And I'd mostly ignore the community.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330

Glorantha - How was it back then and how is it now?​


It was an esoteric niche setting back in the day and it is even more so now.

Glorantha's relative popularity within the RPG hobby benefits enormously from the fact that RQ was one of the first alternatives to D&D that had a well thought out unified system.

If Glorantha was released today as a setting it would go the same way that Mongoose's new Shield Maidens setting will go. Some early good PR - then a fade into RPG obscurity.

The learning curve Glorantha present's as a setting to the average RPG player is an obstacle that has kept the RQ down. There is a reason that CoC with it's more relatable Mytho's setting is the bread and butter of Chaosium.
I just don't get this. I find Glorantha very approachable. But maybe that's because the setting firmed up before it became so deep. Gaming in the pre-internet era, there just wasn't a huge community, though since I was a Wild Hunt subscriber I WAS exposed to more writing from Greg Stafford, Steve Perin, Steve Marsh, and Sandy Petersen, but that material isn't of the navel gazing nature as the internet stuff. I did subscribe to the mailing list in the 90s, and I do have some bits saved off from that, which I also pretty much ignore.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
Interesting. And shows all I know. :smile: Is this going to be a JC pub, in the original SiP timeline? A worked one in the 'official Chaosium' present? Or some other permutation?
Jonstown Compendium. With a bit of rework to adapt to the current timeline.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
People gonna be people. See: people, ibid. But the two obviously interact. If I have text A, and you have texts A and B, or I prefer text C, and you prefer text D, and there's subtle difference of emphasis between them -- or wild contradictions indeed -- then you have the seeds of a fairly Chaotic -- or at the very least, highly Disorderly -- elephant right there.

Eh... Kinda depends which bits of alleged "knowledge", I guess? There's pretty important stuff that had mass-market printing but that's been out of print for 30-40 years. There's stuff that's had rather more niche "official" (at least at the time, whether or not since repudiation) publication. And then there's all sorts of grade of fan material, ranging from what are professional quantity zine and supplements to random jottings on web forums. I guess there's some unpublished stuff, but there's plenty published to keep people arguing.

The trick is not minding what other "know", especially if what they "know" doesn't seem like it'd be to your taste anyway.

But Glorantha "texts" didn't stop at RQ2. Nor begin at RQ1, come to that. It's been in rolling development -- and degeneration, and the wheels falling off entirely, and things being declared "post-canonical" -- for 56 years. And counting.

In theory RQG is in the process of doing what (it sounds like) you'd want. Rework and expand the RQ1-3 material, not-invented-here the HW-HQ era and the fan pubs, big up the monomyth, knock the edges off the overly complicated, anthrowanky, contradictory, and for my money some of the more interesting bits, build on that for un- and under-covered regions and cultures, and turn it all into big coffee-table books with an Old-School-Lite ruleset. Quite how well they'll deliver on that and how long it'll take are open questions.
Pretty much everything important from the RQ1/2 eras that was published is currently available.

And I think that's plenty.

There's also plenty if you want the timeline of RQG.

Take what's currently published an run with it. Don't get bogged down in the multitude of what could be...
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
Not Strangers in Prax (Ian Thomson wasn't involved in that), but the Pavis & BIg Rubble Compendiums:

Oh, sorry, I see now there's a SEPARATE thread for Strangers in Prax...
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
Oh, sorry, I see now there's a SEPARATE thread for Strangers in Prax...
And reading the thread, SiP will note be JC, text sent to Rick Meints for him to do something with sometime...
 

Jaeger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
198
I just don't get this. I find Glorantha very approachable. But maybe that's because the setting firmed up before it became so deep. Gaming in the pre-internet era, there just wasn't a huge community, though since I was a Wild Hunt subscriber I WAS exposed to more writing from Greg Stafford, Steve Perin, Steve Marsh, and Sandy Petersen, but that material isn't of the navel gazing nature as the internet stuff. I did subscribe to the mailing list in the 90s, and I do have some bits saved off from that, which I also pretty much ignore.

I think you prove my point in a way.

You were exposed to more material before it really got deep. Yet even before it got deep you sought out more material than normal which still forms your current perception.

The reality RQ/Glorantha butts heads with is this:

Most players not only don't care about setting fluff. Most players will never read setting fluff.

Which is why more or less Medieval Tolkienesque settings still work, and are still the overwhelming choice in the wider hobby.

Because their mythic underpinnings are already part of a lot of people's cultural upbringing, and they don't need to have commonplace things in the setting explained to them. Most can just jump in a game and pick up a settings nuances as they go along - never feeling as if they are a fish out of water, or that they have no idea how something works.

Whereas in just baseline RQ: Even "Elves", are really plant people...
 

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
2,237
Reaction score
4,954
Wow long running thread

I got RQ2 around 1980, and as I was about 12, finances meant the boxed set was really all I had to go with. We had a taste of Glorantha from that and basically made up the rest. Glorantha was (and for me still is) sort of a bronze age post apocalyptic fantasy setting, think mish mash of Hyboria and mythic Greece with a dash of meth addled Tolkien mixed in (elves and dwarves were familiar but not quite right, and there were a lot of weird critters ducks, babboons, newtlings etc). I really liked that the various races were mostly not good and evil, only individuals were (Broos being one of the exceptions).

As we saw Glorantha as a wild land of small settlements in the shadow of ancient ruins, our goals were fairly small and recognizable to most fans of westerns. The idea that small magic was common was very cool, but becoming runelords was never even on our radar. We were never really into the idea of running kingdoms in D&D either.

By the time I could have started collecting "the bigger picture" in the many supplements RQ3 was out and RQ2 stuff quickly became hard to find despite living in Chaosium's backyard. We rather liked the base setting of Fantasy Europe included with RQ3 so didn't really pursue Glorantha further. I still like that early Glorantha and I am happy to see Glorantha is still out there and apparently thriving, but I lack much enthusiasm for diving into its depths.


This is really the issue with Critical Fumbles in general. If you logically follow the chances for them and extrapolate to the world at large, the entire setting becomes a farce. I'm willing to bet you could arm all of us with greataxes and have us go to town, and no one would cut their own head off. Leg injuries, sure, just like you get when people haven't been shown how to cut wood properly. Friendly fire injuries, sure, especially if we tried any formation. But cut off your own head...nope.

If you look at the Fumble ranges for Wizards and Priests in WFRP2 and Psykers in FFG40k, all of humanity would be consumed in days from the random warp rifts, possessions, blue bolts from angry deities, and greater daemons hearing the caster ringing the dinner bell. It's ludicrous.

There's nothing wrong in theory with Critical Hits and Fumbles, but it has to be a weighted roll, based on differences in skill. Bruce Lee in a one-on-one fight against an untrained nobody, there's practically no chance he'd lose. Get him in a bar with an unknown number of possible assailants, his chance of walking out goes down a lot.

The world has to be able to exist as if the NPCs running around who are doing things similar to the PCs are succeeding and failing according to their abilities just like the PCs.

Assuming of course that you want the world to be consistent and verisimilar. If your game runs on different logic, then obviously you're doing something different.

RPGs in general have an issue with fumbles. It seems many feel they need to exist to counter criticals, but anything remotely statistically correct becomes so trivial as to become why bother. As a result fumbles can easily become slapstick.
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
3,330
I think you prove my point in a way.

You were exposed to more material before it really got deep. Yet even before it got deep you sought out more material than normal which still forms your current perception.

The reality RQ/Glorantha butts heads with is this:

Most players not only don't care about setting fluff. Most players will never read setting fluff.

Which is why more or less Medieval Tolkienesque settings still work, and are still the overwhelming choice in the wider hobby.

Because their mythic underpinnings are already part of a lot of people's cultural upbringing, and they don't need to have commonplace things in the setting explained to them. Most can just jump in a game and pick up a settings nuances as they go along - never feeling as if they are a fish out of water, or that they have no idea how something works.

Whereas in just baseline RQ: Even "Elves", are really plant people...
I didn't seek out any more information than I've sought out on other settings... Heck for generic "D&D" I read lots more F&SF fiction than I had already read. And really I didn't seek out THAT much information. And there was no internet mailing lists when I started to have endless discussions. The Wild Hunt zines aren't that deep. And I have had plenty of RQ players that did just fine without reading much more than their cult (or probably not even). Heck, I haven't actually even read every page of Cults of Prax. I really don't know all the myth, nor do I care much. But yea, I've absorbed details like the plant elves, but half of my conception of them comes from my own thoughts not deep conversations on the internet.
 

Mankcam

Coiner of Thread-Falls, & Inadvert Founder of Swo'
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
3,811
Reaction score
9,969
Those of us who started Glorantha with RQ2 got fed the setting bit by bit, through the excellent RQ2 supplements, even if Glorantha was less defined then. Some jumped out as the setting grew, some held on, but most agree that the content of the products were great during the RQ2 era, and the way the products were rolled out didn't overwhelm people either.

I was only an early adolescent when RQ2 was published, but I was able to get into Glorantha reasonably easy. I updated to the RQ3 ruleset, but they didn't produce many Gloranthan products for a while, so I held onto my RQ2 settings with tight hands. Even when RQ3 started doing Glorantha, it just didn't seem as rich as it had during the RQ2 era.

Reading many comments here in this thread, I think perhaps most of the concerns look like they are raised by those who got lost in the mess-canon of the RQ3/Gloranthan Fanzines/MRQ/HW/HQ era. That was a mess, it probably started late 1980s, but I remember it being thick 1990s onwards, and it was enough for me to almost leave Glorantha behind. It was the best of days, it was the worst of days, that kinda thing.

However the current RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (RQG) is nowhere near as burdening yet. Well yes, if you read the core book there is the impression of layers of setting history, although that is no different to reading WFRP, 7th Sea, Shadowrun, Talislanta, AD&D setting gazetters, whatever. But I wouldn't recommend diving in with the core book first, and I would definately not recommend The Gloranthan Sourcebook or The Guide To Glorantha until people are firmly in the setting, they are both too broad.

My main gripe, and it's a biggie, is that Chaosium never went with Design Mechanism's RQ6 mechanics as a BRP mainframe, which I feel is superior in most aspects. The RQ6 mainframe, the core skill structure, the combat options, etc. Also BTW what was Chaosium thinking porting all the Runes into the Pendragon Virtues rules? They were great in Pendragon, but Pendragon also had a much smaller skill list as well. RQ6 Passions would have been fine, just like TDM was going to do to portray Runes in RQ AiG, but the Pendragon Virtue rules is just cluttering up the RQG character sheet considerably, when three Rune Passions would do the job equally well.
But that horse has bolted.
What Chaosium has done exceptionally well is revitalised the setting of Glorantha, I am very impressed with how they are presenting the setting, from production qualities thru to a return to the bronze age feel of RQ2, yet more realised. Truly wonderful.

The current RQG is by no means going back to the loose lore of the early RQ2 era, but it does look like Chaosium is now attempting to introduce Glorantha to newcomers in bite-sized pieces.

Looking at the current RQG GameMasters Pack it details just one region of Glorantha in depth, the Colymar lands within Sartar. This region is a network of villages, with a central urban settlement in the citadel of Clearwine. The city is well detailed, as is the second largest settlement, Runegate, as well as a token village, the iconic Apple Lane from the RQ2 box. The whole region is detailed enough to have lots of localised adventures in the citadels and between the settlements. I could easily see years of gameplay just in this region without having to have the characters travel to other regions in Sartar, let alone other countries and regions in Glorantha.

Additionally to this, the RQG Starter Box does the same thing in a neighboring Sartarite region to that detailed in the GM Pack, this time the citadel of Jonstown, with a scenario set there, as well as a nearby village called Meryners Landing, and another iconic tunnel complex from RQ2 era, The Rainbow Mounds.

Between the RQG Starter Set and the RQG GM Pack you have a localised regional setting that can provide hours of gameplay without even dipping a toe in the wider Gloranthan setting.

This is kinda a similar situation to what Cubicle 7 have done with WFRP 4E. The WFRP 4E Starter Set provides the city of Ubersreik as a setting, and has some scenarios there. You can then buy the WFRP 4E core book and two further volumes of Ubersreik Adventures scenario anthology books to provide a few years of sandboxing just in Ubersreik & environs alone, without even moving into other areas of The Reikland, let alone the wider Old World setting.

So I don't think the current RQG is overwhelming at all, I think newcomers should just check out the RQG Starter Set.
If that floats the boat, then buy the RQG core book and the RQG GM Pack, just take the setting in bit by bit, there really is no need to try and swallow an entire world setting when localised settings can provide such a rich experience that are easy to get involved with.

The only issue for really long-term Gloranthan fans is that we are waiting for the RQG Cults books to be produced, as we know this opens up the choice of character concept considerably. But newcomers don't need to worry about that, they have everything they need with the RQG Starter Set, RQG Core Book, and RQG GM Pack. If they want to branch out, the RQG Bestiary is there, as well as two other adventures books which detail regions in Sartar that can overlap with the regions detailed in the Starter Set and the GM Pack.

So alot of these concerns regarding the setting being too big are not such a big deal with the current RQG line.
The way they have done it, if a newbie can jump into The Old World via the WFRP 4E line, then newcomers to Glorantha can do likewise thru the current RQG line.
 
Last edited:

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
12,242
Reaction score
23,459
I came pretty late to RQ and Glorantha, always knew about it but really discovered it through the video game reissue of King of Dragon Pass and I never found the lore intimidating or as mind-numbingly convoluted as the lore for the World of Darkness or WH4K for instance.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top