In this month’s Glorantha Initiation interview, Ludo talks to Bryon Ross without any Joerg present. Bryon is a long time RuneQuest lover, but he played mostly with the Fantasy Earth setting until the release of the RuneQuest Quickstart in 2017. He is also a retired marine, SCA participant, and regular Chaosium convention gamemaster.
You can find Bryon here:
- Bryon1187 on Twitter
- Bryon’s YouTube channel with his game reports, RPG-a-day entries, and, more importantly, RuneQuest Glorantha book reviews.
- Bryon on MeWe
Among the many things we’re ranting about in this episode, you’ll find:
- Running convention games for Chaosium’s Cult of Chaos when the RuneQuest Glorantha Quickstart came out (Origins and GenCon first year, Pax Unplugged a few times, etc)
- Discovering RuneQuest 2nd edition by looking at Apple Lane and/or Snakepipe Hollow on the game store’s shelves
- The wonders of the RuneQuest hit location chart
- Collecting a lot of books from the old Gloranthan product lines, and (gasp!) highlighting passages in them
- Trying to answer the question “what is a Glorantha?”
- Northern European vision of Bronze Age slowly transitioning to other, more Mediterranean and Mesopotamian mental pictures
- The Mythology and the Runes are real in Glorantha
- Explaining Glorantha in a very excited way to new people at conventions
- The integration between the setting and the mechanics, also featured in other games such as:
- 40 years of catching up is daunting, but RuneQuest Glorantha nicely focuses at first on the Colymar clan to keep it simple: no need to worry about Ralios, the Eastern Isles, or whatever
- RuneQuest 2n edition didn’t even have many areas covered anyway
- Converting D&D modules (Bryon later told me it was Judges Guild’s “Caverns of Thrasia”), placed near Larnste’s Footprint because there’s some Chaos stuff there
- Tying Runes to personalities can be confusing, because you have to learn what Runes actually mean, and what they can augment (compare to Pendragon’s clearer and more obvious Traits)
- Some cults can be fairly niche and, again, you have to learn what they are… what is a Babeester Gor?
- So you want to play a hunter… do you want to worship Yinkin, Foundchild, or Odayla? What are these anyway, and why are there three of them?
- The integration of world and setting means that there is a lot of lore exposition needed to explain the mechanics, and vice versa
- Building spreadsheets to keep track of all the temples across Dragon Pass!
- Bryon’s video series on the Red Book of Magic, and what he learned meticulously reading through it
- The many editing issues in RuneQuest Glorantha books: POW vs POW rolls, sentence construction, Spirit Combat, etc.
- Opposed roll ties article on the God Learners
- It’s tricky to change or tweak Glorantha when you don’t feel like you’re comfortable with the lore yet
- Sorcery is hard: Bryon’s Lhankor Mhy player has a spreadsheet!
- Shamanism is hard too: lots of “realizations” about spirits and the Spirit World during play, after the first interpretations proved to be too game-breaking
- Using Cyberpunk’s netrunning as an analogy for the Spirit World
- Spirits can’t always sort through all the auras and spirits they see, so they are unreliable spies
- Bryon’s game is mixing homebrew adventures with published ones like The Fainting Spirit (Cult of Chaos only), the Rattling Wind, etc.
- Bryon’s game was railroady at first, but came to a crawl when it became more player driven
- Dungeon Master’s Block technique: use Magic: The Gathering cards to generate ideas for the who/what/where of the campaign’s story threads
- Grabbing existing adventures from many other games and systems to fill the blanks
- Mutant Year Zero’s procedural scenario generation card deck
- Roleplay Cafe‘s and DungeonCraft‘s (aka Professor Dungeon Master) YouTube channels for more game prep tips
- Bryon’s recommendation for newbies is to play the Quickstart, and he wished he had gotten the White Bear & Red Moom board game earlier!