In this month’s episode of The God Learners podcast we are very happy to welcome Rick Meints, the president of Chaosium. He’s here to talk about collecting Gloranthan books, ChaosiumCon 2022, and more.


In the news section, Ludovic plugs the Journal of Runic Studies, our weekly newsletter. It features everything directly or indirectly related to Glorantha that we could find over the previous Red Moon cycle.

Joerg talks about the impending return of some of Ian Thompson’s Pavis materials by way of the Jonstown Compendium, Chaosium’s community content program on DriveThruRPG. These “remasters” might include things like the Pavis & Big Rubble Companions and/or A Rough Guide to Pavis.

From there we launch into a digression about Rick’s exhaustive collection, including the Pavic Tales issues pictured above. Some items from Rick’s collection will be available for sale at ChaosiumCon’s collectors auction.

Ludovic mentions the RuneQuest Starter Stream where James Coquillat leads new-to-RuneQuest players through the first two adventures of the RuneQuest Starter Set.

Then Joerg mentions RuneQuest Year Zero, a limited-run podcast by Baz Stevens in which he delves into the RuneQuest Starter Set without much prior knowledge about RuneQuest and Glorantha. Along the 11 episodes of the show, Baz shares what he likes and doesn’t like about the rules, the setting, and other material found in the box.

The Jonstown Compendium has been quiet in the past few weeks. Rick once again has all the books available in POD so far already, and plugs Nick Brooke’s index as a good way to stay on top of the publications (the 2021 index is here, the 2022 index is here).

Main Topic

For the main topic, we start with Rick’s path from the automotive industry to the presidency of one of the most beloved RPG publishers in history. Ludovic then shares his own shorter and weirder path to Glorantha.

During his time as a Chaosium fan, Rick had an unofficial “subscription” to all released products. Ludovic asks if any official subscriptions might come to Chaosium but sadly the logistics don’t make that idea viable at the moment.

Next, we talk about Rick’s MIG book, the Meints’ Index to Glorantha. It previously had two editions, and a third edition is being finalized and printed. The next version is bigger, in colour, and includes all the Glorantha material released in the 21st century.

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

The back cover of MIG2 already had a format similar to the back cover of RuneQuest 2nd edition (picture above). MIG3 will even look more similar, from the book size to the colour scheme.

Here are some MIG3 pages Rick shared over the last few months on social media:

Rick also explains how the write-up for old material has gained in depth, thanks to his access to the Chaosium’s archives, and to his time spent interviewing many figures of the early RuneQuest eras.

Ludovic asks Rick about foreign licensees, which have been previously off-limits for the MIG since Rick can’t read them and it wouldn’t fit in the page count anyway.

We go on for a bit about the various styles of foreign RuneQuest covers, while Rick once again grabs a few books from his shelves to illustrate the point. MIG3 will have a small appendix dedicated to these foreign editions, but not much more.

Next, we talk about Wyrms Footnotes, why it hasn’t come back, and why it probably won’t, since most authors now get their Gloranthan writing fix through the Jonstown Compendium. This leads us to chatting about how great the Jonstown Compendium is, and how happy Chaosium is with their community content programs in general. Ludovic is a bit sad that the whole OSR zine revival passed by Chaosium without them paying much attention to it, but is also happy that they put their energy and resources into a good quality community content program.

And while we talk about Chaosium’s “master plans” (or lack thereof), Ludovic asks whether Chaosium intends for Glorantha and RuneQuest to be synonymous for the foreseeable future, or if Glorantha will indeed stay a bigger franchise that encompasses other game systems. Of course, 13th Age Glorantha is out of Chaosium’s hands, but Rick reveals that Chaosium does have the intention of having some Questworlds Glorantha books, even if some of it might only be conversion guides for using RuneQuest adventures in Questworlds.

There is a digression on Cthulhu Live and Gloranthan free-forms. Rick did include free-forms in MIG3, but shares why LARP books generally sell poorly. Ludovic talks about the opportunities of RuneQuest splatbooks that could sell more, but Rick reveals that Glorantha isn’t conductive to this because all the “character classes” (i.e. the cults) are too woven together to be handled independently. This is why the upcoming Cults books are so big and taking a long time.

We chat for a bit about the difficult task of juggling between the old cranky fandom of Glorantha and the desire to attract new people to the setting. Chaosium has, of course, the RuneQuest Starter Set for the latter, but also a few other ongoing projects, such as the Glorantha video-game still being developed, plus other initiatives such as VTT integration, which is taking longer than Chaosium intended.

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Joerg asks about Gloranthan fiction, which is another good possible entry point. Although Rick would like to publish something, there just aren’t many (if at all) authors pitching Gloranthan stories to Chaosium. In the meantime, there’s old fiction such as Griselda’s tales still available.

Joerg also asks about the return of Gloranthan board games, which might prove to be another effective entry point for new people. Rick gives a small update on those, and what the design direction is. He also mentions the board games that never were, like the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death and Shadows Dance games.

Ludovic moves on to rare collector’s items, such as the RuneQuest playtest documents, the Roots of Glorantha series, or the Greganth Atlas (picture above), asking if these things would ever be available in some form or other. This is tricky to do for various reasons outlined by Rick, but he does reveal some upcoming booklet called “the Stafford House Campaign”.

The cover can be seen in the first picture above. This booklet contains Greg Stafford’s “Dragons Past” columns from a couple 70s and 80s magazines. These articles tell the story of his RuneQuest campaign. Rick also found in a binder a few unpublished stories about Greg’s Holy Country campaign.

As for other rare collections of Greg’s notes, a lot of that content is making it in a more polished and playable form through the new RuneQuest Glorantha line anyway.

Finally, Ludovic asks one of his burning questions about the “SP” denominations found on RQ2 supplements, and in particular why he has two PDFs of the Sea Cave labelled SP7 and SP8 respectively. Rick reveals the simple solution by pointing at the first edition cover for Cults of Prax (seen above).


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

In this new episode of the Glorantha Initiation series, we welcome Steinar, aka Felix, aka Coffeemancer. We talk with him about convincing players to try RuneQuest, getting started with King of Dragon Pass, stealing Lunar officials’ sandals, and adapting funny internet memes to Glorantha. Also: Steinar gives us his “Elmal rant”!

Mentioned in this episode:

Here are examples of Steinar’s art, although there’s a lot more to it than these stupid memes:

We apologize for the tardiness on this episode: we are not used to Earth’s weird calendar where one month is surprisingly shorter than the others. Plus, Ludovic was busy with work and with writing two convention scenarios for ChaosiumCon. It also didn’t help that this episode was a lot heavier on the editing than usual.

Without further excuses, this month we welcomed Chaosium’s David Scott again. This time he was present wearing his “Prax expert” hat in order to chat about Nomad Gods, the 1977 board game designed by Greg Stafford.


Art by Ludovic Chabant © 2022 BOLT80 & Chaosium Inc.

In news, Ludovic mentions that his first Jonstown Compendium item it out. A Short Detour is a RuneQuest adventure with a complex moral dilemma, and a (hopefully) insightful appendix on everybody’s favourite Gloranthan power.

As always we also mention the Journal of Runic Studies, our weekly newsletter of Gloranthan news. If you’re not subscribed by email or RSS, do it now!

Joerg gives a shout out to other podcasts and streams:

Ludo mentions that his French edition of RuneQuest has arrived (you can read and see more about it here). After fumbling around to remember the name of the artist who did the French slipcase art (it’s Joann Sfar), David takes us in a tangent about foreign RuneQuest editions’ art, starting with Oriflam’s cover for Dorastor:

Once again, we have difficulty to remember the name of the artist (it’s Hubert de Lartigue). There’s more information on the Well of Daliath.

Joerg also mentions the German art for Apple Lane:

Speaking of the Well of Daliath, our tangent takes us to another tangent to celebrate this very useful resource for Gloranthaphiles. David Scott is the principal maintainer, but receives help from volunteers. We discuss how the timeline of Dragon Pass and the Prosopaedia are Ludovic’s most frequently visited pages.

Main Topic: Nomad Gods

We start talking about Nomad Gods, as promised. To follow along, listeners who aren’t rich or old enough to own the game can purchase the PDF of the rules booklet from Chaosium for a bit less that $9.

Many pictures (including pictures of the board and the counters) are available on the BoardGameGeek page for Nomad Gods.

Assuming you have the rules (or make them up), you can also play Nomad Gods on Vassal, using the appropriate module. There’s also a module for Dragon Pass.

Image by Runeblogger

David runs us through the process of extracting the map and counters art from the module file, which is a simple ZIP file with a different extension.

Here’s the map of Nomad Gods:

Nomad Gods map from Vassal

Then we start looking at the art on the counters. David shares some photos of early prototype counters:

And then we look at some pre-production chits of the alchemical transformer (left) and Jar-eel (right).

We can’t show the assembly boards with chits on grid paper, or lunar units with the red filter sheet taped over them, but you can probably imagine how, errr, “crafty” it looks like. The result can be seen below in the finished product, and it looks similar to how most other wargames of the time looked like, as far as I can tell:

Photo by BoardGameGeek

Next, David talks how Greg was still “exploring” Glorantha at the time, with many names just thrown on the map as nods to his friends (refer to the map above). These locations were only further developed when there was a roleplaying game to do that, and this of course happened with RuneQuest and Cults of Prax. The sound you hear at this point is David unfolding and re-folding his Nomad Gods map!

Where did names like Orlanth came from? Where did the many places in Prax come from? We don’t know. The creative process is a mysterious thing.

David recalls how “amazing” these 1970s wargames looked like: they came in ziploc bag, as shown below:

David Scott’s own unpunched White Bear & Red Moon
Photo from eBay

David talks to us about his first fantasy board game, Divine Right, from TSR.

Photo by BoardGameGeek

The game map looks very much like the Dragon Pass map:

Photo by BoardGameGeek
Photo by Chris Kutalik

Some of the setting lore in Divine Right (sorry about the blurry Zoom screenshot):

Divine Right’s NPC cards look like this, with the random cards to apply to them:

We finally start looking at the Nomad Gods booklet. David runs us through the names in the credits (and how they’re tied to Glorantha).

Joerg and David talk about the difference of rules between the editions. Ludo asks about the spelling of “Plaines of Prax”, or the reason for making the map sideways (with North pointing to the right)… apparently we don’t know!

We talk about the mythology and history of Prax, as presented by the rulebook, and how it’s still guiding the design of Prax nowadays.

There was supposed to be a third board game (advertised in the Nomad Gods booklet!) but this third game never happened. David shares anecdotes about it, and mentions Greg’s Holy Country game, which explored the themes of that unpublished game.

We look at the art pieces found across the pages. The cover can be seen above at the start of this chapter of the show notes. The Zebra Riders and the big battle spread are shown below:

For the weird-looking sci-fi picture of Argrath, the greek-inspired Ronance, and other illustrations we talk about, you’ll have to get the PDF of Nomad Gods! Nomad Gods is where we get many first looks at things like the Devil, Broos, Dragonsnails, and more.

Ludo talks about using board game rules, scenarios, and events as ideas for RPGs. This sends us on a tangent about Jaldon Toothmaker, one of the main figures of the board game. Did he really gnaw through the walls of Pavis? David has a theory.

Nomad Gods has a big recurring theme of dead gods and heroes who can be called back when the Praxian tribes need them.

Unlike White Bear & Red Moon (and Dragon Pass) where you play the Hero Wars, Nomad Gods has a more artificial setup, where you play practice drills, tournaments, and such.

Moving on to the counters’ stats, Ludo mentions how some of these can be used to drive faction play or tribal history, but David says those stats are probably defined like that only for game balance.

The hexes on the map have different properties in terms of resources, from the fertile grounds of the Paps to the desert of the Dead Place. We also go through the landmarks, and how they are represented on the board, compared to what we now know of them.

As we look at the five major tribes of Prax, our discussion goes into the matter of the Covenant, and what little we really know about it. We debate whether the Morokanth are omnivores or mostly vegetarians. Ludo’s Glorantha seems to align with Sandy Petersen’s on that topic, but Chaosium is going with Greg Stafford’s wishes. David explains why, and what it means for the Morokanths’ role in Prax.

Speaking of Morokanths, David talks about the Most Respected Elder, the current of which is a Morokanth. David explains how to run games that really make use of the nomadic lifestyle. Joerg asks how to include the Eternal Battle to life in Prax.

David starts talking about spirit cults and theism in Prax, and how Praxian mounts really survive on the chaparral: it’s a secret that’s not written down anywhere but Greg told David, and David now tells us! (although he has shared it on forums before so it’s not exclusive)

Ludo asks about the Zebra Riders. David gives a not-so-short version. He also explains the cycle of representation of tribes in the Most Respected Elder position. Then, as we look at the other “independent tribes” of Prax, David reminds us that apart from the Rhino Riders, all these tribes are pretty tiny. Ludo mentions the Cannibal Cult, and David gives the actually-short version of what they are.

As we reach the beginning of the “Magic Game” section, Ludo tries to wrap up the episode but fails utterly. We launch into a discussion of Sartarite games vs Praxian games, and what the role of Praxians is in the Hero Wars. We share some ideas for Praxian campaign frameworks, and David talks about the “big events” that could happen there. Eventually, Ludo manages to wrap up the episode for good.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.