Unusually, this document doesn’t give any clues about its author or date or place of origin. It is written on a type of paper that was introduced to the Middle Sea Empire by the Kralorelan venture some time in Emperor Svalak’s reign – a woven mat of flattened reeds as reinforcement for the pulp of soft woods and scraps of linen deposited on it. The paper has aged quite a bit, its reddish brown approaching the tone of the ink, but the ink still reflects brightly at a certain angle to the source of illumination, quite a bit of which is needed to decipher the lettering.

A few Reconstruction spells have been attempted, and one of those gave us a glimpse at a reader – a dust-covered Zzabur-caste person holding it up amidst broken walls, then rolling it up and pushing it into the somewhat frayed sleeves of his robe. There was no indication of moon glow in the impression, but that may have been due to a Dying or Dead phase just as well as an indication that the reader held the scroll before the rise of the moon.

For all we know, that individual could have been the author, or the copyist of this scroll.

The fabric of Godtime wraps itself in a layer of spirals around its central Axis Mundi, the immutable Spike, and the myths we know and that we can explore create linear paths across this fabric, converging on events that pierce those surfaces, drawing everything close to that near the singularity of that event1.

Such singularities are static, unchanging – our colleagues at Robcradle in Genert’s Wastes have observed the singularity of the Eternal Battle, a rare case of a moving rather than a multi-local such approach to a singularity. They are alike to the One World of Runes, but not exactly co-planar to that concept, and our perception of such pivotal singularities may be similar to our perception of the Cosmic Mountain itself2.

Our Monomyth manages to map intersecting paths of myth onto discrete layers of Godtime, which we discern as different Hero Planes. Our colleagues collecting that Monomyth have identified a Green Age, something like a hyper-surface in myth which leads to a “time before”, a state of innocence. Yet all of our modeling agrees upon the first and second applications of Death – on Grandfather Mortal, as people are addressing our ancestor Malkion, and on the Evil Emperor which the evil empire of Gbaji identified with Yelm, as enough of a pivotal First Time that it changes the separation of body and intellect in an unprecedented way.

There are mythic paths which include a departure from Green Age Innocence entering a later Age – often the Golden Age, but Death specifically entering the Lesser Darkness cycle. Rather than defining the departure from the Green Age as the coming of the Golden Age, it may be more useful to think of these departures as Green Age Moments, as manifesting the singularity of such pivots. There may be earlier paths approaching such moments but not piercing that membrane, leading to a lesser premonition of the actual event, and there usually are many later paths which reinforce the primary transitional event, forcing those who travel that path to undergo the experience again.

There is a special potency in undergoing the primal, pivotal event, though. Exiting the pre-Golden Age through a Green Age Moment will imbue the quester with the special mark of the First Event, greatly magnifying the magic that can be drawn from the experience. This is fraught with consequences, though, as any subsequent approach of a path to this singularity, however carefully and distant, will pull the quester into that event with the full opposition of that original event, and added to that any future opposition out dealing with the consequences of that event.

A number of severe backlashes on expeditions have led some universities to retire heroquesters who have undergone such an event, limiting them to writing about that experience and giving the writings to other researchers to derive spells from that.

  1. The Spike, or after its implosion the empty Void left behind in its place – while desperate sailors may have looked across it, seeing the opposite side of the Maelstrom rising higher and higher above them, no mortal or deity has ever claimed to enter the former volume of the Spike.
  2. Which might indicate a good chance that further research into this perception will grant new insights leading to even greater applications of accessing mythical powers through carefully calibrated sorcery.

Introduction

Welcome to a new issue of the Journal of Runic Studies, the premier Malkioni publication for studies into the nature of Glorantha. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consult with the spirit bound to the appropriate electronic page.

God Learner Sorcery

Episode 2: On The Road

We have published Episode 2 of the God Learner Podcast! Austin Conrad is our special guest, and together we discuss travelling in Sartar: why travel, how to travel, what happens on the way, and where to stop.

A Call for Gloranthan Newbies

If you are a relative newcomer to Glorantha, we want to chat with you! We roughly define “newcomer” as anybody who started playing in or reading about Glorantha around 2018 or later, but in the grand tradition of “rulings, not rules”, we are not taking this definition too seriously. If you feel like a big n00b, that’s enough for us.

We want to get as diverse a bunch of people as possible to get an idea of the various ways people ended up in the lozenge, what they found difficult or jarring, what helped them get a grasp on the setting, and so on. More information here!

Runic Rants: Group Rolls

In our first “Runic Rants” column, we talk about possible ways to handle group rolls in RuneQuest.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

The White Bull Campaign

In Episode 4 of Season 2 of Chaosium’s “house campaign”, the players graciously accept the GM’s call for some side adventure taken from the RuneQuest Gamemaster Adventures booklet. Also, listen to Jeff sing and say “corporeal love” a lot!

The First Appendix N

We had already mentioned previously that the excellent GROGNARDIA blog took a look at “the First Appendix N“, also known colloquially as “the Bibliography chapter” of D&D. Well, Chaosium president and collector Rick Meints also took note of it, and has posted some more information about this piece of roleplaying history.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

For those of you who love small details like these (we sure do, here at the God Learners!), Rick Meints tells us that the Bibliography section would have technically been Appendix M in the first edition of RuneQuest… if it had been assigned any letter! Read Rick’s blog post for more historical goodness!

Jonstown Compendium

The Jonstown Compendium is Chaosium’s community content program for all Gloranthan games, hosted on DriveThruRPG. Disclaimer: all the relevant links are affiliate links that hopefully will let us cover some of the hosting and maintenance costs for the website and podcast! Thanks for using them!

Monster of the Month: Petty Spirits 2

© 2021 Akhelas and Chaosium Inc.

They’re back! Those small little spirits that make the world go… err… square are once more given the spotlight in Austin Conrad’s Monster of the Month Volume 2 Issue 7. Austin had teased it in our most recent podcast episode, in which he was our guest.

Night in the Meadow

Art by Joel Kumpulainen, © 2021 Joel Kumpulainen and Chaosium Inc.

Joel Kumpulainen gives us three encounters for RuneQuest in “Night in the Meadow“, aimed for new gamemasters and adventurers alike. Each mini-adventure starts with a routine task such as cattle herding, and leads to some spirit trouble.

Community Roundup

The community roundup is our highlight of interesting things being mentioned in the Glorantha-related Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and other similar online places.

The Cradle Aftermath Concludes… Its First Chapter

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Michael O’Brien finished his epic storyline of what happened in Sun County between 1621 and 1625. Yelo Melo figures out how to get out of Pent Ridge, deals with some really weird stuff, meets a well known Yelmalion figure, and goes on to meet new people.

MOB then concludes:

Here I must suspend this Sun County saga for the time being. It’s been fun, but I’ve been been posting every day since June 9th and after 48 days straight I really need to take a break for a bit! But I’ll return with the second part of the saga – The Time of Two Counts – later this year.

From what I can tell, you can directly connect MOB’s storyline to Jon Webb’s Sandheart series — which isn’t surprising since MOB has been involved in it.

Don’t Underestimate Belintar

Over on the RuneQuest Facebook group, Jeff shared several interesting bits about the Holy Country last week, and he continues this week with some important claims about Belintar’s legacy:

The Tournament recharges the magical energies and possibilities created by Belintar’s exploratory heroquests in his struggle against his Shadow and keeps the Holy Country in a constant state of magical potentiality. This magical creativity enabled such transformations as the human resettlement of Dragon Pass, the Opening of the Oceans, Sartar’s unification, the Yelmalio cult, New Pavis – and that’s just the cast-offs.

That’s… a lot! From what Jeff later tells us, the Holy Country was basically kept in a constant state of divine proximity, something that usually only happens with temples and other sanctified grounds. To achieve this, Belintar was using the energies released by the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death, where many contestants walk magical roads and heroquest into Belintar’s and many other gods’ footsteps. Jeff says: “think of it a little like a magical nuclear reactor“. What I’m thinking is mostly “this Belintar guy was played by a frightening minimaxer player who found a way to abuse many of the Rune Magic mechanics of the game!”

Now, last week we touched upon the fact that the Tournament re-creates a new Belintar by having the contestants identify with him during their heroquesting. Among many things, this works to maintain the magical infrastructure of the Holy Country… until someone messes with it. Often, you can attribute “messing things up” to either the Lunars or the Wolf Pirates, but hey, guess what? You can attribute the Tournament’s recent failings to both!

Belintar expired in 1616 because of the magical strain holding things together with the double whammy of invasions by the Western Barbarians and the Wolf Pirate – think of this like the Sea People and Ramses III. Jar-eel had prepared for this and entered the Secret Paths and killed any hapless contestants that came across her at the Gate. Anytime the Tournament is begun, She is now there, a roaming hunter-killer who prevents the game from being complete. The Tournament cannot be completed. Each time it has been attempted, the magical energies were summoned and released, and could not be held in suspension.

This is great. My mind immediately goes to the people who have played in Glorantha long enough that their Adventurers are super powerful. Imagine how awesome it would be to push back against Jar-Eel and unlock the Tournament once again? And to win it and become the new Belintar? Or, even better, to change it in a way that the God King end up more in their image than in Belintar’s?

Note that Jar-Eel couldn’t herself have won the Tournament unless she betrayed who she is and who she is supposed to become. Jeff adds: “In fact, that is something very important to emphasise – Jar-eel is not and cannot become Belintar. She represents a very different path.

But that’s not all, the unravelling of the Tournament is a big deal:

Some philosophers hold that the Hero Wars is the result of this. That potentiality is being released, but is now outside of the framework of the Tournament. The huge feedback loop has released all that magical energy, powering things like New Gods, strange spirits, the White Bull and the White Bear. Much of it was harnessed by Argrath for his Sartar Magical Union, but it also brought Androgeus to the scene. None of this is a repetition of the past, although there are many who try to impose order on these energies by calling on the past.

So the Tournament is a lot more than the fun little Battle Royale succession test we may have thought originally. As Jeff puts it, “it is one of the Thelemic batteries powering the Third Age”.

What the Board Games Told Us All Along

Photo by The Maverick, © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Based upon everything Jeff shared about the Holy Country, Belintar, the Tournament, and so on, he points us back to the Dragon Pass game (the second edition of the earlier White Bear & Red Moon game), specifically page 56:

A vacancy in the throne of the Pharoah to the south drew off many of Sartar’s best swordsmen and seekers, and the Lunar Empire seized the opportunity to invade the kingdom and sack Boldhome. The royal house resisted vigorously and received posthumous Hero recognition for their deeds. Any survivor were hunted across the world by agents and assassins.

There then began a period ranging between Lunar dominance and pre-Sartar anarchy, which was halted only by the arrival of Argrath. The wars that followed are reproduced in the scenarios. The outcome of these glorious battles, and of the History of Dragon Pass, is left to the skill of rulers who dare engage in such legendary wars.

Of course, the “Pharoah” (sic) mentioned here is an early title for Belintar the God King (you may be used to Gloranthan lore changing terminologies from one decade to the next…). I find it interesting that the Lunars messed up the Tournament as a way to distract many powerful Sartarite figures and make it easier to invade… mmh… of course, that might have also drawn powerful energies to the Holy Country, postponing its decline just long enough for King Broyan and his allies to push back against the Lunars? Huh, that’s maybe something to explore a bit more with Joerg’s much better knowledge of that part of the setting.

Orlanth in Sartar

Jeff gives us all kinds of general information about the cult of Orlanth in Sartar. To summarize, Orlanth’s cult is the most developed in Sartar, where this three main aspects (Thunderous, Adventurous, and Rex) have many shrines and temples available. There are however “many other subcults“, so players should feel free to invent obscure aspects of the Thunder God, such as, say, Orlanth Dragonslayer, Orlanth Romantic Singer, or Orlanth Who Smashed His Own Thumb That One Time And Got Mad About It.

We already know, from the RuneQuest core rulebook, that Orlanth Thunderous is the subcult that’s about weather control (it puts the “Storm” in the “Storm Tribe”), that Orlanth Adventurous is the warrior subcult, and that Orlanth Rex is for the rulers of the Kingdom. In excerpts from the upcoming Sartar Homeland boxed set, we learn that Thunderous represents about half of all cult activity in Sartar, while Rex is about a quarter, and Adventurous is about a fifth. I’m not sure how “cult activity” relates to “cult membership”, but this only leaves 5% of “activity” to the other subcults. One subcult that comes to mind is Vinga, where female warriors and adventurers can get together. Another is Barntar, the god patron of farming.

One last thing to note is where each of these subcults operates: Thunderous and Barntar are often found in rural areas, where they are closely linked to local Ernalda worship, while Adventurous, Vinga, and Rex operate at the tribal level and above.

Ernalda in Sartar

And just like the information above on Orlanth, Jeff shares some information on the cult of Ernalda in Sartar, probably as an excerpt from the upcoming Sartar Homeland boxed set.

Art by Agathe Pitie, © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Ernalda is the main Earth cult in Sartar, and benefits from the neighbouring Esrolia and Grazelands where the Earth cults have the most power. In particular, the Feathered Horse Queen has a lot of influence even though she technically doesn’t preside over any Sartarite temple. My understanding is that her heroquesting has important repercussions for any other Earth cult nearby.

Earth temples in Sartar are important because they are home to a whole variety of associated cults’ shrines, from all the Earth pantheon (Babeester Gor, Asrelia, Voria, etc) to all the Husband Protectors (Orlanth, Storm Bull, Yelmalio, etc).

An interesting part to me was this:

In Sartar, the Ernalda cult is the ultimate authority over the land itself, delegating care over specific pieces of land to cults, tribes, or other entities. […] The boundary stones marking the lands delegated to tribes, clans, temples, or other entities or individuals are protected by Babeester Gor.

I knew that the Earth temples allocated plots of land to various households to take care of, but I wasn’t aware until now that it was the Axe Sisters of Babeester Gor that were in charge of protecting these boundaries — I naively thought they simply protected the temples and their interests, but I guess the land itself is indeed under the same umbrella. I can’t wait to witness a neighbours’ dispute about some tree leaning over a boundary being resolved by some blood-thirsty axe-wielding psychopaths…

Of course, if you’re not into petty rural politics and severed limbs, you can take part in marriage contests and get paired with a powerful Earth priestess:

The Ernalda cult is often responsible (or asserts responsibility) for arranging marriages between its members and suitable followers of one of the Husband-Deities, although individual choice is acknowledged and permitted. Temples sometimes arrange marriage contests for women who consent to the rites—these contests are open to any follower of a recognized Husband-Deity and test the suitors to prove their worth through a series of contests. Contestants are typically sponsored by their communities or temples, but “wanderers” are always permitted. The contests match the participants’ prowess at combat, athletics, social skills, and magic. Most contests last a week (and are combined with the High Holy Day ceremonies), but some contests take much longer. The winner of the contest is chosen as the year-husband of the participant, and the participating community gains blessings and magical allies as a result of a successful contest. Many Earth priestesses prefer to choose their consorts in this manner, and the stakes are much higher. The marriage contest of an important Earth priestess is an event of regional importance, and a truce suspends hostilities between followers of the Husband-Deities during the contest.

The Other Lightbringers in Sartar

After Orlanth and Ernalda, Jeff shares what’s up with the other Lightbringer cults in Sartar. This includes the cults of Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Issaries, and Lhankor Mhy.

Art by Dimitrina Angelska, © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

These cults are primarily centered on the cities – few tribes, let alone clans, can support the number of specialists needed to maintain a temple to the God of Scribes or the Goddess of Healing, but all of Sartar’s cities have shrines or temples to each of the Lightbringers (although the Eurmal shrine is usually within the Orlanth temple).

I have come to think of these cults as organizations similar to government agencies in the US. So for example, while many counties have the infrastructure for local law enforcement or public transit, it’s only at the state or federal level that there is the budget to maintain park rangers or U.S. Marshalls. As a result, the nearby sheriff might be from around there, but the U.S. Marshall or FBI agent who gets assigned a case near your town could be from anywhere.

This is actually important to understand, according to Jeff:

[…] some of the old material from the HW era made it seem that everything in Orlanthi society was organised on a clan level, and that each clan was a hermetically sealed monad. That’s not true, not even for the Orlanth and Ernalda cults, which have temples that transcend clan and even tribal boundaries. The Sartarites have been organised into tribes for centuries, and have been unified by the Sartar Dynasty for over a century. That is going to have a big impact, allowing a greater surplus to support more specialist cults and occupations, but at a city or even kingdom level.

If you’re wondering who provides the budget to build these federal offices… err… these temples, that’s in big part the Sartar Dynasty. Sartar himself built temples to all these cults in the cities he founded, and his heirs maintained this patronage up to the present.

These cults tend to have a broader perspective than the clan and tribal-based Orlanth and Ernalda cults, and members largely stay neutral in tribal conflicts. During the Lunar Occupation, they were largely untroubled by the Provincial Government and they continued as they had before, albeit with less support and patronage.

And while the Humakt cult doesn’t technically belong to the Lightbringers, he probably operates the same way as them: outside of clan and tribal lines.

Elmal to Yelmalio

We had already seen some clarifications from Jeff on the topic of Elmal and Yelmalio, but this might also be helpful. On the BRP forums, Jeff talks about the transition from one to the other:

Part of the problem here is people are thinking of this as “conversion” or that Elmal and Yelmalio are separate entities. But this is no more conversion than Alakoring displaying his Orlanth Rex magic in the Third Age. This is not a case where Monrogh said, “Hey I have this idea that Elmal is one of the names of Yelmalio, let’s talk about it.” It was more that Monrogh was able to SHOW you the truth of that in the inner worship rites of YOUR cult. “Your eyes were clouded, rinse them, and now look at the True Light. That is Yelmalio.” Monrogh was challenged and tested, and each time he successfully proved his claims, in this world and in the Hero Plane. The cult spirits accepted him, Divinations reinforced him, and no Spirits of Reprisal ever came (indeed, Monrogh became the cult’s spirit of reprisal).

You may also want to check back what Jeff said about “magical challenges”. If I remember correctly, Elmal still exists now as a minor sub-cult of Yelmalio.

Heortland Book Sneak Peek

The Heortland book currently being written by Jeff Richard and Harald Smith is getting a sneak peek in the form of some notes about Durengard, the biggest city east of the Shadow Plateau.

Notes by Jeff Richard, © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

There are several interesting things to me about Durengard. First, this is an important port, and it probably contrasts with the much bigger Nochet on the other side of the Mirrorsea Bay because it’s up river and is dominated by brash Air-dominated dudes instead of Earthly gals. But Durengard was also briefly occupied by the Malkioni so it has a temple to the Invisible God, in addition to the usual Orlanthi worship sites. There’s also a temple to Belintar, where things are bound to get trippy — Jeff himself imagines some Jack Kirby-esque design for that. If you can’t picture what that might look like, behold:

Art by Jack Kirby
Art by Jack Kirby

Sandheart Volume 4 Gets a Teaser

Art by Jacob Webb, © 2021 Jon Webb and Chaosium Inc.

Over on Facebook, Jonathan Webb teases the cover of the next volume in the Sandheart chronicles, painted by Jacob Webb. Where could this be? Given that the previous volumes were focused on Prax, it could either be Biggle Stone or Dagori Inkarth…

3D Printed Llama Rider

Wayne Peters sculpted this awesome llama rider miniature, and has made the STL files available for anyone with a 3D printer! Good painting skills not included… so your models may not look as good as his!

Elsewhere on Arachne Solara’s Web

Not everything is about Glorantha, although most things are! Here are loosely relevant things that we found on the interwebs.

Exploring Glorantha Series

Iconic Production‘s JM and Evan continue their live show “Exploring Glorantha”, which aims to present Glorantha to people who are not familiar with it. The series is now up to Episode 10, dealing with the pantheons of Air and Moon. We even get a quick shout-out at the end, thanks Evan!

Check out the full playlist of the “Exploring Glorantha” series if you want to start from the beginning. You can support Iconic Production via their Patreon, and as such participate in the live broadcasts of these episodes.

Trade Routes of the Ancient World

The Digital Map of the Ancient World blog has some nice maps (including interactive ones) for all kinds of things related to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Since we just released our podcast episode on travel, how about some maps of trade routes in the 1st century CE?

Give Your Trolls Some Armored Crickets!

We know that trolls love their giant insects, and we also know that the insect world is full of really cool stuff. One of these cool things are “armored crickets”. Look at these cuties, and imagine trollkins jumping around your Adventurers, bashing into them every turn like some kind of chirping blitzkrieg!

Photo by Judy Gallagher
Photo by Judy Gallagher
Photo by Alex Derr

For more information on these critters, check out the Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading

That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!

Runic Rants is an irregular series of thoughts, opinions, and experiments about RuneQuest.

One of the most common skill rolls in a fantasy game are the ubiquitous “perception” and “stealth” rolls, respectively for spotting someone or something sneaking up on the Adventurers, and for the Adventurers to sneak up on someone or something undetected. In RuneQuest, these skills are Scan and Move Quietly.

A basic approach for these situations is to just ask every player to roll under their skill score. If any player succeeds with a Scan roll, they have a good chance of spotting the enemy and can warn everybody else immediately. On the other hand, if any player fails their Move Quietly roll, they have good chance of being discovered, which probably means that the entire party gets spotted if they are moving together.

In practice, it’s probably a bit more complicated. There might be any number of special circumstances. There might be some Adventurers that are on their own, separate from the group. And of course the NPCs or creatures may oppose the players’ rolls with their own Move Quietly or Scan. But we’ll look at some of these factors in a future Runic Rant… for now, let’s discuss the basic premise of this kind of group roll.

Compounding Chances

The main problem with asking every player to make a roll is that these rolls are made individually, but the outcome affects the group. As a result, the chances of each roll get combined with the other rolls, and the overall chances of the group to spot an enemy or to sneak past one are vastly different from the percentages on the character sheet.

For instance, imagine that you have a party of four Adventurers, each with 40% in Scan. When rolled together, there is an 87% chance that at least one of the Adventurers succeeds their Scan roll, which means there’s a high chance of the group succeeding even though they all have a somewhat low Scan score. Conversely, imagine that all four Adventurers have 60% in Move Quietly. When rolled together, there’s only a 13% chance that they all succeed… at least one Adventurer will most probably fail, making the whole group fail!

Group Roll Rules

The RuneQuest rulebook doesn’t include group roll rules, so that’s a great opportunity to make our own! Over my short time as a RuneQuest gamemaster, I’ve settled on a system where one Adventurer (the “leader”) performs the “main roll”, and the others can optionally use the augment rules to help out. And since the lead Adventurer can also augment their own roll, our party of four can effectively stack up to five augments on top of the main roll.

For instance, while trying to sneak past a Lunar patrol, we would have:

  • Some characters not participating in the group roll. They just hang back and follow the others, or maybe they are busy with other things such as casting spells or taking care of companion NPCs.
  • Some characters can roll an augment using a Rune (the Darkness Rune is always good for discretion), a Scan roll (to help the leader by pointing out where the sentinels are, or spotting noisy dry leaves on the ground), a Listen roll (to hear that soldiers are coming from the left), an Animal Lore (to make animal sounds as a diversion), and so on.
  • The leader can roll their own augment, and then rolls the main challenge skill, which would be Move Quietly in this case.

Having too many characters trying to augment the leader’s roll are bound to create mixed results: failed rolls will cancel out successful rolls’ augments. This is a feature, not a bug! As the saying goes, “too many cooks in the kitchen…“. On the other hand, if the first couple augments have failed, a couple characters who weren’t planning to get involved might suddenly put in their 2 clacks… and might even make things worse!

What About Experience?

Many people assume that you simply get an experience check when you make a successful roll, in which case the group roll rules above have the problem that only one Adventurer (the leader) gets a check. But the rules around obtaining an experience check in a skill are vague on purpose in RuneQuest. Page 415 states:

The gamemaster may tell the player to check the box […] when the adventurer succeeds in using the ability in conditions of stress.

(…)

The ability to reward or deny an experience check is an important responsibility for the gamemaster.

Some people interpret the first part in a rather generic way, giving out experience checks also for most augments. In that case, all players would get an experience check in whatever they used for augmenting, assuming they succeeded. But even if your group doesn’t typically give experience checks for augments, the rules do support the gamemaster giving some out in some specific situations like group rolls.

One optional rule I’m considering adding is to let any non-leader player choose to get an experience check in the “main” skill (Move Quietly in the example above) rather than in whatever ability they used to augment the leader. Helping out in dramatic situations can be a good way to get experience in a new skill.

Using Group Rolls

The gamemaster should still use group rolls only when appropriate. There are several situations for which “every player rolls” works perfectly well, especially when you want to increase the chances of success. Typical examples of “every player rolls” in my games are:

  • Insight rolls, while talking to an NPC: each Adventurer may end up with a different opinion of their interlocutor, and it’s not like they can freely exchange notes in front of the NPC anyway. But one Adventurer may be able to take control of the conversion, persuaded that they can “read” the other person… whether that’s true or not.
  • Most knowledge rolls: skills such as Homeland Lore, Cult Lore, or Customs are usually rolled individually in my games, with different bonuses or penalties depending on the specific topic (for instance, I typically give +20%/+30% if the topic relates to the same clan/tribe or cult/sub-cult as each specific Adventurer). For investigative scenarios, each success in a knowledge roll can even let the gamemaster drop one additional clue or piece of information.

Dismiss Rune

These group roll rules are really just another tool in the toolbox for the gamemaster — use them when it feels right!

If you have any comment about this Runic Rant, or some ideas for a future installment, please send them to us!

Introduction

Welcome to a new issue of the Journal of Runic Studies, the premier Malkioni publication for studies into the nature of Glorantha. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consult with the spirit bound to the appropriate electronic page.

We have recorded episode 2 this week, so it should be out some time next week, depending on how editing and show notes writing goes.

Tower Inventory

We are now occupying a nice little tower with a long history of previous occupants who have left behind documents, tablets, artifacts, and other kinds of junk. As we clean up and archive these things, we share the most interesting ones with you.

The Multi-Dimensional God Plane

This document seems to be an academic paper from Jrustela, talking about ongoing research into heroquesting.

Jirtsyl’s work was mostly focused on immersion levels 5 and above, where the “pure, original” myths are experienced, if they exist. This is where the hyper-angle is maximized and approaches the limit of a pocket reality independent of the others, yet connected in its outcome of the present Material World. Our work, instead, focused on lower immersion levels, 3 and below.

It makes little sense, but we think there’s potential in reviving this type of experimental heroquesting. We are hoping to find the rest of these documents so we can get started.

Chaosium News

Warehouse Clearance Sale

Chaosium is still running their “Stay In and Game” sale, and that includes a few items relevant to our shared interests: some RuneQuest Classic, 13th Age Glorantha, and poster maps of Genertela. Check which warehouse they’re available from, as some items may not ship to your location!

The White Bull Campaign

The Chaosium “house campaign” continues, with a short episode featuring Enkala’s trip to “Troll Town” in Boldhome to try and join the elusive cult of Arachne Solara.

Then, after a bit of seasonal “Between Adventures” character improvement (the first time this is featured on video, I believe), the party goes to Clearwine Fort, with a few detours and stops on the way. Watch some Colymar court politics, and Jeff Richard play Orlanth answering the question “which of your aspects is the most fun?“.

Jaye Kovach on Art Direction

James Coquillat talks to Jaye Kovach about her work doing art direction for Gloranthan books, and in particular the upcoming Sartar Homeland boxed set.

Gloranthan Fiction Coming in the Future, Maybe, Probably

The Call of Cthulhu podcast “Modern Mythos” recently interviewed James Lowder, executive editor for Chaosium’s fiction line. Most of the podcast is about horror fiction, of course, but James does drop a hint that they’re also looking for authors to write and publish some Gloranthan fiction. You can also listen to this Modern Mythos episode for the sheer number of fascinating industry anecdotes, especially about TSR’s early fiction line.

RuneQuest Fantasy Grounds VTT

Work on the RuneQuest Fantasy Grounds VTT support continues! Here are some of the recent screenshots from the lead developer, including family history and character sheets with mounts!

Screenshots by @MadBeardMan

RuneQuest Production Pipeline

Chaosium is generally tight-lipped about any production deadlines and release dates, but they are thankfully open about what’s being worked on in general. Over on the Facebook group, RuneQuest line editor Jason Durall gives us some up-to-date tidbits. Basically:

  • The Sartar Homeland boxed set is going into layout just after the giant Cults books, with art and cartography almost done.
  • The Esrolia Homeland project is an expansion of a previous Nochet book, and is in development.
  • The Heortland/Hendrikiland Homeland project has a manuscript that is nearing completion.
  • The Grazelands Homeland project is being worked on by Chris Klug.
  • The Prax Homeland project is in some hiatus but Prax and shamanism expert David Scott should be taking the reigns on this soon. Note that this is different from the Pavis & Big Rubble project being worked on by Robin Laws.
  • There are no plans yet for a Lunar or Old Tarsh Homeland.

This is just the production pipeline for the RuneQuest Homeland projects, and it doesn’t include any of the other upcoming things like, say, the Weapons & Equipment sourcebook or the Gamemaster Guide.

Jonstown Compendium

The Jonstown Compendium is Chaosium’s community content program for all Gloranthan games, hosted on DriveThruRPG. Disclaimer: all the relevant links are affiliate links that hopefully will let us cover some of the hosting and maintenance costs for the website and podcast! Thanks for using them!

Christmas in July Sale

DriveThruRPG is running their “Christmas in July” sale, and many authors from the Jonstown Compendium are participating! Find all of them here. The sale is running for a bit more than a week after the time I’m writing this.

Community Roundup

The community roundup is our highlight of interesting things being mentioned in the Glorantha-related Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and other similar online places.

The Paradox of the Lunar Empire

Over on Facebook, the ever prolific Jeff Richard tells us about what he considers to be the “paradox of the Lunar Empire“: that in the past century and a half, the Lunar heartlands have been the most civilized and peaceful place on the lozenge, but that at the same time the Red Goddess the biggest cosmic threat to existence since Nysalor:

If anything Her Way is even more dangerous as many have already begun to experiment with the most dangerous potentialities. Lunar heroquesters – most notably Jar-eel the Razoress – have explored forbidden paths and plundered the Other World as ruthlessly as any God Learner. Some philosophers suggest that this is Gbaji – not an entity, not a cult, but an approach to the cosmos facilitated by Illumination.

Like with the Gbaji Wars, those who oppose the Red Goddess will adopt her own methods to defeat her and change the world in the process. This is the oldest story in Glorantha, and is the story of the Hero Wars.

Magical Challenges

Now this is some good reminder for the most minmaxer players out there: you can “prove” your claims to, well, whatever, by engaging in and winning a magical challenge! This is a well-accepted practice in Gloranthan history:

Magical challenges to prove a truth are well accepted in Glorantha. This goes back to the Gods Age, when contests of the arts were popular among the gods – the most famous being the Contests of Yelm and Orlanth. When the Feathered Horse Queen emerged from the Earth’s Womb and proclaimed that the sovereign Earth Goddess was more than Dendara, she was opposed by the Grazer King. She defeated him in a thaumaturgical contest after which he, and the Yelm cult of Dragon Pass, submitted to her authority.

Hon-eel the Artess was an expert at such contests, having had to prove her claims starting with the first time she appeared in Glamour. Her most famous contest was against the Most Reverend Mother of Horses (which incidentally may have had a synchronicitous connection with the Feathered Horse Queen’s triumph).

And of course the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death are well established in the Holy Country. Some think the pathways the contestants follow are somehow connected with the claims of the Arkat Cult concerning the Secret Pathways through the Hero Plane.

The “winning” part isn’t the only important thing… how you won is also notable:

A few basic ground rules of these tests – the person has to be able to participate in the inner rites of the cult […]. That’s the place only those initiated can perceive. That gets witnessed. They need to be able stay within the rites, without being forced out by guardian spirits and so on.

And within the inner rites, you need to display your power and either be accepted by the spirits present (that’s the preferred route) or be able to defeat those spirits and entities that come to force you out (not preferred).

But if you can do that, you are not an imposter. Unless later on it is shown you used trickery – Eurmal magic or Lunar deceptions. But that is always a danger.

This is probably a very good way for players to be proactive with their heroquests, and shake the game world in their direction.

More Holy Country Notes

Speaking of magical challenges, Jeff is sharing some good stuff about the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death, the contest that used to define who the next incarnation of Belintar would be for ruling the Holy Country. There is a lot to unpack in that post but my main takeaway is that each participant is identifying with Belintar while they travel the magical roads of the Holy Country’s Hero Plane… so the victor is, effectively, Belintar. It sounds like this is less a reincarnation thing (like the Red Emperor) than some kind of possession achieved through heroquest identification: you’re Belintar because you were emulating Belintar’s tribulations, and you were the last one in the end.

Cartography by Colin Driver © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

I wonder if Belintar prepared for this by making sure he was fighting his own Shadows, so that later there would be some kind of mythical “convergence”, where multiple people identifying as him make the victor pass a threshold past which there is only a philosophical difference between the “original” contestant and Belintar himself. Oh well. Something to study later.

Of course, this heroquest is particularly unpredictable, as befits a proper tournament:

This is not a rote repetition of Belintar’s thamauturgical battles, but a re-experiencing of them, with the same lack of knowledge, lack of script, and creative possibilities.

This is a big deal for the Holy Country:

One of the really amazing magical things about the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is that each time it is held, the Holy Country is magically remade through its contests. Gods and spirits are again named, and perhaps with more relevant and pertinent titles, old alliances reforged and new alliances made. Each time Belintar is invoked by the winner and the Holy Country’s magic and proximity to the divine realm restored.

It’s also very interesting to read about other key figures:

And it should also be remembered that both Sartar and Tarkalor participated in these contests, as did several other members of the Sartar Dynasty, and other notables (such as Broyan of Whitewall if I recall). This magical experimentation and experience had a significant influence on the Orlanthi of Sartar, and may constitute one of the key reasons (along with Argrath’s incredibly diverse personal magical experiences culminating in the circumnavigation of the world) why they were able to contest with the Lunar Empire on equal terms in the Hero Wars.

So it sounds like there are a lot of insights and heroquest gifts to be gained by merely participating in the Tournament, even if you don’t really want to win.

Of course, things didn’t go well in the current timeline. Belintar didn’t return after the last couple Tournaments, and the Holy Country fell apart, mostly in its constituent sixths. But while Esrolia or God Forgot retained their shape, other places like Heortland broken in smaller parts. There’s more info on that from Jeff, but this goes beyond my grasp of Glorantha for now. There’s still a nice note about how magically powerful the Holy Country it, even when it’s falling apart:

After the Building Wall Battle, they knew the Holy Country had a lot of power. First they spent a decade plotting to eliminate Belintar as a spirit. They brought the Field College of Magic, the Crimson Bat, Praxian mercenaries, Sartarite mercenaries, Sun Dome mercenaries, and even Dragonewt mercenaries, as well as Provincial and Heartland troops. They attacked at the weak point of post-Belintar Kethaela – Heortland, which was torn into two, instead of attacking Esrolia like in 1605. And they managed to secure Wolf Pirate assistance.

Even then, the invasion of 1619 was a very near run thing until the end.

For a more detailed description of the Lunar Invasion of 1619, see this post, and this other post from Jeff. I assume (or at least hope!) that these texts are going into some “Previously, in Dragon Pass” chapter in the upcoming Argrath campaign book.

Map scan courtesy of Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

What should be clear is that Fazzur Wideread was a spectacular commander:

Fazzur really was the Man. When plans went wrong, Fazzur was always able to regroup and correct his errors with remarkable creativity. Like Owen Connelly described Bonaparte, Fazzur was the Great Scrambler.

By the way, the involvement of the Wolf Pirates was a turning point for both the Lunars and the Wolf Pirates themselves:

[…] it was Wolf Pirates not Lunar-crafted ships that enabled the convoy from Corflu. Harrek already hated the Lunar Empire (and hated their leaders, priestesses, and goddess), but the offer was too great for him to turn down – the right to sack and pillage Karse (a rich trading city) and mastery over the Mirrorsea Bay. Instead, Fazzur decreed that Karse would not be pillaged (he had goals of his own) and the Wolf Pirates were left empty-handed. After that Harrek rejected any offer from any Lunar or that would aid the Empire. And harming the Lunar Empire became a treasure for him as valuable as gold or silver.

Cradle Aftermath

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

You know the drill by now: Michael O’Brien is still writing his history of Sun County, and dare I say things are becoming more and more suspenseful. Melo Yelo is exploring the dark secrets of the Pent Ridge prison, the White Bull arrives, and The Midnight Express is starting to make sense.

On The Canonicity Of HeroQuest Material

Regarding some “incorrect” dates in HeroQuest material such as the Sartar Companion, Jeff says:

When I wrote the Sartar Companion materials, Greg no longer had access to his detailed information about the Whitewall campaign (it went missing around 1991 or so) so we had to rely on summaries and notes.

However a few years ago, a box filled with Greg’s most important notes on Dragon Pass – thought long lost – showed up at Greg’s place shortly before his death, courtesy of an act of great kindness. Greg sent the contents to me to incorporate into RQ. So you’ll be seeing lots of that stuff in the Sartar Book, Cults Book, and everything else. Those pictures on this post is from the series of military campaign maps Greg made of the campaign, probably around 1979 or so.

Sartarites Too Post Food Pictures On Social Media

The villages along the Creek-Stream River near Duckpoint often have crocodile as a local delicacy, apparently. The local Geo’s Inn special dish makes it grilled! The sides are “emmer pancakes, almond and garlic Pesto, and apple, vinegar, red onion, honey and vinegar sauce”.

Photo by Jeff Richard, cuisine by Claudia Lauroff

Elsewhere on Arachne Solara’s Web

Not everything is about Glorantha, although most things are! Here are loosely relevant things that we found on the interwebs.

Bud Explains RuneQuest

This isn’t quite something that happened this week, but it was uploaded recently enough that I figured we could give it a quick shout out: Bud, from Bud’s RPG Review, is walking us through the RuneQuest Glorantha chapter on shamans.

Bud’s videos are good recaps of the rules for those who, like me, tend to get lost in the details and forget the basics. Also, checkout his full playlist on all things RuneQuest. Many of his videos include interesting historical facts and insightful commentary about the books, in addition to the more factual chapter-by-chapter description of their contents.

Get your Durulz Email Address!

I sure hope that all you Gloranthaphiles are using DuckDuckGo as your main search engine? Not only is it much better for your privacy and for avoiding the “filter bubble” effect, it’s also the obvious choice for anybody who isn’t a dirty Duck Hunting Lunar collaborator!

Now the company behind DuckDuckGo is launching a privacy-conscious email forwarding service. It removes any trackers from emails sent to it, and then forwards the “cleaned-up” message to your real inbox. I’m not going to go into details here because this isn’t a tech-newsletter, but let’s just say this is your chance to grab an email address like “sartar@duck.com“. It’s not really a full email address because it’s just a forwarding one (so you can probably only receive email through it, not send anything through it), but, you know, just sayin’.

Thank you for reading

That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!

This appears to be a Jrusteli Document, dated 846 or 847. It was discovered in we started cleaning this old Zzaburi tower we now occupy. There seems to be a lot of leftover junk from the previous owners, so we may have more material to share as we recover and classify it.

On the multi-diensionality of the Prechronal Plane and its application to Ranging via incremental Identification

By Mohvrieni Falos da Guad, 2nd Order of Procedural Prechronal Studies

In which we acknowledge the fantastic work accomplished by Argelos Minhas and his team on the optimization of prechronal expedition preparations, and propose an alternative approach to targeted incursions. By leveraging the multi-dimensionality of the prechronal plane, we can range from a lower level identification to a higher level identification via liminal spaces between synchronizable narratives. This threshold is highly resistant, with perforation often resulting in dramatic narrative shockwaves, but we believe this to be a promising new avenue for some types of research. Further experimentation is needed.

The Prechronal Crystal Model

We started our investigation with the theoretical so-called “crystal model” of the Prechronal Plane, pioneered by Jirtsyl Alhberr et al. This model indicates that some myths could be so different from others that they “settle” into a different “facet” of the “Prechronal Crystal” (PCC). As per the Classical Model, the PCC would contain different versions of the same myth, as experienced from different cultural perspectives, but these would be settled on the same facet. Other narratively incompatible myths would settle on different facets. Different facets would be at different hyper-angles from each other, which we hope can be measured empirically to establish baseline knowledge of the threshold resistance to expect when ranging between the two.

As an example, the creation myths of the Theyelans and Dara-Happans are settled on the same facet, or facets oriented at very close hyper-angles from each other. The Hsunchen creation myth, however, often only feature their World Dragon (H1.21-24) and its implosion necessary to create the universe. The draconic ancestors Hykim (H1.52-5521) and Mikyh (H1.52-5522) then appear and, depending on the incursion’s immersion level, may interact with other figures from other myths, such as Yelm (DT3.80-0008) and Umath (DT4.81-1003).

Jirtsyl’s work was mostly focused on immersion levels 5 and above, where the “pure, original” myths are experienced, if they exist. This is where the hyper-angle is maximized and approaches the limit of a pocket reality independent of the others, yet connected in its outcome of the present Material World. Our work, instead, focused on lower immersion levels, 3 and below.

Incremental Identification through Faceted Incursions

Our work started with the Identification of lower impact figures in loosely related facets. To use the Hsunchen creation myth as an example again, we penetrated the myth version that featured Umath (DT4.81-1003) as a possible mate for Mikyh (H1.52-5522) and an alternate origin for the Urox (DT4.90-5456). Identification with Umath was much easier that way because of its much lower importance in this myth. Resource expenditure at this stage was 92% down, although of course the identification was achieved on a lesser version (see full results and methodology in Appendices B and C).

Trying to immediately jump to a Theyelan facet from there mostly resulted in failure, as the replacement of Hsunchen draconic spirits with the Elemental pantheon in a single step backfired consistently (see losses and incident reports in Appendix E). These failures created reality branch X-GF.12-5212, which was reinforced by repeated failures past the Tereols Threshold[1], and was therefore abandoned as per the usual security measures.

Instead, we started developing a “facet-hopping” technique where we get increasingly closer to identification with the Theyelan persona of Umath (DT4.81-1003), starting from his more anecdotal Hsunchen persona (H1.98-1512). It currently takes 6 steps to reliably make the transition, making use of lower hyper-angles between narratives. Unfortunately, at this time, the overall resource expenditure is 125% that of a more straightforward Theyelan incursion. We believe that the ideal number of facet jumps is 3, which gives us a ideal estimate of 67% overall resource expenditure when compared to a more straightforward Theyelan incursion. In fact, we believe the PCC to be hyper-regular on base 3, which would indicate that…

[1] We do believe the Tereols Threshold is entirely too conservative and prevents proper research from happening. We believe it could be more than doubled while still being within reasonable distance from world destruction. See attached Motion for the Relaxation of the Tereols Threshold.

The rest of the document was damaged beyond reading. The damaged parts don’t seem to contain everything, however, so I’ll keep looking for more salvageable pages.

Introduction

Welcome to a new issue of the Journal of Runic Studies, the premier Malkioni publication for studies into the nature of Glorantha. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consult with the spirit bound to the appropriate electronic page.

Tower Inventory

We are now occupying a nice little tower with a long history of previous occupants who have left behind documents, tablets, artifacts, and other kinds of junk. As we clean up and archive these things, we share the most interesting ones with you.

Our first recovered document is a partial interview with an Issaries trader sharing his experience and insight in trading sweet exotic products.

What’s this “sugar” you ask? Oh yeah, I’m not surprised, very few people know about this. I’ve heard the term used for many things but I think the most common is for these tall, hard plants they cultivate around the Koraru Bay in Fonrit. I don’t generally like to go there (dangerous trip, and the Fonritians are tricky to deal with), but you can’t deny they have something special. The locals chew on it and spit it out, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing it raw like this here, it’s too bulky and heavy to transport, and last I heard it got a rather cold reception even in Nochet. But the Fonritians also crush it and make some sort of thick, black, honey-like liquid which can be used to sweeten dishes and drinks.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

The Meints Index to Glorantha Needs Your Miniature Photos

Rick Meints is still working on the third edition of his “Meints Index to Glorantha“, a book that references every single english-language publication and item related to Glorantha. The second edition dates back to 1999 so he has a lot of catching up to do.

One particular area is a list of all licensed RuneQuest miniatures, for which Rick needs a bit of help. If you own any of them, have painted them, and have some decent photography skills, he would like you to send some pictures to him…. yes, you read that right: Rick is asking for duck pics. More or less. Here’s what his work-in-progress looks like:

WIP courtesy of Rick Meints © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

If you can help, or just want to see more previews of MiG3, get in touch with Rick!

Jonathan Tweet Turns Over His Manuscript

It looks like Jonathan Tweet (known for D&D 3rd edition, 13th Age, Over The Age, and much more) has wrapped up his manuscript for “The Dragon’s Eye”, which was announced all the way back in August 2020.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The Dragon’s Eye will supposedly be a collection of landmarks in Dragon Pass with adventure hooks and several possible backstories and directions:

Originally conceived as “Your Glorantha May Vary”, this collection of locations demonstrates the versatility of the setting, putting that phrase to work by showing new and veteran gamemasters alike how to customize and make the world of Glorantha their own.

The Dragon’s Eye gives gamemasters more possibilities than they can possibly use. For each location, the book details multiple ways to interpret it and use it in a campaign. Adventure hooks and engaging nonplayer characters get the adventurers involved in the action. From homely villages to the mind-bending limits of mortal reality, the adventurers encounter everything that Glorantha has to offer, expanding upon locations such as the Dragon’s Eye, the Wasp Nest, Wilmskirk, Old Wind Temple, and many more.

French Edition News

The French Edition of RuneQuest has been sent to the printer, and the “final” PDF files sent to the backers.

You may remember that this edition contains a few extras: two original scenarios (one in the rulebook and one in the Bestiary), some additional reference booklets and maps, some manufacturing details to show that we French people are fancy (cover embossing, dual bookmark ribbons), and, more importantly, a whole new adventure book called “Children of the Flame” containing a campaign centered on the Dundealos tribe. The slipcase will have an original illustration by Joann Sfar on the backside:

Drawing by Joann Sfar © 2021 Studio Deadcrows

Jonstown Compendium

The Jonstown Compendium is Chaosium’s community content program for all Gloranthan games, hosted on DriveThruRPG. Disclaimer: all the relevant links are affiliate links that hopefully will let us cover some of the hosting and maintenance costs for the website and podcast! Thanks for using them!

Gifts of Prax Art

Not quite Jonstown Compendium, but related to it: Kristi Jones has made the art from Gifts of Prax available on Redbubble.

Community Roundup

The community roundup is our highlight of interesting things being mentioned in the Glorantha-related Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and other similar online places.

Tribal Organization Chart

Did you know that Eurmal introduced PowerPoint presentations and organization charts into the Orlanthi traditions? That rascal! Anyway, here’s how tribes and clans are setup, according to Jeff’s notes for the Sartar Homeland Boxed Set:

Photo by Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Precisions on Sartarite Communities

Harald “Jajagappa” Smith has been volunteering for the noble and praise-worthy task of archiving many of Jeff Richard’s posts from Facebook to BRP Central. The one on Sartarite clan descriptions has been drawing an interesting comment from Jeff himself.

Apparently, the move away from Nordic terminology in the last decade of Gloranthan publications was partially triggered by the increasing awareness of Viking history in the average pop culture consumer:

[…] I intensely dislike “cottar, carl, godi, thralls” and the rest of the semi-Scandinavian terminology that got used. I find them incredibly drab – and result in people thinking they are playing yet another setting based on the Norse (e.g., Skyrim, Valheim, Banner Saga, Vikings, et al). 

Greg and I talked about this quite a bit while working on the Guide – in the late 1980s, Norse terminology was largely unknown in the broader American geek population. You might get a few elements of it from Tolkien or some snippets of dialogue from a Walt Simonson Thor comic. And so back then it didn’t connect with something that many people had seen or experienced – so it hinted at something, but wasn’t particularly restrictive. That’s not the case anymore.

So there, you can blame the editorial changes on TV and video games!

Sorcery is Really Cool, People

Trust us, we are the God Learners. But more seriously, Jeff went into a bit more detail on the topic. First, what is sorcery: it’s “a way for mortals to replicate rather than wield the magic of the gods“. Of course, wielding the magic of the gods is what all of you Rune Magic users are doing on a regular basis, but you have to suck it up to these so-called “gods” to get the permission to do it again later. Oh, you suckers.

The God Learners went a step further and explored the God Time, following the paths revealed by Arkat. By exploring the God Time and understanding the myths of the gods, these sorcerers could gain tremendous insight into the functioning of the cosmos and create far greater magic than the First Age sorcerers could even imagine.

The God Learners did truly blasphemous things in order to gain knowledge – and one was to manipulate the challenges and tests used to prove spiritual claims. They might use sorcery to create effects that could not be created through known Rune magic and then use that to prove their claims and force changes on cults. For although sorcery is not directly as powerful or immediate as Rune magic, with preparation it can be far more flexible, and sorcerers can craft spells that duplicate the effects of Rune magic. Think through the implications of that and be appalled.

And this is why the God Learners are hated. Not the Monomyth, which has been embraced by thinkers everywhere. Not the Middle Sea Empire, gone for seven centuries. Not even the Goddess Switch or the Machine City. No, it is the corrosive impact of their approach on spiritual experimentation. In the Third Age people feared heroquesting because they feared what the God Learners did and what happened to them.

Now, hey, some God Learners did some, err, questionable things, sure. We didn’t have good QA procedures, and the ethical board was underfunded. But #NotAllGodLearners, right? We collectively did screw up a few things, we got ahead of ourselves… but, well, “hated” is a strong word, I think we just have an image problem. But yes the Monomyth is cool: before us it was a giant mess of regional names and partial cult worships. You people wouldn’t have such strong Rune Magic if it wasn’t for us showing you the bigger picture!

Sartar Homeland Boxed Set Art Previews

Art previews keep dripping for several upcoming products (thank you Chaosium!). The first one, from artist Anna Orlova and art director Jaye Kovach, is a wonderful showcase of the Sartarites’ diversity of appearance and style:

Art by Anna Orlova © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

This illustration will supposedly go in a chapter that deals with fashion, hairstyles, and tattoos among the Sartarites.

Next is a work in progress for Leika Blackspear, still by Anna Orlova.

Art by Anna Orlova © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

You can find all the information you need about Leika in the excellent RuneQuest Gamemaster Pack (you probably already have that if you’re reading this!) but Jeff shared a few notes about her. First, he highlights how so many of the high-profile figures in the Colymar saga are related:

Kallai is the second cousin to Leika, who is the cousin of Londra of Londros and the Temple of the Wooden Sword. Meanwhile Beneva Chan is the niece of Estavor and Dangment – the two brothers who led the tribe from 1582 to 1598. In turn, Korlmhy “Blackmor” is the son of Kallai and Beneva Chan – and brother of Erenava Chan, the current High Priestess of the Clearwine Earth Temple.

And our RQG preens fit into this soap opera, as Yanioth and Vasana are cousins of both Korlmhy and Erenava Chan, and Harmast is a second cousin to almost all of these folk.

Sartarite clans are small enough that most people know most other people, and family connections can play a big role. Jeff mentions HBO’s “Rome” as a good inspiration for this kind of power dynamics, and then goes on to lay another level of fun:

One of the interesting elements for Leika (and Kallyr) is that although we call her in English by the feminine “queen”, she is a tribal Rex – a king – and the local manifestation of Orlanth Rex. And that means that Leika (and Kallyr) has a wife, at least for ceremonial purposes.

There are stories that suggest that Kallyr’s wife was Ernaldesta the Vigorous (although she had other husbands). And if I recall Ereneva Chan is Leika’s wife. Which sets up two parallel pairs of female king-female Earth Priestess partnerships in Sartar. And interestingly both sides of that partnership are rivals, as Ereneva Chan intensely dislikes Kallyr, and blames Starbrow for the death of her father, exile of her mother, and even her brother’s descent into madness and treason.

Whether these marriages are romantic love-matches or purely ceremonial ritual matters is up to your campaign. In my campaign Kallyr and Ernaldesta are very close, while Leika and Erenava are a completely business-like relationship.

I find this kind of stuff quite interesting. On one hand, Glorantha is trying to emulate Earth’s antiquity and its archetypal gender roles. We can see this through the roles of Ernalda, Orlanth, and Yelm, for instance, and the type of gameplay they enable for characters joining their cults. On the other hand, Glorantha is also trying to bring modern sensibilities to, at least, its central playground of Sartar. Arguably, several of the elements that sound modern to us were already present in real Mesopotamian societies (I only have a superficial historical understanding of this so I won’t elaborate too much), but it’s certainly a fine line to walk for Chaosium. I’d love to learn more about how the RuneQuest creative team approaches this and maybe consults with various people. We know a little bit from Claudia Loroff’s seminar on Goddesses of the Earth, Ellie and Scott Akers’ campaign notes, and some of the 2018 Women in Tabletop Gaming interviews. Maybe that’s something to pursue in podcast interviews… mmh.

Finally, here’s a fun glimpse behind the scenes to explain Leika’s full name (“Leika Beti Ballista”):

The original player character was actually called Betty Ballista. Which we can all agree is not a Gloranthan name. Greg renamed her Leika to be included in his history of Dragon Pass and his Epic Game (which ultimately got incorporated into King of Sartar). But since Ballista isn’t something you can carry around in RQG AND that her possession of the Black Spear would have been her defining feature in 1615-1625, Greg started calling her Leika Blackspear. Which is what we now use.

Cults Book Art Preview

As I said previous, art keeps dripping! This following piece by Loic Muzy is a “typical Lunar depiction of Arkat despoiling Dorasta”.

Art by Loic Muzy © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Get Your Arkati Illumination

While on the topic of Arkat, Jeff mentioned that Arkat partipicated in part of Harmast’s Lightbringers’ Quest but “refused the Light”, diving instead into the Darkness, where many mysteries and possibilities waited for him. Arkat went repeatedly into the God Time like this and encountered his Hero Plane self. How cool is that?!

Arkat met himself on the Hero Plane, though confusion clouds the story. Some say he did not recognize his future self until it was too late. Others say he refused to make a killing blow, and thereby took his unhealable wound, while yet others claim he did make the killing blow, and thereby received his wound. Regardless, this event is named Arkat’s Fall. The wound plagued Arkat to his final day, though troll healers effected temporary relief years later.

The reason Arkat is so important even for people born in the 1600s is made clear, too:

Of course it is interesting that Argrath IS an incarnation – a reincarnation – of Arkat. That’s more than just a mere setting background thread, but a creative truth about the origin of both characters in writing.

And:

Argat v Gbaji is hardwired into Time and maybe even behind the Gods War. It is one of the oldest myths of Glorantha. It is older that Orlanth, the Lightbringers, or the Red Goddess. It is up there with Eurmal finding Death as part of the ur-archetypes of Glorantha. And the first word is not misspelled.

Now, OK, we God Learners messed up a bit with Arkat. After Arkat retired, he had a nice cult with a strictly regulated school of exploratory heroquesting. We destroyed all that in the mid 700s and took all their secrets, minus the “strictly regulated”. Like I said earlier, we our QA department was underfunded, and that came back to bite us in the ass pretty hard. But after that, several groups claimed to be the successors of the Arkat Cult, each “with their own secrets and claims of direct lineage”.

So each of these “Arkat cults” can be as wrong or as right as you the gamemaster want them to be in your campaign. They can be charlatans or keepers of mysteries – or both. They can be a little right and a lot wrong – or even something completely other “disguised” as an Arkat cult.

Except there is one Arkat cult that might – just might – have a direct lineage to the God. That of Arkat Kingtroll in Halikiv, founded by the Wizard Children. Except they are no human, but monstrous dark trolls that live forever in Darkness. And they do not teach their secrets to non-trolls.

Huh. I hear Halikiv is nice this time of year. Maybe we should go camping there.

We Have to Talk About Elmal Again

This is the debate that never seems to die among Gloranthaphiles for some reason? After a question about Elmal vs Yelmalio vs Lightfore was posted on Facebook, Jeff gave a thorough answer on the topic. There have been several such “definitive” answers on the topic so far that I’ve seen, but I guess one more isn’t going to hurt? Let’s go over it.

Elmal, as a Sun god with fire magic, “is pretty much a creation of the King of Dragon Pass computer game“. While this game is often people’s first contact with Glorantha, and therefore colours their perception of the setting, Jeff reminds us that it is not only set centuries before the usual early 1600s when most tabletop gaming takes place, it is also an alternate reality in which Sartar never came, the Lunar Empire never became a big threat, and Bagnot didn’t dominate Dragon Pass the way it does in the “canonical” timeline.

Furthermore, I’m going to quote the entire summarized history of solar worship in Dragon Pass, because this way I’m not going to introduce any misunderstandings:

At the Dawn, there were lots of little solar cults that worshiped the Light that held out in the Darkness. At the time they had names like Antirius, Elmal, Kargzant, etc. People worshiped these Lightfore cults because the Solar Disk was not worshiped by humans until the Dara Happan Emperor founded the Yelm cult. During the later First and Second Age, most of these little sun cults were recognised as Little Yelm, aka Yelmalio.

There were a few hold-outs. One was the Little Yelm cult of the Hendriki in Heortland, which managed to hold out thanks to that tribe’s remote position on the Heortland plateau. The cult came to Dragon Pass with the resettlement. That’s what we call Elmal.

When the Little Sun came into contact with the big Yelm cult they were shocked. Yelm had fire magic and fire elementals and powerful magic. The Little Sun just had perseverance. Many Little Sun worshipers fought against their Orlanthi leaders and civil strife between the Elmali and the Orlanthi nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Sartar in a time of growing crisis. This is presented in King of Sartar.

Monrogh heroquested to determine who the Little Sun is. He discovered that the Little Sun is different from Yelm and just as worthy of worship – he is Yelmalio, who preserved through the Greater Darkness and was the Light that was never extinguished. Yelmalio is his own master, able to ally with Orlanth when necessary to fight Chaos and Darkness, but able to fight Orlanth when the Storm God brings forth Darkness. This was strongly supported by the Orlanthi cult leaders, especially Prince Tarkalor. Monrogh was able to go to Little Sun ceremonies and Yelmalio manifested. This is the story presented in King of Sartar.

Of course, the HeroWars books (and in particular the “Storm Tribe” supplement) probably played a big role in Elmal, ahem, persevering in the minds of players. After all, he’s listed or illustrated multiple times on the same level as Chalana Arroy, Storm Bull, Yinkin, and so on. He’s featured on clan questionnaires as a possible clan deity, supposedly “receives communal worship from all Heortlings on [his high holy days]“, with “many holy places in Heortling lands, especially in Dragon Pass“. It was only in the later HeroQuest books (such as “Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes”) that Monrogh Lantern’s heroquesting was given more weight, that it was specified that the cult was “in decline” in Sartar, and that many worshippers had long converted to Yelmalio or even moved the the Sun Dome.

How The Lunar Empire Conquered Dara Happa

I’m still wholly ignorant about many aspects of Glorantha, and one of my blind spots is how the hell did the Sun-worshipping people of Dara Happa got mixed up with the new-wave Moon-worshipping people of the Lunar Empire. Well, I guess “with Lunar sorcery and lots of violence” is the summary? Over at BRP Central, Jeff shares some notes on how history goes.

As far as I can tell, the Yelm aristocracy sure suspected the Red Emperor of sorcery when he proved to be Yelm’s incarnation through the Test Tests of the Emperor. They were very wary of all the strange tricks they used to conquer the Carmanians, so even though it seemed at the time that Dara Happans and Lunars were buddies, like two kingdoms united in the noble marriage, they feared that their new Emperor was lot more Lunar than Solar… this created tensions and, eventually, war. These rebellions were squashed within a decade, but not entirely eliminated. When Sheng Seleris attacked a century later, some Dara Happans joined him, becoming “Dara Happa On Horse” as Jeff puts it, but these too were exterminated.

The Dara Happans have had three centuries of co-existence with the Lunars since their original conquest:

The Red Emperors have firmly established their connection and control over the Pelorian Yelm cult (especially since the alternative is Sheng Seleris).

So again, it is just as easy to say that in the centuries after its conquest in 1285, Dara Happa managed to capture the Lunar Empire. Certainly many in the White Moon Movement would say just that, with the Red Goddess fighting wars in distant Dragon Pass and sacrificing thousands to fight the Storm God rather than bring forth the White Moon Era.

It’s all a matter of perspective and historical context:

As an aside, there are plenty of late Third Age commentators that the Celestial Deities have been dimmed or otherwise submitted to the Crimson Light of the Red Moon. Although I present the Sky Deities and the Lunar Deities as different pantheons, I very easily could have presented them as ONE celestial pantheon, now headed by the Red Goddess. Like how Marduk supplanted Enlil and became the head of the pantheon.

So instead of imagining Dara Happans like the Tarshites, where a minority is still desperately rebelling against the Lunar rule, it might actually be the opposite. The Dara Happans retained their power during this transition, with most Lunar noble families being of Solar origins. They have long accepted that the Red Emperor is also the Dara Happan Emperor… or vice-versa. So:

I think it is more likely that there are Lunar plots to win independence from Dara Happan dominance.

The old Yelmite families are subservient to the institution of Moonson (even as they no doubt compete to be the next Mask) just as Yelm is subservient to the Red Goddess. If there are anti-Moonson movements (and of course there are), they likely come out of some of the Nysalorean schools (who just can’t help it) or from ambitious figures within the Lunar leadership (who hope to be the next member of the dynasty).

Sure there might be some unrepentant Lhankor Mhy scribe who scribbles venom against Irrippi Ontor and the like and pines for the good old days when Yelm’s light was not dimmed by the Crimson Moon, but such a person is about as marginal as you get and more likely to head south or east to support some barbarian warlord fighting against the Empire.

This is all good stuff for playing spy games in the Lunar Provinces!

History of the Sun County

You should now know the drill: MOB is continuing his now epic saga of the Sun County. A master class in weaving published scenarios and NPCs together from various sources along with plenty of original content, handling various important figures with each their own complex agenda, and sprinkling heavy doses of mythic heroquesting and down-to-earth humour.

Arkham Map Easter Egg

Given my undying love for Call of Cthulhu, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t realize this earlier, but the classic Arkham map features a RuneQuest easter egg… can you spot it?

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Note that the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter (which celebrates 40 years of eldritch horror gaming!) is running for another week.

Elsewhere on Arachne Solara’s Web

Not everything is about Glorantha, although most things can be! Here are loosely relevant things that we found on the interwebs.

Orkenspalter TV’s RuneQuest Actual Play

I don’t understand German so I have no idea what’s going on in there (except that they’re creating RuneQuest characters and playing some adventure)… so go and ask Joerg for his opinion. But I do want to salute Mhaire’ dedication with her amazing cosplay:

Photo by Mhaire

If you do understand German, you can follow their game on Twitch or YouTube.

Pookie’s Griselda Readings

Unstoppable reviewer and editor Pookie has a long-running YouTube series where he reads the Gloranthan short stories of Griselda, by Oliver Dickinson. He’s up to episode 17 now!

His YouTube channel has many “quick first impressions” of RPG books such as, say, the RuneQuest Classics:

If you want more in-depth reviews, Pookie’s “Reviews From R’lyeh” has an article for what looks like every RPG publication in existence ever. Here’s a handy link to all the Glorantha-related reviews.

Shannon Appelcline Indexes Ye Booke Of Tentacles

One of the hobby’s main historians and archivists, Shannon Appelcline (who also happens to be a giant Gloranthaphile) has spent years building indexes of a variety of fanzines. He just finished a fairly detailed index for the six issues run of Ye Booke Of Tentacles, a fund-raiser fanzine produced for the German convention that later was succeeded by The Kraken (same team of organizers at a different location) and the Eternal Convention (same location and “date”, new team of organizers).

The First Appendix N

The excellent GROGNARDIA blog looks at RuneQuest’s bibliography appendix, and compares it to Gygax’s.

Both bibliographies are the fourteenth appendix in their respective volumes, which is quite a coincidence – and a coincidence I am sure it is (for logistical reasons, if nothing else). Even if it weren’t, the writers of RQ make it quite clear that, despite superficial similarities, their Appendix N is actually very different in both its content and intention than Gygax’s own list. This becomes even clearer as you take a closer look at it.

An Infestation of Carcharids

The D-Infinity Network’s “RuneQuest Thursdays” continues with Carcharids, beastmen who descend from the Shark God Carcharias. I don’t know if the author read too much DC Comics speedster adventures lately, or binge-watched all the shark movies on Amazon Prime, but hey, we’re not going to complain. Big shark-dudes roaming the banks of the River of Cradles sounds like a great way to surprise jaded Praxian adventurers.

Let’s Talk About RuneQuest Classic

Nicholas Bielik gives us a lecture on the classic RuneQuest 2nd edition, and why it was unique and interesting when it came out:

Thank you for reading

That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!

Edits: a previous version of this article attributed AD&D, and not D&D, to Jonathan Tweet. The online name of Harald Smith was also incorrectly spelled “jajapagga” instead of “jajagappa”. Now we figured out why our heroquests were failing miserably.

Interview with an unnamed Issaries trader, transcribed by a certain L.N., dated 1617. Retrieved from the tower’s second level.

I once met a trader named Biturian who told me that sometimes, to sweeten the deal, you have to literally sweeten the deal. He told me that some exotic foods often improve a prospective buyer’s perception of your cargo more so than the equivalent investment in more mundane items. Sweet products, spices, rare herbs are all good choices even for the most pedestrian interlocutor. He mentioned for instance that he would bring honey and sugar to some select Storm Bull Khans to buy protection while travelling through Prax.

What’s this “sugar” you ask? Oh yeah, I’m not surprised, very few people know about this. I’ve heard the term used for many things but I think the most common is for these tall, hard plants they cultivate around the Koraru Bay in Fonrit. I don’t generally like to go there (dangerous trip, and the Fonritians are tricky to deal with), but you can’t deny they have something special. The locals chew on it and spit it out, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing it raw like this here, it’s too bulky and heavy to transport, and last I heard it got a rather cold reception even in Nochet. But the Fonritians also crush it and make some sort of thick, black, honey-like liquid which can be used to sweeten dishes and drinks. It’s much better for trading, but transport can get tricky. It easily gets bad in a ship’s cargo hold. And if you spill it, it get real messy, trust me. The Fonritian drinks themselves are good for transport though. Very popular with some of the noble families in Esrolia.

Another lead I had is… well, I heard some Earth cult in Kralorela has figured out how to refine this black sugar liquid into crystals. Crystals! Can you imagine? I wonder what that looks like. And I bet it would make transport so much easier, but you know how it is, going there. And I would still have to figure out where exactly is this cult. Huh… I’ve got more interesting trade routes to test out first anyway.

That’s the thing, right? Since the oceans have become navigable again, there’s so many opportunities! Our parents and grand-parents have barely scratched the surface. And these exotic goods are what’s really driving trade, if you ask me. Anybody can get their metal, or amber, or salt, or whatever from… well, I mean, they don’t have to go that far. These are well established routes… and sure, in some places those routes got disrupted, like those going through Maniria. Heh, those were good wins, my uncle got wealthy avoiding all these tolls when he got his first ship. And Pent, too, nobody wants to go through that, right? But see what I’m saying? Our predecessors focused on trading the same things, but better? Same origin and destination, same cargo hold? It’s only now that people are wising up to what new things we could start trading. Thing we didn’t even know about before. And that’s really pushing the long travels. That’s why we dare sail past Mighty Magasta. That’s where I have some lead over the competition. Have you even heard of Spice Island? There are things there that…

Right, you want to know more about the sweet stuff, of course.

Well, I mean your safe bet is really honey. Yeah yeah, everybody has honey, but you know there’s a sizable market for the connoisseurs, right? They’re looking for new flavours, honey made from different flowers from this or that mountain or some desert or whatever… honey made from mushrooms, honey made by giant bees… I mean I’ve heard some trolls can train them to change the resulting taste. You don’t even have to go too far for that, there are giant bees here in Sartar. But if you want, like, some Kero Fin Lady Thimble honey, well you have to cross some fairly dangerous places on the way. As always, carefully pick your escort.

What else… oh, right. Tree sap. Some people love that stuff. I hope you’re not an elf-friend because they will definitely not be happy with you. One of the Colymar tribe clans in Sartar, I think it’s the Namolding clan? Yeah they do collect birch tree sap, make some sweet syrup with it, so they have most of the market around here. But you can help them export their stuff. I think a couple other Sartarite clans do something similar, so there sure are opportunities for grab. But for something a bit different, if you like long travels on land, I once visited Northern Fronela — the animal tribes there have a couple of trading posts — and they have some squirrel spirit cult that showed them how to collect the sap from the local maple tree. They have some Sea Season dance ritual for this, and all. Anyway, that maple syrup is quite different from the birch one, and better if you ask me. Plus, these Rathori and other animal people aren’t too interested in travelling out of their lands, so it’s easy business for us long distance traders.

Ok, now I don’t know if I should share this but… hum… I once heard about some “Aldryami Bloodwine” too… basically it’s the same idea as tree sap, but the trolls would bleed an elf to death instead of extracting the sap from a tree. Nasty stuff. Supposedly the taste changes depending on how they torture the elf, or not, before or during the bleeding, how long, and so on. I don’t even know if it exists for sure, frankly, it sounds more like the type of urban legends these Uz love spreading around… but who knows. You better be careful if you meet an Uz merchant who wants to sell you some tree sap, just to be sure. You definitely don’t want to piss off any elves, especially since they…

These documents are a mess but the notes in the margin seem to indicate there’s more to this interview. I’ll share more when I figure out in what order they’re supposed to go. In the meantime, maybe check this out for complementary information.

Welcome to a new issue of the Journal of Runic Studies, the premier Malkioni publication for studies into the nature of Glorantha. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consult with the spirit bound to the appropriate electronic page.

Tower Inventory

We here at the God Learners have only recently moved into our new home. It’s a nice tower that belonged to a Malkioni school of sorcery for the most part of the Second Age, then probably a hideout for a bunch of bandits in the early Third Age until the surrounding lands were colonized by some Heortlings and some Lhankor Mhy sages renovated it and used it as a library temple.

Photo by Hannah Wright on Unsplash

Well, it’s ours now, and we’re pretty happy with it, it’s got a nice spacious level for our laboratory, another for the library, a few other buildings for our servants and guests, and so on. But it’s a mess in here. There’s a whole bunch of junk from the previous occupants, and we started the process of clearing it, sorting it, and archiving it. As we proceed, we’ll share the most interesting findings with you… we hope you’ll find them equally interesting.

Chaosium News

The White Bull Campaign Returns

The so-called Chaosium house campaign, aka the “White Bull” campaign, is finally returning to YouTube! If I remember correctly, we left the group just after their return from Kallyr’s Lightbringers Heroquest…

Progress on the Fantasy Ground RuneQuest Integration

What looks like official VTT support for RuneQuest is advancing at a good pace, if we judge from these recent screenshots from the main developer on the project:

Screenshots by @MadBeardMan

However, this is all apparently just “around 10% complete“!

Screenshots by @MadBeardMan

And look at this poor ghoul’s fumble! Oh noes!

Screenshot by @MadBeardMan

Anyway, the developer is posting new screenshots on a regular basis (too many to post here!) so check them out!

RuneQuest Art?

This painting by Silvana Massa was spotted on Twitter: apparently a piece commissioned for RuneQuest… what book could it be for?

Art by Silvana Mass © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Jonstown Compendium

Comparing Standard and Premium Colour Printing

Jonstown Compendium embassador and prolific Gloranthan author Nick Brooke has posted some comparison pictures of the differences between DriveThruRPG’s “Standard Colour” and “Premium Colour” options. This is especially important since the prices for “Premium Colour” have just increased significantly, to the point that some authors stopped offering it as an option altogether.

The cheap proof-print of Glamour looked absolutely fine, so I’ve set up standard colour editions of all my books, which are about 10% cheaper than the previous versions. These are produced on a cheaper printer, and you will notice the difference: the print is flatter and fuzzier, without the sharp edges and rich, deep colours we are used to in premium print. The paper is identical to the premium editions, it’s just the inkjets that are cheaper.

In the picture below, the standard colour is on the left, and the premium colour is on the right. Note the deeper reds on the Premium Colour but, just as interesting, the greens seem to be roughly similar.

Photo by Nick Brooke

Nick concludes elsewhere that “the quality overall is fine for a ‘cheaply printed’ version“. These “Standard Colour” printings are roughly 10% cheaper to produce than the pre-increase “Premium Colour” printings.

Monster of the Month Announcement

Last week we were talking about the release of Grungnak Fearless, issue 2.6 of Monster of the Month series. Austin Conrard gave a quick update for the halfway point of the year:

I’m really proud of the quality of these Rune Master issues of MOTM, but they take a lot of energy to produce. They’re a big piece of why you haven’t yet seen a volume 2 of Treasures of Glorantha! After a lot of thought, I’ve chosen to scale back the next few issues of MOTM, hopefully so I can create other Glorantha stuff.

While I’ll probably end the year with another long-ish issue (like The Quacken, last year), at the moment I’m not sure I’ll continue MOTM into 2022.

While these are sad news, we probably have enough monsters and NPCs to keep our players busy for a few years. Also, it’ll be exciting to see Austin tackle some other things — besides a new volume of Treasures of Glorantha, he has been teasing a potential Esrolia campaign on the BRP Central forums.

Alakoring’s Legacy

As a follow up to Heort’s Legacy, Edan and Alister Jones (a father/son team-up, as I understand) have now released Alakoring’s Legacy.

Just like its predecessor, this is a new questionnaire to be used as an alternative or complement to Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes’ original clan questionnaire. This is therefore mainly for HeroQ… err… QuestWorlds, but these things tend to be mostly system agnostic and therefore could also be used by anybody making their own clan in any system.

Community Roundup

The community roundup is our highlight of interesting things being mentioned in the Glorantha-related Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and other similar online places.

Argentus in Glamour, Argentus in Sartar

Depending on how one views these kinds of things, the Red Emperor’s latest Mask, Argentus, is either a lazy hedonistic slob who delegates everything to the Seven Tharkalists and other lesser advisors, or a wise ruler who knows when to step back and let things go. This made him popular with a fair amount of his people, but there’s a growing discontent regarding the rise of revolutionary movements like the White Moon.

Interestingly enough, Argentus apparently spent a lot of his magic to turn a True Dragon away from Glamour (I assume this is the Dragonrise’s dragon). Or maybe he just claims that he did…

Most Sartarites wouldn’t know much about what happens in Glamour, so this would not impact many Dragon Pass focused games, but Jeff reminds us that it takes only a week and a half to go from Boldhome to Furthest, and then another two weeks and a half to get to Glamour. Some gossip might travel that way… which Sartarite or Kethalean spies would be listening to!

But the average Sartarite only knows that the Red Emperor is some kind of immortal wizard-king who never stays dead very long. Probably some Chaotic thing — Sartarites “totally do not buy the whole Mask thing“.

Community Descriptions

This is just wonderful: Jeff shared what I assume are clan write-ups for the upcoming Sartar Homeland Boxed Set. We’ve got the large and wealthy Ernaldori clan, and the much more modest but warlike Varmandi clan. There is also an allegedly incomplete write-up (and potentially not included in the final text) for the Hiording clan.

Cartography by Matt Ryan © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

These write-ups feature a good amount of numbers (population total, militia size, number of thanes and priests, and so on), a list of the main personalities of the clan, some vague idea of where all the clan’s households are located, detailed economic figures, magical features and more!

I’m particularly interested in this type of number crunching so here are my takeaways on it:

  • Households come up at around 14 adults per household on average. That’s probably 20 people in total on average. Jeff mentioned in a comment that Boldhome residential buildings have between 15 and 40 people.
  • There are 70 households in Clearwine Fort. If I line this up with the map in the Gamemaster Adventures booklet, I think that a “household” would actually be 2 or 3 visible buildings on that map. Of course, it’s possible that these numbers hadn’t been crunched yet, so the map might be more figurative than representative, but in case you’re treating it as an actual “bird’s view” of the city, there you go!
  • For the “households” on the countryside, each of these might also be several buildings, such as a small clusters of farms, or a farm with a few lined-in buildings. We’ll know more when the Sartar Homeland Boxed Set is published, as the term “household” will be formally defined there.
  • Households are roughly the same size between the city and the countryside. I frankly didn’t know which one to expect being bigger, but I expected a difference… oh well!
  • The split between adults and children has changed, as far as I can tell. In the Gamemaster Adventures booklet (page 16) we are told that “a typical clan of 1000 people has about 450 adults and 550 children“. This is just above 50% of children, and this ratio is consistent with a variety of previous publications, including the HeroQuest ones. But I think that the average age for adulthood initiation has finally been brought down (which is good for better verisimilitude with Earth’s Bronze Age). It sounds like, going forward, adulthood happens around 13 years old. This lowers the ratio of children to something closer to 30%.

Do you want to see something else?

Art by Loic Muzy © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Jeff also shared the write-up of a Boldhome guild. Given how underwritten guilds have been so far in Gloranthan publications, this is very welcome… This sample guild is Boldhome’s Bronze Workers guild, centered around the cult of Gustbran, so in addition to a look at Sartarite guilds, we also get a look at a what a minor god’s cult looks like!

And since we’re talking about bronze working, how about taking a look at Copper Town? Located next to the copper mines of the Barastaros Hills, it is home to about 2000 people, none of which had a better idea for a name besides “Copper Town”…

Art by Loic Muzy © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Ore is brought from the mines and smelted outside the town in kilns and furnaces, and poured into molds. The copper bars are then transported by mule to Early Rise and then to Furthest, or shipped downriver to the Lunar Heartlands. Copper slag heaps from the last three centuries litter the landscape around Copper Town. The city is “owned” by the King of Tarsh and governed by his deputies.

Note that in these Lunar parts, Asrelia is the patron of mining, interestingly enough.

Taxonomy of Glorantha, by the God Learners

Apparently, we… did this? Yes, we did. That’s us. That’s how we figured animals are organized.

Photos by Jeff Richard

I don’t remember what the Cthuloid drawings are for (the Second Age was a wild time), but I definitely remember figuring out that horses are birds. Yep. That made sense at the time.

Behind the Art Scene

While we’re looking at rough sketches, take a look at some of Jeff’s sketches for various illustrations of Gloranthan books. For instance, this sketch vs final of Jar-Eel and Beat-Pot:

Scribbles by Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.
© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Drinking and Loathing in the Holy Country

Jeff tells us that the wine in the Holy Country is mostly red and not watered down. It’s consumed mostly during religious feasts and celebrations. For everyday drinking, wheat beer is very popular (for instance, einkorn or emmer beer), along with young wines and fruit wines. Sages and other specialists can produce distilled wine, for the distinguished connoisseurs.

Note that violence is less common in drinking halls compared to Sartar. It sounds like Belintar is a bit more civilized than Heort… it might also help that incense, spiced food, and other intoxicants (coming in through Nochet’s very busy port, possibly from the Teshnos colony) help smooth things down. There’s less incentive to fight when you’re dressed in silk.

Drinking in the Holy Country goes often with music and dancing. The Jolly Fat Man is a local minor deity:

One of the sons of Ernalda, the Jolly Fat Man is a beloved Bacchus/Silenus figure, and at many feasts someone gets the honour of being the designated JFM to preside over the festivities.

Athletic contests are also very popular, especially as a “mundane” version of the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death:

The cult of the Strong Man is popular, and many cities have areas where muscled men work out and practice, often watched and celebrated by noble women.

If you want to derail your gamemaster’s campaign and go in the show-business, this sounds like a great idea:

As an aside, a Colymar adventurer in one of our campaigns with an 18 STR and 17 CHA joined the cult of the Strong Man in Nochet and made his fortune performing for the pleasure of aristocratic women. He concluded it was a much better life than being one of the bodyguards of Queen Leika.

Of course, if I was the gamemaster, this new derailed campaign would suddenly morph into a mix of “Freaks” and “Carnivale”, but hey, that’s just me.

Drinking and Loathing in the Lunar Heartlands

Comparatively to the Holy Country, drinking in the Lunar Heartlands is mostly for the Lodrilli peasantry. They do it a lot. Their stuck-up Yelmite leaders put “too much important on self-control and purity“, so they either drink lighter wine, or, you know, just pass out in private without the neighbours knowing. Public drunkenness is a lower-class thing.

Common peasant drinks includes maize beer, barley beer, and fermented rice drinks.

Orlanthi Sports

Okay we talked about drinking beer, but what is beer good for if you can’t drink it while watching some stupid sporting event? Well we have a few hints from Jeff regarding this (most of which will feature in the upcoming Sartar Homeland Boxed Set): foot and chariot races, throwing and hurling and shooting competitions, swimming and jumping and so on. Of course, fighting (with and/or without weapons) is bound to be one of the most popular activities, including the ancient form of mixed-martial-arts known as pankration.

Here’s an example of a local sporting event:

There is an athletic competition in Two Hour Town, where a biennial competition is held to celebrate Orlanth’s wooing of Ernalda. One of the events is to run from Two Hour Town to Sartar’s Palace (culminating in running up the Thousand Steps) about 20 km away. While wearing a full kit of bronze armor – helmet, cuirass, greaves, and vambraces. In early Earth Season, when the temperature is going to be in the mid-20s.

Another:

The Sartarites do have game of “common ball” – the teams play it nearly as violently as a battle. Highly teamwork oriented, the game is played between two teams of usually 12 to 14 players each, with one ball. The rules of the game allow using hands. The teams try to throw the ball over the heads of the other team. There is line between the teams and another white line behind each team. Teams charge the ball often until one of the team is forced behind the line at their end.

Sun County expert and Chaosium vice-president MOB shared some of the hoplites’ own sports:

Long ago, the Sun Domers of Prax raised horses and entertained themselves with such games as polo or racing. Today, the people the Sun County no longer ride, and their passion is now a sophisticated martial sport called Shield Push.

Many people joined in with other suggestions: yodeling pageants, duck golf, belching and farting contests, eating competitions, greasy pig chases, and more.

What’s it all for? Well these are good opportunities to impress people with your skills, be they a prospective mentor, love interest, or chieftain with some promotions to hand out. This is also where rivalries are born or increased, and drama can strike!

Eat at Geo’s

Here’s a nice meal from Geo’s Inn at Duck Point. Maybe that’s for Claudia Loroff’s years-in-the-making Gloranthan Cookbook? Or maybe that’s just what they eat in Germany on the week-end, who knows.

Photo by Jeff Richard, cuisine by Claudia Loroff

Boldhome Pockets

Chaosium cartographer Matt Ryan shared his creative process to map the dwarven-built “pockets” of Boldhome, which were carved directly into the mountainside.

So my thinking was this: the people asked the dwarves to build them homes. The dwarves said sure, see you in a year (or however long, the point is it wasn’t a long meeting). The dwarves observed the people to see what they needed. They saw a short-lived species who ate constantly, revered their dead, honored their gods, kept pets, and bred prolifically. A herd creature that gathers in large groups. They wanted to give them heat and cooling and running water – advances the people didn’t have – and figured they might as well throw in forges and workshops because everybody uses forges and workshops, right? I figured it would be like a bunch of rabbits asking Frank Lloyd Wright to design their warren. Then I took a bunch of pictures from an old architectural textbook that was floating around the house, cropped them and repositioned them without much thought, letting the coffee-spirits guide me, and then threw labels on it.

This is of course a very early work-in-progress:

WIP by Matt Ryan © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The Cradle Aftermath Continues

Michael O’Brien continues the history of Sun County (in Prax). It started in 1621 with the Giant Cradle came through Pavis, and we’re currently around 1624 if I’m not mistaken.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

I really recommend you read it (especially since it’s in on BRP Central and not behind some privacy wall like Facebook) because it contains a lot of great stuff:

  • A look at some recent politics between Pavis, Sun County, the Lunars, the Praxian tribes, etc.
  • Several heroquests, including a couple really big epic ones.
  • A good example of incorporating material from classic RuneQuest books such as NPCs from Runemasters, magical objects from Plunder, and scenario bits from Pavis and The Big Rubble.
  • The origin story of one of Glorantha’s most infamous figures: Melo Yelo the Yelmalion baboon!
  • …and just quite a few cool adventure ideas!

RuneQuest Thursday: Beastlords

The D-Infinity network continues their “RuneQuest Thursdays” (there are quite a few to check out!). It’s not actually every Thursday, but it’s always on a Thursday, so I guess the title is accurate… anyway, this week’s article is on “Beastlords”, a cabal of sorcerers who specialize in shapeshifting and other animalistic magic.

Elsewhere on Arachne Solara’s Web

Elder Scrolls: An Oral History

If you’ve played any of the Elder Scrolls games and wondered about some similarities with the world of Glorantha, you can check out this oral history Morrowind, courtesy of Polygon. In particular, note how the game’s lead designer Ken Rolston is also well known in roleplaying game circles for contributions to D&D, WFRP, and, of course, RuneQuest — in particular his role as editor during the first “RuneQuest Renaissance” under Avalon Hill. About Morrowind, he says:

I would also say that not video games, but games like RuneQuest Glorantha were a shared language for most of the writers: Kirkbride, Kuhlmann, and Todd to some extent.

Glorantha Wins the Totally Serious and Official “Best Setting” Frankenstein RPG Poll

The title basically sums it up:

And in case you don’t know about Frankenstein’s RPG, it’s a podcast in which guests talk about their favourite games and, collectively, try to put together a “perfect game”, if that’s even possible. Give it a listen!

Thank you for reading

That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!

Edit: a previous version of the text implied that wine was watered down in Sartar but that was I think a misreading of Jeff’s comments on Facebook. It has now been removed.

Welcome to a new issue of the Journal of Runic Studies, the premier Malkioni publication for studies into the nature of Glorantha. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consult with the spirit bound to the appropriate electronic page.

Chaosium News

Red Book of Magic Reference Sheet

Remember a couple weeks ago when we mentioned that Austin Conrad had made an index of the Red Book of Magic’s spells which, as I mentioned in our last episode of the podcast, was itself already an index of the spells of the upcoming Cults Book? Well guess what: Chaosium adopted Austin’s index of the index and made a prettier index of the index!

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The RuneQuest Rune Spell Reference is now an official free PDF, available for download from Chaosium. You can get it from the Red Book of Magic’s store page (scroll to the bottom), or directly from here.

Starter Set Unboxing

While we eagerly wait for the RuneQuest Starter Set to slowly make its way to Chaosium’s various warehouses, Chaosium president and aspiring ASMR video-maker Rick Meints soothes our impatience with this nice little unboxing video!

When I mentioned that my OCD was triggered by Rick sometimes putting contents to the left with the back cover up, and sometimes with the front cover up (guess which one is wrong!), Rick replied that he’s part of the Chaosium, not the Orderium… I guess that’s a valid point 😆

Anyway, get ready to throw a lot of money at Chaosium this summer, and if you are going to buy the RuneQuest Starter Set from your Local Friendly Gaming Store, make sure that they’re part of the Bits & Mortar program so that you get the PDFs!

Sartar Homeland Boxed Set Previews

We are getting a whole bunch of sneak peeks at the upcoming Sartar Homeland Boxed Set! Let’s start with some gorgeous art from Ossi Hiekkala and Anna Orlova. We had seen this first piece before (that’s Raveena, a mercenary with quite a long resume), but what follows is new!

Art by Ossi Hiekkala © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Here we have the Inkarne (the current Feathered Horse Queen) and Argrath White Bull. Keen eyed people (or those with pet peeves!) might notice that the Grazelander monarch is flipped horizontally in that first picture (to go with her soon-to-be lover… unless she likes to switch her weapons around based on her mood). Also note Argrath’s famed Ormsword, and the Stafford/Sartar Rune on his shoulder.

Art by Anna Orlova © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

And how about some map of Boldhome? We’ve seen these before but we get a closer look now and of course I can’t pass a good map!

Cartography by Matt Ryan, photos by Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Informal Production Update

Some stray Facebook comment from Jason Durall gives us an updated look at Chaosium’s production pipeline:

The Gamemaster’s Guide is in development and will probably be available early next year. We’ve got the Weapons & Equipment Guide going into layout soon, the gigantic Cults of Glorantha right after that, and then the Sartar boxed set to get through the pipeline before the GM book, along with some smaller things to accompany the Starter Set. The name is not set in stone, as it has gone back and forth between Gamemaster’s Guide, Campaign Guide, and Gamemaster’s Sourcebook, for various reasons.

RuneQuest on Fantasy Grounds

It’s still unclear how official this is but it looks official:

Screenshot by @MadBeardMan

You can follow @MadBeardMan for more updates on that Fantasy Ground system support, there have been other similar screenshots these past few weeks. This is great news for those who will keep playing online indefinitely even after (we hope) most people resume face-to-face gaming.

Community Roundup

Zomdryami!

Shannon Applecline, famous RPG historian and expert on Gloranthan elves, continues his Aldryami mythology posts on the Gloranthafans Facebook group. This time it’s about elf undead, with the story of how Nontraya (who is better known as Vivamort) took refuge in red elves forests after being chased off by the humans. There, he created many types of Aldryami undead (which Shannon describes), and later went on to invade more elf lands before moving on to more hellish accommodations… but all these corrupted swamps and dead woods are dotting the landscape, waiting for unexpecting adventurers to stumble into them!

Cradle Aftermath Continues

Michel O’Brien continues his history of the Sun Dome County in Prax, bringing us up to 1623. I sadly haven’t kept up with it yet so I can’t give you a good summary or a bunch of highlights, but I’ll try to do that in next week’s newsletter (unless one of you fine readers want to send us submissions… we are the God Learners, so making people do the hard work is kind of our thing!).

The Modern Lunar Empire

Jeff continues to express recent Gloranthan history lectures in terms of Earth time-frames. In this case, here are facts to remember about the Lunar Empire:

1. Until recently, they have enjoyed peace in the Lunar Heartlands since about the end of WW1. That is a long period of peace, longer than the peace of the Five Good Emperors of Rome.

2. Many of the cities of the Lunar Heartlands are pretty new, being refounded in the “late 19th and early 20th century”.

3. A lot of the cultural variation in the Heartlands described in Glorious Reascent of Yelm is largely gone.

And:

The Lunars view the time from the late 1960s to now as their new golden age. This is the heights of Lunar splendor. Physical and magical arts have blossomed. The fields almost grow by themselves. The Lunars don’t look backwards to the past for answers — they look forward to an ever greater future.

At least they did until a few years ago. Cracks have opened in that confident edifice. Cracks that open ever wider. And recently twin military disasters have struck the empire, shaking its resolve and confidence.

Lunar Heartlands Peasantry

And since Jeff mentioned the Glorious Reascent of Yelm, he went on to talk more about how the Dara Happan society survives in the modern Lunar Empire. The split between the urban people living in the cities along the Oslir, and the many peasants who grow rice, barley, and (for the past couple centuries) maize, is particularly interesting:

There are about 5.4 million people in the Lunar Heartlands and about 80% of them are rural peasants. Although many peasants have embraced the Lunar Way (in particular the Seven Mothers), they still retain much of their traditional peasant culture. They are “semi-free” at best, bound to their professions and working land that belongs to others (usually temples or the Yelmic/Lunar nobility). Many are “property” of these groups. They live in villages overseen by officials appointed by their rulers. Villages are highly collective; there are strong pressures to conform and little room to deviate from custom (except through the Lunar Way).

Think Egyptian fellah, Russian serfs, or Japanese heimin.

A few details are given about the Pelorian cults: Lodril and Oria are common peasant cults that feature a lot more debauchery than the urban Dara Happan norms. Lunar cults such as the Seven Mothers offer an alternative path that presents more spiritual development and social mobility, so almost everyone is at least a lay member, and a quarter is initiated.

So what are all the Lunarized people like then?

At the most basic, they are initiates into a Lunar cult or its associates – including obvious things as the Red Goddess, the Seven Mothers, Hon-eel, Yara Aranis, and the Crimson Bat, but also in the Lunar Empire such cults as Yelm, Annilla, and Gorgorma (but those are generally not Lunar cults outside of the Lunar Empire). It also includes non Lunar Empire cults as the Red Mask secret society in Prax. It often includes Nysalor but not always.

[…]

Many people in the Lunar Empire are Lunars, but not everyone. Except that just about everyone in the Heartlands offers at least a little worship to the Red Goddess and the Red Emperor. Most Lunars live in the Lunar Heartlands, which is the center of the religion, but there are many Lunars outside of the Lunar Empire. Some even oppose the Lunar Empire. In short, Lunar is not an ethno-religious category like Orlanthi or Malkioni — anyone can be a Lunar.

This last part is especially interesting: I interpret it as the difference between the Lunar Way and the Lunar Empire. A lot of people might believe in the well known message of inclusivity, and even maybe the path towards illumination, but be staunch opponents to the Empire’s ruthless expansionism, its use of weapons of mass destruction, and its increasingly corrupted leadership.

There is also some info about Dara-Happan cities: in comparison with the drunken and sexual debauchery of the countryside, the city people “view themselves as the most perfect human society possible, living in accordance to divine laws and capable of great spiritual development”. The Yelm cult is in charge, which means that all the people in positions of power strive for purity and virtue, with a strongly patriarchal bias permeating through city life, from fashion to acceptable public behaviour, and to what you do in the bedroom. But the Lunar way offers alternatives:

…within the Lunar cults, women enjoy equal rights to men. As the Yelmic leadership IS Lunar, this means that effectively the Lunar Way has greatly moderated traditional Dara Happan patriarchy. The traditional cults such as Yelm, Dendara, Polaris, etc, which have thoroughly accepted the Red Goddess as part of the celestial hierarchy and acknowledge her place within that pantheon.

Still, Dara Happa is less multicultural than Dragon Pass or the Holy Country.

It’s Flat

And last, in case you still had any doubts, Jeff wanted to make it clear that everything people say about Glorantha is true: it’s (mostly) flat, it’s (mostly) square, and it’s 8000 kilometres on each side. You can trust us, we’re the God Learners, we measured. This also includes the distance to the Sky Dome and the stars, the Red Moon, and so on. Things look familiar to us Earthers, but they are far from it upon closer inspection… for example:

Interestingly, our own terrestrial moon is about 3500 km in diameter (a little less than 100 times wider than the Red Moon) but is about 384,000 km away from Earth (or more than 100 times further away than the Red Moon), and thus the Red Moon usually looks about the same apparent size as our moon (however, it looks smaller from Pamaltela).

Of course, everybody is free to make their Glorantha vary, but Jeff wants to warn these people that future Chaosium material (such as, maybe, the most epic adventures of the Dragon Pass Campaign book?) will invalidate any Glorantha that features more, let’s say, “realistic” elements.

Jonstown Compendium

Here are the news for Chaosium’s community content program for Glorantha games. As always, links on this website include an affiliate code that helps us a little bit with hosting fees!

LEGION Games Mega-Bundle!

LEGION Games, the people behind, well, LEGION, the Rubble Redux series, and the QAD series, are offering a bundle with all their titles in it! While you download it, you can listen to our interview with LEGION Games’ Neil Gibson

Grungnak Fearless

The Sky Dome tilts and turns, Ernalda grows and withers, the Red Moon waxes and wanes, and Austin Conrad keeps delivering issues of the Monster of Month series… since time has lost its meaning in our pandemic world, that’s how I actually know what month we are now: it’s Volume Two, Death Lord of Zorak Zoran. Which means it’s around summer. And maybe a Monday? Who knows.

Anyway, Grungnak Fearless is a monstrous Rune Master of everybody’s favourite berserker (come on, you know that Zorak Zoran is much more fun than Storm Bull!), and this issue dedicated to her contains the kind of extra material we have come to love and expect from Austin Conrad, such as special magic items, cult write-ups, and secondary NPCs.

Cups of Clearwine

After the Dregs of Clearwine, which detailed a slum neighbourhood of the titular Colymar tribe capital, the folks at Beer With Teeth have now released Cups of Clearwine, a similar supplement for RuneQuest that focuses on a more typical part of the city. Many diverse NPCs are presented, with accompanying adventure hooks! Given the Colymar focus of the official Chaosium adventure books, this one is a no brainer!

Holiday Dorastor: Spider Woods

Do you want to spend your holidays in Dorastor? Of course you want to! Simon Phipp knows all the most festive places, since he knows all the Secrets of the place. The newly released Spider Woods is the second expansion book to Secrets of Dorastor, after the Temple of Heads.

This sourcebook details the titular forest at the edge of Dorastor, with enough arachnid NPCs and monsters to make it clear that this is, indeed, the Spider Woods. A handful of scenarios, special items, and new spells round up this pretty hefty book.

Reviews and Reports

Skull Dixon’s RuneQuest Reviews

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Discord regular Skull Dixon has been writing a series of reviews-slash-play-reports on the RuneQuest Gamemaster Pack adventures, and the last one is out! This is of course about the Dragon of the Thunder Hills, the third scenario in the book.

Skull Dixon gives an exhaustive overview of the adventure (which is useful if you’re planning on running it and want a summary of the whole storyline), along with some recommendations about what he changed in his game. Some of these, like when to introduce some key elements as foreshadowing in previous sessions, are very useful!

On Ducks

The author of the popular RPG-nostalgia blog GROGNARDIA recalls their coming to terms with the ducks of Glorantha:

But it took me a long time to accept this. I used to be so hung up on a very narrow understanding of seriousness that I was unable to recognize the need for a little weirdness and levity. Ironically, it was Steve Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck, who summed it up quite well in a 1977 interview, in which he explained the origins of the character. According to Gerber, the whole point of the character and the comic in which he appeared is that life’s most serious moments and most incredibly dumb moments are often distinguishable only by a momentary point of view.

Is that going to convince Joerg to play a duck?

Meanwhile, on Earth

Shaman Snake Stick

If you want a cool stick for your shaman, how about a snake stick?

Thank you for reading

That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!