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

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.

Episode 6: Gamemastering RuneQuest

We have released a new episode of our podcast! We are joined by Jonstown Compendium authors Neil Gibson and Jon Webb to talk about the art of gamemastering RuneQuest Glorantha (although a lot of the discussion is generally applicable to many other RPGs). We discuss various tips and tricks to handle the system’s complexity, speed up combat, share game anecdotes, and generally agree on too much stuff…

Runic Rants: When You Don’t Know

Speaking of gamemastering, here’s a bunch of advice for GMs who are somewhat new to Glorantha:

[…] Start small, keep it simple, and so on. Between the fabulous Quickstart adventure, the excellent Gamemaster Screen Adventures book, and the great new Starter Set, you should have everything you need.

But Glorantha is a big and complicated setting, and as a gamemaster you’re bound to make “mistakes”, or get stuck with something you don’t know. Here’s some advice on that, from my short past couple years of RuneQuest.

It’s all in the article!

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

RuneQuest “All Stars” Game

The Brian Holland-led Starter Set adventure playthrough is now up on YouTube after having been streamed live last week. I haven’t watched it yet so I’ve got no comments on it… maybe next week!

ENWorld Interviews MOB

RPG news outfit ENWorld has an interview of Michael O’Brien on the topic of the upcoming ChaosiumCon. It mostly repeats the information you might have already read via Chaosium’s own channels, but with a sprinkle of extra anecdotes.

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!

A History of Malkionism

Nick Brooke released some more out-of-print material, with some new illustrations by the awesome Katrin Dirim. It’s A History of Malkionism, which details parts of Western Genertela, including the Brithini, the Waertagi, and the Vadeli.

A Site to Die For

Here’s a new release from some new names, as far as I can tell. A Site to Die For is an adventure where your players will protect a week-long ceremony to consecrate a shrine to a Greydog Clan hero. Of course, there will be several enemies to defend against… and if your players are not playing in the Greydog Clan, you might be able to repurpose this book as something they can attack!

Six Seasons in Sartar Reaches Platinium Level

Six Seasons in Sartar is the first Jonstown Compendium title to reach Platinium Level! This means more than 1000 sales, which only less than 1.5% of all titles in DriveThruRPG (including “professional” titles) ever reach. Congratulations Andrew!

Nick Brooke on the Armies & Enemies of Dragon Pass

Still now sure about getting that big book? Nick Brooke goes over everything that’s inside to get you all hyped! Plus, some answers to common questions such as “why isn’t there a colour print edition?

Jonstown Compendium Sales Analysis

The ever productive Nick Brooke (does he ever sleep?) has an in-depth analysis of the Jonstown Compendium sales over on BRP Central and on the Chaosium blog. It includes pretty graphs, and you know I like pretty graphs as much as I like pretty maps.

There isn’t too much surprising data in there (although I like seeing how crazy Black Spear sold from the start!), but Nick always has some good conclusions to help Jonstown Compendium authors prepare, publish, and price their works. He was definitely a great pick as “embassador” for Chaosium.

Jeff’s Notes

Jeff Richard, the current mastermind on everything Gloranthan at Chaosium, is often posting notes and thoughts on the RuneQuest Facebook group. Here’s our curated list from the past week. A partial archive of these sources is compiled on the Well of Daliath.

The Spread of Grains

You guys know by now that I love maps, right? Well check this out:

Cartography by Matt Ryan © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

This is a work in progress map showing the spread of grains across Genertela. If you’re an ESL person and/or not very knowledgeable about agriculture (I’m both!), Jeff had previously posted about the different types of fields (thanks 7Tigers!):

  • Einkorn Wheat: “This cereal grain is relatively short, usually less than 70 centimeters tall. It can survive on poor, dry, marginal soils where other varieties of wheat will not.
  • Emmer Wheat: “This awned cereal grain gives good yields on poor soils.
  • Barley: “This cereal grain is a highly resilient crop, able to be grown in varied and marginal environments. It has a short growing season and is relatively drought tolerant.
  • Rye: “This cereal grain grows better than any other cereal on heavy clay and light sandy and infertile or drought-affected soils.
  • Spelt: “This husked wheat is adaptable to cold climates and is easy to store.
  • Oat: “This cereal grain is eaten chiefly as porridge. Oats are cold-tolerant and are unaffected by late frosts or snow.
  • Millet: “This annual grass is grown as a cereal grain. It can reach a height of 120 to 200 cm. It is well adapted to drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature.

Matt is still working on it (colours will be tweaked and typos fixed, don’t freak out!) so at this point I’m not sure how to read it yet. As far as I can tell each land goddesses has a “special” grain, which you can use in any heroquest involving the Flamal the Father of Seeds’ various unions with these deities. Imports and exports seems mostly balanced, except for Esrolia where it looks like they’re exporting more than they’re importing. This doesn’t necessarily translate to actual trade of goods, but it might be a factor for that country’s wealth.

Prax and The Wastes

And another map! Yay! This one is on Prax and the Wastes, with the green cross-hatching showing the fertile grounds:

Map courtesy of Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

As far as most settled people are concerned, all of the Wastes are basically like Vulture Country – inhospitable to man and beast, with terrible dust storms (worst are those from the Copper Sands), and populated by broo, scorpion men, and other monsters.

But the Praxians know how to survive in the Wastes – Waha shows them the way. It is harsher and more demanding than fertile Prax, but herds can move from grassland to grassland protected by the nomads. Gods and spirits walk the Wastes – it was in the Wastes that Jaldon Goldentooth became a Hero. And it is there in the Wastes that Storm Bull defends the corrupted corpse of his friend and liege Genert.

If you’re simple-minded like me, your original understanding of the Praxian tribes might have been that Waha’s way was about surviving in Prax. Because they’re called “Praxian tribes”?

Well apparently not. Based on previous material shared by David Scott, it seems the Praxians spend most of their time in the Wastes:

During the Lunar Occupation, many Praxians exiled themselves to the Wastes. Many joined the White Bull Society, which began in the Wastes. Now they are returning to Prax at Argrath White Bull’s invitation, and they are making preparations for the Final War against Chaos.

And if you want maps of grazing regions in Prax, David Scott has you covered (there’s more in the next pages in the thread).

Note that the Praxian tribes being in the Wastes isn’t new to the Lunar Occupation. They’ve gone there many times, such as during the Second Age when the Pure Horse People invaded Prax. At some point, they also expanded northwards:

After the Dragonkill War and the closing of Dragon Pass, the Animal Nomads entered into a period of comparative calm and growth. Their intertribal warfare continued, often disintegrated into inter-clan fighting in the Genertelan Wastes. Yet they prospered, relieved at last of the troublesome influence of the civilizations in Dragon Pass. Minor adventures in the Holy Country, Kralorela, and Teshnos were viewed with alarm from the inhabitants of those regions, but their retaliatory raids failed to do long-lasting damage to the Animal Nomads. It is probably fortunate for those regions that the ancient ancestral grudge against the Horse Barbarians of Pent was greater than their lust from the luxuries of civilization.

Cut off from other areas of expansion the nomads expanded northward into Pent. This was a gradual process of many generations, yet proved inexorable. Both the Animal Nomads and the Horse Barbarians have stories about the famous battle of No-Feet-on-the-Ground, where even the sun and storm took part so that the earth itself recoiled and withdrew from contact with the battle. Its date is uncertain, and the multitude of conflicting information makes a sensible recollection impossible. Regardless, the battle was a disaster of immense proportions for the Horse Barbarians. They were split into East and West divisions, and reeling into civilized lands in the north. Their arrival in Peloria was during the Lunar Third Wane.

I actually much prefer these nomads being out the Wastes, personally. One thing I was bothered with when I started with Glorantha was how small Prax is for all these nomadic tribes… the size of the Wastes makes more sense to me.

Associated Deities

Jeff has some information on associated cults, and how much cross-pollination there is with priests and initiates of one cult participating in rituals of another:

For example. Ernalda’s husband deity participates in many of her mysteries – Orlanth in Sartar, Yelm in parts of Saird, etc. The Orlanth initiates gain access to some of Ernalda’s magic (but using Orlanth’s Rune points) and Ernalda gets their sacrifices and magic points.

I think we can see this in the White Bull campaign where a lot of the adventurers are at least lay members of several other cults, participating in their worship and getting Rune Points back by association. This shouldn’t be underestimated in a RuneQuest campaign, and only Humakt gets the short end of the stick, having no associated cults. Everybody else in the general Lightbringer pantheon has several associations. This is why Orlanth and Ernalda are so much more powerful as a cult choice.

Lunar Nobility

Jeff notes that there are many powerful families (or clans) surrounding the Red Emperor, all of which have some sort of kinship (distant or direct) to him. I’d love to play with this kind of court intrigue and imperial spycraft personally… Anyway, when you build Lunar patrons or villains for your campaign, make note of this:

Those “born in the red” are of course superior to those born while the mask was a mere mortal, although I have heard convincing speculation that only daughters are ever born in the red (Hwarin Dalthippa, Hon-eel, Jar-eel, etc.) but that might just be the murkiness of imperial genealogy. That being said, I am unaware of any confirmed son of Moonson.

The Silver Shadow Satrapy is filled with these imperial kin, but most Dara Happan nobles now claim at least some kinship with Moonson. Being descended from Moonson means that you are but a few generations from divinity and can claim descent from both the Red Goddess and Yelm!

Some of the most powerful clans are presented in the Guide. They include the satrapal clans like the Eel-arish and the Taran-il, think of these like daimyo clans in Imperial Japan. They are related, but conspire against each other, raise private armies, and fight with each other through assassination and secret wars. They are focused on the real prize, of course, and that is control of the Red Emperor and domination of the Lunar Empire itself.

“Satrapal clans” are family-run divisions of the Lunar Heartleands (as opposed to the Lunar Provinces).

The Daimyo were the classic feudal lords you see in the most popular stories set in Medieval Japan. They were subordinate to the Shoguns, and then to the Emperor (I’m not sure who the Shogun-equivalents would be in the Lunar Empire). If you’ve seen or heard any story set in, say, the Edo period, with samurai and ronins and all that cool stuff, think of the often complicated politics between regional lords always bickering and plotting among each other… like I said, I’d love to play in there!

Chaotic Features in the Lunar Empire

While we’re dealing with the Lunar Empire, how about a side-order of Chaos?

The Red Book of Magic had already hinted that the Red Goddess cult has access to the Chaos Gift spell, which grants someone with a Chaos Feature (temporarily) and a Chaos Rune affinity (permanently). Jeff also shared that this spell is granted (through cult associations, I assume) to senior priestesses of the Seven Mothers, and to several individual cults of these deities.

So let’s assume somewhere less than 1% of the Lunar population is tainted by Chaos, but that percentage is primarily in the ruling class or its henchmen.

Remember that a Chaos feature is much more than just a cool power – it is something that warps and mutates the recipient. Often it results in mutated horrors, but even when beneficial the results can be inhuman. People with features too smooth, uncanny valleys, exaggerated or grotesque body parts, and so on. But also those gifted have the sensation of wielding blasphemous power ripped out of the cosmos.

Now 99% of the population have never experienced Chaos Gift, but that less than 1% are tainted by the experience. Many are Illuminated, but many are not. Needless to say this likely has some cultural effect.

My own take on this “cultural effect” is that, depending on the place, the ruling class people would be seen either as perfect superior humans, alien creatures, horrible monsters to be feared, and so on. This would foster a different views and opinions on the difference between the leaders of the Empire, and the ideals of the Empire. There’s some interesting stuff to explore there.

Trading in Genertela

Genertela was not having a great time between the Closing of the Oceans (in the mid-900s) and the end of the Dragonkill War (in the mid 1100s).

[…] trade (and thus urban civilization) was minimal. Ralios and the Holy Country had contact through the Manirian Road – a series of caravans that went from Esrolia to Safelster and Tanisor.

Peloria was cut off from the south and Ralios, and had only the long river route down the Janube to Sog City. This route was controlled by the Carmanian Empire, but its long distance made it very expensive and slow.

It’s the founding of the Kingdom of Sartar (in 1492) that brought high-volume trade between the other main parts of the continent, especially as they build many roads and inns.

The Holy Country and Sartar grew wealthy hand in hand, and trade and cultural connections grew even stronger.

When the Opening took place in the 1580s, this became supercharged. Trade with the whole world became possible through the Holy Country, and spices, herbs, silks, and other exotic luxuries came across Dragon Pass into the Lunar Empire. The Lunar nobility greedily bought whatever luxuries they could, and coveted the great riches they brought the rulers of Sartar and the Holy Country.

In a follow-up post, Jeff expanded on the topic of trading, using silk as an example:

Silk is something found among the elites in the Heartland, in Lunar Tarsh, in Boldhome, and is quite common in Nochet, Rhigos, and Karse. Assuming the Lunar Empire has roughly the same level of elite access to silk as the later Roman Empire, it needs about 5 or 6 tons of silk per year.

Jeff then goes with some quick math. Let’s assume that Kralorela exports 10 tons of silk per year by ship through the Holy Country, and 6 tons of silk per year to the Kingdrom of Ignorance “to keep them quiet” (the Kingdrom of Ignorance used to be a great troll kingdom, and is now a decadent land ruled by “malignant humans who worship gods which would be best forgotten“).

The Holy Country keeps half the silk going through their ports, and the rest travels from Karse on northbound caravans. The Sartarite elite takes 1 ton of it as it passes through their lands, which is “enough silk for 800 silk tunics or 1600 silk dresses“. The Kingdom of Ignorance passes 2 tons of silk onto the Red-Haired Caravan (which I assume is a collective of merchants from the Red Hair Tribe of Pent) which also brings it to Peloria.

So that’s how the Lunar Empire gets their 6 tons of silk per year to keep the elite exquisitely clothed.

In theory, you could put that all in one big silk caravan, but of course it isn’t. Each caravan might have one mule with silk – but that still is enough for about 60 silk tunics, which is going to be a good return!

As an aside, if you’re wondering about spidersilk:

I suspect there is far more spidersilk produced in Dagori Inkarth (held to be superior for making of ropes and threads than the silkworm silk of Kralorela and Teshnos) than from [the Kingdom of] Ignorance. But it is also produced in much smaller amounts, coming only from the Aranea Cult.

Spidersilk is therefore more expensive, and first used by trolls for more practical things than fancy pajamas. If you like danger, you could try to start a new trade route starting from the Spiderwoods of Dorastor…

Anyway, now expand this trade volume to the “900 tons of goods that gets sent each year up from the Holy Country to Furthest“. Jeff does exactly that but his math didn’t seem to line up — I’m pretty sure it was just a typo in the first number, but I also figured it would be fun to do it myself! I’m also approaching it from a different methodology here.

A mule can apparently carry about 90kgs on average. That’s about 10000 mules a year passing through Sartar from the Holy Country to Peloria. Jeff splits them among 25 huge, large, and medium caravans. I’m going to tweak his numbers and say that a “huge” caravan is 1000 mules, a large one is 500 mules, and a medium one is 100 mules. This gives a split that’s very close to Jeff’s, with 4, 10, and 10 respectively of these caravans, for a total of 24 caravans moving northward along the King’s Roads.

If you consider a fixed point along those roads like, say, Jonstown, that’s one caravan passing through every two weeks. Jeff’s math comes up at one caravan passing through every two days, though… which would be possible in my model but with smaller caravans. But I figure that large caravans might stop at cities like Jonstown for a few days anyway. And if you add a similar trade volume coming the other way (from Peloria to the Holy Country), plus a smaller volume from Prax, we would indeed reach Jeff’s conclusion of one caravan every couple days.

These caravans are the life blood of the Kingdom of Sartar, and so keep that in mind when you think about the economics of the kingdom.

This is part of that big explosion in trade following the Opening – which interestingly is about the time the Red Emperor takes a personal interest in Dragon Pass.

Dawn Age Wenelia

How about some notes on Wenelia and the Pralori Elk People, which I frankly didn’t know much about until now?

First, let’s check out the Wenelia map from the Argan Argar Atlas:

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Wenelia is located between Maniria and the Holy Country, on the southern coast of Genertela. See these Wenelian Isles? There used to be a peninsula there, along with some bigger islands, before Slontos was sunk as part of the general cosmic backlash against the God Learners (which also sunk Jrustela and Seshnela, and Closed the Oceans). There’s a map of what it looked like in the Guide, but Jeff also shared his own historical map:

Map courtesy of Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

So anyway the Pralori Elk People used to live here in Wenelia at the Dawn. These are Hsunchen people, so when we say they’re “elk people” we really mean it: they shapeshift into elks. They also tend to be more primitive than the cultures of Dragon Pass.

The traditional foes lived to the south and were called the Entruli. These were a branch of the Mraloti, or boar-folk, who had survived the Darkness in relative strength and delivered their civilization to their cousins after the sun rose. Thus, the Entruli ruled all of the peoples to the south.

So these people are fighting all the time like it’s still the Great Darkness, until:

In the year 97, the Entruli did what the Pralori could never do. Their ruler broke an ancient taboo which angered the gods. A great flood came rushing upon the land, drowning everything in its way and destroying the land. Only the capital, Porluftha, escaped because a Kolat clung madly to the buildings and held firm as the water washed over him. The city and its ancient inhabitants were preserved in a great air bubble undersea, lost to the outside world, undiscovered for many years.

I haven’t seen any references to this before, including a town called Porluftha, but according to the Guide the Mournful Sea (or Mournsea in the first modern map) used to be called Porluftan Sea! I guess we know where this underwater city roughly is…

Going back to the story, the Entruli and Pralori were still plundering each other, this time with the Pralori having the upper hand, but the Entruli got a break:

[…] there came a leader who was related to the old Entruli dynasty. He and his tribe came from the Shadowlands, where the Only Old One ruled over a nation of trolls and subject populations. A time had come when the Only Old One offered many of his subjects their freedom if they left his lands, or else commanded them to accept his rule.

This leader was Lalmor, of the Vathmai tribe. With the help of Aram Ya-Udram (whose descendants the Aramites, fun fact, became the hated Tusk Riders), he:

[…] united the Entruli, helped them rebuild their strongholds, and led them to a great victory in driving off the Pralori. He arrived in 115, was finished with his victories by 122, and died in 138.

King Lalmor’s arrival was more than simply a unification of the Entruli peoples. He brought a new religion with him, and he was also aided by many inhuman peoples. Lalmor came from Dragon Pass, where the Unity Council had been formed and where they worshiped the world-saving Lightbringers. Lalmor brought worship of Orlanth and his pantheon. With these new cults he was clearly ascendant.

So this is really the detailed story behind the Guide’s shorter account: “The people of Slontos were liberated from Pralori oppression in 115 by Lalmor of the Vathmai, a Theyalan tribe“. Shows you how much room you have to spin

After that the Theyelan missionaries spread from Entruli lands to meet the Pralori, who apparently received them well:

The Pralori recognized the superiority of the new gods over their own animistic spirits. It did not unify the tribe, nor did it split it.

The Lightbringers faith did not ensure the unity of the Entruli. After the death of Lalmor in 138 the Entruli heirs divided his lands into several kingdoms. Some were coastal and thrived upon the increasing sea-trade borne by the ship-living Waertagi race which ruled the surface waters. Some were buffer states between the coastal cities and the inland barbarians. Others were barbarian kingdoms living in woods and plains.

My mind immediately tries to find the connection between the aforementioned sunken city and the Waertagi. Is there already some material I have missed?

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.

RPG Imaginings Reviews the Starter Set

What it says on the tin: the RPG Imaginings channel, which fans of Call of Cthulhu would know very well, does a review of the RuneQuest Starter Set.

Andrew Logan Montgomery Interviews Claudia Loroff

The author of the aforementioned Six Seasons in Sartar has a nice treat for us on his blog: an interview with Claudia Loroff, who worked among other things on rewording and revamping the female-oriented cults in RuneQuest Glorantha. She’s also Jeff’s wife, by the way, and you can see her playing a Ty Kora Tek initiate in the White Bull Campaign stream.

The interview is mostly focused on the role of Ernalda, her cult, and her initiates, both in Glorantha itself and in gaming.

To make a long story short – your Ernaldan in your adventurer’s group is usually the key to get people to trust you and get their support. She can be very convincing, and her parties are legendary. 

At the same time, we had to make sure that she can be a real threat in a battle. An Earth Elemental is not funny and commanding swine can make the life of Tusk Riders very difficult. 

The whole interview is very interesting, including the origin of the pre-generated character Yanioth, how to deal with sex, pregnancy, and sacrifices in your campaign, and more!

Greg Stafford’s White Dwarf Interview

Do you read the GROGNARDIA blog yet? No? You should! It’s great!

James Maliszewski recently published an article about White Dwarf #17 (1980) which features a very interesting interview of Greg Stafford. There’s a lot of interesting stuff, such as what Greg had in mind when he created the main figures of the Hero Wars, how to pronounce White Bear & Red Moon’s acronym WB&RM, or what is the appeal of RPGs. Go check it out!

DiceBreaker’s Great RPGs That Aren’t D&D

DiceBreaker released a follow-up video to their original “10 Great RPGs That Aren’t D&D” (which featured surprisingly varied and opinionated choices… which is good!), with “6 More Great RPGs That Aren’t D&D“. Of course, since it’s here in this newsletter, you can bet they talk about some Glorantha game… RuneQuest, in this case.

[…] the game continues to stand-up as a singular in fantasy roleplaying, a mix of visionary world-building and ambitious gameplay that offers something very different to the likes of Dungeons & Dragons. A powerful meeting of realism and fantasy, it’s a tabletop RPG that has remained a cult classic for decades. It may not be as well known as Dungeons & Dragons, but it deserves to be discovered by more players.

Refereeing and Reflection, Reflecting on the Starter Set

The RPG blog Refereeing and Reflection did a pretty nice review of the RuneQuest Starter Set which delved into some “comparative reviewing” that I hadn’t seen yet so far. Mainly: the reviews delves into the similarities and differences between the RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Sets (they’re all great, get them all!). For instance:

Another important distinction is that whereas the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set included a compact character generation process, there are no character generation rules here. RuneQuest has always had a somewhat crunchier system than Call of Cthulhu and other Basic Roleplaying-derived games (after all, Basic Roleplaying was originally derived by taking RuneQuest and then pruning it back to the core), and the current edition is no exception – between their cultural backgrounds, Runic affiliations, passions, cult memberships, magic, and so on, your typical RuneQuest character simply has far more in the way of game mechanical moving parts than a Call of Cthulhu PC.

Read the full review here.

Six Ages Makes RPS’s Top 100 PC Games

© 2021 A-Sharp

Video games review website Rock Paper Shotgun has an annual Top 100 of their favourite PC games, and Six Ages made it on this year’s list at 77:

In 1999 we were visited on this earth by a fantasy tribal management game called King Of Dragon Pass. It was a blessed time. But those days are gone, and now… wait, what glimmering is that from the woods? Ah, it is Six Ages, the spiritual successor to that ancient game of decision-making and clan-gathering.

Art by Zoja Barylko

Jonstown Compendium authors take notice: you can get commissions from Zoja Barylko, who has a pretty original take on Glorantha! Top-left is a Maran Gor initiate, top-right are hippo-looking trolls, and bottom is a trollkin shop-keeper.

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.

Ancient Warfare Expert on Movie Battles

The Insider channel brought ancient-warfare Roel Konijnendijk to comment on a whole bunch of battle scenes from movies ranging from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages and through a few real-world-influenced fantasy things like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. He provides a few very interesting nuggets of information, such as “how can ancient warriors tell who they’re supposed to stab?” over the course of both videos.

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.

Today’s Runic Rants column isn’t about RuneQuest rules, but about general gaming in Glorantha.

There’s a lot of straightforward advice out there for introducing new players to Glorantha (start small, keep it simple, and so on), but these are often geared towards these players being handled by a gamemaster who is already familiar with Glorantha. I didn’t find so much advice for when the gamemasters themselves are new to the setting… so what’s a Glorantha newbie gamemaster to do?

Well, my advice begins in a pretty similar way: start small, keep it simple, and so on. Between the fabulous Quickstart adventure, the excellent Gamemaster Screen Adventures book, and the great new Starter Set, you should have everything you need.

But Glorantha is a big and complicated setting, and as a gamemaster you’re bound to make “mistakes”, or get stuck with something you don’t know. Here’s some advice on that, from my short past couple years of RuneQuest.

When You Don’t Know

Ignore It or Postpone It

The first question to ask yourself is whether you need to know something. A player asks whether Sartarites wear brightly coloured clothes or earthy tones in order to know if they would stand out in the forest? It’s not too relevant because “not standing out in the forest” will be determined by a Hide or Scan roll anyway. You can describe the clothes any way you want, or not describe them at all, without impacting the game…1

If you want, make a note about it and research the topic in the following days. You can then bring it up at the start of the next session, possibly during the recap phase, and now everybody’s on the same page.

Make It Up and Move On

Most often you need to know something right now, because a player is asking a genuine question and your answer will inform their next steps.

The easiest kind of question in this category is the one for which you can make shit up without too many repercussions. The players might want to know if there’s an elf living in Clearwine, because they need some Aldryami translator. Sure! His name is… errr… (here you can fake looking through your notes) Nulye Ferncloak! He lives in the Lower City but often takes a walk through the vineyards, where he acts as a kind of consultant with the Earth Temple. Or something. Note that the most important question to ask yourself here isn’t whether it’s “correct” or not that there is an elf in Clearwine, but whether it’s best for the pacing of the adventure to have this Aldryami translator easily found nearby, or if it’s best to have a side-quest going to, say, Tarndisi’s Grove. And in the very unlikely event that some later published material makes a big deal that there isn’t any elf in Clearwine (so much so that your version of Clearwine having one is a problem), then maybe Nulye Ferncloak has moved away, or he’s very discrete, or something. I’m sure you can figure something out!

Another type of question is the one with multiple possible answers. For instance, the players might want to know if Orlanthi farmers are initiated into Orlanth Thunderous (with access to its magic), or into various cults (with access to various spells), or are simple uninitiated lay members. This is because they’re considering recruiting a few of those farmers to defend their lands against a possible Tusk Rider raid, and they need to know what kind of “firepower” that would represent… Well, just pick something among the few possible answers! Let’s say that, yes, farmers are typically initiates of Orlanth Thunderous. Great, now if the players can convince the farmers, they will have a number of Air Elementals and Thunderbolts to back them up. If you run your combats in a very simulated way, you’ll know the kind of magic that will be thrown around. And if you run your combats in a more narrative way (especially for the NPCs), this will let you describe the scene appropriately, compared to a version where the farmers are mostly brandishing axes and pitchforks.

There are many questions who similarly have only a few possible answers: is our clan riding horses or bisons or zebras or what? Which cult are the chieftain’s bodyguards part of? Do inns have only big common rooms, or individual rooms too? Do shamans only ever live in isolated huts in the wilderness, or do they also live in the city? Just pick whatever answer seems right, given your historical influences, your favourite movies and TV shows, the pacing of the adventure, whether it’s near the end of the game session, and so on.

But what happens if you picked “the wrong answer”? We’ll look at that shortly.

Last, there is the trickier case of the fairly open-ended questions. For example, your players are going to Caladraland in the Holy Country, and you have to expand the write-up of Solung from the one paragraph found in the Guide to Glorantha into a playable adventure site. If an official Caladraland book ever gets published, there is a very high chance that the city of Solung ends up quite different from whatever you invented. But that’s fine! You went there because you wanted to make your own stuff, right?

When You Were “Wrong”

Ok, you have answered many player questions and played through many exciting scenes, but as you read some random Chaosium book you realize you “messed up” and gave incorrect information. What are you going to do?

Acknowledge It, Correct It

The first option is to simply acknowledge the error and see if there’s anything you can do to correct it.

In one of my campaigns, a player asked if they could learn to read and write, and I incorrectly told them that literacy was a cult secret of Lhankor Mhy. Later I realized it wasn’t the case, and that Lhankor Mhy just asks for a lot of money to teach people to read and write. I corrected the information during the following game session, and talked to the player about it. We figured it wasn’t too important since he didn’t have enough money yet anyway. If he had, we might have retroactively added the Read/Write skill to his character sheet. This might have been a slight problem if it could have played a role in the last adventure, but in this case we could have hand-waved it by saying he might have missed the roll anyway.

It’s Local Variation

The second option is to say that whatever the players encountered in the past few sessions is still valid, but is actually uncommon.

For instance, maybe you decided that farmers are typically lay members of Barntar, but you realize they should typically be initiates of Orlanth Thunderous. Or vice versa (who knows, really?) Well, either way, you can say that whatever farmers the players encountered were of one type, but elsewhere it’s different! And in fact, it makes a lot more sense to me to have different traditions in different clans and regions, rather than a uniform world-building.

In the case of Lhankor Mhy temples offering literacy courses, it could also have been a local variation: maybe most temples do indeed let lay members pay for skill training, but somehow the PCs’ local temple is run by elitist assholes who refuse teach the general population. You can transform a simple mistake into a roleplaying and adventuring opportunity! Maybe the PC will now want to become a sage in order to reform this temple!

The “local variation” solution works for many things, too: geographical features, traditions, temples and cults, monsters, animals and plants, magic spells, and so on. When in doubt, just say it was different back there.

NPCs Are People Too

People make mistakes or have different priorities. Weird situations come up.

So maybe these farmers weren’t Orlanth initiates because they failed the requirements… don’t ask, it’s a sensitive subject. Maybe the clan chieftain shouldn’t have given you half the loot, but he was feeling rather generous that day, or underestimated the value of the stuff you took. The next time he sends you on a mission, you’ll definitely get less. Maybe that Lhankor Mhy sage refused to teach your reading and writing because he wanted to take a nap that day, or because there’s a book thief that looks exactly like you. Stranger things have happened!

It’s a Different Glorantha

Sometimes, you’re not really making a “mistake”, you’re just improving the setting!

For instance, maybe your players encounter a Bearwalker (Rune Lord of Odayla) who shapeshifts into a bear several days in a row. Later you realize that they’re only able to do that on a Wildday. You could use the “local variation” option, saying that this Rune Lord knows a special version of the Transform Self spell (meaning that he can maybe teach it to one of the PCs!), but you decide to ignore the rules instead: the spell works any day in your Glorantha. In my book, that’s an improvement! It makes Odayla cultists suck less, and it greatly simplifies having one in the party… who wants to bother tracking the day of week throughout a whole campaign?

Well, as often the case, this ran a lot longer than I thought! But hopefully this advice will appease some of the concerns new gamemasters have about running games in Glorantha. Do you have other concerns? Do you have other advice? Please share!

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

1 And if your players are the kind to ask for a Hide bonus because they’re wearing dark green clothes, you have other problems! Ask them whether it may actually be the other way around: that a higher Hide skill maybe means the characters has more inconspicuous clothing?

This topic was actually suggested to us by our guests Jon Webb and Neil Gibson.

Jon Webb is the initiator and an author of the four volumes of the Sandheart series, following the challenges of the militia of a remote Sun County hamlet. Also featured on the Chaosium Blog.

Neil Gibson returns after gracing us in our first God Learner Podcast episode, with ducks in the pipeline.


Starter Set out in the Wild

We talk about the solo-quest and the scenarios. Jon needs to maintain his innocence for a while until his GM has presented those scenarios, while Neil has already spoilered himself.

Neil talks about working on a solo-quest.

Jörg points out that the solo-quest is available online on the Chaosium website.

Equipment Guide

We discuss the fantastic cover of the upcoming Equipment Guide.

Ludo talks about a rather reserved reaction to receiving an equipment book.

Chaosium Convention

April 2022 in Ann Arbor: ticket sales have started on Chaosium’s website, and other than Ludo none of the panelists are planning to attend due to distance and distancing.

We speculate on Chaosium Conventions elsewhere, and Neil reports that 2022 is not going to have an Australian one due to the pandemic.

Main Topic – Gamesmastering in Glorantha

Jon confesses that listening to episode 1 and talking about different styles of play gave him the idea for this episode.

Types of Campaigns

Ludo addresses the amount of crunch GMing RuneQuest brings compared to other games, and how that can become tricky at times.

Neil talks about his current campaign using the Sandheart books, how entire sessions can go on without combat as he uses the scenarios in the series and encounters or player-driven activities in between, and a mix of scenarios – both dungeon-bashing and bouts of negotiation and diplomacy.

Jon (unsurprisingly) has similar experiences, and mentions how Call of Cthulhu altered his GMing style, and how that may have changed his gaming group as well. He also talks about giving his players complete freedom as both he and his group dislike railroads, and how deadly combat will be (both in Cthulhu and RQG).

Ludo addresses lessons from horror and investigation rpgs, finding solutions to problems like pacing and mood and how to have the story progress.

Jörg has a railroad through the stories in his sandbox, with the players ignoring the rails, and how his games are character-driven both in the sense of character background and in the players’ ambitions for their characters. And how that can make pre-written scenarios harder to use.

Neil observes that the White Bull campaign run by Jeff Richard appears to be very Argrath-driven (as the titular NPC patron).

Ludo goes off-script discussing how the meta-plot can ground the characters into the world.

Neil expounds how being followers of Vega Goldbreath, in opposition to Count Belvani,

Making big changes to the timeline.

Subsystems in RuneQuest

Ability rolls, simple skill rolls, opposed rolls, chained rolls

Jon shies away from repeated rolls on the same skill, e.g. Track.

Neil tells an anecdote about rolling to disembark, and how a fumble doing that carried over into the combat.

Ludo plugs one of his Runic Rants articles on opposed rolls, ties, etc. and how a tied roll will change the playing field to different skills.

Jörg breaks a lance for repeated rolls analogous to combat. Ludo mentions extended contests and how a ticking clock will be a diminishing resource.

GM-Screen Usage

Neil talks about how playing online replaces the GM screen. There are rolls that the GM does rather than the players.

Jon values the brutal honesty of the rolls, even if it leads to total party kills.

Ludo talks about dice-driven games, and when he overrides the dice for the sake of a good epic story. RuneQuest with its Old School vibes can go either way.

Jörg talks about player-initiated combats vs. scripted combats, and how the scripted ones may be a lot less deadly or a bit harder as there may be ways to reinforce the story – to a certain degree. Also, turning a hopeless situation into a “barely survived as prisoners” situation (as in many a James Bond movie).

Another option is invoking heroquest conditions at a point, where the more magical environment may offer new options, and how the change in environment makes the appearance of a deity less of an ex machina. New complications may bring new options to resolve a situation.

Players rolling GM rolls – shifting the blame to the players

Leaving the gritty details like the hit location after a successful opponent’s hit to the player with the affected character.

Split parties open up the players whose characters aren’t involved in a conflict to roll the other players’ opposition. Also, in big combats, players would take over other players’ characters’ opponents and roll against them.

Ludo talks about opportunities to flip dice rolled behind the screen before revealing.

Phantom rolls, or how to stoke player paranoia with leading questions.

Rules Discipline

Diligent book-keeping and adherence. But YGGPMV – your Gloranthan game-play may vary. And game fun rules.

Not all opponents need to be at full health at the start of a combat, either.

Neil asks for name generation on the fly. Ludo comes prepared there, with lists of names, and possibly lists of personalities and motivations, too.

“Bor-ees Jan’s Son.”

Neil and Ludo use spread-sheets of all the NPCs, color-coded for attitude etc.

NPC passions, or NPC morale.

Jon advodates two modes of play – non-combat free-flowing or round-based, where only combat-related information is used. He also avoids rolling for interactions between NPCs, narrating those.

Neil laments the occasional loss of finely crafted monsters to dice luck, and we discuss ways around it, as in “monsters have mothers too”, or “it’s the same monster but with a moustache”. (Which may apply to the monster’s mother…)

When to roll, when not to roll

“If you win, the NPCs win, if you lose, they lose.”

Distributing rules mastery to the players.

Limiting players’ time for questions.

Statement of Intent. Changing intent (resulting in delays, or at lowered chances of success).

Battle Map vs. Theater of the Mind

Preparing maps for Roll 20 and similar, or for tabletop combat.

Clutter in the scene.

Different scales on battle maps.

Strike Ranks in the game as a hindrance? Strike rank tracker (as in the Starter Set).

Paired-off combatants when all player characters are engaged vs strict sequence of strike ranks.

Speeding up combat

Rolling all dice at once.

NPC actions and motivations.

Not having to look up rules details (like spells, criticals) in the middle of combat.

Disengaging from combat

Conflicts with plenty extras

Party Death, Party Size

Divine Intervention reducing character deaths.

Occasional rune levels and their influence on the game,

Reaching rune level, frequency of experience checks.

POW or CHA 18 as hard goal on the way to rune level.

Lack of ambition enjoying the human side vs, career-oriented character concepts.

Skills lacking skill check boxes

How strictly do you play “next season” between adventures to resolve experience checks?

Gloranthan holidays as reasons to refuse the call to adventure, votive figures.

Reusable rune magic for all as slightly reduced motivation to make it to rune level.

Regaining rune points from associated worship.

Sanctifying for rune points from your own ceremonies.

Tips for managing danger or threat levels.

Occasionally getting the match wrong after 30 years of GMing.

One trollkin with a critical head-shot will topple any balance.

Playing monsters sharper or dumber.

Overplaying your monsters.

The whack-a-mole monster where a monster offers few occasions to hit it.

Monsters beyond accidental kills by lucky rolls.

No clever last words…

Where to find our guests

The Sandheart books:
Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume One
The Corn Dolls & Fortunate Sun: Sandheart Volume Two
Tradition: Sandheart Volume Three
The God Skin & Mad Prax: Sandheart Volume Four

Neil calls for volunteers for his work-in-progress, a duck soloquest. Contact Neil on the RuneQuest & Glorantha Discord server (@BOLG), on other discords like the Chaosium Discord, or failing all those via our email collective@godlearners.com. You might know Neil’s work from episode 1, like LEGION.


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

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

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Ossi Hiekkala on the Weapons & Equipment Guide Cover

Art by Ossi Hiekkala © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Cover artist Ossi Hiekkala blogged about his work on the upcoming Weapons & Equipment guide, which is absolutely wonderful.

Instead of the obvious choice of showing gear porn, I painted the group of pre-gen characters camping and enjoying each other’s company after their previous encounters and before the eventual hard adventuring the next day, a scene that must be very common for any RPG group, but not often portrayed in the cover art. I am delighted Chaosium was happy to go with this kind of unorthodox cover image.

Joerg was telling me recently that the German RuneQuest community was analyzing this cover and linking it to the action scene depicted on the cover of the Starter Set… for instance, is the damage on Harmast’s armor related to how his fight against the Krarshtkid went? The answer lies with Jason Durall!

The Starter Set is already out (although I’m still waiting for it to arrive…), and the Weapons & Equipment guide is coming out in PDF on December 10th.

Chaosium Hosting New RuneQuest Player Stream

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

On November 30th, Chaosium’s Twitch channel will host a RuneQuest game with a diverse cast of new players. James Coquillat (of Chaosium’s YouTube channel fame) will play along, and Brian Holland (Chaosium’s Marketing Director) will act as Gamemaster.

I assume they will play one of the Starter Set adventures, but who knows? I’m pretty excited to watch this!

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’s Burning Engines

© 2021 Akhelas & Chaosium Inc.

It’s the end of the month so that means a new Monster of the Month! The penultimate one, actually, and it gives information about Burning Engines, some dwarven machines meant to protect their catacombs. As always, you get more than just a few monsters since this one includes adventure seeds and other cool stuff like sorcery spells to control one of those things! I’m pretty sure having a big robot as a pet would make you famous.

Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass Now in Print-on-Demand

Art by Mark Smylie © 2021 Martin Helsdon & Chaosium Inc.

Martin Helsdon’s monster book has been made available in print thanks to the no-doubt herculean layout efforts of Nick Brooke. Martin received the Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom in part for his work detailing all the warriors, soldiers, and mercenaries of Dragon Pass and its surroundings. If your players are getting involved in the Hero Wars, this is a must have source.

Note that the print version is in black & white. The PDF remains in colour, but I don’t think we’re missing much, since the colour parts were either illustrations taken from the Guide to Glorantha and other existing sources, or colored tables and text boxes. All of Martin’s core work, featuring illustrations of almost every possible fighter type, was always in black & white.

Sandheart Volume 4 Now in Print-on-Demand

© 2021 Jon Webb & Chaosium Inc.

The fourth volume of the excellent Sandheart series is now also available in print-on-demand!

Thanksgiving Sales!

There are many Jonstown Compendium books on sale for the holidays! Including the books from the “Nick Brooke Cinematic Lunar Empire” (A Rough Guide to Glamour, Life of Monsoon Book 1 and Book 2, Citizens of the Lunar Empire), the Andrew Logan Montgomery campaigns (Six Seasons in Sartar and Company of the Dragon), the Sandheart books (Volume One is here but check out the other ones too!), the Beer With Teeth collection (such as the Dregs and Cups of Clearwine), Martin Helsdon’s aforementioned big-ass Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass, and more!

Jeff’s Notes

Jeff Richard, the current mastermind on everything Gloranthan at Chaosium, is often posting notes and thoughts on the RuneQuest Facebook group. Here’s our curated list from the past week. A partial archive of these sources is compiled on the Well of Daliath.

About Aeolians

On BRP Central, Jeff shared a lot of information about the Aeolians. First, some background: Heortland is the area of the Holy Country that is South-East from Sartar, and from where (roughly) many of the Sartarite tribes originally came from (e.g. see the Colymar tribe’s history in the Gamemaster Screen Pack Adventures).

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

While most of Heortland is historically inhabited by Orlanthi people, the Southern part of the area is where the Esvularing people live, from Leskos to Mount Passant and all around the Bandori Valley where Refuge is located (see map above).

The Esvularing were atheists long ago (like the people from God Forgot, further South), but now they follow a henotheist variation of Malkionism which is called Aeolism. Basically, they worship the Invisible God as the Supreme Creator (like the Malkioni), but acknowledge the Orlanthi pantheon as “emanations” of this Supreme Creator. So they participate in Orlanthi rituals as well. When you’re not sure who’s correct, you might as well do both, right?

Jeff suggests looking at the Druze or Mandaeans as source of inspiration for Aeolians. From the very little I can tell about them, the Druze are monotheists who built their faith from a variety of other Abrahamic religions, and are mostly located in the Levant. The Mandaeans are originally from the Mesopotamian region but have now spread among several western countries. They feel closer to how I picture Invisible God-worshipping people in Glorantha: they are Gnostics who believe in a supreme formless “Entity”, along with various derived deities and spirits, all of which are part of cult secrets.

Map courtesy of Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

However, Jeff also warns to not “overplay the influence of the Aeolians”, especially since Heortland is quite big. The Orshanti might have a lot more importance, since this is where important figures like Sartar and Colymar hailed from originally:

Presumably the Orshanti remained an influential kinship group in Heortland, linked by blood, trade, and religion to the House of Sartar.

The geographical, cultural, and familial proximity can’t be understated:

[…] Volsaxar and Vandarland are going to have lots of ties and influences to Sartar. Marriages, shared cult, language, and culture, and trade are going to mean that the people of northern Heortland are virtually indistinguishable from Sartarites.

And yet, Belintar is the beloved God-King here because he brings the God Realm into proximity of the mundane world. Heortland is part of the Holy Country, while Sartar is carved out of the wilderness.

Meanwhile at the southern tip of Heortland, we have the Aeolians of Esvular, who are clearly influenced by both the Orlanthi and the Malkioni of God Forgot.

Awesomely enough, Jeff also shared some historical maps of the region to illustrate this point:

It shows the exodus of the original Sartarite tribes (Colymar, Balmyr, and so on) in the early 14th century, the rise of Belintar as God-King, the founding of the Royal House of Sartar, along with other population movements and important events. I believe that the last map shows the Lunar invasions and retreats around the Holy Country. Of note, and according to the Guide, the Bandori tribe was not put under Lunar occupation like the rest of Heortland. Instead, it sounds like they had a “tenuous independence from the Empire”, which I suppose was negotiated by the sorcerer rulers of Refuge.

Meanwhile in central Heortland many customs such as a mounted elite warriors that are selected from aristocratic families and their status approved in assemblies, are clearly influenced by the Malkioni, while at the same time the culture is very similarly to the Sartarites. These mounted elite warriors supported Rikard the Tiger-Hearted’s short lived kingdom (1618-1620) and now many serve as mercenaries. 

As for picturing the cities of Heortland, and Mount Passant in particular, Jeff suggests looking at Pergamon and Priene (respectively by Anasynthesis and Rocío Espín Piñar):

3D reconstruction by Anasynthesis
Art by Rocío Espín Piñar

Broos Are People Too

A thread on BRP Central asked whether Broos are considered people or not… You can bet that such a poorly phrased question immediately caught fire and devolved into the kind of nasty dispute better reserved for Thanksgiving family dinners, but hey, guess what? American Thanksgiving is today! (at the time of me writing this of course… oh and by the way, unsurprisingly enough, the thread was locked after several pages demonstrating the downsides of Gloranthan fandom)

Anyway, why do I bring this up? It’s because Jeff dropped by the thread in its early hours (yes, I was surprised about this too) to provide a few nuggets of wisdom. As always, any answer to any question depends on who you ask in Glorantha, and as always, the Lunars are the most open-minded:

“Personhood” is a complex philosophical question with all sorts of legal and political ramifications. The only group I can think of that might appreciate the question and its implications are the Lunars – for them, all self-aware beings are “persons” and are capable of embracing the Lunar Way. That includes broo, ogres, and even things like vampires or self-aware jolanti.

The Lunars have had some success with it:

Now some Illuminated Lunars believe that if broo are taken outside of their awful conditions and taught the Lunar Way (including self-discipline and social skills), they can be useful members of society. The Lunars have been able to constructively negotiate with Ralzakark, and are able to send caravans through Dorastor to Ralios without molestation. But even within the Lunar Empire, most people hate and fear broo, and things like the Seven Troubles from Dorastor are within living memory.

Dorastor is the Chaos-infested region located Southwest of the Lunar Empire. It was Nysalor’s Empire of Light a long time ago until Arkat “cleansed” it and it became a horror-filled nightmare. Yay, good job Arkat! Ralzakark is the Broo ruler of the region.

Jeff adds that other people, and other Elder Races, seem to treat Broos as dangerous monsters. Clever, yes, but monsters nonetheless. They must be killed or protected against or, at best, used as a weapon against enemies:

Most Gloranthans view broo as something like the Xenomorph from Alien – dangerously intelligent, but with no higher goals than self-propagation and infliction of pain on others. That is not actually true but it is true enough.

I figure that most Broos encountered as “roaming monsters” in a game are bound to be “feral Broos”, with not much more to them than a one big guy who tells them where to raid and kill. These would indeed be the “Xenomorph-types”, with their INT mostly allocated to predatory intelligence, and on the lower end of the curve.

Ecologically feral and wild broo are disasters. They impregnate as often as they can (think xenomorphs or parasitoid wasps) in order to propagate their species – domestic animals such as cattle or sheep are easiest, but humans or other beings also work. They have a hardy larval stage that matures rapidly, and few broo spend any resources socialising or educating the larvae (also it is rare for a broo to have any idea who its father is). Broo larvae are normally only permitted what they can take or steal. Surprisingly few die from this mistreatment but that is more due to their hardiness. The overwhelming majority of broo are unsocialised young adult males whose main goal is to survive and create a new generation of broo larvae. They are meat-eaters and are perfectly willing to eat their fellow broo. When there are too many broo in an area, they tend to kill and eat everything they can catch and need to move to a new region for food.

Another type would be “wild Broos”, which are nominally less savage than feral ones… but probably just enough to know how to say “I’ll kill your whole family” in Tradetalk, and have some Rune Magic from worship of Thed or Mallia.

Wild broo have cults and some social traditions (usually imposed by powerful and more long-lived broos), feral broo are little more than their life cycle.

But yet other Broos might be more “civilized”, such as those who are brought up as part of a complex society of Chaos worshippers, or those who form war bands employed by, say, the Lunar Empire. Sure, these Broos would still be nasty creatures who routinely commit atrocities that any Gloranthan society would punish with their worst sentence, but they have INT 2D6+6 and they can be reasoned with — the Lunar Empire and even some Praxian tribes did exactly that.

On a welcome practical gaming note, Jeff mentions that wild Broos would rarely ransom captives (or if they do, it’s a vicious trap!), but these “civilized” Broos are different:

Generally when honorable people fight broo they assume the rules of honourable combat don’t apply. That’s because most broo are feral or wild, and are treated like rabid animals. They give no quarter and ask for none. Nobody blinks an eye.

But sometimes the broo offer to parley. They sometimes offer ransom. They sometimes don’t molest their prisoners. Maybe that’s because they are civilised, or illuminated, or cleansed. Or maybe they are under orders from something they fear greatly. That’s when things get interesting, because the rules of honour require that they be followed. But at the same time, they are broos, and many cults treat them as Enemies. 

And then there are the outliers, such as the “cleansed” Broo of the Zola Fel, who was freed from his Chaotic taint by the water god, or the allegedly Illuminated Wild Healer of the Rockwood Mountains, a Broo initiate of Chalana Arroy who has saved many lives, but is often mistaken for a feral Broo and hunted on sight.

Ultimately, it’s up to each gaming group to find what Broos are good for in their stories. Feral Broos are great for an hour or two of fun monster bashing every now and then, while more civilized Broos can add nuance and internal conflict to heroes whose convictions and world-views are tested against a bigger picture. As Jeff said: “that’s when things get interesting“. And I hope your games are indeed interesting!

Honour and Combat

As part of the aforementioned BRP thread on Broos, Jeff shared an excerpt from the upcoming Cults of Glorantha book on the topic of honour and combat:

Humakt demands that Death be wielded with honor and his cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakti, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth, Polaris, Yanafal Tarnils, Yelm, Yelmalio, and Yelorna. 

Note how the Humakti follow this code “strictly” while the other cults only follow it “generally”. We know that several members of these other war-cults have committed war crimes, such as Harvar Ironfist, a Yelmalion Rune Lord, who killed and pillaged many lands during his bloody coup in 1611 in the Far Point. Arguably he was “helped” by Gagarthi warbands who have no honour, so maybe he blamed most of it on them… but I doubt it. Harvar is a piece of shit.

Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although Humakti often serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.

I’m pretty sure combat is almost always for gain or selfish reasons (vengeance, getting more land, getting the throne, etc), but I’m also pretty sure these people think it’s all honourable in their heads!

The buildup and formation of battle lines is done with the full knowledge of the other side and no surprise attacks are made.

This line got quite a lot of discussion over on the Chaosium Discord, where people took this a bit too literally, going as far as “sharing the composition of military units and attack plans with your enemy is madness! You can’t even flank them?

I think the text here is just talking about the dishonorable aspect of launching a surprise attack on a nation, Pearl Harbor style. In this case, the “buildup and formation of battle lines” refers to the build up to a battle that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. In the buildup to the Battle of Dangerford, for instance, both the Lunar and Sartarite armies camped on either side of the Creek, in view of each other, with the rebels ready for the Lunar phalanx’s attack. However, within that battle, each army of course adopted classic military tactics such as flanking, surprise cavalry reserves, and so on.

As for other types of surprise attacks, e.g. at the skirmish level, I would say that depends. The “never ambush anybody” geas is a common one with the Humakti, so if you don’t have it, you’re probably OK with it. Maybe don’t raise that Honor Passion too high, eh?

In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior. 

A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.

This is all in line with what we see in epics, movies, and even the Starter Set SoloQuest, where protagonists fight a notable enemy while all the unnamed soldiers leave them alone, fighting their own smaller duels in the background.

Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants. No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden. 

This last sentence also got debated a lot in the Chaosium Discord. My own interpretation is that there’s a fine line between pillaging recently conquered lands, and negotiation supply logistics and agreements with recently conquered populations. Alexander’s military successes were often thanks to his ability to do the latter. It doesn’t matter if he was entering these negotiations with a clear position of force and intimidation: at the end of the day, you either burn down people’s farms or you don’t. Also, like I said already, maybe don’t raise that Honor Passion too high?

Failure to follow the rules of honor can trigger a test of a combatant’s Honor Passion or even result in immediate reduction to that Passion (as per RuneQuest, page 234). Failure to act honorably may also result in a visit from the Spirit of Retribution of the offender’s cult. 

Despite all of the above, Glorantha songs and stories are filled with examples of where a hero chose to act less than honorably where some other Passion (Loyalty, Love, Hate, etc.) dictates behavior instead of honor. Such conflicts are at the root of many a tragic hero.

Of note, players and gamemasters can also choose to just go with the dishonourable act without rolling anything, because they want the story to explore the adventurers coming to terms with the consequences… sometimes, the narration trumps the rules.

The rules of honor do not apply to animals, monsters, undead things unless they are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honor. 

The Spread of the Lightbringers Religion

Jeff tells us about the early years of the Lightbringers Religion:

In the First Age, the Lightbringers Religion spread from its homeland in Dragon Pass across much of Genertela. These areas are where the Seven Lightbringers and their associates (Ernalda, Storm Bull, Mastakos, etc.) and friends (Humakt) are best known and recognized.

In Prax, the Lightbringers entered in the first century of the First Age. In the later Second Age, many Praxians fled to the Wastes where Waha, Eiritha, and Storm Bull proved most useful. In most of these areas the Lightbringer deities have more or less the same names, although they often have local titles and variants. Nonetheless, an Orlanth worshiper from Sartar will be able recognize and participate in worship in Ralios or Fronela. Indeed, some of the most important historical developments of these cults occurred outside of the core homeland and were only later embraced in Dragon Pass (e.g. Orlanth Rex).

Map courtesy of Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

As far as I can tell, a lot of the HeroWars material, and many hard-core Gloranthaphiles, will use these “local titles and variants” freely, which can easily confuse newcomers and, well, myself. But I like the idea of occasionally using these variants (most probably by making my own because I probably can’t be bothered to remember the “official” ones) if and when my game ends up far from its homebase of Sartar. It might add a touch of “strangers in a strange land” which might lead to some fun roleplaying.

Anyway, if you wonder what kind of worship these Lightbringers displaced in the Dawn Age, it’s “whatever got the handful of survivors through the Great Darkness“.

Few of those spirits or minor gods provided much that was useful with the Dawn. The Theyalans brought social organisation, communication with outsiders, written records, agriculture and pastoralism, healing, and more. It is no wonder that the religion spread quickly across the Dawn Age landscape.

The Theyalans were nonetheless very good at proselytizing:

The Dawn Lightbringers had people who […] had great experience in recognising shared symbols and communicating that with [the locals]. The Theyalan Missionaries were probably the most skilled and successful missionaries in Gloranthan history (more than even the God Learners or the Lunars).

So when the Theyalans went out, they were looking for common points. Snippets of magical songs, secrets of life and death, magical languages, shared wisdom from the gods, that sort of thing. They’d find the commonalities and help build a shared understanding of the Dawn. Things and ideas fell into place and people embraced the Lightbringers, their associates, and friends – and the Theyalans learned from the experience.

It was thus a shock when the Theyalan missionaries into lowland Peloria were killed by horse riding barbarians who worshiped the Son of the Sun.

And now the most important bits in my opinion:

The Theyalan missionaries are why sixteen centuries after the Dawn, you can call on “Orlanth” by more or less the same name from Junora to the Elder Wilds.

You can imagine how important Issaries was in all of this. And of course Issaries continued his speaking and trade missions across the world with the Middle Sea Empire.

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.

Unboxing the Starter Set in the Nook

Pookie gets some help from a (shadow?) cat and a duck to unbox the Starter Set!

Exploring Glorantha Episode 12

JM and Evan come back to their long-running “Exploring Glorantha” series to offer a walk through the scenarios and campaigns currently available for gaming in Glorantha. They take a look at both official Chaosium material and the best fan-made books on the Jonstown Compendium.

Let’s Look at Some Miniatures

Duff Paint suggests that these minis from Hasslefree Minis could be used as Maran Gor temple eunuchs:

Minis by Hasslefree Minis, painting and photo by Duff Paint

Here are some scorpionmen from Pete Rowans and Richard Helliwell respectively. Pete’s models are 3D-printed.

And last but not least, a Krarshtkid from Paul Baker!

Thank you for reading

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

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

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.

Initiation Series Episode 1: Ludovic, The Dark Eye, the Guide, and Maps

We released the inaugural episode of the “Gloranthan Initiation Series”, where we talk to people who came into contact with Glorantha and/or RuneQuest rather recently, and ask them about their experience and previous experience. In this episode, our own Ludovic (hey that’s me!) acted a guinea pig for our questionnaire, since he qualifies as a “newbie”.

We want to say thank you to all the newbies who volunteered to be interviewed for this series. Their interviews will start airing next month, on a roughly monthly basis in between “regular” God Learners episodes. We think these interviews are interesting: we learn where people are coming from, how they approach an old and complicated setting like Glorantha, and what their struggles and joys are. Hopefully this will also remind a few “old hands” what it was like to be a newcomer in Glorantha! 😝

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Weapons & Equipment Is Coming Next Month

Art by Ossi Hiekkala © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

I’m still waiting for my Starter Set to arrive, and we’re already getting a notice that the next RuneQuest sourcebook, the Weapons & Equipment Guide, is coming on December 10th! I really like these covers by Ossi Hiekkala…

Play the Starter Set SoloQuest in your Browser

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The Battle of Dangerford solo adventure from the RuneQuest Starter Set is now playable for free in your browser! This is a great way to get a taste of the world of Glorantha and the RuneQuest rules, and it’s easy to send the link to a friend. It’s also of course great if you are in a very boring online work meeting…

The RuneQuest Wiki is Online

It’s not really a wiki per se since only Chaosium people can edit it or see pages’ history, but hey, that’s what’s it’s called… anyway, it’s online!

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The website is meant to be an easy reference for newcomers to Glorantha and RuneQuest, so there won’t be much for those of you who have all the core books, except for a couple surprises (see below). It will serve as a handy reference for players who don’t have the books, or are on the go.

Right now, the wiki has the Starter Set version of the rules, some setting information, equipment and weapons, a short version of the bestiary, and some quick links to buy the main products. Of note, there are some quick character creation rules, which is very welcome since the Starter Set doesn’t have any, and since they are quicker than the core rulebook’s. They even include random homeland and occupations if you don’t want to choose!

Magic in RuneQuest

This was released shortly before the last issue of the Journal and therefore slipped away… it’s a short interview of Jeff Richard by James Coquillat about the difference between the three magic systems of Glorantha, which is bound to slightly confuse players coming from other fantasy games where there’s only one system.

As always with these videos, there is nothing revelatory for Gloranthaphiles, but it’s a very handy resource to send to any new or prospective players.

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!

Anaxial’s Manifest

© 2021 Jamie Revell & Chaosium Inc.

Jamie Revell released Anaxial’s Manifest, a bestiary sourcebook for RuneQuest Glorantha. It contains “a compilation of 46 Gloranthan creatures and embodied spirits not previously described in RuneQuest“.

I assume that the name of the book is a nod to the HeroWars sourcebook Anaxial’s Roster, which did something similar for the HeroWars system. Anaxial is a flood-myth figure of Glorantha, so this is sort of appropriate.

The Duel at Dangerford, in Japanese

© 2021 Nick Brooke & Chaosium Inc.

Nick Brooke’s early Jonstown Compendium entry has now been translated in Japanese! It features some extra art and… that’s about all I can tell you about it because my Japanese isn’t nearly good enough!

Jeff’s Notes

Jeff Richard, the current mastermind on everything Gloranthan at Chaosium, is often posting notes and thoughts on the RuneQuest Facebook group. Here’s our curated list from the past week. A partial archive of these sources is compiled on the Well of Daliath.

The Maruts and the Thunder Brothers

Jeff points us to Vedic mythology (late bronze age northwest India) as a source of inspiration for the Thunder Brothers, the sons and daughters of Orlanth who are typically worshiped as part of his broader cult. He points us to the Maruts in particular, who are the sons of storm god Rudra.

A good real world comparison is the Maruts who follow Indra and serve as his followers and companions. Socially they are a model for the companions of the Prince, to whom their deeds are often attributed.

So Indra is another storm god, but what’s more interesting to me is the second part.

First, the Thunder Brothers are models for “companions of the Prince”, which I assume is the Prince of Sartar. This means that if you’re followers of Kallyr or later Argrath (or whoever gets the throne in your timeline), you could try and “get in a role” of a particular Thunder Brother to add some roleplaying opportunities and some questing or sacred regalia ideas to your GM.

Second, the deeds of the Thunder Brother companions are “often attributed” to their leader, which means the Prince and/or Orlanth. The way I see it, when your PCs are companions of the Prince, they might do some really cool stuff but need the… ahem… politeness of letting their boss take credit for it. I hope the PCs have some high Honor and Loyalty Passions! But I understand it also as applicable to Orlanth himself. So one can imagine variations of myths attributed to Orlanth where it’s one of the Thunder Brothers doing the cool stuff. These variations might be taught in some parts of Sartar based on regional traditions, and when heroquesting, you may not have to identify with the big blue guy, you could instead identify to one of his children. It might not provide as big a boon as when heroquesting as Orlanth, but it might also be safer…

The Bad Rain

We already discussed before how Orlanth sometimes summons monstrosities and enemies out of his own bad moods. This is the “Bad Rain”, which is summoned in order to start a heroquest of the Lightbringers Quest.

The Bad Rain is the Shadow of Orlanth – the brooding, repressed darkness within Orlanth such as kinstrife, murder, and wanton destruction – and terrible consequences of Orlanth’s deeds. Orlanth conquered the world, but in doing so he let Darkness and Chaos into the world. As the Greater Darkness approaches, Orlanth broods and the Bad Rain comes.

In many stories this is linked with the emergence of trolls in the Middle World. When Harmast summoned the Bad Rains in 424, it was easy because “every rain we made was a Bad Rain then.” Angorsk Ig, a son of the Only Old One, was summoned, along with the “red trolls, the ones that came with heat” (Zorak Zoran cultists).

The Bad Rain and its monsters attack the ceremony, and it is not uncommon for participants to be killed. Harmast himself killed Angorsk Ig with the Manthi Flints by accident, out of desperation.

Orlanth isn’t the only one with a shadow, by the way:

This recognition of the Shadow is key to the Orlanth cults heroquesting and a source of power. This approach was rejected by the Fire/Sky cults until the Red Goddess herself embraced her Shadow as part of her Goddess Quest.

Jeff muses (but does not confirm) that Ragnaglar may be Storm Bull’s shadow.

Urain, a personification of the Bad Rain in some story, is not Chaotic, despite what might have slipped into some past publications. Jeff shares that some of Greg Stafford’s notes make it clear.

There is also some information about Kallyr’s failed Lightbringers Quest:

When Kallyr began her Lightbringers Quest, she also summoned the Bad Rain, which made manifest all of her subconscious fears and guilt. Many were killed, but the Bad Rain was driven off, and the ritual became a heroquest.


Kallyr’s guilts, failures, and fears were great as well and she found it easy to summon the Bad Rain. Her fears of what she was bringing into the world – Darkness, Disorder, and Chaos – were made manifest and needed to be beat off at great price.

Two decades later Argrath barely had to twitch to summon the Bad Rain and his heroquest took him deeper than the Underworld.

The Orlanthi often say that a hero is made out of their failures, guilt, and fears. Without those, there is nothing to overcome and thus no hero.

This is a key to Greg’s storytelling. His protagonists – Harmast, Argrath, Arkat, the Red Goddess, Sartar, Tarkalor, etc., – all had failures, fears, and regrets that they needed to confront in order to be a hero. And that unconscious Shadow did not cease to exist as a result of the experience, but the hero could coexist with it and was no longer in danger of being destroyed by their own Shadow.

In some cases, like Arkat, the confrontation with the Shadow was quite literal – Arkat embraced his own Shadow and became a troll in order to defeat Nysalor.

So Jeff wants us to figure out what was Kallyr’s Shadow, and what was Argrath’s. The short discussion that follows points at Kallyr being too “literal and unwavering” about this, whereas Argrath, with his draconic connection, is better able to “embrace contradictions”.

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.

Awesome Custom RuneQuest Miniature

Photo by Scornado

On the BRP forums, Scornado shared this picture of an awesome custom RuneQuest miniature.

It uses a modified Victrix chariot with Wargames Factory and Zvezda skeleton parts.

The miniature is designed for use in a published adventure (also available here) that I won’t name here to avoid spoiling it.

Down a Rabbit Hole with Milk

I love this: Varanis from Beer With Teeth went down a rabbit hole about Praxian mounts and the nutritional value of their milk. And it comes with graphs! Check it out, it’s awesome.

SkullDixon on the Disorder Rune

As promised, SkullDixon has written an article about what the Disorder Rune, and what it means for creating stories in Glorantha.

I feel that a lot of gamemasters and players see the Disorder Rune as just a source and cause for Misfortune. But I think it has a lot more to offer us other than being the source of ill luck and I want to try to explore that fully here.

Besides outlining his many thoughts about the nature of the Disorder Rune, SkullDixon also offers four adventure seeds with Disorder as the common theme.

Unprofessional Unboxing of the Starter Set

Hey this is not a judgement on my part, but merely the title of Scott’s video series!

Unboxings of the RuneQuest Starter are getting extremely common these days (everybody is getting theirs!) but that’s all I have until I can receive mine… especially since the recent floods in British Columbia are making shipping even more complicated!

On The Origins of Ducks

Jajagappa has some funny Eurmal-infused take on the origin of ducks over at BRP Central.

Eurmal, of course, thought this was all very funny. He had the bird folk perform all sorts of silly rituals. He had them hop on one leg across a river – without ever getting wet. He had them fly upside down so that the Sun would illuminate their bellies and the shadows would darken their backs (that’s why all the Ducks have white bellies, even now). He had them dive deep into the Sea to return with the seven Sea Snails – which Eurmal ate, of course, because he was hungry. And he had them perform even sillier rituals. At last, the bird folk grew tired of these tasks and demanded that Eurmal reveal the truth of the leaves.

Read the whole thing, especially if you have ducks in your campaign and you want to throw in yet another possible myth for them… that’s always fun!

Thank you for reading

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

This is the inaugural episode of the Glorantha Initiation series, where we talk to members of the tribe who recently joined the God Learner studies. The God Learner Podcast wants to investigate how people comparatively new to Glorantha experience the world, what are the rewards, what are the hurdles when approaching this setting.

To test the concept and the questionnaire we plan to use on our volunteers, Joerg interviews Ludovic, who actually only discovered Glorantha around the time the new RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha was released.

© Schmidt International

Ludovic’s first roleplaying game was The Dark Eye, also known as L’Oeil Noir in France.

The Havena city box also had a big early influence on him. For more nostalgia, see Ludovic’s “RPG DNA” article.

The French HeroWars and Glorantha books whose covers Ludovic talks about are visible above.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The Broken Tower RuneQuest Quickstart is available in print and POD here. It’s also available for free in PDF here.

You can find Ludovic all around the interwebs. For more information, see his God Learner wizard profile.

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

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.

Observations on the Chalana Arroy Infirmary of REDACTED

We continue to take writing prompts from the Chaosium Discord, and this week the topic was “Chalana Arroy”. I wrote some cautionary tale about what happens when you apply the Laws of Robotics to the pacifism of healers…

I didn’t share my concerns with the High Healer but I sometimes wonder about how we choose who receives the help of spirits and gods, and who receives simple bandages and herbs. Surely the most equitable way is to do everything we can for the first people who wander into the inner yard? Sister […] said I was extremely naive. That we needed to manage our resources “like managing our grain to last the winter“. I pointed out that nobles get more bread than stick-pickers, and that surely Chalana Arroy wouldn’t want such inequality. We pondered this for a while, but Sister […] only replied that the High Healer surely knew this.

You can read the whole short story here!

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Interlude: Unrelated to Glorantha but related to Chaosium, this month and week was the 40th Anniversary of Ludo’s favourite game, Call of Cthulhu! So if you want a break from swords and sandals, go check it out!

Out Now! The RuneQuest Starter Set!

Art by Ossi Hiekkala © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Yep, finally, after several months of dramatic shipping hurdles, the RuneQuest Starter Set is here! You can order it from here and receive the PDFs right away. However, you’re also encouraged to support your local friendly game store, especially if they are part of the Bits & Mortar program, which also gives you access to the PDFs when you buy in-store. Ask them! And if they’re not part of the program, tell them it’s easy to sign up for it!

Warning: As of this writing, please note that demand for the Starter Set already outnumbered supply in the United Kingdom distribution center! I blame the vast amount of RuneQuest grognards in the UK… you know who you are! Will we be able to empty the other warehouses, too?

Starter Set Marketing Round-Up

Art by Mark Smylie © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Artist Mark Smylie had a few nice things to say about Glorantha, RuneQuest, and the Starter Set (all of which he’s been involved in). Artist Ossi Hiekkala also previously had his own take.

There is also the official “Chaosium Unveiled” video that shows off all the amazing contents of this ridiculously low-priced box:

There was a release party at the Otherland Bookshop in Berlin that Chaosium’s Jason Durall and Jeff Richard attended. You can find several videos of the event on their Twitter feed:

And finally, there’s blog post with recommendations about what to do after you’re done with the Starter Set. I like that Chaosium gives a slight preference to the Gamemaster Screen Pack, with its many resources and adventures.

Jeff’s Notes

Jeff Richard, the current mastermind on everything Gloranthan at Chaosium, is often posting notes and thoughts on the RuneQuest Facebook group. Here’s our curated list from the past week. A partial archive of these sources is compiled on the Well of Daliath.

Myth and History

Jeff wants us to know that myth isn’t magick’ed up distant history.

Rather it is a way of understanding how the archetypes and symbols of meaning fit together into a greater whole. The Runes, the Twins, Ouroborous, the Rival Brothers, the Mother and Child, and other archetypes are combined together in stories and make patterns, some eternal, some subject to change or reinterpretation.

One can learn and study myths but as their sources arise beneath the rational the best is to experience them yourself and assembly these symbols personally.

Horse Riders

A common motif in parts of Western Sartar (particularly around Runegate and Chormsland) is the Horse Rider and the Goddess. Most stories associate them with King Yarandros or Derik Pol-Joni and Sorana Tor or Kero Fin, or else with the Feathered Horse Queen and one of her suitor-husbands (Sartar or Tarkalor most commonly), although many of these images likely predate the Dragonkill War. The Yelmalio cultists claim that this represents Yelmalio and Ernalda (or sometimes another goddess). Many correct interpretations are possible, as this motif exists on many mythic substrata.

Some of these motifs, I suppose, go even further west and into Tarsh, or maybe originate from there. Yarandros was a King of Tarsh in the early 15th century, and the reason he might fit the “Horse Rider” archetype is that he stole a sacred stallion from the Grazelanders (which provoked a war).

Sorana Tor is a recurring Earth Goddess of sorts, and actually participated in the founding of the Kingdom of Tarsh. Sometimes she’s considered an avatar of Kero Fin, and some Feathered Horse Queens have been known to identify strongly to either of those figures.

A mistake that often happens is that people assume that there is a single correct interpretation of a mythic motif (and that usually whichever came first chronologically – which is obvious nonsense when dealing with the God Time) – but these symbols can be placed next to many others and still have power.

I think this is potentially important when Heroquesting, especially when I recall Jeff’s comments about identification being based on mythic motifs and archetypes, not on any actual names of deities. So I think you can see a tale or painting or bas-relief of a mounted fighter wooing a woman and say that this is “obviously”, say, Yarandros and Sorana Tor. But it could be interpreted differently, or told differently, and the magical mythical potential therein wielded for, say, some hero worship of King Sartar and Feathered Horse Queen Eneera Tor.

Same thing happened about four generations ago with Elmal. The old trappings failed but he gained new power as Yelmalio.

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 Gaming Gang Unboxes the RuneQuest Starter Set

You can already order the Starter Set for yourself by now, but maybe you’re on the fence about the it, and maybe all of the previous unboxing videos we’ve linked to weren’t enough? Well, here’s another one! It starts around about 33 minutes into the video, and it last for almost an hour of in-depth look.

Pixel Art Paper Miniatures

Art by Dipster

Over on Discord, Dipster has shared this awesome collection of character portraits and paper standees for their RuneQuest game… a game that looks quite fun, if the weird and diverse collection of adventurers is any indication!

RQStaffan Playing the Starter Set SoloQuest Adventure

If you’re available at next Friday evening, you can watch RQStaffan go through the Starter Set SoloQuest adventure on Twitch! The Twitch stream is here, and it will happen at 20:30 EST. I’m sure there will be a recording on Twitch or YouTube later.

Far Flung Duck Minitatures

Far Flung Figures is currently sculpting some models for producing duck miniatures. In case, you know, you didn’t have enough duck miniatures. Which seems unlikely.

Most of these miniatures are spread across various fantasy styles and historical periods, though, so you’ll have to pick and choose. You can see their progress on their Facebook page.

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.

Virtual Visit of Hattusa

Here’s a pretty in-depth visit of Hattusa, capital of the bronze age Hittite Kingdom. The gates, the big temple to the Hittite Storm God, and some general stuff about urban architecture and development will surely come in handy to add some flavour and details to your Gloranthan games!

This is What Moonfire Looks Like

Photo by Eric Houck

Don’t mess with Lunar sorcerers because that’s how you get Moonfire all over your house.

Arnold Friberg’s Book of Mormon

Arnold Friberg did these paintings inspired by the Book of Mormon. I think there are lots of cool visuals to steal for Glorantha in there!

How Bronze Age Horses Conquered the Old World

(…and eventually the new world, too)

The First Horse Warriors is a video about the introduction of horse riding into warfare. Dan Davis, an author of novels set in the Bronze Age, keeps putting out videos based on his background research that give good information on a period of history your school learning probably hasn’t mentioned.

One weird take-away from this are the Mesopotamian war wagons (I hesitate to call them chariots) drawn by donkey-onager half-breeds. Chariots like this are mentioned in connection with Gilgamesh.

Gloranthan horsemanship has moved past such initial experiments, though. The earliest mounted forces in Gloranthan myth may have been the Ratite Empire avilry riding augner war-birds, from a time when riverine Dara Happa still used fluffy-downed gazzam dinosaurs as their animal muscle.

Thank you for reading

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

This document has been heavily redacted. The author’s name, the location of the Chalana Arroy temple, and any identifying elements about the people involved have been erased in the most invasive ways possible, sometimes by directly punching holes through the scroll. All we can say is that these are notes from a literate initiate of Chalana Arroy who maintained some kind of personal journal of sorts. The paper, ink, and writing point to Esrolia as the source of this document. We estimate that its author wrote it between 1622 and 1624. It was recovered just recently from the ruins of a Lunar intellectual’s mansion.

The following texts1 are relevant excerpts from the 26 pages that survived and that we were able to analyze.

Sea Season

The initiation ritual was everything I expected. To bask in Her generosity and compassion was a transforming experience that healed every part of my soul except one. She said that there would always be the unhealable wound. It’s in the world, and it’s in every one of us. I wanted to heal it, for I wanted to be pure and whole. It filled me with a great desire I couldn’t fulfill. It transformed into frustration. She smiled knowingly, and I returned to the sacred grounds.

After this, I made my vows to the Goddess, to the Infirmary, and to High Healer […] who was officiating. There was much happiness at the feast, and I can still hear it going as I write these lines. But I admit I still feel this burning frustration inside me that the Goddess seemed to know about.

Fire Season

Work at the Infirmary has been rewarding. My apprenticeship had prepared me well but the affairs of a town like […] are vastly different to those of the small village I came from.

Some cases are very similar, such as easing difficult births and dismissing evil spirits. Others are new, such as when I assisted with my first search for a recently departed soul, which we successfully returned to the body. Yet, most cases are just of a bigger scale than what I was used to. At the beginning of the season we saw an unfortunate plague go through […] and it took many of us to keep it contained.

The High Healer said that we just didn’t have the capacity to fight so many poisonous spirits. Most of us still had the strength to continue but she wanted us to keep our magic for raiding season. And indeed she was right, for only a week later we had many kinsfolk to take care of, as they came back from the battlefield.

I thought of the unhealable wound during these past few weeks. Is it the wound that comes when your magic is gone? Is it the wound you leave to nature, for you expect a graver one tomorrow?

Earth Season

I talked to a man yesterday in the sick ward. I took pity on him and spent one of my last divine favors of the season on him. The High Healer wasn’t pleased with this, as she wanted my powers the following day for another patient.

I didn’t share my concerns with the High Healer but I sometimes wonder about how we choose who receives the help of spirits and gods, and who receives simple bandages and herbs. Surely the most equitable way is to do everything we can for the first people who wander into the inner yard? Sister […] said I was extremely naive. That we needed to manage our resources “like managing our grain to last the winter“. I pointed out that nobles get more bread than stick-pickers, and that surely Chalana Arroy wouldn’t want such inequality. We pondered this for a while, but Sister […] only replied that the High Healer surely knew this.

Darkness Season

The High Healer wanted me to attend a meeting of the tribal ring as an observer. I was surprised by this but understood soon enough, for the man I had healed in Earth Season was here, defending his clan’s right to raise a blood feud against former allies of the tribe. Many arguments were put forward and the debate became heated. I did not pay too much attention, for healers should not take sides. High Healer […] glanced at me in a way that have trouble putting out of my mind.

Storm Season

The Chieftain I healed two seasons earlier has mustered his militia, as authorized by the tribal ring. As I write these words they are marching towards […] and I fear many lives will be wasted.

Earlier today I went to see the High Healer about this, but interrupted some of her meditation. My eyes might have deceived me but I thought I saw a large spider spirit conversing with her. I blinked and it disappeared. The High Healer invited me in. Our chat was brief, and she just said that maybe the tribe would have been better off if the Chieftain had not recovered fully. My heart is still racing as I recall her words.

Maybe that’s what the unhealable wound is. The destinies of mortals, with their inevitable tragedies and violent ends. Surely the Goddess wants us to help anybody, regardless of their past, present, and future? I feel the frustration mounting again. I dare not think of what the High Healer truly meant.

Sea Season

The raids led by Chieftain […] were disastrous. They found a secret temple to […] and the entire […here most of the text has been lost…]. The tribe lost many good men to these disease spirits and other creatures of evil.

I talked to Sister […], mentioning that this might not have happened had I followed the High Healer’s instructions and not healed Chieftain […] as he was wasting away. She nodded and told me that only the utmost trust would earn me a place in the High Healer’s inner ring. I’m starting to see more clearly what goes on here.

Fire Season

I was visiting a sick child in […] this morning. As I was fetching clean water outside the home, the clan’s Earth Priestess approached me and whispered that the decisions of the clan ring “would go as planned“. She wanted to know if her son would be taken care of. I didn’t know what to say, so I just replied that, of course, her son would receive all the care he needs, for that’s what Chalana Arroy promises.

It only occurred to me later what she really meant. I confided in Sister […] and she said it was probably just the Earth Priestess keeping the High Healer informed of recent developments, for our cult often helps settle disagreements.

Earth Season

Yesterday I fought a spirit of disease that was leeching off of the tribal Lawspeaker’s mother. I am sure I had seen this spirit before, among Chieftain […] men two seasons ago. I will track down who is summoning this pestilence into our midst.

Darkness Season

I am still shaken as I write these pages. I went into the caves with a few thanes I trust, intent on destroying the Mallia nest I uncovered. But as we were ready to ambush the Disease Master, I smelled a perfume I knew too well, fleeting away under the putrescence of the place. I ran down a tunnel alone and found her about to escape.

The High Healer turned to face me. “You never really understood who our Goddess is!” she screamed at me. “She is older than their gods! She has seen it all happen! While they bickered and went to war, the Goddess knew that to truly heal the world was to bring balance! She has a…. perspective… that all other gods lack” The High Healer smiled. “What do you think seeps through the unhealable wound of the world? What do you think gives us free will and purpose and happiness and despair and all the glorious fucking range of mortal experiences?

She was shaking, and the paint on her face dripped down onto her teeth. This sweet smile that once welcomed me was now the blackened rage of blasphemy. I couldn’t move. “There is a higher purpose for us! Can’t you see?! Aren’t you tired of just healing wounds after the fact?!” She chuckled. “Men are stupid aren’t they, with their little games? But I see the big picture, and I can save them from themselves. I know what True Harmony is, dear.” She stepped right up to my face. “It’s when there’s someone with the courage to keep the fucking world going!” She wiped the paint off her face and splattered the tunnel with it. “We are the guardians of the Compromise, the daughters of the Web, and you’re too… small-minded… to understand what that means. It’s a Compromise! We need to infect as much as we heal! This is the only way we get to go on!

She laughed as she put her hand on my cheek, but she looked incredibly sad. Her hand was cold. I don’t know what would have happened if the entire cave complex had not collapsed at this moment. I barely made it alive. I think it took me hours to dig my way out of the rubble. As I write these lines, I’m camping near […] and I want to leave it all behind. But I need to know if the High Healer survived. I fear that I will find her at the Infirmary, walking down the sick ward as if nothing happened. What then?

I will wrap this journal and hide it here in the […]. Nobody visits these ruins but the birds and the deer. If I don’t come back to collect it, you can assume the worst about my fate.

Safe travels, stranger.

1 This is another article that comes from a writing prompt mentioned in the Chaosium Discord server. KungFuFenris is the one who suggested this topic. You can read Diana Probst’s own thoughts on Chalana Arroy, too.

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

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 Travels of Biturian Varosh (Part 3)

Episode 5 of our podcast is now out! Joerg and Ludo are joined by guest Drew Baker, author of Rubble Runners and the QAD series on the Jonstown Compendium.

After an announcement on the upcoming Glorantha Initiation Series, and the usual ramblings on the past month’s news, Drew expertly guides his hosts through Prax. Picking up where the previous Wind Words podcast had left off, we follow the travels of Biturian Varosh from Pavis to Corflu, as told from the sidebars of the RuneQuest supplement Cults of Prax. Drew and Joerg provide many insights into what’s going on, while Ludo tries to keep up…

Found Documents: Collection of Spirits

We have started cataloguing and translating this collection of spirit encounters from the travelogues of Saranioth The Wanderer.

The particular stack of documents at hand collects his notes on the topic of spirits, with dates ranging from 1609 to 1616. These are all parts of Saranioth’s travelogue, but someone apparently grabbed any passage relevant to local spirits for some personal project. That individual also started what looks like an attempt at a geolocalized cross-referenced index of the spirits of Dragon Pass, but we don’t know yet which way is up and which way is down so we’ll translate and copy it later when we’ve figured it out.

We hope we enjoy these short stories, and maybe you’ll even feature some of these spirits in your own games!

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Meint’s Index to Glorantha Returns?

We had previousy heard that Rick Meint’s “Index to Glorantha” (often known as “MiG”) would come back eventually with a 3rd edition, but I didn’t expect it so soon! According to a recent article on Chaosium’s blog, we can expect the PDF for this new edition “this month”.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The back cover shown above gives some classic RuneQuest 2 vibes which are pretty cool.

The 256 page new edition of the MiG covers what was published (and not published) for RuneQuest and Glorantha from 1975 to 2015. We hope to have the PDF of the book for sale on the Chaosium website this month! It will be out physical print early next year: we might even do an official launch at Chaosium Con.

All the rare Gloranthabilia that you will never be able to find or afford, listed in one handy book!

ChaosiumCon Tickets On Sale Next Week

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Early next week Chaosium will open up sales of tickets for the first CHAOSIUM CON, and they have a special mailing list for that if you want to be informed as soon as possible.

Ossi Hiekkala on the RuneQuest Starter Set

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Ossi Hiekkala, who painted the absolutely gorgeous front cover for the RuneQuest Starter Set, has a few words to share after having received his physical copy. Well done Ossi!

Authentic Thaumaturgy with Rick Meints

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Master Chaosium collector Rick Meints really knows the obscure bits of the company’s history. He delivers once again with some background on “Authentic Thaumaturgy“, a book published in the late 1970s by Greg Stafford.

Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits described himself as “the world’s only academically accredited occultist”, with a B.A. in Magic from the University of California, Berkeley. Bonewits also was an Archdruid of the Berkeley Grove of the New Reformed Druids of North America. I can easily imagine that Stafford’s shamanic interests overlapped with Bonewits’ druidic ones because that’s just how San Francisco in the 1970s worked. On November 7th, 1977 they signed a contract wherein Chaosium would publish Authentic Thaumaturgy in early 1978. It would be Chaosium’s third RPG-related product, after the first two volumes of All the World’s Monsters.

I’ll let you read the rest on Chaosium’s blog, it’s pretty wild. I guess that’s the 1970s for you.

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!

Corallo’s Zenith Counters: Prax Pack #1

© 2021 Dario Corallo and Chaosium Inc.

Unstoppable Gloranthan artist Dario Corallo has another Zenith Counters pack out focused on everything Praxian: bisons and impalas and sable antelopes and impalas, with or without mounted warriors, plus Morokanths and herdmen. These are all top-down views for use with a VTT.

Dorastor Map

© 2021 Anders Tonnberg and Chaosium Inc.

Anders Tonnberg has another high-resolution Wonderdraft map that makes the Argan Argar Atlas maps pretty and bigger, this time detailing everybody’s favourite romantic holiday getaway, Dorastor. He also used Dorastor: Land of Doom and Secrets of Dorastor to complement the map with more landmarks.

Sandheart Series Sale

© 2021 Webb of Intrigue and Chaosium Inc.

Amazing alliteration, Batman! Jon Webb’s fabulous Praxian police procedural series Sandheart is on sale, with small discounts across all first three volumes (Tales of the Sun County Militia, The Corn Dolls & Fortunate Sun, and Tradition). Disclaimer: I did a few illustrations a maps in there.

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.

GROGNARDIA on the RuneQuest Companion

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The ever wonderful GROGNARDIA blog posted a retrospective of the RuneQuest Companion, this somewhat weird sourcebook from 1983 that basically collects a bunch of articles, similar to how Wyrms Footnotes did in fanzine form, until its demise in 1982.

The Companion, then, was intended to fill this particular gap, with the promise – unfulfilled, as it turned out, but then that’s nothing new in the history of RuneQuest – of a new volume of the Companion “whenever we have accumulated 64–96 pages of top-notch articles.”

James Maliszewski concludes:

Indeed, looking back on it now, what really strikes me about the RuneQuest Companion is how few of its pages are devoted to new rules. Chaosium clearly understood the main draw of RQ was its setting of Glorantha. That’s probably why I look on this book so favorably even now.

Indeed, Chaosium clearly understood this, even though it took them a few decades to be in a good position to do something about it. They won the 2015 Diana Jones “Excellence in Gaming” Award for the giant setting-only bible that is the Guide to Glorantha, and the 2019 Gold Ennie for Best Supplement with the (also setting-only) Glorantha Sourcebook.

Inspirational or mythically appropriate music shared on Facebook

There is a thread on the RuneQuest Facebook group for mythically or inspirational music for Glorantha.

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.

Powerful Women and Magical Vaginas

And now for something completely different: folk legends of magical vaginas in 19th century. In case, you know, you wanted to really lean into “fertility magic”.

The väki of the vittu could be used to cast many different kinds of spells, but most commonly it was used for protection. One example of the power of vittu is the protection it offers from the forest beasts. In order to keep her cattle safe on the fields, the matron of the family would stand on the field with her lower body naked. When she bend over with her vittu facing the forest the beasts would run away from power much stronger than them.

Read more here.

The Everyday Role Women in Viking Society

In a more “safe for work” category, here is an article about the work done by Prof. Alexandra Sanmark on the everyday role of women in Viking society.

Prof Sanmark said: “Viking age research has to a great extent focused on men, the familiar raiding and pillage story and women’s lives have been side-lined.

“This is beginning to be redressed but we still have a long way to go. Women in the Viking age had crucial roles to play in society but this has not been stressed enough. We are talking about people who – to a great extent – were subsistence farmers. That is not an easy life.”

Prof. Sanmark notes that research on Viking women has focused too much on the exceptional individuals who became warriors and “ritual specialists”, and not enough on the crucial role of the average housewife — whose very denomination can already bring a lot of bias into historical research.

Prof. Sanmark did an online lecture on this topic available on YouTube:

Thank you for reading

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

Our guest for this episode is Drew Baker, author of a series of products on the Jonstown Compendium, including the QAD (Quick and Dirty) series (available as the omnibus edition “Pimper’s Block“), the Rubble Redux scenarios Insula of the Waning Moon and Insula of the Rising Sun, and Alogo’s Caravan – Riding Animals of Dragon Pass..

Announcement: The Gloranthan Initiation Interviews

Announcing a series of interviews with people comparatively new to Glorantha, sharing their experiences and their perspectives on the setting and the games surrounding it. We’ll be posting these between our main episodes.


Jörg boasts of his recent visit to the Kraken Convention, a gaming retreat held annually at Schloss Neuhausen, a chateau in the German state of Brandenburg,

The What is New About RuneQuest panel video is mentioned, as well as the fact that some copies of the Starter Set were available, something Jason Durall blogged about, too.

Jörg mentions a game he played – coincidentally with our Finnish fellow Dayzatarin Tähtien Alla podcaster Juha Rutila (Finnish language only). That game was Turning Point, by Phil Vecchione and Senda Linaugh. It is still in quickstart phase, but totally playable.

The release date of the Starter Set was announced – it is the 10th of November 21, or 11-10-21 which add up to a significant number.

Katrin Dirim received the 2021 Award.

Drew tells how Jeff putting out the definitive map both screwed up and bettered his Glorantha game, and gives a huge shout-out to Jeff’s preview notes.

Drew puts forward an idea how the changes in the Sartar Map may be blamed on the rise of “an eight kilometer long reptile” “swallowing half of the east part of Sartar”.

The Black Spear campaign by Nick Brooke, lavishly illustrated by Mike O’Connor, takes you on a highly mythical road trip into Prax towards Pavis.

Main Topic: The Travels of Biturian Varosh

Pavis (Pavis Cult)

We start with Ludo summarizing the sidebar stories in Cults of Prax and the previous travels of Biturian.

We start off with a theory why there are universal names for spirit magic spells – Ludo blames the God Learners, Drew blames mercantile standardization at the hands of the Issaries Cult, while Jörg points out that the God Learners promoted the cult of Issaries in the Second Age.

Drew turns our attention to the phases of the moon for Biturian’s interactions with the lunars at Moonbroth.

The perennial debate about pronunciation of the city of Pavis, and we get into the history of the place, including the mecha-battle between the Faceless Statue and Waha and the giants.

Drew points out that Biturian spends the Winter Solstice on fhe road, possibly in the neighborhood of Tada’s High Tumulus.

We talk about the best travel times in the Wastes, and how that assessment may vary between Praxians following their herds and travelers from Dragon Pass. Jörg sows confusion about Praxian seasons (checking this afterwards, yes, there are rains in winter, but summer fertility lasts into Fire Season, while Winter doesn’t provide for the herds yet.

We discuss raiders dropping down from bridges on boats going underneath, and we wonder about the falling damage for 25 meters in RuneQuest. Jörg suggests bungee jumping (Vanuatu style).

Drew is wondering about Biturian’s motivation for researching into Morak’s nature.

Biturian is getting a couple of apparently profitable opportunities in Sun County and Corflu, but with hindsight wisdom we speculate whether those were planted sabotage.

We get into almost a Clue situation about who ambushed who in that neighborhood ritual headed by a priest of Pavis.

We speculate about where exactly in Pavis this ambush would take place, and why it would be an auspicious day.

We also talk about the ale economy in Pavis, and how curfew could spoil a festival aftermath.

Sun County (Yelmalio Cult)

Biturian arrives at Sun County and gets coerced into the role of the Lightbringer for a deadly Yelmalio ritual, the Three Blows of Anger.

Drew badmouths the Yelmalio cult as petty for the non-marriage rules of the Yelmalio priesthood.

We discuss how this “this world” heroquest is set up, mention mythic identification, and we discuss how the preparation for that myth could have been done better, ignoring the HeroQuest Surprise element of such an undertaking.

We’re discussing the fate of Rurik, from his bad run as boxed text example character in RuneQuest first.

We discuss the problems of divine intervention landing a character at very low power, and how that can retire character.

Then we high-tail out of Sun County to the newest marketplace in Prax, the recently built port of Corflu.

Corflu (Issaries Cult)

The Corflu Issaries market is actually run by the Etyries cult, but still serves as the example of the Issaries cult.

We discuss the origin of the name Corflu and why Biturian had to sit out the entire season at that dismal market.

The arrival of a Wolf Pirate ship scares the entire port, and we speculate on the female pirate’s motivations and mode of transport, and how poor traders the Etyries priests are to shun away from her.

A gang of Baboons gets rich from removing the carcasses of the beasts of burden dying from that plague, and Jörg speculates whether these could be the same baboons showing up nearby at the start of the River Voices scenario in River of Cradles.

We discuss the (impossible?) task given to Garzeen to re-assemble Genert by the sister of Prince Hrestol, and how it is obeyed even by the Etyries priests.

We speculate about the red glow warnng off Kethaelan ships from the port of Corflu, and whether it may have had to do with the re.animation of the Watchdog of Corflu.

We then take an inventory of Biturian’s assets, and wonder why he wouldn’t sell off the slave bracelets on Norayeep which probably surpass the value of a slave by a magnitude.


We discuss the impact of the example character stories, and how many of the episodes have an undercurrent of heroquests happening to Biturian – a heroquest magnet.


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