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.

News

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.

Credits

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

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.

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.

News

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.

Conclusions?

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.

Credits

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

This episode’s guests are Beer with Teeth, at time in character:

  • Erin (aka Varanis, a noble of Sartar lineage)
  • Dom (aka Rajar, a huge Storm Bull axe fighter)
  • Diana (aka Berra, a tiny Humakti warrior)

We also learn about their original GM Tom who is at fault, and about Kris who is the resident visual artist.

Why Beer With Teeth, and how they arrived at the logo.

Current Glorantha games played: one in the classical era, meant to end with the Cradle, one in the current timeline which had Kallyr come back after the Battle of Queens, and another such game run by Diana, currently digging into their characters’ previous history.

The campaigns combine published stuff and “making stuff up”.

Keeping several games’ plot-lines aligned when different GMs and parties advance at different paces.

Ludo talks about his games, and Dom discusses Cthulhu.

Using the Ars Magica trick of guest Gming in the main game (GMed by Tom), which is how

A Tale of Woodcraft” came about – drawing plot cards.

Diana adds how Crimson Petals (Pegasus Plateau) came from that guest slot GMing

Ludo plugs our Newsletter “Journal of Runic Studies

News

The Starter Set first observed in the wild at GenCon

Links to 3rd party unboxing videos, Andrew Logan Montgomery’s review.

Glass Cannon play-through as an example how the RuneQuest rules may be tough for newcomer GMs and players.

On the virtues of starter sets.

The GM has to decide which aspect of the rules you pick for a given situation, and what you ad-lib rather than sticking to the rules.

About the complexity of the RQ rules – at least as initial hurdle.

Hero Wars/HeroQuest being too niche and not suitable for many old school RuneQuest players.

Erin mentions the “training wheels” for the Witcher system, and would like to see something similar for RuneQuest.

Diana proselytizes by “grabbing random people from the internet”.

Erin tells how she got drawn into the game: “Just for one night!”.

Print version of Cups of Clearwine

The elf-skin version of Cups of Clearwine makes our guests quite chuffed.

Jallupel Goodwind – The Whirling Moon

Myth of the Month Vol 2 issue 8 by Diana writing for Austin Conrad/Akhelas, including a scenario.

Preview of the Battle rules in the White Bull campaign

Use of passions, but also lots of rolls on the Battle skill.

Jeff Richard’s previews on Sartar Campaign material on Facebook

Erin learning stories and background, Jeff’s posts on Facebook.

Main Topic: Writing Adventures

Dom tells about his cooperation with Diana to create the interim scenario in their main campaign as guest GMs.

Erin talks about disappearing into those deep rabbit holes of research, and that writing game scenarios is somewhat different from writing stories.

Dom shares his (complete) notes from which he meant to run that scenario – about seven hand-written lines covering half an A4 sheet.

Diana tells how her lack of familiarity with GMing RuneQuest led her to pre-write a large range of tasks and challenges, and how that happened to be quite close to Chaosium’s submission guidelines.

Ludo points out investigative methods (like John Tynes’ concept of the Investigative Sandbox).

Nudging players rather than imposing railroad.

Diana talks about player characters working their way up from followers towards the movers and shakers.

Dom thinks in terms of cool scenes that he wants to inflict on the players which strangely are going to happen where the player characters walk.

Foreshadowing, plot hooks, or red herrings?

Introducing minor things that become useful hints later.

Red herrings created by players may be turned into plot hooks.

Prophecies – heroes fighting against one another, a test of strength of truths.

Themes

Adventures vs. arcs. Personal arcs and passions.

Lethality in the game

NPC stats.

Adjusting opponent ability, numbers and smartness to the player party.

Resurrection is always an option, both for departed player characters and NPCs.

Playing NPCs smart.

Creating NPCs as communities.

How much does the past reach into the design process. How much archaeology?

Finding something old (e.g. in Clearwine, which has history and pre-history), as items, or as shards and in middens.

Populating houses in Clearwine drawing a terrible map and then using “RuneQuest Cities” results as inspiration. (RQ Cities is really a reprint of Midkemia Press’ “Cities“, which is still available in all its OSR glory).

Pre-defining tension between the NPCs like in Dregs of Clearwine.

Erin foreshadows another Clearwine book.

Researching ancient technologies – charcoal-making, glass-making.

Family structures in Bronze Age society – multi-generation households rather than core families.

Researching Bronze Age

Erin riffs about how writing game material offers her an opportunity to make stuff up rather than sticking to facts (and citing all the sources).

(If you don’t know it, The Motel of the Mysteries is a book about creative interpretation of archaeological finds. The pdf linked is a very short version for educational purposes)

Suggested reading lists cut, and Dom’s woes GMing for experts in their fields playing characters with those skill sets.

Erin plugs Ritual In Early Bronze Age Grave Goods by John Hunter as one of her inspirations.

Dom talks about his role as the Glorantha grognard in the Beer With Teeth collective.

Cave walls with bronze bands – “yes, you are walking in the body of a dead god here”.

Glorantha is about magic, myth and belief, and conflicting truths may be tested against one another.

As the Game Master, your presentation of Glorantha defines the setting for your campaign. Your Glorantha will vary, possibly between campaigns you run.

The sense of community, manifest as the wyter entity, is a unique trait of the setting.

Use of Runes as hooks to pull player characters in

Runes creating personalities that lead to motivations, e.g. in The Gifts of Prax.

Horses with character (expressed as runes, though not with magic associated).

Making a campaign unique by changing one (major) feature in the setting for that campaign, like e.g. “Argrath is dead”.

Kallyr survives the Battle of Queen in the Beer With Teeth campaign, and the potential for story and conflict inherent in this.

Links

Credits

The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“.

Our guest this (long!) episode is David Scott, who wears a number of Chaosium hats – among others convention presence, rules Q&A, and the web archives.

David talks about his work on the Well of Daliath – a collection of material posted on glorantha.com, slowly reconstructed from backups when stuff didn‘t migrate that well across platforms, and also chronicling current notes on Glorantha.

We hear some tales of woe about material lost to entropy, whether from natural disasters or from migration of the website.

News

Our only item this time (other than a shout-out to our newsletter) is the good bye to Steve Perrin, and the reactions of the community.

The Chaosium blog has links to a series of six blog posts by Steve on designing RuneQuest.

George R.R. Martin’s obituary on how Superworld shaped his career, Steve’s role in the first ever monster manual, and then there is Shannon Appelcline’s overview over Steve’s credits in the industry.

Remember to subscribe to the Journal of Runic Studies for weekly Gloranthan news.

Main Topic

We look into the introduction of personality traits into RuneQuest and other rpgs.

The first published version was 1981 in Griffin Mountain as the NPC record form (which Chaosium also put into the Thieves World box that was released the same year). However, David was able to track this development back even earlier, in (mostly) unpublished notes of Greg, and (other than to ultra-collectors, also unpublishable notes).

We cannot show you the glimpse into the “Unpublished RuneQuest” material David gave us, but we can attest that what we saw were scribbled notes (in more legible hand-writing than mine) without any grand revelations.

David shows us a few glimpses into the evolution of RuneQuest character sheets, and talks about the synergies between John Sapienza‘s character sheets, Steve Perrin‘s grasp of mechanics and Greg Stafford‘s desire to build his world.

A first fusion of skill percentages and numeric values for personality traits and passions:
John Sapienza & Greg Stafford © 2021 Chaosium Inc.
The prototype of the NPC Record Form that made it into publication:
John Sapienza & Greg Stafford © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

David then gives us an insight into Greg Stafford’s process into bringing these traits and the runes into the game RuneQuest, and Gloranthan gaming in general.

Greg’s concepts of people being hard-wired for mythology and certain types of behavior. One book Greg suggested to David is “Our Kind” by Marvin Harris.

Ultimately, the personality traits became an integral mechanic in Greg’s King Arthur Pendragon. David Larkin shows Greg’s research as annotations in Le Morte D’Arthur in his Pendragon designer’s notes.

The game mechanics for dragonewts (as NPCs) in Wyrm’s Footnote #14 (in 1982) were another step in the process of getting game mechanics out of this.

The quest for HeroQuests as a game mechanic led to Greg working on the Epic System – or Glorantha the Game – even during the years of the Avalon Hill publication of RuneQuest.

“The maddest character sheet anybody has ever seen for Glorantha” from the development process for Glorantha the Game:
Epic System by Greg Stafford © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The more coherent and elaborate pieces of this process made their way into the “Arcane Lore” volume of the Stafford Library, which still is a collection of almost random notes and concepts.

Robin Laws’ concept for Hero Wars (later HeroQuest, nowadays Questworlds) then was a game where basically all abilities were traits.

Personality traits in gaming praxis

We address the reluctance of players to let personality traits dictate their roleplaying of the characters. David talks about three types of gamers’ reactions to this mechanism – newcomers, curious old hands, and set-in-their-ways grognards.

We touch on conflicting passions (rather than just opposed traits), like “Loyalty (Leader)” and “Hate (Leader)”, and the roleplaying potential in that, and how not to roll this gives the players the freedom to steer their characters.

The example characters of Vasana (the leader who has “Hate Lunar Empire”) and Vostor (an AWOL Lunar soldier disillusioned with the Lunar army looking out to join Vasana’s band) are used in David’s demo games to illustrate how these things play out.

We touch upon how Hate Lunar Empire is different from hating individual Lunars, and how the Storm Bull’s Hate Chaos does not make every Lunar in sight a target for their berserking.

We also talk about the situation of Lunar converts in Sartar after 1625.

Augmenting with traits and passions

“Can I use my Mobility Rune to fly?” and credibility checks.

Use of “Loyalty (Leader)” to get things from a leader, and other uses, and use of automatic success in roleplaying situation.

What to do as a GM when a necessary success doesn’t show up. How to deal with failure.

Opposed rolls with the same degree of successes (plugging this little treatise).

Using the moon rune to augment spirit magic casting.

High scores in passions or traits – GM calls

Allowing players to reduce such high traits

Traits derailing the game.

Traits are not meant to be played as mental illness.

Runes and passions in heroquesting.

Casting massive amounts of rune points manifesting the deities.

Acquiring new passions in-game

Taking loyalty to the leader, or to another patron the character might want something from.

David gives a great example about a Lhankor Mhy initiate from his campaign who took loyalty not to the Colymar tribe, but to the Colymar lawspeaker Hastur, and how he would go about shifting loyalties from one temple to another.

And with that, Joerg reminded Ludovic of bedtime, and we postponed questioning David for a later podcast.

Returning to our tower for our second episode of the God Learners Podcast, we meet Austin Conrad, the author and publisher of the Myth of the Month on Jonstown Compendium aka Akhelas or Crel.

We digress badly even before we get into the news or our blurb for the Newsletter. (Spoiler: we keep rambling. Surprised?)

The News

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Journal of Runic Studies! Get your Gloranthan news in your inbox, RSS reader, or browser!

We start off with the report that Jonathan Tweet has submitted his text on the project tentatively named The Dragon’s Eye.

We discuss the art previews, especially the 20 heads of Sartarite folk, and digress about skin coloration. The name of the orange-skinned hero Jörg failed to remember is Binstarnif Awe.

Virtual Tabletop integration for the RuneQuest Starter Set with Fantasy Grounds appears to be imminent. Of course, we still need to wait for the Starter Set box to become available in the distribution centers around the world for the pdfs and probably this material to be released.

Cover of Petty Spirits pt.2

Austin talks about his newest Monster of the Month project, Petty Spirits part two. (Link to part one), and gives us this preview of the book wyrm by Laura Galli:

The Book Wyrm from Petty Spirits 2, by Laura Galli

More leaks of the upcoming Sartar material or Jeff’s research for that include rather detailed breakdowns of three clans – the Ernaldori, the Varmandi, and the Hiordings, and the Guild of Bronze Workers in Boldhome, covered as well on BRP Central in more convenient format. We struggle to stay on topic, which leads us to researching where a group of dedicated volcano worshipers could erupt one…

Austin’s index of the Red Book rune spells by the runes has made it into the official pdf collection, and we ponder how far one can take recursive indexing.

And then, 24 minutes into the podcast, we digress into our main topic:

Travel in Sartar

So who is traveling across Sartar and Dragon Pass, and for what reasons?

Austin points towards the maps in Nick Brooke’s index to Jonstown Compendium scenarios, originally published on BRP Central.

Reasons to Travel

Digression: How common are metals in Glorantha?

Messages across long distances: people carrying them, or spirits carrying them.

We discuss the roles of Issaries in myth and in the world, as Issaries is a primary travellers’ cult.

Travel preparations should include sacrifices to the gods of the road, or to ask the omens.

Pilgrimages as This World HeroQuests, and rites of purification and ritual preparation while on the way. Austin brings up herms and how disrespect to these could ruin a political career in Athens.

Tourism in the Ancient World, and in Glorantha, and penning travelogues to make your sightseeing a business expenditure. The names of Pausanias and Herodotus get dropped.

Travellers in service of other travellers: work crews clearing roads, or trailblazing new magical paths.

Family reunions as another excuse to take to the roads.

Means of Travel

Austin addresses the tragedy of lack of boat traffic on rivers or bigger interior bodies of water, at least for the core region explored now.

After we recorded this, Jeff Richard leaked a map showing the main roads and navigable rivers in Kethaela and southern Dragon Pass.

Pack animals and mounts

Donkeys, mules, Praxian beasts, or horses? Dinosaurs? Or bugs?

Do you use encumbrance rules?

Human porters as an alternative to pack beasts, and size and composition of travel groups.

Wheeled transport – Ox carts for heavy cargo, odd draft beasts for less heavy stuff.

Road encounters

Bandits and how they might shy away from people in armor and certain tattoos.

Size of bandit groups – organized crime, rival clans attacking traffic on roads controlled by your clan.

Reimbursement for being raided on a clan’s lands?

What are the terms for using the kings’ roads?

Spirits and ghosts, like in Vinga’s Ford.

Wild animals, and Austin calls for a volunteer to write up a scenario on insurance fraud.

Jörg mentions smugglers’ correspondence on clay tablets.

Running out of gas – can a traveller graze a caravan beside the road?

Children and alynx sidekicks as internal source of trouble and tension… “Are we there yet?”

Natural disasters (other than kids)

Frequency of encounters (or more specifically bad stuff): One encounter per hex travelled? Or a narrative approach similar to Robin Laws’ narrative difficulty

Hospitality as a means to slow your travels

Where do you sleep tonight? Hospitality as a boon. Austin explains Xenia, classical Greek guest friendship which creates lasting light bonds between host and guest

We talk about the official or unofficial ambassadors of clans or tribes in some distance, and we natural talk about going to Nochet.

The Cult of Geo as the state-supported fast food or motel chain, and then we can’t help discuss Apple Lane.

Replacing mounts or pack animals, and how that could get thwarted by players having formed attachments to whatever they own.

Are there horse shoes in Glorantha?

Public baths, and how they are an opportunity to get players out of their armor.

Adventure possibilities in visiting private hosts rather than inns.

Gift-giving as guests, and how to twist that into more adventure hooks.

Credits

The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“.

The featured image is by Bernard Gagnon.

For our first episode of the God Learners Podcast we are visiting Neil Gibson, proprietor of the Black Alynx inn in the seedier parts of Jonstown. Neil’s podcast “Tales of the Black Alynx” had a series of interviews with creators of the Jonstown Compendium, but it is missing one significant contributor – a certain Neil Gibson, author of “LEGION”. We are aiming to amend this omission…

Recent News Items:

The Red Book of Magic is available as a hardcover now (at the point of writing this, not yet in Austrailia).

And if you like the great cover by Mark Smylie and want it as a print or on any number of useful items like mugs or shower curtains, Chaosium’s Red Bubble store will take your money.

There have been plenty of postings by Chaosium with previews of the art that is going into the Gods of Glorantha books.

Loic Muzy has contributed 170 pieces of art, among these a portrait of each of the 100 cult deities. There is a huge piece by Agatha Pithié depicting the monomyth, or at least an impressive number of important scenes from it, and the Prosopaedia will be illustrated by Kathrin Dirim.

There is a thread with many preview pieces on BRP Central.

In recent time, Jeff Richard has also shared numerous previews on his current Glorantha developments on Facebook, and because of the fleeting nature of Facebook streams, these posts have been documented in other places, among others in our newsletter.

Jeff shared a list of foundational documents of Glorantha lore, and a list of some other publications which are strong but not infallible influences on the current Glorantha canon, among other places on the Well of Daliath. While we’re at it, we talk about our own research and inspirational sources.

We are talking about the imminent price raise of high quality Print-on-Demand books from DriveThruRpg, including those of the Jonstown Compendium, and a sale on such books before these new prices hit the platform.

We talk briefly about the change in the portrayal of Sartar from a land of rural clans with heroic but rather hidebound hill dwellers to that of a cosmopolitan crossroads of trade and magics with vibrant cities full of architecture that you expect from ancient civilizations.

We talk about real world information on the Bronze Age and related periods.

Interview with Neil Gibson

We ask Neil about his beginnings in roleplaying, and Neil tells how the switch from D&D to RuneQuest changed the way of playing.

We learn about his experiences exploring the Big Rubble and the Elder Wilds with RuneQuest Second Edition, his path through other systems like Call of Cthulhu, Bushido, and Car Wars, how his roleplaying career took a hiatus when Gloranthan RuneQuest disappeared, and how his enthusiasm was re-kindled with the publication of RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

Neil relates his efforts roping in his children, and his online experience on early Sunday mornings, a RuneQuest third edition game set in mythical Wales, and plans to run a local RQG game from the Starter set.

We talk about Legion Games and “LEGION“, Neil’s first offering on the Jonstown Compendium.

Ludo meant to cite Jason Durall, not Steve (Perrin?)

Neil talks about the fun he had creating these broos, and gleefully presents the fun that can be had with diseases carried by broos, including a few new ones he published there.

We talk a bit about NPC collections as roleplaying supplements, and how they evolved from mere repetitive stat blocks into collections that give us motivations, interaction with other NPCs, and scenario hooks.

Neil reveals how LEGION was created as a practical application of creating a script to produce stat blocks for another project he has in the works.

LEGION is in fact the first of quite a few publications in the Jonstown Compendium by Legion Games, a company that Neil created with Drew Baker, the author of the Rubble Redux series and a number of other Legion games supplements. Neil and Drew have some projects in the pipeline, too, including a board game.

Legion Games has a bundle of all their products to date out in pdf.

Other than broos, Neil is in the process of preparing a collection about an even more vile foe: Ducks. (But then that remark may have been quackist.) The ducks are to avoid the Disney tropes and the pure comic relief approach, and will detail two quite different populations of ducks – downtrodden ones in Dragon Pass, and fairly successful and proud in Esrolia. Neil has roped in a new artist for this project, Thomas Connell, who offers a preview of the Duck style on his ArtStation page.

Neil continues working on his campaign putatively titled Into the Wastes, planned as a series of three books, the first named Flower Girl set around Bullflood in western Pavis County, the second in Indagos a little further to the east, and finally an exploration of ruins of Genert’s Garden in the Wastes. The books are planned to provide some gazetteer of the places, scenarios and plot hooks.

We talk a little about publishing on the Jonstown Compendium, how the earnings from sales mostly bolster the war chest from which illustrators are hired to increase the quality and appeal of the products, often after the initial release.

Neil has his own podcast, The RuneQuest Project, available on all the major podcasting platforms. Starting out with actual play episodes, about a year ago Neil switched to a series of interviews with publishers on the Jonstown Compendium, starting a series titled “Tales from the Black Alynx”. Neil is planning to pick up some interviews, and plans to go after the artists now.

Neil talks about his most anticipated releases from Chaosium for Runequest, the Sartar box and the Starter box in particular.

Finally, we ask Neil for his personal runes. With Neil’s choices the only cult we could think of is a revelation of the God Learners…

Credits

Images in this post are courtesy of Legion Games. The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“.

In this short interlude, Joerg and Ludovic announce their return to Gloranthan podcasting with a new name!

Shortly after this airs, all of our website and social media presence will migrate to a new place. Visit the God Learners for more information… if you get the “Coming Soon” page, it means we are still heroquesting deep into the bowels of the internet!

Intro

Episode 8 airs with a few weeks delay compared to our usual rhythm, as we wanted to feature our Glorantha Has Talent?-contest in this episode. We found the wait worth the while, and so did our judges.

Herald’s Podium

While we have moved the complete coverage of news about Glorantha to our Wind Whispers newsletter, we still pick a few items for our voice reporting.

Glorantha Fan Awards 2019 and 2020

In memory of Greg Stafford passing away in October 2018, Chaosium announced the laureates for Gloranthan fan activity for last year and this year, Congratulations to Martin Helsdon and Nick Brooke!

RuneQuest Classic (second edition) titles available as Print-on-Demand

The titles from the Crowd-funding for the Gloranthan Classics edition are finally available as print-on-demand hardcovers from lulu.com.

Art Packs: Gloranthan Stock Art for Creators on the Jonstown Compendium

Martin Helsdon started an experiment offering three packages of illustrations from his works “Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass” and “Men of the West” as illustrations for creators – Orlanthi, Lunars, and Hsunchen, Nomads and Beasts.

Dario Corallo followed suit with the character art he provided for Gianni Vacca’s Last Faction Hero.

The Pendulum and the Pit

A new free 48 pages product on Jonstown Compendium, a slightly horror scenario for Sacred Season and thus probably fit for a Halloween game.

Glorantha Games 2020 Experience

Ludo reports about his gaming on Pookie’s online convention and leaks tidbits from the Kralorela RQG project under development by David Millians.

Kraken 2020 as a hybrid convention

While we were recording this, a much reduced face to face convention in one of the remotest corners of Brandenburg reached out to the internet. We’ll try to get feedback from the organizer and attendants. There is a little digression about the history of Glorantha-themed conventions in Germany.

RuneQuest Glorantha German Edition Crowdfunding

Jörg reports about the success of the German Crowdfunding and his experience on German language platforms during the CF. We compare international editions, extras to be had, and errata to be included.

Glorantha Has Talent!

The first of our main sections, wherein we are joined by our three judges to listen to the entries, get their feedback on the submissions and announce the prizes and their ranking.

We talk about the rules for contestants and judges, and present our team of three:

For the whole list of contestants, entries and individual recordings (some in the original stereo) as well as some of the splendid supplemental material we received, follow this link. We don’t want to spoil the results just yet.

Heartfelt thanks to everybody who contributed to the contest, whether as judges, sponsors, or participants!

Artistic Contests in Glorantha

After enjoying the fruits of the contest, Bill, Jörg and Ludo plough onward to discuss how such contests can find their way into your games. We digress a lot, as usual:

The Garhound Contest – the growth of a myth out of a scenario

Bill shares his admiration for Michael O’Brien’s main scenario of the RQ3 Renaissance book Sun County, the Garhound Contest and Melisande’s Hand, and speculates how a contest which might have once been a way to keep the youngster’s energy away from trouble becomes a myth or gets caught up by myth.

Singing for the Ludoch – a Choralinthor Bay Myth becoming a ritual contest

Jörg presents another story about the Choralinthor Bay Ludoch and Fisherfolk and tries to provide artistic expression as another way to solve conflicts. (Transcripts of both these stories will be made linked as text soonish.) We also touch upon the uncanny attention that use of the term Ludoch creates for one of us….

A Look at Donandar

Ludo explores the cult of Donandar and its role in the world. We discuss Illusions, stage craft, and a Marvel heroine in the course of this.

Well, this is something Ludo has been looking forward to since the release of The Valley of Plenty, To be honest, so have we all, and the Carpenters were as wonderful as we thought they would be, They invited us into their lovely southern home replete with kids dogs and a just a wee touch of chaos—in a very genteel way. And in the course of our conversation we find everything one expects from the creators of the very cool “Wildlings”! But first, let’s meet our judges for Glorantha Has Talent? and then see what M has for us…

Intro

:58

Glorantha Has Talent?

Our fantastic Gloranthan Talent Show!
We finally introduce our wonderful Judges!
YAY!

We asked our Judges to tell us about art that inspired their Gloranthan gaming and we give a few examples below:

This is one of Nick’s artistic influences for gaming in Gloranthan!
Used with kind permission of Chaosium Inc.

Peggy gives us a few links:
:Eugène Delacroix’s Ovide Chez les Scythes
Scythian horse equipment
Scythians
Scene of fight of two horses Kazakhstan
And a pic

14:26

SIGINT/Psych Ops

The good stuff straight from M, with a flurry of items of less than ideal repute. Rumour has it this used to be our “News and Rumour Tables” but that thought gets an A for too awful to contemplate.

15:19

Money Money Money

We like these play aids, we really do! Buy these @. Campaign Coins!

18.52

RuneQuest For Free?

An affordable option for evaluation or even short play, It’s great for those of us that are facing economic hardships in these strange times.

20:44

Dragons Eye and Other Examples of “YGMV”

Screen Capture from BRP Central

This is a long awaited examination of Glorantha locales that us old folk have been waiting for forever! This supplement explores the strange and odd places in Dragon Pass that show that Kansas is far, far away!

25:05

M. Heldson’s “Men of the West”

Mr Helsdon has been tantalizing BRP Central in the Topic Swords pf Central Genertela for years with early peeks at his works!

Martin returns with another of his explorations of the fighting men and women of Glorantha. This time he goes West!

20:48

D-Infinity’s RuneQuest Thursdays

Great RQ aids from a prolific and punctual fan! Here is June’s RuneQuest Thursdays!

32:39

French Griffin Mountain for RQ G

According to M, the french will be getting this double translation with the publication of RQ G or soon thereafter: Double translation; once into French and then once more into RQ G!

Quelle Chance!

37:36

Our Main Topic

An interview with the Carpenters’
of Troupe Games Fame!

  • Introducing our guests, then a sneak peek at our Lightning Round
  • Their history in War-Games and RPGs
  • Griffin Mountain changes everything
  • Years pass and then cue a late visit to Sandy Petersen’s epic TrollPak!
  • Gloranthan Miniature game?
  • The Dundealos, The Poljoni, the Jaldonkillers Saga and how YGWV
    Joerg asks the tough questions!
  • The Wildlings and The Valley of Plenty
  • Novel use of PCs and NPCs, Bill says “Bravo! Well Done!”
  • A discourse on BRP OGL and the QuestWorld SRD
    (Bill gets a headache from all the TLAs).
  • Troupe Games on Inclusivity, X cards and Trigger Warnings
  • What’s up and coming for Troupe Games?”

1:31:39

What do fat Elvis and fat Hemingway have in common? And here, we get our comeuppance!

1:33:04

The Lightning Round

1:37:57

Bye For Now!

See y’all next month for Glorantha Has Talent? and so much more!