Photo by David Dunham

This time we interview Gloranthan newcomer Joel Bridge, who thinks we’re intimidating but also nice! Joel is originally from New Jersey but currently lives in San Diego. You can find Joel on Discord as @sirjamesfriendofthecolonel, and also sometimes on the Glorantha-related subreddits r/Glorantha and r/RuneQuest.

Show Notes

Here are things we talk about in this interview!

  • JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve, but also other video games like Metal Gear Solid which ingrained a love of deep lore and complicated narratives in Joel’s mind.
  • Games where mechanics are intertwined with the setting.
  • Finding D&D at a board game cafe in New York and starting playing roleplaying games… this was followed by Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: Requiem.
  • Creating a character one way and roleplaying them another way.
  • Playing Don’t Rest Your Head and Unknown Armies. We digress a bit about Unknown Armies’ “One Shots” scenario collection, where Jailbreak and, especially, Fly to Heaven are featured.
  • Life-path character creation systems, especially Traveller’s.
  • King of Dragon Pass, back when it was a game in a box with manuals. We digress again about old school video games that had actual good stuff in the box, not just a DVD, especially one Ludo’s favourite video games ever, the Ultima series (you can get them on GOG).
  • Playing KoDP again later on mobile/tablet to finish it properly. Using the Glorantha wiki to learn more about the lore, mostly by looking at the references mentioned at the bottom of the pages. This led Joel to getting some old RuneQuest and HeroQuest products in PDF before buying the new RuneQuest: Glorantha books.
  • The idea of time and god in theology/philosophy classes. Roughly speaking, gods need to be outside of time to not be subject to change. Joel was interested in the metaphysics of the setting, but the RuneQuest mechanics were intimidating.
  • Joel’s ideal game: KoDP but with an “adventure mode” like in Dwarf Fortress to play members of the tribe. Joerg mentions that he did play games like this with HeroQuest: Glorantha (now Questworlds), which had some rules for handling the clan. We mention the overlap between KoDP and HeroQuest in the person of Robin Laws.
  • Talking about Six Ages and its sequel, we answer questions about heroquesting. Joerg explains it as a “passion play”, and goes into a bit more detail. Joel draws some analogy with his own religious experiences and theological education.
  • Answering more questions about the mythology and cultures of Glorantha (the Red Goddess, Chaos, etc) sends Joel on another philosophical discussion about Platonic ideals, “true evil” as non-existence, and other erudite things. Joerg explains his take on Chaos.
  • Joel and Joerg discuss the different world views and creation myths on Glorantha. Ludo compares the “default” theistic Gloranthan creation myth with Greek mythology, but notes that there are other views. Joerg launches us into the draconic view, and Joel notes the parallels with Hinduism. While we’re at it, Ludo even mentions the Malkioni humanists. Joerg adds more information, and Joel sees it as an interesting mix of many real-world inspirations from all over the map, across many different eras. Of course, Plato’s Republic gets a mention.
  • We talk some more about the Hyalorings that you play in Six Ages. Joel asks about their pedigree, so Joerg is happy to provide him with their story from the God Time to the Second Age. This leads us somehow to talk about Argrath and the Red Moon & White Bear board game.
  • Joel says he would like to get an RPG group going but he hasn’t been able to so far. We talk about the different types of gameplay possible in Glorantha.
  • Asking Joel about what he doesn’t like about Glorantha, he mentions how there’s a lot of material that’s hard to shuffle through. He mentions how Harnworld (another favourite of Ludo’s) also has a lot of material, but is well organized. With Glorantha, you’re “feeling around in the dark”, dealing with many competing systems and titles. Joel says that starting with the video games was good but was just the tip of the iceberg. Joerg recommends the RuneQuest Starter Set, and the usual other books.
  • Joel mentions that he listens to podcasts to get into history and lore — for Earth he regularly follows the History of Rome podcast, the Revolution podcast, and two History of China podcasts. Ludo mentions that he got interested in Earth ancient history after getting into Glorantha.

The actual interview actually ran much longer than this episode’s duration, and a lot of it was cut in the editing room. So if you think we’re digressing a lot, believe us, it was even worse.


The intro music is “Dancing Tiger” by Damscray. The outro music is “Islam Dream” by Serge Quadrado. Other audio is from the FreeSound library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment on “Glorantha Initiation: Joel, Theology, and Old-School Video Games Boxes

  1. Fly To Heaven is probably the most unintentionally uncomfortable RPG scenario in existence these days, narrowly edging out the old “School Holiday” Champions adventure that Aaron Allston wrote for Space Gamer – which is about a high school that’s been invaded and taken hostage by a supervillain team and their platoon of hired mercenaries, with a very real chance of a massacre ensuing if the PC heroes botch the rescue. That one was written 17 years before Columbine IIRC.