Journal of Runic Studies #1


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

We are obviously not going to look into everything that happened since the last newsletter (even when they’re very funny), but we’ll mention the most recent important things, along with this week’s news.

Chaosium News


© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The impromptu online convention ImpCon 3 happened not too long ago, and we have a report on it.

HeroQuest Books are going Out of Print Forever

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Since the trademark for HeroQuest was recently sold back to Hasbro after a couple decades in the hands of Moon Design Publishing (and therefore Chaosium), all of the “HeroQuest-branded” books have to be decommissioned. This will happen on July 15 so if you don’t have any of these books, now is the time to get them! You should at least get the PDFs, because I assume they’re going away too, and although old books are available on the second hand market, PDFs are not (legally speaking).

Book covers © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

You can grab these books from Chaosium (with a few of the last hard copies on sale), or from DriveThruRPG.

There is a good chance that some of these books come back in the future with some simple branding changes on the cover and replacing mentions of HeroQuest with QuestWorlds, but we don’t know when that might happen.

Facebook and the Well of Daliath

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Jeff Richard, whose brain is currently holding the entirety of the Glorantha monomyth, has been posting a lot of interesting bits of information on the RuneQuest Facebook group — from random thoughts to previews of upcoming books. Because Facebook is a notorious black hole when it comes to past content, several people are trying to archive these things. David Scott in particular has been making edited backups of the highlights on the Well of Daliath, Chaosium’s “knowledge base” for Glorantha.

Here are some recent notable additions:

  • References for Glorantha: A list of foundational texts that Jeff Richard uses for all his Gloranthan work. There are some interesting or surprising choices in these lists but one thing is clear: not only were the RQ2-era books cementing much of Glorantha, the very original games, White Bear & Red Moon and Nomad Gods, still very relevant in many ways. It’s good to know that they are going to be reissued by Chaosium in the coming years.
Map scans by Jeff Richard © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Other highlights from Facebook include:

  • Recent Timeline of Dragon Pass: Jeff assign the “current date” of the RuneQuest setting to the current year (2021), and shows how long ago major events would have been. This helps a lot in figuring out how PCs and NPCs might relate to these events. For instance, Starbrow’s Rebellion would have been in 2008, the Lunar conquest of Sartar in 1997, the Battle of Grizzly Peak and Opening of the Seas in the 70s, the apotheosis of Sartar during WW1, and the recolonization of Dragon Pass by humans in the late 17th century.
  • Dragons of Glorantha: Jeff explains what dragons are in Glorantha, and what that means for the various draconic myths such as Orlanth and Yelm slaying these beasts. Interestingly enough, Steve Perrin, one of the designers for the original RuneQuest, dropped by for a bit of trivia: “Strictly speaking, dream dragons draw from D&D, because the authors (me and the Friends) felt a need for dragon opponents, and Greg had already defined true dragons as sleeping army killers. So we tapped into the dreams of the sleeping dragons to provide dungeon-size opponents for our adventurers.”
Cartography by Matt Ryan © 2021 Chaosium Inc.
  • The Pockets of Boldhome: Jeff briefly talks about the “pockets” of Boldhome, which are dwarf-made buildings carved deep into the Quivin mountains. These might look like the tombs of Petra, or the dwellings of Mesa Verde. The video game Skyrim even makes an appearance, since the city of Markarth has often been suspected to be inspired by Boldhome, given the lead designer’s history with Glorantha. For more information on Boldhome, see also this and that post. You can refer to Olivier Sanfilippo’s older map for comparison.
  • Revenues of the Red Emperor: the short version is taxes, taxes, and taxes. These come from the Lunar Heartlands, from tributes from the West Reaches and Provinces, and from tithing of the Red Goddess and Yelm cults.
  • Quite a few tidbits of information about Esrolia and the Holy Country: there’s a lot, from the revenues of the Esrolian Queen (short version: Nochet import and market fees) to the cults of the Right Arm Islands (sea gods and figures first, Orlanth and Ernalda second), evolving boating practices and manufacturing (thanks to Dormal), and even a glimpse at what happened at Corflu. Choralintor merman security services and Wolf Pirates make an appearance, and some population stats are given. Harald “Jajagappa” Smith has been archiving those on BRP Central.
© 2021 Chaosium Inc.
  • Vasana’s and Yanioth’s initiations: Jeff shared what Vasana’s and Yanioth’s childhoods looked like between the ages of 13 and 15, during which they were sent to a “camp” for a couple years of learning how to fill the tribal “male” and “female” gender roles. However, I’m told that “camp” invokes the wrong mental picture for native English speakers, so what happens, apparently, is that Vasana spent these years surviving in the hills of the Starfire Ridges, along with 300 other “young men” (some of them being female like her) while Yanioth interned at the Clearwine temple. “Male” gender roles are gathered and initiated as big tribal groups every few years (five year schedule for the Colymar tribe), which is why Vasana was in such a big group, while “female” gender roles are handled more locally, typically at the clan level, which means that Yanioth was most likely only one of a dozen or so young women serving the temple.
© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Finally, Jeff isn’t the only one being prolific on Facebook, as Michael “MOB” O’Brien is also telling us what happens along the River of Cradles after 1621. Thankfully, he’s also archiving these posts himself over on BRP Central.

Cults of Glorantha Art

Art by Loic Muzy © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The art for the upcoming Cults of Glorantha book keeps coming in, and Jeff generously teases us with some of it every now and then. Here’s a late Third Age fresco depicting the contest between Orlanth and Yelm, by Loic Muzy!

Esrolia Campaign Teaser

Jason Durall is apparently playing some Holy Country adventure, possibly using material from the upcoming Nochet sourcebook. Or not. Either way, I sure love a glimpse of that city map! You can check out an earlier work on a Nochet map on the Well of Daliath.

Photo by Jason Durall

Shelf Battle

After Call of Cthulhu creator and long-time Glorantha contributor Sandy Petersen showed his board-gaming shelves on Twitter, people (including myself!) asked to see his role-playing shelves… which he gracefully agreed to. In response to this Chaosium president Rick Meints showed a small part of his Chaosium collection — featuring a sneak preview of the RuneQuest Starter Set box. If you like gawking at other people’s gaming shelves as much as me, you should definitely check these out!

Jonstown Compendium

The Jonstown Compendium is Chaosium’s community content program for all their 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!

Warning: Print on Demand Price Increase!

Before we dive into what’s new on the Jonstown Compedium, you need to know that DriveThruRPG’s printer, Lightning Source, is increasing their prices for “premium colour” books. Standard colour and black & white printing stays the same, but with most of the Jonstown Compedium’s books using premium colour for their Print-on-Demand version, many authors are left scratching their heads. Some of these books might get a significant price increase, while others get downgraded to standard colour or even, in some cases, cease to offer Print-on-Demand altogether.

This affects all Print-on-Demand offers on DriveThruRPG so this goes well beyond the Jonstown Compendium circles.

The price increase goes live on July 1st, so place your orders before then:

New Releases

Drew Baker’s “Quick and Dirty” series (which started with a bunch of pre-generated family backgrounds) continues with “Alogo’s Caravan: Riding Animals of Dragon Pass“. Apparently, Drew’s idea of “Quick and Dirty” is almost 150 pages of material… anyway, if you need a mount for a PC or NPC, a herding patron (the titular Alogo), riding-related scenarios, or anything else related to riding animals, this is the book for you.

Austin Conrad keeps releasing his Monster of the Month issues, although they have been more about Elder Race NPCs lately rather than straight up monsters. The most recent issue is Ehnval Tallspear, a Wood Lord of Aldrya, and as always it comes with a bunch of extra material.

In addition to that, Austin released the “Pay What You Want” play aid “Rune Spells“, which is a printer-friendly list of Rune Spell tables organized by Rune and by alphabetical order. All the spells from The Red Book of Magic are in there.

The Crimson Bat Battle

Prolific Gloranthan illustrator Dario Corallo continues to produce VTT tokens for pretty much everything you can think of… or, in this particular case, simply the last thing you can think of: the Crimson Bat! Surely this sounds like the end of a campaign, so why not do it with style?

Notable Updates

Austin Conrad is running a sale on the POD and POD+PDF bundle versions of Treasures of Glorantha (Volume 1). Grab it before the price increase!

Yozarian’s Duck Bandits is now available in POD. Grab it before the price increase!

Finally, Secrets of Dorastor is also available in POD. Grab it… you know the drill. However, note that Simon Phipp is running an experiment in PDF discounts, for those who had already bought the electronic version. If people are reasonable and polite, he may repeat the offer with his future books. See his BRP forum post for more information.

Crowdfunding News

Ducks of Glorantha Miniatures

Photo by Infinity Engine

Infinity Engine is a miniatures manufacturer with a longstanding history of officially licensed RuneQuest miniatures and gaming aids (such as the wonderful Strike Rank tracker). Now, Richard Helliwell, the founder of the company, is running a Kickstarter for duck figurines! Each duck is roughly £4, but there are also a few other models: humans, trolls, and even a walktapus. Some duck habitats round up the offering.

Photo by Infinity Engine

The fund raising campaign ends on June 30th, 2021 so you have roughly a week to back it. I’m sure the products will be available later on the Infinity Engine website if you miss it, however.


Katrin Dirim’s Art

Art by Katrin Dirim

Do you want to see how Gloranthan artist extraordinaire Katrin Dirim made the picture above? Check out the timelapse that she posted on Twitter

Dendera Temple Complex

The Dendera temple complex in Egypt could have looked like this during its heyday in the Ptolemaic period. This should give you permission to make your Gloranthan holy sites BIG!

Assassin’s Creed: Discovery Tour

Do you want to visit Ancient Greece is a virtual way? The team behind Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey have released many “documentary” videos where they use the game as visuals for a historical visit of Ancient Greek landmarks.

The whole playlist is available here.

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