Journal of Runic Studies #11


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.

Runic Rants: Opposed Rolls Ties

Our Runic Rants column expands with a big article on the dreaded “unresolved situation” outcome from opposed rolls.

These situations can be hard to picture in practice: what is the Gamemaster supposed to do with a “temporarily unresolved” situation? How is that different from an actual “tie”, which occurs when two critical successes are rolled? And how are these two different from both participants failing their rolls and “not achieving their goals”?

I hope that the many examples and practical suggestions in this article will be helpful!

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Pendragon Design Journal #1

Not many official news of Chaosium this week, but I think this Pendragon-related blog post on the Chaosium website will be of some interest even to RuneQuest or QuestWorlds players, because it deals with Greg Stafford’s early brainstorming of Pendragon’s famous “personality traits” system, which was included in the latest edition of RuneQuest as “Passions”.

Picture by David Zeeman, © 2021 Chaosium Inc.
Picture by David Zeeman , © 2021 Chaosium Inc.

As Greg was working on the mechanics of Pendragon, he went through the entire two-volume set of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and annotated every single event in the story with a mention of what ability roll was made by a character, what combat outcome happened, and so on. That’s dedication! And it’s a wonderful look into the creative process of a landmark of game design.

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!

QAD: Pimper’s Block

© 2021 Drew Baker and Chaosium Inc.

Drew Baker has produced a compilation of all the “Quick and Dirty” series to date in a giant 2000 pages (yes you read that right) PDF. This includes detailed characters, “mook” NPC squads, and notes on various related topics such as occupations and cultures, for all the homelands in the RuneQuest rulebook.

Now whenever player characters encounter someone, just punch in a random page number in your PDF reader and make whatever you see on the page attack your players! Super easy! Wait, what? That’s not what Gamemasters are supposed to do? What do you mean?!

No More Valley of Plenty

Art by Tom Symonds, © 2021 Troupe Games LLC and Chaosium Inc.

Sad news from Troupe Games, who have just announced that they’re dropping their plans to release the sequel to Valley of Plenty:

We’ve decided that our efforts are best directed at creating our own rules and setting rather than content for Glorantha. Valley of Plenty isn’t for sale now. We don’t want to disappoint those who purchase it expecting to see the rest of the saga developed.

Valley of Plenty’s print version was pulled from DriveThruRPG after the premium color price increase a month ago, and now the PDF version is gone too.

As far as I remember, Troupe Games was working on some original standalone game based on the QuestWorld SRD. Whatever they’re up to, we wish them good luck! Keep an eye on their website!

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.

“Has Anyone Ever Talked to […] Penta?”

Good question by Scott Martin after Nick Brooke posted a home-made map of Genertela on the RuneQuest Facebook group. This map features the main names mentioned in the first few pages of the Glorantha Sourcebook:

Cartography by Nick Brooke after the Cults of Terror map © 2021 Nick Brooke and Chaosium Inc.

According to the Glorantha Sourcebook, these lands are where the main seven Earth goddesses settled in the early days of existence. They were daughters of the continental deity Genert (who gives its name to Genertela), who died in the Gods War. So we have Frona who lied down in the north-west where the region of Fronela is, and Seshna made her home in the south-west where the region of Seshnela is, and so on. Ralia, Ernalda, Pelora, Kralora, and Teshna make up the rest of the sisters.

The term Ernaldela isn’t much used anymore, and most people know that land as “The Holy Country” or “Kethaela”. Jeff Richard says:

Ernaldela appears in some of Greg’s earliest materials, initially as Ernaldi. You get a reference to it in the old Argan Argar cult writeup, but it generally was replaced by Holy Country (and Kethaela) and Maniria in later books. But since it helps anchor the Land Goddess mythology (and provides more context for Ernalda), I used in the Sourcebook and Cults Book.

About Kralora, he adds:

Krala or Kralora was very important in the Second Age. In the Third Age, her cult has been somewhat submerged into that of Miyo.

Genert’s Wastes is where Genert’s Garden was, but it never recovered after the god’s demise.

So what about Pent then? Is there a goddess named Penta? Jeff Richard tells us what’s up:

According to Zzabur’s fabulous mythological maps, Pent was once part of Genert’s Gardens. Which means no Penta.

Well, that was a surprisingly simple answer for Gloranthan lore!

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.

Vingan Casting Thunderbolt

Prolific Gloranthan artist Katrin Dirim has shared this nice picture of a Hiording Vingan thane casting a Thunderbolt spell!

Art by Katrin Dirim, © 2021 Katrin Dirim and Chaosium Inc.

You can tell she’s from the Hiording clan, aka “the Swan clan”, based on the, well… it should be obvious based on that clan nickname!

SkullDixon’s Ducks

Glorantha fan, RPG artist, and Discord regular SkullDixon has made a bunch of cool ducks!

Art by SkullDixon, © 2021 SkullDixon and Chaosium Inc.

You can find more of his art on his website, and even buy books with more cute critters in them there.

German RuneQuest Close-up

Photo by WayneBooks, © 2021 Welt der Spiele and Chaosium Inc.

Wayne Books, purveyor of fine second-hand games, is giving us a very close look at the German version of RuneQuest 3rd edition. Is this making Joerg all nostalgic yet? Maybe not… he can probably just turn around and grab the real thing from his shelves…

That edition sold all 1500 copies (into stores at least) and was followed by a reprint as softcover, same illustration, blue cardboard.

Photo by Sebastian Dietz, © 2021 Welt der Spiele and Chaosium Inc.

Joerg can raise you an “Apfelallee” (RQ3 Apple Lane) with one of the least topical cover illustrations ever (see above), and a “Glorantha: Die Götter” Box (RQ3 Gods of Glorantha). The Bestiary (from the Deluxe Box) is currently AWOL.

More interesting would be the two German language only RQ3 scenario books set in Sartar, Schatten in den Hügeln and Ort ohne Wiederkehr (Shadows in the Hills and Town Without Return).

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.

Babylonian Multiplication

Here’s how Babylonians apparently did math in 2000 BCE! It’s a bit convoluted for modern sensibilities, but stay until the end of the video to see how that’s advantageous for small under-powered devices like an old Gameboy!

Bronze Age Copper Mining

Here’s a video on The Great Orme, a well-known copper mine in Wales (UK), and the largest prehistoric mine discovered to date. It’s not the most exciting video to watch, but they pull a large amount of video and photo archives and provide a fairly complete picture of mining in Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.

Thank you for reading

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

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