Journal of Runic Studies #14


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.

GenCon News

This week, all gaming news are taken over by the big sacred festival of GenCon, which is happening simultaneously in some Great Temple in Indianapolis, and in the Spirit World of the Internet.

This high point in the annual convention calendar has seen quite a few game sessions hosted on site as much as online. Did you participate in any Gloranthan gaming there? Please share your experience!

RuneQuest at GenCon

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

While we are still waiting for Chaosium’s distribution centers around the world to be stocked with the RuneQuest Starter Set, a few boxes made their way to GenCon and were sold there. If you’re part of the lucky customers, please post some nice pictures on social media so that the rest of us can jealously drool over our screens!

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Otherwise, you can watch Jeff Richard, interviewed by Ben Riggs, hold one of these coveted boxes below:

We also have one more sneak peek at Matt Ryan’s cartography work for the Sartar Homeland boxed set:

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Chaosium didn’t have much presence in the ENNIE awards (more on this below), so I’m happy about Free League winning a bunch of categories this year. I really like their games and their Year Zero Engine system, and with the high quality of their product lines they really deserved the “Fan Favourite Publisher” award.

The Lunars Won

Art by Dario Corallo © 2021 Brooke, Gidlow, Hagen, Chaosium Inc.

As GenCon is in full swing (at the time of writing), the ENNIES award ceremony happened: we’re happy for Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow, Mike Hagen, and all their collaborators for winning the Gold Award in the “community content” category (which, for historical reasons, is called “Best Organized Play”), with the Lunar-focused sourcebook A Rough Guide to Glamour. Congratulations to the team, some of whom were guests in episode 4 of Wind Words, providing us insights in the making of that book. And also, singing.

Nick Brooke recorded an acceptance speech that you can view, in all of its musical glory, here:

Art by Mark Smylie © 2021 Gidlow, Chaosium Inc.

Chris Gidlow even wins a second award, since his Citizens of the Lunar Empire also won the Bronze Award. Congratulations again, and a wonderful showing of talent for the Glorantha fan community. I wonder if we live in an alternate Glorantha where the Lunars win the HeroWars… (I’m sure Nick will retort that this is the main timeline, and the one where Argrath wins is the alternate one, and who am I to argue with an Illuminate?)

If you’re wondering who won the Silver Award, well that still goes to a Chaosium fan community, with Hand of Glory, a scenario by Allan Carey (of TYPE40 fame and excellence!) for Call of Cthulhu’s community content program, the Miskatonic Repository.

All Rolled Up’s Gloranthan Accessories

© 2021 All Rolled Up and Chaosium Inc.

All Rolled Up, known for their many gaming and gaming-related accessories (including the original titular “All Rolled Up” bundle bag) is running a sale for GenCon, with the coupon code “GENCANT10”. Hurry up, the code expires on Monday (tomorrow). You can find all of Chaosium’s related products on this page.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Design Diary for the Starter Set

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

We already knew that the upcoming RuneQuest Starter Set would contain a solo adventure as a way to introduce the world and mechanics to a future Gamemaster. In fact, not only does the existing Call of Cthulhu Starter Set also use this wonderful trick to ease a new player into the game, but RuneQuest also has some history with these so-called SoloQuests.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

Well, a new “design diary” entry on Chaosium’s blog takes us briefly behind the scenes of the production of this booklet.

For example, one thing we already knew informally is that this SoloQuest will be focused on Vasana, as opposed to allow any protagonist, or, as in the case of the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set, build the character from scratch as part of the adventure’s introduction. One reason was that RuneQuest’s character creation is much more involved that Call of Cthulhu’s, and the Starter Set actually does not feature these rules in its contents. As far as I know, there was simply no room in the box, so the creative team instead opted for packing the box with enough pre-generated characters that the players should find something they like. The other reason was that they wanted the “fixed” choices of the text adventure to go hand in hand with the specific strengths and weaknesses of Vasana, so that players really experience the system the way it’s meant to.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

By the way, I love the Warhammer-style folio character sheets (pictured above) that are in the Starter Set. We’ve been told that blank versions will be available in PDF for printing.

© 2021 Chaosium Inc.

The next entry in Chaosium’s design diary series has the writers give us their perspective. One of the SoloQuest authors is James Coquillat who handles the designer interviews on the Chaosium YouTube channel.

As Vasana navigates the conflict, the reader will learn crucial RuneQuest mechanics like drawing inspiration, using rune magic, striking, parrying, and planning manoeuvres. They’ll have the opportunity to choose their own route through the conflict and, depending on Vasana’s actions and success, the Battle of Dangerford’s outcome could be very different.

From what James tells us, the SoloQuest might have some good replayability, with the chance to learn more about the Crimson Bat, go into Spirit Combat, and stand before the Judge of the Dead, among other optional things. A custom system called “Battle Result Total”, which tallies up Vasana’s victories and defeats along the story, affects the outcome of the central event of the book, the Battle of Dangerford. Based on the total, the reader will experience several different outcomes, which sounds exciting!

Each playthrough will give different results and although set pieces will be revisited, they’ll never be quite the same.

Munchkinery in Times of War

The Chaosium house campaign continues, as the adventurers charge the Lunars’ Granite Phalanx hoplites with impressive rules munchkinery and lucky rolls! Plus: Gina pisses off an important ghost.

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!

The Backstory of Six Seasons in Sartar

© 2021 Andrew Logan Montgomery and Chaosium Inc.

Andrew Logan Montgomery blogs about how Six Seasons in Sartar came to be in its latest incarnation, a best selling title on the Jonstown Compedium:

Every time I posted a session, the blog numbers shot up. Sure, reviews generally attracted more readers (the reviews of occult books far larger than games, actually), but people were writing to me more. They were reading about the Haraborn, about the campaign, and writing to tell me how invested they were in it. I still remember the first email suggesting I publish it. I think I laughed. Then came the second. The third. And so on. Something was in the air.

Designer Notes on The Bad Winds

© 2021 Akhelas & Chaosium Inc.

Monster of the Month series author Austin Conrad has some designer notes on his blog about the latest entry, The Bad Winds.

The Bad Winds started life as one antagonist in a disease-oriented adventure I spent time on last year, The Fouled Earth. I’ve mentioned that adventure in passing during last year’s wrap-up blog, but basically I ran into writer’s block, and scrapped the project. This issue of MOTM repackages that antagonist with the myth that adventure was exploring, “Kolat Vanquishes the Bad Winds,” and further adds rules for propitiating these spirits, so that they’ll stay away from your community.

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 Glass Cannon Plays RuneQuest

The Glass Cannon, a network of RPG streams and video channels, plays a scenario out of the RuneQuest Starter Set with some gaming-famous guests! The actual play features a few exclusive looks at the much awaited Starter Set such as illustrations, characters, and maps.

As expected, the Gamemaster and players struggle a bit through all the crunchy bits of RuneQuest such as multiplications, Strike Ranks, and other things that in my humble opinion should have been “modernized out of the system” (I’m sure this opinion is going to cause me some trouble but that’s fine!).

Unboxing in the Nook

It’s been a while since we featured the inhumanly prolific Pookie in these parts. But it seems like he received a little package of HeroQuest Glorantha books:

These books are now out of print, at least until they get rebranded as QuestWorlds (this is because the HeroQuest trademark went back to Hasbro last year).

What Cult Should You Join?

What do you get when you cross some Facebook personality quizz with Glorantha? Well, you get this, a personality quizz that tells you what cult you should join. I don’t imagine that Russian state hackers would be able to manipulate western elections with this, so I can only assume that it is harmless… unless, that is, the Lunars somehow made great strides in electronic surveillance and internet-based propaganda… And it may very well be the case: I got Irippi Ontor!

Stormraven’s RuneQuest Glorantha Reading forum user Stormraven, who has done multiple “read along” threads in the past, is now just starting to read the latest RuneQuest rulebook.

Not much to report so far, but these threads are often an opportunity to chime in with extra context and help confused new readers. And we know there’s a lot that a new reader may be confused about with Glorantha and RuneQuest! I hope things will stay civil when someone (possibly the OP) will inevitably voice negative opinions about the book. Remember that not everybody likes everything! Who am I kidding, though, this is an internet nerd forum… But thankfully the forum is heavily moderated, so keep that in mind too.

Newt Newport’s Opinion on RuneQuest Glorantha

Newt Newport, who is no stranger to Glorantha and RuneQuest (he’s the author of two Gloranthan fanzines and a popular RuneQuest system fork, among other things), has posted a short article on his new Gloranthan blog about RuneQuest’s latest edition. Spoilers:

RuneQuest Glorantha? I’ve come to the conclusion I like it.

Newt goes on to explain his position and I’m pretty much in the same moon boat: there’s a bunch of things that annoy me with RuneQuest as a system, with fiddly bits and unnecessary crunch and editing issues and inconsistencies and all that, but overall it’s nice and it works well for Gloranthan gaming. I like it (although there’s quite a few systems I like a lot more).

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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