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.
This week was rather quiet, which is nice. I think I have to thank Jeff being on vacation or something for that. I have resumed work on an old Jonstown Compendium book I had half-written way before I wrote A Short Detour, and started organizing my thoughts about putting my “Goonies in Glorantha” kids campaign down on the page.
God Learner Sorcery
Here is what us God Learners were up to this week.
Runic Rants: Detect Enemies
Here’s an article about the Detect Enemies spell, how to use it at the table, and how to mess up with your players:
This is one of those things that RuneQuest players love to argue about ad nauseam, using increasingly convoluted abstract situations. The spell says that it detects “any being intending to harm [the caster]“, so what does “being” mean? Does it detect animals or undead? Can a wild creature “intend” anything if they lack INT and are driven by instinct? What if the danger is a colony of flesh eating ants who, individually, don’t “intend” anything because their attacks are the result of an emerging group behaviour? What if…
No. Stop. Just stop.
Here are this week’s Chaosium news!
RuneQuest Starter Set Trailer
Chaosium released this very nicely done “trailer” for the RuneQuest Starter Set. It features animated versions of some of the art found in the booklets, and some voice-over narration by the delightful Becca Scott (who plays a lot of Call of Cthulhu, but also a bit of RuneQuest).
A Quirky Game Company
Rick Meints has posted a little anecdote on Facebook, pointing to some RuneQuest 3 promotional materials from 1983:
I wondered if it would mention anything about RuneQuest, and I was not disappointed. As I read the short advert for the new edition of RuneQuest I immediately thought “what were they thinking?” Here’s a small example of how Chaosium earned its “quirky game company” reputation back in the 1980s.
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!
Visions of Pavis Teaser
Matthew Cole is teasing “Vistas of New Pavis”, which will surely use all the 3D reconstruction work he has done on New Pavis in the past few years. It’s on track for a 2022 release.
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.
Chaotic Associations in Gods
Thankfully for my week’s productivity, Jeff has only posted one interesting note:
For most Gloranthan religions, Chaos is something outside of the realm of gods and spirits. There are a few gods or spirits that were corrupted by Chaos or who otherwise embraced it during the Greater Darkness. The Orlanthi, Praxians, Malkioni, Doraddi, and followers of the Old Gods (animism) all agree on this.
Most celestial cults agree as well, but Yelm is oddly associated with two Chaos gods – Nysalor and the Red Goddess. Perhaps it is Yelm’s claims to universal rule, which would include Chaos along with everything. Or perhaps it is Yelm’s inability to see his own Shadow.
I love those last two statements, and I think they’re probably important to grok Yelm.
Entities like Thed, Ragagnalar, etc. are not invoked in most magical ceremonies or heroquests – unless they are specific enemies to be overcome as part of a magical defeat of Chaos. Death, disorder, and lies are all part of the cosmos – but Chaos is outside of it and antithetical to existence.
That last statement is also important in my opinion — the line between “evil” and “disorder” and “Chaos” and all that is one I explored in my first Jonstown Compendium book. A lot of what Jeff writes below is addressed in my book too:
Getting back to the original thought, most Gloranthan religions hold that Chaos is “outside” of the cosmos. It precedes it, and the cosmos was formed out of the Primal Chaos. Chaos is an assault on the existence of the cosmos itself and is thus wholly different from every other element or power. To analogise, the other elements and powers are jostling against each other within the confines of the cosmos; Chaos threatens to return the entire system to where it came from – the gaping maw of Chaos.
Illumination allows one to understand that is not per se evil and not to fear or hate it. But for everyone else, that is a bridge too far including for Chaotic tainted beings such as broo, scorpion men, vampires, ogres, and the like.
So regardless of how dangerous, treacherous, or even evil deities like Zorak Zoran, Eurmal, Gorgorma, Wachaza, or Gagarth are – they are “of the world” and still preferable to things like Thed, Vivamort, Primal Chaos, the Crimson Bat, or Krarsht.
The mindless devouring maw of Chaos continually threatens Glorantha’s existence. In the Greater Darkness, existence very nearly ceased. [I Fought We Won], Arachne Solara and the Net of Existence – these are mythic events where existence itself was able to continue due to the deeds of one who was all.
Deities such as Orlanth, the other Lightbringers, Storm Bull, Babeester Gor, Yelmalio, Zorak Zoran, Kyger Litor, and Magasta are very much defined by the struggle against Chaos. They fought terrible rear-guard battles against Chaos to continue to exist. It is not surprising that their cults hold true to that.
The Red Goddess is of course different:
At a certain level, the Red Goddess is something of Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbit. Does she threaten the existence of the cosmos or does she liberate us from fear? Both can be true, depending on the viewer!
You’ve probably seen the Wittgenstein duck-rabbit before, but it’s here if you need to confuse your brain again… and possibly achieve Illumination.
The community roundup is our highlight of interesting things being mentioned in the Glorantha-related Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and other similar online places.
JM and Evan Interview Rick Meints
Taking a break from their regular “Exploring Glorantha” chats, JM and Evan had a nice chat with Chaosium president Rick Meints about… well, many things Chaosium-related.
More Snakepipe Hollow Explorations
D R has posted another update of their 3D explorations of Gloranthan dungeons. We had previously seen some of the Rainbow Mounds, but they’re also working on Snakepipe Hollow, here with a particular look at the… well, I don’t know if we can have spoilers for a 40-year old book, but it’s in the video title. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to know!
Upcoming Duck Miniatures
“The Future of the Clan”
It had been a long time since John Hughes did some 3D Gloranthan art (unless I missed something). The piece below is called “The Future of the Clan“:
A Sartarite Elmali clan scene featuring three clan leaders (followers of (left to right) Vinga, Ernalda and Esrola/Uleria) and two young children blessed by Voria and Voriof.
More here too, and his entire website has lots of Gloranthan goodness.
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 Sheep Stew
Max Miller, of the “Tasting History” channel, is cooking a 4000 years old recipe… and you can easily follow at home!
Thank you for reading
That’s it for this week! Please contact us with any feedback, question, or news item we’ve missed!