Journal of Runic Studies #76


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.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

The Meints Index to Glorantha is Available in PDF

The Meints Index to Glorantha is out! This is the newest edition of Rick Meints’ collector handbook, and a wonderful catalogue of things you will never get to hold in your hands!

In the modern collector’s market, knowing what you need is essential if you want to save time and money. MIG3: The Meints Index to Glorantha (aka MIG3), contains an exhaustive catalog of RuneQuest and Glorantha titles and related products.

Over the last 40 years, Chaosium President and Glorantha Historian Rick Meints has attended a plethora of auctions, consulted a wide range of experts, procured numerous collections, dredged the depths of the internet, and spent countless nights compiling this compendium of products, supplements, and articles.

The first two editions were published respectively in 1996 and 1999, so the third one has a lot to catch up to. Here it is (in an early print version) next to its siblings at ChaosiumCon back in spring 2022.

Photo by Nick Brooke, MIG © 2022 Chaosium Inc.

You can get the newly released PDF here from Chaosium, with a print-on-demand edition coming soon. Interestingly enough, the digital version features a different cover (see below). I wonder if the print-on-demand will also have the cartographic cover, making the “blue cover” preview printing a limited edition item… which might then have to be included in the MIG 4th edition! (Rick describes this “blue cover” as a “provisional” cover, adding that “Along with the regular hardcover version we will also be doing a limited edition blue leatherette with gold foil.“)

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Rick has written more about this book, its history, and its making, in a recent “Out of the Suitcase” article on Chaosim’s blog. It includes even more inception, since the index that John Dallman and David Hall made in the early 1990s became an inspiration, and is now included in MIG3! Oh my.

Photo by Rick Meints

Anyway, get the PDF now, you’ll get a discount coupon from Chaosium later for the print-on-demand version when it’s available.

A New Hero: Episode 09

Chaosium’s RuneQuest actual play continues as James throws his players into some tense scene involving a centaur warband!

Rivers of London is Out

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Chaosium’s newest game is coming out very soon: it’s Rivers of London, based on the novel of the same name (and its sequels). It’s a modern-day urban fantasy setting that is pretty cool, but that’s not the point — even though I liked the book and I’m a sucker for urban fantasy games, this is a Gloranthan newsletter.

No, what I wanted to point you to is that Chaosium is, at least for this title, going back to the early PDF release model. I’m not sure why, since they’ve said previously that they were moving to simultaneous digital and physical releases… My guess is that this is a fluke, and that they already had planned the roll out of Rivers of London with Ben Aaronovitch using the “old” release model.

Anyway, I figured I would mention it here, since I know Gloranthan fans are rabidly awaiting several books, and from the looks of it, the Prosopaedia may be the only new book we get this year (plus the Weapons & Equipment sourcebook, if you only count its physical release). And maybe not even that.

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!

Holiday Dorastor: Moon Elves

© 2022 Stormspearia & Chaosium Inc.

It’s time for another look at Dorastor, courtesy of the official Dorastor Tourism Office, aka Stormspearia. Holiday Dorastor: Moon Elves describes the exotic and titular creatures that are somehow tied to the Red Goddess. And because it’s a Stormspearia book, expect extra skills, spells, scenarios, and more!

Glorantha Maps: Dragon Pass and Talfort

Mikael Mansen continues his cartographic coverage of Glorantha with two new maps. The first one is Dragon Pass and doesn’t need an introduction. The second one is “Talfort“, which is Mikael’s version of Wintertop Fort.

The Final Riddle is Coming

Andrew Logan Montgomery is teasing his next book, The Final Riddle:

The Final Riddle is a short campaign based on Lady Amarj’s infamous Lunar pillow book of the same name. Set in the Great Winter of 1622, a group of desperate protagonists are hired by a mysterious Esrolian noblewoman in New Pavis. She is organizing an expedition deep into the Wastes near Genert’s Throne, seeking the palace of an Earth goddess whose name is lost to Time. As they travel further from civilization, their minds and souls are tested by madness and Chaos, until at last they reach Shum Sarzum, the Copper City, and encounter its final riddle.

The book begins with a lengthy chapter on Illumination and Lunar Sevening, including rules for both. Next there is a history of the pillow book and it’s mysterious author. In the Characters chapter, we provide full RQG stats for all the protagonists of Lady Amarj’s pillow book, playable as pre-generated PCs, as well as rules for designing your own. There is a discussion of dealing with horror and madness in Glorantha and RuneQuest, and “The Weird Wastes,” a chapter on using Chaos in the Wastelands. Then come the actual scenarios. “Pavis in The Great Winter” introduces the characters to their new employer, her Troll bodyguard, and mysterious advisor. The players then cross paths with the famous Kost the Tracker. “The Final Riddle” is the last scenario, detailing the Gods Age city of Shum Sarzum and its inhabitants. Between the two there are a number of “optional” scenarios a GM can chose to run along the journey from Pavis to Shum Sarzum. “The Riddle of the Beasts,” “The Riddle of the Lost,” and “The Riddle of Truth.”

Sounds great, especially since Andrew then adds that this campaign plays more like Call of Cthulhu, and less than RuneQuest. And you know me by now, right?

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.

Road Trip Through Dragon Pass

Jeff and his family are travelling across the US for Thanksgiving, so thankfully for my free time there aren’t really any new “Jeff Notes” this week. However, Jeff is taking a lot of pictures that he uses to illustrate what he thinks Glorantha looks like:

These are all great photos references, but they also indirectly illustrate my big pet peeve about Glorantha: it’s so fucking small. So some of those pictures, taken in Glorantha, wouldn’t look as good because, say, the Quivin mountains are really just a handful of peaks at best. These are mountains that are as tall as “real” mountains, but their mountain range is quite small and, well, “wrong”. Oh well.

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.

SimpleQuest Kickstarter is Live

Newt Newport’s D101 Games has announced the upcoming release of SimpleQuest, a simplified version of the existing OpenQuest (which some people describe as “the subset of RuneQuest that you actually use“).

© 2022 D101 Games

SimpleQuest was the original name for OpenQuest when I started developing it in 2007. Before the game’s release in 2010, I changed its name to OpenQuest to reflect the fact that it was entirely open gaming content under the OGL at the time.

OpenQuest today is much bigger than the short system that was SimpleQuest, since it grew due to customer feedback. But I always had the desire to present a shorter version of the game. D100 systems back in the 80s were very short and direct, one very famous ruleset had an edition that had 23 pages of rules!

The Kickstarter is live, and is already funded. If you want to take a look at an alternative BRP-esque system, and possibly bring a few tweaks to the parts of RuneQuest that drive you crazy (you know they exist!), I’d recommend taking a look at OpenQuest indeed (not to mention Mythras and Revolution D100, among others).

Last Few Issues of Hearts in Glorantha

© 2022 D101 Games

Speaking of Newt Newport, the last available stock for his “Hearts in Glorantha” magazine is still available from the D101 Games website. It was released during the HeroQuest era of Gloranthan publishing, so it doesn’t have RuneQuest stats in it, but it’s still good stuff, and perfectly usable for RuneQuest games!

Exploring Glorantha’s Grazelands

JM and Evan continue their exploration of Glorantha by heading off to the Grazelands! As always, their show notes are available in PDF to their Patreon subscribers, and it’s a great resource for quickly finding stuff when preparing your games.

Bryon Reviews Weapons & Equipment

Bryon has started a video series reviewing Weapons & Equipment chapter by chapter! Above is the first video, but there are six others at the time of writing, all the way to the “armor” chapter.

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.

Zeus Apomyius: Averter of Flies

When looking at the old HeroWars and HeroQuest books, you might quickly get tired with the many names and sub-cults that the Gloranthan gods have, especially the big ones like Orlanth and Ernalda… but think about the Greeks in the 5th century BCE having to deal with the many names and aspects of, say, Zeus, their own Storm King of the Gods. Wikipedia lists almost a hundred of them (I didn’t count but it looks about that long). What the actual fuck.

One aspect of Zeus that I absolutely love is one I heard a historian talk about recently on a podcast. It’s so representative of how polytheism was about practicality, and not dogma as much, for the people of these ancient times.

Illustration of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, by William Lubke, Creative Commons

See, Zeus had this whole new spanking temple built all for himself at Olympia, although there were almost 70 other temples to other deities next door… it was a big religious place. Oh, by the way, Olympia is no way near Mount Olympus, where these gods were supposed to live. Totally different places. Not confusing at all.

Anyway, you have this temple, and lots of other temples around it, and there’s of course a lot of sacrifices being made all the time. That’s a lot of blood, guts, meats, fats, and so on being spilled, examined, cut, grilled, and burned all the time… and that brings a lot of very annoying flies, especially in the hot Greek summer. So the priests of Zeus, knowing that their god is so awesome, made up some story about how he’s also good at swatting flies away with his big hand, and lo and behold they have a new aspect of Zeus, Zeus Apomyius, who you can sacrifice to in order to get rid of the flies.

The irony of having to sacrifice one more animal to Zeus Apomyius in order to not have so many flies while sacrificing other animals was probably not lost on the Greeks of the time… probably some scam from the Olympia temple. Still, they supposedly had a small shrine to that sub-cult on the premises.

Zeus statue in Olympia, Creative Commons picture

Now what does that tell us? Despite the fact that you don’t necessarily need to go with a Gorakkiki troll priest like in Corflu to get rid of annoying insects? Well, to me, it shows how you can spice up your Gloranthan world-building with different aspects and styles of worship at different temples… and it can include things as stupid as “he swats flies away with his big hand“. The main thing to watch out for in my opinion is to keep things thematically consistent… for example, while Gorakkiki controls the insects, Orlanth might use wind to drive them away, and Ernalda might use reptiles to eat them.

If you want to get some actual magics and game mechanics involved, these sorts of local god variants can offer a special Rune spell, or a special Spirit magic spell, or even just have access to special cult spirits that do it all on their own. That’s one cool thing that would differentiate one temple from another, and give your players a reason to travel back to some specific place, such as, for example, the need to come back for worship at least once a year to maintain access to these spells or something.

Did you create any weird, funny, or stupid local aspects or sub-cults of Gloranthan gods? Send it our way and we’ll be happy to share it back!

Two Naiads

These two rivers near Mtskheta, in Georgia (the country, not the US state) are coming down the Caucasus mountains and, apparently, do not agree with each other! Of course, in the real world, various fluid characteristics would explain this picture, and the waters would end up mixing a hundred meters downstream or so… but not in Glorantha!

In Glorantha, I assume that the two naiads are arguing about which one is the main river, and which one is the tributary. It’s possible they’ve been arguing about this since before the Dawn, in which case the locals have learned to deal with it, and maybe even exploit it for fishing and irrigation. It’s also possible that this is a new development: maybe the local shaman messed up, or maybe something happened to those naiads upstream! This calls for some adventurers to investigate!

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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