Journal of Runic Studies 85


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.

Lots of things popped up in the community this week! I’m not sure what’s happening… or maybe I’ve been paying a bit more attention thanks to a bit of extra free time? Free time that, of course, I should instead be spending on writing my Goonies in Glorantha campaign… it’s progressing, but not as fast as I’d want. Oh well. Either way, enjoy the inflated community roundup section! And thanks to Jeff Richard for not posting too much in the past week to compensate, heheh.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Cults Books Update

Art by Agathe Pitie © 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Are you waiting (im)patiently for the Cults of Glorantha books? Of course you are! Our last update on the topic was back in November’s issue 75 of the Journal. We had learned that what was supposed to be a massive two-volume slipcase was being broken down in smaller books (dare I say “splatbooks”?)

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Thanks to JM and Evan of Exploring Glorantha we now have some more new information, coming directly from Chaosium president Rick Meints:

  • It’s a ten books series.
  • Three of them “basically done” and off to the printers “soon”.
  • Each book will be around the 128 pages mark (with some of them bigger).
  • There’s an “overview book” with the monomyth, cult basics (including a “blank cult” example outline similar to that of Cults of Prax)
  • The books are grouped thematically, as Brian Duguid predicted: Darkness, Sea, Earth, Fire/Sky, Air/Storm, Lunar, and Chaos, plus a book on shamanic cults, spirit cults, and beast cults, and of course the Prosopaedia which we already had a few glimpses of.
  • Each book will have general history and background too, not just cult write-ups.

Spot Anything You Want?

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

The folks at Chaosium are picking some old and rare items for the ChaosiumCon auction… can you spot anything you want on this picture?

Anyway, apparently Rick and Jeremiah found something a bit unexpected (although not totally unknown):

In 1983 and 1984 Chaosium often provided sneak peeks at their efforts for updating the RuneQuest rules for the new Avalon Hill published 3rd edition. Such updates usually appeared in Different Worlds magazine. The most comprehensive article being in DW#37 (Nov./Dec. 1984).

I didn’t know that Chaosium produced a similar flyer in 1984. I suppose they handed it out at conventions or other PR opportunities, most probably at Gen Con and/or Origins.

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Above is the front of said flyer. Head over to Rick’s article if you want to read the back, or if you want to know a bit more about it!

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.

Defunct Sartar Tribes

Jeff talks about the difference between the Dundealos and the Maboder:

The Dundealos tribe was “destroyed” by the Lunar Provincial Government in 1619, and their land given to settlers from the Lunar Provinces. These settlers were organized into a new tribe called the Enstalos and were effectively administered from the New Lunar Temple.

But of course the Dundealos were not truly “destroyed”. Although many of the tribe were enslaved by the Lunar army, others fled to the Plains of Prax, where they joined with the Pol-Joni kin. After the Dragonrise, their exile ended and they returned to their homelands (after inflicting their vengeance on the settlers).

You can actually play part of this story arc in the French campaign “Les Enfants de la Flamme” (“Children of the Flame”), which focuses on the return of the Dundealos to their rightful lands post Dragonrise, the fate of the Enstalos, the coming of Argrath, and more. I’ve written a bit about the French version of RuneQuest Glorantha here.

A different story took place in Wulfland. The Maboder tribe was decimated by the Telmori in 1606, and their lands were given to Jomes Wulf and his soldiers. After the Dragonrise, Jomes and his followers fled Sartar to rejoin Fazzur’s army forming in Alda-Chur. Defeated at the Battle of Dangerford, they are now a key part of the Native Provincial Corps.

Unlike the Dundealos, there is no core of the Maboder in exile – they were scattered or enslaved by the empire. And so Wulfland is now up for grabs.

What became of the Maboder, the empty Wulfland, and what the Telmori are up to is a central element in my one-shot “The Bloody Banquet”, in which all the player characters are Wolfbrothers. I playtested this a couple times so far, including once at ChaosiumCon last year, and I’m also in the process of writing it… slowly.

So yes, I love this little corner of the Dragon Pass history, and I can’t wait to play more with what happens to all these greedy hillbillies and their werewolf neighbours!

Shamanism and Spirit Cults

This note deals with the history and role of shamanic traditions in Glorantha:

Scholars of Gloranthan religion speculate that [spirit cults were] the origin of many now-powerful cults in the Grey and Dawn Ages. These cults succeeded in establishing themselves, and the shaman founders were succeeded by priests and Rune lords.

It’s like us God Learners always say: gods are just spirits who got successful and famous with their whole “worship me!” scam. But we also say more interesting stuff:

Throughout Glorantha. the archetype of the First Shaman is the same – the Horned Man or Woman (sometime depicted as a horned snake or a bird-headed man or woman). The Jrusteli claimed that Horned God is the fetch of Glorantha, severed when she died in the cosmic blast that destroyed the Spike. Thus, the Horned God is the “spirit consciousness” of the world, alive and still in control of itself.

The note also has some bits of information for designing and handling spirit cults in your game.

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.

Exploring Glorantha with Rick Meints

The good folks at Exploring Glorantha (who were on the podcast last month!) interview Rick Meints again for the occasion of the third edition of The Meints’ Index to Glorantha. Rick talks about the origins of the MiG, its third edition, his favourite collector’s items, and much more!

Peeking at the Escalation! Artwork

Speaking of Evan, we know that he’s finalizing the next issue of the 13th Age fanzine Escalation! which will focus on the western provinces of the Lunar Empire and the Kingdom of War… of which I know practically nothing! So I’m excited to dive into a new area of Glorantha as soon as that comes out. In the meantime, behold these art pieces that Tricia, the “in-house” artist, has posted to her portfolio:

Can you figure what’s featured on each picture? Like I said I don’t know much about this part of Glorantha so even with the titles, I only have a vague idea… this is exciting!

Bud Explains the Uz

Bud’s hands continue to present bits of Glorantha in a highly digestible way! And who knows more about digesting things than the trolls, eh? Well, what a coincidence, this video is all about the Uz! This is Gloranthan Trolls 101 in a succinct 6’26”.

Plus, I spotted a few pieces of art that I hadn’t seen before — I don’t know if I missed them, or if Bud scored a couple of exclusives for his video. For example, here is Loic Muzy’s version of Gorakiki for the upcoming cults books:

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

More explanations from Bud can be found in this playlist.

Andrew Logan Montgomery on RuneQuest Sorcery

Andrew Logan Montgomery, author of Six Seasons in Sartar and many more good things, has posted a three-part (so far) article about Sorcery in RuneQuest. Titled “Why I (actually) like Sorcery in RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha“, it sort of immediately tells you what you’re going to read… but maybe not.

And yet, RuneQuest needed Sorcery. The third edition was designed to be generic, and generic fantasy has to include modern fantasy fiction with all its very post-modern concepts. Everybody knows wizards do magic, not Bronze Age hoplites! So room was made for the kind of slow, ritual, manipulating cosmic forces sort of magic we see in Howard or Moorcock. RuneQuest at last had a “magic-user.”

First, the article is framed mainly as a comparison between RQ3’s and RQG’s handling of the Sorcery rules. If you’re like me and you discovered Glorantha with RQG, you might not fully appreciate the difference and evolution between the two editions… but hey, I’ve seen so many people complain, write, or nitpick things about RQ3 vs RQG, from sorcery to combat to everything in between, that there’s definitely something at hand.

Also, remember, this is Andrew Logan fuckin’ Montgomery we’re talking about, so get ready for a good sprinkle of philosophy, literary references, and deep analysis (including some good digressions on Greg Stafford’s possible mindset while developing certain parts of Glorantha).

Part 1 is here, followed by Part 2 and Part 3.

DMs After Dark Starts Playing Six Seasons in Sartar

Speaking of ALM, the actual play and writing collective DMs After Dark has just started playing Six Season in Sartar. The first episode has just hit YouTube after being streamed on Twitch… keep an eye on those channels if you want to catch their next sessions.

RuneQuest for D&D Refugees

Do you need to convince a group of players to try RuneQuest? Here’s a short video for you. In about six minutes, people from The Character Sheet and present RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha, how it works and what’s interesting about it… and yes, ducks are mentioned! Positively!

Matthew Constantine Unboxes the RuneQuest Starter Set

Here’s another RuneQuest Starter Set unboxing video! The host, Matthew, seems very interested about delving into Glorantha, but is unsure about the crunch of the RuneQuest system… which echoes my own experience with Gloranthan and RuneQuest. I’m hoping to hear Matthew’s opinion soon!

Latest Jonstown Compendium Reviews from R’lyeh

The latest Jonstown Compendium from R’lyeh is “In Search of Baroshi“. As always, if you want to know a bit more about a book before buying it, Pookie’s reviews are a good start. Previously in his Jonstown Jottings was Beer With Teeth’s “The Temple of Twins“.

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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