Journal of Runic Studies 86


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.

The new episode of the podcast should have been out last week but I was sick so the audio editing isn’t done yet. I’m hoping to release it this week. Apologies for the delay.

Chaosium News

Here are this week’s Chaosium news!

Some More Production Pipeline Updates

Rick Meints added some more recent information (as of a few days ago) about the RuneQuest production pipeline on the “upcoming publications” thread on BRP Central. Here it is, slightly summarized and edited for those who already read the update last week:

  • The first four books of the 10 volume “Cults books” series are: Mythology, Prosopaedia, the Lightbringers pantheon, and the Earth pantheon.
  • Those are “off to the printers soon”.
  • Each book is 144-168 pages in length.
  • All cult books are “written and edited”. Some art is still coming in for the remaining cult books. After that is layout and final proofreading.
  • The even-longer-coming-than-the-cults-books gamemaster’s guide is also a “top priority”, and so are the magic spell card decks.

Rick clarified that they have different people on different product lines, organized so that, say, Call of Cthulhu releases do not slow down RuneQuest or Pendragon releases.

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!

A Vale Ablaze

© 2022 Vivien Prigent & Chaosium Inc.

Vivien Prigent has published the complement to In a Merry Green Vale, which was a system-agnostic sourcebook for playing former Sartarite outlaws of the Lysang clan returning to the Arfritha Vale. A Vale Ablaze is a RuneQuest scenario book with four adventures set in the area described in the first book, with some extra rules for cattle raids and skirmishes.

If you don’t have the first book yet, you can get both in a discounted bundle.

RPG Writer Workshop Bundle for Fall 2022

© 2022 Chaosium Inc.

The alumni of the Fall 2022 RPG Writer Workshop are now collected into an easy-to-purchase bundle on DriveThruRPG! The bundle includes “A Lamp for Esrola”, “Died in the Wool”, “The Indagos Bull”, and “The White Upon the Hill”.

The bundle is normally at $9.85 but is currently discounted at $5.99 as its launch prince. Given the number of adventures in it, this is an absolutely no-brainer price! Plus, you’ll make some authors happy and willing to write more adventures.

Don’t worry if you’ve already purchased some of those individually, DriveThruRPG always deducts those items from a bundle’s price.

Page-Turn Preview of the Children of Hykim

Brian Duguid has posted this YouTube video of the print-on-demand version of his excellent book, The Children of Hykim (which we chat about with him on a recent episode of the podcast!)

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.

More on Cult Spirits

Last week there was a short note on spirit cults from a world-building perspective. This week is another note on cult spirits from a gameplay perspective:

Spirit cults are an easy way to give players access to Rune spells that they cannot normally get from their local cults. For example, if the players (a bunch of Lightbringers cultists) want access to Fear, but Zorak Zoran is not surprisingly unappealing, create a spirit cult like the Death Maidens, the spirits who herald the coming of Death.

[…] Spirit cults are also a way to provide limited access to another god. Sure there is not a lot of Orlanth Thunderous worship in Karasal satrapy, but there might be a little spirit cult of the summer Thunderstorm that provides Cloud Call.

Jeff recommends a single special Rune spell, plus maybe one or two Common Rune spells at most. Anything more and maybe it’s actually a minor god… the reason it’s a spirit cult is that its powers aren’t too important for the folks in the area.

The interesting thing to me is that, I think, a spirit cult might be a “partial aspect” of an entity that’s considered an actual god in another place. The spirit cult of summer thunderstorms in Karasal might actually really be Orlanth Thunderous under the hood… at least, that’s the sort of thing us God Learners would totally investigate. If I remember correctly, that’s even what the Lightbringers’ worshippers did at the Dawn, going around and telling everybody that their little local cult was actually part of this bigger cult we totally know all about, so please sign here and get your free t-shirt.

By the way, I had to look into what Karasal is, and that’s a Lunar Satrapy located north of Glamour. It’s mostly Dara-happan in culture, and goes far enough north to have to deal with ice trolls. Fun fact, there’s a place somewhere in there that has copper-clad amazon warriors called the Copper Girls. I’m not making this shit up, I swear.

One last notable comment from Jeff:

I tend to lump all sorts in localised little cults under the spirit cult header. Clan wyters, city gods, local nature spirits, old heroes, etc.

Loyalty in Glorantha

Jeff says that loyalty tends to be “personalized” in Glorantha:

[…] loyalty is usually personal and not ideological. I might have a tremendous loyalty to my local leader or kinship group, but that is personalized. If my loyalty is to Leika, I don’t necessarily have any loyalty to her successor.

[…] Same thing is true within cults. I might be loyal to my local temple, but not to some distant temple to the same god. I might be devoted to my god, but ignore his priests.

This second thing, about temples, is what I often use to justify a lot of bits in the head-canon. Temples having differences of opinions, of interpretation of myths, or of ways of running their worship rituals makes things feel a lot more believable in my opinion. It also makes it easier to bend the rules a bit. Are your Chalana Arroy healers non violent only up to the point of self defense? Well those healers in that temple you’re staying at for a week to learn a new Rune Spell say that you should never raise a weapon, even if you’re in danger! Fun roleplay opportunities arise, and maybe an side-quest or two.

As a result, Gloranthan societies tend to be far more heterogeneous than we often give credit for. People end up with seemingly unthinkable alliances far more often than we might assume. And personal loyalty usually is more reliable than ideology or abstract principles.

Relevant for those with the Loyalty (Sartar) Passion:

Loyalty to Sartar usually is expressed through personal loyalty to the Sartar dynasty, and not to some commonwealth of tribes.

Chaos and the Red Goddess

Art by Jakob Rebulka © 2022 Chaosium Inc.

Chaos is bad, m’kay? Except the Red Goddess… maybe:

She is undeniably a Chaos deity. And she holds that Chaos is a part of the cosmos, promising to free us from our innate fear of Chaos, and Chaos from its innate hatred of existence. She is a contradiction and a paradox, a Rorschach test for Gloranthan mythology.

Is it a bad sign that I never saw her as a “contradiction” or a “paradox”? She makes total sense to me. And so do the other guys like Orlanth and his buddies who have, understandably, some PTSD about Chaos, and so it’s a touchy subject for them.

Hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong, it all depends on how you make it end. And maybe it doesn’t matter at all, if you go with the “official” ending in which they all disappear.

Introducing New Players

Some of Jeff’s thoughts for introducing D&D players to RuneQuest. Some good advice in there that shouldn’t surprise anybody. Stick around for the funny anecdote at the end.

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.

Tribes of Prax Miniatures Kickstarter

© 2022 Rapier Miniatures & Chaosium Inc.

Rapier Miniatures has just launched a Kickstarter for a Praxian line of minis! These are 28mm miniatures of various Praxian people, including several uncommon ones like a Rhino rider or some Bolo Lizard riders. There are also extra minis such as a centaur, a Jack O’Bear, and some gorps.

Head over here for more information, or for backing the crowdsourcing campaign. You’ve got about 20 days to decide.

Zebra Rider Miniature

Photo by DuffPaint, miniature by Hero Forge

Speaking of miniatures, when “Duff Paint” Roy paints one, his “really unhappy with this one” is my “holy shit that looks super good!” So here, enjoy this horrible zebra rider miniature!

RuneQuest For Life

Here’s a touching little story from Che Webster about RuneQuest 2. It starts like this:

In 1980, my Dad bought RuneQuest – the GW edition of the RQ2e game by Chaosium. He hated it. I stole the box and then began a whole sequence of events which changed my life. I’d argue those changes were for the better.

Read the rest (it’s not long!) on the Roleplay Rescue blog. You can then listen to the podcast!

Judges Guild’s Rejection Letter

Photo by Wayne Books

Here’s a funny little thing: a rejection letter from Judges Guild for a RuneQuest adventure named “Malado’s Gold Mine”. The branded envelope is absolutely gorgeous, but you can follow the link to learn a tiny bit more about the scenario, and why it was rejected… and of course, if you know about “Malado’s Gold Mine”, please get in touch with us or with Wayne Books!

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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One comment on “Journal of Runic Studies 86

  1. Artem Feb 25, 2023

    It’s funny how Jeff’s introduction guide was exactly what I did in my first RuneQuest game, but I didn’t even read that!