Runic Rant: What Does YGWV Mean?


Runic Rants is an irregular series of thoughts, opinions, and experiments about RuneQuest.

The titular question from the Fan Use and Licensing Q&A was highlighted in Chaosium’s blog this week, surprisingly enough. The post is pretty straightforward: it concisely explains what YGWV and YGMV mean (“Your Glorantha Will/May Vary”), and how it applies to community content on the Jonstown Compendium (where Chaosium is OK with “alternative” takes on Glorantha). Sticking to the “canon” established by the Guide to Glorantha, the Glorantha Sourcebook, and other “A-level documents” is only required when writing material for official Chaosium publications. That’s pretty much it.

It’s a good opportunity however to remember what YGWV/YGMV is good for around fan communities. Wayne said it in his interview: it’s good to create a fan culture that embraces different visions of the game and its world, but it can be a tad annoying to see it thrown around any time someone asks a very simple question about the canon. A simple question should get a simple answer.

Contrary to what looks like a common Gloranthaphile misconception, questions about canon very rarely signify that someone is somehow “beholden” to canon and is, I don’t know, paralyzed without it or something. In the vast majority of cases, it signifies that someone just wants to know if there’s any established lore to start from, instead of starting from a blank page. Making your own lore has many advantages (it’s easier to remember, you can make it up on the fly), but taking already-written lore also has advantages (it’s supported by published adventures, ties more deeply into the overall setting, is possibly more thought-through).

Take it from Jeff Richard himself, who has this to say when presented with someone’s own Heortland world-building:

That is wildly non-canonical. You can go with however you want in your Glorantha of course, but it does mean that you will likely have a lot of work in front of you if you want to use any of the material coming down the pike that is set in the Holy Country.

I find the acronym “IMG” (“In My Game/Glorantha”) more useful. Nobody should need any permission to do what they want at their table, but there is value in prefacing something with a sign that the source is your game, rather than a book. But hey, Your Acronyms May Vary.

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