A new episode is out but Joerg still doesn’t have his replacement laptop so there are no detailed show notes again!

Our Guest

We welcome the ever prolific Austin Conrad back on the show to talk about his new book which is all about magic items.

Links to Austin’s stuff:

Note that the above are affiliate links — please use them, thank you!

You can also get the old Plunder book for RuneQuest 2nd edition in PDF and in POD from Chaosium.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

Show Notes

Joerg is still without a computer, so not only are there no detailed show notes again, but he’s not here to stop me from giving a clickbaity title to this episode! Because, indeed, we have zero news about a Questworld Glorantha book… if anything, it’s the contrary. But what we do have for you is Ian Cooper as our guest!

Ian comes on the podcast to talk to us about the imminently coming Questworlds. We talk about what it is, what it isn’t, how its mechanics work, and what it’s good for.

We also chat about the game’s history as Hero Wars and then HeroQuest (1st and 2nd editions). Ian tells us about his Red Cow campaign books, The Coming Storm and The Eleven Lights, and what happens in the unreleased sequels that he’s played through. We talk about Greg Stafford’s design philosophy and involvement in the early days of the product line, the differences between the other product lines, and more!

Of course, it’s not a zero-sum game, so Ian also makes a point that you can play some games with RuneQuest, and some other games with Questworlds… it’s all about the sort of experience you want for a given story.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

Our Guests

For this episode, we have Nick Brooke and Simon Bray as our guests to talk about Simon’s book Furthest, Crown Jewel of Lunar Tarsh, and about what goes on in Lunar Tarsh in general.

Show Notes

There are no fancy show notes for this episode yet: Joerg’s laptop seems to have been blown up by Orlanthi rebels who don’t want the truth to be told… we will edit this post with the final show notes when Joerg has acquired a new laptop. In the meantime, you can go buy Simon’s stuff:

Bonus stuff:


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

This episode comes much later than anticipated, but this is Ludo’s fault! Apologies to all.

Our Guests

In this episode we welcome Kevin Jacklin and David Hall:

  • Kevin has been writing freeform games for a very long time, and table-top role-playing games a little before that, becoming a huge fan of RuneQuest. Kevin names a fateful meeting with our other guest David Hall at a board-gaming convention in the West of England that had a big bearing on what happened afterwards.
  • David Hall started producing a RuneQuest and Glorantha magazine by the name Tales of the Reaching Moon back in 1989. The magazine lasted until 2002 across 20 issues. David was also behind the Reaching Moon Megacorp which produced a number of supporting Gloranthan publications over the same period. Of course the Megacorp was not as massive as the name suggests, it was basically David working part-time out of a very small flat in Slough. Lastly, David was the organizer of the Convulsion game convention from 1992 to 2002, which continues to this day by the name Continuum. And it was at the first Convulsion in 1992 that David and Kevin ran their first freeform, Home of the Bold.

Main Topic

Ludo admits that he has no experience at all with freeforms but then asks Jörg when he first got into this form of roleplaying.

Jörg’s first exposure to freeforms was in the same year he met David for the first time, in 1993 when David visited our annual German RuneQuest convention. While it was not a Gloranthan freeform, it was a Call of Cthulhu freeform which saw Jörg wearing his lab coat chasing after a bird mummy and other stuff. Ludo asked whether there was someone actually dressed as a mummy, but that mummy actually was a prop – a desiccated bird carcass originally wrapped into linen bandages.

David sadly did not play in that freeform, as it was German language only, but we (the German RuneQuest society that had been organizing these conventions since 1990) remedied that language problem two years later at our convention near Berlin. The next year Jörg attended the second Convulsion convention in Leicester and had a role to play in How the West Was One, the second of the Reaching Moon Megacorp Gloranthan freeforms.

What is a Freeform?

David describes a freeform as a microcosm of fantasy roleplaying.

Home of the Bold is a fifty player game where each of the fifty players gets a pre-generated character. They get objectives they are trying to meet, they get a list of characters in the game who they are supposed to know, and they get a few abilities and spells to help them get along.

Effectively, the cast covers the Lunar administration, the Lunar military, tax collectors, spies, merchants, and on the Sartarite side it includes the city councillors, guilds people, merchants, the local underworld, city constables who look after the local underworld, heralds, and various members of the tribes who are in the city of Boldhome. Altogether a microcosm of the whole of Sartar and the whole of the city, and effectively what happens is that everybody talks to each other. As the directors of the freeform “all we do” is to write the characters, set up the scene, sort of coil the spring, and then just let it go.

By the end of the game, the directors will know a lot less about the game than the players will know because they will be living the game and they will work out what’s happening.

Kevin adds that it is very much a living thing. To be ultra-precise about it, this is not people sitting around a large table rolling dice, this is a large playing area. People will very often costume for this. It runs over several hours – Home of the Bold in particular is an eight or nine hour game, with a break in there – so it lasts pretty much for the whole of one day of the convention, and people can be caught up in it.

That is something that regular table-top roleplaying usually doesn’t do, you can actually become lost in the whole thing. This direct experience is one of the huge benefits of the whole freeform game.

Something like that is very taxing to write and organize, which is why you need a convention to support a freeform game. You cannot really run a massive freeform anywhere else.

The very first Convulsion had a big freeform game, and David brought Kevin on board because he knew a little bit about them.

Kevin’s experience with freeforms originated from a conversation with Sandy Petersen because he had written a Call of Cthulhu scenario. In the late eighties and early nineties Kevin got a chance to visit the Chaosium headquarters because the head offices of his company were situated in the Bay area, too, giving Kevin a really good excuse to go and visit Chaosium and see the folk at work there.

A year or two later, Sandy had moved to Microprose on the east coast of the US, and he told Kevin about a group of folks there who had started to write freeform games. This was something that had been going on mainly on the east coast and west coast of the US, something called Interactive Literature., which is in fact live action theatrical roleplaying or freeforms. Sandy had got into a group that included e.g. Lawrence Shick who had written for D&D. The group was called Cruel Hoax, and they were putting on a big freeform in a convention on the east coast, and because Kevin had accumulated lots of air miles, Kevin decided it would be a good idea if he and Dan Steel, a friend of his, flew over to take part in this.

The game was called Café Casablanca, effectively a mash-up of all the film noir of the late 1930ies and 40ies including Casablanca of course. Having taken part in this, Kevin thought this was a really cool idea (Details can be found on the Convivium convention website run by Kevin)

David knew Kevin, and when Kevin told him about Cafe Casablanca it sounded amazing. David showed off his costumes and everything, and David wanted to have one of those freeforms for the Convulsion convention he was setting up in Leicester for 1992, so they sat down to write one.

David says that had they known how much work it was to write a freeform, they might not have started that. Kevin remembers that it was not quite that straightforward – they had to convince the rest of the Convulsion committee that this was a cool thing to do. Because nobody had ever played a freeform, and because they needed how cool they really are, Kevin wrote one which he ran at his house for the committee. That was Adventures of Robin Hood, Kevin asks David whether there exist any pictures of him in tights, which David (quite vehemently) negates. Anyway, the committee seemed to like the concept, and the following year they introduced Home of the Bold to an unsuspecting public at Convulsion.

Freeform Plots

Ludo falls into his role as the newcomer to this kind of activity, and he asks about what to expect from a freeform. He has some idea about murder mystery games which have a inciting incident – the murder – and then people trying to get behind who did it, and that’s the big resolution.

David replies that there are always a number of plots in the freeforms. There are about ten or twenty plots in Home of the Bold, some bigger than others. There are probably murders that need to be solved, heists the underworld is trying to pull, but the main backdrop is the occupation by the Lunar Empire, so there is a big aspect of that.

The directors set this thing up, then it all depends on what the players do. There is no such thing as a right ending, but there is a likely ending.

Kevin adds that one of the things the directors do put in place is scaffolding which gives players something bigger than themselves to do. So for example there is an election, and it is in the objectives of some of the players to try and get elected, so you have to go around and persuade people, or blackmail them or whatever you want to do to vote for you. There is a chariot race, and there are prizes for people who win the chariot race. You have all of these things that people hang on to that are part of something that is really big, and that’s a cool thing about freeforms. Everybody does have their own objectives, but the trick with writing a character sheet is that if you need to go and find X, there is going to be someone who has got X or who has information how to find X.

Every player is the star of their own movie, things are happening to them. If you talk to the lowliest street beggar about what is going on in Home of the Bold, it is going to be the glorious rise of the street beggar, he probably doesn’t care about the Lunar occupation as long as he is getting a bowl of soup at the end of the day. The writers basically provide half a novel for each of the players and give them a bunch of objectives. The really good players are ones that make up more objectives for themselves, which is when things become self-generative.

David adds that the writers have another technique. Some player characters get an envelope which is to be opened when there is a life-changing event happening to them. When a certain triggering event happens, their whole objectives may change.

There are romance plots as well, you may end up sharing objectives with people who you may not accidentally fall for. There are all sorts of things that can send people off into a different direction.

There is one rule though that unless it is into the last hour of the game, you never make it a player’s objective to kill another player character. That is a big no-go in freeforms.

Ludo asks whether “except in the last hour” means that there is going to be a big blood-bath.

Kevin explains that some people spend weeks and months to prepare their characters for the game. There usually is a good mix of genders attending such a freeform. A lot of players like to do the costuming bits, some might have a different costume for every hour of the game. It is fantastic to see what the players bring to a freeform, it can be one of the satisfactions in preparing such an event. So what you cannot do is tell a character to go and kill character Y, because if you kill that player’s character thirty minutes into the game, that player is going to be terribly annoyed as all their preparation will have been for naught from that point onward.

However, a good public death scene is fantastic in a freeform, especially for a baddie, so the general rule is that yes, in the last hour of the game you can actually kill another player’s character.

Jörg interjects that there is one way you can kill a player character when there is a villain or victim who needs killing if you tell that to the player of that character beforehand and you provide them with the replacement character from the start.

David elaborates that yes, you can play a villain in the game, and often players will sign up for playing a villain in the game because they are fun and have a lot of agency. The thing about villains is that for 95% of the time they are a formidable foe of the heroes who are quite likely a bit incompetent, but in the last five percent of the time they need to fail. All this may entail imprisoning the hero, torturing them, telling them all of their plans, where they are going to be next week, and then the hero escapes, strangely.

The game is about creating a maximum game fun environment where the players know who the villains are.

The writers use very broad strokes that people know from movies or comics etc. Especially when people aren’t that familiar with the background you need to employ some well-known tropes that people can connect with. Glorantha as a background is a little specialized, and people playing Glorantha games usually know a reasonable amount about it, but the authors try not necessarily to assume that familiarity. You don’t have to be a gloranthaphile to enjoy any of the Gloranthan games Kevin and his friends have written. The character sheet will contain some necessary basic information about the background relevant to the character, and there are also booklets presenting the background of the game to the players that are handed out before the game.

With conflicts up to and including killing other player characters, Ludo asks about the actual rules mechanics that are used to resolve conflicts in the game.

Kevin observes the more he has written freeforms, the fewer rules he has actually put into the games. There are freeforms where the players actually carry around a little shaker with a die that will be used to resolve conflicts, but that doesn’t work all that well. Kevin’s best advice to players is to actually talk to other players to find a mutual way to resolve the conflict that is actually dramatically satisfying, even (or especially) if one of you loses. If there is no mutual solution, the players get to use stone paper scissors just to get a decision. David adds that a lot of the abilities and spells given to the players are built around that resolution mechanism, which especially in the last hour of the game should be used to get a resolution to their own objectives, too.

Taking the example of the chariot race featured in Home of the Bold, there are obviously going to be some rules around that chariot race, allowing people to feel that their skill or their special ability is going to help them to win that event. So there are some specific rules as well as some general rules.

Freeform Metagame

Ludo asks whether that is also where as the game masters you go around the rooms and help people with that, to which David replies hopefully as little as possible.

The directors are always there to help, but they really try not to get involved unless they really have to be.

Jörg mentions that the directors tend to cheat a bit about that involvement, assigning some players a role that requires them to go around at certain times and announce a new event or similar. So the player how has the town herald gets the job to make the players aware of things happening.

David explains that there are some events in the game that are pre-set. To some extent, all the freeforms set in Glorantha are based on a historical (or prophesied) event in the setting, that tells how the Malani tribe was created and all sorts of things. But being things actually played out by players, the events don’t usually end up like canonical history has them ending.

Ludo then asks whether there is a post-game presentation of what everybody in the game was up to.

Often there will be a big event at the end, in-game. Actually it is very important to have a debriefing or decompressing session after the game. Sometimes people get really caught up in their game and their character, which can be a very emotional thing, so you need that time to allow people to understand that it wasn’t personal, that it wasn’t the other player doing bad things to you as a person, that it was their character doing stuff to a character whose role you took on.

Ludo observes that this can be a general problems at conventions where you play with people you don’t know, so you cannot be sure whether that other player is acting like an asshole because that’s how his character is set up or whether that person actually is an asshole in real life.

Kevin stresses the importance of having the opportunity after a freeform to get things off your chest, even if it is only to boast about things you achieved in the game, and talk about some of the plots you were involved in. Often someone will stand up and talk about a plot, and other people will chime in to clarify what actually went on (from their perspective), possibly across the other side of town in their experience of the game. Learning about events that you weren’t directly involved in actually is a nice thing as it gives you the feeling that you were involved in something bigger than your character.

Jörg mentions the two after-action write-up collections submitted by a large number of players in the game which were published as fund-raisers at the follow-up conventions and distributed to the contributors.

Kevin remembers that to have been a quite hefty bit of work, and they stopped producing those quite quickly.

A Few Famous Gloranthan Freeforms

Ludo then asks about the freeforms that have been mentioned to him, like Home of the Bold or How the West Was One.

David explains that Home of the Bold was set in Boldhome during the Lunar occupation. That is about as much he wants to say at this point in order not to give the plot away.

How The West Was One is set in the west of Glorantha, it is about an attempt to bring all the various Malkioni sects together at an ecumenical council with attending people wearing funny hats and working at not having too many crises of faith. These crises of faith had a nice mechanism (involving sealed letters being opened) where people would go off chewing scenery (pretending to whip themselves or other expressions of religious drama) and changing the direction of their characters and their goals.

Life of Moonson was set in Glamour. It was about choosing the new mask of the Red Emperor, featuring all the people you would expect in the empire like Jar-eel, Beat-pot Aelwrin, the Batman.

Ludo points out that that is the freeform that is available on the Jonstown Compendium. People get all the material possibly to run it on their birthday parties (or other events where there may be fifty people willing to spend a day on a freeform).

Fall of the House of Malan by Jeff Richard and Neil Robinson, produced around the way the Malani tribe was basically broken and the Lismelder tribe splitting off.

Another one by the same team was Orkarl’s Bull, with an epic cattle raid at the center of things.

There was People of Pavis (run at German RuneQuest Convention in 1997) during the Lunar occupation, there was Rise of Ralios (with The World’s Greatest Tournament the accompanying background booklet, run at German RuneQuest Convention in 1996) about the return of Arkat – five times, there was the Broken Council (at the San Francisco RuneQuest Con) about the birth of Nysalor, and there was Home of the Bold, the first bilingual freeform at the German RuneQuest convention 1995 outside of Berlin which was about the Lhankor Mhy temple of Jonstown having to pay a tribute to the imperial library in terms of valuable books.

Jörg adds a few other offerings the conventions had later on, like e.g. Harem Nights set in Fonrit, Griffin Mountain or Bust set in Balazar, and David adds even one set in the Grey Dog Inn, The Murder at the Grey Dog Inn. (A more extensive list is found in this blog post of Jörg’s.)

The very large freeforms sort of petered out about 2002-ish, becoming much much smaller since then. The reasons for that change in format were mostly practical ones as it is quite hard to find and then keep fifty people engaged for a whole day.

There were smaller ones like for instance Tarsh War (which got published by the Reaching Moon Megacorp).

David rightly mentions the original Gloranthan freeform which was Sartar High Council by Greg Stafford, published in Wyrm’s Footnotes #7 (and reprinted in Reaching Moon Megacorp’s Wyrm’s Footprints, a bit of a precursor to the Glorantha Sourcebook catching up all the good stuff from Wyrm’s Footnotes at a time when they were out of print).

David thinks that Chris Gidlow’s smaller freeform games come a bit more out of the table-top game. They are normally played around a table but have very strong freeform elements to them.

Jörg describes how the big freeforms usually prepare the gaming site indicating various in-game locations by associating features of the gaming site. These may include the temple of Boldhome, the royal palace, the thieves’ den, the market place where you can meet everybody, and some of these places have access restrictions, often enforced by some of the players. There is a bit of faction building simply by where your character can go in the game.

David describes the locations in Home of the Bold and their roles: The market place, where all people may gather and where the herald makes his announcements, the Lunar headquarters, Geo’s Inn where all the Sartarites may gather.

Home of the Bold 2024

Ludo mentions that David and Kevin are going to revive the tradition of having these freeforms at the Chaosium convention 2024 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, running what they call the Director’s Cut of Home of the Bold. The original game is for eighty players, but David says they could not get eighty players now, so they scaled it down to about fifty players. Play time has been shortened, too, from originally 10 hours to about 8 hours with a break.

Looking back at the original game, David says that it was really basic, wonderfully carried by everybody’s enthusiasm for the whole concept. He and Kevin have accumulated experience from writing and running a lot of freeforms since then, and they hope this one will be a bit more polished.

Kevin adds that Chaosium is very keen to have this freeform, they shared the layout of the convention ground to be able to set up the event. Chaosium is aware that this is a thing they can only do at a convention, something they cannot do normally.

In many roleplaying conventions you hardly see anybody because they are all in rooms, hugging their gaming tables, which is okay but is not hugely different from what you can do at home. Freeforms are one of these things bigger than you are, like also the legendary auction.

David and Kevin are expecting Jeff Richard to be in the game and are hoping for the other Chaosium people to be able to make at least cameo appearances. Chaosium is a business, after all, and the freeform will occupy some of the co-organizers for quite a bit of the time.

Freeform Goodies

Kevin mentions some of the extra goodies they have done for all of their freeforms, especially for the first one where they did not know whether it would work, and that was to produce some memorabilia that the players would be able to take home even if the freeform may have turned out to flop.

One of these things was the Rough Guide to Boldhome, providing setting information and background. Greg Stafford put in his description of Boldhome, there is a list of all the major personalities (in the freeform, and major figures absent from this action), so even if the whole game crashed and burned (it obviously did not), the players would have a souvenir and something useful out of it.

One of the other things the directors did was actually mint some (lead) coins to use as currency in the game, giving one to each player at the end of the game. These coins represent Lunar coins.

Kevin remembers that he and David were absolutely amazed how the first run of the game turned out, with the players making the game far greater than they had expected. Basically they had been rookies at creating such an event, and they were still printing out character sheets at the morning of the game.

Kevin tried to warn Ingo Tschinke and Jörg about the things they were getting into with Heroes of Wisdom, and indeed Jörg was also printing out character sheets at the convention on the morning of the game.

Other Freeform Notes

Looking back, Kevin takes pleasure at how the freeform community took off in the UK, and how many people’s first experience was Home of the Bold. There is for example Steve Hatherly who runs a semi-professional murder mysteries outfit – confusingly called freeform games – where you can do freeforms at home, and Kevin has actually run a few of these as events at his workplace. Kevin was re-visiting the Continuum convention earlier this year, and it has a strong freeform track as one of its signature features, and does it very well.

Ludo asks about the re-playability of these freeforms.

David agrees that that is the case, although the directors usually have to change a few things between different runs of the game, like e.g. the hidden identity of key villains. As a general rule, these games are very re-playable – the original Home of the Bold has been run four times.

Advice for First-Time Players

One thing to keep in mind as a first-time player is that somewhere in that game there is going to be someone who needs something that your character has – a well-written game will always give the characters things that other characters need as that creates hooks for interaction. The really basic trick to get started in the game is to go around and start talking to people, asking them who they are.

Or you go to meet people that you are supposed to know (hoping that they know who your character is, too).

Ludo asks somewhat incredulously whether these freeforms are going to ask a bunch of nerds to engage in something like a social activity, and the answer is a resounding yes.

The character sheet will normally list people you are supposed to know, and if you are a little bit stuck about what to do you just go to people you know and ask them for help with one of your objectives. Or you might see something interesting happening across the room, and you might go and observe what is taking place there.

The big spectacles like the chariot race will have only a small number actively engaging in these activities, but the other players are encouraged to observe the event, cheer some of the participants or even bet on the outcome. David promises that there will be a bookmaker, and they will be taking in as many bets as the players may wish.

Ludo asks how he has to envision the actual thing happening in the chariot race, and David replies imagination.

Kevin explains that the directors have to run with imagination as the budget does not extent to having full-on chariots on site.

Jörg chimes in that it is advisable to make yourself recognizable in the game. Kevin confirms that you should stand out, and confesses that in some cases he enjoys the prep work for a freeform almost more than the actual play.

Players should make it clear what clan they belong to – Kevin recalls some Lunar players turning up in full Roman military gear.

Players who are less gifted in costuming should at least wear a significant hat. A good hat can say more than a million words.

Jörg tells about the time he was playing Vamargic Eye-Necklace, a bad-ass troll. His costume consisted mainly of a set of pingpong balls with eyes painted on put on a string around his neck and some grey face paint to produce a terrifying troll. Likewise Beat-pot Aelwrin will be recognized by the eponymous kitchen pot for a helmet, for practical reasons (people will bang on it) insert a piece of cloth in between and arrange it like a turban. With red cloth, the Lunar affiliation will be shouted out, too.

David recalls the costume of David Cheng at the Baltimore RuneQuest convention run of Home of the Bold. David was playing a wind child, and what he was wearing was basically a body suit with wings and a strategically placed cloud.

You definitely don’t have to costume like that – a hat would have been fine.

Jörg talks about the after-effects of these freeforms as means of world-building and creating fan canon. Not so much the actual outcome of the game, but the characters in it would become NPCs in many people’s games. Quite a lot of the characters from the original game actually are going to make it into the upcoming Sartar Book by Jeff Richard, while (having some early access to that book) several of the characters from the upcoming book are going to show up in the Directors Cut of Home of the Bold.

The set-up for the upcoming run of Home of the Bold will be fairly canonical, even if the outcome may be vastly different. For the background, they will be using some of the information of the new Sartar book.

And yes, that means that there will be a new background booklet for the players this time as well in case the game should crash and burn.

Speaking of crashing and burning, Jörg opines that he has yet to play or run a freeform where players did not crash or burn part of the setting. In games he ran and co-wrote, he has been surprised by players running off on tangents he would never have imagined.

And that’s perfectly fine, that’s an example of players bringing their own imagination to the game. As David said early on, if you want to know what happened in the freeform, don’t ask the referees, they often have no clue.

David recalls playing People of Pavis, and he made up an objective – he decided it was the Lunar governor-general’s birthday, so he had several of the other players aid him in organizing all sorts of things for the party, and then they had a surprise birthday party where the player of Sor-eel thought he was going to be assassinated.

Tales of the Reaching Moon

We talk a little bit about the fanzine that David and his co-conspirators produced back in the days. David shows up originals of the first and the last issue, the first issue being the classic A4 photocopied and stapled booklet you might expect from a fanzine, while the last issue has a beautiful colour cover and is professionally set and layout’ed.

Ludo points out that the magazine was massively influential at a key time in Glorantha’s publishing history.

David explains that the fanzine came out at the time when Chaosium had licensed RuneQuest to Avalon Hill, and what the fanzine did was it started a new RuneQuest Renaissance at Avalon Hill, starting with Michael O’Brien’s classic Sun County and Ken Rolston’s River of Cradles.

Jörg also points out David Hall’s role in kickstarting Greg Stafford again to produce King of Sartar from a meeting at a Gaelcon in Dublin. David confirms that Home of the Bold did owe quite a bit to the material in King of Sartar.

As David recalls, Greg Stafford had retreated largely from writing for Glorantha due to the detriorating situation with Avalon Hill publishing the RuneQuest boxed sets, and was concentrating largely on his magnum opus Pendragon at the time (the role-playing game about Sit Tomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Artur). Meeting fans enthusiastic about Glorantha, Greg started interacting with the setting again. In 1990, Greg held a convention seminar on heroquesting (that bit of Gloranthan gaming that had been promised for Next Year throughout Chaosium’s second edition of RuneQuest). The things explained at that seminar inspired Tales of the Reaching Moon issue seven which focused on heroquesting.

At one of the Gaelcons, it was just David, Nick Brooke, and Greg Stafford, and David thinks that Nick was in seventh heaven at the time.

Kevin mentions that one of the reasons why Glorantha was very big in the UK was that in the early 1980ies Games Workshop lost the license to reprint Dungeons and Dragons – TSR took it upon themselves to have a local office, so they could do it themselves – and so Games Workshop were looking around for another roleplaying property, and they alighted upon RuneQuest, which is one reason why it was very strong in the UK.

Games Workshop did a few reprints of the pink box of the RQ2 rules.

Ludo claims they ruined the cover when they used a scale-mail bikini-clad skinny female fighter rather than Luise Perrin’s sensibly hoplite-armored warrioress fighting off that rock lizard climbing up her shield.

Anyway, this policy of Games Workshop resulted in a strong followership for RuneQuest and Glorantha in the UK, and another reason why Tales was doing well was that by fortunate coincidence they managed to get the fanzine into UK distribution which meant that it got into all the major games stores over there.

Ludo asks whether this was unusual for a fanzine, and David confirms that it was serendipity at work again. When David and Kevin met at that board-game convention, Kevin’s best mate was in charge of Esdevium Games, and they would take 600 copies out of a total print run of about 1600 copies to retail. As a result, UK gamers got to see support for RuneQuest and Glorantha, which sort of pushed the effect of Games Workshop publishing a local edition.

David recalls that the original Tales 1 was around 290 copies, the second about 250, but by Tales 12 they were doing 1600.

Jörg adds that Tales of the Reaching Moon went global pretty soon – Michael O’Brien (aka MOB) chimed in with issue 4, which is how Tales conquered Australia very early on.

David says they got lucky very early on. Tales 1 started with David, Brian Duguid and Matt Tudor. Matt had plans to get into publishing and was using this for his professional kick-off, while David and Brian mainly wanted to do an A4 fanzine. They met through Greg Stafford, and then it was Jonathan Quaife who helped very much networking with Michael O’Brien, Oliver Dickinson, and all the other people that joined subsequently. Kevin points out that all of this happened before the internet. David remembers that they were writing letters to each other when this started. This gets Ludo wondering whether he ever sent a letter by mail other than Christmas greetings.

As soon as Compuserve and e-mail came came along, they went straight to that new medium.

Ludo asks whether Tales (or the UK in general) ever went through the APA style of self-publication of epistolary exchange. David says that that model never really happened in the UK. You rather created your own A5 fanzine, or a few A4 ones, some of which were pretty well known and almost commercially produced.

While the APA did not play a role in the UK, Greg Stafford himself was a prolific participant in the US APA scene, with his Son of Sartar offerings (that recently have been collected and published by Chaosium as The Stafford House Campaign).

Jörg claims that the APA format sort of carried over into the RuneQuest and Glorantha mailing lists. The original RuneQuest Digest started out in the late eighties even, mainly frequented by people with university access to email, but when it became the RuneQuest Daily in 1993 it exploded in volume and traffic. The archives can be found at: http://glorantha.steff.in

Jörg claims that Home of the Bold (and the Rough Guide to Boldhome and the after-action reports) really opened up roleplaying in Sartar, because before of that, we had Snake Pipe Hollow and Apple Lane as scenarios in Sartar (and the Haunted Ruins as part of Troll Pak), but that was it. All the other material was for Pavis, the River of Cradles, or the Elder Wilds.

David recalls learning a lot about Sartar from Jon Quaife when he joined his Greydog campaign, and then sort of introduced that campaign to his own players.

Ludo asks whether that played a role in re-centering RuneQuest away from Pavis and into Sartar.

David remembers that a lot of the material published in Tales was from that Lismelder campaign, but he also shouts off towards Jeff Richard’s Orlmarth campaign (just across the Starfire Ridges) in Seattle, where there was a lot of mutual bashing between the two rival clans.

Jörg points toward the big metaplot for Glorantha already having been published with the board game White Bear and Red Moon, and the sequence of the scenarios in that game. Right now we are getting this translated into roleplaying books for RuneQuest. Sartarites vs Lunars always was a thing, and for some weird reason nobody really played the Lunars.

David protests that they all played the Lunars – in Tales of the Reaching Moon they had to. While it may have been exposition with the name of the magazine, with Nick Brooke and Chris Gidlow they always had strong representation of the Lunar Way. “We (the Lunars) might not win the war, but we won the argument.”

Ludo points to our recent episode with Nick which was an exercise in Lunar propaganda.

Different Forms of Life Action Roleplaying

Ludo asks about the fair number of different labels for freeform gaming. There are for instance freeforms, murder mysteries, Nordic LARP, whereas tabletop roleplaying pretty much is what it is. So is there more of a segregation of the various types of LARPing going on than in table-top roleplaying?

David agrees that there used to be. They typically said they were not running around the woods whacking each other with rubber swords, that is LARPing, but he things that these rubber sword LARPs have taken on a lot of the aspects of freeforming in terms that they are plotted, that they are better created. Jörg mentions the far end of physical activity LARPing with organizations like the Society of Creative Anachronism or even HEMA (middle ages martial re-enactment).

Ludo asks whether the SCA actually does roleplaying, but they do take on characters in their get-togethers. Whether they actually have plotted games is a different question.

Ludo asks whether anybody ever created a Gloranthan LARP with rubber swords, and Jörg confesses to have accompanied one such as a (drafted) referee, with a group of trolls haunting the vineyards around Castle Stahleck on one German RuneQuest convention.

Kevin also points towards having met Life Action Trollball, which is a different kind of LARPing. David quips that it may be similar to the SCA taking on roles, but Jörg claims that Trollball actually evolved a lot.

Trollball, as played on Eternal Conventions, the inheritor of the location and date of the Tentacles conventions, now have a trollball league where the children in the teams get to play the great trolls and the adults (if you can speak of such in a pastime like this) are the normal trolls. There still is audience participation by tossing in harmless water bombs (at adult players), there still is the Xiola Umbar healer with the really messy healing by putting on flour, and the game still is played in slow motion, at least when it comes to movement across the field. The bashing of others happens in real time, at least as much as the very soft weapons allow.

It still is as extremely silly as it was when Jörg brought his experience from 1994 Convulsion home to a local convention in his hometown in Kiel. There was a reporter from the local newspaper attending the convention, and he was fascinated by the impression of grown up people bashing one another over the head with blow-up toys.

David remembers that MOB was very into Life Action Trollball (he was the one who brought it over from Australia, invented the slow motion rule, for the 1994 Baltimore convention and Convulsion in the same year) and will ask him about a chance to re-introduce this to Chaosium Con.

Jörg gives another shout-out to the rules of the Eternal Convention league as that offers the small attendees a chance to participate in Glorantha. Eternal Convention also offers freeforms for children – taking situations like a meeting of Disney princesses and having the children and some supporting parents playing this out for two or maybe three hours.

Kevin had not heard of that, but thinks it is a cool idea to run with a premise that requires little to no explanation of the setting and giving the children a chance to have a go at this kind of roleplaying.

Kevin observes that freeforming is a very broad church, encompassing a lot of everything. As people got a better understanding of what is going on, the range of topics and people you can draw in has expanded a lot.

Nordic LARPing can be very dark and very deep, psychologically very testing. They are aware that they are exploring something in a safe space, that you probably would not be able to do in another way. That’s a common feature in all forms of freeforming, allowing to explore things in character that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Ludo talks about his limited understanding of how Nordic LARPs work, with referees approaching the players in game to confront them with a new, usually dark and disturbing new direction of their role, e.g. revealing that that other character is the person who murdered your sister, or a similarly traumatic twist.

Kevin agrees that some of the Nordic Larps can be pretty dark and deep, and some of the topics can be pretty dark. You really need to know what you are getting into before you run into one of those. They definitely have mature content warning on the cover when you are signing up.

Coming back to Ludo’s leading argument that table-top roleplaying pretty much is what it is, Jörg suggests that you can have tabletop roleplaying experiences going nearly as deep, like for instance Robin Laws’s Drama System, which doesn’t require any kind of typical table-top heroism. At one Kraken convention Robin and Kat Tobin from Pelgrane games presented a possible conflict in Drama system escalating from something like “you never put away the dishes”.

Final Words

Kevin wishes that more people would write them so that he would get to play in more of them. He has played in a few when he went to conventions, but it would be nice to see more peeping up at conventions. David is hopeful that their return to Home of the Bold might encourage a few more people to write freeforms.

Jörg observes that sometimes you have to go to rather niche places to play a freeform, and traveling to many can be quite costly.

So the Directors Cut of Home of the Bold will be run at Chaosium Con in April 18th to 21st in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ludo recalls how a freeform prepared by John Wick for the first Chaosium Con had to be cancelled last minute because of Covid concerns.

Kevin is looking forward to seeing people and their hats, which Ludo remembers he needs to prepare over the next few months. When Jörg suggests that the newsletter might have to be resurrected for some pictures, the argument that taking pictures of yourself doesn’t work all of a sudden becomes a lot more attractive.

Kevin explains that when people sign up for the Director’s Cut of Home of the Bold, they will receive a questionnaire where they can jot down their preferences, and he and David will then use a very scientific method of allocating roles so you will know a few weeks ahead of the event which role you will be given, which means you can work on your hat. Kevin and David assure Jörg that the top AI algorithm is a little more sophisticated than die rolls.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

We finally worked up the courage to get Jeff Richard on our show!

Jeff is the Creative Director and Chair of Chaosium, the lead writer on most of the RuneQuest books, the lead art director on RuneQuest, and the editor for Pendragon. Jeff is also generally responsible for the look and feel of the Chaosium books.

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In this episode which we finally get around to talking about 13th Age Glorantha. Ludo and Jörg are joined by Becca of “Dames & Dice” fame on the Iconic Podcast, and by Evan Franke, of “Exploring Glorantha” fame.

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Our guest for this episode is Austin Conrad, who last graced our podcast in episode 2, On the Road. Austin is the author of many things on the Jonstown Compendium, generally publishing under the “Akhelas” brand, while he is known as “Crel” on BRP Central, Discord, and social media.

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Art by Dan Barker, from the Broken Council Guidebook

We start this episode with a minor existential crisis on Ludo’s identity, followed by Ludo being protective of our usual guests by volunteering to take the brunt of Jörg’s incoming obscurantism and pedantry. Ludo accuses rather than praises Jörg of being a bright guy…

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Joerg and Ludo welcome Bud from Bud’s RPG Review, where we see his hands in a typical unboxing set-up, not just doing flip-throughs but also a whole series of explanation videos:

[1] It seems that since the episode was recorded, Bud fixed the duplicated RuneQuest video playlist… or maybe Ludo imagined it.

Another place to find Bud is the “Bud and Griff’s Gaming Creepshow” podcast, a “podcast about spooky gaming” (in Bud’s words):

Last but not least, Bud is one of the authors of the Miskatonic Repository bestselling book Viral: A Modern Call of Cthulhu Scenario, with Alex Guillotte. For those of you less involved with Call of Cthulhu, the Miskatonic Repository is the sister community content program to the Jonstown Compendium.

Bud states that his “Bud Explains” videos (which Ludo has faithfully linked from his newsletter) are really for beginners, since delving into the lore of Glorantha can be hard work. He promises more in the future.

Finally you can find Bud on Twitter, if that thing is still going by the time you read this.

Main Topic

Going to our main topic, Ludo says that you will find mention of that guy Arkat in many places, with plenty of lore to dig into. So who is this guy, and why is he cool?

What Does Your RuneQuest Character Knows About Arkat

Bud points out that many of the things Arkat did are kind of hidden.

Arkat is possibly most renowned for being the person who mastered heroquesting and for being the slayer of a god, whom he called Gbaji the Deceiver, but who was known to his worshippers as Nysalor.

Bud remains neutral on whether the deity slain by Arkat was the Deceiver or not.

Ludo gives the context that all of these great deeds happened about 1200 years ago (if you are playing in the normal 1625 time frame). To give a comparison from our world’s history, Ludo suggests a weird Arthurian hero, Jörg interjects that Charlemagne fits the time frame even better. Ludo jokes that Charlemagne was evil because he introduced the school system, but Jörg points out that his evil included the genocide of the Saxons, and that that may be why the peace price of the European Union is named after him.

Getting back on topic, Ludo points out that the Gbaji Wars ended with the blighting and destruction of Dorastor, formerly a beautiful and fertile land.

Bud calls Arkat’s action the rites of cleansing, even though they poisoned the land.

(Arkat did curse the land of Dorastor, and sort of bound the Chaos that had been loosed in the final phase of the Gbaji Wars to this ruined place. The land remained dormant for quite a while until both God Learners and EWF explorers took an interest, which seems to have awakened the land.)

Ludo then talks about Arkat’s star, which appeared when Arkat apotheosized early in the Second Age. Jörg claims that the star vanished since, because the God Learners hid the way.

(Doing some additional research after the podcast, the Guide p.646 claims that Arkat is a prominent constellation in the area of the sky called the Celestial Fields, between the Celestial Forest and the Celestial River.)

(The star map on p. 645 only shows a differently named constellation: the Doves, which is how the Dara Happans name the constellation. They were followers of Nysalor and have no love at all for the slayer of their god, whom they name Gbaji.)

(The list of constellations talks about the constellation of Arkat, stating that only one star was visible there at the Dawn, but that Arkat’s apotheosis caused three bright companions and a number of less bright ones nearby that some claim for the hero as well.)

So Jörg was wrong by remembering correctly that there is no constellation named Arkat on the star map.

Bud then points out that Arkat also is a troll god.

Ludo then sums it up: Arkat was several things to several people, he was some sort of either hero or antihero or evil war general. “He killed a whole bunch of people and did many awesome things.”

The Life of Arkat

Bud starts by telling us that Arkat was born in the elf forests of Brithos, interestingly during the Sunstop… or the Sunspot? Linguistic shenanigans ensue, and come to haunt us.

The Sunstop occurred in the year 375 S.T. (“Solar Time”, after the Dawn) when the Second Council (cooperating with the Dara Happan Empire) created Osentalka, the (presumed) Perfect God, in their capital in Dorastor.

(Several other contributors to the Sunstop include Malkioni sorcerers in Fronela casting a great ritual against the Hsunchen shamans, the Kralori Emperor meditating on a potent symbol – the Dragon’s Eye, and a hundred thousand Aldryami in Pamaltela calling on a good spirit to combat a virulent rot affecting them and their forests. See the Guide to Glorantha p.128 for the wider view. A good introductory read is the history from Cults of Terror, available on the Well of Daliath and reprinted in the Guide.)

Bud goes into detail on Arkat’s birth on Brithos, an island in the western Neliomi Sea that disappeared during the Closing (some say that its disappearance caused the Closing).

Arkat’s birth may have been the creation of the opposite to the newborn god in Dorastor, a balancing force brought in by the universe. The new god was born outside of the Compromise, making the birth of Arkat the opposition of the universe to this insult to Time.

Bud compares this to Argrath being the nemesis of the Red Goddess.

Arkat was fostered by the Aldryami of Brithos, and supposedly illuminated by them at a young age, which Bud thinks is another great irony. About 24 years later he was part of the 4th Brithos Army of Law,

Eventually he became known as the son of Humakt, Arkat Humaktsson.

Progressing through local wars (with the Vampire Kings of Tanisor still as Brithini soldier, then alongside the Seshnegi Men-of-All against the Nieby priests led by Gaalth, then joining the Orlanthi of the upper Tanier River in their fight against Gbaji‘s shock troops, the Telmori who had received Nysalor’s blessing to turn into magical wolves on Wilddays) Arkat became aware of the Riddlers of Nysalor.

In Seshnela, the priests of Nysalor apparently spread poison, or an unhealable disease, and offered healing and protection from it, thereby getting people to worship Nysalor.

Arkat saw and showed that Nysalor had a duality, that he wasn’t just a benevolent god who illuminated people and taught them a different way of thinking, he exposed the deity behind these priests as the Chaos God Gbaji. Arkat made it his life quest to slay Gbaji and free the world from the great Deceiver.

(Much of Arkat’s earliest activities are mentioned in the list of the Kings of Seshnela on the Well of Daliath to greater detail than in the Guide to Glorantha, where p.410 gives details about Arkat’s deeds in Seshnela.)

Skipping far ahead, eventually Arkat managed to invade Dorastor, the homeland of Nysalor, and slew the enemy god atop the Tower of Miracles in the City of Dreams. He supposedly dismembered Nysalor and had its parts scattered and buried around Glorantha.

However, slaying a god doesn’t come easy, and Arkat looked into heroquesting at various points. He brought the Unbreakable Sword with him, the original Death, to enable him to slay a god.

Supposedly when he was on one of his heroquests, he encountered himself as a troll and was wounded by himself, an unhealable wound that he carried with him for his entire life that caused him discomfort.

Also, Arkat is known to have mapped out the Gods’ Realm to enable passage for him, which explains how he ended up so ridiculously powerful.

Before he actually went to slay Nysalor, he underwent the Rite of Rebirth and became one of the Uzuz (the Mistress Troll Race).

There are various pieces of art depicting Arkat as an armoured troll fighting Nysalor.

Once Arkat had killed Nysalor, he created the Autarchy, a.k.a. Stygian Empire, in Ralios and modern Seshnela. Ralios lies west of Dragon Pass, south of Dorastor.

The capital of the Autarchy was Arkhome (on the Nidan river in Rindland, a portion of the ancient Ralian territory of Fornoar now belonging to the modern Kingdom of Seshnela. See the political map on p.417 in the Guide to Gloranha. It was the place where Harmast emerged with Arkat on his first Lightbringer’s Quest.)

Arkat eventually pulled a Thanos move and retired, his work done.

The destruction of Nysalor ended the Dawn Age, making Arkat sort of responsible for starting the cycle of Ages in Glorantha’s History.

Ludo picks up the Thanos comparison and also brings up Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now as another powerful archetype resembling Arkat.

Arkat, The Ultimate Minmaxer

Ludo recapitulates how Nysalor became the god of the Bright Empire, spreading a philosophy of participation and harmony, but on its fringes Arkat figured out that missionaries from the Empire were causing the problems that they professed to solve, resulting in Arkat vowing to destroy Nysalor’s Empire.

In order to do that, he initiated into a series of cults and religions.

(Ludo fails to mention his origins as a Child of the Forest, a bucolic existence in the forest like the happy end for Morag from Biturian’s travelogue, and his illumination experience there.)

Arkat was “initiated” into the Horali caste (his grandfather’s caste) on Brithos, the warrior caste of ancient Malkionism.

Then he moved on to the (Seshnegi-style) Hrestoli Man-of-All, mastering all of the Malkioni castes, and all the power, including sorcery,

Then he went on and became friendly with the Orlanthi, initiating into Orlanth, and then Humakt.

Then he needed anti-Chaos powers and became a troll (through the Ritual of Rebirth, initiating him to Kyger Litor) and joined Zorak Zoran for his final assault on Dorastor.

Arkat basically multiclassed like crazy, making him the ultimate mini-maxer in Ludo’s eyes.

Jörg counters that Arkat’s spiritual experiences resembled serial monogamy – whatever cult Arkat joined, he joined with all his being.

Ludo counter-argues that Arkat kept all the powers, and Bud claims that the reason for that was that Arkat was illuminated. Bud claims that this was due to the illuminates’ immunity to Spirits of Reprisal that would otherwise plague an apostate.

Jörg argues that the benefit of Illumination is rather a compartmentalization of the illuminate’s personality.

Bud continues that Arkat essentially ploughed roughshot over multiple cults, his aim being to accumulate as much power as he could to destroy Nysalor, and that Arkat was right, be cause he did it. (Which is questioned by Jorg.)

Bud feels that this is where Your Glorantha May Vary falls down slightly, when unlike the fluidity of the God Time, things go into the historical record.

What went on atop the Tower of Dreams? Nobody knows, nobody else was there. But everything else is part of the historical record, there are records of Arkat becoming a troll, the whole thing was written down by a troll who witnessed the event (and can be read in the Jonstown Compendium excerpt on trolls provided by the RQ3 Troll Gods box if you are lucky enough to own it).

Bud acknowledges historical bias, but unlike the Gods Age where you can see things from different perspectives – how many versions of the Lightbringers’ Quest are there? – but when it is viewing things from the historical record, that’s really all you got to go off.

Jörg claims that the thing about the Gbaji Wars was a clash of realities.

His personal pet theory is that whenever Arkat looked in the direction of Nysalor, he saw Gbaji, Whenever Nysalor looked in the direction of Arkat, he saw Gbaji, the chaotic Deceiver God.

What Nysalor did (or what actually his creators from the Second Council and Dara Happa did using the Pseudocosmic Egg) was to create a new reality where everything was bright and shiny and harmonious (at least once the dissenting voices of the Heortling Orlanthi and the trolls and dragonewts had been muted), and Arkat was born on the other side of this effect. Arkat brought his anti-Nysalor effect with him, and so realities clashed whenever the forces of Nysalor and of Arkat met.

Jörg draws a comparison to the Glowline (which separates a magical reality full of Lunar glow from the drab mundane reality outside) because the Glowline is a bit of a copy of this Bright Empire thing. (Jörg fails to mention the Young Elementals from the Seven Mothers write-up as his evidence.)

Bud demands to expand that a little more, since the Glowline is something everyone can see (at least on days of the Dark Moon when it makes a difference). Jörg mentions the Dan Barker illustration in the Guide p.724 which shows Arkat and Nysalor, with different skin tones and expressions but otherwise identical faces (or at least beard styles).

Arkat’s Multiple Initiations and Mastery of Heroquesting

Ludo explains how this series of cultic initiations let Arkat experience a lot of “safe” (re-enacted) cult heroquests and gave him a unique experience of arriving at the same God Time events from different quests (including the one where Zorak Zorani Arkat wounded Hrestoli or Horali Arkat).

Arkat was the first heroquester who voluntarily went off-script in his heroquesting, exploring the hero plane seeing connected paths and creating a map.

Arkat greatly innovated the art of heroquesting.

Jörg compares a heroquest to a medieval road map which only shows one linear journey where you reach intermediate spots where you could go elsewhere, leading to your initial target.

Arkat would have followed two (or more) separate heroquests to a Hero Plane location (a Godtime event) and he would have known where both paths leading there came from, and where he could continue from that station.

Ludo compares Arkat’s method to a hex crawl across the hero plane.

Bud offers a different term than off-script: Arkat got to go back-stage, also getting an insight how all of this worked.

Ludo brags about his ChaosiumCon playtest glimpse of the ever-upcoming heroquesting rules for RuneQuest. Bud (jokingly) rejects the notion that such a thing exists.

Ludo goes on to describe how those rules have techniques reminiscent of the sorcery techniques in RQG, techniques like Ranging. Arkat developed these techniques, and later the God Learners put names on them.

Ludo talks about the relationship between Arkati heroquesting and God Learner heroquesting.

Bud points out that a lot what the God Learners did was based on Arkat’s work anyway.

Ludo mentions Arkat’s very specific philosophy that all heroquesting was to be “with respect and humility”.

Apparently, Arkat set up a heroquesting police that was basically patrolling the hero plane and slapping the fingers of any transgressors.

Jörg and Bud point out that the Arkati presence more often manifests as stationary guardians.

Ludo goes on to compare the God Learner heroquesters with Mad Scientists (TM) who got whatever they wanted and destroyed many of the remaining Arkati stationary guardians, exploring the Hero Plane without any ethics.

Ludo imagines playing a Dark Empire heroquesting game where you are the guardians, something Jörg compares to the Time Police. Bud adds that these police would make sure that you don’t mess with reality too much, but that’s the problem. The God Learners effectively wiped these guardians out and made the hero plane their playground.

Jörg points out that when you enter the hero plane these days, you will still find the black guardians at all the major crossings, suggesting that the God Learners failed to eradicate them all.

Ludo approves of their presence for games set in the 1625 era,

Bud claims that the problem about the God Learners is that there isn’t all that much written about them. Bud wanted to do a video about them and was stopped by the scarcity of material.

Arkat Went to Hell

Probably several times, but very prominently involuntarily so when Palangio the Iron Vrok killed and dismembered him in Ralios around 418 S.T. Arkat was sent to a special Hell he could not use his heroic powers to escape from, which since has become a tradition to do to the big bad anti-illumination guy.

That Hell was supposed to be inaccessible, but an Orlanthi hero by the name of Harmast Barefoot managed to get him back.

Arkat had basically two lives. (The Xeotam Dialogue in the Sourcebook p.74 calls this state of being a Kaelith.)

Bud points out that Arkat having been dismembered is what he went on to do with Nysalor. Ludo asks whether that was petty, but Bud calls that the ultimate revenge.

Jörg brings up dismemberment as a proven method to get rid of a god – citing the dismemberment of Umath even before the discovery of Death as proof for the efficiency of the method.

Ludo philosophizes that a lot of people get dismembered in Glorantha, which Bud counters with the predilection of people to lose their left legs in (RuneQuest) Glorantha.

A Hero’s Retirement

Ludo points out that Arkat had fifty years of fighting, and then fifty years of peaceful retirement, during which he sets up the Autarchy (called Stygian Empire by its foes). He spends those years teaching his secrets and benevolently overseeing the lands without much interference.

Bud replies Ludo’s question about the fate of the Autarchy that it fell in the end, to the forces of the God Learners (during the reign of Annmak Peacemaker, in 740 S.T.)

Jörg points out that the Dark Empire was the premier Malkioni (and Orlanthi, and troll) realm in Genertela. It ruled over the entire Tanisor valley (the land ironically called Kingdom of Seshnela in the Third Age) and Safelster, with the capital Arkhome situated in Rindland, the home Duchy of Bailifes the Hammer who founded the new Kingdom of Seshnela.

Jörg nerdplains that Autarchy roughly translates from Greek as Self-Rule, and that that was what he allowed the local potentates to do, the Archons who were basically his disciples who kept oversight over some of those places.

The term Archon still is used for the rulers of Safelster, where a city-state might also be called an Archonate.

Fast-forwarding to the Now of RQG (i.e. 1625 ST), what is the legacy that Arkat left behind?

Bud quips that there is one less god. Or at least Nysalor required a lot of patching together by the Red Goddess, as Ludo points out. Which Bud compares to a jigsaw puzzle with too many parts.

Jörg puts forward that Gbaji was dismembered at the same time as Nysalor, who was cut into 49 parts which the Lunars collected. When the Lunars collected the parts, they ended up with more than 50, and they made sure that they weren’t using any portion of Gbaji when re-assembling Nysalor.

Bud asks whether the Lunars could differentiate between the portions of Nysalor and Gbaji, and Jörg suggests that the Lunars know about Chaos, so he gueses they could. They say so.

Ludo corroborates that when the Lunar propaganda says so, it is probably true. Right?

There are still followers of Black Arkat active on the hero planes, doing things to heroquesters, and (on the mundane plane) to people they suspect of Godlearnerism.

These Arkati can pop up and jinx your heroquests, or even your preparations for those.

Jörg manages to confuse Arkat’s Last Fortress near Kartolin Pass (crossing from Ralios into Dorastor) with Arkat’s Hold in Esrolia, the city at the end of the Building Wall.

Ludo points to The Smoking Ruins which has information and stats on some Black Arkati from that place.

Bud points out that Arkat was in his seventies when he became a troll. Bud ponders whether Arkat underwent the Ritual of Rebirth because trolls are longer-lived than humans.

Jörg counters that Arkat was born as a Brithini, a race that doesn’t age when they maintain their caste restrictions (something Arkat definitely did not do), and age slowly if they did.

Bud mentions the years of war wearing down on Arkat, and his unhealable wound from that heroquest. By normal standards, Arkat would have been an old man yet unable to fulfill his life quest (writing this feels strange the day after the coronation of King Charles III), although by Brithini standards he was still a young man (according to Jörg just about initiation age, really).

Another aspect of Arkat is that as an Illuminate, he should have known better than to pursue his revenge so relentlessly. When you’re illuminated, you understand that Chaos is not always bad.

Jorg interjects that that is why some people claim that Arkat became a Chaos monster in the end in order to overcome Nysalor. Bud asks for citations, Jörg points out that no witnesses survived. (This could be inferred from the upcoming five-fold return of Arkat in Safelster, in the boxed text on p.385 in the Guide to Glorantha.)

Bud reports that the argument has been made that Arkat never became a troll, casting doubt on the reliability of the troll witness of his Ritual of Rebirth. Bud admits that when Arkat returned from his fight atop the Tower of Dreams, he was no longer a troll.

Jörg brings up another pet theory of his, that Arkat might have become a Kitori shape-shifter (in addition to joining the cults of Kyger Litor and Zorak Zoran), the adoptive species imitating the Only Old One capable of taking human, troll and dehori (darkness spirit) shape.

Ludo admits that Arkat did ally with the Only Old One in the Shadowlands, and that he might have picked up a trick or two there. Which would be also more multiclassing, as Bud remarks.

Jörg points out that after the Gbaji Wars, the Kitori were collectively called Arkati by the Orlanthi (at least in History of the Heortling People p.72).

We digress about the Hillbilly nature of Orlanthi, and that an argument (which is what you get when you bring two or more Orlanthi together) might the best collective name for a bunch of Orlanthi (much like a Murder of Crows).

The Illumination Bit

Ludo steers the conversation back to illumination, pointing out that Nysalor was illuminated too. (Cart before the horse, really, as Nysalor was the source for that form of Illumination.)

Ludo is getting more vibes of Anarchy vs. Law/Order than of anti-Chaos vs. Chaos. He feels that the two enemies had opposed philosophies and politics about what to do with the continent of Genertela, with one making everything yellow and bright with great cities and laws and imposed order, and Arkat demanding that everybody should rule themselves (making him the ultimate punk).

Bud mentions his Illumination explanatory video and says that that is the argument against Illumination, and that the Red Goddess is taking the blame for adhering to a difference between Draconic and Nysalorean illumination (which is what the Red Goddess is spreading). Bud claims that when dragons become illuminated, they leave Glorantha, whereas when Nysaloreans achieve illumination, they stay around and use their power of illumination to build up more power, whereupon the universe creates an opposite power, and that where Nysalor was the action, Arkat was the reaction.

Jörg brings up the Nysalor quote “At the Edge of Light, there is always Darkness” as his reaction to learning about the spreading of the disease in Seshnela. Bud quips that that sounds like equivalent of “thoughts and prayers”.

Ludo thinks the dragons have the right idea, but Jörg cannot help to mention that the only dragon he remembers to have left the world was Obduran the Flyer, the only EWF Orlanthi who became a (full) dragon.(Details in History of the Heortling Peoples, p.44, 803 S.T,)

Back on topic, Ludo asks how to put Arkat into your RQG games.

Bud suggests that Chaosium should do an epic campaign, based on the idea that the Lunars put Nysalor back together, and then having Arkat return and deal with it.

Jörg mentions that he contributed to a game like that, the 1995 Freeform Rise of Ralios, a follow-up to Reaching Moon Megacorp’s 1994 How the West Was One, with the core idea that the five prophesied Arkats return.

Ludo asks whether that means that there were five aspects of Arkat coming back from the hero plane, like a troll Arkat etc.,

Ludo points out that when you are illuminated, Chaos is not necessarily bad, and a Chaos Monster Arkat could be useful.

Bud brings up that Arkat defeated the Crimson Bat at one point, and Jörg elaborates that it might have been called the Purple Bat before, a death demon of Rinliddi which Arkat flayed, which is how it became Crimson.

After taking a moment’s pause, Bud calls Arkat a bad-ass.

Bud asks whether there is any other hero in Gloranthan history who has accomplished what Arkat has accomplished. Jörg proposes Sheng Seleris. Bud complains that Sheng was killed, but Jörg replies that so was Arkat. We quibble about stars lost and returning.

Ludo points out that Arkat was liberated by the Lightbringers Quest, and then gives a metaplot spoiler that Argrath is expected to liberate Sheng Seleris with his Lightbringers’ Quest.

Jörg calls Argrath Arkat the Liberator. Ludo rambles on that much like Harmast being an Orlanthi hero performing a Lightbringers’ Quest liberating Arkat from Hell, Argrath is an Orlanthi hero prophesied to liberate Sheng Seleris from Hell, claiming that history repeats itself. Whether because of cycles of cosmic significance or because the designers run out of ideas Ludo doesn’t know.

Ludo points out that Arkat’s story was among the first Gloranthan pieces written by Greg, with the protagonist still called Argat, which only later morphed into Arkat, with the similarity of Argrath (both names meaning “Liberator”) intentional.

Jörg points out that Greg’s Glorantha at the time did not yet know Dragon Pass, When Greg decided to publish his Glorantha stories not as books but as a series of games, he took his character Arkat and put him in that board game called White Bear and Red Moon by a slightly different name.

Ludo stubbornly tries to steer us back towards how to use Arkat in your games.

One possibility might be the presence of pieces of Nysalor (or Gbaji) still lying around in some hiding places, as McGuffins for scenarios, claiming that Arkat might even have taken Nysalor’s own monsters and set them up as guardians of those bits.

Bud interjects that that implies that Nysalor was a thing of Chaos, and he says he wasn’t. Ludo refuses to be Deceived.

Now Bud admits that some say that it was Gbaji who walked away from the Tower of Dreams that day, but Ludo wants to delay talking about the crazy conspiracy theories a little longer.

Ludo points towards Safelster, where each city state may be the guardian of some pocket or snippet of Arkati knowledge, giving way to some sort of secret society/spy game shenanigans, whether in Safelster or carried into the Hero Wars in and around Dragon Pass.

Bud asks whether anybody knows where Arkat was buried. Jörg suggests near Arkhome, but draws a blank whether his body was buried, whether he was cremated, or whether Arkat ascended bodily. After all, Sartar did not leave a body behind, either.

Ludo suggests that he may have asked his followers do dismember his body after he left, hiding them away, and maybe that were some of the extra bits the Lunars found, so that they now have a Frankenstein Nysalor that may contain certain amounts of Arkat, making a Voltron illuminated god.

Jörg suggests that alternatively Arkat may have had a troll burial, becoming a funerary feast.

Bud ominously says “he exists within trolls” (and at least Jörg can hear the idea of hyena skins being sewn together transferred to Arkat and Mistress Race stomachs).

Ludo rambles about the fact that while Arkat ascended as a god, the God Learners installed locks that prevent people from contacting the hero in the God Plane.

Ludo correctly points out that there are still people maintaining these God Learner locks (check out the last paragraph on p.415 in the Guide, the city of Harsad near the ruins of Arkhome). This cripples all the many surviving (or resurrected) Arkati cults that claim they got Arkat’s power. Jörg points out that the greatest of the God Learners, Halwal, who had turned against his compatriots, had attempted to re-unite and return a single Arkat, and even he failed (which may be why he and his opponent Yomili ended up mutually eliminating not just themselves but many of their allies and foes, polluting the region of the Red Ruins to this day).

Ludo explains that when he gets his players into heroquesting, he plans to give them some God Learner or Arkati obstacles. Bud points out that there is supposedly a God Learner alive, as a prisoner of Ralzakark receiving daily torture.

Ludo states that whenever you see something phrased as a rumor, it will be true in somebody’s version of Glorantha.

Jörg repeats the slander that Belintar was a God Learner.

Ludo drops a spoiler for Andrew Logan Montgomery’s Company of the Dragon where your heroquesting players might come across a God Learner who got lost on the hero plane, without any idea how much Time has passed in the mundane world.

Jörg points out that Nick Brooke’s Scenario Duel at Dangerford has a Humakti guardian who might be sort of an Arkati heroquesting guard.

Bud proposes that the Arkati guardians at thresholds in the Hero Plane might not be guarding with death as the alternative. He brings up the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant as having a possible parallel to the Arkati hero plane guardians, as Guardians who aren’t there to necessarily stop you but to prevent you from stumbling into things you aren’t prepared for yet.

And then the God Learners found ways of bypassing a lot of them, which is one of the crimes they committed.

Jörg mentions that one of the guardians removed by the God Learners was a raccoon, the Raccoon Guardian of Tusunimmi Ford, causing some hilarity when telling the story and mis-attributing it (not Cults of Terror, but the Glorantha Book of the RQ3 Genertela Box and subsequently the Guide p.136). Bud’s observation that this sounds like a pipe dream might be accurate given the work environment at The Chaosium at the time this was written.

Glorantha can be more than a bit gonzo, at the same time being this down-to-earth Bronze Age fantasy thing.

Crazy Conspiracy Theories

Bud declines to be first responder to Ludo’s demand for crazy conspiracy theories.

Jörg puts forward that Argrath is Arkat the Liberator, and his Lightbringer’s Quest liberating Sheng is also a way of paying back the cosmic karma to Harmast liberating Arkat.

Ludo asks whether that means that the other four of the five returning Arkats could be player characters, and Jörg agrees. (Played and tested in the 1995 run of Rise of Ralios.)

Jörg suggests that there will be more than five such people claiming to be Arkat. All of them KNOW they are the real deal, but several will be proven to be false.

Ludo’s theory involves the motives of the Second Council awakening Nysalor – to bring Harmony between Glorantha and the Void. Arkat ruined that chance of reconciliation.

Bud asks about the runes of Nysalor. There is definitely light (fire without the dot in the center, aka a circle).

Ludo brags about his brand-new copy of the Prosopaedia for Cults of RuneQuest that he brought back from ChaosiumCon and looks it up. It is Light and Mastery, and there is neither Harmony nor Chaos nor Moon.

Ludo (jokingly?) comes to the conclusion that the Prosopaedia was written by biased people and suggests to ignore it.

Bud finally comes clear that his theory is that Arkat was defeated on the Tower of Dreams, and that Gbaji deceived everybody by pretending he was Arkat, and walking away. That would also make Gbaji the founder of the Autarchy, the Heroquesting police, etc.

One “proof” is that Arkat no longer looked like a troll when he left.

When Ludo casts doubt – after all most that Arkat did afterwards was to settle down on a farm – Jörg suggests that that’s what THEY tell you. Bringing up pluripresence, Jörg states that One of Them (Them being Arkat, or Gbaji) went to Arkhome and settled down,

Bud suggests that that would have been the ultimate deception for Gbaji the Deceiver, deception for deception’s sake, but when Jörg suggests that deceiving everybody possibly included deceiving himself, Bud thinks that is going too far.

Ludo comes forward with another theory – Arkat did win, but only because Nysalor wanted him to win, to dismember him and spread him around all over the known world. Bud objects that the Red Goddess was not illuminated by the body parts of Nysalor but by the spirit of the god in Hell.

Jörg’s suggestion that the dismemberment of Nysalor could be seen as a version of utuma is rejected by Ludo, who wants to have some clear distinction between these two ways towards enlightenment.

Jörg points out that the core point of draconic enlightenment is to make True Dragons out of neotenic dragons, and that human adaptation of that has always resulted in strange things.

Bud refers to Company of the Dragon which has Andrew Logan Montgomery’s essay on draconic illumination, with dragonewts having problems to wake up to draconic reality while dragons spend their time sleeping before finally ascending.

This segues into what kind of illumination did Arkat have.

Jörg dodges this by tracking back where Arkat supposedly received his illumination, giving the aldryami of Brithos as the source, asking what kind they would have had.

Bud goes back into the Godtime, where Rashoran (an aspect or jigsaw piece of the reconstituted Red Goddess) was the source of all illumination. Jörg claims that Rashoran was effectively Nysalor pre-born, or that Nysalor was the reincarnation of Rashoran.

We discuss Rashoran’s credentials (illuminated Chalana Arroy and Humakt, illuminated the Unholy Trio who then killed Rashoran and created the Devil) and his role in the birth of the Red Goddess.

Bud wants to argue that if Rashoran was the earlier version of the Red Goddess, then Nysalorean illumination really is Lunar illumination, whereas Jörg insists that Lunar illumination is Nysalorean illumination. Which one was first, the hen or her egg?

Jörg agrees that the Lunars say that Rashoran was an incarnation of the Red Goddess, and that we know that what the Lunars say is true. They would never deceive us.

In reaction to this riddle, Bud spurts that if the Lunars know that Chaos is not necessarily a bad thing, then it doesn’t matter if their reconstituted Nysalor contained bits of Gbaji, and that their claims of being able to discern what was what was a deception.

Jörg calls that out as vile slander, and probably true.

In this huddle of confusion, bad puns and talking nonsens, we realize that we have reached the targeted length of this episode, and give Bud another chance to promote his presence on the interwebs.

Any further shenanigans (or pre-show banter) are not subject of this transcript.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.

Art by Dario Corallo

We resume our series on the People of Glorantha with, according to our guest, the very best people that there is on Glorantha. Our guest is indeed Nick Brooke!

Among his many hats, Nick is:

We talk about Nick’s history with the Lunar Empire, which starts with David Hall’s Reaching Moon Megacorp and the fanzine Tales of the Reaching Moon, which had a very pro-Lunar editorial leaning. This was perhaps in response to the Storm Bull leanings of the Pavic Tales fanzine.

Nick talks about the way British people are great for playing evil imperial people. He points to the 2022 RRR movie, although Ludo points out that the practice goes way back, with for instance Ben Hur specifically hiring British actors to play evil Romans.

While players are concerned with Dragon Pass adventurers, the GM often wants to understand the Lunar Empire better, at least to portray the evil NPCs. But Nick reminds us that it’s all just a game in a make believe world, and there’s no need to get upset online. Given the number of threads on the topic that routinely get locked down on BRP Central and elsewhere, I’m sure more people need to hear this.

What the PCs know about the Lunars

We go through the core RuneQuest homelands and Nick explains what is their knowledge and opinion of the Lunars is.

For Sartarites and Praxians:

  • They killed your grand-parent, made you pay taxes, and got eaten by a Dragon (good riddance)
  • For older RuneQuest players, they were the Roman-like occupiers of Sartar
  • Using Romans is a good model for the Lunars… see the many Roman-featuring movies and TV series in existence, including the classic Spartacus movie and more recent TV series

For Esrolians:

  • There was a recent civil war between the Red Earth and Old Earth alliances (pro vs anti Lunars)
  • Nick talks about the God King Belintar of the Holy Country as the “Pharaoh”, a term used in older RuneQuest material, but that Chaosium doesn’t want to use anymore for obvious reasons (such as the fact that there aren’t any pyramids in the Holy Country). Joerg tells me that at least Nick didn’t say “Pharoah”, as it was mispelled as such in the RuneQuest Companion.
  • Nick also quickly mentions some “Old Earth” rituals, featuring the sacrificing of a “year king”, that were “cut” from the Glorantha Sourcebook
  • There are parallels between Belintar, who dies and comes back, and the Red Emperor, who does the same
  • Nick likes to use Cleopatra and Anthony or Caesar as a reference for Lunars flirting with Esrolian queens. And yes this includes their depiction in Asterix comics

For the Grazelanders:

  • They generally love the Lunars because they often employ them as mercenaries and they pay well, although there is a minority of Grazelanders who doesn’t like the Lunars
  • The Grazelanders don’t convert to the Lunar Way, they have their fundamental ways
  • The current Feathered Horse Queen is a daughter of a Lunar King of Tarsh

For the Old Tarshites:

  • They hate the Lunars, but they’re just embittered losers of the old Orlanthi Tarsh Kingdom
  • Palashee Longaxe was a rebel leader who, for a time, manage to retake the kingdom from the Lunars, but he was put down eventually

For the Lunar Tarshites:

  • They live under the Glowline, and their kingdom is centered on Furthest
  • Furthest is a very Lunar city, planned and well designed, a beacon of civilization in the middle of Tarsh
  • The benevolent temple of the Reaching the Moon extends the Glowline here

A Short History of the Lunar Empire

Nick takes us on a historical tour of the Lunar Empire:

  • The birth of the Red Goddess in Torang (although we’re supposed to say “Blessed Torang”)
  • The Seven Mothers and their ability to bypass the Great Compromise
  • The Moon Goddess “should” have been in the Compromise… was there a patriarchal conspiracy at play from Yelm and Orlanth?
  • At Castle Blue she proved her place in the God Time and ascended in the sky
  • The Red Goddess can be seen from most of Glorantha, fixed in the sky as the Red Moon
  • Glamour is founded next to the crater left behind when she took a chunk of the earth and ascended in the sky
  • The Lunar Empire is governed by the ever reincarnating Red Emperor. Nick talks about whether they’re the same person or not after each reincarnation. Ludo makes a 1984 reference.
  • Nick touches upon the evil Carmanian empire, and the Dara Happan patriarchs that were there before. The Lunar Empire has liberated everyone with a much more feminist, open, and egalitarian society.
  • At some point, the Lunar Empire almost gets destroyed by Pentan Solar-worshipping noamds. They were led by the “madman” Sheng Seleris, a sort of a magical Genghis Khan. He’s now tortured in a Lunar Hell.
  • Nick explains the “wanes” used (or not) for Lunar history.
  • After the Pentan invasions, the great Hon Eel reconstructs the empire and invades several southern barbarian kingdoms. Later, the Empire invades even more areas like Sartar, Prax, and for a short time the Holy Country.
  • During the RuneQuest character creation (the Family History section), you see all of this progress being undone, as the Lunar Empire gets kicked out of Dragon Pass.
  • Nick explains what the Glowline is, and what the Lunars might have planned for Sartar if the Dragonrise didn’t happen.

The Lunar Empire’s current concerns are:

  • Financing the Red Emperor’s parties. Nick uses Nero and other Roman emperors as inspiration for this.
  • Jar-eel is busy “talking” to the White Moon movement, a bunch of pacifist anti-imperialist hippies.
  • The Pentans are back, and almost got into the holy city of Torang. Jar-eel thankfully stopped them, riding the mighty Crimson Bat.
  • The Dragonrise in Sartar is only a small annoyance to the Lunars at this point.

The Lunar Empire is organized between the Heartlands and the Provinces:

  • Nick goes over the pendantic history of using “satrapy” vs “sultanate” to designate the different administrative regions of the Lunar Hearlands. Once again he diverges from Chaosium terminology.
  • Incestuous noble families lead the Satrapies… errr, I mean Sultanates.
  • Provinces are former barbarian kingdoms that were conquered and converted to the Lunar Way.
  • The Lunars need to deal with the “natural state of rebellion” of the Orlanth cult
  • Nick makes fun of the Orlanthi beliefs and hypocrisy
  • We look at the difference between an Orlanthi from Sartar and an Orlanthi from Lunar Tarsh
  • Nick wants it to be known that the Empire lets anybody worship anyone.
  • Ludo is misled by rebel propaganda about how the Dara Happan became part of the Lunar Empire, so Nick explains all about it.

The Seven Mothers

We take a closer look at the Seven Mothers cult, which isn’t very well explained in the RuneQuest rulebook, and might be hard to grasp:

  • Nick recommends getting Cults of Prax for the longer (albeit slightly outdated in some places) write-up for RuneQuest 2nd edition
  • Nick explains who each mother is:
    • Teelo Norri is the outreach cult, with free food and orphanages and such
    • Irripi Ontor is a sage and astronomer, like Lhankor Mhy but with better libraries and no silly beards
    • Yanafal Tarnils is like a government-backed version of Humakt
    • Queen Deezola is for nobles, poets, and civilized people in general
    • Jakaleel the Witch deals with mad people (including making non-mad people mad)
    • Danfive Xaron is a cult for thieves who get captured and are “rehabilitated”
    • She Who Waits… let’s not talk about her
  • While explaining all this, we do a small aside about how Lunar taxes fix all the problems the Empire causes… no worries!
  • Nick talks about the similarities between the Seven Mothers and the Lightbringers, and the parallels with the Roman vs Greek gods
  • Nick explains how the Seven Mothers pacify and convert the people that the Empire conquers. The Seven Mothers are “closer to the people” than the old gods, and have many other advantages to the everyday person.

Dart Competitions

Joerg brings up the Dart Competitions, the Lunar Empire’s sanctioned way of doing spy operations and assassinations between nobles

Unlike the bickering of Orlanthi clans and tribes, these can’t interfere with the general population and the collection of taxes.

There is no “civil war” in Tarsh. Just people losing the ongoing Dart Competition.

Playing Seven Mothers Initiates

We go through a few possible backstories for a Seven Mothers initiate joining a party of Dragon Pass adventurers:

  • A Lunar Tarshite whose patron is on the losing side of a Dart Competition in Tarsh or some other province, and needs to lay low for a few years, out of reach from his/her enemies
  • Playing someone doing some “groundwork” in Sartar for a noble family’s Dart Competition (although this might require some work to manage that character’s agenda vs the other characters)
  • Families initiated into the Seven Mothers cult during the Lunar occupation of Sartar, and you could play an adventurer that comes from these families
  • Pelorian traders settled in Sartar or Prax generations ago for business reasons, since commerce between the Lunar Empire, the Holy Country, and Prax has been quite lucrative for everybody. You could therefore play someone who comes from one of those merchant families.
  • Playing a Lunar merchant who worships Etyries, the Lunar goddess of trade. Nick even shares his own head-canon for Etyries merchants, as compared to Issaries merchants.
  • Playing an Irripi Ontor scholar doing research in Dragon Pass.

The C Word

Nick brings up the topic of Chaos and then tries to run away from the podcast:

  • Ludo compares the Lunar’s use of Chaos with the US’s militaro-industrial complex and nuclear weapons
  • The Lunar Empire uses Chaos “for the benefit of people”, we are told
  • We discuss more Chaos-related matters, including what to do with Chaotic races

Other Lunar Cults and Lunar campaigns

  • Nick is looking forward to the “recognition and adoration” that the Lunar cults deserve with the upcoming “Lunar Way” cults book
  • Playing the glorious conquests of the Lunar Empire would be fun!
  • At the moment, playing a Lunar campaign is tricky and requires a lot of work: you need the Guide and the Sourcebook, and some work to model the Lunar cults into RuneQuest mechanics… but use common sense, and re-use what’s already in the rulebook.
  • You can use the Rough Guide to Glamour, Citizens of the Lunar Empire, Life of Moonson, Nick’s Glorantha Manifesto to build something.
  • Harald Smith’s Edge of Empire (we had an episode on it) is a great example of building a campaign framework in the Lunar Provinces.


Ludo asks about Illumination:

  • Nick explains what Illumination is… shortly.
  • Illuminated people can use Chaos, and know that the Compromise can be changed
  • The Seven Mothers cult is looking for people that would be good for “Illumination training”
  • Illuminated villains can be either mad sorcerers or “dangerously sane” people.

Finally, Nick does a mic-drop by reading the Guide to Glorantha, giving the final summation of what the Lunar Empire is.


The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.