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The Gloranthan Procession

Nick Brooke

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I want to talk about something Greg Stafford wrote more than twenty years ago, which I think I’m beginning to understand. His foreword to my friend Chris Gidlow’s book Tarsh War began: “I am pleased and honored to welcome Tarsh War into the Gloranthan procession.
Hold that thought. Imagine Glorantha not as a fantasy world, but as a procession. So: what goes into a procession?
There’s the big corporate carnival floats, in their hardcovers and slipcases, with phenomenal production values. You’ve never seen this year’s float before, it’ll be amazing! But there’s also the old floats everybody likes, the ones that return year after year because it just wouldn’t be the same without them.
There are the military marching bands, in lockstep, all playing in tune and calling out strike ranks and hit locations as they advance. And there’s spectators who tut and roll their eyes at all that militarism on display, but hey – the music’s good, and this has always been a part of the show. (And if you don’t like them, you can sing along with the hippies and the folkies – they’re in the parade as well)
There are historical re-enactors, who take the Bronze Age theme way more seriously than anybody else, but there are plenty of furries as well, and people in Duck costumes, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. There are clowns capering around, and extrovert cosplayers and LARPers showing off in outrageous outfits, and never mind that: everyone's heading in the same direction.
There’s the spectators, too: some people are ambling along to follow their favourite part of the show, and some people are standing still and watching as everything goes by, and some are having a great time hanging out with their friends and soaking up the carnival atmosphere in the background.
And there are the organisers who pulled the whole thing together, who get to make boring speeches and write forewords in return for their efforts, and the local councillors banning stuff, and requiring us to stick to certain routes this year, and making sure none of the cosplayers have unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions…
And I thought: Greg really did have a gift for this stuff, didn't he? It's a procession. You need all these folk for the procession to happen. The procession isn't just the traffic warden with his clipboard, or the high school drum majorettes, or the big-ass corporate float. It's all of them.
We’re all in the procession. It needs all of us. The spectators, the corporate floats, the furries showing off. All of us.
Here endeth the sermon.
Edited by Nick Brooke
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