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So... while I have had a fair volume of RQ3 AH material as well as some MRQ, RQ6 and Mythras... I have never used Glorantha as a setting. For reasons, but mainly because I preferred historical or quasi-fantasy historical settings and preferred other worlds (Harn off-island, for instance). 
I am considering giving Glorantha a go since I happen to have a few hundred pages of material to build off of (not in a hurry to buy RQG). But, as an obnoxious grognard, I like to understand a setting before I dive in, and as I have gotten older I find I do better with a structured plan of info assimilation. Where should I begin? What should I read first?

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"RuneQuest - Roleplaying in Glorantha" Rulebook + "The Glorantha Sourcebook" should be enough to dive into Glorantha. 

Do yourself a favour and make it the "RuneQuest Glorantha" Slipcase - with the Rulebook, the Glorantha Bestiary and the GM Resources and Adventure Pak (which is called GM Screen Pak, but contains so much more)- PLUS "The Glorantha Sourcebook". 

Edited by AndreJarosch
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I started playing RuneQuest 3 about five years before I started running a regular game in Glorantha. By that time, I had gone through most of the Glorantha material from Avalon Hill, King of Sartar, a bunch of the articles in Wyrm's Footnotes and Different Worlds (including the seminal "Military Experience in Dragon Pass", almost more valuable for the years without any of the big events), and I got myself a copy of RuneQuest 2 Companion. The latter was what got me started looking at the Holy Country as my turf. 

That (the mid-nineties) was a time of scarcity, though. Hardly any material was available, RQ2 was nigh impossible to obtain, and every new acquisition had been thirstily added to my head canon, and I had started cross-referencing more obscure works (King of Sartar...) with the rest. Trollpak more than Genertela Box became my guide to the history of Glorantha.

That situation as flipped, and now the amount of information you actually have available makes selection hard. Given that your case is similar to mine, I would suggest a similar approach.

 

You could do much worse than starting with the Classics. The River of Cradles area is quite crowded with material, some of which you might regard as need-to-know, which is why I would point you to Griffin Mountain, describing the charming backwater of Balazar and the Elder Wilds, which have a bit of everything in manageable doses. Roll up your characters - use RQG if you want (apply the time-lines for adventurers starting early, here from the forum or from the Jonstown Compendium collection of those posts), or try RQ Classic (I still have to, too), and enter the lands of Balazar. For a companion volume, look at the Glorantha sourcebook, and for information on the Theyalan deities, Cults of Prax still is the beginner's gold standard.

As you encounter people from elsewhere, you can read up on them. If you collected RQ3 like I did, you should have access to Troll Pak Genertela Box is fine for additional info on the homelands of some of those characters, and if you own the Guide, you could use it as a lexicalic source to expand on the information as it finds your fancy. That should keep the learning curve manageable.

Other than that, listen to the first episode of Wind Words for three opinions how you might get into the setting.

Edited by Joerg
named the actual supplement
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Ja, das ist genau mein Problem. Hunderte von Seiten sammeln Elektrostaub, und ich möchte keine neuen Sachen kaufen. Aber was soll ich lesen? I have Cradles and all the other things you mentioned. I shall start with that. Thanks!

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If your players are generic RPG'er's, then Pavis is one of the best settings ever created. The classic game setting is during the lunar occupation (1610-1625). Players live in the city of Pavis, and adventure in the massive dungeon of the Big Rubble. It's an almost pathetically simple setting, and very generic-game friendly. As the players advance in power, you can get them more involved in the politics and life of the region. But it literally offers something for every type of player - from the one who's proud to be a murderhobo, to the one who wants to get involved in the great events of the world.

I've used a lot of game settings over the years (I also prefer historic settings), but I keep returning to Pavis and Prax. Incidentally, I'm also a Dungeon Crawl Classics fan (Goodman Games), and I've been able to adapt a lot of their published adventures into the rubble.

Incidentally, I recommend Pavis from the original books - republished as "Pavis and the Big Rubble" by Moon Design. The game did not take itself as seriously back then, and that makes it simple to ease players into Glorantha. If you want a solid campaign framework, then Borderlands is one of the best created. Although designed for Glorantha, I've used the same set of scenarios (with minor changes) in Samurai Japan, and English-occupied Wales under Henry 7th.

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Your one stop shop is The Glorantha Sourcebook. If you already have a rules set and background material this pulls it all together. King of Sartar is another excellent source that gives you a real flavour.

King of Dragon Pass computer game is also excellent resource to understand the setting. It's wiki is a great source of Lore as well even if you don't get the game. 

If you dont have a rules set then yes totally buy the RQG Slipcase set. 

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Echoing the endorsement of King of Dragon Pass, I'm trying to put together a RuneQuest game of mostly people unfamiliar with the setting and system, and KoDP does a great job of illustrating what it's like to live day by day and season by season in an Orlanthi community.

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2 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

(not in a hurry to buy RQG).

Included for emphasis, because I'm betting a lot of people are going to breeze straight past this statement and recommend it to you.

2 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

But, as an obnoxious grognard...

Huzzah!  A toast!  We ruin everything!

2 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

...I like to understand a setting before I dive in, and as I have gotten older I find I do better with a structured plan of info assimilation. Where should I begin? What should I read first?

Knowing that you already have a playable (and largely cross-compatible) set of mechanics to work with, the one, single resource I'd recommend at this point is another vote for The Glorantha Sourcebook.  For sheer joy, I'll also recommend the slipcase edition of the Guide to Glorantha, which is somewhat redundant with the Sourcebook, but just so very nice.

More importantly, though, when you start a game, start small in a manageable locale and setting that you and your players could easily mistake for a simple real world analogue, then add fantastical bits of Glorantha a little at a time.  Once you get the world under your feet, though, don't afraid to pull out the stops.  However, it is seldom necessary to lecture your players on the history of the Crimson Bat during the first few sessions of play.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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2 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

I have had a fair volume of RQ3 AH material

I'm not super-familiar with the actual RQ3 material, but it'd help knowing what Gloranthan stuff you have access to from that era before giving advice. The best choice is to probably start with what you've already got. :)

As others have noted, Pavis/River of Cradles is a good setting, the heart of the 90's RQ3 "Renaissance." There's a lot of stuff there. If you're looking to add to your collection, I'm personally a big fan of the Gloranthan Classics edition Borderlands & Beyond. I don't know how well it will or won't mesh with RQ3's stuff.

I don't know much about RQ6/Mythras, but I don't think it ever had any significant material for Glorantha. Mongoose's rendition of Glorantha is broadly not followed, to my understanding. I suppose I'd tentatively suggest not worrying about a read-through of RQ6/Mythras/MRQ material, for Glorantha setting at least.

2 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

It is seldom necessary to lecture your players on the history of the Crimson Bat during the first few sessions of play, though.

On the other hand, shoving a picture of it in front of them and saying "THOSE ARE THE BAD GUYS! FEAR THEM! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!" is pretty effective. I may have done that.

DWUdR13VoAAlj2n.jpg

(Image is actually from 13th Age Glorantha, not RuneQuest, but it's still one of my favorite Glorantha illustrations ever.)

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2 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

I am considering giving Glorantha a go since I happen to have a few hundred pages of material to build off of (not in a hurry to buy RQG). But, as an obnoxious grognard, I like to understand a setting before I dive in, and as I have gotten older I find I do better with a structured plan of info assimilation. Where should I begin? What should I read first?

It depends on what you have available.

If you have Sun County, River of Cradles, Strangers in Prax and shadows on the Borderlands, then a Praxian campaign makes sense.

If you have Troll Gods, Into Troll Realms and Trollpak then a Troll campaign makes sense.

RQ3 didn't really have a Sartar setting, except for Apple Lane/rainbow Mounds/Snakepipe Hollow.

You don't mention having RQ2 material, but if you had the RQ Classics or Gloranthan Classics, then Pavis & Big Rubble, Borderlands and Griffin Mountain are excellent, as is the Cult Compendium.

If you have the HW/HQ material, a Sartar Campaign makes sense.

There is a handy map of all the RQ2/RQ3 Scenario Locations, which might come in useful.

However, my preference would be a Pavis/Prax Campaign, as that always gets me going and there is so much material available.

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1 minute ago, Crel said:

(Image is actually from 13th Age Glorantha, not RuneQuest, but it's still one of my favorite Glorantha illustrations ever.)

About the only thing missing is this guy strapped to the Bat's forehead.

503c217e-966b-462e-a386-9232fd754966-1020x612.jpeg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=b139e3bf9db0760b881bced3f26a705b

But this is not a conversation about the Crimson Bat.  Carry on.

!i!

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Thanks Guys,

I appreciate the input. I think I'll land somewhere starting with Joerg and evolving towards Simon. 

Also Joerg, enjoying the podcast. I pretty much fast from the news as much as I can, all things considered, and I am always up for another podcast about something besides the collapse of the post-cold war order (what I generally listen to for work). 

Though that doctor from the German Coronavirus podcast is like listening to ASMR...

So Science! Much Factual!

 

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The sheer volume of Glorantha material is a hinderance to a new GM or player, not an asset. It's like getting a new computer game, only to be confronted with a 3-hour tutorial where thousands of knowledge nuggets are thrown at you, only to dump you at the starting point with no rapidly accessible reference material muttering "how do I open this door?".

Start simple, start small. Save the deep mythology and history of the world for later. 

For starting a Pavis-based game, get your hands on a copy of Cults of Prax and stop there! It's a good introduction to the region, the cultures therein, and contains a fair number of adventure seeds. Many of us played with just that as a reference for years. 

Expand later: the Pavis and the Big Rubble Pack, Borderlands, other classic materials. They were a lot shorter and more to the point than most recent Glorantha material. Simplistic? yes. But they get you playing, not reviewing your old anthropology texts. Oliver Dickensen's Griselda stories will help you add flavor to Glorantha. His take on Pavis is irreverent, and fun.

If your campaign takes off, the Guide to Glorantha and Glorantha Sourcebook are priceless (and expensive). But don't buy them until you're certain you want to invest the money, and the time to read them. Likewise, King of Sartar, and 13th Age Glorantha are great sourcebook - when you have time and money. 

Someone else will have to advise you on how to start a Sartar or other region based game.

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4 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

So... while I have had a fair volume of RQ3 AH material as well as some MRQ, RQ6 and Mythras... I have never used Glorantha as a setting. For reasons, but mainly because I preferred historical or quasi-fantasy historical settings and preferred other worlds (Harn off-island, for instance). 
I am considering giving Glorantha a go since I happen to have a few hundred pages of material to build off of (not in a hurry to buy RQG). But, as an obnoxious grognard, I like to understand a setting before I dive in, and as I have gotten older I find I do better with a structured plan of info assimilation...

RQ6/Mythras are actually pretty much Glorantha-free.  However, they're well-supported in Glorantha by fan efforts (Notes From Pavis blog is your central resource here), if this is the branch of the d100 tree you prefer.

===

RQ2/RQClassic, RQ3, and RQG are the "central trunk" of the tree, and inherently Gloranthified (especially RQG) -- you have "a fair volume" of RQ3 and you're "not in a hurry to buy RQG," so it looks like you've got a plan in mind.

I'll join the others in suggesting the Glorantha Sourcebook when you're looking for more info.  It's pure setting material, mechanics-free, so your specific rules won't matter to the content.

Given that you seem to be starting with RQ3, I'm going to echo others -- Pavis/Rubble, the River of Cradles, Prax.  It's probably where most of your source material is already set, and offers huge amounts of rich Gloranthan flavor!

 

4 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

... Where should I begin? What should I read first?

To answer that, I think we need to know what specific titles your RQ library has (and doesn't have).  😉

 

Edited by g33k
underline titles, dammit!
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7 hours ago, HeirophantX said:

So... while I have had a fair volume of RQ3 AH material as well as some MRQ, RQ6 and Mythras... I have never used Glorantha as a setting. For reasons, but mainly because I preferred historical or quasi-fantasy historical settings and preferred other worlds (Harn off-island, for instance). 
I am considering giving Glorantha a go since I happen to have a few hundred pages of material to build off of (not in a hurry to buy RQG). But, as an obnoxious grognard, I like to understand a setting before I dive in, and as I have gotten older I find I do better with a structured plan of info assimilation. Where should I begin? What should I read first?

Hi HeirophantX, I wrote a post for solving exactly your question. Have a look here!  🙂

However, some others have given you already good answers.

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Wind back 7 weeks and I was in more or less your position @HeirophantX. I'd played RQ3 a few times, never really got much of a campaign going, largely because I wasn't able to transfer my enthusiam for Glorantha successfully to my players. RQG, for all its faults (and I'm far from blind to them), is IMO (and more importantly the opinions of my players) the best RQ yet to get into Glorantha.

Like you, I had a bunch of RQ3 material and some of the Moon Design stuff too, so I decided to make the starting year 1615 and kick off with River of Cradles. I had the players make PCs according to RQG, choosing whatever homeland they wanted, and gave each of the four of them a (contrived, but what campaign starter isn't?) reason to be on one of the banks of the Zola Fel at about the same date in Dark season, and then all of them at various points got dumped into the river, waking up as the starting scenario outlines (i.e. being robbed by baboons). A couple of weeks ago they offed Oll, signed up with Duke Raus (Borderlands and Beyond), and tomorrow night we're going to hit scenario 3 there.

I am thinking of having a death in the family of the Humakti PC (the only Sartarite) to get a leave of absence for the PCs and get Apple Lane done on a brief sojourn to Sartar, before finishing up Borderlands and moving on to either Sun County then Griffin Mountain, or possibly Griffin Mountain immediately. They might get a grant of land for the Dorastor bit too at some point.

Essentially with just the RQ3 material alone I expect to get at least another twenty or more sessions. You don't have to use the same stuff in the same order I did, I share it mainly in case you're looking for ideas.

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16 hours ago, GAZZA said:

...I am thinking of having a death in the family of the Humakti PC (the only Sartarite) to get a leave of absence for the PCs and get Apple Lane done on a brief sojourn to Sartar ...

That's a good way to get them to Sartar... if the point is to get them to Sartar...?

If what you really want is just to run the Apple Lane content, it's very easy to just re-label it as "Date Palm Oasis" or some such, situate it not too far outside the Zola Fel valley, and run them there.  This is a pretty common variation to do.

Make Gringle a valuable contact/supplier of Raus, and Raus can even assign them the adventure as part of their duties, no "leave of absence" needed!

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18 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Essentially with just the RQ3 material alone I expect to get at least another twenty or more sessions.

If you continue on to Sun County, or interact there, it shouldn't be difficult to fit the two Sandheart Militia scenario books from the Jonstown Compendium in either.

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

That's a good way to get them to Sartar... if the point is to get them to Sartar...?

Crossing over with Bill's Which Year Should I Play In? thread, the character I recently played in a RQG campaign set in 1625-27 was originally an NPC from a RQ3/HQ1 campaign I ran, whose background was as an outlaw from Sartar, run off to Prax after instigating hostilities between the locals, the Grazelanders, and the occupying Lunars.  After a storied career as an NPC outlaw in Prax, the RQG GM and I aged him forward five years and played his homecoming to Sartar after the Dragonrise.  I had a lot of fun playing a character who was clearly a criminal under one set of circumstances, who goes on to become an eminent thane under another.

Where to go with this?

Early adventures can be low-fantastical, rough-and-tumble outlawry in Prax, conveniently dodging a lot of the mythology, ramping up into the big leagues as the years tick along, transitioning from one body of support material into another.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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9 hours ago, g33k said:

That's a good way to get them to Sartar... if the point is to get them to Sartar...?

If what you really want is just to run the Apple Lane content, it's very easy to just re-label it as "Date Palm Oasis" or some such, situate it not too far outside the Zola Fel valley, and run them there.  This is a pretty common variation to do.

Make Gringle a valuable contact/supplier of Raus, and Raus can even assign them the adventure as part of their duties, no "leave of absence" needed!

Yeah I did think of that. I'm not sold one way or the other yet - the advantage of getting them to Sartar is that I can (at least potentially) run some of the newer stuff as well (thanks for the tip there @jajagappa, I'll look into that too), but as I've also thrown in the first dwarf encounter from RQ3 Elder Secrets (one of the players expressed an interest in a dwarf secondary character, and this was before I realised that the Flintnail dwarves weren't apostates) and a later adventure in that sequence wants the PCs to find them a home (Apple Lane caves are specifically suggested), it would be useful to be able to throw that in early.

I'll play it a bit by ear. They are likely to want to do the Cleansing One Hero Quest at Sacred Time in the current year as a couple of them now have double digit Doubt scores (Doubt is brutal in RQG - in RQ3 you would only ever fail a Divine Magic spell on a 96-100, so it would increase rarely, but without a 95+ Rune score yet the chances are a lot higher).

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When I came back to Glorantha, after a long hiatus, I reviewed the original source material; starting with White Bear, Red Moon. And I quote from the introduction to that game:

"The reign of Argrath Dragontooth was a time of constant war between the land of Sartar and the Lunar Empire. Commercial jealousy, religious rivalry, political distrust, and ancient hatreds all erupted into a forty that involved even the gods.

...

Dragon Pass and the Red Moon have moved far from us now. The ancient chroniclers have left us their biased accounts of those times. Generations of historical philosophers and allegorical poets have clouded the issue with new truths. The outcome is different in each telling. What really happened? The only way to discover that is to Experience it Yourself."

- Greg Stafford, 1976, the highlight is mine.

Armed with this, and the recognition that Glorantha was a swords-and-sorcery world, where nobody was all 'good', and nobody was all 'bad', and even the self-proclaimed fanatics compromised for political expediency (for example, a tribe of Broo are viable allies for a tribe of Praxians in Nomad Gods, and you may have Waha himself fighting alongside them - see the 1st battle of Moonbroth), I reentered the setting with a fresh attitude. 

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