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Coming back to Glorantha


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Hi All

I'm an old time Glorantha fan, just getting back into it. Don't ask how old, but my collection is extensive. I sort of lost touch about 10 years ago.

My question is what should I try to ignore from back then as it's been outdated?  And yes, I know certain publications are listed as non-canonical, but not everything in them is 'wrong'.  What major things have changed/gone?  For example, it looks like the raising of the sky ship isn't part of canon any more (I'm guessing because it would be off to have two sky quests for air worshippers, but motive isn't really part of my question). Anyway, are there other major things like that that have been let go or substantially changed?

Michael

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4 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

My question is what should I try to ignore from back then as it's been outdated?

Everything except the Guide to Glorantha and Gloranthan sourcebook.

5 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

What major things have changed/gone?  For example, it looks like the raising of the sky ship isn't part of canon any more (I'm guessing because it would be off to have two sky quests for air worshippers, but motive isn't really part of my question).

It probably hasn't been taken out, it's just not in the current timeline, so happened in the past.

6 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

Anyway, are there other major things like that that have been let go or substantially changed?

The Dragon Pass Gazetteer is probably not reliable, as things have changed. Sartar and Sartar Companion might be OK, but might have changed.

RQ2/RQ3 Mythology pieces probably have not changed and most of the RQ2/RQ3 material is still valid, but happens in the past.

A lot of the Hero Wars material has been done again, especially the third-party material.

So, better off using the Guide to Glorantha or Gloranthan sourcebook as a guide and then the older stuff as interesting flavour.

 

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It's all a matter of perspective. It also depends on what you were following at the time product-wise HeroQuest or RuneQuest. The main thing to be aware of is the Guide to Glorantha. It is the definitive view of Glorantha from 30000 feet, then the Gloranthan Sourcebook, then the new RuneQuest Glorantha. All of the old scenarios you likely have are playable still. The sky ship for example may not follow the exact details of the published adventure, but I wouldn't worry about it, the sky ship still rises.

The only change I would point out is an added chapter in King of Sartar that clarifies the dates.

There are many minor changes which don't really affect game play - cults, a few places, but mostly it's expansion of the setting. You'll find people on this forum arguing about the minutiae, but most of it is just that minutiae. RuneQuest Glorantha has brought back detailed rules, that HeroQuest Glorantha never had (don't look at the Truesword, Sword trance threads). The authors support rulings not rules to stop the nitpicking.

Have a look at the Glorantha Canon page for clarification.

Nothing you likely own is outdated, I would still recommend many older adventures. Gloranthan history has moved on, fantastic new art and writing supports the new era.

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A major change since 10-odd years ago is that the Mongoose 2nd Age material has been de-canonised. That doesn't mean that everything in it is wrong (and a lot of it actually isn't), but it does mean that current and future Chaosium material takes priority over it in the event of contradictions. 

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I came back after a 20+ year hiatus. For my source material I used the Guide to Glorantha, and then the really old stuff: White Bear Red Moon and Nomad Gods. I've been slowly adding to the collection based on what I feel like. 

I like the older stuff, because they didn't take themselves as seriously then. 

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Returned after a little under 20 years and find the Core Books and Guide to Glorantha to be my modern sources, (I do not mind Glorantha Sourcebook and I own it but rarely use it) but all of my RQ3 and 2 products have or will see use and I love my affordable but definitely not canonical HW (Sartar Rises and Thunder Rebels) stuff I own. and the somewhat more canonical (but not by much artistically and cult-wise in the earlier products, it seems) HQ stuff as well. As they say, YGWV....

Mongoose is the edition that dare not be named by some. 

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17 hours ago, DrGoth said:

For example, it looks like the raising of the sky ship isn't part of canon any more (I'm guessing because it would be off to have two sky quests for air worshippers, but motive isn't really part of my question).

AFAIK the Sky Ship Quest still happened.  The description of it in Gathering Thunder howvere has some issues making it less than ideal.  m

 

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Just for the record, I have and use the Mongoose editions for reference materials. As the game was set in the second age, under the Arrowsmith Dynasty, their write-up of Pavis provides some excellent material for the rubble. It also provided plenty of flavor that you can adapt when describing the Big Rubble, or for EWF or God Learner treasures. Pavis Rises is a solid adventure pack. There are also some very usable ideas in several of the other books. 

I do not like the first edition of Mongoose RQ - I've even talked to one of the designers, and he admitted many issues with playtest. However, Mongoose 2nd edition RQ is solidly written by Nash & Whittaker, and is the game that grew into RQ6, and then Mythras when the RQ license was taken away. It's a good set of rules and very playable: I use Mythras for my Gloranthan game. 

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On 5/26/2020 at 7:40 AM, DrGoth said:

... I sort of lost touch about 10 years ago ...

 

Hello, and welcome back!

 

Hmmm.   Ten years?   I'm gonna go off on a tangent from your original request.  Bear with me...  😊

 

So:  are you familiar with the HW/HQ line?  I'm guessing at least peripherally-so (this line began more than 10 years ago, but has evolved a lot since, so... maybe not entirely familiar).

Greg Stafford founded an all-new company, Issaries Inc, and teamed up with noted RPG writer Robin Laws, to create an all-new RPG, with mechanics utterly unrelated to RQ.  1st edition was titled "Hero Wars" (2000) but Greg later got access to the (tm) of HeroQuest, and grabbed it immediately.

HQ is now out in 3 or 4 editions (4 or 5 if you count HW) -- HQ1 (2003), HQ2 (2009), HQG (HeroQuest Glorantha, 2015; a slightly-tweaked HQ2 with gobs of Glorantha built-in), and now (2020) an OGL/SRD 3rd edition is just rolling out (only PDF so far, but I think(?) Chaosium says they plan a hardcopy of these v3 rules) branded QuestWorld (so I guess QW is now the acronym?  HW/HQ/QW ?); this is a generic ruleset, with a plan to add "Genre Packs" on a per-setting basis (a Glorantha genre-pack is surely coming!), and encouraging 3rd-party genre packs.  The first genre pack looks likely to be the Cosmic Zap superhero setting from Ron Edwards.

Many people feel that HQG has the best intro-to-Glorantha material available.  There's also an amazing campaign, the Red Cow, in the 2-volume set The Coming Storm + Eleven Lights, and there's a bunch of other worthy material in the HQ line.

HQ is a strongly "narrative" ruleset, as opposed to the very-simulationist RQ/d100 engine.  Some folks prefer these rules; some folks prefer them a lot!  The HQG hardcover is on a steeply-discounted sale right now @ Chaosium webstore, and is well worth considering IMHO, even for pure-RQ folk.

===

Next up, as possibly/probably new-to-you:  the Guide to Glorantha.  2 massive / oversized volumes, in a slipcover set.  Coffee-table books.  Possibly the single most-impressive RPG publication, ever, for any system.  All setting -- "fluff" -- with no game-mechanics whatsoever.  See a review here:  https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16365.phtml

This is a massive undertaking.  If it were done in a "normal" RPG-book format, it'd be about 4 volumes of 256pp each.  It will be a primary source of in-world "canon" for the foreseeable future, and should be assumed "correct" where it differs from any prior works.

It has, IMHO, only 2 "downsides."  First, the sheer size, the magnitude and scope -- reading the whole thing is also a massive undertaking!  Second -- despite the size, because of the scope -- it's the overview of Glorantha, the "view from 30000 feet."  It doesn't really have the details many gamers look for in a "playable" supplement.

(so long as you go in expecting these, they likely aren't "downsides" at all)

===

Now we turn to "13G" -- 13th Age in Glorantha13th Age (not in Glorantha) was a RPG designed by Rob Heinsoo & Jonathan Tweet.  They wanted to do the d20 rules without the publisher demands of WotC, and 13th Age was the result.  Then they wanted a Glorantha version -- both being longtime Gloranthaphiles -- and 13G was the result, via a wildly-successful Kicktarter campaign.  It's a reasonably brilliant take on a d20 class-and-level system take on Glorantha.  PC classes like the Hellmother (in RQ terms, that'd be a Troll priestess of Kyger Litor), etc -- roll culture, cult, and sometimes even race into one bundle of playable goodness.  Characters in 13G begin heroic (Rune-Level) and never play through the zero-to-hero stages.  They are ready to go heroquesting in the Otherwolds from the very first session.

Review here:  http://andrewloganmontgomery.blogspot.com/2018/03/13th-age-glorantha-review.html

Even if you aren't interested in 13G itself, one of the KS "Stretch Goals" was another volume of deep interest -- the Glorantha Sourcebook.  Like the Guide, it's mechanics-free, pure "fluff."  Unlike the Guide, the focus here is much more narrow -- it's mythology-heavy, centered on the Lunar/Orlanthi theologies and conflict, and with more of an eye to being newbie-friendly.  The Guide and the Sourcebook are complementary products, with very little overlap.

===

And now we return full circle, to Runequest from Chaosium.

The current edition is Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (typically "RQG" online).  This is the most-Gloranthan RQ core rulebook ever, the treatment the setting "should have had" from the beginning.  It's also a beautiful and evocative book.  Just as some RQ players like the HQG books, some HQ players like the RQG books.

Character-creation is dramatically more in-depth.  Your character comes out of the process with family, and a family-history; you have passions, loyalties, etc.  And Runes -- your character begins play with Rune Affinities, and Rune-Magic!  Your character is embedded into Glorantha.

The slipcase set, despite the expense, is highly recommended!  It has 3 products -- the core RQG rulebook, the bestiary, and the (wildly mis-named) "GM Screen Pack."  This last item bears a bit of "unpacking," so to speak -- the "screen" is the least of the thing!  The real treasure in this item, IMHO, is the 120some-page Colymar book, with the city of Clearwine, an update of Apple Lane, 3 full adventures, a sandbox setting, and a bunch of "adventure seeds."

You can grab a free taster of these rules in the quickstart rules & introductory adventure here: https://www.chaosium.com/runequest-quickstart-1/     Consider these a 95%-identical "late beta" of the final RQG rules.  There are a few concessions to simplifying things for an intro/quickstart package, and a few minor tweaks to the RQG rules that happened after this was published.

Also of note is "Runequest Classic," which is an almost-identical reprint of the old RQ2 core rulebook (from, uh... 1979, I think?  Maybe '80?).  It differs in only a couple of regards -- first, known errata were edited into the text.  Second, a few sidebars have been added, that represented columns from RQ 'zines that added/clarified items in the the rules.

(The current RQG rules are based heavily on the RQ2 edition, with some notable input from RQ3 & other sources; did I mention your character has Runes?  ;-)  . 

 

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On 5/26/2020 at 7:40 AM, DrGoth said:

... My question is what should I try to ignore from back then as it's been outdated?  ...

Short answer:  ignore everything you want to ignore.  Keep everything you want to keep.

"Canon" is for publishers, not for at-the-table games.

===

That said...

Something I haven't seen mentioned is "the Orlanthi issue."

The current vision of Sartar & the Orlanthi has MUCH less of a "Nordic/Celtic Pastiche" vibe.  There's a bunch of Vedic/Indian influences in there now, and Thracian; the "celtic" part is more the germano-celtic "Halstatt Celt" feel.  I can still see elements of the old school, but it's much reduced.

Some people entirely dislike and disregard this new direction.  Others embrace it fully.

I think it's one of the biggest differences in the setting, honestly!

 

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18 minutes ago, g33k said:

Something I haven't seen mentioned is "the Orlanthi issue."

The current vision of Sartar & the Orlanthi has MUCH less of a "Nordic/Celtic Pastiche" vibe. 

Along that line, the Western culture has been purged of the faux-medieval, pseudo-Christian feel (e.g. knights in plate armor, saints, etc.).  More of a pre-Socratic feel with Hellenistic Greek and Asiatic elements.

The Lunar Empire (sometimes depicted along the lines of Roman Empire) is far more Babylonian/Assyrian/Persian model.

All very much a return to the original RQ2 model of a Bronze-age world.

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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

The Lunar Empire (sometimes depicted along the lines of Roman Empire) is far more Babylonian/Assyrian/Persian model.

This has had a very big shift to my own understanding of what Lunars "look" and "feel" like coming back after 20+ years.  Definitely a lot of Assyrian in the sense that they might armor anything, even the archers.  Polyglot and held together only be constant success, like the Persians.  Yet they are described as having a "Macedonian" style combined arms, yet using old fashioned Hoplites as some of their best shock troops. 

Orlanthi have always worked well as Thracian in feel, with some Celtic thrown in.

Important to my own understanding of the game universe -- the armies are NOT well armored, even the Lunars.  Hard Leather, Linen, and Cuirboilli are rampant.   This was by no means made clear in the RQ2 days.  

To the OP's main point, an astonishing amount is still on track.  You don't really need to bail on anything.   If it works for your particular story, the rock on.  YGMV.

 

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8 hours ago, g33k said:

 

Hello, and welcome back!

Hmmm.   Ten years?   I'm gonna go off on a tangent from your original request.  Bear with me...  😊

So:  are you familiar with the HW/HQ line?  I'm guessing at least peripherally-so (this line began more than 10 years ago, but has evolved a lot since, so... maybe not entirely familiar) . 

 

Thanks.  I really wasn't sure what 13th Age was or the current status of RQ.  I know HQ/HW - up to a point.  You'll find my name in the backer's list of GtG, but it was shortly after that that I lost touch.  The sheer bulk of those volumes was something I put off engaging with until, well, now.  I bought HQ Glorantha a few years back, but have only just now read it. I've ordered Coming Storm/Eleven Lights and the RQ slipcase set (and the sourcebook).

Do the Lunars still have phalanxes armoured in the Greek style?  To me their Empire always felt Persian but their army looked Greek.

And thanks to Dissolv for that point about the armour of armies.

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8 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Along that line, the Western culture has been purged of the faux-medieval, pseudo-Christian feel (e.g. knights in plate armor, saints, etc.).  More of a pre-Socratic feel with Hellenistic Greek and Asiatic elements.

Am I allowed to cheer? Because I want to.  The medieval aspect of the west was always my least favourite part of Glorantha.

 

8 hours ago, g33k said:

 

Something I haven't seen mentioned is "the Orlanthi issue."

The current vision of Sartar & the Orlanthi has MUCH less of a "Nordic/Celtic Pastiche" vibe.  There's a bunch of Vedic/Indian influences in there now, and Thracian; the "celtic" part is more the germano-celtic "Halstatt Celt" feel.  I can still see elements of the old school, but it's much reduced.

Some people entirely dislike and disregard this new direction.  Others embrace it fully.

I think it's one of the biggest differences in the setting, honestly!

 

I always thought there was an Anglo-Saxon element to the Orlanthi pitch as well as the Nordic and Celtic. Not that it matters. Thracian/Halstatt Celt/Vedic? Hmm.  That's stretching my history knowledge. I'll have to go look.

Thanks again

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30 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

Am I allowed to cheer? Because I want to.  The medieval aspect of the west was always my least favourite part of Glorantha.

IMO the Viking, Medieval, or Irish parallels were always more in the eyes of the beholders than in the products themselves. I haven't seen much application of Hallstatt or Nordic Bronze Age in the "Celtic" offerings, everybody speaking English seems to think Celtic means Hibernian. Unlike the French, whose school-books apparently have phrases like "our Celtic ancestors" (which I have seen mentioned as a problematic issue for the big minority with non-European roots). My own notion of Dragon Pass is the Noricum prior to the Romans.

 

30 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

I always thought there was an Anglo-Saxon element to the Orlanthi pitch as well as the Nordic and Celtic. Not that it matters. Thracian/Halstatt Celt/Vedic? Hmm.  That's stretching my history knowledge. I'll have to go look.

The only pitch for "Nordic Orlanthi" was that for RQ3 there was a wonderful campaign book written by Greg Stafford, applied to the Viking culture. Except for one adventure on a longship, most of that campaign would have made an excellent clan-based campaign in Orlanthi lands.

If anybody has sources for the Vedic normal person (as opposed to the demigod protagonists), please share those. Are there normal farmers or herders in the Vedas? Anything of their housing, social interaction, marriage customs? Dress and weaponry probably would be covered by Osprey books.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

IMO the Viking, Medieval, or Irish parallels were always more in the eyes of the beholders than in the products themselves. I haven't seen much application of Hallstatt or Nordic Bronze Age in the "Celtic" offerings, everybody speaking English seems to think Celtic means Hibernian. Unlike the French, whose school-books apparently have phrases like "our Celtic ancestors" (which I have seen mentioned as a problematic issue for the big minority with non-European roots). My own notion of Dragon Pass is the Noricum prior to the Romans.

 

The only pitch for "Nordic Orlanthi" was that for RQ3 there was a wonderful campaign book written by Greg Stafford, applied to the Viking culture. Except for one adventure on a longship, most of that campaign would have made an excellent clan-based campaign in Orlanthi lands.

If anybody has sources for the Vedic normal person (as opposed to the demigod protagonists), please share those. Are there normal farmers or herders in the Vedas? Anything of their housing, social interaction, marriage customs? Dress and weaponry probably would be covered by Osprey books.

While there are epic adventure stories from the period of the Vedas, the Vedas proper are basically religious and philosophical texts.  You're probably thinking of the Mahabarata and the Ramayana, which both actually date from substantially post-Vedic India.

The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns to various gods.

The Yajur Veda is a collection of prose mantras for worship.

The Sama Veda is a collection of chants, some of which delve deep into philosophy.

The Atharva Veda is basically a collection of spells, medicine, and other procedures for life.  

I can't get that text to unbold.

The Vedas do get into a bunch of the stuff of ordinary life, since ordinary life overlapped with religion in Vedic society.

Here's a wikipedia link that makes a good introduction to Vedic culture:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_period

 

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3 hours ago, DrGoth said:

 ... Do the Lunars still have phalanxes armoured in the Greek style?  To me their Empire always felt Persian but their army looked Greek ...

Yes, but it isn't necessarily their primary military.

Sun Dome folk are phalanx heavy, and mercenaries, many in Lunar pay; the Sun Country in Prax / Zola Fel was envisioned by the author as "Spartans in the Wild West."

Dara Happa is Sun-woship country, too, and runs IIRC heavy to phalanxes... and is Lunar heartland.  Dara Happan military forms the backbone of the Lunar army.

 

Oh, yeah!  Almost forgot.  You definitely want to check out Prince of Sartar webcomic:

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/introduction-chapter-1/

Sadly on indefinite hiatus... but still worth the read!

 

3 hours ago, DrGoth said:

... And thanks to Dissolv for that point about the armour of armies.

At this point, the definitive guide to military arms & armor is actually a fan publication!  On DTRPG's Jonstown Compendium, you'll find Martin Heldson's magnificent "Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass."

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296535/The-Armies-and-Enemies-of-Dragon-Pass

Almost 400 pages of collected data & extrapolated conclusions & diagrams based on both Glorantha canon and solid historical research.

I believe that Chaosium uses it as their own internal reference-work, when such is needed.

 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Unlike the French, whose school-books apparently have phrases like "our Celtic ancestors" (which I have seen mentioned as a problematic issue for the big minority with non-European roots).

The problem existed when we had an empire and young Senegalese were singing 'Nos ancetres les Gaulois' (Our ancestors the Gauls). Since the empire is gone, we are all of Gaul and Frankish descent.

No, this is false, of course: My father's family came from Italy, my mother's family from Mongolia, my wife's family from Germany. Not a lot of Gauls in it. But the 'Gaul heritage' mantra disappeared from school books more than 50 years ago, along with the colonial empire.

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

Oh, yeah!  Almost forgot.  You definitely want to check out Prince of Sartar webcomic:

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/introduction-chapter-1/

Sadly on indefinite hiatus... but still worth the read!

 

At this point, the definitive guide to military arms & armor is actually a fan publication!  On DTRPG's Jonstown Compendium, you'll find Martin Heldson's magnificent "Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass."

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296535/The-Armies-and-Enemies-of-Dragon-Pass

Almost 400 pages of collected data & extrapolated conclusions & diagrams based on both Glorantha canon and solid historical research.

I believe that Chaosium uses it as their own internal reference-work, when such is needed.

 

Yes Prince of Sratar comic is another thing I've known of but never looked at.  Thanks for the reminder.

The Jonstown compendium is somewhere I'll spending money real soon. Like probably this weekend.  My original Rough Guide to Glamour looks like it's getting replaced.

 

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7 hours ago, DrGoth said:

Am I allowed to cheer? Because I want to.  The medieval aspect of the west was always my least favourite part of Glorantha.

Yes! I did. 🙂 I think it was an unfortunate part of the move over to AH and adding in Fantasy Europe.

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On 5/28/2020 at 8:16 AM, Joerg said:

The only pitch for "Nordic Orlanthi" was that for RQ3 there was a wonderful campaign book written by Greg Stafford, applied to the Viking culture. Except for one adventure on a longship, most of that campaign would have made an excellent clan-based campaign in Orlanthi lands.

I set one of the Viking scenarios in Glorantha. The scenario started on the Three Step isles, the Vikings were Wolfpirates, the trader was Esrolian instead of Frankish, and the Orkneys were the Marcher County between the Holy Country and Prax.

Edited by Brootse
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On 5/28/2020 at 5:23 AM, DrGoth said:

Do the Lunars still have phalanxes armoured in the Greek style?  To me their Empire always felt Persian but their army looked Greek.

Yes, they have hoplite phalanxes, both Dara Happan, and Lunar, and some of the Provincial armies include Yelmalion phalangite phalanxes.

The Lunar army is very diverse, much like the Achaemenid (which often also included phalanxes of mercenary hoplites) or the Seulucids. There are numerous different types of troops in the Lunar Army: Lion Men, Bison riding Yelmalions, numerous other types of infantry and cavalry)

[And whilst it is non-canonical, you, shameless plug, find The Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass of interest.]

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