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There is no Gloranthan Canon


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So... Took me long enough to realize this, didn't it? After all, "Your Glorantha May/Will Vary" has always been one of the biggest slogans. I should have seen it coming.

But see, when Jeff Richard came along saying what is (Guide to Glorantha, King of Sartar...) and most definitely isn't (Glorantha the Second Age) canon, well... I believed him. Yeah, I know. Silly me. I still don't really know why he would want to fool me like that, but hey, maybe it's his way of opening the third eye. Wouldn't surprise me.

It started days ago, when I realized that taking this at face value meant that perfectly fine work by Lawrence Whitaker would never be canon, even when not contradicting anything in the Guide or the Stafford Library, but that something so absurd as King of Sartar's central conceit (namely, that it was compiled in the Fourth Age by some dude named Greg Friggin' Stafford) is. Huh, wasn't that kind of weird? Not to mention that the unrealibility of surviving records was one of the aforementioned book's main themes. Funny that.

But that wasn't the main revelation, no sir. That just happened, when I saw this gem in the Rough Guide to Glamour's drivethrurpg page: "I'd say the Guide to Glamour is about 95% how I [Jeff Richard] view it. And as all RQ players know, a roll of 96-00 is always a failure. As opposed to something like the Imperial Lunar Handbook books [for HeroQuest] which were closer to 25%. And as all RQ players know, don't go into combat with a 25% skill."

So... are you telling me that the book in which the oh-so-much Bronze Age Glorantha has a city with a modern-day style tourism industry, Moonson is a constipated Elvis and people talk like the inhabitants of 1984's Oceania is more canon that something, I don't know... not preposterous, like the Imperial Lunar Handbook?

That can't be true. That isn't true.

So, the canon isn't true. The canon isn't real.

Like the end of the wonderful Six Seasons in Sartar's Rites of Passage reveals, in the end it's all just masks and the Void. That's the real truth. And I've become Illuminated.

Edited by Thoror
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A reminder to all: Please make sure you read the Glorantha Canon doc: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-canon/ Canon doesn't matter unless you are writing for an offi

So... Took me long enough to realize this, didn't it? After all, "Your Glorantha May/Will Vary" has always been one of the biggest slogans. I should have seen it coming. But see, when Jeff Richar

Bless the Maker and His water. Bless the coming and going of Him. His passage made messy the world. He made Glorantha for His people.

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You'll be happy to note that people like @Jeff and @MOB have multiple times stated for our benefit that "canon" is only something Chaosium has to worry about. My understanding is that they want their published products to be internally consistent so that customers can use them together and not be too confused. 

However, customers themselves have never been bound by this notion. A player is under no obligation to follow Chaosium's self-imposed publication policy. 

So, you're right, but also, it was never actually an issue.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

So, you're right, but also, it was never actually an issue.

Yeah, I know. At least, I do now.

Personally, I blame the wikia for its "we'll only use "canon" sources" policy.

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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

You'll be happy to note that people like @Jeff and @MOB have multiple times stated for our benefit that "canon" is only something Chaosium has to worry about. My understanding is that they want their published products to be internally consistent so that customers can use them together and not be too confused. 

That is correct.

6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

However, customers themselves have never been bound by this notion. A player is under no obligation to follow Chaosium's self-imposed publication policy. 

That is also correct. And nor are creators in the Jonstown Compendium, where you will find the aforementioned A Rough Guide to Glamour.

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3 hours ago, Thoror said:

I saw this gem in the Rough Guide to Glamour's drivethrurpg page: "I'd say the Guide to Glamour is about 95% how I [Jeff Richard] view it."

Jeff wasn't talking about canon. What did the lines before that say?

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10 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Jeff wasn't talking about canon. What did the lines before that say?

I was sure the Mostali had canons.. or was that another myth that needs a Heroquest?

3 hours ago, Thoror said:

So, the canon isn't true. The canon isn't real.

But Canons might exist in Godtime? YGMV

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

You'll be happy to note that people like @Jeff and @MOB have multiple times stated for our benefit that "canon" is only something Chaosium has to worry about. My understanding is that they want their published products to be internally consistent so that customers can use them together and not be too confused. 

However, customers themselves have never been bound by this notion. A player is under no obligation to follow Chaosium's self-imposed publication policy. 

So, you're right, but also, it was never actually an issue.

Internal consistency?  Really?  The Guide has a few issues with that, in and of itself....

"Kingdom of Ignorance: Also known as the Bliss of Ignorance or Chen Durel, this is a bitter and wasted land of rolling hills and twisted woods"

With a population of 2.2 million humans, 1 million uz and 0.5 million enlo.  Bitter and wasted?  Counting humans alone, it has a population density similar to England in 900CE.  Granted, the dragon-blasted mess to the south and the dry-farming lands away from the rivers must be sparsely populated by humans, but the river valleys must be teeming.  With gloriously decorated cities named by Dunsinay but straight out of Ashton-Smith, Glorantha's primary source of lapis lazuli, and the trade nexus between Dara Happa, Pent and the Lunar Empire on one side and Chen Durel, Kralorela, Vormain and the East Isles on the other....

Consistent?  I think not.

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19 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Jeff wasn't talking about canon. What did the lines before that say?

I don't know, my man. Those are the only lines quoted from that particular discussion, so I only know what drivethrurpg tells me. Verbatim:

In another discussion, he commented: "I'd say the Guide to Glamour is about 95% how I view it. And as all RQ players know, a roll of 96-00 is always a failure. As opposed to something like the Imperial Lunar Handbook books [for HeroQuest] which were closer to 25%. And as all RQ players know, don't go into combat with a 25% skill."

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3 hours ago, Thoror said:

But that wasn't the main revelation, no sir. That just happened, when I saw this gem in the Rough Guide to Glamour's drivethrurpg page: "I'd say the Guide to Glamour is about 95% how I [Jeff Richard] view it. And as all RQ players know, a roll of 96-00 is always a failure. As opposed to something like the Imperial Lunar Handbook books [for HeroQuest] which were closer to 25%. And as all RQ players know, don't go into combat with a 25% skill."

On the other hand, out of 100%, that would put the ILH into a special success range.

😉

Edited by Tindalos
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17 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Internal consistency?  Really?  The Guide has a few issues with that, in and of itself....

"Kingdom of Ignorance: Also known as the Bliss of Ignorance or Chen Durel, this is a bitter and wasted land of rolling hills and twisted woods"

With a population of 2.2 million humans, 1 million uz and 0.5 million enlo.  Bitter and wasted?  Counting humans alone, it has a population density similar to England in 900CE.  Granted, the dragon-blasted mess to the south and the dry-farming lands away from the rivers must be sparsely populated by humans, but the river valleys must be teeming.  With gloriously decorated cities named by Dunsinay but straight out of Ashton-Smith, Glorantha's primary source of lapis lazuli, and the trade nexus between Dara Happa, Pent and the Lunar Empire on one side and Chen Durel, Kralorela, Vormain and the East Isles on the other....

Consistent?  I think not.

Not my circus. My only point was the approach to canon as a concept, not the alleged quality of writing.

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15 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Not my circus. My only point was the approach to canon as a concept, not the alleged quality of writing.

I wasn't commenting on the quality of the writing, simply that if we look to canon for internal consistency we are wasting our time.  Rather like Biblical canon😇

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9 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

I wasn't commenting on the quality of the writing, simply that if we look to canon for internal consistency we are wasting our time.  Rather like Biblical canon😇

An approach like Biblical textual criticism for fans attempting to construct their own canon of texts might be valuable. Or it might produce commentary like "The Travels of Biturian Varosh were clearly produced by at least three authors, none of which was the claimed Biturian Varosh who is the subject, I will call these authors pseudo-Biturian, deutero-Biturian, and tertio-Biturian." Either way.

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5 minutes ago, Eff said:

An approach like Biblical textual criticism for fans attempting to construct their own canon of texts might be valuable. Or it might produce commentary like "The Travels of Biturian Varosh were clearly produced by at least three authors, none of which was the claimed Biturian Varosh who is the subject, I will call these authors pseudo-Biturian, deutero-Biturian, and tertio-Biturian." Either way.

Indeed, and Greg does exactly that in King of Sartar, one of the truly glorious YGWV documents.  It is the variation that makes for the verisimilitude to ancient sources, not a strictly imposed modernist structuralism. 

I think we all miss Greg a lot😭  

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1 hour ago, Thoror said:

I don't know, my man. Those are the only lines quoted from that particular discussion, so I only know what drivethrurpg tells me. Verbatim:

The lines before that on the drivethrurpg page.

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2 hours ago, Nozbat said:

I was sure the Mostali had canons.. or was that another myth that needs a Heroquest?

5 hours ago, Thoror said:

Canon to right of them,
Canon to left of them,
Canon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with truth, ah hell,
Boldly they read and well,
Into the jaws of Confusion,
Into the mouth of hell
Read the ol’ Grognards.

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4 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

The lines before that on the drivethrurpg page.

They say that, according to Jeff, it is one of the best sources on the Lunar Empire alongside three official, "canon" products.

Oh, sure, before that it says that it is not "canon", but that was never my point; after all, I was comparing it with another non-"canon" book. Neither the Glamour Guide nor the Imperial Lunar Handbook are "canon". But the Jeff quotes make it seem like the Glamour Guide is more "canon"(-ish) than the Imperial Lunar Handbook. Which is impossible, because the guide is a crazy bananas, farcical at points, full of pop culture references book, and the handbook is... not.

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29 minutes ago, Hijabg said:

Like the Godlearners ?

Precisely.  Anyone who espouses a monomyth.  Greg did, because Joseph Campbell did.  Unlike Campbell, he realised it was ridiculously reductionist, and in later years embraced a more post-modern approach as exemplified in Hero Wars.

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8 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Canon to right of them,
Canon to left of them,
Canon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with truth, ah hell,
Boldly they read and well,
Into the jaws of Confusion,
Into the mouth of hell
Read the ol’ Grognards.

This is art.

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19 hours ago, Thoror said:

That can't be true. That isn't true.

So, the canon isn't true. The canon isn't real.

If you are writing RuneQuest material for Chaosium then canon becomes fairly important, but when writing new material it is OK to amend canon, expand on it or clarify some points and give them differences.

When writing for something like Jonstown Compendium, canon is a very loose guide as to what has been written before. Personally, I try to keep with what has been written, but have no problems changing it or overriding it.

When GMing, canon is a guide, nothing more.

Personally, I stopped worrying about canon a long time ago. The only place I bring it up is when "discussing" things with people on forums, where I will happily quote canon when arguing against a point, but ignore canon where appropriate when making my points.

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15 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:
16 hours ago, Thoror said:

I don't know, my man. Those are the only lines quoted from that particular discussion, so I only know what drivethrurpg tells me. Verbatim:

The lines before that on the drivethrurpg page.

What, these lines?

 

Quote

Is this book 'canon'?

No. Like everything else on the Jonstown Compendium, this is a non-canonical fan publication: Your Glorantha Will Vary. The only "official" canon for Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha will be found in material published by Chaosium / Moon Design Publications. 

Jeff Richard, the Chair and Creative Director of Chaosium, Inc., has said some generous things about our book on public RuneQuest Facebook groups, citing it as one of the best sources on the Lunar Empire (alongside the Glorantha Sourcebook, the Lunar Empire chapter of the Guide to Glorantha, and the Lunar chapter of the forthcoming, unpublished Cults of Glorantha). In another discussion, he commented: "I'd say the Guide to Glamour is about 95% how I view it. And as all RQ players know, a roll of 96-00 is always a failure. As opposed to something like the Imperial Lunar Handbook books [for HeroQuest] which were closer to 25%. And as all RQ players know, don't go into combat with a 25% skill."

So, great marketing quotes, but all I would read into that is that Jeff liked it.

Will Chaosium base things on A Rough Guide to Glamour? I doubt it, but, of course, they might.

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It's pretty goddamn clear to me that nobody is saying it's canon. Which makes Thoror look a tad deceptive.

You know, I don't have any time for this guy. Our book is the best-selling, best-rated title on the JC, but someone on the intertubes preferred ILH? Cool, man. You can keep it. YGWV. Don't let the door hit you in the arse when you storm out.

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