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Glorantha History and Lore Reading Order


Demishadow23

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So at this point in my RuneQuest RPG Journey I own several different lore sources for the world of Glorantha and dip into each one of them for points of interest.  The Sourcebook. The Guide, Prince of Sartar and now the Cults of Runequest series.  

 

Love to get people's opinions on this point:

If one wanted to get a full well rounded knowledge of the world of Glorantha and it's history what is your preferred reading order if you were to go book by book completing each instead of how I currently go about it just going back and forth taking bits and pieces?

There of course is overlap amongst all the books.  I never feel like I have complete knowledge which actually might be a good thing since the quest to know drives me to come back over and over again. but I would like to be more organized in my approach and get a reading order and stick to it.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Demishadow23 said:

Love to get people's opinions on this point

If you're completely new, I'd start with the Starter Set or the Core book.

Once you're past those and looking to expand, my suggested reading order would be:

1) Glorantha Sourcebook - good overviews of Dragon Pass, Lunar Empire, and basics about the Gods.

2) Prince of Sartar comic - will give you an additional/alternate view of Sartar, the Holy Country, Lunar Empire, and Pavis, and much more in context of the game

3) Cults of RQ - start with Mythology, then go to Lightbringers and Earth Goddesses (Prosopaedia if you want to get a broader view)

4) The Guide - lots and lots of details to expand your view across the whole of Glorantha

5) I'd also recommend from the RQ Classics: Trollpak (get everything you always wanted to know about trolls, but were afraid to ask), Pavis & the Big Rubble (eventually will be replaced, but lots of good background), and Cults of Prax (if you want to get a deeper understanding of that land, and its cults in context)

Hopefully next year we'll also see the Dragon Pass Gazetteer and the Sartar regional book to get even more in-depth with those.

Edited by jajagappa
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Personally, I would place RQ2 Troll Pak before the Guide, possibly even before Cults of RuneQuest Mythology, because it offers an excerpt of all of Glorantha's myths and history from the troll perspective in a very accessible way in Uz Lore.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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As the writer of much of this, here's my order:
1. Glorantha Sourcebook. This gives you the big overview.
2. Cults of RQ. Start with Mythology and then go to whatever cults you are interested in. 
3. Guide - optional
4. Prince of Sartar comic - super optional as this was fun, but also an experiment and not exactly canon.

Trollpak is interesting IF your goal is to learn as much as possible about the trolls. But there are better sources for that information if you want a broader view. I'd put that pretty low on the list.

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For playing RuneQuest, the Prosopaedia and much of the Guide will be largely irrelevant. They have lots of fascinating information about parts of the world where your game isn't set, and exotic foreign deities worshipped by people your adventurers will never meet, but no playable material to support campaigns there. So as Jeff recommends, I'd start with the Sourcebook for a thorough grounding in the core setting conflict: the Hero Wars in Dragon Pass between the Kingdom of Sartar and the Lunar Empire. The Cults of RuneQuest books are superb: of them, Mythology is the overview that ties everything together and contains critically important insights into how the setting works. I'd also recommend Weapons & Equipment to give a view of the material culture of our sword-and-sandal world. And read up the Guide sections on cultures that matter to your game (Orlanthi, Praxian, Pelorian?) and the places where it's set.

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Lots of good stuff so far. @Demishadow23 - you mentioned Prince of Sartar, but do you have King of Sartar?

Prince of Sartar is the webcomic (I can't link it because it has a dodgy site certificate and is blocked by my network).

King of Sartar is essential in understanding Glorantha (well, small parts of it) as a world of possibility, as opposed to the monomythomaniacal approach of almost everything else.

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--

The Voralans presents Glorantha's magical mushroom humanoids, the black elves. "Absolutely phenomenal" - Austin C. "Seriously weird-ass shit" - John D. "A great piece of work" - Leon K. The Electrum best-selling The Children of Hykim documents Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "Lovingly detailed and scholarly, and fun to read" - John H. "Absolutely wonderful!" - Morgan C.

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3 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

Lots of good stuff so far. @Demishadow23 - you mentioned Prince of Sartar, but do you have King of Sartar?

Prince of Sartar is the webcomic (I can't link it because it has a dodgy site certificate and is blocked by my network).

King of Sartar is essential in understanding Glorantha (well, small parts of it) as a world of possibility, as opposed to the monomythomaniacal approach of almost everything else.

While I have some sentimental fondness for King of Sartar and the scholarship it incited, the meat of it is more clearly found in the Sourcebook History of Dragon Pass, the Colymar history in the Colymar Adventure Book from the GM screen, and the Argrath Saga in the prophecies appendix in the Guide. Nobody needs any ambiguity about the date of the demise of King Moirades these days.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Thanks so much for all the amazing feedback!  

 

@Brian DuguidThank you!  I did in fact mean KING of Sardar through my mistake apparently revealed the PRINCE of Sartar comic which I didn't know existed.  I'll check that out too.

 

@Jeff Thank you. I'll go for this reading order.  As the writer, you can probably confirm...but reading some of the Cults books so far the perspective of the voice of the author in the works...was it a scholar from the 4th Age?  One of the things I love about King of Sartar is how Greg Stafford put the book through the lens of a future age after all the events had transpired...and additionally the unreliable narrator element that they were translating lore sources from long ago.  For me that hit pretty well because that style of writingi reminded me of book 4 in the Dune series God Emperor of Dune which is my favorite in the series and I think the BEST (usually I'm in the minority on this among Dune fans).  Frank Herbert communicated a lot of the lore from 1500 years after the events of Dune and through Scholars that found old sources of information.   Not to derail and make this a Dune conversation but just mentioning because that is one of the things that make me fascinated with King of Sartar.  So the Cults books seem to lightly be dipping into the future perspective as well.  Are they intended to be written from the 4th age perspective?

So from the many great comments I'm going to go with -  Source Book -  Cults Mythology - The actual Cults - Prince of Sartar Comic and the Guide for supplementary.

 

I think for the Sourcebook I'm going to wait until the 2nd edition.  the current edition does feel very jam packed and I'm told the new edition will have a completely re-imagined layout and breath a lot more then the 1st.  Good call re-designing it.  It's arguably the most important supplemental and needs to be as accessible as possible.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Demishadow23 said:

For me that hit pretty well because that style of writingi reminded me of book 4 in the Dune series God Emperor of Dune which is my favorite in the series and I think the BEST (usually I'm in the minority on this among Dune fans).

[side note: yes, I agree with God Emperor of Dune as the best 🙂 ]

1 hour ago, Demishadow23 said:

the PRINCE of Sartar comic which I didn't know existed.  I'll check that out too.

It's a fun and easy read that provides a lot of useful backstory.

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3 hours ago, Demishadow23 said:

I did in fact mean KING of Sardar through my mistake apparently revealed the PRINCE of Sartar comic which I didn't know existed.  I'll check that out too.

Well that's a complete bonus!

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--

The Voralans presents Glorantha's magical mushroom humanoids, the black elves. "Absolutely phenomenal" - Austin C. "Seriously weird-ass shit" - John D. "A great piece of work" - Leon K. The Electrum best-selling The Children of Hykim documents Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "Lovingly detailed and scholarly, and fun to read" - John H. "Absolutely wonderful!" - Morgan C.

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nobody needs any ambiguity about the date of the demise of King Moirades these days.

Says the wrongest man in Wrongville. And I have the sales figures to prove it.

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On 12/6/2023 at 8:52 PM, Demishadow23 said:

If one wanted to get a full well rounded knowledge of the world of Glorantha and it's history what is your preferred reading order if you were to go book by book completing each instead of how I currently go about it just going back and forth taking bits and pieces?

It depends on what you are interested in.

The Glorantha Sourcebook gives you a good overview of mythic and actual history for Glorantha as a whole.

Cults Mythology gives you a good rundown of the Monomyth and general mythical history.

The Guide to Glorantha gives sketches of all the areas of Glorantha, which is useful if you want to know about a certain area, but it won't go into any great detail.

Individual Cults books detail the cults in a pantheon, which roughly correspond to areas of Glorantha. So, if you are interested in Esrolia then read the Earth Cults book, for  Sartar or other Orlanthi areas read the Lightbringers Cults books and so on. They give you background on the cults not on the actual places, but Cults are really important in Glorantha.

After that, it really depends on which areas you want to focus on. There are a lot of out of print supplements that cover particular areas, and many Jonstown Compendium supplements fill in certain areas. Chaosium are bringing out areas-specific supplements in the future, I believe, but they are not available yet.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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