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Beorne

Where to start in Glorantha

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I'm not sure its so much about being "lore correct", but knowing enough to grasp the basics. While everyone on these boards has had to explore Glorantha for  themselves, many of them over several decades,  only some of us have had to cut their Gloranthan teeth on RQG specifically, in the last year or so. Past editions might have been easier to grasp. Or harder? Certainly different.  Sure, getting into a new game takes some work, but the density of Glorantha makes it a bit more difficult to penetrate from a standing start. To an extent you can take it or leave it, but not much, as in RQG  the setting is deliberately organic to the rules, and vice versa.  Im looking forward to the starter set to see how it aproaches things. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Sid Vicarious said:

I'm not sure its so much about being "lore correct", but knowing enough to grasp the basics. While everyone on these boards has had to explore Glorantha for  themselves, many of them over several decades,  only some of us have had to cut their Gloranthan teeth on RQG specifically, in the last year or so. Past editions might have been easier to grasp. Or harder? Certainly different.  Sure, getting into a new game takes some work, but the density of Glorantha makes it a bit more difficult to penetrate from a standing start. To an extent you can take it or leave it, but not much, as in RQG  the setting is deliberately organic to the rules, and vice versa.  Im looking forward to the starter set to see how it aproaches things. 

 

 

We approach it like we would with a game set in Classical Rome, Medieval Iceland, Post-Roman Britain, or Middle Earth - start somewhere and provide the minimum necessary to jump in. Glorantha is no harder than any other of these settings (actually it is much easier that Classical Rome - and fortunately there are three great games out there for the other three settings). Start by spending your first session making characters and going to Apple Lane. Or going through the Broken Tower scenario. Do the adventures in the GMs Adventure Book.

Then go outward from there.

Jeff

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On 4/10/2019 at 7:57 PM, Beorne said:

real life issues

I'm jumping on this part of your post: the last year I've learned to play-by-forum at rpol.net. I'd never be able to find time for more than a few sessions around a table a year. I've also found that as I've become older I'm not so quick-thinking anymore (that, or I've become more critical to my initial ideas) which is problematic both rules-wise and for story-telling. GMing-by-forum solves this by giving me time to prepare each post at any time in the day I can find a few minutes. I'm running an RQG-game now and I'm really enjoying it.

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3 hours ago, svensson said:

That is the absolute wrong way to approach Glorantha.

Just find a small out of the way corner... Apple Lane, for example... generate some characters and jump in. Introduce the lore in small chunks. The players don't need to know all the metaplot at once, just what is relevant to them and their adventures of the moment. Let's face it, and expedition to the Rainbow Mounds [a bandit lair in the Apple Lane adventure] has about as much to do with Orlanth and the Red Goddess as stealing mushrooms from Farmer Maggot's Farm does to Sauron in LOTR.

When I started GM'ing RQ years ago, I used four basic books/sources: the RQ rules (RQ3 at the time, though I had RQ2 as well), Cults of Prax, Griffin Mountain, and the History of the Lunar Empire (which is now part of the Glorantha Sourcebook). 

I set my game in an out-of-the-way corner of the Lunar Empire, the Kingdom of Imther, based on about two sentences in Griffin Mountain plus a bit of the Lunar Empire history (which gave me enough to write a cult of the Conquering Daughter, Hwarin Dalthippa). There was no other background, so all scenarios were created, as was the city the characters resided in.  Adventurers largely belonged to one of these cults:  Yelmalio, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy/Irrippi Onto, the Conquering Daughter.

That's pretty much all you need to work with.

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1 hour ago, Puckohue said:

GMing-by-forum solves this by giving me time to prepare each post at any time in the day I can find a few minutes. I'm running an RQG-game now and I'm really enjoying it.

Much as I enjoy face-to-face, I haven't had that option for some time. I've been running play-by-forum for nearly 5 years now, both HQG and RQG - really enjoy its ability to include more narrative content.

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7 hours ago, Jeff said:

We approach it like we would with a game set in Classical Rome, Medieval Iceland, Post-Roman Britain, or Middle Earth - start somewhere and provide the minimum necessary to jump in. Glorantha is no harder than any other of these settings (actually it is much easier that Classical Rome - and fortunately there are three great games out there for the other three settings). Start by spending your first session making characters and going to Apple Lane. Or going through the Broken Tower scenario. Do the adventures in the GMs Adventure Book.

Then go outward from there.

Jeff

Comparing it to real history is a bit unfair (although I understand the sentiment from a creative/design viewpoint). It's an entertainment product, and if you compare it to a lot of other entertainment products, it is an extremely dense, at times vague and self-contradictory, self-aware and deliberately deconstructive setting. I'm not really talking about learning lists of cults and spells and character names and all that (sure, these can be dense, but it's a fairly straightforward kind of density, just data at the end of the day) - but it deals with themes, ideas and concepts that, well, require that the fan actively think about certain things, and it might not click immediately (ie. immersing yourself in Glorantha is less about data collecting, and more about actively analyzing the data you get).

And isn't that part of why so many of us like it?

I mean, I've delved into a lot of fantasy universes in my life, and for the most part, "mainstream" fantasy universes are fairly content to replicate some Tolkienesque tropes and use pseudo-medieval aesthetics, combat and an approximation of medieval politics - but also for simplicity's sake inject a hefty dose of modern/contemporary sensibilities to make it more approachable. And don't get me wrong - that is a perfectly valid creative direction and style (I enjoy doing it too), but let's be frank about them relying on commonly known and accepted formulas that players and readers mostly take for granted.

Glorantha, on the other hand, seems to me to very deliberately try to make the player or reader rethink their assumptions about what fantasy, myth (and society) is. It throws a good deal of "discombobulations" at you, so that you are shaken off your footing. Then you can climb back up after a while once it makes sense a little after a little. I mean, Glorantha is pseudo-bronze/iron-age, not pseudo-medieval. It features characters from collective clan societies instead of insular, atomistic adventurers. It has five base elements instead of the classic four, and air is a separate element from sky (do you know how utterly WEIRD this was to me in the beginning? That's the power of shaking up internalized tropes.). Elves are trees. The mythical past is eternally reoccuring in a kind of parallel dimension where there is no linear time. There is no "canon" creation story that you can just open up to resolve debates. Rivers flow down because they are answering a call from the main sea god, not because of gravity. Horses are closer related to birds than to ungulates and explaining why is actually a compelling story.

I could go on, but at the end of the day it seems almost like some of the veterans here might forget just how much Glorantha shakes stuff up to most newcomers. And it's not "oh there are so many named people in the dynasty of Sartar and how can we tell the exact Colymar tula borders" or whatever that's the issue. That's just a matter of memorizing names and events. It's rejigging your brain to shake off decades of built-up mainstream fantasy tropes that do not really fit Glorantha. You know what reading a lot of Gloranthan material reminds me of? Taking Anthropology 101 back in the day. It's not so much the specific ethnographic information - but rather the process of having to realize that your old perception of "how things just are" is just one very narrow understanding, and that there are entirely different ways of interpreting the same phenomena and processes out there. Five elements, and air is not sky, man. It frustrated me so much to begin with, but now it feels so incredibly natural - just like opening my text book in anthro101, and learning about how the patriarchal matrilineality of Melanesia, where boys inherit their uncle's property instead of their dad's, because they are more closely related to their mother's lineage, really confused me at first, but now seems just as rational as any other system of inheritance.

And that is, after all, why I think Glorantha is pretty dang neat: it's about opening up your mind to different perspectives and self-reflecting over it. A bit more work, but very, very rewarding. It's a density of ideas rather than density of data that makes it challenging but fun, imho.

(This is also why I've never really managed to get into most DnD lore I've seen out there. So much of it feels like reading index cards in some butterfly collection and memorizing stats rather than examining beliefs, hopes, dreams, fears, social fissures, etc. But that's a different matter.)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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@Sir_Godspeed And if you really want to take a left on all the tropes, give Tekumel a try! :)

The problem with that is that players can't go any farther than 'Aztec with tech'.... Tekumel has a steep learning curve, more so than Glorantha, but even that can be surmounted.

 

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38 minutes ago, svensson said:

@Sir_Godspeed And if you really want to take a left on all the tropes, give Tekumel a try! :)

The problem with that is that players can't go any farther than 'Aztec with tech'.... Tekumel has a steep learning curve, more so than Glorantha, but even that can be surmounted.

 

I have looked into Tekumel, actually. It's quite the beast. Sadly the published material for it is somewhat lackluster, and ditto on online resources.

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I have looked into Tekumel, actually. It's quite the beast. Sadly the published material for it is somewhat lackluster, and ditto on online resources.

It's OOP now, but if you can find it the Guardians of Order FUDGE system Tekumel book is a very good start.

Remember, MAR Barker was writing as a technical writer back in the 50's and 60's... that's why much of the Tekumel stuff looks rather like old Morrow Project material. Granted that the presentation is the absolute definition of Wall Of Text [tm], but if you can dig into it it's worth your while.

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On 10 April 2019 at 11:47 PM, Bill the barbarian said:
On 10 April 2019 at 8:51 PM, Beorne said:
On 10 April 2019 at 8:24 PM, Iskallor said:

Then buy some other books, cherry pick what you like and then spend the rest of your life arguing over whether or not Lunars wear sandals or boots when visiting their grandmother.

Are you trying to scare me? ;)

No, I believe he is trying to either scare the Lunar of possibly your grandmother.

While no civilised person would dream of wearing boots (boots!) to visit their grandmother, we are all us, and must remember that thieving Vanchites and two faced Carmanians are our brothers and sisters at the bosom of the Goddess.

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On 4/10/2019 at 8:51 PM, Beorne said:
On 4/10/2019 at 8:24 PM, Iskallor said:

A copy of RQII and Apple Lane. Ignore everything else until you have played the 2 adventures. Nothing will make sense but believe me it will be heaps of fun.

What ever happens in those will be your Glorantha.

Then buy some other books, cherry pick what you like and then spend the rest of your life arguing over whether or not Lunars wear sandals or boots when visiting their grandmother.

Are you trying to scare me? ;)

Welcome to the Forums!

We can argue about/discuss/disagree on pretty much anything.

Do Lunars wear sandals or boots when visiting their grandmother? Which are better, bows or slings? What colour are Zorak Zoran's eyes? What colour are Uleria's Panties?

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50 minutes ago, soltakss said:

What colour are Uleria's Panties

That one's easy. She doesn't wear any (or much of anything else) after her Fabric of Love was torn and rent by the Boggles. I suspect that that fabric was little more than a full body sized scarf worn lascivously before it was torn (though that is something that is up to debate).

(If you are wondering what this is about - this is the kind of basic Gloranthan mythic foundation that is described in the Glorantha Sourcebook - the Celestial Court and its antics that led up to the Gods War, or, in this case, delayed it for a while.)

54 minutes ago, soltakss said:

We can argue about/discuss/disagree on pretty much anything.

More to the point, we will do so. Feel free to plunge in. Fresh impressions of and perspectives on the myths we have been familiar with for decades will help us refine our understanding of the world.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

Do Lunars wear sandals or boots when visiting their grandmother?

Bare feet, of course!

2 hours ago, soltakss said:

What colour are Zorak Zoran's eyes?

The color of Hate.

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11 hours ago, borbetomagnus said:

@Joerg  That's a full curriculum for embarking on a journey to Glorantha!

No, those are a few separate ways to embark on that journey.

The full curriculum isn't done in a single read of all that matter (or even participation in the Guide to Glorantha Group (re-) Read, e.g. when we take it up again for volume 2), and we are in the happy position that we have lots of material available at least in electronic format for studying. Thinking through the implications of certain statements may come a lot later than encountering them the first time.

It is getting quite hard to keep track of slightly differently edited reprints of earlier material if what you remember stems from earlier versions. And the effect of slight edits is probably best documented in Greg Stafford's edit to "Pikat Yaraboom likes red-headed women" with the addendum "to eat", which spawned the Griselda story "A Tasty Morsel".

If you are new to the game, you might have it easier as you don't need to unlearn or revise how you remember a certain depiction. When I come across a description which is clearly lifted from a previous publication, my attention to details tends to go down as much as with trying to redact a text I wrote myself.

11 hours ago, borbetomagnus said:

I got into Glorantha through Hero Wars in the early 2000s so I'm a neophyte Gloranthan gamer.

Sure, one and a half dozen years under your belt make you a newbie...😉

Before I started playing in Glorantha, I played exclusively in game settings I had created myself, admittedly initially with slots to include adventures and their locations from other worlds, including one for RQ3 based on its Vikings box and general fantasy influences at that time. I have GMed very few scenarios that I haven't written or at least sketched out myself. I always found it easier to tailor the game to the player characters in my group, the plot hooks lying around, and to figure out whether the players would let themselves be hooked by that.

My own journey into Glorantha started with a few convention visits meeting enthusiastic RuneQuest and Glorantha fans when I was admiring the RQ game system as the answer to me being fed up with collecting wagonloads of gold to level up. My first Gloranthan game was the Dragon Pass boardgame, and my personal break-through reads into Glorantha were Troll Pak, Pavis, the Cults of Terror cosmology that made it into the Guide, King of Sartar, and the Holy Country stuff in RQ2 Companion after getting the rather shallow world description and cult descriptions from RQ3.

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4 hours ago, Byll said:

While no civilised person would dream of wearing boots (boots!) to visit their grandmother, we are all us, and must remember that thieving Vanchites and two faced Carmanians are our brothers and sisters at the bosom of the Goddess.

Not only does my grandma wear boots so does me ma!

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4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:
9 hours ago, Byll said:

While no civilised person would dream of wearing boots (boots!) to visit their grandmother, we are all us, and must remember that thieving Vanchites and two faced Carmanians are our brothers and sisters at the bosom of the Goddess.

Not only does my grandma wear boots so does me ma!

Army boots?

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On 4/12/2019 at 5:41 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Comparing it to real history is a bit unfair (although I understand the sentiment from a creative/design viewpoint) ...

I think the point is, Glorantha has a deep and cohesive setting than can "feel real" to the readers/players/fans, in the same way that a very-historical RPG setting can.

It also shares the trait of having such a sheer volume of lore with both meaningful depth and interconnected breadth, that newbies are easily daunted.

Last but not least, it too has severe cognitive disconnects from players' modern/real-world assumptions (Ars Magica, I'm looking at your "Medieval Paradigm" right now) that can throw new players off their stride & even alienate them.

In all these ways, comparing Glorantha to a historical game-setting is ENTIRELY apt!  And the authors / devs / editors at Chaosium need to treat these challenges in the same ways that those doing Enlightenment-and-earlier settings need to address those challenges.

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

I think the point is, Glorantha has a deep and cohesive setting than can "feel real" to the readers/players/fans, in the same way that a very-historical RPG setting can.

It also shares the trait of having such a sheer volume of lore with both meaningful depth and interconnected breadth, that newbies are easily daunted.

Last but not least, it too has severe cognitive disconnects from players' modern/real-world assumptions (Ars Magica, I'm looking at your "Medieval Paradigm" right now) that can throw new players off their stride & even alienate them.

In all these ways, comparing Glorantha to a historical game-setting is ENTIRELY apt!  And the authors / devs / editors at Chaosium need to treat these challenges in the same ways that those doing Enlightenment-and-earlier settings need to address those challenges.

Which was what I meant by "understanding the sentiment from a creative/design viewpoint".

From a customer's viewpoint, however, it will of course more naturally be compared to other entertainment products (because that's what the customer is purchasing), so that was the comparison I argued was more apt when discussing Glorantha in the context of new players/readers.

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On 4/14/2019 at 11:12 AM, Joerg said:

If you are new to the game, you might have it easier as you don't need to unlearn or revise how you remember a certain depiction. When I come across a description which is clearly lifted from a previous publication, my attention to details tends to go down as much as with trying to redact a text I wrote myself.

Sure, one and a half dozen years under your belt make you a newbie...😉

 

Yep, I don't have to unlearn or revise anything since my Gloranthan experience has been during this period of the "Gloranthan Revival" in gaming culture.

Right now, I'm really enjoying RQ Glorantha (4th edition). I just read through the Gamemaster Screen Pack and Glorantha Bestiary and I'm ready to gather a group to start adventuring in this new edition.

17 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Which was what I meant by "understanding the sentiment from a creative/design viewpoint".
 

I certainly have this problem with Ars Magica. My current regular gaming group has no interest in experiencing Mythic Europe through the lens of Ars Magica so I'm seeking out players at FLGS or an upcoming local convention.

As for Glorantha, I can understand that there could be a cognitive disconnect with new players assumptions and expectations of a fantasy RPG setting's paradigm. Most of them are influenced by D&D or a d20 fantasy game (F20). What I try to do is bring up media, not Glorantha, that provides them with examples of what the Gloranthan worldview is like. An example is Princess Mononoke, and the relationships that exist between human clans and living gods in that movie. Many who have seen the film can understand one of the themes that they will experience through Glorantha roleplaying. 

I'm interested in what other non-Glorantha media have you all used to introduce new players to Glorantha.

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There are many aspects to Glorantha, that is for sure.  And the setting can be and often is overwhelming, to say the least.   Start small.  Pick an area, and read about that area.  Also, you have to choose which age you want to play in.   In all honesty though, it is a fascinating setting, with many cultures, gods, and everything you could possibly want. 

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1 hour ago, borbetomagnus said:

Yep, I don't have to unlearn or revise anything since my Gloranthan experience has been during this period of the "Gloranthan Revival" in gaming culture.

Right now, I'm really enjoying RQ Glorantha (4th edition). I just read through the Gamemaster Screen Pack and Glorantha Bestiary and I'm ready to gather a group to start adventuring in this new edition.

I certainly have this problem with Ars Magica. My current regular gaming group has no interest in experiencing Mythic Europe through the lens of Ars Magica so I'm seeking out players at FLGS or an upcoming local convention.

 As for Glorantha, I can understand that there could be a cognitive disconnect with new players assumptions and expectations of a fantasy RPG setting's paradigm. Most of them are influenced by D&D or a d20 fantasy game (F20). What I try to do is bring up media, not Glorantha, that provides them with examples of what the Gloranthan worldview is like. An example is Princess Mononoke, and the relationships that exist between human clans and living gods in that movie. Many who have seen the film can understand one of the themes that they will experience through Glorantha roleplaying. 

I'm interested in what other non-Glorantha media have you all used to introduce new players to Glorantha.

Disney's "Moana" is, almost literally, a Glorantha-style heroquest.

The recent(ish) Indian epic movie "Baahubali" was held up as a visual spectacle akin to Jackson's LorR movies, but with a more-Gloranthan vibe.

I like your suggestion with Princess Mononoke!

I recall seeing an Ice Queen / Snow Queen movie -- clearly derived from the Andersen tale, though de-Christianized and otherwise altered -- that I found very-Gloranthan (I failed to note the details, and have been unable to find the same version since).

 

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13 hours ago, g33k said:

Disney's "Moana" is, almost literally, a Glorantha-style heroquest.

The recent(ish) Indian epic movie "Baahubali" was held up as a visual spectacle akin to Jackson's LorR movies, but with a more-Gloranthan vibe.

I like your suggestion with Princess Mononoke!

I recall seeing an Ice Queen / Snow Queen movie -- clearly derived from the Andersen tale, though de-Christianized and otherwise altered -- that I found very-Gloranthan (I failed to note the details, and have been unable to find the same version since).

 

Thanks for the suggestions @g33k I've not seen Moana nor Baahubali, and will seek them out for viewing and recommendations to new players. 

A DuckDuckGo search for movie adaptations of Hans Christian Anderson stories brings up three pages on this site: https://www.listchallenges.com/films-based-on-fairytales-by-hans-christian

 

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