Jump to content
HeartQuintessence

Glorantha: Beginners Guide?

Recommended Posts

Is there a community for beginners like myself to Glorantha? THere is so much material, so much history... I own the RQ:G book, the new one, but I kind of don't understand what it 'means' in the larger context. I got the sense that RQ:G puts the game in a specific time and era ( incomparrison to some of the old material), but when you do not understand that context or the timeline. I don't know if I can play my character effectively.

 

Is there a good beginners guide to the world ( that is the  insane Atlas or Guide to Glorantha- that has you drowning? As much as I love them they made me more confused.

 

Not that I have a community to play in (yet?)

 

Is there a Glorantha discord running around somewhere?

Edited by HeartQuintessence
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This community should be able to help you get into the world.

A collection of in world views of some of the cultures was produced for the HeroQuest gaIt me as a free download:

https://www.glorantha.com/docs/heroquest-voices/

About half of that (the most pertinent ones like Sartar, Seshnela, Rathori, Praxian) were already part of the previous RuneQuest treatment written by Chaosium. While they may contain some details which may not fit that well, they provide a good introduction for what a character would know about the world.

The world description parts in the RQG rules are meant to be a beginner's guide to the lands of Dragon Pass, giving a selection of landmarks and regions to understand the setting geographically.

For the cultural introduction, the culture bits in the Guide are pretty nice, but I can understand the hesitation to invest in that two-volume document just for those few pages.

For an introduction into the myths of Glorantha, there is a very short section (again in the Guide to Glorantha) which gives the very broad overview of the myths and prehistory of Glorantha, and of the world history. Much of that used to be in the Genertela Box, the RQ3 gazetteer of the world (or at least the parts commonly gamed in, and neighboring regions).

The collected overview over the mythology of Glorantha is the Gloranthan Sourcebook. You may use that as a reference, to learn more about those weird deities and how they interacted or who they associated with

I guess that the refinement with which these were put together might make them appear too big for the first tentative bite into the world knowledge, so I will repeat the usual mantra:

Choose an initial region in which you want to play (one of the six presented in the rules) and check out the deities for that region - first in RQG, then possibly in the Sourcebook.

 

There is the Glorantha Wikia project which does give very concise, verifiable and not very newcomer friendly information. It has the advantage of being free, but it is a lot like trying to learn the history of the USA by reading up encyclopedia entries on the fifty states. Possible, but in no way didactically organized to do so.

 

In the end, try to tell us where you are now and what baffles you. When a reply is too cryptic, tell us so. When a reply creates new questions, that may be intentional.

Basically, the Glorantha forum here on basicroleplaying.org is the place for in-depth-hairsplitting and esoteria. Introductory questions into the world are better placed in the RuneQuest forum where people like myself can be called out for getting too esoteric.

That said, the threads on this part of the forum don't have to be that obscure or detail-obsessed. Some have a tendency to go there, though.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks.

 

At This point have a friend who is a... Gloratha Guru (who some how thinks the Lunars are OK? ISH?  with Illumination and some other stuff-- I sort of understand it), But I know that 'Lunars are sort of the 'bad guys' but not really, because they're playable?)

I guess I am sort of interested Ernalda (Yeah Esrolia! ), but am also trying to understand how the Runes and  MAgic work, can you work magic outside of the runs you have? Do they have to be inscribed on your body to work, or can be on an object?

 

I know most people are 'vaugely' priest-like, due to the way the world is.

I guess since own RQ:G (in both physical & PDF) I am trying to understand how  to read it. Because it seems like older editions of Glorantha were let 'timeline' more 'toolkit' and  RQG went with :Timeline specific?

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, Glorantha gurus... a very peculiar form of an ascetic lifestyle.

 

Hardly any of the "bad guys" regard themselves as such. Zealotry will often produce evil or at least evil from the perspective of its victims, but to the person performing the deed it may be part of their duty to their side's greater good.

The Lunars are to Sartarites what Trumpists on his Reichsparteitag rallies are to followers of AOC - enemies whose goals threaten their very livelihood and continued existence, but who may be fairly ok when met under circumstances that keep controversial topics off the table.

Illumination is better left alone. It does provide a certain detachment from the world which may overcome your instinctive (and culturally amplified) aversion to the obliterations in the wake of Chaos.

 

Let me give you a bit of anectdotal lore to show how things can be ambivalent.

Some species have been cursed with Chaos. Long long ago the Telmori wolfmen received a gift that allowed them to become an intermediate form between human and wolf, immune to most normal attacks, in the service of Nysalor, the (then living) god of illumination. This was powered by Chaos, though in a way not really harmful to the world (although very harmful to the foes they fought in the name of Nysalor). When Nysalor was overcome by his nemesis Arkat, an ally of Arkat who had fought against the Telmori in those last years of that war turned that gift into a curse, so that their formerly beneficial gift now turns them into mindlessly raging monsters in that intermediate form every Wildday.

This curse doesn't make the Telmori evil, only lethally dangerous and out of control on Wilddays. Most people wouldn't marry their daughters off to them, but the last kings of Sartar did, or married a Telmori themselves - from the small group of Telmori bodyguards that had sworn to protect Sartar and his family in exchange for the founder Sartar ending the genocidal feud between them and their Orlanthi neighbors. (Tensions still continue and lead to violence and hatred, but for now their mutual annihilation has been stopped.)

 

There are two types of magic available to a non-sorcerer (another topic better delayed) - rune magic you get from your deity, which you can only express through your personal score in those runes, and the spirit magic which only requires someone knowing the specific spell to teach to you (and your cult not having put that spell on a taboo list).

Orlanthi and Esrolians usually carry their runes as tattoos or scarification on exposed parts of their body, at least in summer. Facial tattoos are possible, but not mandatory. They are also worn as ornamentation, embroidery, or painted on solid surfaces of your gear (like shields). But the "rune" you use when identifying with your deity's magic doesn't have to be present as a depiction or anything, the shape of the rune is just a symbol, not the rune itself. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with that symbol may help you with the identification of that part of yourself that you share with the deity.

Playing an initiate to a cult isn't exactly a priestly role. You get access to some magics which are routinely cast by priests of any deity, and some that can only be obtained from your cult's deity. Priests just have more such magic, and (unless you are a prodigy) better chances activating it than your character. Being an initiate means to be able to become the deity while using its magic. A lay member can observe this, an initiate feels the deity inside herself.

Spirit magic may be taught by temples, but it can also be taught by independent practitioners of magic with maical access to those spirits. As the recipient of the spirit spell ability, it doesn't really matter how your teacher got that spell. What will matter to you is the price the teacher demands for teaching that spell, and whether you still have the capacity to memorize the spell, or to activate it with your magic points. (Usually, the answer will be yes for quite a while.)

 

The history given to you in character creation is fairly comprehensive for the region. There is a whole lot more information and history available, but you don't have to know the details of the history of the Fench colony of Louisiana in the 18th century to become a US citizen, either.

On the other hand, if something has piqued your curiosity, ask, and someone is going to answer. Often with opinions or deductions, but that's no different from what an in-world information would carry.

 

Older (Chaosium-produced) editions of RuneQuest either gave you very slim information (like e.g. the RQ2 or Classic RuneQuest edition that is available as pdf from Chaosium) or separated the game system from the world of Glorantha entirely. You had to hunt down your lore from scenarios, slowly released world descriptions, and magazine articles that you couldn't normally catch up with without the help of Xerox. That was in the days before widespread private access to the internet...

Nowadays, Chaosium keeps (almost) all the information that has already been published in pdf. The series "Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha" which gives an element by element introduction of the major deities has been collected and completed (compared to its earliest versions) in the Glorantha sourcebook. A more detailed and more useful form is the "Long Cult Write-up" of the deities in your pantheon, and possibly of some opposing or enemy pantheons, too, but at least the opposition is mainly useful for the Gamemaster who has to present such cultists as rivals, opponents, or possibly reluctant allies.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, HeartQuintessence said:

(who some how thinks the Lunars are OK? ISH?  with Illumination and some other stuff-- I sort of understand it), But I know that 'Lunars are sort of the 'bad guys' but not really, because they're playable?)

One of the things I've enjoyed about Glorantha since first encountering it is that for the most part "bad guys" is relative (except Chaos, of course, which is just pure evil and entropy). 

"They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers' fathers.... And what have they ever given us in return?!"

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Lunars ever done for us?"

2 hours ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a good beginners guide to the world

Joerg noted the best intros at least in the context of Dragon Pass. 

1 hour ago, HeartQuintessence said:

I guess I am sort of interested Ernalda (Yeah Esrolia! )

Ernalda is many things, not just part of Esrolia. Queen of the World, Earth Queen, Earth Mother, etc. One of the most preeminent deities whose blessings and gifts enrich and enliven the world.  Many worship her, many are initiated into her cult, and there are many rituals that incorporate her because she helps drive the annual cycle of life.  What aspects can we help you with?

1 hour ago, HeartQuintessence said:

am also trying to understand how the Runes and  MAgic work, can you work magic outside of the runs you have? Do they have to be inscribed on your body to work, or can be on an object?

Spirit magic is based on your whether or not you know the spells and have the magic points (i.e. energy) to cast them. They are independent of the Runes. Most require a focus for quick use, which is usually thought of as some sort of inscription on an object or your body that you can see. But you can still cast even without (just slower).

Rune magic is based on the cult(s) you have initiated to. Each deity/cult has its own Runes. You need some alignment to those Runes to be initiated. E.g. using Ernalda as an example since you reference her: Ernalda has Runes of Earth, Fertility, and Harmony.  Her common Rune magic (indicated in the book by the Magic Rune) can be cast through any of those three Runes. Her special Rune magic (e.g. Earthpower) requires a specific Rune to cast it (e.g. Earth Rune). If you don't have it, you can't cast it. If you're low in that Rune, it will be difficult to successfully cast.

Sorcery is based on knowledge of specific Techniques and Runes. In this case, the Runes are distinct to the spells and not based on whether you personally embody that Rune. If you've learned the sorcerous Rune, and Techniques to manipulate it, then you apply magic points and cast the sorcerous spell.

1 hour ago, HeartQuintessence said:

I know most people are 'vaugely' priest-like, due to the way the world is.

I think it's better to look on everyone as simply having a certain innate "magical" energy. Some more associated with certain Runes or energies than others. This doesn't make you priest-like. It does allow everyone to potentially use and cast magic.

1 hour ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Because it seems like older editions of Glorantha were let 'timeline' more 'toolkit' and  RQG went with :Timeline specific?

From the beginning, RQ has cast us into the early stages of the Hero Wars, typically in Dragon Pass and Prax/Pavis. What's a bit different in RQG is that you can quickly build some background for your character based on what's happened recently rather than having no defined background other than age, occupation, and cult. 

There's been a few different toolkits (RQ2, RQ3, now RQG; as well as the HeroQuest toolkits), but all give you some amount of Glorantha. The old RQ2 didn't have much background (until various source packs came out). RQG gives you more context along with the toolkit.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a community for beginners like myself to Glorantha? THere is so much material, so much history... I own the RQ:G book, the new one, but I kind of don't understand what it 'means' in the larger context. I got the sense that RQ:G puts the game in a specific time and era ( incomparrison to some of the old material), but when you do not understand that context or the timeline. I don't know if I can play my character effectively.

The Glorantha Forum is very useful and helpful, but I am not sure if it is Beginner-Friendly.

Is it worth setting up a Beginner's Glorantha Forum for exactly this reason?

If people post questions on the Beginner's Glorantha Forum, then answers should be simple, straightforward and concise, to help newcomers to Glorantha.

If threads need to be answered in more detail, they can be spun off into the main Glorantha Forum. That would stop people terrifying newcomers with in-depth and confusing answers. I count myself as one of the Terrifiers, occasionally, especially when it comes to HeroQuests.

Because of the overlap between RQ Glorantha and Glorantha itself, some questions are posted in the RuneQuest Forum that might be more Gloranthan and vice versa. Most of us accept that and answer the questions as best we can, but some people don't like it and ask for the discussion to be moved to the appropriate forum, which is probably not very Beginner-Friendly. A Beginner-Friendly Forum might help that.

11 hours ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a good beginners guide to the world ( that is the  insane Atlas or Guide to Glorantha- that has you drowning? As much as I love them they made me more confused.

Joerg has mentioned the Gloranthan Sourcebook, which is a very good general introduction to Glorantha.

Then, depending what areas you are interested in, there are a whole host of sourcebooks for RuneQuest or HeroQuest that cover those areas.

You mentioned Ernalda, which is being covered more deeply than ever before, so I would expect more stuff to come out for that general area. Earth tribe has always been subsumed into Storm Tribe, for most things, which is a shame as there is a lot of Earth Tribe background, just not very accessible.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The easiest entry is by getting to play one of the Glorantha games. Having someone who already knows what's going on leading you in by small steps centered on a particular area. My favorite is Pavis & the Big Rubble because I think that sort of play is more immediately accessible for folks who've played mainstream fantasy RPGs (D&D, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc) which tend to blend world-exploration and dungeon-diving.

The videogame King of Dragon Pass is excellent and I highly recommend it. I played it for the first time about six months ago and it holds up really well considering its age. Plus, it's often cheap on Steam and should run on basically anything. IMHO it's probably the best actual intro to Glorantha.

16 hours ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a good beginners guide to the world

If 1) You're looking beyond the RQG core book and 2) you're willing to spend money, I would recommend the Glorantha Sourcebook as noted by many above. Avoid the Guide like the plague, and avoid King of Sartar too. It's less Dragonlance or Drizzt and more fictional anthropology and not very newb-friendly (grabbing it early was a mistake I made). But the GSB is a solid resource if you're looking for more information than provided in the core book, and is fairly readable and comparatively straightforward.

Be Warned that Glorantha lore stuff has this nasty tendency to be filled with intentional contradiction. For some that's a joy of the setting, but as a partial newb myself I found and still find it to be utterly infuriating.

Within the core book, to learn more about the world I think you're most interested in the Homelands and Rune Cults chapters. By necessity there is stuff left out, but they give a pretty good grasp on the main stage of Gloranthan games, Dragon Pass. The Shamans chapter, the Spirit World chapter, and the Sorcery chapter each add a bit of variety, but I don't see them as mainstream to how the world's largely presented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Crel said:

The easiest entry is by getting to play one of the Glorantha games.

Absolutely. But finding a regular game in your neighborhood can be difficult. (I'll be holding a weekend session in a rental summer home in October to get a couple of face to face games under my belt outside of convention gaming. And that's as GM...)

2 hours ago, Crel said:

The videogame King of Dragon Pass is excellent and I highly recommend it.

Yes. Regular price on Android or Apple stores used to be about 10$, so this is about the least costly investment of money to get a dose of very Gloranthan gaming. (The investment of time, however...)

The game isn't for the most casual gamer, but listening to some of the advice of your clan leaders can get you through the game. Be careful when they push an agenda not quite in the interest of your goals or the clan ancestors, though.

2 hours ago, Crel said:

If 1) You're looking beyond the RQG core book and 2) you're willing to spend money, I would recommend the Glorantha Sourcebook as noted by many above.

Otherwise, grab it on a visit to a friend who has it and browse a bit. Or better, try to get a look in your friendly local game store, to show that there is interest for the setting. (Before deciding to buy at least the pdf...)

2 hours ago, Crel said:

Avoid the Guide like the plague,

Don't buy it (yet), but read some selected pages in a friend's copy (or pdf) if you have the opportunity. The cultural information on the Praxians (pages 26-30) and Orlanthi is great (pages 31-38, each with some large area illustrations in between), and the Mythos (pages 113-123, ignore the image captions) and History (pages 124-145, ignore the boxed sections for the first impression read) of the world is a good different take from the presentation in the Sourcebook, much of it taken with hardly any alterations from one of the great classics, the Cosmology in Cults of Terror.

2 hours ago, Crel said:

and avoid King of Sartar too.

Again, some selected texts from this book are good reading for newbies, too, e.g. the Sartar chapter in Composite History of Dragon Pass up to the Reign of Kallyr (hardcover edition/pdf pages 108-128). The stories of the chapter Orlanthi mythology (skip the reference parts on pages 39-45 unless you stumble across a name you didn't remember) provide Gloranthan myth story-telling in the unmistakable style of Greg, in digestable bits. I suppose it is worth reading a more systematic approach earlier, though.

 

2 hours ago, Crel said:

Be Warned that Glorantha lore stuff has this nasty tendency to be filled with intentional contradiction. For some that's a joy of the setting, but as a partial newb myself I found and still find it to be utterly infuriating.

Let me weaken that statement. All myths are told from a perspective, and told from a different perspective the same or very similar events can be perceived quite differently. (Don't get me started on how the Gods War destroyed much of the world, and some of the patch-up work may result in weird combinations. At least not before learning about what happened to Genert and his friends, and to Sky River Titan.)

The presentation of the concept of Godtime is confusing because the concept is quite alien to our modern, somewhat scientific and logical mindset. It explains how and why this is so, but to build a feeling for the myths you don't need to worry about that concept. I wouldn't read up too deeply on that before a quite solid buy-in to the world.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Joerg said:

read some selected pages in a friend's copy (or pdf) if you have the opportunity.

That's why I summarized my opinion as "Avoid it" :P. In my opinion, setting the tome aside is more newb-friendly than giving a textbook-esque suggested reading. Less intimidating, more "don't worry, we'll get there later..."

Although I gotta say, love all the pretty pictures! I've got the Guide just recently but tend to browse or index through it more than actual read.

That's another plus for GSB and core both; the art's wonderful. I think my favorite art, though, is in the GM's Adventure book in the GM Screen pack. Yerezum Storn burning steads, Colymar entering the tribal lands, a ton of the internal art in that book is really evocative for me.

58 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Let me weaken that statement. All myths are told from a perspective, and told from a different perspective the same or very similar events can be perceived quite differently.

You illuminate, you! I feel like it's one thing to have that nugget in mind--I came across it fairly early--but another thing entirely for it to be useful. It's more a matter of proper nouns in my eyes than a matter of perspective; if you're new to Glorantha and you don't know all the proper nouns, the internal, intentional contradictions are more irritating than intriguing. Once you've got those names down it grows less frustrating, but I don't think "know that Rigsdal and Polaris are the same" is an exciting mode of starting-off for beginners.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Crel said:

Avoid the Guide like the plague, and avoid King of Sartar too.

For beginners, I would agree, Also ignore all the excellent material in the Stafford Library. They are all really interesting, fascinating, deep works, but are probably too much for beginners.

Of course, once you've read the Gloranthan Sourcebook and a few of the other supplements, for example Sartar and Sartar Companion, then you are no longer a Gloranthan newbie and can experience the other works. Don't expect them to make sense, though, and don't expect them to be clear. A lot of them were written to be deliberately contradictory, which is frustrating in many ways.

If you want generic material as background, I would suggest:

  1. Gloranthan Sourcebook
  2. Gloranthan Classics: Cults Compendium

If you want background material for specific areas, I would suggest:

  1. Sartar
  2. Sartar Companion
  3. Dragon Pass Gazetteer
  4. Gloranthan Classics: Pavis & Bug Rubble
  5. Gloranthan Classics: Borderlands
  6. Gloranthan Classics: Griffin Mountain
  7. Trollpack

If you are happy with those and still want deeper knowledge about Glorantha:

  1. Guide to Glorantha Volumes I and II
  2. Argan Argar Atlas
  3. Selected Stafford Library works, depending on your areas of interest.

Of course new Gloranthan supplements might make some of those irrelevant/obsolete, but they are still good background works.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gonna champion the single piece of Glorantha fiction that made it feel like an approachable universe for me: the excellent webcomic Prince of Sartar.

It still has that "we're going to mention things without explaining them" thing going on that Gloranthan publications love, but it's a lot more reader-friendly in the sense that you don't have to understand them, just let them reinforce the atmosphere, if that makes sense. A bit like reading the Lord of the Rings. You don't need to know the full backstory of Ost-in-Edhil to enjoy the chapters of the Fellowship traveling through Eriador.

Also the presence of so much artwork helps creating an immediate "feel" for the world that even several dozen pages can struggle to do.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 6:21 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a community for beginners like myself to Glorantha?

It'd probably be this one, right here:  BRP Central, the Glorantha and/or Runequest sub-forums.

Yes, the grognards are lurking in the bushes with their Firehoses of Deep Lore; but mostly -- in a "beginner" titled thread -- they try to throttle those back.

 

As noted above:

The Glorantha Sourcebook was written largely to be an easier-access introduction.  Many praise it as such, although I've seen a few report that it didn't help them.  It's likely to be helpful, but not a sure thing.

The computer game "King of Dragon Pass" is often held up as one of the best intro's to the world.

Heroquest Voices is also a great orientation.

My own favorite "intro" material -- back in the day -- was the sidebar travelogue "The Travels of Biturian Varosh" from Cults of Prax (now also reprinted in the Cult Compendium).

 

On 7/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

At This point have a friend who is a... Gloratha Guru (who some how thinks the Lunars are OK? ISH?  with Illumination and some other stuff-- I sort of understand it), But I know that 'Lunars are sort of the 'bad guys' but not really, because they're playable?)

There is an ongoing metaphysical battle:  Chaos invading Glorantha.  This plays out materially, in Dragon Pass, with the sometime-Chaotic Lunar Empire invading the Orlanth-worshiping kingdom of Sartar.

From the Orlanthi point of view, Chaos is mutative, corruptive and destructive, never-to-be-trusted (also... those assholes invaded us!).  Yes, it can produce amazing beauty & wonder... but you can never trust the Chaotic to be what it seems to be, to stay what it is/was... as when the Bright God Nysalor was revealed to be the Chaos God Gbaji (cue the villain-reveal organ chords -- duh-duh-dummmmm!).

From the Lunar point of view, "we are all us" and the distinction between chaos and not-chaos is illusory (also... those stupid barbarians need civilizing!).  The Lunar empire accepts everyone who holds to the Lunar Way, even Chaotic "monstrosities" like Vampires and Ogres and Broo.  NOTE that this sometimes makes them more palatable to the modern view:  less sexist, less racist, more accepting/affirmative, etc; at times radically so!  BUT... there's this niggling question of whether the Lunar Way is no more than a deceptive (and ultimately apocalyptic) trap...

In the non-metaphysical here-and-now of your actual character, however, a Lunar PC is absolutely playable (and is even one of the iconic pre-gen's in the core book (Vostor was a loyalist of a Lunar bigwig who lost in political infighting -- living in exile, possibly a criminal to the Lunar authorities, Vostor still worships the Seven Mothers of the Lunar Way)).

 

On 7/27/2019 at 6:21 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

THere is so much material, so much history... I own the RQ:G book, the new one, but I kind of don't understand what it 'means' in the larger context. I got the sense that RQ:G puts the game in a specific time and era ( incomparrison to some of the old material), but when you do not understand that context or the timeline. I don't know if I can play my character effectively.

A common concern!

Many of the events in the family-history section are based upon the Lunar/Sartar conflict, and upon the arrival of the mighty warlord Argrath & his boon companion Harrek the Berzerk.

For Esrolia, the loss of God-King Belintar about a decade ago is probably the biggest and most-disruptive event.  That probably didn't affect your PC directly, but without Belintar's protection, Harrek's wolf-pirate fleet & Greymane the pirate ravaged Esrolia.

 

On 7/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

I guess I am sort of interested Ernalda (Yeah Esrolia! ), but am also trying to understand how the Runes and  MAgic work, can you work magic outside of the runs you have? Do they have to be inscribed on your body to work, or can be on an object?

There's two kinds of magic (well, three... but we'll leave the third way aside for now)...

1.  Spirit magic (sometimes called "common" magic or previously "battle magic").  Virtually anyone can learn it and use it, and virtually everyone does.  It's very utilitarian, but a bit limited.  You have a pool of "magic points" to fuel these spells; pay the MP, cast the spell.  Some cults put limits on some spells (e.g. Yelmalio had his fire-powers mythically stolen, and his followers may not cast fire-magic).  Adventurers need to look at a "focus" (tattoo, piece of jewelry, carving on the edge of their shield, etc) to cast it swiftly; without a focus it takes an extra round or two to cast.

2.  Rune magic, granted by your god/dess.  When you formally "Initiate" into the service of a deity, you sacrifice points of your POWer score, lowering that rolled characteristic.  Each point of POW gives you a "Rune Point," and a Rune Spell.  The pool of "Rune Points" fuels your Rune spells.  There are a large number of "common" Rune Spells that almost all deities can give their followers, but each deity also has some special spells that few/no other deities can grant.  Your score in the associated Rune is your casting-skill in for that spell.

Note that your permanent POWer, as rolled, is actually a pretty fluid number, easily increased; so sacrificing those POW points isn't as dire as it might seem at first!

 

On 7/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

I know most people are 'vaugely' priest-like, due to the way the world is.

A great many people in Glorantha are "Initiates" of various deities, and they DO have access to Rune Magic from their gods.  These are, overwhelmingly, faithful and devout folk, rewarded by their deity for their faith&devotion, for being the sorts of people their gods like.  So yes... "vaguely" priest-like.

The real priests (and the Rune Lords) are even moreso, and gain even more benefits!

But "most people" really aren't Initiates -- they are kinda-sorta mostly faithful followers, probably of the entire pantheon more than a single god/dess... plus maybe another deity or two on the side... and sometimes some ancestor-worship... but not to the point of regular sacrifice of POW!  They don't have a pool of Rune Points, or Rune Magic.   (These people are, by and large, NPCs)

One of the things that makes the Orlanthi of Sartar stand out is that they seem to have a much higher proportion of Initates than most cultures have.

 

On 7/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

I guess since own RQ:G (in both physical & PDF) I am trying to understand how  to read it. Because it seems like older editions of Glorantha were let 'timeline' more 'toolkit' and  RQG went with :Timeline specific?

Quick history of the title:

  1. RQ1 (Chaosium) 1978
  2. RQ2 (Chaosium) 1980
  3. RQ3 (Avalon Hill published, but the authors were Chaosium) 1984
  4. MRQ (Mongoose Runequest) 2006
  5. MRQII (Mongoose Runequest II) 2010
  6. RQ6 (The Design Mechanism) 2012
  7. RQG (Chaosium) 2018

For RQ's 1-3, the "official" timeline was near the height of the Lunar Empire's power.  They had conquered Sartar, were occupying Pavis (the only city in the Wastes of Prax) and Corflu (the ocean port downriver from Pavis).  The "scruffy rebels vs. oppressive conquerors" was kind of a default... but folks' campaigns ran wildly outside those lines!  These were all iterations/evolutions of the same rulesystem, and players tended to use their favored rule-set with supplements/adventures from any other of the three, adapting on the fly.

None of the core rulebooks had deep lore (that only came with later supplements; RQ2+CultsOfPrax was amazing, back in the day!).  Really, they only had hints as to Glorantha!  So although there was nominally a firm date, what that meant in terms of setting-details wasn't clear from the core rulebooks.  Lots of folks went and did whatever in their campaigns, without using any supplements.

When Mongoose licensed the game, they went back to an earlier Age, almost a millennium prior (and also did a major rework on the rules, rendering prior supplements less-immediately useful (but still roll-under d100 vs skill, still basically usable)).  The Mongoose material varied in quality, but is all now considered "non-canonical."  Some fans still use it as resources (and some still prefer MRQ rules and/or 2ndAge setting).  MRQII was yet another substantive reworking of the rules.  When Mongoose lost the license, MRQII was de-Glorantha-fied and is now available as the Legend RPG.

RQ6 from TDM was written by the same authors -- and derives from on the same mechanical chassis -- as MRQII.  However, TDM opted to produce an almost setting-free game, with almost no Glorantha in it at all... it's the most "toolkit-y" version of Runequest!  When Chaosium decided to produce the next version of RQ entirely in-house, TDM re-worked their RQ6 ruleset as Mythras (which is going gangbusters for them, and has a bunch of settings and supplements).

With RQG, Chaosium has set aside all the "Mongoose" heritage -- the mechanics went back to (mostly) a mix of RQ2/RQ3, and the setting has advanced just a few years from the Lunar-Occupation era.  Those RQ2/RQ3 supplements are useful again, though they need a bit of updating to RQG (with "Runes" and "Passions" and such).  RQG also has MUCH more of the world included in the core rulebook, with a world-shaking event (the "Dragonrise") set just a few years prior to the start of the game.

Character-creation in RQG is very time and place specific.  It is meant to root your character in their culture, in the world of Glorantha.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2 cents, as a recent beginner myself:

  1. You already have RQG, which is good -- I found it to be a very good introduction to Glorantha.
  2. Take a look at the King of Dragon Pass game, the Prince of Sartar webcomic (not the book... yet), and the Glorantha Sourcebook.
  3. Get the RQG GM pack, which contains additional information on Sartar's Colymar tribe (if you're playing in that context).
    1. Or, if you're OK with PDFs, and with potentially converting from a different system (HeroQuest), get the Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes PDF from Chaosium, which contains LOTS of Sartarite info.
  4. If you're more interested in Pavis than Sartar (and you're still OK with PDFs), get the Pavis: Gateway to Adventure PDF.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, g33k said:

My own favorite "intro" material -- back in the day -- was the sidebar travelogue "The Travels of Biturian Varosh" from Cults of Prax (now also reprinted in the Cult Compendium).

 

That and the tales of the protagonist in Cults of Terror/Lords of Terror and retold again in the Cults Compendium as well are quite evocative. These tales alone propelled my understating of Man in (and of) Glorantha for at lease a decade.

Cheers

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 6:21 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a community for beginners like myself to Glorantha? THere is so much material, so much history... I own the RQ:G book, the new one, but I kind of don't understand what it 'means' in the larger context. I got the sense that RQ:G puts the game in a specific time and era ( incomparrison to some of the old material), but when you do not understand that context or the timeline. I don't know if I can play my character effectively.

Is there a good beginners guide to the world ( that is the  insane Atlas or Guide to Glorantha- that has you drowning? As much as I love them they made me more confused.

Hmmm.

Try this:  create a character according to the RAW in the core rulebook.  The mechanics are intended to embed your character into the world, into your culture.

Do it beside an open web-browser.  If you find a person (like "Harrek") or an event (like "the Battle of Pennel Ford") that isn't explained enough in the core rulebook, try looking it up on  the Glorantha Wiki .

Info on the wiki is a bit sparse, but can sometimes crack-open a concept or make a hyperlinked connection that gives some insight.

And yes, I admit that "create a character while sitting beside a wiki to help understand" is a less-than-ideal process.

 

Also -- ask any specific questions; things like "Glorantha is just so big" are... well... yes it is.

We AGREE with you, but we can't ANSWER a question that isn't asked.   :(

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

...

I guess I am sort of interested Ernalda (Yeah Esrolia! )

...

The classic "starting in Glorantha" advice is "start small, work outward."

So, you have a specific interest!  Start with Esrolia, and Ernalda.  Work outward...  and inward.

Relations with Sartar.

Relations (and rivalries) with other kingdoms & empires; becoming part of "Holy Country."

The Earth Tribe of peoples, & the Earth Deities.

The cities Esrolia, families/politics of Esrolia.

Etc...

And, as you go, you'll likely get bits and pieces of the rest of the world, as you learn Esrolia's place (and Ernalda's place) in that world.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, I'm also a relative newcomer to Glorantha. I wouldn't really recommend my method for learning the setting, which was just to plow through a pdf of the Guide to Glorantha. But some more accessible products that I would like to second include-

  • King of Dragon Pass for PC or mobile devices - Kind of challenging at first but really fun, and relevant to the RQG setting and timeline. The sequel, Six Ages, is also excellent. I actually prefer it to KoDP, but it's set in the mythological period waaay before the default starting date, focusing on a totally different region and culture. 
  • Prince of Sartar webcomic - Incomplete, but still really good and does a great job at establishing the Bronze Age feel of Glorantha. If you're interested in Esrolia, there are some really cool depictions of Nochet, and the Esrolian noble houses.
  • Also going to champion this blog series on Chaosium by Ellie and Scott Akers, Selkana's Saga. It might not help you learn the setting, but it's great for seeing what a game of RQ:G can actually look like. It also stars some interesting and diverse characters that hail from Esrolia. 

I would actually hesitate to recommend the Glorantha Sourcebook as a starting point. It's really more of a companion piece to the Guide, and it expands on stuff that is not as well-developed from that book, specifically Dragon Pass, major pantheons, and the history of the Lunar Empire. I loved reading it in the same way that I loved reading the Guide. It made my head spin, in a pleasant way. 

On 7/27/2019 at 9:21 AM, HeartQuintessence said:

Is there a Glorantha discord running around somewhere?

I'm only somewhat familiar with Discord, and I haven't heard of anyone using it for Runequest or Heroquest. Would you want to run or play in a campaign on Discord, or just sound out your questions and ideas with other folks? 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 4:30 PM, HeartQuintessence said:

At This point have a friend who is a... Gloratha Guru (who some how thinks the Lunars are OK? ISH?  with Illumination and some other stuff-- I sort of understand it), But I know that 'Lunars are sort of the 'bad guys' but not really, because they're playable?)

Of course the Lunars are okay! To us moderns, they should in many ways be more okay than the opposition, with their concepts about gender and racial equality and inclusivity, as well as being more urbane, educated, and generally enlightened. 

It's just that in Glorantha, our point of view is the opposition to the Lunars. Any Lunar-oriented publication would have them as the heroic defenders of civilization against smelly barbarians instead, the vanguard of more advanced thinking and superior social organization. Like Rome versus the barbarians (in the eyes of the Romans, that is). Everyone thinks they're the good guys.

(And honestly, some of the best places in Glorantha to live have been Lunar, like Lunar Tarsh and Arrolia before they got their recent problems.) 

((It's a bit like in Mage: the Ascension, where the supposed bad guys (the Technocracy) are far more relatable than the people you're expected to play.)) 

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/29/2019 at 5:19 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Of course the Lunars are okay! To us moderns, they should in many ways be more okay than the opposition, with their concepts about gender and racial equality and inclusivity, as well as being more urbane, educated, and generally enlightened. 

It's just that in Glorantha, our point of view is the opposition to the Lunars. Any Lunar-oriented publication would have them as the heroic defenders of civilization against smelly barbarians instead, the vanguard of more advanced thinking and superior social organization. Like Rome versus the barbarians (in the eyes of the Romans, that is). Everyone thinks they're the good guys.

(And honestly, some of the best places in Glorantha to live have been Lunar, like Lunar Tarsh and Arrolia before they got their recent problems.) 

((It's a bit like in Mage: the Ascension, where the supposed bad guys (the Technocracy) are far more relatable than the people you're expected to play.)) 

The Lunars are a lot more simpatico to the modern sensibilities, which is part of what makes them so problematic.

They are, in so many ways, so obviously The Good Guys!  The tribal wars & feuds, rather rigid gender roles (albeit with exceptions such as "Vinga"), and "barbarian" overtones of the Orlanthi -- even, occasionally, human sacrifice! -- look rather bad in comparison.

Except...

Except when you look closely, it looks an awful lot like there is serious & irredeemable rot at the Lunar core.  Sedenya herself rode out of Hell on the Crimson Bat, and the Lunars still use it as a mytho-WMD... despite needing to feed it souls more or less continuously (it is unclear, but seems possible-verging-on-probable, that the Glowline also destroys souls as its fuel).  There is no way to disentangle Her actions from the Lunar Way, and the Chaotic "into the Void for utter & eternal destruction" treatment of Souls stands in stark contrast to an honored afterlife where your descendants can, at need, reach out to you.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. I never thought of it that way. I suppose that it is true. Riding out of hell on The Crimson Bat which eats souls is... Not a Good Guy Thing (tm). 

 

But as I re read my RQ:Glorantha book. I ask myself, is hero quesand invitation going to be in another book? And  do the Eleven Lights stuff from Hero quest is that compatable? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 5:46 PM, Joerg said:

for now their mutual annihilation has been stopped.

Argrath: "Hold my beer!"

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, HeartQuintessence said:

Riding out of hell on The Crimson Bat which eats souls is... Not a Good Guy Thing (tm).

to be fair she was pretty angry at her original divine form being sent to the Hells as a demon bat for "betraying" Yelm to the Rebel Gods, when in fact Yelm usurped her role as the Blue Sun in the Green Age and killed her and then enslaved all the women of Dara Happa...

...but your point about Chaos eating souls still stands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...