Category Archives: Starting a Gloranthan Campaign

Guest Post: How To Start Playing in Glorantha

Glorantha has so much background material that it sometimes can feel intimidating to enter. In fact it is not. Glorantha is what you make of it.
One of the true old timers among Glorantha gamers is Joerg Baumgartner. He answered a question in the Google+ Glorantha community so well that I asked him for a permission to repost it as a guest post here in Notes From Pavis. At the end of the post I will provide directions to three other earlier posts how to start with Glorantha. 
Here is his post. <updated with a new paragraph on 19 Jan, 2016>

Having fun with games or good reads is the best way to start into Glorantha. You can become the obsessed scholar if or whenever you want. Been there, done that.

Several alleys of exploration are available.

Roleplaying material for gamemasters:
Now with the classical RQ2 supplements (soon) again available (as pdfs), any one of Pavis, Borderlands, Griffin Mountain or Cults of Prax offer an introduction with a very manageable learning curve (though it has to be said that Cults of Prax contains fundamental information on how the gods and their cults work in Glorantha). These place you a bit off center for the prequel of the Hero Wars.

(It might help to put the few pages of background info on Prax in Nomad Gods onto the website, for an even earlier introduction. Or those in the Dragon Pass boardgame, unless Chris is using those in the new boardgame.)

Both the Sartar Campaign and the Pavis book for HeroQuest offer good introductions while putting you in the midst of the big action as it unfolds. Start with reading HeroQuest Glorantha, though.

I have no doubt that the upcoming RuneQuest Glorantha will see some support for introduction into Glorantha. Similar for 13th Age Glorantha, whose accompanying Glorantha setting book (free of any game constructs) probably is going to be the best introduction for playing in the early parts of the Hero Wars.

Computer Game:
King of Dragon Pass lets you play an Orlanthi clan in what becomes the kindom of – not Sartar, but your king, if you play the long game victoriously. While not creating a canonical Sartar, you learn about all the difficulties and challenges Sartar had to overcome to found his kingdom, and you will gain a good insight how Orlanthi clans interact.

And the game can be highly addictive.

Reading:
The Collected Griselda is set in Pavis and was started as a solo-playing fanfic, but it reads great and offers a very vivid insight in the machinations of the city, its occupators and the resistance. Highly recommended with either the RQ2 Pavis/Big Rubble books or the HeroQuest Pavis book.

King of Sartar is a book for people who enjoy scholarly puzzles, shock full of texts written as in-world documents. One of the major influences which hooked me on Glorantha (after reading the RQ2 Pavis material and the then much smaller Genertela gazetteer that now has been subsumed in the massive Guide).

The Guide to Glorantha is exhaustive, but for first contact with Glorantha also exhausting. Having the pdf as a look-up reference is fine, but I wouldn’t suggest to start exploration of Glorantha by trying to absorb the whole of that massive tome.

Penelope Love published a Gloranthan novel and a shorter collection of short stories via the Chaos Society (Deutsche RuneQuest-Gesellschaft e.V.) which capture a similar RQ2 flair as the Griselda stories.

Roleplaying with an experienced referee/GM/narrator

There is an abundance of conventions where you are guaranteed to find a Gloranthan game (although they might be full, in which case you might be reduced to sitting in watching other people having the fun). 2016 is going to see five conventions with Glorantha as one of their main attractions – Continuum in Leicester, England, Chimeriades in France, Eternal Con and The Kraken in Germany, and the initiative by Chris Lemens the week before Gencon in Texas. Gencon will see Glorantha games, too.

Then there are the possibilities of play-by-hangout, play-by-forum or play-by-email games, all of which can be very rewarding. Often you’ll be able to “sit in” watching other people exploring a small part of Glorantha.

Not guaranteed, but with a certain likelihood these specialized conventions may also offer Glorantha-themed freeform games, a very immersive way to experience the world.

Boardgames:
How it all began – the games White Bear and Red Moon (later editions: Dragon Pass) and Nomad Gods are about moving stacks of unit counters across a hex map. Definitely old style wargaming, with a high importance of the magic. Hard to get nowadays, but you ought to be able to find a game at one of those five conventions mentioned above.

Not there yet, but several board game options for exploring Glorantha are going to become available this year:

Chris Klug is working on putting the premise of WBRM/DP into a boardgame with a lot less administrative overhead.

Sandy Petersen’s Gods War, a game similar to Cthulhu Wars but firmly based in Glorantha, and great fun to play, is going into kickstarter within the next two months. If you play this, you’ll get a good insight how the major pantheons of Glorantha interact, and how Glorantha was almost destroyed before History started.

Also on the horizon: a boardgame by Rainer Knizia, with a Praxian theme. Not a continuation of Nomad Gods, but a eurogame.

Exchanging GM info with other GMs in adjacent areas.

I was involved in several such cooperations, such as the Wilmskirk Tribal Federation info exchange which had campaigns for all four tribes putting together their data, or the Whitewall Wiki. As a narrator I felt a lot more secure about presenting a living world by getting feedback from the other campaigns in the neighborhood, discussing scenario ideas and outcomes.

So if you want to have a review board of other Gloranthan GMs, go networking. One of the most recent technologies are private G+ groups where GMs invite interested people to have a look at their campaign and current scenarios. Even if you should get no new input to improve your campaign (an unlikely case), presenting your plans before actually playing them out will make you focus, formulate and fine-tune your ideas. You don’t have to be a GM with 20 years of Glorantha experience. Some of the people who comment or listen in are bound to be, make use of their experience.

This concludes a very nice view from an old hand to those about to enter the wonder that is Glorantha.
Here are three other earlier posts on the same subject

Adventures in Glorantha Take 3: Gloranthan Cult Onepagers Come for AiG

The new main page for the Gloranthan Cult One Pagers is here. The page you are reading contains additional information about the One Pagers for AIG.

Adventures in Glorantha Preview finally brings us official RQ6 versions of multitude of Runespells in Glorantha. So far we have 35+ years of history of different versions of spells in various versions of Runequest and magazines.  AiG gives us an unified view of the spells.

Cults have not been released yet for AiG – they will come later on in Chaosium Runequest but that is still far away in time. For the time being I have created as a fan contribution my view of the cults in one pager format.

This is how I view them to be now that we know what the spells will be and how the general structure will look like. I have crawled thru the original one pagers and all the supplements that I could get my hands on and created my view of the cults based on the view given by AiG. This is a first cut and contains 140+ cults in the one pager format. This should help those few who have the preview but also any others as most of the spells are available in other material. There are many spells that are from older versions of RQ and supplements – you can see the descriptions of the spells there or from Gloranthaphiles conversion. If a spell is missing from AiG – it is missing on purpose. The common spells are different.

Format is now somewhat different as we do not have acolytes anymore in AiG.  There is now information about spells given by allied and subservient cults. All the spells that are cult specific should now have rune signs in front of them. Progressive folk magic spells have been marked as such.  There are still a few spells there that are either fan created or directly from RAW Runequest 6.

The original one-pagers will still be available in their location. The new ones will be in Aig directory and have in small print on upper right corner “Aig Preview version”. I expect I need to tune these still – so I added print date and time info on bottom of the page.

There are now couple of previously missing cults available : Ancestor Worship and Tokaz Varaz – the trollkin cult.

This of course meant that I need to change later on the stats in RQ6 Encounter Generator as the cult members there have been so far my interpretation of RQ6 Glorantha without Aig. The cults that have been changed are still my interpretations of the AiG as they are based on the Preview and the rules are not fully complete yet. Like noted in my first look at Adventures in Glorantha elder races are not yet described in AiG Preview.  I remain in gratitude that I got permission at GenCon to do this upgrade to the Gloranthan Cult One-pagers under the normal Fan Policy.

Feedback is welcome.

I will likely not be updating the original one pagers but will be working on this AIG preview version until Chaosium Runequest comes out – I will likely update the one pagers at that time for it as well.

So we have the

in rough pantheon format

Arkat

Chaos – Genertela with

Atyar, Bagog, Cacodemon, Devil’s Hand, Gark the Calm, Hungry Jack, Krarsht, Krjalk, Lemure, Mallia, Pocharngo, Primal Chaos, Ragnaglar, Seseine, Sidana, Taeterisus, Than, Thanatar, Thed, Tyram, Ulforg, Urain, Vakalta, Vivamort

Chaos – Pamaltela with

Atyar, Cacodemon, Gark the Calm, Gloomshark, Ikadz, Krarsht, Lemure, Mallia, Ompalam, Primal Chaos, Seseine, Sidana, Than, Thanatar, Thed, Urain, Vivamort

Darkness

Ancestor Worship, Annilla, Aranea, Argan Argar, Gorakiki, Himile, Kyger Litor, Mee Vorala, Moorgarki, Subere, Tokaz Varaz, Xentha, Xiola Umbar, Zong, Zorak Zoran

East Isles

Hobimaron, Lumavoxoran, Saliligor

Elf

Aldrya, Babeester Gor, Flamal, Grain Goddesses, Mee Vorala, Voria, Yelmalio

Hsunchen

Ancestor Worship, Basmol, Hungry Ghosts, Hakim & Mikyh, Telmor

Independent

Baraku, Blackfang, Bloody Tusk, Caladra & Aurelio, City God, Dorasta, Flintnail, Lamsabi, Selern, Sun Dragon and Um-Oradin

Kralorela

Black Sun, Dendara, Grain Goddesses, Hakim & Mikyh

Lunar

Seven Mothers (Danfive Zaron, Irrippi Ontor, Jakaleel the Witch, Queen Deezola, She Who Waits. Tele Norri, Yanafal Tarsils), Annilla, Crimson Bat, Etyries, Lanbril

Malkion

Dormal and Arkat

Ompalam

Burayha Xolagi (the Good Doctor), Calari the Hunter, El-Jazuli (the Earth Witch), Ennung, Ernamola, Evukindu, Garangordos the Wise, Hanjethulut (the Angry One), Ikadz, Jokotu the Liberator, Karkisso the Seer, Ompalam, Orjethulut

Pamalt

Ancestor Worship, Babeester Gor, Basmol, Bolongo, Lodril, Maran Gor, Nyanka, Pamalt, Rasout, Ty Kora Tek, Uleria

Praxian

Ancestor Worship, Basmol, Dark Eater, Eiritha, Foundchild, Gagarth, Hungry Ghosts, Pavis, Storm Bull, Waha, Zola Fel

Sea

Annilla, Dormal, Magasta, Triolina, Tsankth, Wachaza

Storm

Ana Gor, Asrelia, Babeester Gor, Chalana Arroy, Donandar, Dormal, Ernalda, Eurmal, Gagarth, Grain Goddesses, Heler, Humakt, Hykim & Mikyh, Issaries, Lanbril, Lokarnos, Maran Gor, Mastakos, Odayla, Orlanth, Storm Bull, Ty Kora Tek, Uleria, Valind, Vinga, Waha, Ygg of Threestep and Yinkin

Vormain

Tsankth

Yelm

Chalana Arroy, Dendara, Donandar, Grain Goddesses, Lanbriul, Lodril, Lokarnos, Shargash, Uleria, Yelm, Yelmalio and Yelorna

Yu-Kargzant

Henird, Hiia the Swordsman, Jardan and Yu-Kargzant

Zip of the combined PDF (Cults by pantheon) is available in the directory mentioned above.

Adventures in Glorantha Take 2: RQ Encounter Generator Previews All The World’s Monsters

Adventures in Glorantha Preview finally brings us official RQ6 versions of multitude of beasts in Glorantha. So far we have 35+ years of history of different versions of Runequest and magazines.  AiG gives them an unified view of the stats and skills. This of course meant that I needed to change the stats in RQ6 Encounter Generator as these have been so far either direct conversions or my interpretations of the monsters. The enemies that have been changed are still my interpretations of the AiG as they are based on the Preview and the rules are not fully complete yet. Like noted in my first look at Adventures in Glorantha elder races are not yet described in AiG Preview.  I remain in gratitude that I got permission at GenCon to do this upgrade under the normal Fan Policy.

All the enemies in RQ Encounter Generator that have been presented in AiG have now been gone thru and the skills, stats, hit locations, armour, movement rates, weapon damage and abilities have been revised and updated. Many new entries also exist in the additional feature tables but they contain also many of the previous entries. In many cases the skills have gone up, new skills added and abilities added or even removed – in many other cases the characteristics are different than originally. There are also new additional features like Gloranthan Snake Venom types.  For example Dream Dragons are far more deadlier and versatile opponents than originally.  As the AiG preview does not contain the cults yet – my versions of the entries have versions of Glorantha One Pager cults – like Aranea. This is a first cut and I may need to tune them still in future and the changes may reverberate to other monsters that are similar to these. All the changed monsters have a tag Aig on them so they can be easily found.

Textual descriptions in AiG feel in most cases richer than original entries in the original book or magazine. There is advice on tactics in many cases. Some of the entries in AiG are very rich indeed (like the Vampire or Dream Dragon). I can feel the sense of care being put to the bestiary as unified whole and can only imagine the moments of cackling madness of joy that the creators must have had in creating and writing the monsters. This is Glorantha brought to the 2015’s.  I am looking forward to final version of AiG in Chaosium Runequest as an indispensable aid for GM in Glorantha.

Here is the list of updated monsters.

Adventures in Glorantha Preview (RQ6) First Look

This is a first look at Adventures in Glorantha – Special GenCon 2015 Preview. I got my copy at GenCon booth from the hands of Pete Nash. The first look is based on one reading thru and then looking at high points on each chapter. I will be posting more comments as I delve deeper into and use the material later on.

The preview is spiral bound, hard copy only and only 50 copies have been printed for sale – the last two items are due to contractual agreements.

This is preview only with final set coming as a Chaosium Runequest by next GenCon. The Chaosium Runequest will be Glorantha based version of RQ6 – not a (near) generic one that the Runequest 6 is. The writers of the Chaosium Runequest will be the indomitable Loz and Pete so no worries there. Jeff said there will be art so this looks promising. RQ6 rules will not change but there might be slight tunings – so it will still be Runequest 6 that we have grown to love. You will see during the rest of the “first look” that it might not be so hard to use those rules elsewhere – pure speculation on my part of course as I intend to use mine in a Gloranthan campaign.

Executive summary: 

It is 212 pages of Gloranthan Runequest goodness – totally worth it.

More detail

Preview does not contain yet cults, elder races, heroquests, Lunar magic, mysticism, the runes, appendices or the scenario. Adventures in Glorantha refers to standard RQ6 rules so you will need those as well.

We have (page count is approximate) introduction ( 1 page), the world of Glorantha (16 pages), character creation (26 pages), money and equipment (11 pages), magic (4 pages), folk magic (6 pages), rune magic (54 pages), sorcery  (11 pages), all the worlds monsters (57 pages), appendix C Chaos (4 pages).

World of Glorantha gives you a standard, canon and up to date look at Glorantha – history, geography, technology base, monetary base, description of the races and succinct description of the main areas: Balazar & Elder Wilds, Dragon Pass, Esrolia, God Forgot, Maniria, Prax, Pavis, Sun County, Corflu and Lunar Empire.

Character creation has tweaks to the standard RQ6 generation made for Rune Affinities (needed for cults) and the ubiquitous languages and folk magic.  There are Gloranthan combat styles which can be more varied than in base RQ6 and guidance how the styles are used in Glorantha. These rules will give more flavour to character creation.

You can generate characters for Balazaring, Esrolian, God Forgot, Lunar Heartland, Lunar Provincial, Praxian, Sartarite,Tarsh and Telmori Hsunchen cultures. All of these are given enough colourful information to make the choice of background interesting. Each of the backgrounds contain language, standard skills, professional skills, careers, combat styles, folk magic and passions typical for that background. Some of the areas have not been touched earlier on in popular Runequest material and everything has been brought up to date with GtG at least to my eyes and deepened to contain RQ level crunch. To me the material is evocative.

Background creation also has a Gloranthan version of the unique background events.

Money and Equipment

This chapter contains excellent and quite detailed information on the values of things in Glorantha. What was very useful from my point of view was the info on land and property and transport and shipping costs and trade goods. You could very easily whip up a Trader campaign on this information alone and especially combined with the Trade route chapter on GtG.

There is also a chapter on new weapons for Lunars and a variety of shields for various common cultures. The metal chapter contains among other things the rules for iron – the magic dampening deadly metal against trolls and elves.

Magic

The preview points at terms in Rq2,Rq3,Rq6 to make it easier to convert scenarios and material from earlier versions of Runequest. There is a background advice how to deal with existing campaigns.

There are several kinds of magic available in AiG. Folk Magic is progressive – as it should be in Glorantha. Rune Magic (called Theist Magic outside Glorantha) is using Runes instead of Devotion.  Spirit Magic is called Animism outside Glorantha. Sorcery – you can use RQ6 sorcery or a new form of sorcery emerging in Glorantha. We remain waiting for the Lunar magic and Dragonic Mysticism. In my campaign in Glorantha I will continue using the RQ6 Sorcery and RQ6 Mysticism until they are further revealed.

Acolytes and Adepts do not exist in Adventures in Glorantha so initiate and devotee rules regarding available magic have been modified to take that into account.   If your Glorantha varies so that you want to have acolytes, I see no reason why it could not use standard RQ6 here.

Progressive folk magic is optional and different than what has been proposed with generally available RQ mod – progressive folk magic. The one described in AiG is smooth mechanic much more in line with folk magic being not as powerful as Rune Magic. There are 5 pages worth of folk magic spells – almost all of which could be used in non-Gloranthan campaign as well.

Rune Magic chapter has a mention of the new mechanics related to casting the rune Magic with runes instead of Devotion even though the Devotion is still used. For devotees it will be possible to use even more powerful magic act called feat that is cult or hero quest specific. Feats will likely be revealed when more cults are revealed.

There are 384 (three hundred eighty four) (give or take some) Rune Spells described with their effects making it the largest collection of official Rune Spells in a single place I have seen so far in Gloranthan and Runequest history. This is real Magical Mystery Tour – grimoire of extraordinary proportions – more than 50 pages of spells. In comparison RQ6 base rules have 65 or so Theist spells (many of which are included in the above 384).

The descriptions contain the runes that can use the spell, cost, duration and effects and whether the spell is still available (there are some old spells that are marked either withdrawn or replaced by a new one). According to Pete it should contain new version of all or almost all the rune spells published in ‘official’ publications since the Dawn and some completely new ones as well. None of the spells have cult association but it has rune association so we will need to populate the cults with spells that have appropriate runes. Glorantha is full of magic.

Sorcery is very different in Glorantha. Gloranthan sorcery is now brought up to date with GtG approach but there is an also an option to use the standard RQ6 sorcery or even a mix. I will need a bit more time to think about Gloranthan sorcery approach which looks to be much more free form than standard RQ6 sorcery.

Spirit Magic has a new way for doing spirit combat in Glorantha and loads of spirit abilities and how to work with spirits in Glorantha and eight pages on Gloranthan great spirits like Dark Eater, Father of Independents and Oakfed.

All the world’s monsters has close to twenty creature abilities for Glorantha several of which add to ones on RQ6 and Monster Island. The chapter then dives into describing a cornucopia of Gloranthan monsters – more than 80 of them depending how you count described over more than 50 pages. Many of the monsters are new to RQ6 but old foes to Gloranthan players but there a few completely new. Now we have the official RQ6 version of many of the  commonly known monsters (Dream Dragon, Dragonsnail, Gorp) – several exotic ones (Charnjibber, Headhanger, Glarg, Nakasa). The descriptions are full of usual goodness and use both new and old abilities in nice combinations. Dream dragons will be even more deadly foes than before – and your desire to meet a Walktapus or Jack’o’Bear is even less than before. With elder races missing we are missing trolls, dwarves, elves, scorpion men and even broos. No – there are no ducks (or keets)…

What I liked most: Rune magic, Progressive folk magic, Trading, Character Backgrounds, Monsters.

What needs time to sink in: Gloranthan Sorcery

What’s not to like: the final version is coming next summer

For non-Gloranthan GM’s: take a look at the spell and monster list and see – you could use those or parts of those in non-Gloranthan fantasy worlds – quite easily.

This is truly worthy preview of things to come in Chaosium Runequest and it was pure enjoyment to read thru. Now to update the RQ Encounter Generator to support it and start using the preview as my campaign rules.  Can’t wait for the final version that is coming next summer.

RQ encounter Generator take on Aig monsters is here

Walk down the memory lane – where it all began – Apple Lane – Encounters for Mythras

I still remember the first time I GM’d Runequest. It was sometime February 1981 and the scenario was Apple Lane. We had played D&D for a few years and I wanted to try something new.

It was love on first game – everything clicked – the combat – the milieu – the crunchy style, the tactics for the attackers, spells. I searched thru my garage and found my original Apple Lane set, still containing the markings of hit points going down, skill percentage changes and fallen marks.

Here are the stats for Rq6 for those who would like to try to help Gringle and Quackjohn. May your game with these create as good memories as mine did.

The young baboon troop contains

Xarban’s gang has

Added some villagers of the Apple Lane

A map for the village is nowadays available here . The Return to Apple Lane scenario there is for Heroquest and very different than the original and could be run as a follow-on to the original even.

Guest Post: Back Under the Glowline

A long time gaming buddy of mine Tom Zunder wrote such a great post on his Gaming Tavern forum that I asked his permission to reblog it also here. There is so much choice that we friends of Glorantha have now. So here is his post. 

So, time to return to Glorantha I feel. It’s been years, maybe a decade or more, since I’ve gamed under the Red Moon, faced the terrors of Thanatar and charged with my Enlo against Blue Moon Moth Riders. You know what, I kinda bloody miss it, and purged of all the accumulated cruft of the Glorantha nerds and the mismatch between myself and Hero Wars, it’s time to worship the Dark Mother, riddle with Nysalor and embrace the endless history of Darra Happa.

But, and this is lovely, there are so many choices.Firstly, and I don’t mind saying this, there is HeroQuest with the tailored match between the the recent setting books, all redolent in simple d20 keywords and meshed neatly between culture and game. There is some truly lovely stuff in the sources that meshes with HQ, and yet.. I’ve never really enjoyed a game of HQ, although a lot of that might be from the Hero Wars action point economy that bored me to tears. Also, and although I can enjoy the depth of Glorantha cultural minutia, it has been what turned me off the setting for so long. I am, and always have been, more of a greatsword swinging Zorak Zorani than a Lhankor Mhy, and so I don’t think it’s HQ for me.

Secondly there is RuneQuest. We approach a time of possibly the best moderately complex version of RuneQuest that we’ve ever had, one that fixes the old issues about divine magic, montheism in a polytheistic world, makes a bloody good stab at sorcery and delivers a folk magic that actually feels folksy and useful to a carpenter or potter. We don’t have Adventures in Glorantha yet, but Hannu Kokko and the Finns are making a very good stab at it with their proto-cult write ups and the joy that is the RuneQuest Encounter tool online.. a party of Chaos cultists heading out from SnakePipe Hollow, I don’t mind if I do. Only problem, I think RQ6, like earlier RQs, doesn’t scale to Heroic, which is, after all why HeroQuest was first conceived.

Thirdly, and this isn’t as mad as it sounds, is OpenQuest. Combined with the RuneQuest Classics RQ2 reprints from Rich Meints, or a selection of RQ3 adventures, one can run an OQ game in Glorantha with barely a flutter. The spells have the same names, the stat blocks are very similar, and OQ is lighter and involves less rethink that RQ6. I know Simon Bray runs all his Glorantha with OQ these days and if that isn’t a recommendation I don’t know what is. So, possible and do-able, but one also can’t help wondering if maybe a copy of RQ2 or RQ3 might also fit in this camp, they’re easily pickupable in the UK on ebay, if you haven’t already got them all on the shelf, which I have.

Fourthly, and here the ZZ beserker in me wails in joy, 13th Age Glorantha! This riot of a d20 game that won me over to D&D after 34 years just made me think of Orlanth, the Red Goddess, Kyger Litor, Yelmalio, etc. as I turned the pages. This is a game for the Heroic, and by setting it in the Hero Wars when Argrath wages devastation on the Lunar Empire, and the Red Moon wages it back in an apocalyptic frenzy that cracks Glorantha from Choralinthor Bay to Valind’s Glacier, is the time for the power and crazy that is a 13th Age player character. So, and this is a defininte, the d20 will come to my Glorantha table, but it will be rolling high and not low.

But that’s not all.

Oh no.

I have a steadily growing collection of skirmish minis and skirmish rulesets. I know Sandy Petersen is playtesting a Gloranthan Gods War game, and I suspect that like his earlier Cthulhu boardgame, this may lead to a big fat bunch of 28mm Gloranthan minis.

So how to skirmish in Glorantha?

Well the Glory Geeks, that brave band of Gloranthan wargamers, have valiantly field Hordes of the Things Gloranthan armies in the HOTT fields of war, and indeed Rich Crawley’s Goranthan HOTT bands are great to play. Just ask him, or Jane, for army lists and where to get the rules and you too can be playing Gloranthan battles in under an hour a time on your dining room table. I am odd though, I don’t like to base my figures in blocks, since I am a roleplayer first I like them singly based. So, not HOTT for me, although always up for a game.

Rich and I have been enjoying Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games in recent years. A fast 28mm/15mm/any scale skirmish game free of any tie in with any minis maker, SoBH or SBH is enjoyable, wonderfully generic, quick to learn and play, and leaves your minis free for any other use since it has no basing needs. I know Rich has done Glorantha with it and I was almost there until I saw..

Of Gods and Mortals, or OGAM. Published by Osprey this is in fact a superset of SBH, where gods (40mm+), avatars (28-40mm) and their forces (28mm) battle it out on the field of war. What could be more Gloranthan? Cacodemon and his warband facing down Storm Bull and his? It’s appealing isn’t it, and I think I shall have to lay down the ten quid to get OGAM and see how it’ll work if and when some good Gloranthan minis come out, so come on Sandy!

And that’s not all.. after all, if Sandy P does get the Glorantha boardgame going, is there any chance of resisting that?

Must go, Cragspider is calling..

The Troll

HQ: http://www.glorantha.com/product/heroquest-glorantha/
RQ6: http://www.thedesignmechanism.com/runequest.php
OQ: http://d101games.com/books/openquest/
13th G: http://www.13thageinglorantha.com/

SBH: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3080 … and-heroes
OGAM: http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=159&page=1

Tom Zunder: tom at zunder.org.uk
Encourage the Awesome!

Force Is Strong In This One – The Guide to Glorantha has arrived

Today I received my copy of Guide to Glorantha. 12 kg’s worth of Gloranthan goodness. This is the book that we have been waiting for all these decades.  Extensive information on all of lozenge in the two volumes of Guide and 1 of maps. Additionally all of Genertela in 6 maps and all of Lozenge in 24 maps.

Attached are few pictures before sharing the loot. The Herbert’s science fiction paperback shown as a size comparison.

The Guide is just gorgeous and full of info just on the right level at multitude of aspects of Glorantha so it can be used and extended for a multitude of campaigns and scenarios. Perhaps later a small review after I have had enough time to digest all of it. The guide can be bought as PDF’s but the print version really does justice to the contents.

IMG_0140 IMG_0141 IMG_1489 IMG_1490

Gloranthan Timelines – Generational Perspective

In my campaign I have long wanted a view of Gloranthan history from a perspective of an ordinary people who might only think about just a few years back, in my father’s day, when my grandfather was young, when my great-grandfather was initiated.

At the same I wanted to see what was happening at other regions at the time. Created the database for the calendar information and wanted to share a generational perspective for the Gloranthan history.

Now your Sartarite NPC or your character can say that the Moon worshippers finally got us when my father was young. My grandfather died with the last true king of Sartar – Salinarg.  My grandfather had seen the opening of the seas and the Sun Worshippers receiving their land and starting to construct their temple.

Currently my campaign has some seafaring parts so I wanted to know when closing was in effect overall and in particular areas.

Almost all the dates and history information are compiled from the Guide, Kingdom of Sartar and the new Pavis book.

The generation is defined to be 25 years which might be a bit high for barbarian cultures but would work for civilized. The base year in the years ago is 1625. The table contains event per year for all areas, how many generations ago it happened, how many years ago it happened and whether closing was in effect at the time.

Timeline pdf is here

Guest post: Starting a Glorantha RQ6 Campaign before AiG – another view

Here is the first guest post on Notes From Pavis blog. It was written by Skoll who the mastermind behind RQ Encounters tool.  He published this first on Design Mechanism forums

A while ago I wrote an article with a similar purpose, but never finalized and posted it. Your post inspired me to give it the finishing touches, so here it is. Some of it overlaps with what you wrote, but there’s also stuff, that you didn’t mention, so I hope it will be useful for new players interested in Glorantha.

As the question of getting started in Glorantha seems to pop up every now and then, here’s some advice from somebody, who about 3 years ago decided to get reacquainted with the setting after a 15 year hiatus. Disclaimer: All of the following is based on my personal experience, and thus should not be taken as absolute truth.

Table of Contents

  • Source material
  • Glorantha 101
  • Converting stuff to RQ6
  • Getting started


Glorantha is an old setting with the first supplements dating back to 1970’s. There’s a plethora of material available and enough campaigns to keep even the most active groups busy for years. But to a new player, the amount of material might feel overwhelming. Another problem is, that none of the material has been released for RQ6. While very much compatible with RQ6, all the material will still require some amount of conversion work.

Source material

RQ2/RQ3
The RQ2 and RQ3 material was released in 80’s and early 90’s. (RQ2 age is generally considered as the golden age of playing RuneQuest in Glorantha). Pretty much all of the material has stood the test of time exceptionally well and provides still excellent gaming. Conversion work is pretty straight forward, most of the work needs to be done with magic. (See conversion notes below.) Some of the classic RQ2 campaigns have been rereleased by Moon Design in the Gloranthan Classics -series, which is highly recommended.

Mongoose RuneQuest 2 (MRQ2)
(Obviously there was also Mongoose RuneQuest 1, but I’m not familiar with it and I have understood, that several of the design aspects were quite flawed.)
MRQ2 (technically the 5th edition of RQ, nowadays rebranded as Legend) was the immediate predecessor of RQ6, having also been designed by Pete and Loz. Most of the elements of RQ6 are already there, but to me RQ6 feels more polished and has generally a better flow. The Glorantha material released for MRQ2 is rules wise very compatible with RQ6, but is considered non-canonical for many parts. Also, all MRQ2 material takes place during the 2nd Age, while all of the classical material, as well as the upcoming RQ6 Adventures in Glorantha, is 3rd Age. Despite these problems, I have found MRQ2 Cults of Glorantha to be a valuable sourcebook, but it isn’t generally available anymore.

HeroQuest
Moon Design (the owner of Glorantha) is nowadays publishing a game named HeroQuest (previously known as Hero Wars). HQ is a rules-light narrative RPG, and has a lot of Glorantha-material available. The HQ Glorantha material is relatively easy to take into use with RQ6, but requires some effort as you need to create all stats and skills for NPCs and monsters. (Alternatively you can use the RQ6 Encounter Generator to generate the stats.) Despite requiring some effort to take into use, they are excellent source books. Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (together with Sartar Companion) is the most inspiring RPG source book I have ever read. It details the area of Sartar in Dragon Pass and the Orlanthi culture and gods. Pavis: Gateway to Adventure is the other great new book, detailing the valley of the River of Cradles.

Guide to Glorantha
The upcoming Guide to Glorantha, published by Moon Design, will be a completely systemless introduction to the world of Glorantha. It will describe Gloranthan cultures, races, geographical regions, and a lot more. But, despite being a massive tome, it’s more of an overview. It won’t go into details with cults, NPCs or more specific locations. It’s a good source for background material, but it doesn’t replace proper campaign settings. 

Adventures in Glorantha
AiG is the upcoming RQ6 Glorantha sourcebook from The Design Mechanism.


Glorantha 101

To help you put all that you will read to a context from the very beginning, here’s some very basic info about Glorantha.

There are two classical adventuring areas in Glorantha: Sartar/Dragon Pass and Prax/The River of Cradles.

Sartar is home of the barbarian orlanthi, named after their chief god Orlanth. Orlanth is a storm god with many aspects and he’s worshipped by adventurers and kings alike. In addition to Orlanth, they worship Ernalda (Earth Goddess, wife of Orlanth), Issaries (communication and trade), Lhankor Mhy (knowledge), Humakt (death and war), Urox (the chaos killer, also known as Stormbull) and many others. The orlanthi value Courage, Wisdom, Generosity, Justice, Honor, Piety and Freedom. The orlanthi are currently (3rd Age) waging a losing war against the Lunar Empire. A primer is available at (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/8 … ers-Primer).

Prax is an inhospitable area east of Dragon Pass, populated by nomad tribes. The most important feature of Prax is the Zola Fel river, also known as the River of Cradles. The Valley of the river is a lot more hospitable, and is populated by farmers who have immigrated from Sartar and the Lunar Empire. Prax is also where the city of (New) Pavis is located. The city is next to Old Pavis, nowadays known as The Big Rubble, an area inhabited by trolls and monsters and full of ancient ruins, which makes it popular among adventurers. Pavis was conquered by the Lunar Empire some years ago.

Another legendary area for starting a campaign is that of Balazar and the Elder Wilds (north of Prax, beyond impassable mountains), detailed in The Griffin Mountain supplement.

Lunar Empire is a civilized empire with a unique philosophy. As they embrace certain aspects of chaos, they are violently opposed by the orlanthi. I wouldn’t recommend making lunar player characters in the first campaign.


Conversion

Here’s some advice for converting older material to RQ6.

RQ2 to RQ6

  • RQ2 Battle Magic is Folk Magic in RQ6.
  • RQ2 Rune Magic is Theistic Magic in RQ6.
  • In RQ2 initiates generally got one-time use Rune magic by sacrificing permanent POW. Only priests got reusable Rune magic, but they also had to sacrifice POW.
  • Hit locations have changed.
  • New characters in RQ2 had considerably lower skills than what characters created with RQ6 rules. To keep the challenges challenging, you may need to increase some skills of the monsters and NPCs.
  • All NPC’s, that will participate in combat, should have Endurance and Willpower added. I have used the following simple formula: Rabble gets Endurance of CONx4 and Willpower of POWx4; normal foes get a multiplier of 5 and formidable foes/bosses get a multiplier of 6.
  • Or you can use the RQ6 Encounter Generator (http://skoll.xyz/mythras_eg/) to create all the NPC/monster stats. There are over 600 Gloranthan creatures specified in the generator.
  • Spirits could exists also on the physical plane, and it was possible to have Spirit Combat also on the physical plane. The only requirement was, that one of the participants was in spirit form.
  • If you are wondering, what does this or that spell mentioned in the old supplements actually do, they are all described in The Magic Book (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/8 … Magic-Book), available from Chaosium.


MRQ2 to RQ6
There’s really not much to do in terms on conversion, but in case you are unfamiliar with MRQ2/Legend, some terms might be confusing.
MRQ2 – RQ6
Common magic – Folk magic
Divine Magic – Theistic magic
Resilience – Endurance
Persistence – Willpower

HQ to RQ6
If you get just the Glorantha supplements, and don’t have the HQ rule book, the skill level notation used in the books will probably be unclear. HQ is a d20 game, and all skills are described with a number from 1-20, bigger being better. A W-symbol (actually it’s the mastery rune) behind the number means, that mastery has been achieved, meaning the skill is beyond 20. (e.g. 7W is actually 27). A number beyond the W-rune is the level of master. (e.g. 7W2 is 47).


Getting started

If this all has been too vague, and you’d like some more concrete advice on getting started, here’s one option:
Get the Borderlands-campaign book and Cult Compendium (both available in the Gloranthan Classics -series, http://www.glorantha.com/product-catego … -classics/). Borderlands is straight-forward campaign, that takes place in and near the Valley of Zola Fel. The characters are mercenaries hired by duke Raus, to clear the nearby area and make it safe for settlers, who will arrive one year later. It introduces the players (and the GM) bit by bit to several of the cultures of Prax.
Give the following background-options to the players: 

  • Exile/immigrant from Sartar worshipping Orlanth, Humakt, Urox, Lhankor Mhy or Issaries.
  • Sun Dome Templars worshipping Yelmalio.
  • Praxian nomad worshipping Waha or Stormull.

(The restricted list is just to help you get started, without needing to read about dozens of cults. Feel free to give your players access to any cults you are comfortable with.)
After finishing Borderlands, get Pavis and Big Rubble.
If you want more background info, get Pavis: Gateway to Adventure, and Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes and Sartar companion (The Sartar books are excellent source books even if you play in Prax, as they give an excellent introduction into the Orlanthi culture).

Starting a Glorantha RQ6 campaign (before Adventures in Glorantha)

Many times it is asked what would be a good way to get started with Glorantha and RQ6. There are many possible paths but here is one: See generic introduction to Glorantha Get one of the classic campaigns from Moon Design

  • 1. Borderlands and Beyond
  • 2. Pavis and Big Rubble
  • 3. Griffin Mountain

If you are completely new to Glorantha – the above would be roughly my preference order. All of these will have their stats in Rq2 format and their cults in Rq2 format. For the RQ6 stats go to RQ Encounter Generator and either search for parties or enemies to generate or create your own based on the templates.

For what is possible check the party encounters Quiet Night at Gimpy’s for Pavis encounter or Monster Island daily event. You could also just pick either enemies or parties page and press “I feel lucky” for some random encounter.

For the cults – visit Glorantha Cult One pagers and get the Cult Compendium from Moon Design. After the initial campaign on some of the above you might turn into Sartar Kingdom of Heroes/ Sartar Companion and the new Pavis book from Moon Design. They have their stats in HW but you can use the above generator to create the stats.

Cultural information and background is explained in really useful and concise format in Gloranthan Voices material.

Pick a culture (or two) for starters.

Monster Island by the Design Mechanism is a superb supplement and you can fit it nicely as the isle of Loral. Useful charts for GM’s exist here  and here

Guide to Glorantha from Moon Design Publications is now published. It is glorious and large – it will be useful for any GM in Glorantha but is completely system agnostic – no rules or stats there.

Every one of us is waiting for Adventures in Glorantha (AIG) from Loz and Pete but meanwhile you can easily game in Glorantha with the above tips.

For another view see the guest posts Skoll’s excellent article  and Tom’s wonderful piece on possibilities in Glorantha gaming. Take a look also at Joerg Baumgartner’s excellent view how to start gaming in Glorantha