So Tell Me About Glorantha

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So Tell Me About Glorantha

Postby tochtli » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:37 am

I've seen RuneQuest around since the late '70s, but I've never played it. With the expiration of the Mongoose license, I've decided to invest in the system before it's gone.

I'm very interested in the Glorantha setting, but I am lost between Second and Third Age, and where to even start. I would appreciate any input on the matter.
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Re: So Tell Me About Glorantha

Postby DamonJynx » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:08 am

Apparently that's the best age! :lol:

As you can tell I'm not a Gloranthaphile.

Sorry, I can't help you really. As far as I know MRQ2's "default" setting was the 2nd age.
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Re: So Tell Me About Glorantha

Postby duncan_disorderly » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:44 am

The best place to start with Glorantha is with one of the campaign packs - for MRQ that would be Blood of Orlanth, Dara Happa Stirs or Pavis Rises, for RQ3 Sun County or River of Cradles, and for (Chaosiums original) RQ2, Pavis & Big Rubble, Borderlands or Griffin Mountain (And for Heroquest - Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes, or Blood Over Gold)

The MRQ material is "Second Age" Glorantha, everything else is "Third Age"
The MRQ stuff will be unavailable after the end of the month
The RQ3 stuff is (long) OoP
The RQ2 stuff was reprinted by Moon Design as "Glorantha Classics"

There have been a number of "general Gloranthan primers" published - the Genertela boxed set for RQ3, and volumes for Hero Wars and both editions of MRQ. (Again the MRQ books are "Second Age", the rest are "Third Age"). The "problem" with them is that they are covering the whole world, and your campaign is probably going to be set in one part of one country. The information in there is "nice to know" but by no means essential...

A very brief history of Gloranthan Ages as they pertain to RQ....
(Bear in mind that Glorantha is a myth based world, and all information is subjective - some cultures will have different interpretations of events, but this is a generally accepted version)

1) God Time - there is no strict sequence of events during this period
- Green Age - before any individual consciousness - The Gods create Humans & Elder Races leading to
- Golden Age - Yelm, the Sun Emperor rules the world. Orlanth the young Storm God steals the new power of Death from his brother and uses it on Yelm, who dies and descends into the underworld, heralding the start of the
- Storm Age - The world is a more violent place as the Storm Gods fight the other gods, and each other, also known as the lesser darkness. The forces of Chaos, lead by The Devil invade Glorantha, this is
- The Greater Darkness - The Devil and his Army kill just about everything. Orlanth leads 6 Companions through the Gates of Dusk into the Underworld to rescue Yelm - This is the Lightbringers Quest. The Mortal races fight the "I Fought We Won" battle and The devil is caught by Arachne Solara, the Cosmic Spider, who devours him and gives birth to Time. The Gods agree the Great Compromise and withdraw from direct interaction with the world. The God Time ends and History begins with

2) The First Age - As the Sun rises again, the survivors of "I Fought We Won" travel amongst the shattered tribes and help to rebuild civilisation. They form the "World Council of Friends", and eventually decide to create/recover a God they call "Ostentelka" - The Perfect One. The Dragonewts and Trolls grow uneasy with this plan and withdraw. Ostentelka was born - His supporters call him Nysalor - The Illuminated One, his enemies call him Gbaji, The Deceiver. His most implacable foe is Arkat, who pursues him across the world, leaving and joining Cults as he goes, finally leaving humanity and becoming a Troll (Arkat's enemies insist that he is Gbaji, the Deceiver...). Arkat and Nysalor fight in Dorastor, and Gbaji is defeated....

3) The Second Age - MRQ is set in this age (as was Greg Staffords earliest writings)
The age of Empires - In the west is the Middle Sea Empire, Monotheist worshippers of the Invisible God. He reveals the word of God in The Abiding Book, written by the Hand of God in Jrustela. His followers discover how to enter the myths of others and manipulate them, earning themselves the name "God Learners"
In Central Genertela, a group of Mystics learn wisdom from the Dragonewts and formulate a plan to turn themselves into Dragons, and raise the consciousness of the population at large to evoke the cosmic Dragon - this is the Empire of Wyrms Friends, the EWF.
The Second Age ends when The Dragons awaken in the Dragonkill War (named for what the Dragons did, not what happened to them!) and the Universe reacted to the Godlearners meddling by wiping them out..

4) The Third Age - This is the best known age, first encountered in the board game "White Bear & Red Moon" (later reissued as "Dragon Pass") then in RQ, the Nomad Gods board game, Hero Wars, Hero Quest and the Computer Game "King of Dragon Pass" (now available on the IPhone/Ipod Touch/Ipad)
In the Dara Happan Empire the Red Goddess is (re)born, and ascends as the Red Moon. Her Son, the Immortal Red Emperor expands the Empire until he reaches Dragon Pass, where the Storm Worshipping Orlanthi resist...
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Re: So Tell Me About Glorantha

Postby Richard » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:30 pm

Duncan has done a good job of summing up. If you want to really get into it you can pick from 2nd +/or 3rd Age material.

The Mongoose 2nd Age later edition material is extremely well done (Well apart from a few minor map gripes and the fact that Races of Gloratha 2 never appeared. Damn shame). There is a huge amount of game material here and, at the sale prices, these are great value.

Glorantha 2nd Age Core Rulebook (Highly recommened.Tons of setting material and a neat campaign area, Ralios, all worked out)
The Abiding Book (Vast quantity of material for God Learners/Sorcerers/Middle Sea Empire. Good stuff if that part of the setting grabs you)
Races of Glorantha Vol 1 (Dragonnewts, Trolls and Ducks in detail. Very well done. Ducks remarably so considering the potential daftness of the whole idea. Highly recommened if one of these races tickles your fancy)
Cults of Glorantha (Highly recommended. Heaps of magical and religious backgound material)
Pavis Rises (An excellent campaign/series of scenarios)

In addition, as the line is about to end you might want to consider some 1st edition material which fill in a few gaps in the above selection...

The Aldryami (Elves) Sourcebook
Mostali (Dwarves) Sourcebook
Runequest Monster Volumes 1 and 2. (2 is jammed with Gloranthan beasties.)
Dara Happa Stirs (A quite magnificent campaign for Sun worshippers. Even if you don't want to run them it's a fantastic read)
The Blood of Orlanth (An thoroughly entertaining Orlanthi Barbarian/God Learner campaign. Fast paced and adaptable)

If you go for 3rd Age the edition of the game is a little different but honestly it's no trouble to tweak the stats in your head if you plan to stay with MRQ. I'd very highly recommend the Moon Design Glorantha Classic reprints. You could start in Griffin Mountain, head to the Borderlands and end up in Pavis. It would take you years of gaming and be a fabulous roleplaying experience. This probabaly represents the classic pat into Glorantha.

Griffin Mountain
Pavis and the Big Rubble
Cults of Glorantha (Bit of an overlap with the 2nd age version. Buy the one that fits your era as there are some differences)

After, and between, these there are a pile of superb out of print, but probably obtainable, 3rd Age Glorantha goodies from the Avalon Hill era to chase after. Too many to discuss here. Enjoy!
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Re: So Tell Me About Glorantha

Postby PhilHibbs » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:31 pm

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