Glorantha Second Age Book mini-review/synopsis


Yo Guys!
Last weekend I recieved a suprise - my Glornatha second age book arrived - just as I was walking out the door for a week with family in Cornwall. Needless to say my family got to watch me with my head in a A4 book for large portions of it!

So... Firstly, let me say that there is a hell of a lot in this book. I've been reading it word for word and after a week without internet disractions I've still not finished it (I'm in the last section on the campaign setting of Safelster)... Soo..... My thoughts then (rather than holiday musings)...

Firstly, I think this book is a MUST HAVE purchase. And indeed I'll be getting a PDF of it too as its really got allot in it thats useful and will prove necessary to have close at hand!

The books pretty much in 6 sections:
Section 1: Welcome to Glorantha (13 pages)
This covers the core of what you need to know about Glorantha, with paragraphs on races, places , a brief 2-page history (and gladly a page on the games default year 908) to cover whats going on. This section really tries to cover allot and I think it overall largely succeeds as it covers geography, the main cultures (thiests, GL and EWF). Even a page on heroquesting.... Boy thats *allot* for 13 pages!!!

Section 2: The Two Empires (17 Pages)
Great stuff! Roughly 8 pages each, complete with short historys, magics, politics, commerce, notables even! This gives a very good start into the two powers and frankly even though i'm keen to re-read this again to take it all in especially at the tale end, by and large it doesnt contravene anything from my memories and fits nicely into Glorantha as we know and love it. Theres even a great picture (my favorite in the book, the others are so-so) of the outline of the anticipated great dragon the EWF are working towards. Marvellous!

Section 3: Major Cultures (33 Pages)
Along with the next section these two are by far the best parts of the book and trully, if Mongoose are reading this, this is a really good job.
Without going into each culture too much, each write-up covers My Myths (pre-history and god learner robbing fodder), My History (since time) My Life (who they are and what theyre doing culturally and in some cases covers cults summaries), My Magic (self explanitory) and Why I Adventure (ditto). Some also have a How to play a <culture> which is fun too.
This section covers Kraloreli, Orlanthi, Malkioni, Nomads of the Waste, Pamaltelan, Pelorians, Teshnan and Vithelan which pretty much covers a huge proportion!
Dont expect much from the 'My Magics' sections as I guess its just a cover paragraph for the Magic of Glorantha book yet to come out. Similarly, there are a few mentions of Draconised cults, but I sure hope this is really covered in the cults of glorantha books as theres not enough meat here yet, perhaps the only gripe, but largely accepted as other books are in the wings which I hope to flesh this stuff out.

Section 4: Major Races (18 Pages)
Like previous section, this is really marvellous and reminds me of the Borderlands RQ2 write-ups.
Nicely follows the same format as the previous section so that My Myths, My History and My Life are explained from that particular race's perspective. Again very good stuff!
We have write-ups for Aldryami (Elves) Dragonewts, Mostali (Dwarves), a new one to me Timinits (Insect Men) - I really like this addition and apologies if its a well-known race that I've just missed out on, but nice to see nevertheless! Finally Uz also are here! Waertagi get breifly mentioned elsewhere, but perhaps could have done with a bit more.

I repeat that the major cultures and races are the best bits and worthy of any glornathaphiles attention.

Section 5: World Gazetteer (43 pages)
Ok: this is a love/hate thing I guess: Whats written is fine and I suppose a decent read and is well focused on the 2nd Age. Being a long-term RS2/3 house-campaigner in Dragon Pass, Prax, etc and only vaguely remembering the other places from the Avalon Hill Gloarantha supplement they do a nice job. From reading other peoples posts on the forum I think those that love what theyve seen with the detail giving them lots of scenario hooks and plot outlines will be pleased that this style continues. Personally I think this section is one of those could have made a book in its own entireity but equally something was needed in this book. And I must say after 43 pages they have covered allot, but amusingly some places arent greatly scoped - most notably RQ2/3 places such as Prax (in fact it is virtually skipped and mentioned as 'a nearly enhabitable place at the edges of the wastes' although earlier on there was a section on Pavis) which was woefully short IMO. Again, Dragon Pass is detailled and nicely and draconically alien to what we know of the 3rd age, but equally, I cant help feeling that this is presented here so Mongoose cant be accussed of skipping over previously important areas in gloranthan material, but equally just a bit too light to be useful, especially as the heart of the EWF.
Those that have the Ralios PDF will be at home with this section as it's style is the same from what I've skimmed.
Lastly it covers sea cultures, and extreme non-mapped glorantha places (i.e. the edge of the world), in brief which was nicely remembered and I was impressed was included.

Section 6: Campaign setting Safelster (33 pages)
Still not finished reading, barely 10 pages in which has covered nearby cities (I wonder if this correlates or partners the Ralios PDF - not read that yet either!) And from the start I can see this is Mongoose's favourite centre for gaming.
I suspect it'll be like Pavis/the rubble was for RQ2 and hold hope that with the ralios PDf which seems to also cover notables (but not with stats I read on the forum) could start to be a griffin mouunatin-esque resource for MRQ.

There is an index thats adequate too.

Sorry if i've not covered detail enough or indeed not made it clearer whats in this book. I'm delighted like the companion to have recieved these "early" - is this becuase I pre-ordered and paid early and also based in the UK, or indeed is it because I submitted a campaign draft for a Glorantha-based MRQ campaign a few days before that now I see needs re-adapting to fit with what I now know of the second age and see why they rebuked it correctly telling me to wait for 2A books to be printed!

Ok. Stuff missing or critiscms (sorry everyone: cant be totally 100% with something published). Firstly, one quarter page on Chaos. This book deserved a section like the cultures and races on Chaos I felt, although I appreciate MRQ is supposed to be more... ahem, like Bogenhafen, than snakpipe hollow from what I've read but needless to say glorantha needs broo, jack'o'bears and dragonsnails and glorantha 2ng Age needs to present them, and present them quickly.
Secondly maps are a few pages in after they are started (i.e. map of Frontos is on p.92 but write-up starts at p.90) For me the map should come first on a new page then text below for each area. But thats personal taste I guess. Maps are nice as we've seen with the previews. I hope Mongoose release it as a computer program :)
I also point out that the book has no stats so with this, the core rules, and the companion you cant create a dragonewt statistically.
Lastly, The Safelster section should have been included with the Ralios PDF as a published book seperately, perhaps with some stats for notables, gtiving more space for this book to cover chaos, stats for races with write-ups and maybe a little more flesh to the gazeteer...

So... Roll on the Cults and Magic of Glorantha books, and I hope monsters book which I guess covers stats still missing :)

I lastly repeat for those people wanting MRQ for Glorantha, or indeed RQ2/RQ3'ers looking for more Glorantha mythos then this book is a *must* and worth every penny. I'm pretty sure neutrals wanting to know more will be pleased also. I only feel sorry for folks having to wait ot get hold of it worldwide :)
No dragonewt stats?

I wonder if those are OGL or not? THey are mentioned in the core book. :idea:
Dude I am confused. I thought the companion got pushed back and thus the Glorantha book got pushed back even farther. I have no companion and you have the Glorantha book, what the hell!?
haargald said:
Dude I am confused. I thought the companion got pushed back and thus the Glorantha book got pushed back even farther. I have no companion and you have the Glorantha book, what the hell!?

I dont know either :) I had the companion weeks back and then the glorantha one a week today ago. As I said before I did preorder and pay upfront, I am also relatively local, I also preordered everything, and indeed maybe got an advance copy as I submitted a campaign proposal!

Sorry for youg uys, but happy as larry to have gottem already =)
AKAramis said:
atgxtg said:
No dragonewt stats?

I wonder if those are OGL or not? THey are mentioned in the core book. :idea:
but not in the SRD.

This is a difficult one to actually determine.

Dragonewts are mentioned in the SRD (in the Dragonewt Rune entry), but their stats are not. Therefore it's theoretically okay to mention Dragonewts but you can't copy their official stats/description/background once they come out unless they are specifically made OGC as well.