Interesting times lie ahead

Good chat with Jeff Richard (Creative Director of Moon Designs Publications, who own the rights to and publish Glorantha) yesterday about the state of Glorantha ,  with some revelations of upcoming stuff that along side the Guide, means that for me the excitement is coming back after a three year hiatus. If nothing else it means I can put to bed the stuff I’ve been working on and off for the last 5 years or so (ten in some cases eck!) with honour and dignity, in a form that will be playable by newcomers for years to come.  I’m not going to reveal details, that’s for Jeff to do when the time is right, but I was very happy that there’s a definite plan, with upcoming deliverables, that will make Glorantha an accessible and gameable setting very very soon :) (which given the sometimes glacial development process Glorantha historically takes, really surprised me).

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A skim read of the Guide to Glorantha

Guide to Glorantha vol 1 Front Cover by Jon Hodgson

Guide to Glorantha vol 1 Front Cover by Jon Hodgson

This is a very short preview based upon the final sneak peak pdfs of Volumes 1 & 2 of The Guide to Glorantha, that Moon Publications have very generously allowed higher reward tiers access to. This the final, just before going to the printers, set of pdfs.

Skim though probably would be the most accurate term for this preview for each pdf is 400 pages long, and seeing each book is coffee table size its not really comfortable viewing on my 7 inch tablet.  When the final books come crashing through my front door I shall be retiring to my study glass of port in hand with instructions to my family that I’m to be left in peace and solitude for a very long time.

Both books are crammed with gorgeous colour art (as well as many familiar black and white favourites from over 30 years of publication), maps, maps and more maps (to keep the map geek in you happy) and tons and tons of textual detail. These books are described as encyclopaedias and this is no idle boast.

Vol 1 after a concise introduction to the setting, breaks down into tow halves. Half one is the introductory material about the setting and culture guides for not only the main eight human cultures but also the six major non-human Elder Races.  For me this is one of the highlights of both books. The combination of vivid illustrations, text and maps really show why and how Glorantha is different from other fantasy settings.

Then we are on to part 2, which is all the regional guides. Some of this is very familiar to me  from the old Genertela box set for RQ3 that I pawed to death in the 90s, but there’s so much more that is expanded on. Gaps are filled, in past mistakes corrected (for example the Western Cultures were never meant to be Medieval, here they are very colourfully bronze age), and lashings of detail added.

I’m already finding the Lunar Empire section invaluable since what I’m currently working on a series of adventures set there ( the previously announced Red Sun Rising ) and this is allowing me to fill in the gaps and firm up the background. This highlights the main use of the guide for GMs/Authors as a one stop comprehensive source of information.  No more looking in obscure out of print publications or hunting the web for fragments of information. Hurrah!

Vol 2 picks up where Vol 2 with the Region guide, Seshnela, Teshnos and the Wastes spilling over into it with lots of new info about these previously sketched out settings. Then its on the material that’s previously only been fully mentioned in the Missing Lands Unfinished work, which collected the material from the aborted Pamaltela RQ3 box set. The Oceans and the Islands of Glorantha and its southern continent Pamaltela.  A lot of this is all new to me, and when the final books turn up I shall be spending a lot of time reading over this material in detail, thinking up new and exciting campaign ideas :)  The second half of volume 2 is the Appendices, which is more detailed information about subjects such as the Red Moon, the Gloranthan Sky and the Gbaji Wars. This is were the books seem on my quick fly past to get more hardcore with in-depth analysis of some of the important “Deep background”. So its good that these subjects are spilt off from the main flow of the book.

Overall, this isn’t the pick up and play game book that will get newcomers into Glorantha. It’s simply too big and lacking in game rules and stats.  Instead that’s the job of rule sets such as the upcoming RuneQuest 6: Adventures in Glorantha.  This is the book that the setting has been crying out for a good twenty-thirty years, that will give dedicated adventure builders, like myself, enough quality information to build new and robust flights of fancy in this setting.  The maps give a wealth of information beyond geographical info ( population statistics for example). The illustrations allow me to hook newcomers on the look and feel of a culture (“Look this is what your people look like!”) and the text a ton of adventure hooks and personality details no matter what system I settle on.

More information

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Holy Gloranthan Zombie Cow!


Krova The Zombie Cow by Greggor Hutton

A Chaos Undead Cow thingeee by Greggor Hutton (indie games designer & author of 3:16 & Best Friends) inspired by a Gloranthan game he played in.

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A 15 year old reacts to new Gloranthan website

So the MD guys have moved website (and forum) back to Various folk have squarked on yahoogroups. Its very very tedious.  Why can’t you all react to this like 15 year olds? Like when Counter Strike 1.4 moved to Counter Strike 1.5 back in the late 90s. It would be much more fun :)

You could all get on get on IRC, I’d imagine it would go something like this:

>Welcome to Gloranthan IRC channel!! :)
>Please note DEVs do hang about here on their lunchtime (or any other time when they are mildly distracted :) ). OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA is one of the DEVs and VOICE OF GOD on this channel :D
>Please note MOD@Glorantha is not a DEV. Due to previous trolling, this Anonymous user has taken it upon his/her self to play MOD.
>Please play nice and enjoy your stay!
>Users in Channel, [StormTribe] IAMORLANTH, [UZ] MsKygorLItor
>[StormTribe] HumkatBoy_1 has just joined Gloranthan IRC.
>[StormTribe] HumkatBoy_1: OMG thy have changed the website!!!
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: WTF??
>[StormTribe] HumkatBoy_1: They have changed the forumz,
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA changes status from Hidden to Visible.
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA: Hi there we upgraded to Glorantha v2.0, sorry about the short notice, but it really rocks now. Have funz!
>[UZ]MsKygor_Litor: Short notice, how about no notice asshat! :(
>[StormTribe] HumkatBoy_2 has just joined Gloranthan IRC
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: WTF! One moment I am playing Glorantha v1.6 and now we’ve upgraded to v20?
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_2: No v2.0
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: v2.0 wat evar.
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor: yeah and they fuked it up. Its crap now!
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA: Hi please take the time to check out Glorantha v2.0, all us devs have been working hard on it to make it the best Glorantha evar!
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1: No its shit. (waves at HumaktBoy_2)
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_2: I stopped playing Glorantha after v1.2, too many Newbies. (waves at HumaktBoy_1)
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA: Isn’t that a good thing more people to play with?
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor: No suckface, we knew how to play it and didn’t want any new players. And if the newbies they could just suck it up and play v1.2.
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: yeah I rule at v1.2. v1.3 i’m not as good at because you made it crap.
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA: Wasn’t v1.3 where we added a ton of stuff about areas other than Dragon Pass and Prax/Pavis?
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: Yeah….but I’m not interested in other areas. I don’t RULE there ;)
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1: Nice one bro :)
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor: Stop changing the game DEVS!
>OFFICIAL_GLORANTHA: But we had to improve it, make fixes, heck Glorantha 1.2 wouldn’t even run on today’s computers.
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_2: Don’t care 1.8 was better.
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1: Listen to HumaktBoy_2 he is right! Except 1.6 was the best :P
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_2: No I do, my Sword is bigger than yours :P
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: That’s it Humakt_1 you are officially out of [StormTribe]!!
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1: Hey bro chill, that was Humakt_2.
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: Sry :(
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor: Devs suck DEVS SUCK MY BIG LEAD BALLS:P
>MOD@Glorathana: MsKygor_Litor  Stop Trolling!
>[UZ] MsKygor_litor: MOD but I can’t help it.
>MOD@Glorathana: MsKygor_Litor we’ve had this argument before. Using the fact that your user name is actually a ‘Troll’ Goddess allows you behave badly here.
>[UZ] MsKygor_litor: wtf! You are a retard MOD, FUK the DEVS! Fuk U :P
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor has been kicked from Gloranthan IRC by MOD@Glorantha
>[UZ] MsKygor_Litor has ‘self-banned’ from Gloranthan IRC. Reason given by user’You all suck, Glorantha is retarded. I’m not playing any more :P”
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH: ha, ha, the bitch has been kicked.
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1, Never plays fair that one,that will teach her to have three cult write ups at once!
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_2, DEVs suck!
>[StormTribe] HumaktBoy_1, STFU NEWB! HumaktBoy_2
>[StormTribe] IAMORLANTH, Yeah STFU NEWB, just download Glorantha v2.0, its what all the cool kids are playing ;)

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Black Dog Isle

Just off the merchant trade routes in the Rozgali sea is the black lump of rock, chucked upwards by Magasta in a fit of anger at a Yelm during the Godswar. The mermen know it as “Magasta’s Spear” but for the sea farers who call it home it’s merely “Black Dog isle”. The town that sits beneath the spire of rock that points skydomewards is home to pirates and their families. Some are hard working sea farers whose families have always raided the shipping lanes, others are new hands at this game either seeking adventure and excitement or escaping the chaos that the Hero Wars has caused in their homelands.

First impressions as the heroes sail into port

‘Land ahoy!’ the look out calls. Everyone rushes to the aft deck to look and the more keen eyed men point out the thin black needle that points upwards alone in the sea. As the sea dogs start preparing for land fall, you watch the needle get bigger and bigger against the sky, and start seeing the buildings that make up the port that huddles round the base of the rock. Jeffran, an old hand too infirm to help out below, sees you gazing that the island. “So this be yer first visit to Black Dog Isle? I thought so.” He flashes you a toothless smile, mocking your naiveté in a friendly manner. He gazes towards the island that is now looming on the horizon and continues”Quite a sight that there black rock pointing up in defiance of the Sky. They say Old Magasta threw it up from the ocean bed in anger at Yelm one day”

‘Ar see that spire there?” he says pointing towards a tall white building with a tower “That be Bad Man’s Temple. Capt White who runs Black Isle owns it and hires it out to who ever wants to use it. Usually ends in trouble. Far too many friends of mine have been buried in the grave yard behind it. Not right for a sea dog“ Jeffran suddenly starts grabs your arm and points to a large squat white building with a red dome above the Temple. “That there be Capt White’s palace. It’s a place fit for a king, and old Capt Ravage, who owned the isle before he lost it playing cards to White, used to live like one there. I went to many of his wild parties. Capt White is a strange sort. Has the occasional ‘Dinner’ for visitin’ lord, but otherwise the doors are shut to the likes of me and ye”

You can now see the individual winding streets made up of tall rickety buildings. “See that there Lad that’s the street of a hundred temples. Not a religious man myself, but Capt White has encouraged all sorts of priest to set up shop, as long as they pay some ‘rent’ to him.”

The docks are getting near, a large dock that takes up the entire sea front of the town that perches under the shadow of the spire. Many large ocean going ships are moored proudly along the front, their masts proudly showing pirate colours. The docks even have a shipwright. You can see the shell of a large black ship in its dry docks.

Finally your ship is brought in, and as the gang plank goes down Old Jeffran jumps up with more vigour than you expected of a man his age. “Well I’ll be begging your leave good sirs.” He points to a large bustling building across the docks. “Me old lady and couple of the finest pints of ale are waiting there at the Paltry Parrot, the best pub this side of the Middle Sea”. With that he hobbles down the gang plank, past the sailors unloading cargo, and rapidly disappears into the busy Inn.”

Black Dog isle is one of the adventure locations in the upcoming “Dead Man’s Scrolls” adventure that appears in Hearts in Glorantha issue 6.

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Glorantha on G+

A quick post to recommend the Glorantha G+ community. Its only been in existence a day or so, but its already buzzing at 370+ members. Its got a nice vibe about it, like the lists used to have, and the Moon Design guys have posted some absolutely jaw dropping art from the guide. Also Mad Knight have revealed the draft cover of their Gloranthan miniatures game, War in Glorantha, which will be kickstarting this Summer.

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Hearts in Glorantha issue 6

Here’s the final content’s list for Hearts in Glorantha issue 6

  • Cover Feature: The Balkoth Tribe by Stuart Moushir-Harrison.
  • Blows against the Empire by David Dunham. HeroQuest adventure in the Second Age.
  • Dead Mans Scrolls by Newt Newport. A nautical adventure with a piratical theme for HeroQuest.
  • Light and Death by Neil Smith. A HeroQuest adventure set in the Lunar Heartlands in the City of Rhianbath.
  • Tricksers Camp by Stuart Godbolt A RuneQuest 3 adventure location.

I’m aiming for a July/August release to coincide with Hearts in Glorantha’s fifth birthday :)

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RuneQuest news from the Eternal Convention

Here’s a recent update on RuneQuest releases that Lawrence Whitaker has made that Glorantha fans might find interesting ;)

Source: Desgin Mechanism forums.

Pete and I are nicely returned from Eternal Con, held in Bacharach, Germany, 17-20th May.

We had a great time.

Design Mechanism hosted its own panel on Saturday evening, which was very well attended, and participated in a second with Moon Design on Sunday. We also had lots of discussion with Moon Design about RQ and Glorantha, which will be of interest to many people here.

There is an incredible amount of interest in, and support for, our work across Europe, if Eternal Con is anything to go by. We sold all the copies of RQ6 and Book of Quests we took with us, and probably lost track of the number of times people asked when Monster Island would be released. A our panel we showcased some of the interior art and the interactive layered PDF map of the island. We were also able to pend time with our good friend Michael ‘MOB’ O’Brien and agree some exciting support work for the game.

As a result of discussions we had at Eternal Con, both in the panels and with Moon Design, there are going to be some changes to our pipeline. I’ve summarised these below.

1. RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha has become a priority. Pete is taking the reins of the project, and work has started on the book. We will be aiming to release it as close to the release of the Guide to Glorantha as possible. RQ:AiG will be the foundation document for roleplaying in Glorantha’s 3rd Age with the RQ rules. It will have complete character creation rules, cultural notes, magic, cults, and so on.

2. RQ:AiG will be supported by our own campaign setting. We’ve hinted at this before, but the one we had in mind has now changed (this isn’t to say we won’t cover the region we’d planned on – we will, but the first campaign will be a different region). More on this as plans develop.

3. MOB will be producing The Fall of Byzantium for an early 2014 release. This will be an epic campaign charting the fall of the city in May 1453 with the characters taking on the roles of Byzantium’s besiegers. It will include full character creation notes, a description of the city, but focus on the events that led to the end of the Middle Ages. MOB’s description was ‘An awesome campaign. But it won’t have a happy ending.’

4. MOB will also be working with us on new Gloranthan material. He’ll be responsible for our first RQ:AiG campaign pack, and we’re really excited to have his involvement. Anyone who is familiar with the Gloranthan RQIII material from Avalon Hill, and Tales of the Reaching Moon, will also be familiar with MOB’s work, so this is great news for us and RQ’s future.

I’m sure people will have questions, so do ask them. Pete and I will answer them as fully as we can, but please don’t be offended if we have to be cagey on a few things.

Our thanks to the Eternal Con crew: Pittel, Eine, Desi, Carsen, Charlotte and Francizka for looking after us and making us feel as welcome and loved as ever. Thank you also to everyone who attended the panels, asked questions and showed their support for Design Mechanism and RQ!

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Red Sun Rising update

Been a while since we’ve got anything out for Glorantha and Gloranthan Adventures 2 is next on the agenda. I’m currently doing my final pass on the text ( City setting + five adventures ) before sending it off to my heroic proof readers.

Peter Town is currently working at the internal art, here’s an example of the fine work he’s doing. Lord Xithith a Yelmalion from Pavis, that’s a er challenging encounter for the PCs when they get to Pavis.

Lord Xithith by Peter Town

Lord Xithith by Peter Town

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John Blanche does Dark Trolls

One of Games Workshop’s iconic artists, if not THE Iconic Artist, is John Blanche. His work graces Fighting Fantasy books, Warhammer, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and the internals of some of the GW RQ3 books.

What I didn’t know is that he did some concept art for ‘RuneQuest Dark Trolls’.  Until now courtesy of this post on Gothic Punk.


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