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.