OK this is a follow on from the Preview I wrote back in November of last year, when I got the artless & basic layout version. I’ve now had time to digest this and the final illustrated version, which I’ve got in pdf from the pre-order (back in April some time). Now you too can own it as the game has gone on general release via publisher Moon Design’s Glorantha.com 🙂
The structure and content is the same as the preview version, so if you want a run down of what’s in the book chapter by chapter I’ll refer you to that.
Art and Production. Rick Meints’ high standards of layout shine through the book. The text flows nicely and is readable. Lots of relevant highlight boxes (now in colour) pop up and bring to the reader’s attention little chunks of Gloranthan lore. The art is a mix of black and white illustrations and glorious full colour pieces. There’s a large chunk of art that’s lifted from the Guide and past RuneQuest releases, but when its such good and seminal stuff, such as the Cosmology piece which shows the structure of Glorantha or the Garhounds Contest from RQ3’s Sun Country, you can’t grumble. Also bear in mind that this is a game that is meant to be an all in one starting point for Gloranthan newcomers, who probably haven’t got the guide or Glorantha’s back catalogue and it makes perfect sense. But there’s also a bucket load of new stuff. Jan Pospíšil has illustrated every single culture that is described in the Creating Your Hero chapter. This is indicative of the whole book. Where a section of could do with an illustration its got one. HeroQuest Glorantha is one of the most richly illustrated RPG books out there, without being needlessly so. I can also not finish this section without mentioning the marvelous new maps of Glorantha (by Colin Driver) and Dragon Pass (by Darya Makarava).
PDF bookmarks. The pdf is fully bookmarked by chapters and sections, and important things like maps and timelines get their own bookmarks as well. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked so you can click on an item and be whizzed off to the relevant page. So job done here 🙂
HeroQuest Glorantha as a game system. This is the bit that really gets me excited. HeroQuest 2, the system’s basic generic version, never got me excited to run a Gloranthan game. I did and it worked well, but overall the book was trying to be all things to all people. Which is fine for a generic system, but at the time I bought it to carry on my existing Gloranthan campaign. HeroQuest Glorantha fixes that ‘meh’ feeling and replaces it with a big whoosh feeling. Again my earlier preview gives a blow by blow run down of changes and how the system works, but overall the game system and how it meshes with Glorantha is much better explained and illustrated. Also a lot of the fat from HeroQuest 2 (what little there was) has been trimmed. Top marks goes to the worked series of examples which make up Samastina’s Saga that go through the entire book and really illustrate the heroic and mythical nature of the game.
Background information. This is a big win in this book. Because of HeroQuest’s concise and rules light approach much of the 260 pages is setting information. The world gets a through introduction. There’s enough detail about the magic of the world and example cults to cater for most players. Dragon Pass gets its own Gazetteer with local heroes getting enough detail so that they are playable. Lunar Magic gets a full write up, which means that you can play an Orlanthi vs Lunar campaign straight out of the box (which is kinda the default setting for Glorantha, due to its past which stretches back all the way to Dragon Pass boardgame published in 1981). There’s even a straightforward introductory adventure that cleverly works as tutorial of how to write Mythic Fantasy adventures set in Glorantha. There’s enough information in HeroQuest Glorantha so that you could run it for years, and build upon its firm foundations from your own ideas (“Your Glorantha May Vary”), but you’ll probably want to buy the expanded background books (such as Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes) because you want more. It’s a hunger I can well appreciate 🙂
This is the book that I’ve wanted for years. Not just for myself but so I can show other people how cool Glorantha is and for them to have a credible game that they can pick up and play without being forced to buy obscure or out of print supplements to get the full experience.
Now its here 🙂