The Heights of Orlanth @ Glorantha Games 2020

I’ve finally pulled my finger out and at the eleventh hour, I’ve offered the following for Glorantha Games, the vrtuall version of the Glorantha convention normally held in Birmingham UK.

The Heights of Orlanth
4 players.
Having escaped the massacre of their phalanx after the fall of Pavis, the Lunar Tarsh officers had thought they were walking through the magic mirror in the ruins of the Lunar College of Magic’s secret complex and stepping out in their homeland of Tarsh. Instead, they are somewhere in Sartar, looking up at a massive rock that reaches into the sky that the locals call “The Heights of Orlanth”. One of them helpfully says a quick short cut home is up there on its summit.  The fact that this expert is a duck called Crontas the Windlord doesn’t fill them with optimism. But as elite followers of the Lunar Way they are used to strange magical happenings, and these are desperate times.
No familiarity with the setting, Lunars or the strange ways of ducks needed for this game of RuneQuest Glorantha. Just the willingness to get stuck in and engage with a rather strange set of characters in weird circumstance

I’ve previously run it as a 13th Age Adventure, and it was a complete hoot. I’m running it now as a RQ G game, partly out of curiosity on how it will compare but also because its now the sequel to A Dry Run in Prax, which is a RQ G adventure. Like Dry Run it will be appearing in Hearts in Glorantha #8 (more about that in a different post).


Future Issues Delayed and Past Issues Available Again

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

Well, I said June for Issue 8, well I’m a big fookin’ liar and my pants are on fire 😀

Other priorities here at D101 Games and the ongoing slow down due to Covid-19 are the reasons for the delay, but I’m still confident it will be out for the end of the year.

When it is available as part of the preorder you’ll be able to order PRINTED copies of HiG 1-5 as separate issues.  Its come to my attention that there is a lot of interest in single copies that people have missed during the original time they were available – especially issues 4 and 5. While I don’t want to make these issues available again on a permanent basis, I’m happy for collectors to have the opportunity to get hold of a copy at a reasonable price form me (rather than the inflated prices that it goes for on eBay or Noble Nob).

If you are interested in registering which copies you are out for, please fill out the following form. If I get enough interest I may even get a small print run done via a Digital Printer, which is vastly superior quality.

Here are the covers of the back issues if you are unsure which ones you not got.

Hearts in Glorantha Issue 2 cover

Issue 3 cover by John Ossoway

HiG #4 cover by John Ossoway

HIG 5 cover by John Hughes

The Long Way Home Part 1 Preparing the Way

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

I have a big confession to make here. Despite many convention games I’ve not run a Gloranthan Campaign since about 2010 when I ran a quick HeroQuest game to playtest material in the Book of Glorious Joy, Jamie “Trotsky” Revell’s non-canonical vision of the Gloranthan West.  That was a ton of fun, a sort of Harry Potter Collage of Loskalm for wannabe heroes, exploring the marshes on the edges of the college’s grounds and encountering Viking Ducks! Before we ended up fighting spirits and going a bit investigative in a grungy medieval take on the setting which was more Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay than Glorantha. We took a break from me writing the games and played Pathfinder due to me being in rented accommodation as part of a nine-month house extension. When we got back into the home game, it was a virtually new line up of players for whom Glorantha was a hard if not impossible sell. Plus I’d burnt myself out in the previous decade.

Even before Covid-19, I was planning a resumption of gaming online, due to face to face being currently impossible at home due to my family circumstance. Several of my d101 projects kind of demand long-form playtesting. But Glorantha wasn’t on the radar, and certainly not RuneQuest. Go back to playing a game I moved on from a good 20 years ago, despite a fierce love of it (I had the best years of my gaming life in the 90s running an RQ 3 game damnit!), no way? But I’ve had a winning streak of online games of my D100 systems (OpenQuest / Skyraiders of the Floating Realms ) and that as well as having several members of the Grognard Files gaming community, who are a refreshingly cheerful bunch made up mainly of recent returnees to the hobby who like their games old. So suddenly encouraged by my recent runaway success of getting players for games that I would have struggled at conventions, and heavy interest from a couple of the players (Mitch and Doc) suddenly I have an ongoing campaign.

My current plan is to run a short mini-campaign which started with a convention scenario I have already run several times – A Dry Run in Prax.  Then from there move on my old home campaign of Karia, that was the basis of my 90s RuneQuest 3 game.

Reason for this:

  1. Get the players and me up to speed with the new RuneQuest: Glorantha system. Personally, speaking my head is still in the land of the glorious, but in places fatally flawed, RuneQuest 3.
  2. To work out how the group’s playstyle. Was it going to be gritty-roll-the-dice-and-die wargaming, were each hit point was logged, each hit-location roll significant, that choice of battle magic or a more laid back lazy style of storytelling where there may only be three rolls all session (that, to be honest, is what I prefer).

You’ll see a lot of this in Hearts in Glorantha since I’ve already come up with some ideas for articles as well as the scenarios/encounters we play out as well. In fact, A Dry Run in Prax is going to feature in Issue 8.

Next post >> Session 1 A Dry Run in Prax.

Toran Deathfinger

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

The centrepiece of issue eight is the scenario I’ve been running at conventions/online since RuneQuest Glorantha came out, a Dry Run in Prax. It takes a group of six Lunars, from Tarsh, who are trapped on a rocky outcrop in the wastes of Prax at the start of the adventure. Each character has a quick background, their answers to questions about the current situation, and a list of what they think of the other characters in the party. This is all to quickly introduce the players, be they longstanding Gloranthafans or newcomers, to this group of interesting and diverse characters.

Here’s a quick preview of one of them, the group’s Humakti, because everyone wants to be a Humakti, it’s all about the Swords 🙂

Toran Deathfinger

Initiate of Humkat/Regimental Champion


Toran is a grim and steadfast embodiment of the God of Death Humakt. They have died their hair black, painted their nails and lips with black makeup. They wear a black hooded robe. Their Humakt is a mix of the Lunar view, where Humakt is the embodiment of unavoidable death, and the Orlanthi one held by the Tarsh peasantry who see death as an everyday occurrence for both them and their livestock, so worship him to keep him away from their homes. Toran joined the Bastards after a family tragedy at home back in Tarsh, which they never ever talk about.
Like most Humakti they are obsessed with their sword (“this is my sword, there are many like it, but this is mine”)

What are your views on…

So, what do you think of life in the Lunar Army?

It’s home, it deals in death. Its where I want to be.

What do you think of the Praxian Animal Nomads?

I don’t think about them, I just kill them when they get in the way of my sword.

How do you feel about the expulsion of the Red Moon Army from the walled city of Pavis?

You win some, lose some.

What do you make of your current situation?

We are in a tight one to be sure. Everyone is tied and someone is going to mess up. I best be ready with my sword for when they do.

How desperately do you want to go home to Lunar Tarsh?

Home is wherever I lay my sword.

What is your biggest worry at the moment?

I am completely devoid of worry. When you are Dead you know no Fear.

What do you think about your companions?

Toran Deathfinger Initiate of Humakt and Warrior/ Regimental Champion (Me).I don’t think about ‘me’ much, except in a strange third person. I am filled with the oblivion of death. When I become a Sword of Humakt (Runelord) “I” will cease to exist.

Yarnal Farseer Initiate of Severn Mothers, Noble/Morale Officer. She is obviously mad. She was annoying when she was trying to turn the locals to the Lunar Way, before the Battle of Pavis. Now her poor mind has snapped and she believes she is turning into the Red Goddess!

Jarvel Moonglow Initiate of Issaries and Noble/Regimental Scribe and Quartermaster. A weak warrior who can barely lift his sword, but he knows more about our current situation than he lets on.

Benitu Badtooth, Initiate of Eurmal and Bandit/Probationary Scout. A worthless scumbag with no honour.

Nelda Sternmother. Initiate of Seven Mothers and Warrior/ Regimental Punishment Officer. Almost as good a fighter as me but distracted by her duties.

Ora Sunbright, Initiate of Yelm/Regimental Scout. A strange one. An ex-grazelander who rode into Tarsh when he was a teenager and fought with us in the wars against the Sartarites. Doesn’t say much but deadly with that bow of his.

Hearts in Glorantha #8 is coming this June

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

HIG issue 8 cover by Dan Barker

My friend, and Gloranthan Tribe Minster, Dr Moose says that once you are a Gloranthafan, you can never really get away from Glorantha and that it eventually drags you back in when you try.  Well, that is certainly the case here, and after a hiatus of only six months, I’ve decided to get back to work on Hearts in Glorantha and Gloranthan Adventures. Part of this is due to the rather strange times we are in giving me time and space to work on D101’s Gloranthan Fanzines alongside the other work that I’ve got on.

There will be some changes to how I put together HiG and GA.

First off, I won’t be doing an open call for submissions. The fanzine will be done more in-house, with me contacting writers/authors that I want to work on it. With the Jonstown Compendium up and going I feel that’s a better place for Gloranthan fans who have a quick, intense burning desire to get stuff out there quickly.

Second, with RuneQuest Glorantha well and truly out now, both zines will use that system as its default. It’s not to say that I won’t publish HeroQuest or 13th Age Glorantha. I’m currently more intrigued by the new edition of RuneQuest as well as it being something that I’m enormously familiar.

Finally, each issue of HiG will have a theme by default. Previous issues of HiG had themes that emerged as the submissions came in. Now that I’m doing it in-house so to speak, it helps to have a unifying theme to keep the team of contributors on track.

Finally, artists Peter Town and Dan Barker are drawing for the next issue of HiG #8. Here’s a preview of Dan’s front cover, which should give you a pretty good idea of this issue’s theme 🙂