Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I love and hate Glorantha

Today I was moving around some of the piles of gaming fanzines I have collected. Glorantha is a game world where most of the interesting things for a long time was published in fanzines, and not by a regular rpg publisher. It's happened a few times before, Warhammer FRP is another good example. Now I found my copies of the Pavis and Big Rubble Companion volumes III and V. Naturally (I am a crazy completist) I felt that maybe it was time to try to track down copies of volume I, II and IV.

For those of you who didn't knew about this wonderful little creation I'd suggest you visit the excellent site Ian Thomson have created in support of the magazine. There you will also find the reason I hate Glorantha.

Did you notice where Ian wrote about his stuff being superseded by Greg's latest thinking on the matter? That drove me nuts. Gobs of cool and gameable stuff was produced, and often with a dash of humour. Much later it would become clear that Greg had been thinking about it, and it would be declared false on a panel at a Glorantha convention or in a much later product from Issaries which usually looked far less like a professionally produced product than the fanzine where the idea first appeared.

Now, Glorantha is Greg's creation, and it is his to do with as he feels like. But, for someone who just wanted to play a game, and not wanting to run into "canon conflicts" with other gamers it was a mess. I have nothing against Greg personally, I have never met him, but this aspect of him as the Creator grated on me. Some Glorantha fans have made it a verb, so to contradict an old fact is now known as Greging. I sometimes, depending on mood, find that hilarious. sometimes I just groan.

The world Greg created contains some very evocative stuff, like the tragedy of the hero Arkat, and the very strange and truly alien trolls. I love that guy Arkat! One of these days I will just try to ignore the hundreds and hundreds of pages of stuff on Glorantha I have on my shelves and just game the hell out of it. I hope.


  1. We eagerly (quack) await your arrival (honk).


  2. In our group we always like to pick and choose from various sources and mess around with canon as much as we like so this never really bothered me. Of course I never GMed Glorantha and never took part in internet discussions about the setting (before this) so that may have helped me feel more relaxed about the whole thing...

  3. Believe me Harvard, that probably have made all the difference!

    I really like Ducks, btw.

  4. Perhaps I'm missing something, but how is this different than WotC ignoring fan-made material for one of their settings? If I had the definitive Ravenloft site, chock full of realms, NPCs, monsters and plots for Ravenloft, why should I be surprised if WotC didn't recognize my work as canon and that their future material could invalidate mine?

    Is there something else going on I'm not seeing?

  5. Well, sure there are similarities. I think the difference in the Glorantha "tribe" as it's called, is that Greg is part of the fandom and lots of facts about Glorantha are created by everyone doing their thing. It's more jarring when someone in the fan base once in a while stand up and declare something non-canon.

    I'm not alone in this feeling, by the way. Moaning about Greging is a time honoured tradition. Now it entered my mind again and I felt like groaning a bit out loud.

  6. Greging, never heard of that. Funny. I still love Runequest, (and the new Heroquest) but I'd be leary of running a Gloranthan game. These days it feels like you need a degree in Gloranthology just to pass muster for some players.

    I prefered it when all I had to go on was the boxed set and a few articles in White Dwarf.

  7. I dunno. I guess it just sounds a bit odd to me to call the IP holder as "someone in the fan base". Then again, if that is what he is encouraging, perhaps it's a bit of "you reap what you sow". *shrug*

  8. newadventuresinfantasyfiction,

    indeed. The new Sartar book is supposed to help somewhat, making it contained and sufficient. The books in the HeroWars line felt like Anthropology textbooks. The problem of course being that since they are so dense with material I have no interest in the new book, even though half of what's in the old books have been "greged"...

  9. Keith,

    Have you participated in Glorantha fandom? It might make more sense if you have. The fact is that most of the material for Glorantha have been published in fan produced books, often with Greg participating.


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