Friday, October 8, 2010

How I love and hate Glorantha

I have a fairly extensive collection of Gloranthan gamebooks, fanzines and other esoterica. Once I was totally entranced by this world, but for reasons not of that world I fell out of love with it.

Now a few days ago I once again became amazed by the enormous amount of "gameable" stuff there is in there. So many cultures are strange mixes of real world cultures, but with that extra twist that makes you want to invent reasons for how that extra twist came to be. Put that power in the hands of players, and I think you could have a jolly good time.

Since I hadn't read about things in a long while I got back on the main Gloranthan discussion list to ask about a few things which had gotten muddled in my brain. Guess what happened? I totally fell out of love of it all again.

Having people tell you from up on high how things really are, that is a killer for all kinds of enthusiasm. The world enemies of Glorantha as a game world always seems to be its official publishers...



  1. YGMV

    Your Glorantha May Vary.

    I tore it all out at the roots and dropped it into my established fantasy setting as another continent. There's too much cool stuff out there to try to make sense of it or determine a right answer on Gloranthan questions. Pick and choose- I've borrowed what I love from it, but my Glorantha would make anyone serious HQ/RQ player upchuck.

  2. Yeah, I guess that's the way to do it. I only wish there was a place to talk about it without the canon junkies and fanboys around.

  3. Before Runequest was published, I started modifying Glorantha shortly after I bought a copy of the White Bear & Red Moon boardgame by adding my own special units. After Runequest was published, I was adding my own cults to Glorantha. The canon lawyers haven't been able to stop me from doing what I want with Glorantha in my games in the last 30 years. Rule Zero applies at my table to published settings as well as published rules. Just ignore the pronouncements from on high unless they fit your version of Glorantha.

  4. I hear you, believe me. But then I feel the exact same way about Traveller too.

  5. I loved Glorantha back in the 80's when all I knew about it was what was in the Runequest boxed set and and the few details I glimpsed from articles and fiction in White Dwarf. Now I don't like it so much. It feels like you need a degree in Gloranthology to run a game these days.

  6. I suspect this is about whether the Orlanthi in Ralios ride chariots or not. Let's face it, for over 99% of all the games played in Glorantha, the answer is completely irrelevant. Actually most of these details are irrelevant to most games (I have been gaming in Glorantha for nearly 30 years and whether the Kachasti were conquered by the Vingkotlings has never ever ever come up in any form whatsoever). However, given that we are working with Greg on the big Guide to Glorantha (which probably should contain such information), you probably got more information than you wanted to your question.

    FWIW, I find Glorantha no more and no less difficult to approach than Tolkien's Middle Earth; in fact, both are very similar in terms of deep complexity and an author who changes minor details from time to time.


  7. It is an interesting setting with lots of fascinating detail . . . and with what seems like a rather rabid group of gatekeepers to that deep and interesting information.

    We played the hell out of RQ back in the 80s but we played very fast and loose with the setting.

  8. I think both my experiences and the feedback is signifying the best way to approach Glorantha is to make it your own. Probably the best is also to ignore the gatekeepers of arcane lore. Some of them don't even understand how rabid a group they have become.

    Personally I think Glorantha is fabulous, but what makes it great is the combination of cultures and mythologies from our world being mashed together and how those mashups are filled with potential for interesting conflicts. That is probably all you need to run a game there.

    The waffling on about odd small details is just mental wanking, useless in real actual play.

  9. Jeff,

    Yes the charioteers are what caused me to make my post. But, that fact in itself is not the main issue.

    The atmosphere on the gloranthan discussion forum/lists and the attitude just is wrong. There's just way to much of "this is how it is". It wasn't always like that, and it saddens me.


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