This is a first look at Adventures in Glorantha – Special GenCon 2015 Preview. I got my copy at GenCon booth from the hands of Pete Nash. The first look is based on one reading thru and then looking at high points on each chapter. I will be posting more comments as I delve deeper into and use the material later on.
The preview is spiral bound, hard copy only and only 50 copies have been printed for sale – the last two items are due to contractual agreements.
This is preview only with final set coming as a Chaosium Runequest by next GenCon. The Chaosium Runequest will be Glorantha based version of RQ6 – not a (near) generic one that the Runequest 6 is. The writers of the Chaosium Runequest will be the indomitable Loz and Pete so no worries there. Jeff said there will be art so this looks promising. RQ6 rules will not change but there might be slight tunings – so it will still be Runequest 6 that we have grown to love. You will see during the rest of the “first look” that it might not be so hard to use those rules elsewhere – pure speculation on my part of course as I intend to use mine in a Gloranthan campaign.
It is 212 pages of Gloranthan Runequest goodness – totally worth it.
Preview does not contain yet cults, elder races, heroquests, Lunar magic, mysticism, the runes, appendices or the scenario. Adventures in Glorantha refers to standard RQ6 rules so you will need those as well.
We have (page count is approximate) introduction ( 1 page), the world of Glorantha (16 pages), character creation (26 pages), money and equipment (11 pages), magic (4 pages), folk magic (6 pages), rune magic (54 pages), sorcery (11 pages), all the worlds monsters (57 pages), appendix C Chaos (4 pages).
World of Glorantha gives you a standard, canon and up to date look at Glorantha – history, geography, technology base, monetary base, description of the races and succinct description of the main areas: Balazar & Elder Wilds, Dragon Pass, Esrolia, God Forgot, Maniria, Prax, Pavis, Sun County, Corflu and Lunar Empire.
Character creation has tweaks to the standard RQ6 generation made for Rune Affinities (needed for cults) and the ubiquitous languages and folk magic. There are Gloranthan combat styles which can be more varied than in base RQ6 and guidance how the styles are used in Glorantha. These rules will give more flavour to character creation.
You can generate characters for Balazaring, Esrolian, God Forgot, Lunar Heartland, Lunar Provincial, Praxian, Sartarite,Tarsh and Telmori Hsunchen cultures. All of these are given enough colourful information to make the choice of background interesting. Each of the backgrounds contain language, standard skills, professional skills, careers, combat styles, folk magic and passions typical for that background. Some of the areas have not been touched earlier on in popular Runequest material and everything has been brought up to date with GtG at least to my eyes and deepened to contain RQ level crunch. To me the material is evocative.
Background creation also has a Gloranthan version of the unique background events.
Money and Equipment
This chapter contains excellent and quite detailed information on the values of things in Glorantha. What was very useful from my point of view was the info on land and property and transport and shipping costs and trade goods. You could very easily whip up a Trader campaign on this information alone and especially combined with the Trade route chapter on GtG.
There is also a chapter on new weapons for Lunars and a variety of shields for various common cultures. The metal chapter contains among other things the rules for iron – the magic dampening deadly metal against trolls and elves.
The preview points at terms in Rq2,Rq3,Rq6 to make it easier to convert scenarios and material from earlier versions of Runequest. There is a background advice how to deal with existing campaigns.
There are several kinds of magic available in AiG. Folk Magic is progressive – as it should be in Glorantha. Rune Magic (called Theist Magic outside Glorantha) is using Runes instead of Devotion. Spirit Magic is called Animism outside Glorantha. Sorcery – you can use RQ6 sorcery or a new form of sorcery emerging in Glorantha. We remain waiting for the Lunar magic and Dragonic Mysticism. In my campaign in Glorantha I will continue using the RQ6 Sorcery and RQ6 Mysticism until they are further revealed.
Acolytes and Adepts do not exist in Adventures in Glorantha so initiate and devotee rules regarding available magic have been modified to take that into account. If your Glorantha varies so that you want to have acolytes, I see no reason why it could not use standard RQ6 here.
Progressive folk magic is optional and different than what has been proposed with generally available RQ mod – progressive folk magic. The one described in AiG is smooth mechanic much more in line with folk magic being not as powerful as Rune Magic. There are 5 pages worth of folk magic spells – almost all of which could be used in non-Gloranthan campaign as well.
Rune Magic chapter has a mention of the new mechanics related to casting the rune Magic with runes instead of Devotion even though the Devotion is still used. For devotees it will be possible to use even more powerful magic act called feat that is cult or hero quest specific. Feats will likely be revealed when more cults are revealed.
There are 384 (three hundred eighty four) (give or take some) Rune Spells described with their effects making it the largest collection of official Rune Spells in a single place I have seen so far in Gloranthan and Runequest history. This is real Magical Mystery Tour – grimoire of extraordinary proportions – more than 50 pages of spells. In comparison RQ6 base rules have 65 or so Theist spells (many of which are included in the above 384).
The descriptions contain the runes that can use the spell, cost, duration and effects and whether the spell is still available (there are some old spells that are marked either withdrawn or replaced by a new one). According to Pete it should contain new version of all or almost all the rune spells published in ‘official’ publications since the Dawn and some completely new ones as well. None of the spells have cult association but it has rune association so we will need to populate the cults with spells that have appropriate runes. Glorantha is full of magic.
Sorcery is very different in Glorantha. Gloranthan sorcery is now brought up to date with GtG approach but there is an also an option to use the standard RQ6 sorcery or even a mix. I will need a bit more time to think about Gloranthan sorcery approach which looks to be much more free form than standard RQ6 sorcery.
Spirit Magic has a new way for doing spirit combat in Glorantha and loads of spirit abilities and how to work with spirits in Glorantha and eight pages on Gloranthan great spirits like Dark Eater, Father of Independents and Oakfed.
All the world’s monsters has close to twenty creature abilities for Glorantha several of which add to ones on RQ6 and Monster Island. The chapter then dives into describing a cornucopia of Gloranthan monsters – more than 80 of them depending how you count described over more than 50 pages. Many of the monsters are new to RQ6 but old foes to Gloranthan players but there a few completely new. Now we have the official RQ6 version of many of the commonly known monsters (Dream Dragon, Dragonsnail, Gorp) – several exotic ones (Charnjibber, Headhanger, Glarg, Nakasa). The descriptions are full of usual goodness and use both new and old abilities in nice combinations. Dream dragons will be even more deadly foes than before – and your desire to meet a Walktapus or Jack’o’Bear is even less than before. With elder races missing we are missing trolls, dwarves, elves, scorpion men and even broos. No – there are no ducks (or keets)…
What I liked most: Rune magic, Progressive folk magic, Trading, Character Backgrounds, Monsters.
What needs time to sink in: Gloranthan Sorcery
What’s not to like: the final version is coming next summer
For non-Gloranthan GM’s: take a look at the spell and monster list and see – you could use those or parts of those in non-Gloranthan fantasy worlds – quite easily.
This is truly worthy preview of things to come in Chaosium Runequest and it was pure enjoyment to read thru. Now to update the RQ Encounter Generator to support it and start using the preview as my campaign rules. Can’t wait for the final version that is coming next summer.
RQ encounter Generator take on Aig monsters is here