So now that many of you all have the Prosopaedia, let me talk a little bit about the book. The Prosopaedia was obviously inspired by the short pamphlet of the same name in RQ3’s Gods of Glorantha. As I was working on the Cults Books, I added all the short entries for deities into the file so I could keep track of them. Eventually the file became so big that there was no reason not to turn it into a book.
This gave me an opportunity to do some God Learner mythic synthesis to the RQ canon. The book assumes the reality of these deities – they are real parts of the cosmos and not simply cultural constructs. Naming conventions were simplified – it doesn’t really help to throw out a lot of First Age local names we now in the Third Age have a standard name for. So no Lanatum, Doburdun, Orlanatus, etc – Orlanth covers all of that.
A few exceptions get made of course – so Buserian gets an entry independent from Lhankor Mhy. The later Cults book makes it clear that it is the same cult, but scribes can’t help but be pendantic. There are plenty of other intentionally loose threads, such as Bredjeg, the many names for Lightfore, etc. These exceptions are deliberate, and often are there to help explain things and resolve questions.
Because the scope of the book is all of Glorantha, connections and ties become apparent. Where I felt it was important to throw a reference in the see other entry I did, but if I did that for every association the book would be a sea of red.
The book is not intended to be read from front to back (any more than an encyclopedia is), but rather it is intended to let you take a meandering tour of Glorantha’s cosmology. Start with a favorite god and then jump around. You’ll find that all of the pieces together form an overarching story – the so-called monomyth. Each of the entries has its place within that mythic architecture, although it is often not apparent from the individual entry.
To me that is the genius of Greg’s Glorantha. Individual myths might be standalone. But collectively there is an architecture to the mythology that ties it all together. My hope is that you enjoy the Prosopaedia as much as I have!
With over 600 entries the book helps show the breadth of Glorantha’s mythology without going down an endless rabbit hole of local variant names and local sub cults.
Wasn’t there a raccoon god? At the Dawn, there was a people called the Tunalorings who among others worshiped a Racoon God. They and their cult didn’t survive into the Second Age.
Note that the Prosopaedia isn’t just edited for space but for relevance. The Prosopaedia is not intended to define everything that is, but if it isn’t in the Prosopaedia, it probably is of very limited relevance.
So among those 600 some entries, let’s say maybe 300 or so are obvious. Of course Orlanth, Godunya, Malkion, Pamalt, Babeester Gor, and Vivamort are going to get included – they have cults that at some point will be published or they are significant references within those cults.
The other half were chosen because they were relevant or useful in my opinion. Sometimes an alternate name or localised manifestation was included because I thought it was useful – eg., Kargzant, Veskarthan, Jagrekriand, etc. But many others were not, because I did not find it so. If one of your favourite local manifestations didn’t make the cult, c’est la vie.
Some very minor cults made it because they have a long tradition in RuneQuest games – Black Fang Brotherhood, Frog Woman, etc. Others did not. There are probably thousands of minor gods and spirits that did not make the grade, and so there is room to plenty of such minor deities into your Glorantha.