The setting of Glorantha is broad and deep and the amount written about it can be intimidating. Don’t be intimidated by it! Most of the setting is completely unnecessary in order to enjoy it! Just like you can enjoy the Lord of the Rings trilogy without even cracking open The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales, so can you make Glorantha your playground with nothing more than a few core books:
- The Starter Set. Contains a good short summary overview of the setting, and enough detailed information about Jonstown and the surrounding areas to run games there.
- The RQG rules book. Contains LOADS of setting information about the Dragon Pass area, short descriptions of all the major cults, political units, cities, etc.
- The GM Adventures Pack. Everything you need to start a campaign among the Colymar Tribe.
- The RQ Bestiary. All you need to know about the many monsters, non-humans, etc, of the setting.
Those four books have got you covered. If you are a player and want greater options and details about your cult, buy the Lightbringers or the Earth Goddesses book.
And that’s it. Want more scenarios? Pegasus Plateau, The Smoking Ruins, plus the JC have you covered. Want details on daily life and cool stuff for the players to acquire? Weapons and Equipment has your back. But you don’t NEED this stuff to run or play in Glorantha. And you certainly don’t need to read old out of print material, read the Guide to Glorantha, or even the Glorantha Sourcebook (although I certainly recommend them as cool books!).
Honestly, it has never been easier to start a game set in Glorantha.
My advice to anyone coming new to Glorantha is – buy the Starter Set. Start there. If you want to go a little deeper as a player, get the core rules and the two cults books that are coming out this week. Stop there and take a breath. Enjoy the books and relax.
If you want to run games, just grab the GM Adventures pack and the Bestiary. Maybe grab some scenario books. Stop there and take a breath. Relax.
And if you get perplexed by some long-time fan ranting about some name you’ve never heard of (Fonrit, Kralorela, Elmal, Hedkoranth, Sedenya, etc.) – IGNORE them. Just like if you were chatting about how much you enjoyed The Two Towers and somebody started spouting off about the Valar and the Two Trees.
But if you want to go deep, you can. The setting lets you go as deep and broad as you want. But you DO NOT NEED TO.
And if you need a short summary of the setting – Glorantha is the fantasy Bronze Age setting with tribes and empires where the gods and myths are real and your characters all have magic.
In short, Glorantha is easy and RuneQuest is easy. Just relax and run with it.