by Rob Heinsoo
Putting Glorantha Back on Target[8/19/97 Note: This editorial was produced in Winter of 1997 when our view of the Glorantha landscape was somewhat different. Since that time, the world has changed a little bit. Plans for producing a miniatures game with Stratelibri are no longer forefront, and we are in the process of creating a new corporation called Issaries, Inc., to fund the Glorantha sourcebooks and RPGs described. This article has been included in its complete form, but consider it a rumor labelled “B”: Generally true, but with a substantial false component. The Official Glorantha Web Page gives a more realistic idea of our current plans.]
Most folks reading Starry Wisdom #1 are coming to us through their love for MYTHOS, so here’s a one-sentence intro for those of you who don’t already know Glorantha: it’s a world of Big Mythology, gnarly wicked heroes, persuasively well intentioned villains, and competing world views armed with magical arsenals and an underlying mystic vision.
Chaosium’s first product was a Gloranthan wargame called White Bear and Red Moon, published in 1974. In 1978, Chaosium used Glorantha as the setting for its ground-breaking RPG, Runequest. Chaosium published supplements for RQ until the early ’80s, when it licensed the RQ publishing rights to The Avalon Hill Game Company. Avalon Hill published the current version, RQ III, in 1985. Since then Chaosium’s involvement with RQ has withered away. Avalon Hill has only supported the game with new products sporadically, though many AH Gloranthan RQ products stayed in print and are still available in game stores.
Control of Glorantha’s growth and development largely passed to a hugely creative community of fans, many of whom love the world of Glorantha more than they like the RQ system. These fans have contributed years of love and effort to homebrewed game systems, wonderful live-action role-playing scenarios, Glorantha conventions, and fanzines that consistently surpass professional gaming zine standards, such as Tales of the Reaching Moon.
In 1997, Chaosium will return to its spiritual homeland by publishing new Glorantha products in a number of lines. It’s too early to give definite timetables for our upcoming Glorantha publications, but I can tell you what we’re working on:
- The biggest element of the Gloranthan revival isn’t an RPG, it’s a miniatures game! In partnership with the Italian gaming company Stratelibri (long-time Glorantha fans), we’re producing a Gloranthan skirmish miniatures game using 25mm figures.
- In the summer of ’97, we’ll start a new line of Gloranthan sourcebooks published as trade paperbacks. These books will be chock-full of world info and will not be tied to any game system.
- Some time after the skirmish miniatures game is out, we¹ll produce rules and figures for 15mm mass combat battles.
- Development of a Glorantha computer game is already underway.
- Following the line of Gloranthan sourcebooks, we’ll publish Gloranthan fiction in trade paperback form.
- After Glorantha has reestablished its market presence, we¹ll release a new Glorantha RPG with the long-awaited rules for interacting with the gods and Heroplane on heroquests.
A Rumor Game
Instead of troubling you with promotional material for products that are many months from publication, here’s a bubbling heap of rumors to fill you in on what is and isn’t likely in the coming year. Unlike most hearsay, Glorantha-style rumors come with a key and answers!
- T = True.
- F = False.
- R = May or may not be true depending on Luck and Fate.
- B = Generally true, but with a substantial false component.
- A = Too awful to even think about.
- Although it may sound like I’m pandering to newly inducted Cultists of Chaos, the current best published introduction to Gloranthan mythology and history appears in the first 20 pages of an old Chaosium book of Chaotic cults called Cults of Terror. T
- The only way for Cthulhu to enter Glorantha would be to fall through Skyfall Lake. F
- One of the first trade paperbacks in the upcoming Glorantha book line will be a one-volume guide to Glorantha with the working title The Illustrated Glorantha. T
- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL hockey team is interested in licensing itself to the upcoming miniatures game for a special set of ice-skating duck warriors from the Upland Marsh. F
- The Gloranthan skirmish miniatures game aims to be as much quick-changing fun to play as a collectable card game. T
- The game will also be perfect as an introductory game for any sensitive non-gaming friends who are squeamish about game industry portrayals of violence. F
- Recent archaeological discoveries in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) include a painted set of inch-tall Varangian guardsmen miniatures set to guard the tomb of a young prince. F
- The skirmish miniatures game has a rockingly fun turn sequence to outshine the move-and-shoot systems used by many games. T
- The art director for Stratelibri¹s upcoming Gloranthan games painted the MYTHOS card named “La Mole Antonelliana.” T
- Most squads of Lunar Empire troops contain seven soldiers. T
- Stratelibri and Chaosium will sell Lunar soldier miniatures in packs containing five figures apiece. F
- Stratelibri and other European licensees will sell the miniatures game throughout Europe in all the major European languages. T
- The first box of Glorantha miniatures details skirmishes between a squad of Lunar Empire troops and a mixed batch of rebels from Sartar and the Holy Country, including Babeester Gor women warriors armed with battle-axes. T
- Each item dangling from the necklaces of the Babeester Gor warriors is a middle finger taken from a fallen male opponent. B
- Stratelibri’s plans for dragonewt miniatures include figures with detachable skins so that opponents who defeat the dragonewts can take the skins and make dragonewt skin armor for their own figures. F
- The Chaosium offices have recently been invaded by herds of plastic mammoths. T
- Stratelibri plans to release a new edition of Chaosium’s first game (the boardgame formerly known as Dragon Pass) in early 1997, to be followed in a couple of months by a new edition of Nomad Gods. T
- The game formerly known as Dragon Pass, which was originally known as White Bear and Red Moon, and is currently in print in France as La Guerre des Heros, has had its name changed to ¥, pronounced “unpronounceable glyph.” B
- The working title for the all-new third boardgame to follow Dragon Pass and Nomad Gods is Fish Head & Tiger Heart. T
- The MYTHOS game mechanics could easily be used as the basis of a Gloranthan heroquest card game. T
- Sandy Petersen originally based the DOOM computer game¹s backstory on his dissection of troll society in Glorantha’s Trollpak. F
- Races such as humans, elves, dwarves and even trolls use the rune (man) to describe their form, but some other races call the rune “slave” or “food.” T
- The Dragonkill War got its name because of what happened to the dragons. F
- The Godlearners’ Secret reveals Gigi D’Arn’s true name. A
- Avalon Hill owns the trademarks to the Runequest RPG. T
- Chaosium owns the copyrights to Glorantha and all Gloranthan material. T
- Avalon Hill plans to publish a new version of RQ, but Chaosium isn¹t involved in that effort except for approval rights on the final product. T
- A life spent playing roleplaying games is the closest modern Americans are likely to come to a classical education. R
- Street gangs in the Lunar Heartland city of Raibanth call themselves names like “The Sartarites”, “Wind Lords”, and “Sons of Humakt.” T
- Many Glorantha fans understood why that last item was blasphemous. T
- Over 100 writers have contributed to professional Glorantha publications. T
- Thousands more writers have sent us manuscripts we’re now working on processing. B
- In Glorantha, History is an Illusion, Science is a Lie. B
— Rob Heinsoo, with the rumored assistance of Shannon Appel
Also See: Starry Wisdom of Glorantha
This article was drawn from Starry Wisdom V1 #1, Winter 1997. To regularly receive the newest Starry Wisdom magazine, join the Cult of Chaos