RuneQuest on Facebook May 2021 Highlights

Some you are probably aware that we have a RuneQuest group over on Facebook. Jeff Richard is one of the regular posters. here’s some links to some of his recent RuneQuest posts, Jeff’s replies and others are not included (Facebook membership required):

So I figure I’d walk folk through some of the design decisions behind the current RQ releases.

1. The Cults Book underpins everything. If you want to have Lunars, Praxians, Balazarings, Sartarites, Esrolians, Caladralanders, Manirians, Wolf Pirates, etc. in your games, this book is essential. If you want to understand your character’s cult, this book is essential. If you want to understand how all the cults fit together to form a cosmic unity, this book is essential. I for one refer to the Cults Book all the damn time when I am writing or editing. It is an A0 sourcebook, and in practice more important than the Guide or the Sourcebook (which are also A0s). Heck, the Appendix on Cult Distribution, which combined with the population numbers in the Guide lets you figure out an awful lot about the setting.

2. The Sartar Book. Sartar is ground zero for the RQ Campaign and needs to be established as bedrock in order for things to go forward. Unfortunately, Thunder Rebels and Sartar Kingdom of Heroes both did a poor job defining the culture – particularly the cities, tribes, guilds, and the Sartar Dynasty. It builds off the Cults Book to further define minor cults in Sartar like Elk Woman, Geo, Horned Owl, White Bull, Wilms, and of course the cult of Sartar. The Sartar Book also contains the Dragon Pass gazetteer, which is a more comprehensive and game-oriented description of the places in Dragon Pass. Plus it describes Boldhome to the same level of detail as New Pavis was in the Pavis book.Once that book is done, we have established the benchmarks for other areas to be explored – Prax, Esrolia, Tarsh, Lunar Provinces, etc. But that needs to be done first and done right.

3. The RQ Campaign. The Boy King for RuneQuest, this gives the timeline and major events of the Hero Wars for your campaigns. Do with it as you wish, but this is the framework for official publications. Who is Argrath? Who is Jar-eel? Who is Harrek the Berserk? Who is the Feathered Horse Queen? And of course, who is the Red Emperor? Glorantha in the Hero Wars is like the Mediterranean world during the Roman Civil Wars or during the time of Philip and Alexander – it is a time of rapid change and transformation. Your game doesn’t need to be about that at all, but we think it is richer if you know what is going on, and have events and plots to throw into your game. Once those three books are done and out, then it is much easier for us to work with writers who are not named Jeff Richard, Robin Laws, Jason Durall, or a handful of others, to explore the setting and provide new content. I can dive deep into the Lunar Heartlands or into the Malkioni or wherever my heart takes me, confident that I have a firm foundation for others to work off. But first lets get those done.

So for me, the A0 books for RuneQuest are: Guide to Glorantha Glorantha Sourcebook RuneQuest Adventures in Glorantha RuneQuest Bestiary White Bear and Red MoonNomad Gods Cults Book (in art)Sartar Book (in art) RQ Campaign Book (in final writing)The Master Map series (internal reference, with the Dragon Pass map in the Sartar Book) Pretty much everything is built off them. Those are the texts I consistently refer to.

So after reading this, you can probably figure out my answer to such questions as: Why isn’t there more about about [fill in the blank peripheral culture] in print yet? Why is RuneQuest focused on Dragon Pass and Prax? And so on.

So in my previous post, I listed my A0 texts. These are the texts that everything else is built off and that I constantly refer to in world building, rules building, etc. So here’s that list:Guide to Glorantha (published)Glorantha Sourcebook (published)RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha (RQG, published)RuneQuest Bestiary (published)White Bear and Red Moon (published)Nomad Gods (published)Cults Book (in art product, target of 2021 release)Sartar Book (in art, target of 2021 release)RQ Campaign Book (in final writing)The Master Map series (internal reference, with the Dragon Pass map in the Sartar Book)Then there are the A1 texts. I don’t use these all the time as they are built off the A0 texts. But sometimes they have information present nowhere else:

RQ GM Pack and Screen

The Smoking Ruins

The Red Book of Magic Pegasus Plateau

Pavis and the Big Rubble (RQ2)

Dorastor (RQ3)

Sun County (RQ3)

King of Sartar

Trollpak (RQ2 version)

Griffin Mountain (RQ2)

Borderlands (RQ2)

Then there are a collection of early drafts from Greg that I consult regularly but mainly for ideas and inspiration (and can cheerfully contradict):Glorantha EncyclopediaMoLaD boardgame draftHoly Country Campaign original

Epic (much of that is now incorporated into RQG and the Sartar Book)

The Orlanthi Gold Sheets (but most of that is now incorporated in the Sartar Book and the Cults Book).

I find this much more useful than discussions about “canon”.

Obviously that list is notable not only for what it includes, but what it does not include.

Now one thing that should be clear – there really isn’t that much A0 text. And that’s from a writer/world-builder/editor’s perspective. And pretty darn soon all of it is going to be available to everyone.

It’s interesting that King of Sartar is not A0. The parts of King of Sartar that is A0 are available elsewhere. And lots of KoS is not – and intentionally so.

When you say WB&RM and Nomad Gods, you mean the rulebook, don’t you? As we have established in earlier debates, I consider William Church a co-author of those texts, and his map and Counter Illustrations (in their ‘Dragon Pass’ form for WB&RM) as equally A0 to the written material.  I don’t because those maps are actually drawn off Greg’s original “master maps”, which Greg continued to refine over the next 20 years or so. Greg’s maps are the Master Maps, not William’s.

I personally consider your own two Sartar books for HQ A1 texts at least. They are A1, but the Sartar Book (the new one) itself is a better source.

How about the Runequest companion? There is stuff in that, like The Jonstown Compendium, which hasn’t turned up elsewhere. The A0 stuff in the RQ Companion is already in the Guide or Sourcebook, or worked its way into the Cults book. So I rarely actually consult that anymore.

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