Introduction to Runes

This is an early introduction to the Runes from 2004.

Gloranthans have always used various symbols to express the great forces that underlie existence. Although the meanings were kept secret, the forms were usually quite visible even to enemies. Over time people began to recognize each other’s signs and to correctly identify many of their traits and powers. In that way people used each other’s runes for similar powers. Thus, the Orlanth sign became widespread as the Air Rune even among their foes. Both uses are correct interpretations of the power of this rune. Of course, many times people attached false impressions and prejudices to their enemy’s runes, and in local traditions these presumptions still exist. Such prejudices contribute greatly to the tensions of the Hero Wars today, as they did in previous Ages.

During the Second Age the organization of magical researchers called the God Learners collected data worldwide for the first time. They had their own Rune System and saw parts of it used elsewhere. After considerable study they recognized certain patterns and consistencies between cultures, and organized a basic set of runes that are still recognized in Third Age Glorantha as the essential symbols of magical understanding. These are the Thirty Core Runes.

These runes were found in several places by the God Learners. At times they found them hidden in other signs and sigils. Shortly after the first of those discoveries, some God Learners determined the way to “distill” the essence from foreign runes. The earliest investigators (Micolar of Prenga, Zositar of Dardo) discovered (Micolar with surprise) that many signs were combinations of other, more simple, signs. For a while discoveries of simpler forms went wild, and they were found almost everywhere. Andolar of Gedar and Morastos of Prenga were two leaders who practically competed with each other to find more and more of them. When Andolar died his school used the God Learner magic of Ennoding to fix him onto the Magus Plane. The school of thought called the Precipitators developed to explain and exploit the pervasiveness of the rune forms. They had little actual field-testing, but for a short time the Precipitation Wizards even directed political policy in regions. Eventually, however, Banklou the Vesatarn presented proofs that dissipated the pretensions of the Precipitators and revealed that most of their magic was fabricated by the clever minds of Andolar (and Morastos). The event was called the Andolarin Precipitation.

“False Andolar rained then, down and out of the Founder’s Plane where good men and Truth live, in the tears of his followers as Duke Margain’s house guards thrashed them from his pleasures out to the monsoons of winter.”

(Banklou performed many such Truth Contests with other orders of wizards, and destroyed many of them. He worked to prove that The Abiding Book was enough of a holy vessel and needed none of the additions that the God Learners wished to attach to it. He worked hard to correct the errors that were growing in the Middle Sea Empire at that time. He was righteous and holy, and therefore ran into ruin when his piety conflicted with the wealth of the kings. As his History shows many miracles preserved him, but he was finally brought low by God Learner foes within the Church. He was buried with Mostalic Rites and left entombed. His good name and reputation was never lost, and became a rallying point for the foes of the God Learners. They discovered the Node of Banklou on the Saint Plane, but were unable to find it on the material plane. His inherent piety had attracted local pilgrims who sacrificed to him at his tomb and were content with having their children healed there.)*

*The last section is considered outdated due to its terminology.

**Some of the runes presented in this document are considered dubious due to their origin. Where this document disagrees with the Thirty Core Runes or Rune font documents, the latter are correct.

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