A few thoughts in introducing RQ to new players – especially those who are only familiar with D&D.
If pressed for time or are doing a one-shot, use the pregens. Seriously. Circulate the pregens you think are appropriate for what you want to run and let the players pick what sounds interesting. Then walk them through their passions, key skills, and magic. Bonus tip – if possible always include Vasana, Yanioth, Harmast, and Vostor. Give Sorala or Vishi Dunn to players who consider themselves experienced.
If you have enough time to create characters (say you plan to have several sessions), then get all the players together and do the Family Background together. Build together links and connections. Your first session might not get very far, but the roleplaying opportunities and the system learning will be worth it.
Make it easy. Have the players be told to do something straightforward that doesn’t require much lore – rescue someone, defend a village, kill a dragon, guard someone – and then have things go wrong. Introduce deep lore in drips and drabbles – a spirit shows up and they need to appease it (and if they do it offers them a boon, like a spirit magic spell or useful information), or we introduce another tribe or Elder Race unrelated to the underlying quest.
Have a set-piece combat but not more. Give the players the chance to negotiate with most potential foes – maybe even make allies. Warn them how dangerous combat is – and then have one. Build the combat around them, and give them something roughly equal to them without Rune magic, but where the player characters’ Rune spells will give them a decisive edge.
Then throw in a post-battle moral dilemma or big choice of some sort. Something that leads the players in a new direction and can be the basis of a longer campaign – a betrayal, a dangerous recurring villain, a pissed off leader within their own community, whatever.
SHOW Glorantha, don’t tell. Have them interact with weird cool things, rather than give them long lists of obscure subcults or lore. Introduce things like tribes, the Lunar Empire, and so on through what they do.
I find that group of pre-gens particularly good to use for new players is that they have a set of strong personal connections with each other. Not surprisingly as they came out of play (and were made by regular players), while most of the other pre-gens were made by game designers.
As an aside, in one of the recent sessions I ran for new players, I just grabbed the Rescue of Jezra scenario from Borderlands, moved the setting forward to shortly before the fall of Lunar Prax, and the players decided they were the disgruntled mercenaries of “Duke” Raus of Rone (“we are working for the Lunars because this is the only game in town”). They were disgusted that he put killing the tusk riders ahead of the life of his daughter, so after allying with Impala outlaws to wipe out the tusk riders, they decided to take ALL the loot to their new friends in the Impala Nation – and managed to persuade Jezra to join them as a teenage rebel (amazing what critical roles on communication skills from high CHA characters can do)!
So now they are deserters, have Jezra as a companion, are allied with the Impala Nation and have made a deadly enemy of Duke Raus.
Which I enjoy, as Duke Raus was originally presented in Pavis as a potential villain, and now he is!