As I work on several projects simultaneously, I am struck by how – for me – RQ works in 4D:
- the physical world. I am working on mapping the location of every river, every settlement, and every mountain and prominent hill in Dragon Pass, Kethaela, and Prax. When I close my eyes, I can see the topography of the place.
- the cults. There are about a hundred cults or so that are active in the areas I am working on. Each of these cults are an institution, a collection of myths, a source of power. Most cultures have a mixture of somewhere between a dozen and twenty significant cults, plus numerous tiny cults. The mixture of these cults may well be the most important thing defining any Gloranthan culture.
- The Godtime monomyth. Lurking behind everything is the Godtime which eternally recurs. The physical world overlays the Godtime and is its creation. The Spirit World is a membrane that connects the physical world with the Godtime. The Hero Plane does the same, but through a different means. The monomyth is always there, but its meaning and interpretation is always subject to subjective interpretation. Any attempt to reconstruct it and freeze it in Time is always doomed to failure.
- The rules mechanics of RuneQuest (or HeroQuest or 13G). Runes, Rune points, spells, magic points, weird abilities, etc. The rules also help explain distribution of temples, certain social dynamics, etc.
When I am working on these projects, they aren’t the same.
- Maps involve me working on huge sheets of transparencies. Transparencies over transparencies. And lots of number crunching. Are there enough settlements there? Too many? Too few?
- The cults. That involves writing stories, going through archives of stories. Comparing stories, etc. Text, not maps.
- The monomyth. That means consulting the master schematic and the cults. OK these are kind of the same things.
- The rules mechanics. That means going back to the big rule book. And testing things out on players.