Pavis & Big Rubble: Gloranthan Classics Vol.1

Review copyright © 1999 by Michael O'Brien

Author: R. Meints & C. Phillips (eds.)
Company/Publisher: Moon Design Publications
Cost: US$52
Page count: 316

I have - finally - got my hands on a review copy of Moon Design Publications' first release, the reprint of RQ2's Pavis: Threshold to Danger and Big Rubble.  Here's my review!

Weighing in at a whopping 316 pages, Rick Meints and Colin Phillips give you a lot of bang for your buck - the original boxed sets are presented afresh, with new layout, design and artwork.  Because it ain't in a box, the original poster-sized maps have had to be shrunk, but they're all there, sharp and clear.  Dario Corallo's cover is a treat, and, like the original Pavis box's cover or RQ3's River of Cradles, highly evocative.

Reading it through was a bit of nostalgic journey, and reminded me why the RQ2 boxes were such ground-breaking roleplaying material in their day.  Nothing else at the time offered the richness of detail, the depth of realism and the overall plausability of a fantasy world come to life (contrast and compare to EGG's Grayhawk).  And it's all here again, including all the scenarios (Devil's Playground, Puzzle Canal, the Cradle epic etc.) that made this out-of-the-way spot the perennial favorite setting for Gloranthan roleplaying ever since.

While "all-new" material is limited to Greg Stafford's somewhat laconic take on the Sun Dragon cult (and the Black Fang cult, from the original RQ rules), even if you've already got original boxed sets you should consider snagging a copy of the new version. Why?

For a start, nearly 18 years on, your old boxes are surely looking a little tatty by now.  Give 'em a rest, and use this as your standard reference: Rick, the master of the MiG, has thoughtfully included a very helpful, very comprehensive master index.

18 years is a long time, and the new layout and art makes the material somehow feel fresh once more.  I can imagine - what with Hero Wars being delayed yet-again - one or two defunct campaigns getting kick-started with this in hand: I'd love to play the Cradle scenario if anyone's interested!

Finally, if you've been using tattered photocopies all these years, you can get your hands on the real thing, and no longer be wracked with guilt for abusing international copyright laws.

While so far I've been unabashedly upbeat, no serious review would be complete without a few criticisms, albeit minor.

Weighing in at over 2 pounds (1.2kg), the book could cause serious injury if used in hand-to-hand combat.  While putting Pavis and the adjoining Big Rubble together makes thematic sense, it does make for one helluva heavy tome!

Because Rick did such a splendid job profiling and putting into context the entire Glorantha oeuvre in his Index to Glorantha, I was surprised there is absolutely no introduction here for the present-day reader.  Then again, maybe the setting is so familiar to us all it needs no introduction?

Just looking at this bulky opus again, possibly the most exciting thing is what's printed along the spine: Gloranthan Classics Volume I.  Rick & Colin have suggested that products to come might include Griffin Mountain (Balazar - not the RQ3 abomination!) and my personal favorite Borderlands.  I also understand they're also considering new expansion material in these works: imagine, for example, another half-dozen scenarios in Borderlands!

Pavis & Big Rubble had a limited print-run of 1000 copies.  See the Reaching Moon Megacorp Products Page on Nick Brooke's Home Page for ordering information.

More than just a reprint, Moon Designís first product in their line of Gloranthan Classics presents Pavis and Big Rubble afresh, with new layout, design, artwork and a comprehensive index.  A must for any serious Glorantha fan (or RuneQuest nostalgia buff!)

MOB's rating:

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