• COMING SOON! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Myths of the Jonstown Compendium

Welcome to Myths of the Jonstown Compendium, the new and ongoing article to cover the Jonstown Compendium community content program. This is content that focuses on Chaosium’s Glorantha-related games, Questworld (formerly Heroquest) and Runequest. After our initial article, there was a great outpouring of content creators and those articles are coming after this one. Over the next weeks and months keep an eye out for these reviews, as either individual articles or in collected reviews. If you are a Jonstown content creator, please feel free to reach out to us. The format for the Myths may change over time and if you have any thoughts, let us know! Feedback is appreciated as these articles evolve.
337678.jpg

What's New

  1. Snakepipe Hollow Map & Denizens from: Dario Corallo
  2. Air Toads! from Akhelas, Diana Probst, and Austin Conrad
  3. Kovid’s Nineteen from Graeme Atkinson
  4. Zenith Adventure Pack: Fortunate Sun from Dario Corallo
  5. Corallo’s Zenith Counters: Yelmallons from Dario Corallo

334598.jpg

What's Hot

  1. Life of Moonson, Booke One: The Characters from David Hall, Kevin Jacklin, Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow, Michael O’Brien, and Mike Magen
  2. The Armies & Enemies of Dragon Pass from Martin Helsdon
  3. Snakepipe Hollow Map & Denizens from Dario Corallo
  4. Six Seasons in Sartar from Andrew Montgomery
  5. Men of the West from Martin Helsdon

320700.png

The Red Moon Reviews: The Dregs of Clearwine

Today the Red Goddess has graced us with a review of The Dregs of Clearwine, all hail the Red Moon! The creators reached out to EN World and provided us with a copy of this wonderful (spoilers) supplement for Runequest: Glorantha. It was created by Beer With Teeth, and also specifically credits Kristi Herbert, Erin McGuire, Diana Probst, and Dom Twist. These folks put an amazing amount of work into The Dregs of Clearwine and you will not be disappointed with what is inside.

The artwork is great and provides not only maps of the area, but also portraits of the NPCs that are listed in the supplement. It evokes the right kind of Glorantha feelings and provides a great compliment to the descriptions of the locations. There are also small pieces of line art throughout that add to the overall aesthetic of the work. For those who want to know what can be done with the basic templates from Chaosium, The Dregs of Clearwine are a fantastic example to follow.

At the heart of the supplement are the Dregs, an area of the city of Clearwine that is filled with the poor, indigent, and some foreigners. It is a small slum in Clearwine, which is described as too small to have a sizable slum. But the NPCs portrayed in the supplement are anything but dregs and in fact a number of plot hooks are provided for them. Mamma Vorlena, an Initiate of Ernalda, is the matriarch of a large extended family and maybe the whole of the Dregs. The plot hooks in Mamma’s House alone would be enough to keep a group of adventurers going for quite some time.The other entries and NPCs are just as vivid and interesting.

As a supplement for Runequest: Glorantha, The Dregs of Clearwine is useful. An adventure, Old Bones, included provides an example of how the personalities and plot hooks can be combined to create a tense and dramatic situation. The Dregs of Clearwine would be of equal use to those using the HeroQuest/Questworld rules for Glorantha. Yes, you would have to do some conversions, but if you are familiar with the games that should be no problem. In addition, if you are not a fan of Runequest or of Glorantha, this is still a fantastic view of a small slum full of interesting people that can be dropped into your favorite world or system.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Sean Hillman

Sean Hillman

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
I got the Guide to Glorantha to try and finally crack this dense, duck people nut and within the first two pages my eyes glazed over and I had a series of micro-strokes.

Alas, it will forever remain impenetrable to me along with Tekumel.

On a serious note, I think there is a smaller more introductory level book (the Glorantha Sourcebook?), does that do a better job of introducing the system to newbies? Has anybody read it?
 

PabloM

Adventurer
On a serious note, I think there is a smaller more introductory level book (the Glorantha Sourcebook?), does that do a better job of introducing the system to newbies? Has anybody read it?

The Glorantha Sourcebook is an amazing book to introduce yourself and your friends to Glorantha. It´s a lore book tho, so no system in there.
I use it with Fate Core to play in the world. Besides ducks, Glorantha is amazing.
 

Dimbyd

Villager
I got the Guide to Glorantha to try and finally crack this dense, duck people nut and within the first two pages my eyes glazed over and I had a series of micro-strokes.

Alas, it will forever remain impenetrable to me along with Tekumel.

On a serious note, I think there is a smaller more introductory level book (the Glorantha Sourcebook?), does that do a better job of introducing the system to newbies? Has anybody read it?
There is a Runequest Starter Set coming out later this year- this may help with the setting (think Call of Cthulhu starter set in presentation and pricing).

Otherwise, the three different corebooks- Runequest Glorantha; Heroquest Glorantha and 13th Age Glorantha have detailed background. Choose your preferred system and use the scorebooks to start with. Remember, there's only so much information you can absorb at any one time, and gaming in the world is the best way of learning about it.
 



Austin Conrad

Scribbler
I got the Guide to Glorantha to try and finally crack this dense, duck people nut and within the first two pages my eyes glazed over and I had a series of micro-strokes.

Alas, it will forever remain impenetrable to me along with Tekumel.

On a serious note, I think there is a smaller more introductory level book (the Glorantha Sourcebook?), does that do a better job of introducing the system to newbies? Has anybody read it?
My recommendations for exploring Glorantha:
  1. Find an addict passionate friend, and play in their game. Another good option is hunting down a demo game during a con. AFAICT Chaosium's Cult of Chaos has done well promoting these during digital conventions.
  2. Grabbing the free quickstart, The Broken Tower, and trying it out for yourselves.
  3. Check out the RQG core rulebook and/or the full slipcase set. Probably the rulebook if you're on the fence, due to price point - slipcase is good, but I don't feel something like that is fair to point speculative players toward.
  4. The Glorantha Sourcebook and/or other lore publications to explore further.
These aren't necessarily steps or suggestions exclusive of one another, but generally I think #1 will be more effective than #5. Glorantha is, as you said, a dense nut, and generally just playing and working from a "need-to-know" basis is better than trying to chew that damn thing in one bite.

The Guide is not a good starting point. I don't think it's been marketed that way, but if someone suggested that, I do think they're actually, objectively wrong. I reference it on and off when I'm writing for the JC, but unless you're also writing semi-seriously in some capacity, I don't think anyone should get it.

I ranked The Glorantha Sourcebook low on my list because I find Glorantha lore tends to devolve quickly into "proper noun soup." The GSB is better than other books in that regard, but I still use it mostly as a writing reference, not as a "book to inspire gameplay."

In addition, I believe there's a fair bit of promo/introductory material—both official and fan-made—available on YouTube. I'm not familiar with that sphere, so I'd just suggest searching for "RuneQuest Glorantha" and see what pops up. I do know Chaosium's playtest game, "The White Bull Campaign," has over 20 episodes and have heard generally good things. But, I haven't watched it myself. Likewise the fan podcast Wind Words has an episode on introducing players to Glorantha which might be useful.

The best general advice on Glorantha I can give is when in doubt, make it up!

@SMHWorlds Thanks for highlighting the JC! It's exciting to see fellow creators featured outside of Chaosium's usual channels. Hope to see more of these in the future. :)
 

SMHWorlds

Adventurer
My recommendations for exploring Glorantha:
  1. Find an addict passionate friend, and play in their game. Another good option is hunting down a demo game during a con. AFAICT Chaosium's Cult of Chaos has done well promoting these during digital conventions.
  2. Grabbing the free quickstart, The Broken Tower, and trying it out for yourselves.
  3. Check out the RQG core rulebook and/or the full slipcase set. Probably the rulebook if you're on the fence, due to price point - slipcase is good, but I don't feel something like that is fair to point speculative players toward.
  4. The Glorantha Sourcebook and/or other lore publications to explore further.
These aren't necessarily steps or suggestions exclusive of one another, but generally I think #1 will be more effective than #5. Glorantha is, as you said, a dense nut, and generally just playing and working from a "need-to-know" basis is better than trying to chew that damn thing in one bite.

The Guide is not a good starting point. I don't think it's been marketed that way, but if someone suggested that, I do think they're actually, objectively wrong. I reference it on and off when I'm writing for the JC, but unless you're also writing semi-seriously in some capacity, I don't think anyone should get it.

I ranked The Glorantha Sourcebook low on my list because I find Glorantha lore tends to devolve quickly into "proper noun soup." The GSB is better than other books in that regard, but I still use it mostly as a writing reference, not as a "book to inspire gameplay."

In addition, I believe there's a fair bit of promo/introductory material—both official and fan-made—available on YouTube. I'm not familiar with that sphere, so I'd just suggest searching for "RuneQuest Glorantha" and see what pops up. I do know Chaosium's playtest game, "The White Bull Campaign," has over 20 episodes and have heard generally good things. But, I haven't watched it myself. Likewise the fan podcast Wind Words has an episode on introducing players to Glorantha which might be useful.

The best general advice on Glorantha I can give is when in doubt, make it up!

@SMHWorlds Thanks for highlighting the JC! It's exciting to see fellow creators featured outside of Chaosium's usual channels. Hope to see more of these in the future. :)
That is the idea. We tested the waters last year and have a number of reviews and such on the way. Am hoping to highlight as many creators as possible.
 



Peggy

Villager
I got the Guide to Glorantha to try and finally crack this dense, duck people nut and within the first two pages my eyes glazed over and I had a series of micro-strokes.

Alas, it will forever remain impenetrable to me along with Tekumel.

On a serious note, I think there is a smaller more introductory level book (the Glorantha Sourcebook?), does that do a better job of introducing the system to newbies? Has anybody read it?

Well, there's Valley of Plenty on the Jonstown Compendium. It won't help with the rules as it's QuestWorlds not Runequest, but everything is self-contained in the book and no other Glorantha knowledge is needed as the characters spend a few sessions as kids and learn the world as they grow older. Yea, yea, it's my book. I am recommending my book. :D It's what I do.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Can someone give me an overview of how Glorantha actually plays?
From my recollection of past readings its based on Bronze Age and has a Mesopatamia/India feel to it?
It may have been the modules I was looking at but it did seem to have a big focus of gods and cults to the extent that characters powers and abilities derived from the cult they belonged to?
 

Jonstown actually predates Jonestown and that site of shame.

Barely, as Runequest was published in 1978 and the mass suicide/murder also happened in 1978. And almost no one knew what RPGs were in 1978, but everyone saw the news stories about Jonestown.

But I am with Umbran on this. Every time I see the name, my brain sticks the "e" in there and I wonder why there is an RPG book about mass suicide?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Barely, as Runequest was published in 1978 and the mass suicide/murder also happened in 1978. And almost no one knew what RPGs were in 1978, but everyone saw the news stories about Jonestown.

But I am with Umbran on this. Every time I see the name, my brain sticks the "e" in there and I wonder why there is an RPG book about mass suicide?
Lol, yup thats what my first thought was too - Is it an RPG about modern cults?
 


Austin Conrad

Scribbler
Can someone give me an overview of how Glorantha actually plays?
From my recollection of past readings its based on Bronze Age and has a Mesopatamia/India feel to it?
It may have been the modules I was looking at but it did seem to have a big focus of gods and cults to the extent that characters powers and abilities derived from the cult they belonged to?
Like any game, it varies from GM to GM. But you've summarized the general feel pretty well! :)

Most of what I've played has been combat-focused dungeon-delving, adapting AD&D modules to a prior edition. RQ works well for this style of play because its dangerous combat makes fights more exciting. I like to use the analogy "RQ is to D&D as Dark Souls is to Skyrim." They're all fun, but they create different game experiences.

The setting is a mishmash of Bronze Age civilizations and mythology with intentional anachronisms (like coinage) and occasional bouts of 60's/70's "California" weirdness. (Not my descriptor, but one I see used - as someone who didn't live through that era, I'm more likely to say something like "hippie" weirdness.)

The Indian Mahabharata, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the works of ancient Greece are all notable inspirations. I generalize to "ancient Greece" because I've seen the authors reference a variety of sources - from Homer's poetry, to the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and later texts from the Hellenistic period. The current feel, IMO, is very "ancient Mesopotamia/India" because of a heavier focus on polytheism than we typically think of when talking about Greece. There's also reference to Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete, which are the historical periods which later inspired Homer and Hesiod's works. Don't feel that you need familiarity with any/all of this to be able to play! I'm mostly babbling about it because I think it's cool. One of the things I like about RQ is that I'm a history geek, and it engages with that part of me.

Adventurers do get their magic, typically, from the religious cults to which they've initiated. There's a few corner cases, but newcomers shouldn't worry about those when starting. Magic tends to be more specific than in other fantasy games, like D&D. For example, in D&D a cleric can use pretty well anything on their spell list. In RQ, you're restricted to learning spells from your adventurer's cult. So, worshipers of Orlanth the Storm God can throw lightning and fly through the sky, worshipers of Odayla the Bear God can partially shapeshift, and worshipers of Issaries the Talking God can create magical marketplaces and trade spells with other cults. Some magic has strong parallels with other games, and other magic is really distinct. Most cults focus on doing one type of thing, but a few cults do have broader scope (for example, Ernalda the Earth Goddess has strong healing and supportive magic, but also has spells which support social intrigue and conflict).

The effect, in my experience, is that cults feel a lot like your "class." There's still a lot of adventurer versatility in approaching your cult, but the coolest magics an adventurer can invoke generally typify the way they'll approach the game.
 

Dimbyd

Villager
Like any game, it varies from GM to GM. But you've summarized the general feel pretty well! :)

Most of what I've played has been combat-focused dungeon-delving, adapting AD&D modules to a prior edition. RQ works well for this style of play because its dangerous combat makes fights more exciting. I like to use the analogy "RQ is to D&D as Dark Souls is to Skyrim." They're all fun, but they create different game experiences.

The setting is a mishmash of Bronze Age civilizations and mythology with intentional anachronisms (like coinage) and occasional bouts of 60's/70's "California" weirdness. (Not my descriptor, but one I see used - as someone who didn't live through that era, I'm more likely to say something like "hippie" weirdness.)

The Indian Mahabharata, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the works of ancient Greece are all notable inspirations. I generalize to "ancient Greece" because I've seen the authors reference a variety of sources - from Homer's poetry, to the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and later texts from the Hellenistic period. The current feel, IMO, is very "ancient Mesopotamia/India" because of a heavier focus on polytheism than we typically think of when talking about Greece. There's also reference to Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete, which are the historical periods which later inspired Homer and Hesiod's works. Don't feel that you need familiarity with any/all of this to be able to play! I'm mostly babbling about it because I think it's cool. One of the things I like about RQ is that I'm a history geek, and it engages with that part of me.
I’d also add the films of Ray Harryhausen as an influence on Greg.

Not an influence on Greg, but Asterix books can also help you grok the setting.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I’d also add the films of Ray Harryhausen as an influence on Greg.

Not an influence on Greg, but Asterix books can also help you grok the setting.
Asterix and Harryhausen were big influences for me too so thats a great hook!

When I first considered Glorantha, I was looking for something that played like I imagined a REH Conan sword and scorcery style world, but the presentation of Storm cults and the like may have obscured the actual gameplay elements.

I’ve actually got a Anthropology degree and have studied myth so that part really interested me too, but though I love the Epic of Gilgamesh, I couldnt quite see how to go on an adventure with him
 
Last edited:

Austin Conrad

Scribbler
I was looking for something that play like I imagined a REH Conan sword and scorcery style world
I feel like RQ works great for that. Glorantha as a setting should work as well, but you may need to be a bit picky where you play. A lot of the games set in it circle around "we're in a clan solving problems and being heroes in Sartar" which is less swashbuckling-adventure IMO than REH.
 

PabloM

Adventurer
I’ve actually got a Anthropology degree and have studied myth so that part really interested me too, but though I love the Epic of Gilgamesh, I couldnt quite see how to go on an adventure with him

That’s perfect, as the "true" in Gloranta is structured through myths and not scientific facts, and that has a great impact on the behavior of their societies.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top