Subject: The RQ Digest, Volume 6, Number 7 RQDIGESTV06N07 First Distribution: June 27, 1991 This issue: A Visitor's Guide to Glorantha Mark Holsworth, Peter Loft, and Michael O'Brien ====================================================================== From: Mark Holsworth, Peter Loft, and Michael O'Brien Subject: A Visitor's Guide to Glorantha Note: This material was compiled pre-ELDER SECRETS. If you can stomach the awful artwork, ELDER SECRETS also contains extremely useful source material about Glorantha. ALDRYA Aldryami (elves and their kind), and all those who wish to be accepted by the forest, worship this goddess. Her husband Shanasse brought forth the Adryami as a gift to her. Aldraya is associated with the sun and earth pantheons, and her cult weaves the fabric of daily existence for the majority of elves. *see Cults of Prax, pp.95-103 ARACHNE SOLARA All you need to know about the earth goddess is that her name is frequently invoked by printing the words, "May Arachne Solara Bless and Protect this Article". *see Gods of Glorantha p.5 or RQII p.2 ARKAT Known as 'Chaos Killer' or 'Destroyer', or even 'Kingtroll', this mighty hero lead a 75-year-long crusade against Nysalor/Gbaji. Arkat seems to have embodied the principle that the ends justifys the means: in the process of destroying Gbaji, Arkat was quick to change cults if it meant he would gain greater allies, and even became a troll! Arkat is still worshipped in Ralios today, but the cult is split up into many rival sects. *see Nysalor/Gbaji, Illuminates, Dorastor, Cults of Terror pp.17-19 BAGOG Queen Mother of Scorpions. Entered the world alongside the Devil (what has this bit of Christian mythology got to do with Glorantha?) and scuttled across the surface, eating those who opposed her. Eventually, she stopped to lay her eggs, and her offspring were foul scorpion-like blasphemies of those she had consumed. The cult is generally only interested in benefiting the scorpion race, generally to the detriment of all others. *see Chaos, Scorpion Men, Cults of Terror pp.34-38. CHALANA ARROY During the Godswar, Chalana Arroy and her son Arroin helped heal all they met, always remaining neutral. When they found a dead god, beyond her skill to heal, she abandoned her passive stance in order to aid the cosmos. She followed Fleshman and became a Lightbringer. Her cult teaches pacificism, and fights only death and suffering. *see Lightbringer, Cults of Prax pp.64-70. CHAOS Chaos to most people are the bad guys. Not the only bad guys, but the central guys who want to take over Glorantha. Greg Stafford does not hold such a clear-cut view and comments that "perhaps 'chaotic' really means 'that which we do not understand'..." (Cults of Terror, p.47). There are creatures that are inimically chaotic - scorpion men, gorps, walktapi etc. Other creatures merely tend to be chaotic, such as broos, werewolves and cave trolls. However, chaos is an insidious force and everything from men to inanimate objects can be chaotic. *see Bagog, Broos, Malia, Ragnaglar, Scorpion Men, etc. CRIMSON BAT The Crimson Bat in the Dragon Pass boardgame is defeatable only by armies in its RQII stats, which appear on p.77 of Cults of Terror. It is the steed of the Red Goddess and the only place it won't be found is the Lunar Heartlands. It can eat whole villages. If you see it run away otherwise you are, as they say, batshit. It is worshipped by a cult of people who don't want to be batshit. Naturally this beast is chaotic. *see Chaos, Cults of Terror pp.72-77 DANFIVE XARON A male member of the Seven Mothers and an outlaw. His cult focuses on the punishment of crimes and runs the Lunar punishment legions. However, the Lunars being pragmatic people also use thieving and spying skills of the cult. *see Seven Mothers DEEZOLA Another one of the Seven Mothers associated with the earth. She has her own cult which is probably very much like Arachne Solara's cult (whatever that's like). *see Seven Mothers, Arachne Solara DORASTOR Early in Gloranthan history (the Dawn Age) Dorastor was settled by the Second Council due to its geographical position and the magic ruins found there. The god Nysalor/Gbaji was born there. Dorastor was destroyed in the titanic war between Nysalor and the hero Arkat Chaos-Killer. From that time on it has become a chaos-infested wasteland. *see Nysalor/Gbaji, Cults of Terror 'The Reminiscences of Paulis' p.22 DRAGONS RuneQuest has dragons, but they're not much like those of folklore. RQ dragons are near-godlike creatures, capable of devouring whole armies. However, the powerful minds of dragons are such that they create "Dream Dragons", physical manefestations of the sleeping dragon's subconscious thoughts. As true dragons dream of blood and gold, their dream dragons tend to seek these items out. *see Dragon Pass game, RQII p.77 DRAGONEWTS Dragonewts are reptilian creatures who live in fantastic cities in Dargon Pass. Completely alien in action and appearance, dragonewts behave in ways totally incomprehensible (even meaningless) to others. Humans and others usually wisely leave them alone, and even the Lunar Empire gave them a wide berth when they invaded Sartar. Dragonewts are so ancient as to have their own rune, and are immortal. If a dragonewt dies, its soul is reborn again. Dragonewts progress through several stages and are said to eventually evolve into dragons. *see Dragons, RQII pp78-79, RQIII Book 5 DRAGON PASS Perhaps the most geographically strategic place in Glorantha, Dragon Pass is the ancestral home of the dragonewts. Ducks, trolls, beast men and humans (in the kingdoms of Tarsh and Sartar) also live there. Dragon Pass was conquered by the Lunars, but rebellion smoulders in the Orlanthi tribes of Sartar. One feels that Chaosium has quite a bit of material on this area but has published very little. *see Dragonewts, Sartar, Ducks, Lunar Empire, Apple Lane, Dragon Pass game DUCKS Yes, there are short things that look like Donald Duck of Disney fame in RuneQuest. Why Stafford originally included ducks is unknown (but see the debate on this subject in TALES OF THE REACHING MOON #1), but ever since then he has been trying to suppress them by restricting them geographically to an area in Dragon Pass known as Duckpoint. Ducks are, however, a very popular wacky element in the otherwise serious world of Glorantha and this has spread them far and wide. *see Dragon Pass, Sartar DWARVES Dwarves are the sentient tool created by the Octagomy of Ancient Minerals who in turn had been created by the World Machine Mostal. Through the ages a number of heresies have divided the dwarven world but dwarfkind has remained united in their attempts to rebuild Mostal. The vast majority of dwarves will be totally alien to the average adventurer due to the mechanical society they are shaped by; however there are renegade dwarves who are rejected by dwarven society and live in the multispecies of dwarven society. Dwarves use sorcery. *see Gods of Glorantha pp.57-59 & 'The Foreman's Words', Gloranthan Bestiary (for creatures associated with dwarves). ELVES Protectors of the woods, the elves are the greatest guerrilla fighters in the world. Nearly all are armed with magical bows and are masters of woodcraft, making the forests deadly places for the unwanted. Throughout the ages bitter fighting with both the trolls and the dwarves has weakened the race, but they are still powerful in their forests. Proper elf culture is so closely linked to plants that it is incomprehensible to humans, much in the same way dwarf society is. Also like dwarves, "Renegade" and "rootless" elves exist. Elves are, by the way, vegetables and have wooden bones. *see Aldrya ETYRIES Lunar goddess of trade. What Issaries is to Prax and Dragon Pass, Etyries is to the Lunars. *see Issaries, Seven Mothers FRONELA A land to the far west of the Dragon Pass, comprised of numerous city states. The people there practise sorcerous magic. *see Glorantha GIMPY'S A famous tavern in New Pavis, run by three one-legged ex-adventurers. Gimpy's is a favoured hangout for adventurers, mercenaries and treasure-seekers, and the starting point for many an adventure. *see Pavis, Pavis, RQII p.22 GLORANTHA The world where RQ and the Dragon Pass boardgames are set. Greg Stafford has written volumes on it but only a tiny percentage has been published. Greg started work on it in 1966. Glorantha has two major continents called Genertela and Pamaltela. Most of the published information is on central Genertela where Prax, Dragon Pass, Sartar, Pent, Ralios, Dorastor and the Lunar Empire can be found. Although very little is known about Pamatela, the recent supplement "Genertela: Crucible of the Hero Wars" provides a wealth of information about the northern continent. *see Everything else, RQIII Book 5 'Glorantha Book', WoG Genertela: Crucible of the Hero Wars HOLY COUNTRY This land of six provinces lies around a broad, shallow bay to the south of Dragon Pass. The land's magical ruler, the Pharaoh, was recently dismembered by the Red Goddess; since then, the Holy Country has been in anarchy and the Lunars have annexed Heortland, one of the provinces. Esrolia, another province, is one of the most densely populated regions in Glorantha. *see RuneQuest Companion pp.16-25 HUMAKT Humakt is the god of war and death. When death was misused by Orlanth, Humakt (Orlanth's brother) disassociated himself from the storm gods to retain his personal honour. Those who follow this god will normally put their honour before life. Humakti look upon being raised from the dead as an insult to their god. *see Orlanth, Cults of Prax pp.33-38 ILLUMINATES Illuminates are followers of Nysalor/Gbaji, who was slain by Arkat after an epic struggle (the ultimate irony was that Arkat himself was an illuminate). Illuminates have reached a state of consciousness that tells them that a limited use of chaos to make oneself stronger is justified. Illuminates are also called riddlers, for they can spread their "liberating" message through riddles. Nysalor Riddles are bizarre questions about facets of everyday life, with unusual answers capable of shocking a person to some very unusual realizations about the world in which they live. If you listen to enough of these riddles, you might become illuminated yourself. Whilst the Lunars embrace illumination openly, to most others illumination equals chaos. *see Arkat, Nysalor/Gbaji. INVISIBLE GOD This deity is the abstract ideal of sorcery practitioners, yet he is never depicted nor does he offer tangible aid or proof of his existence in the way other gods do. Thus, a sorceror cannot cast divination, nor can he call for divine intervention. Worship of the Invisible God is typically called Malkionism, after a great prophet in a bygone age. *see Ralios, Seshnela, Fronela IRRIPPI ONTOR A male member of the Seven Mothers, an ex-priest of Lhankor Mhy. He is the head of the Lunar knowledge cult and since the Lunars are like the Romans (who pinched all the Greek gods and changed their names), this cult is probably very much like Lhankor Mhy. No one knows for sure because so little has been published about on Lunar religions. *see Lhankor Mhy, Seven Mothers ISSARIES A Lightbringer who is the father of trade and communications. His sons and daughter (Etyries) have carried this cult throughout the world as each specialize in a certain form of trade. The cult language is Tradetalk, probably the most widely-used language in Glorantha. *see Etyries, Lightbringers, 'Travels of Biturian Varosh' in Cults of Prax JACK-O-BEARS The chaos race of Jack-o-Bears has two outstanding features: their heads look like pumpkins and they can harmonize their opponents, leaving them helpless. *see Chaos JAKALEEL One of the Seven Mothers, a witch and an ex-priestess of Zorak Zoran. This has led people guess her cult is very much like Zorak Zoran. *see Seven Mothers, Zorak Zoran KRALORELA The far eastern part of Genertela, this land is inhabited by the Kralori race of humans, who (like the ancient Chinese that they were based on) have yellow skin and slanty eyes. *see Glorantha KYGER LITOR The Mother of the trolls, who led her people up to the surface world after the death of Yelm. Kyger Litors closest descendants are the mistress race trolls, highly magical beings who reportedly live forever. Unfortunately for trollkind, they are exceptionally rare. Most trolls are either dark trolls or trollkin; and nearly all are worshippers of Kyger Litor. *see Trolls, Trollkin, TrollPak, Troll Realms, Cults of Prax pp.84-89 LHANKOR MHY *A knowledge god who took part in the Lightbringer quest. It is said that all knowledge in the world is held in his temples but unfortunately, due to poor cataloging systems, little of this knowledge is accessible. Followers of Lhankor Mhy - sages - are identifiable by their beards which all must wear (even the women!). see Lightbringers, Cults of Prax pp.71-76 LIGHTBRINGERS The Lightbringers are Orlanth, Chalana Arroy, Lhankor Mhy, Issaries, Eurmal (Trickster), Flesh Man and Ginna Jar. The Quest of the Lightbringers took them to Hell where they rescued Yelm, the Sun God, who had been slain by Orlanth. By rescuing Yelm the Lightbringers brought back light to Glorantha. *see Chalana Arroy, Orlanth, Issaries, Cults of Prax p.57 LUNAR EMPIRE A vast empire controlling Peloria, Dragon Pass and Prax. The Lunars have hegemonic intentions and pragmatic methods. Its population is largely human and its major and offiical religion is the Lunar pantheon. Its policy towards chaos is ambivalent and pragmatic: it is used when necessary, yet the Lunars also persecute it. The Lunar Empire's army is very similar to that of the early imperial Romans, but its bureaucracy would rival that of a modern country. *see Seven Mothers, Peloria, Chaos MALIA Mistress of Disease, Concubine of Ragnaglar. She is corruption of the power of Humakt. Her goals are to increase the forms and types of disease in the world, while harming the lawful gods that oppose her. Broos have been given immunity to disease in return for their aid in spreading it. Many creatures of chaos worship Malia to avoid her embrace and to gain the powers she offers. Non-chaotic creatures may also worship her, the majority doing so out of fear. *see Chaos, Ragnaglar, Cults of Terror pp.26-33 NYSALOR/GBAJI Nysalor was created in an attempt to build the perfect god, and destroyed by those who thought that such a being was blasphemy. The god's followers called him Nysalor, 'the Bright One', but his enemies named him 'Gbaji', meaning 'the Deceiver'. Leader of these opponants was Arkat the Destroyer, who waged an incredible war against Nysalor/Gbaji that laid waste the land of Dorastor. In the end Nysalor/Gbaji was destroyed, but devotees of his exist today known as 'Illuminates'. *see Arkat, Illuminates, Dorastor, Trollkin, Cults of Terror pp.86-89 ORLANTH King of the air gods and leader of the lightbringers. In his youth he contested mightily with Yelm to prove his worth and eventually slew him, causing the Lesser Darkness. Accepting his responsibilities he led the epic quest to bring Yelm back into the world. His barbarian followers range from farmers to adventurers to kings and all love bad poetry. Orlanth and the Red Goddess feud over the "middle air", the region between the earth and the heavens. *see Lightbringers, Sartar, Dragon Pass, Cults of Prax pp.77-83, RQII pp.67-70. PAVIS There are a number of things called Pavis in Glorantha. There is the Praxian hero who founded a city and became a god. There is the city he founded and which was then destroyed (also known as 'Pavis Rubble'). There is the city which grew up at the base of the great walls of the old city, New Pavis, and there is the Pavis city cult. New Pavis, the trade centre of Prax, has only recently been conquered by the Lunars. It is the staging post for many adventures beyond the walls in the vast ruins of old Pavis. Orlanthi are illegal under Lunar law in Pavis. *see Prax, Cults of Prax pp.47-50, Pavis, The Big Rubble. PELORIA Also known as the Lunar Heartlands, it is political center of the Lunar Empire. In the center of Peloria is the crater which was formed when the moon broke away from the arth when the Red Goddess was created. *see Glorantha, Lunar Empire PENT Northwest of the Lunar Empire is a flat cold land populated by horse-riding nomads who occasionally get their act together and invade the Lunar Empire. Currently they are divided into numerous tribes fighting minor wars. *see Pent Pack, sooner or later to be published by Avalon Hill PRAX West of Dragon Pass and southwest of the Lunar Empire is a flat, hot desert populated by nomads riding strange animals (such as bison, rhinos and sables). Prax was recently conquered by the Lunars, and the tribes there are currently fighting minor wars about who sided with them. *see Prax Pack to be published even sooner by Chaosium RAGNAGLAR Father of broos and one of the two instigators of Chaos. A prime baddy in all respects. *see Bagog, Malia, Chaos RALIOS The Malkioni knights and wizards (practitioners of sorcerous magic) are the dominant force in the lowlands of Ralios. Warring kingdoms have continually risen and fallen within the land. The highlands have large populations of trolls and spirit-worshipping primitives. Ralios is east of Dragon Pass and south-east of the Lunar Heartlands. *see Glorantha, Invisible God RED EMPEROR The Red Emperor is the ever-reincarnating son of the Red Goddess and ruler of the Lunar Empire. *see Lunar Empire, Red Goddess RED GODDESS After her creation by the Seven Mothers, the Red Goddess embarked on a quest to prove her divinity. Once doing so, she ascended to heaven, taking with her a great hunk of earth which became the Red Moon. There she sits today, surveying her mighty empire. The Red Moon goes through a cycle of weekly phases. Lunar magic is inextricably tied to these phases, thus when the moon is full it is at its most powerful; yet on nights of the black moon Lunar magic is very weak. *see Lunar Empire, Peloria, Red Emperor, Seven Mothers. SARTAR South of the Lunar Heartlands, Sartar was the first major kingdom to be conquered by the Lunars. Sartar is a mountainous, wooded country that is populated by Orlanthi, with Ducks at Duckpoint and a wide variety of other creatures. *see Lunar Empire, Dragon Pass, Glorantha, Apple Lane SCORPION MEN A chaotic race, glorifying in sporting chaotic features and devouring their enemies. Scorpion Men are the children of Bagog and are physically strong, yet easily defeated magically. While primarily worshippers of Bagog, they often worship other chaos gods. Scorpion Men and broos are often found aiding each other due to the persecution of both races. *see Bagog, Broos SESHNELA A large, Malkioni kingdom to the south-west of Dragon Pass. Arkat was born here among the Brithini, a race of immortal, insular humans. *see Glorantha, Arkat, Invisible God SEVEN MOTHERS The seven founding members of the Lunar religion, who together created the Red Goddess. They later became gods in their own right. They are Jalakeel, Teelo Norri, Deezola, Yanafarl Ta'arnils, Irrippi Ontor, Danfive Xaron, and an enigmatic deity called "She Who Waits". *see Jalakeel, Teelo Norri, Deezola, Yanafarl Ta'arnils, Irrippi Ontor, Danfive Xaron, Cults of Prax pp.37-46 STORM BULL Berserker God of the Prax nomads. "Socially, they are unacceptable. They characteristically act with total disregard for any tribal taboo or manners... normal people consider all worshippers of this cult to be mindless brutes, barely human, certainly deranged and absolutely dangerous" (Cults of Prax, pp.18-22). Storm Bull and his followers hate chaos with a passion and to these brutes some chaos equals all chaos. *see Cults of Prax pp.18-22, Hunter S. Thompson Hell's Angels SUN COUNTY An enclave of farmers in Prax, ruled by a religious autocracy. The people of Sun County worship Yelmalio at the Sun Dome temple, and shun outsiders. They are so insular, even their wagon ruts are wider than those outside, necessitating a change of axles when travelling through the area. *see Yelmalio, Sun County to be published very, very soon by Avalon Hill. TEELO NORRI One of the Seven Mothers, Teelo Norri was a young waif taken off the streets to participate in the ritual which created the Red Goddess. She is the Lunar goddess of youth and her cult is similar in many ways to Chalana Arroy. *see Seven Mothers TESHNOS A sun-worshipping theocratic kingdom located to the south-east of Dragon Pass. The people there are of Kralori stock. *see Glorantha, Kralorela THANATAR The cult of Thanatar, the Severed God, glorifies decapitation and mind-stealing of intelligent beings to gain to access their victim's abilities. Of all the chaos cults the temples of Thanatar are the best defended: labyrinthine underground complexes, often linked to other chaotic communities and filled with skeletons, zombies and the insane ghosts of the beheaded. The cultists are protected from the ghosts by special talismans or skin blemishes, shaped liked a horned skull. The temple is lit only with Darklight, a perversion of the normal Light spell, which can only be seen by the cultists. Lhankor Mhy is the lawful nemesis of Thanatar. *see Chaos, Cults of Terror pp.56-71 THED Wife of Ragnaglar, Goddess of Rape, Source of the Broos and mother of the Devil. During the Godtime Kyger Litor defeated and skinned Thed, wounding her terribly. Leadership of the cult is decided by brute force and it is not unknown for temples to decimate themselves in factional fights. *see Chaos, Cults of Terror pp.40-47 TROLLS Living a heavenly existence in Hell, trolls were forced to the surface world by the death of Yelm. Great foes of chaos, they also fought most other races they found there during the Greater Darkness and Dawning. While they should not be thought of as the enemies of man, don't be surprised to see adventurers die under the blows of maul-wielding trolls. Trolls are able to eat almost anything from rocks to elves, and can drink anyone under the table. When dealing with trolls always remember that beneath their brutish exterior there lies a mind as intelligent (or more intelligent) than your own. *see Kyger Litor, Zorak Zoran, Trollkin, TrollPak, Troll Realms, Troll Gods, Yelm. TROLLKIN Trolls were cursed with trollkin at the end of the Dawn Age by Nysalor/Gbaji. This catastrophe eroded much of their power. Trollkin are the most numerous of the troll races and the larger trolls use them for food, as the ball in the Trollball game, and in numerous other menial roles. *see Trolls, Kyger Litor, TrollPak, Troll Realms VIVAMORT The god of vampires ('viva' = Latin 'life'; 'mort' = 'death'. Get it?). Vivamort was a darkness spirit charged with keeping guard over the secret of death. Being curious about the secret he betrayed this trust and death was unleashed. Vivamort appeals to the few who wish to maintain themselves forever. Rune level members of this cult are vampires. *see Cults of Terror pp.48-56 WALKTAPUS These regenerating, tentacled, poison-gas-breathing creatures of chaos, found throughout Glorantha in wilderness areas that are not excessively dry. Walktapi are almost unbeatable in hand-to-tentacle combat, and to make matters worse they reproduce rapidly. *see Chaos YANAFIL TARNILS Another male member of the Seven Mothers and an ex-Humakti who defected to the Lunar cause and later actually managed to defeat Humakt in battle. He is one of the wargods of the Lunar pantheon and is mostly worshipped by Lunar legioneers. *see Humakt, Seven Mothers YELM Yelm is the Sun god. Every day he passes through the sky, but must spend an equal period in the underworld. Yelm was slain by Orlanth, but rescued from Hell by the Lightbringers. His son is Yelmalio. *see Lightbringers ZORAK ZORAN Titled Lord Demon of the Legions of Death, Zorak Zoran is the most brutish, savage, revengeful and hatefilled non-chaos cult in Glorantha. Primarily a troll deity, Zorak Zoran is worshipped by anyone who would bring total devastation to their enemies. Respected by many for the cult's role in defending the world against chaos, it is still hated or feared by all non-troll peoples. *see Trolls, Kyger Litor, Cults of Prax pp.90-94, TrollPak, Troll Realms For a detailed look at many of the lands and regions described above, get a hold of WoG Genertela (reviewed in TALES OF THE REACHING MOON #1 and THE RQ DIGEST Vol.2 No. 11). POSTSCRIPT: When Greg Stafford saw this article, this was his response. I quote from his letter, which I have permission to reproduce. "Finally, some points I wish to address from your article (which was neat). *Arachne Solara is not just an "earth goddess", but more like a "cosmos goddess". Her reality is so immense that most creatures are simply incapable of understanding her. * The Devil. The "Christian" mythology was the first on Earth to address the question of Evil, as a moral thing (what about Zoroastrianism? MOB) Since its introduction into Consciousness it has been too prevalent to igonore. Devil is there to personify evil, as differentiated from Bad. *Ducks are the comic relief of Glorantha. Their introduction into Glorantha was an amusing accident, a not-unusual method of realization in my world. *Lunar religion. Yes, the Lunar cults are to the Lightbringers as Roman myth is to Greek. That is, mostly similar but with some (usually minor) differences. *Sartar was by no means the first major kingdom conquered by the Lunars. Dara Happa is the first, Carmania next, and the other provinces as preceded Sartar's conquest. As the history in Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars shows, Heortland is the latest. *"quite a bit of material". Yes, indeed! I intend to work on the Dragon Pass campaign as my next Gloranthan supplement. Knowing the way I work on this stuff, it may end up as the Sartar Pack. *Hell's Angels. Nice comparison. One I often use myself. *Yanafil Tarnils defeated Humakt by being resurrected, much to the disgust and shock of the Humakti. ====================================================================== The RuneQuest(tm) mailing list is a courtesy of Andrew Bell. All opinions and material above are the responsibility of the originator, and copyrights are held by them. Unless specified in the specific article, all RQ Digest material is freely redistributable on a not-for-profit basis as long as author credit is included. RuneQuest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. 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