I think the gamist roots (ie boardgames WBRN, NG) of Glorantha are often overlooked. I often get the feeling that some elements of the detail of Glorantha comes from some game balance deal (as a simple example, the moon phases).
If the Big Rubble wasn't/isn't a contrived setting to allow dungeon crawls then I don't know what is. It didn't come into existence because of narrative stories, or as a simulation of something other than a way of justifying dungeon adventures.
This isn't a bad thing, I like it and approve of any game-based logic that generates some world detail. There are a lot of features that seem to be to have almost have been written as the background of some booard game (the coloured people of Teshnos for example).
Anyway, getting back to the point of the thread (travel narratives), I think they have a couple of things in their favour that have suited them to the purpose of introducing detail of the world:
These concepts can also be seen to apply to the 'from Glorantha' documents that have been a feature of the background. I sometimes wonder if this is the way to go with almost everything. Just use 'oin world' narratives and us real world gloranthanauts can interpret them to ou our vision of the world.
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