Gloranthan Facts and Game Artefacts

From: Keith Nellist <keithnellist_at_CdsOgMibrXXCFWfO5I3wRwsIPglwdjLuHf43gdahqDg9DASUBM9OvBHxlMnVKWb>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 22:06:04 -0000

I'm messing around with some Gloranthan boardgames at the moment, and was also reading Greg's account of the creation of Dragon Pass & Nomad Gods, Ray Turney and others accounts on the creation of Runequest.

It struck me that a lot of Gloranthan background comes from games
(rules, mechanics, settings) with backstory fitted in, rather than
from backstory with game fitted on.

Animal nomads - Greg wanted a non-territorial wargame with nomad tribes inspired by central asian nomads, but with distinctive differences - that's where the different animal nomad tribes come from.

Lunar Cycle - the weekly moon cycle fitted a 14 day wargame better than a monthly cycle. It was a game consideration rather than a mythological one. That came later.

Lunar Empire/Sartar - really seem to come from wanting a barbarian kingdom versus an organised empire rather than having a conflict that came out of some deep history. The conflict came first, deep history later.

Big Rubble - seems to be an obvious setting created for the needs of gamers, rather than the needs of a fantastic imaginary world. Somewhere to go dungeon crawling. The whole history of the City of Pavis comes later.

I'm not complaining or criticising this route to inspiration. In fact I think it is excellent. I do wonder what else came from game balance/game design/game rules first. I am tempted to believe, for example, that the whole of Teleos, with its different coloured meeples (edit: I mean peoples) is actually a fun boardgame that involves insulting other players in amusing ways and trading children, but I haven't seen such a game.

I'd be interested to hear what other people think - I know the handling of magic in the various roleplaying games does not
(probably could not for a playable roleplaying game) quite match
Greg's vision of how magic really works in Glorantha.



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