Re: Sources used for future publications

From: Simon Phipp <soltakss_at_op3aqwaRJQU_ajT6a7xel03reFbIsw-ZmV9omLsd9UEk0Jcj6w9Hzeb51OmcDh03FqC>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 20:26:46 -0000

David Cake:
> On 23/02/2012, at 7:08 PM, Jeff wrote:
> >> Glorantha: The Second Age (both editions). It is Ikankos, one of the Janubian city states.
> >
> > Glorantha: The Second Age is not a core Third Age book and is not part of the publishing canon.
> Well, hello Captain Obvious on the first part there. I don't
> think there is a single part of Glorantha where second age material
> is less relevant to third age canon than the Janube valley anyway.

Yep, a Second Age Gloranthan book is not a Third Age book. I agree with David that this is fairly obvious.

> I'm aware of the limits of the Mongoose material, some of
> which is flawed (and I'm not so keen on cyborgs and such myself),
> though I'm sure you'd agree some of it is excellent.

Yes, some of it was excellent. Dragonewts was especially good, as were the two campaign packs Dara Happa Stirs and Blood of Orlanth, all with some good solid background material.

> But I find purism about sources can too easily just become
> a lack of respect for the creativity of others -- in this
> particular case, there seems no particular reason to reject it.
> The Janubian river valley has pretty much always been a cradle
> of all sorts of heterodox weirdness in canon, as far as I'm aware.

I don't think it is a lack of respect for other writers.

One problem with sources is that Glorantha has a very large established history that is expanded all the time. This is good for those of us who have been using Glorantha for many, many years. It is not so good for those who are new to the setting.

Any new work has several choices:

1. Stick closely to established canon, especially timelines and events, perhaps expanding them but not normally contradicting them.
2. Take bits of canon here and there and stick to them but invent completely new stuff that hasn't been written about, thus establishing new canon.
3. Ride roughshod over the original canon and invent a lot of contradictory new canon.

RQ2 material generally chose Option 2, mainly as it was writing brand new stuff that nobody had seen before.

RQ3 material generally chose a combination of Options 1 and 2. So where material was reprinted from RQ2 the material was updated but not contradicted. Where new areas were written about it used some of the current material but added a lot (Dorastor, Strangers in Prax).

Hero Wars material, however, had a mixture of Options 2 and 3, as it rewrote a lot of the cults that we all knew and loved from RuneQuest into something similar but in many respects very different.

Mongoose material was generally Option 3, with some Option 2. There was a lot of knowledge lacking and some pretty big howlers that flatly contradicted established Glorantha.

HeroQuest material is a mixture of Options 1, 2 and 3. The difference between Moon Design and Mongoose is that when Mongoose contradicted established sources they either said "Oh, we didn't know about that" or "We don't care", whereas when Moon Design do it, they say "The original source isn't canon" or "We know more about Glorantha now than back then".

In my opinion, if there is an established timeline or society in Gloranthan print then that is an established source and shouldn't be ridden roughshod over. If something is hinted at or fleetingly mentioned and a new source expands on that in far greater detail then the new detail could change some of the old information as we know a lot more about the subject. However, writing new material that flatly contradicts or ignores vast areas of pre-existing material is bad and, to my mind, worsens Glorantha.

Now, a difficulty comes when comparing "Official" and "Unofficial" material.

When Glorantha as an official setting had died in one of its many deaths, it was kept going by a number of exciting and interesting unofficial supplements and series. Tales of the Reaching Moon, Codex, RQ Adventures, The Book of Drastic Resolutions and Tradetalk were good fanzines and the Pavis and Big Rubble Companion series was an excellent set of supplements covering our favourite areas of Glorantha. A lot of the material in these were accepted as near canon, or canon, by many fans of Glorantha.

Now, we are told that a lot of this material is non-canonical (which we already knew) and there is an undercurrent of snideness, especially when referring to the P&BRC series, which I find distasteful.

These were the Watchers in the Darkness who kept Glorantha alive.

I would welcome a definitive list of which supplements are intended to be/regarded as:

1. Canonical/Offical
2. Near-canonical/Semi-Official
3. Non-Canonical/Unofficial

We all make things up, but many of us did not intend our material to be canonical in any way, shape or form and many of us do not care how people think of our material. However, when it comes to discussions on forums it would be very useful to know that by quoting something from The RuneQuest Companion (RQ2) I am quoting something unoffical, whereas by quoting something from , say, Pavic tales I am quoting something unofficial and unsupported.

See Ya


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