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Designing the New RuneQuest - Part 23

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 22nd Mar 2018

Where we are with RQG

By Jeff Richard

Greetings Gloranthaphiles! I've been quiet on the social media front for the last few months concerning where we are with the new RuneQuest - that's not because we don't have plenty of great progress to report (we do! - keep reading) but because: 

  1. we've been really busy getting the project finished; and 
  2. we (Chaosium) have had plenty of other projects to trumpet (13th Age GloranthaThe Glorantha SourcebookPetersen's AbominationsDown Darker Trails, the coming new edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep, etc.).

That being said, I figure now is a good time to let you know where we are...

In our last update, Jason revealed the new RuneQuest logo, and the process we went through to get there; here it is on the cover of the book itself, with amazing art by Andrey Fetisov! 

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Cover (Mock Up) by Andrew Fetisov

"Strike Ranks" by Simon Roy

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (aka RQG) is now in layout. RQG is the core rulebook for RuneQuest. It gives a quick crash course in Glorantha, gives you what you need to create human characters in Dragon Pass, the Holy Country, and Prax, and about a score of short-versions of the cults in about the same detail as RQ3’s Gods of Glorantha (including new write-ups for Orlanth, Ernalda, Seven Mothers, Waha, Yelmalio, and even Yelm). It even includes new shamanism and sorcery rules. Combat, runes, passions, magic, equipment, experience, etc.—it's all there. 

It is a big and unbelievably beautiful book - without a doubt the best-looking book I've ever worked on (that includes the Guide to GloranthaCall of Cthulhu 7th EdThe Glorantha Sourcebook, and plenty more). Layout will take however long it takes to get it right – we expect typesetting to be completed by early next week and the book looks like it will be about the size of the CoC7 Keeper’s book.

Then we put the art in. We have an astonishing amount of art and we are being really finicky with making sure it is presented to its best effect.

Let us all say praise for the Layout Guru on this book – Simeon Cogswell. He is doing a fantastic job. Much of the credit for how good the new book is going to look should go to him.

RuneQuest Bestiary

Once RQG is laid-out, we immediately go to laying out the RuneQuest Bestiary. We haven't talked much about this so far, which is a shame. Because this book is AWESOME. We've got about a hundred or so Gloranthan entities in the book - Elder Races, Chaos monsters, monsters, animals, spirits, and even flora. If you want to play a duck, a Telmori, a troll, an elf, or whatever, here's your book. It includes another half-dozen or so short cult write-ups.

This is another beautiful book with over 40 new illustrations by the incredible Cory Trego-Erdner. 

"Beasts of the Praxian Tribes"  by Cory Trego-Erdner

Gamemasters’s Pack

And then there is the RuneQuest Gamemasters Pack, which is also complete. Another book we haven't really talked about yet: it includes the Colymar tribe as a setting, brings your adventurers to Apple Lane (which has changed a lot since the last time you visited it), and gives the GM brand new three inter-linked scenarios, which although interlinked, can all be run independently. It is chocked to the brim with full statted-up NPCs (including Queen Leika and other tribal Rune masters). 

Most importantly, this book assumes that all you know about Glorantha is what you have read in the previous two books. 

As one of our Cthulhu writers described it: "To sum up: the GM's Pack is the heart of what I, a relative Gloranthan novice, would be looking for in a new RQ edition to help me run the game the best way I could. The new edition's emphasis on mixing the prosaic with the fantastic, all through the lens of "Bronze Age fantasy," is perfectly achieved."

The GM's Pack also includes player aids and a GM's screen. Once the Bestiary is layed-out, then we jump right into getting that done.

"Meeting the Priestesses" by Michelle Lockamy

RuneQuest Cults Book

Wow! So, I'm actually done with my part on those books (other than reviewing layout and related fine-tuning). My current project is the manuscript of a new RuneQuest Cults Book. Not a bunch of short-version cults; 30+ LONG VERSION cult write-ups (as in Cults of Prax or Cults of Terror). 

If you're a long-time Glorantha fan, this book has cults you thought you knew all about but there's so much new information it blows me away (Orlanth, Ernalda, Seven Mothers, Nysalor, etc.). It also has cults you've never seen proper long-version write-ups of except in very crude form (Yelm, Lodril, Maran Gor, Eurmal, etc.), and cults you've never seen proper write-ups of at all (Red Goddess, Babeester Gor, Mastakos, etc.).

This is a BIG book and once done with that, I'll start doing art while Jason, myself, and others edit, reedit, and edit it again. But I expect we can have it done by the end of the year.

Scenarios Book, and More!

At the same time, Jason is putting together another book of all brand-new scenarios, including scenarios by Greg, Steve Perrin, Chris Klug, and others. Much of that writing is already done.

And we got more! A second Quickstart, more scenarios piling up in the pipeline, a GM's book, and then the Dragon Pass Campaign. Plus some REALLY REALLY exciting news that we should be announcing soon.

So, what is the schedule for the release of all this?

Figures you'd ask that question. I used to think it was a good idea to say what our internal guesstimates are, but internet culture being what it is, I don't anymore. We are pushing HARD for GenCon with at least the core rules, but the core books will be finished when they are finished. Layout takes time to do right, and we are right now working hard on creating the overall look of the line (that's not just art - which is actually done, but stuff like how tables are presented, how we deal with boxed text, how we present stat blocks, etc.). The core book might be layed out in a few weeks or it might take over a month. We're not sure.

All we can say is that we are all working around the clock on this and however long it takes, it will be more than worth the wait!

Note from MOB: this is the final "Designing the New RuneQuest" column (hey, it's designed!). But we'll be back very soon with a new regular feature what's happening with RQG.

Art Credits:

  • RQG cover art by Andrey Fetisov (please note, the cover is still a work-in-progress!)
  • "Strike Ranks" by Simon Roy
  • "Praxian herd beasts" by Cory Trego-Erdner
  • "Meeting the Priestesses" by Michelle Lockamy
  • "Iron rune sword" by Roman Kisiev