'Unnatural Selections' is a regular round up of notable reviews of Chaosium titles we think are worth a look...
Andrew Logan Montgomery's Otherworlds of Fiction, Magic, and Gaming blog recently reviewed two new Chaosium releases with considerable depth, insight and perspicacity (in his own words, Andrew's reviews "run deep"). The books he covered are 13th Age Glorantha and The Glorantha Sourcebook, both currently available from Chaosium in PDF (hardbacks coming later in the year).
Andrew proclaims that Glorantha has always had a special place in his heart ("had I not encountered it in my junior high school D&D Club I doubt I would have gone on to get a Masters in mythology and epic literature"), and he invites the reader to "grab a cup of coffee, pour a glass of wine, and settle in for the latest dive into one of gaming's most extraordinary and influential worlds". We can only encourage you to do so!
13th AGE GLORANTHA REVIEW
"13G gets an enthusiastic thumbs up... It is clear the authors love Glorantha, and their giddy enthusiasm is on every page. It is infectious. RuneQuest always felt to be like a "precise Glorantha," while Heroquest was an "erudite Glorantha" (with scholarly focus on myth, narrative, etc). 13G is a hot-blooded, passionate Glorantha."
Andrew Logan Montgomery poses the question—if you're a 13th Age fan why bother with 13G? and responds with:
"For 13th Age fans the answer is simple. If you love that game, there is every chance that you will love Glorantha, given the fact that both Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet do. Glorantha's influence on the Dragon Empire, for example, is evident in the mythic extravagance of that world. Places like Starport, beings like the Koru Behemoths, even the Icons themselves show Gloranthan inspiration. How could you not be curious after reading Heinsoo's dedication? But seriously, this is one of the most storied and significant settings in fantasy gaming, and 13G serves it up for a game you already love. Now is your chance to see what 40 years of fuss has been about."
THE GLORANTHA SOURCEBOOK REVIEW
"For my money this was the best overview of Gloranthan mythology we have seen... vividly told, beautifully illustrated, and inspirational... Drawing on long out-of-print sources, and including new materials, this belongs in the collection of new Glorantha fans and old timers alike."
Andrew Logan Montgomery on Myth (from The Glorantha Sourcebook review)
"MYTH—Today, we use the word "myth" as a synonym for "a lie." It's dismissive, it indicates something that is false. This is pretty much the opposite of how traditional societies understood the term. Myths--passed down from generation to generation--were shadows of a higher reality. They were revelations from the powers that create and sustain the universe. These primordial forces were beyond human understanding or explanation; the only way to know them was to experience them directly. A myth was not an "explanation," it was a "journey." Because it came to us from the higher world, it could be followed back there. No myth was the whole truth, but every myth pointed the way to truth.
While lots of fantasy worlds have gods, myths are at the center of Gloranthan gaming. The "higher reality" discussed above is called the God Time in Glorantha; the "primordial forces" there are the Runes. Glorantha magic is "the interaction of mortals existing within Time with the timeless and eternal powers of the God Time." Adventurers become heroes by following the myths. It is no accident that the first two Gloranthan RPGs--Runequest and Heroquest--bore those names. Following myths to access the Runes and become Heroes is what Gloranthan characters do."