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Unnatural Selections: Recent Chaosium Reviews of Note #9: Gloranthan Goodness

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 26th Jun 2018

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha was launched in PDF to critical acclaim earlier this month: here are some early reviews, plus what reviewers have had to say about some other recent releases set in Greg Stafford's mythic realm.

Reputation and Passions - RQGAndrew Logan Montgomery has written a deeply insightful 7000 word review of the new RUNEQUEST: ROLEPLAYING IN GLORANTHA (helpfully split up into sections, e.g. Game System, Combat, Magic, Glorantha etc). Whether you're an old time RuneQuester, or someone whose new to it all and curious, this review is well worth your time!

"RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is a landmark, and was even before it was written... it marks the return of one of the most influential and storied games in our hobby back to the house that built it... No other RuneQuest—and this is coming from a guy from whom you’d have to pry his Cults of Prax or Cults of Terror from his cold, dead hands—does Glorantha as well as RQG."—Andrew Logan Montgomery, Exploring the Otherworlds of Fiction, Magic, and Gaming.

Games Vs Play calls RQG "one of the most stunning RPG books ever made":

"Creating an Adventurer looks to be incredibly fun! The lack of character classes and no leveling system are refreshing. Just because a player may call their character a thief doesn’t mean the character is not allowed to eventually cast earth shattering magic or wield a broad sword like a behemoth barbarian... A great read, incredible world, great rules, splendid artwork and makes me thirsty for high adventure in Glorantha!"Games Vs Play review.

Games Vs Play RQG

El Runeblogger says RQG is "...the RuneQuest edition I wish all the previous editions would have looked like" and takes another comprehensive look:

"...I think the best thing ...is the integration of the setting into the rules and the fact that Glorantha with RuneQuest is again alive and kicking, so we are going to get new campaigns and scenarios that keep expanding the boundaries of this fantasy world."El Runeblogger (nb review is in English)

Another Spanish reviewer, Juegos y Dados says, "Appearing almost 40 years ago for the first time, RuneQuest returns with the vitality of always" (nb review is in Spanish)

Soltakss's extensive review concludes: 

"What did I think if it? I actually liked it, in fact I like it better than I thought I would. This is the first edition that I would seriously think of using instead of RQ3. The artwork is stupendously good. Normally, I flick over the artwork as inconsequential, but this is atmospheric and evocative."

The sorceror - close upFestive Ninja says: "if you care about Glorantha you should buy it now—this is greatly improved edition which integrates Glorantha into the game in a way that we haven’t seen since RQ2": 

The artwork is astonishing, it is both well executed and it is clear that a massive effort was invested in providing art direction to capture the unique aesthetic of a myth infused bronze age setting.—Festive Ninja.

Author, historian and creator of Chaosium's CREDO, Chris Gidlow agrees, saying, "To say the new RPG Runequest: Role-playing in Glorantha is a delight is an understatement.":

"As a new game for new players, RQG carves its niche as a firmly bronze age experience. You are in a world where you might ride around in a chariot and where the first thing you learn about potentially lethal combat is it probably starts and ends with a challenge between your champion and theirs. The bronze age atmosphere is all pervasive... Pirates don't look like Captain Jack Sparrow, they look like the Sea Peoples from Egyptian temple walls... This is a bronze age, however as its inhabitants envisaged it to be: pervaded by spirits (the section on Shamanism alone could be the focus of an entire campaign) and dominated by the actions and desires of superhuman deities. Even sorcery, which in previous editions offended me as a quasi medieval intrusion from other fantasy RPGs, comes across as the sort of sinister amoral cabbalism you might find in Ptolemaic Egypt. It's illustration owes nothing to Gandalf or Merlyn."Chris Gidlow

Finally, a commenter over on DriveThruRPG noted, "There is an unpleasant pig sacrifice image on p. 268. Personally, I would now like to have the option of a no art version." Simon B, another DriveThru commenter, helpfully pointed out, "For those that haven’t bought this book, be aware that this full page, full colour image contains no blood, injury or mutilation of the pig of any kind."

For the record, here is the pig in question (no pigs were harmed in the making of this book):

A sleeping pig

Other Gloranthan Goodness

13th Age GloranthaDavid Larkins looks an appreciative look at the art in RQG and other recent Glorantha releases, e.g. the Glorantha Sourcebook13th Age Glorantha):

"The layout perfectly (of these works) complements the gorgeous art that comes courtesy of a Murderer's Row of amazing talent"David Larkins, Art in RPGs.

Prominent RPG site Gnome Stew reviews 13th Age Glorantha

"There is a lot to like in this book... I am in love with heroquests and the entire concept of the Hero Plane, and I think the implementation of it in this book is great... The conversational tone of the rules means that you never have to wonder why something was done in the game."Gnome Stew.

Likewise, Andrew Logan Montgomery reviews 13G and says it "gets an enthusiastic thumbs up... It is clear the authors love Glorantha, and their giddy enthusiasm is on every page". He poses the question, why bother with 13G?, and answers it thusly:

"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."—Andrew Logan Montgomery, Exploring the Otherworlds of Fiction, Magic, and Gaming

Khan of KhansAnd here's a review of our Khan of Khans family game on Boardgame IdIndonesia's top gaming site! They loved the game—"very fun and entertaining"—and it's tantalising to think that in Indonesian Rupees our Khan of Khans Kickstarter raised "half a billion". 

http://boardgame.id/khan-khans-review

(If your Bahasa Indonesian is no good, you can click "translate" in the bottom right corner to read the review in English)