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Cults of RuneQuest: The Prosopaedia - Hardcover

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Cults of RuneQuest: The Prosopaedia is an indispensable reference to the many gods and goddesses, monsters, locations, artifacts, and events that have shaped Gloranthan mythology since its making!

Gagarth and the Wild Hunt

What's Inside

Chaosium Unveiled: Inside Cults of RuneQuest: The Prosopaedia

Watch the unveiling video to see the book for yourself. Remember that you get the PDF when getting the physical copy.

The Encyclopedia of the Gods

The Aeolian Pantheon

Hundreds of entries describing these beings and forces in brief, informative prose, cross-referenced where appropriate. Each entry describes the subject’s name, pronunciation, other titles, associations, and other references, with a description of how that being is depicted within the world of Glorantha.

Combine this with the other books in the Cults of RuneQuest series for quick references across all volumes.

Orlanth fighting the Machine God

The Art of Gloranthans

Solar Pantheons

Full color illustrations and design by Katrin Dirim bring the divine world to vivid life! Showcasing the art that is created in Glorantha by the many worshippers of the various gods, the art throughout Cults of RuneQuest: The Prosopaedia is a display of Gloranthan culture, and can be used to inspire players and Gamemasters alike.

A System-Free Sourcebook

Arkat (below) and Nysalor

Rules-agnostic descriptions of the gods and locales throughout Cults of RuneQuest: The Prosopaedia make it an invaluable resource for RuneQuest players, any fans of Glorantha, players of other roleplaying games, and anyone with an interest in creative mythology.

Holy Land

Note: This supplement is an enhancement to the books of Cults of RuneQuest. It is not a standalone product and is intended to provide a greater understanding of the rich and textured mythological world of Glorantha.

What The Critics Say

  • “A beautiful introduction to the pantheons and mythological figures of Glorantha. Superbly comprehensive, it sets up and serves as a companion to the Cults of RuneQuest series and if the rest of the titles are going to look as good and delve deeper into their subjects, then the RuneQuest fan is going to very pleased with each new volume.”

    — Reviews from R’lyeh, Gods & Sods.

  • "The single most comprehensive survey of Glorantha's rich mythology that we have ever seen."

    — Andrew Logan Montgomery, THE CULTS OF RUNEQUEST: Part One, Some Thoughts on Chaosium Cults and the Prosopaedia.

  • “If I were to measure the depth of the community’s collective drool, I’d need a yardstick...”

    — Akhelas, REVIEW: The Prosopaedia for RuneQuest.

  • “A wonderfully illustrated encyclopedia of the entire mythical landscape of Glorantha, a proof that RuneQuest isn’t like any other fantasy game.”

    — The Godlearners, Review: Cults of RuneQuest, The Prosopaedia .

  • "In this day and age, RuneQuest‘s best bet is in emphasising the distinct and unique flavour of Glorantha and these books do a wonderful job with it... Though much of the material here was developed before his death by Greg Stafford, the job of finishing the project has fallen to Jeff Richard, who has made it a labour of love, along with a wealth of collaborators, including artists who’ve made some of the nicest and most flavourful-looking art I’ve ever seen in a RuneQuest book."

    — Refereeing & Reflection, a RuneQuest Encyclopedia.

  • “What Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, and the team at Chaosium are doing with these books is nothing short of brilliant, and The Prosopaedia and Mythology, have to come highly recommended, not just the depth they add to Glorantha, but for sheer readability and entertainment value.”

    — EurocultAV, Cults of Runequest Prosopaedia Review.


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Full Color Hardcover
Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, Sandy Petersen, Katrin Dirim
Katrin Dirim
Simeon Cogswell
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  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    RQ Prosopaedia Review

    Posted by Jim Groves on 20th Jul 2023

    Glorantha is a deep, detailed setting, whether you look at it as a roleplaying game ‘world’ or just the fantastic creation of one man like Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Obtaining a surface understanding is not hard. There are core myths and essential lore. Yet, you can easily stray “into the weeds” with Glorantha without much effort. This encyclopedia is your crowbar for prying into Glorantha’s gods, religions, and interesting and powerful movers and shakers. That’s important because gods, spirits, and even sorcerers are important to unlocking Glorantha. They don’t exist to facilitate some “cleric class”, rather they are integral to this fantasy world, it’s lore, and the RPG. The Prosopaedia is your “who’s who” of the Gods and Spirits and the more important heroes. It’s an easy to read, accessible volume, and should be definitive enough for most people. Plus, If you read the Glorantha forums, I think this will catch you up on most discussions about Gods, Spirits, and important heroes and sorcerers. No need to feel lost on that topic with this around!

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    REVIEW: The Prosopaedia for RuneQuest

    Posted by Austin Conrad on 17th Jul 2023

    After an 18-month hiatus without official RuneQuest material from Chaosium, that oasis sprang to life last week. On July 13th Chaosium published the first volume in their much-anticipated series “Cults of RuneQuest,” The Prosopaedia. Fans have been awaiting “the cults books” since the current edition’s 2018 release, and if I were to measure the depth of the community’s collective drool, I’d need a yardstick. This volume is slated to be followed up by The Lightbringers and The Earth Goddesses in August, followed by Mythology later this year. Let’s take a dive into book one! WHAT’S INSIDE? The Prosopaedia is an extensive reference work composed of short entries describing numerous gods, spirits, heroes, belief systems, and magical elements which are part of RuneQuest’s setting, Glorantha. These entries range from a few short sentences for obscure entities (like Gosarh), to about a full page of text for the most prominent (like Orlanth). Each generally begins by providing the entity’s Runes, a pronunciation guide, and the entity’s pantheon plus common titles. Some entries add red “see also” text. A typical entry’s text consists of three to five paragraphs with a focus on an entity’s mythic feats and relationships, then relationships within time, and finally iconography. In a few cases this last is weighted quite heavily—throughout I felt that The Prosopaedia was not just saying “this is what the gods are about,” but also “this is what the gods look like.” I consumed this book as an “armchair” read, cover-to-cover, and I think that it’s pretty firmly an “armchair” or “reference shelf” work on my “armchair to tabletop” spectrum. Reading through The Prosopaedia, the most engaging element was the puzzling through the mix of familiar and unfamiliar material and seeking out interesting connections or conjectures to draw from the text. The book is not a terribly enthralling armchair read—but it’s not meant to be, either, and it shouldn’t be judged on that merit. I also wouldn’t say that it’s a bad armchair read. You just need to be a certain sort of over-engaged fan of Glorantha. Fortunately, many of us are, so that works out pretty well. Since I’m not terribly familiar with Glorantha’s pre-2018 material, I’ll leave the bean-counting to other commentators. (That said, there are at least three beans, because the Three Bean Circus made the cut.) Instead, I’ll just note those points which have managed to remain lodged in my attention several hours after finishing my read. There’s several entries which I think will be very interesting to fellow creators and gamemasters. In particular, I found the entries on the God Time, the God World, and the Spirit World intriguing, along with pretty much all the entries on “universal” or “near universal” mythological aspects. These include world features like the Sky Dome, as well as the ancient gods & goddesses of the Celestial Court (like Larnste and Gata). Ancient gods are also interesting because they tend to have the Infinity Rune. I had doubted this Rune would show up on anyone outside Arachne Solara—the spider-goddess of Time—so seeing it somewhat frequent caught my eye. These ancient gods are, notably, generally considered dead and destroyed. This is further complicated because three notable non-ancient entities have the Infinity Rune: Arkat, Harrek the Berserk, and Jar-Eel the Razoress. These last two are the setting’s big kahuna, kind of like Acererak or Mordenkainen in D&D. I have a few conjectures on this topic, but I think I’ll save it for another article. The red “see also” text was surprisingly scarce, and at first I felt frustrated by that as I read. It made the book feel a bit incomplete. However, as I kept reading I noticed that a number of articles indicate in their prose that the God Learners associated the entity with so-and-so, but the red text did not. For example, the god Balumbasta (from Glorantha’s southern continent, Pamaltela) is described as being associated with Lodril, but lacks the “see Lodril” text. I noticed this frequently enough that it seems intentional, perhaps as a subtle nod to when the God Learners were correct, and when they were in error. Oh, for those who don’t know, the God Learners are a bunch of sorcerers from a past age who tried to warp and drain mythology itself with their magic. It worked for a few centuries, but then they got smacked by a gigantic karmic mallet. Which, come to think of it, does lead me to a weakness in this book. I’m hoping—and I think Chaosium is too—that Cults of RuneQuest will be an exciting entry point for new fans of the game and the setting. However, there’s a lot of information in this book, and even I get swamped pretty often. The Prosopaedia is a no-holds-barred soup of Proper Nouns. Now, most of those Proper Nouns are explained, by nature of the book. Some aren’t. I suspect references to the Doraddi, to Pamaltela, Vormain, the Vithelans, and other geographical concepts not included in the RuneQuest core rules will leave newbies feeling alienated, rather than excited. Setting jargon is still jargon. There were a few absences and alterations I found interesting. I was surprised that there’s no mention of the Luathans—giant purple demigods who live in the land of sunset, and invaded the mortal world to wreck a God Learner kingdom. The story of Ingolf Dragonfriend seems changed from older material I’ve read, and I find it less poignant. Likewise there’s no entry for the Orlanthi draconic mystic Obduran the Flyer, though he does get mention in Ingolf’s entry. Finally, the hero Renvald isn’t mentioned, which is a shame because I liked that he put a name to the Machine War. The Machine War is one of these Second Age events which is described as a cataclysmic conflict, but without much detail and attention compared to the other Second Age battles. For those who care about canon, “Renvald” and “Ingolf” both don’t find much when I search through my PDFs of The Guide to Glorantha. So it doesn’t seem much has changed from the 2015 presentation of Glorantha, on these fronts. I only know a bit about the Second Age because of ongoing research for one of my Jonstown Compendium books. Speaking of, did you know that it’s Christmas in July on DriveThruRPG? There’s loads of great stuff on sale from the Jonstown Compendium, including my adventure To Hunt a God. If you like reading reviews and articles here about Glorantha, consider picking up some books! You get fun stuff to play, and I get to keep writing for you—I call that a win-win! I’m not outraged that I happen to know a hero which wasn’t included in The Prosopaedia. I mostly find it interesting, based on the book’s generally exhaustive approach to Gloranthan mythology. One of the best features of The Prosopaedia is that it feels like real mythology, with both horrors and joys like tales passed down from Earth’s history. Seeing all of the entities and beliefs and other elements of Gloranthan religion woven into a tangled mesh makes me want to write with them. I really like that it doesn’t feel stifling or “definitive” in the authoritarian, book-closed sense. It feels like an expansive book. On the polish and presentation of the text, I appreciated that The Prosopaedia does feel like a professional release. The last two releases from Chaosium were a notable improvement in textual quality over the initial wave, and it’s great to see they’re continuing to improve. I did notice the occasional typo or grammar hiccup, but let’s be honest—in a book this length, with this many fantasy words, there are going to be errors. The errors never reached a point where I felt distracted or confused about a sentence’s meaning. ILLUSTRATIONS The Prosopaedia is illustrated by Katrin Dirim, who won Chaosium’s 2021 Greg Stafford Memorial Award. It’s always great to see Chaosium supporting members of the Jonstown Compendium community, and they made an excellent choice in selecting Dirim to illustrate this book. Dirim’s illustrations consistently present a bright, colorful, Bronze Age mythology stuffed with detail and life. The subject matter focuses on presentations of gods as depicted by people living in Glorantha. This does expand a bit to include worshipers of the gods wearing religious costume, and it fits in well. The text often describes a variety of media worshipers use to depict the gods, such as carvings, woven baskets, and wall paintings. One example is an illustration of a Pamaltela fertility goddess as carved into a tree. This piece is great because it emphasizes the diversity of media described in the text. We don’t get tons of this material presented, but it’s a good addition to the more obvious frescoes or painted bas reliefs. My brain doesn’t instantly grab a favorite illustration, but there’s a number which come to mind. In general, I think the best are Dirim’s full-page plates, because these have extra detail used to depict myths from (or not from) the text. The best example of this is a Lunar illustration of Shargash (war god of the Red Planet) and Verithurusa (ancient moon goddess) embracing like lovers. I feel like this piece manages to capture romantic affection while simultaneously using the profile perspective commonly found in ancient art. Best of all, I can’t find any mention of these two interacting in the entries. The art not just depicts, but enriches the book’s content. Another great piece is Daka Fal judging the dead. One of the souls stands abandoned by their god or goddess, for their misdeeds during their life. Finally, I think the cover deserves a shout-out too. It’s a complicated, busy piece. It feels like it hit me on the head with an ice pick; it shouts at you. That might not work for all books, but I think it works well for The Prosopaedia. It tells you what’s going on more clearly than the title. I have two caveats—NOT complaints—to note about the illustrations. First, my print copy hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ve only consumed them as part of the PDF. In general, I don’t really “grok” art until I’ve had a physical book in hand; but if I like it now, I’ll probably like it more when I get my copy. Second, there is quite a lot of both male and female nudity in the art. I think it’s well done, probably better than nudity in Chaosium’s prior RuneQuest books. It’s clearly intended to reflect ancient art norms, and they’ve succeeded at their design goals. That being said, I think it’s worth mentioning the nudity so buyers can make an educated choice. CONCLUSION Ultimately, I’m of two minds about this book. I like The Prosopaedia quite a lot as what it is, book qua book. I think that’s clear from the review. It looks to be an excellent mythological art book, a useful writing reference for my RuneQuest work, and a fun book to page through at random. I might ask a bit more of it as an all-in-one reference to Gloranthan mythology—such as two pages defining the Runes and pantheons—but any such asks would be fairly trivial. I do recommend The Prosopaedia to my fellow Jonstown Compendium creators. And, well, my fellow hardcore Glorantha nerds were gonna buy it anyway, so I don’t need to give you advice! Evaluating The Prosopaedia as the first book of Cults of RuneQuest is a different matter. To phrase it a bit gently, if Chaosium released this without an announced date for The Lightbringers and The Earth Goddesses I would have been pretty disappointed. I’m utterly baffled Chaosium has not released an official product in a year and a half. The line was never dead. The developers are far too active in the community (and show off plenty of beautiful but expensive art) that I am 100% certain that they are serious about this game. I don’t feel I would have written this review honestly, if I left out The Prosopaedia‘s context. The Prosopaedia, in my opinion, is a book without directly gameable material. It has inspirational material, but as the first book in this series that’s doesn’t really cut it. Like the Red Book of Magic, it feels like Chaosium began at the wrong end of their publications. These types of reference works feel like useful tools after the material you use them with is released. After ten—more?—volumes of Cults of RuneQuest, I’d be aching for a quick-reference book. As we currently stand, I’m aching for something I can play. That doesn’t have to be an adventure! The forthcoming cults books absolutely count, and are why I’m just a bit frustrated instead of angry. If you’re a RuneQuest gamemaster, I recommend saving your money for the upcoming books instead. The Prosopaedia has done a good job convincing me these next books will be worth checking out. I just don’t see what this volume has to offer someone who meets up with their friends to seduce dragons and smite Chaos for a few hours each week. And that’s a shame, really, because I do like this book. It’s actually exceeded my expectations. I just don’t feel I can recommend it to the typical RuneQuest gamemaster.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Bright and Intelligent

    Posted by Diana Probst on 15th Jul 2023

    I'm glad I have this reference; knowing the finer details of the relationships of gods will make my world deeper, and my games all the richer.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    The Prosopaedia

    Posted by Ann J. on 15th Jul 2023

    An extensive reference book for Gloranthan mythology, stunningly illustrated by Katrin Dirim. Many entries, each with a short text, provide with maximun information in minimum space. I bought it as soon as it was available and find it's worth every cent.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    I've been waiting a long time for this one

    Posted by Roy Duffy on 14th Jul 2023

    I've been waiting 40 years for this book. Gods Of Glorantha kind of scratched the itch back in the day but there was something missing. The itch is fully scrathched now. This is a beautiful book, Ms Dirim's artwork is gorgeous, but it is the deity descriptions that make it worth purchasing. Don't buy this book for detail, buy it for the overview, to see how the pieces of Glorantha fit together or grind against each other. A fabulous addition to Gloranthan lore and as useful to players as GMs. Highly recommended.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Essential for any Glorantha fan

    Posted by Michael Bernth on 14th Jul 2023

    I bought The Prosipeadia as soon as I saw it was released. Congratulations to everyone involved. It’s a very beautiful book and a fascinating read that expand the world of Glorantha for player and gamemasters alike. Katrin Dirim’s tremendous illustrations really brings it all to life and are worth the book alone. Highly recommended and an essential for any Glorantha fan.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Grand survey of Glorantha by way of Gods and Heroes

    Posted by Evan Franke on 13th Jul 2023

    I obtained my copy at Chaosium Con 2023 and it is a beautiful book filled with amazing details about this incredible world of myth and magic. In the guise of an encyclopedia of major deities and heroes across the world, the book communicates critical details of culture, magic, mores, and beliefs. It hints at the vast depth of this world, its history and mythic truths. It is a triumph of imagination and story and adventure and campaign ideas leap off of every page. The illustrations are top notch, and the consistency of the art, all by amazing artist Katrin Dirim, communicates both the connections underlying the world, as well as its amazing diversity. The art adds details and layers of beauty and excitement to every page. If you love Glorantha, you need this book. If you are curious about Glorantha, you should get this book, if you love creative mythology, this book is a must buy! This is the first in a series on the gods and mythology of Glorantha, with details of myths, cultures, magic and religions, and this heralds an amazing series to come!

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    The Prosopædia

    Posted by Chris Jensen Romer on 13th Jul 2023

    Long ago the box set Gods of Glorantha had a prosopædia, an encyclopaedia of the Gods. Now its back but there is little comparison! This book unlike its predecessor is a full colour hardback, ten times bigger and beautifully illustrated by the amazing Katrin Dirim. Her detailed iconography of the goddesses and gods is fascinating in its implications: we see Jeff Richard's carefully thought out symbolism expressed at its best here. If you are a hardcore Gloranthan fan you have already ordered this book: but a slight caveat. If this was your first Gloranthan product even if you are a scholar of mythology you will struggle to major sense of it. Do you know the background well enough to know the major pantheon? If not, concentrate on the Orlanthi and Lunar pantheon entries. The Gods and antigods of the East and the theological disputes of the West are covered, as our the many Gods of Pamaltela. This is deep background! Also this is a list of Gods and heroes and most get only a paragraph or two. Yet despite having no game stats, this book is useful for any edition of RuneQuest, but in particular RuneQuest:Glorantha and also Questwords/HQ and 13th Age Glorantha, where the Runes take center stage. It lists the Runes for every deity; there are a few non-core ones you might have to Google on Well of Daliath, but this is the definitive guide to Runes for each deity and their worshippers. So it is of absolute game utility in that way: and while the Red Book of Magic is more immediately vital to RQ:G as a purchase, this is definitely a book you will want to own. CJ

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Cults of runequest

    Posted by Darren Page-Mitchell on 13th Jul 2023

    Stunning. It's been a long time since I have seen something for a roleplaying game that so entirely captures a setting. This is marvelous. The artwork and the simple layout make it a joy to behold. It took some time to notice I had only got to "D". The team has done a masterful job. Katrins artwork will adorn all of our imaginary temples wherever we travel in Glorantha.