My Glorantha Will Vary: Discovering 3rd Edition RuneQuest

Backstory: (P.S. I hate backstories) I wrote for Ars Magica 5th Edition. Ars Magica 5th Edition is ending; one more supplement in the product line and then fini. I started looking for other cool games, primarily with the intention to write for the game. I needed something with depth, something with staying power, and something cool. I discovered Glorantha.

Long-time gamers know, Glorantha is Greg Stafford’s fantasy world that served as the setting for RuneQuest, a couple boardgames, and lately HeroQuest. It’s a huge, couple of continents with a vast mythology and vast fictional history. The mythology is IMG_1110fictional as well. It’s not based on anything, but draws heavily from bronze age mythology and sagas, and the crux, often, is the warring factions of Sartar (very similar to Anglo-Saxon or Celtic-Gualish B.C. tribesmen) vs. the Lunar Empire (very similar to Alexander’s Greek empire or the early Republic of Rome). I started buying the current line of produc
ts, published by Moon Design, reading them and also reading about the older line of products, most falling under one edition or another of the RuneQuest game. I bought things here and there, and then I bought this:

Published in 1987, Apple Lane is a beginning adventure and is wonderful. Equivalent to AD&D’s Village of Hommlet (TSR Games, 1979), Apple Lane is a starting location for a newby band of adventurers. Their first assignment is to protect a pawn shop from a gang of vengeful baboons. It’s very straight forward, comes with a card stock pullout map of the pawnshop for the players to use, and is just grand. It captured my imagination and took flight. I instantly wanted to use it for the family’s Everway game, but I was also curious about the RuneQuest system itself. What did the game that Apple Lane was designed for look like?

I did some exploring. At that point, Avalon Hill Games owned RuneQuest and was publishing it in its third edition. Barkings around the Internet lead be to believe that 3rd Ed. is not the fans’ favorite. But what the hell, I’m not living my life to please the fans! A few dollars later and I’d ordered the RuneQuest Deluxe Edition (1983) and the RuneQuest Deluxe Gamemaster’s Box (1984). Friday last they arrived:

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The box was still shrink-wrapped from 1984. That’s 31 years ago, sports fans.  I couldn’t believe it, and part of me wanted to keep it shrink-wrapped, but I got over that quickly.

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SO much goodness inside. There three manuals were expected, “books” 3, 4, and 5 describing the game, its creatures, and its Glorantha setting. There was also a large fantasy map, which is a nice if not detailed drawing of the European landmass. But the coolness continued. There was a catalog of Avalon Hill’s 1984 game offerings. I’ve got Avalon Hill games from days gone by!

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I played the hell out of Starship Troopers back in the late 70’s. I don’t know how the copy of the game stayed with me over the years. I’ve had Wizard’s Quest since childhood as well, and used to play it with my brothers. The Birth of Britain and Stalingrad are more recent acquisitions.

Anyway, the boxed set of RuneQuest was incredible cool and me think happy thoughts, remember some of the other boxed sets I’d bought over the decades of gaming and how awesome the contents of each were. Books and maps and counters and gewgaws and doodads. I’ve very eager to start digging in earnest through the contents.

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2 Responses to My Glorantha Will Vary: Discovering 3rd Edition RuneQuest

  1. Camo Coffey says:

    Check out RuneQuest 6. It’s one of the very best systems out there; a substantial improvement on RQ3, which was already superb. It’s currently setting non-specific, but next summer, it will be republished as a Glorantha-based rulebook.

  2. adumbratus says:

    There is a Kickstarter for RuneQuest II right now:

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