RPG Setting: Glorantha


Well-Known Member
Back in the elder days of yaw, before the interwebs, before White Wolf, there was Glorantha. For those who don't know, Glorantha is an RPG setting created by Greg Stafford. It styles itself as a world of mythology and it really deserves the name. It is rich and detailed, stretching from a board game released in 1975 to the Guide of Glorantha, a system-less RPG setting book coming out in a few months time.

While Tolkien's influences are apparent, it is still a unique world. In Glorantha elves are mobile, intelligent plants. Dwarfs are almost robotic creatures made of stone, forever trying to fix the World Machine. Men worship pantheons of gods with history and rivalries older than Time. Dragons are the size of mountains and their dreams manifest in physical form of lesser drakes. In the Second Age, the God Learners invaded other cultures to steal their magic power. In the third, the Lunar Empire expands pushes outwards, brining their Red Goddess and Lunar Way to everyone they can.

Its the kind of world where entire news groups have spent years debating the true nature of Yelm or whether Orlanthi are noble barbarians or mindless savages who continuously break the universe.

So I was wondering, anyone else here a fan of Glorantha?


Staff member
I'm not at all familiar with it, which is surprising since I used to be a walking Guide (doho) to Faerun, a veritable mimir for Planescape, and knew my way around Spelljammer pretty well. Want to explain more?

(also, this is more for games of the video persuasion. Want me to move this to the tabletop section?)

half baked cat

Well-Known Member
I supported the Guide's Kickstarter, but I must admit to not knowing too much about it other than it seems to truly be detailed to an impressive degree.


Well-Known Member
Watashiwa said:
I'm not at all familiar with it, which is surprising since I used to be a walking Guide (doho) to Faerun, a veritable mimir for Planescape, and knew my way around Spelljammer pretty well. Want to explain more?

(also, this is more for games of the video persuasion. Want me to move this to the tabletop section?)
We have a tabletop section? Sure, move it then. Incidentally, were would RPG fan fiction go if not here? General?

I'll write up a more in depth Glorantha post ASAP.

half baked cat

Well-Known Member
So, that would be where we put Clue, Monopoly, or Chutes and Ladders fanfics?


Well-Known Member
All right, Glorantha. The wiki page is quiet good but I'll give things my own spin. This is Glorantha.

It is a flat world, a world of myth and legend, popular known as the lozenge. It is perhaps best known as the default setting for Runequest, one of big 80s RPGs. Today it is supported by a collection of system-less and near system-less publications. Moon Design Publications holds the licence and it is really a labour of love for them. They're not just in it for the money (though they want that too :D). Their house system is HeroQuest, which is a favourite of mine.

The history of Glorantha can be split in two, before and after Time.

Before time can be broken down like this:

* The Creation.

* The Green Age. Everything is one and plants cover the world. It ends when death, sex and suffering are discovered.

* The Golden Age. A stable (or static) period of peace and plenty. Yelm rules over all as Sun God and the Emperor of Glorantha. He orders the Earth Queen Ernalda be his bribe. This is seen as wrong by many and Orlanth, last child of Umath the Middle Air, challenges Yelm for the hand of Ernalda. Yelm and Orlanth compete in three challenges and Orlanth losses each. Depending on your point of view, he was either cheated or an uncultured barbarian.

Ernalda gives him hope, though, as says she'll marry him if he does an impossible thing: defeat the Emperor. Orlanth wanders for a while, but the trickster god Eurmal, provides a solution. He has found a new thing, Death. Orlanth uses Death to kill Yelm and end the Golden Age.

* The Storm Age. Orlanth and the Storm Tribe rule the roost. Stuff happens and Mallia, Ragnaglar, and Thed join together to become the Unholy Trio. Thed is of particular interest. She is the Goddess of Rape, having demanded the position as justice from Orlanth after his brother, Ragnaglar, raped her. Anyway, they birth Wakboth, the chaos God and the worst thing that ever came into Glorantha. Chaos in Glorantha, by the way, is Bad. It is utter destruction without purpose, a cancer upon the world. Only a few Gloranthan cultures believe it can be controlled and used for good. They might be right but they are a minority opinion.

Wakboth destroyed the Spike, the axis around which the world is build and ends the age.

* The Great Darkness. Chaos comes within inches of destroying the world. Orlanth preforms the Lightbringer Quest and travels to the Underworld, to bring Yelm back to life. There, Yelm, Orlanth and all the other gods form the Great Compromise. They agreed to share the world, and not to individually or consciously alter it. To seal this deal, the goddess Arachne Solara gave birth to Time. It became a new age. They did it to save the world from chaos but this is why Gloranthan gods can't stamp around the world anymore.

And that's Pre-Time history in a nutshell. An important thing to remember is that Pre-Time there was no Time. Everything happened at once. This is why multiple mutually contradictory myths can exist. As the saying goes, all Myths are true, especially the contradictory ones.

The next thing to point out, is point of view. Each culture is Glorantha has its own spin on the above. Orlanthi, who follow Orlanth, paint Orlanthi as the hero in the above tail and Yelp as the Evil Emperor. The solar worshipping Dara Happa, on the other hand, say Yelm was the hero and Orlanth was the evil one. There have been arguments over this. Big ones.

I'm continue with post-time history later but for a final thing: have some cool, offical Gloranthan art work: One, Two


Well-Known Member
Some cool Glorantha artwork:
These are some Glorantha elves. In Glorantha, elves a plant people.

These are Praxian tribes men. Each tribe has an totem animal which they ride and live with.

These are dwarfs. Glorantha dwarfs are amoral rationalists. They will take any action if that action brings the repair of the World Machine closer. They are by far the 'evillest' of the elder races.

These are trolls. Trolls are creatures of darkness but they really hate Chaos and can get on okay with humans a lot of the time.

See other pictures here.


Well-Known Member
Cool and very, very huge map of Genertela (the northern and main Glorantha continent) here. Have a look and scroll around.

Edit: for some reason I can't link to the map. Click the link in this post. It seems to work, for some reason...