Andy Joy's Rune Question

From: Hal Bowman (
Date: Thu 30 Jan 1997 - 14:44:27 EET

Andrew Joy asked a question regarding the True status of the runes, and
the meaning of "ownership", and the powers one gets with them, etc. The
Glorantha book in RQ Deluxe says that the runes form the basis of
Glorantha. Wyrm's Footprints suggests the same in their history of
Godtime. I guess I can see several positions on this issues:

1. The runes are the basis of Glorantha. They form its periodic table,
its types of power, its form templates, etc. All the gods either are
manifestations of the runes or are consciously or unconsciously plugged
into them. Or made of them. The icons (the actually rune images)
themselves are somehow part of the universal fabric of the universe, and
are universally used. *I don't agree with this.

2. As with #1, but the icons are a widespread cultural development, as
many symbols were in Earth's Bronze Age. The famous icons are used
widely, but not exclusively, in Central Genertela, where several huge
empires spread them. And on the coasts, thanks to the Godlearners.
* I might be able to go with this, and according to Mr. Joy, Sandy thinks
(or though) this was true. It fits with the RQ Deluxe book.

3. The icons are a cultural development, and the runes themselves don't
exist. What does exist are types of powers, gods, etc. The Godlearners
use the most popular symbols in their classification schemes, which stay
behind after their demise. Thus they find the strongest storm god is
Orlanth (most popular, whatever) and that his worshippers use a spiral to
mean storm. So do a lot of other storm worshippers...So they code Orlanth
with two spirals. * I personally like this one, even though it is heresy.
Since I was illuminated, I have abandoned my need for an agreed upon true

As for owning a rune, perhaps this means that a god is the most powerful
(popular, most influential in nature, etc) being with a connection to the
rune. I certainly don't believe that it means that the god has some sort
of power to control access or use. Surely Yelm would remove ZZ's fire
powers if this were true.

Contacting the rune/connecting with the rune: One might imagine that
coming into contact with a god which has the rune or with just the owner
might count. Or perhaps their is a way to journey to the rune itself on
the Heroplane, and come into contact with the primordial Water.
Establishing a contact then, IMO, would give great powers related to that
rune, both on the Heroplane and on the Inner World ("real world"), though
how much in both places is questionable. * I personally don't like the
latter idea.

- - Hal Bowman


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