Re: Dendara in Kralorela

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Tue 20 Jan 1998 - 17:37:49 EET

Peter Metcalfe writes:

> I think [Dendara's cult in Kralorela] is more of a duality with
> the Kralori Gorgorma than is depicted in the old sources.

I tend to agree. That Kralori chess-playing myth, for example. If
we use the Nils W. Kralori names, these would be Den Xi and Gong Xi.
Again, both figures seem to have more to do with "woman" than "earth"
(the province of Rice Mother, Krala, and sundry others): Den Xi as
the "perfect wife" and Gong Xi as a "scary woman".

Richard proposes "Blank Heroes" as a solution to the problems of
unpublished "literary" Glorantha:

> It seems to me, as I read more and more Gloranthan material, that
> the heroes of the Hero Wars are not going to be (my) PCs. It was
> probably a section in the Genertela box which crystalised this for
> me where you're advised not to let your PCs even interact with the
> likes of Arkat, Jar-eel and so on.

I agree: the heroes of the *collective* Hero Wars are likely to be
Argrath, Jar-eel, etc., while the heroes of your own game will, of
course, be your own PC's. This isn't trying to denigrate anyone: as
we saw in the age-old Onslaught controversy, adding a "sufficiently
powerful Hero" to your Glorantha almost inevitably results in its
divergence from the generally-accepted norm. Few of us, I expect,
run games where the likes of Onslaught would face the slightest
challenge from established opposition: as described by Martin, he

is powerful enough to single-handedly achieve tasks that would be
all but impossible for any of the PCs I'm familiar with -- not to
mention the likes of Argrath, Aelwrin, etc., none of whom are so
inhumanly *powerful* IMO.

I think the advice in the Genertela Book is wrong, wrong, wrong (if
it meant "don't let them interact with PCs"): what's the point of
playing in Glorantha if you can't meet up with the Greatest Living
Gloranthans? That's on a par with the advice in Elder Secrets not to

let players go to "dangerous" places like Prax, the Troll Realms or
Dorastor -- can you think of any other published settings? :-)

I'd like to believe the GB reference meant "Don't think that your
PCs *have* to become as powerful as the Heroes, or achieve similarly
great deeds: keep them 'at a distance', insofar as the Heroes should
*always* be a cut above the PCs, by GM fiat if necessary."

> GS/Chaosium has placed a number of customisation lands around
> Glorantha - the Blank Lands. I would like to suggest that the
> same thing be done with a number of people/events.

If you can write up a "better" version of a hero's character and
deeds than anyone else, yours will likely become "accepted" (if
not "official"). If Chaosium/Issaries' glacial publishing pace
continues, there's still everything to play for!

> A Blank Hero could be minor...

(in which case why bother?)

> Maybe Kyger Litor is destined to be destroyed by a party of
> Orlanthi adventurers, or maybe Ralzakark, or maybe sections of
> the Machine City will be reactivated.

Whyever not? But I don't see that you need GS' permission to do
any of these things: other than the first, they're all perfectly
plausible developments from established Gloranthan background.
(And if the first "fits" your Glorantha, then I'm sure your game
has all the talents necessary to make it an enjoyable development).

> Major Blank Heroes could be ones actually involved in the Hero
> Wars, and wouldn't it be nice if the outcome was left blank too!

Erm... the outcome of the Hero Wars *is* "left blank", inasmuch as
it matters. Cf. my homepage for the "Lunar Victory" interpretation
of "King of Sartar". Read both texts of Argrath's Saga and tell me
if Harrek kills Jar-eel. Read the intro to "Dragon Pass" and learn
just how much we know about the final result. How did Harrek die?
Was the destruction of the Red Moon part of Her plan? Who Knows?

The answer, of course, is your players -- if your game goes that
way. It's *easy* to maintain "continuity" with the established
Gloranthan background and then branch off to do something new and
dramatic on your own. Of course, "after the Hero Wars", you don't
really expect your campaign to tie up with anyone else's anyway,
do you?

> What I would like to see is a set of Blank Hero events, whose
> effect on the history of Glorantha, particularly the Hero Wars,
> is documented, but whose details are left, and are guaranteed to
> be left, deliberately blank

Other than the guarantee, this is what we have already (in "The
Hero Wars Begin"). Why let it hobble you?

Rich worries about:

> ... being forced to make my Glorantha different to the published
> Glorantha...

If you'd started playing RuneQuest when it came out, and campaigned
at the rather slow rate of two game years per real year, you'd now
be in (1613+40) =3D 1653 ST. In all that time, *three* publications
would have "upset" your campaign continuity: "The Cradle" (in the
Pavis box, 1983); "Genertela" (giving you all those "blank events"
of the Hero Wars, and back-story for many of the heroes), and "King
of Sartar" (giving you a partial account of events up to 1635-40 or
so, and a literary/mythical account of the whole Hero Wars from a
pro-Argrath point of view). I can't think offhand of anything else
that fundamentally affects the original information from WB&RM/DP
and the RQ1 rulebook.

Not doing something for fear of imminent publication is rather
self-defeating. I agree, it's worrying to think "my version is

unofficial -- there's *bound* to be an official version coming
out soon". But with all the routes we have for finding out what's
up (answer, usually: not a lot except what the fans do), and with
the past history of RQ/Gloranthan releases ("Coming Soon: the Elf
Campaigns, Cults II, Ships and Islands, the Lunar Cults..."), I
think you're deluding yourself if you let this hamstring your

Details are *always* left to individual GM's -- a game session can
do *far* more to bring an event to life than any publication, and
(what's more) it almost always *benefits* from having some surprise
slant, twist or new aspect of an event in the "established" history.

Go forth and game!



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