Briefly, Cults of Terror is a not merely a landmark in role-playing history, it’s a giant. Coupled with the rules it was written to support, RuneQuest 1980, and the supplement that immediately preceded it, Cults of Prax, it established a new-and-different bar for play which defined “I play RuneQuest” into almost its own sector and subculture to the present day.
All that said, what we’re doing here isn’t Glorantha. I really busted out my long-standing urge for play there using Hero Wars, over fifteen years ago, in what amounts to a life-changing game, and although I still love the material, the drive to play seems to have diminished, even when I tried again.
But an unexpected benefit recently appeared – the initial text was informed by Glorantha, but written in a more toolbox-y way which had always interested me too. I have any number of little pantheons and hack-y things scattered through my decades of gaming notes. Now, it suddenly seemed not only possible, but Do It Now in a way I’ve ignored at my peril. A bunch of notes turned into a handout for players, attached.
Think coming-of-age, brambly hick fantasy. It’s built using the same rules plus the two Cults supplements, but different metaphysics, so different cosmology, gods, rune combinations, et cetera. I wish I could sketch what’s in my head about it, but I can’t, so Ian, Matthew, Gordon, and I just have to do it in our heads together in play.
This one is audio, and I’ve tried to put in enough visuals to keep you going. Modestly, I think the imagined content is pretty strong and worth it. Visuals next time!
5 responses to “RuneQuest 1980: Brambly hick coming-of-age fantasy”
I'm pretty sure I bought my 1st edition Runequest off a store shelf (rather than mail-order), along with Balastor's Barracks. Neither I nor my gaming friends of the time were able to make much sense of it, and my/our few attempts at play boiled down to "man, you always miss!" I never bought or saw Cults of Prax, for whatever odd local reasons, and was clueless about Glorantha into the late 90's.
So seeing early Runequest THIS way, as a toolkit for building your own rune-driven fantasy world … that's awesome! It takes a text that I remember, admire, but could never really apply as either system or setting, and puts it to use. I'm excited to see how this world and these characters develop.
That’s exciting to read. It’s
That's exciting to read. It's also enlightening to see how much "coming of age" is serving as our shared linchpin for play, rather than "learn about Ron's setting" or "experience Ron's plot." The former seems to me to be a desirable outcome rather than a dedicated goal, and the latter is way too easy for all of us to fall into since the game system is not only agnostic concerning how events are fueled, but literally opaque.
But as long as I think, what's the next possible consequence or possible tension regarding any given character's state of adolescence at the moment, then it's easy to reach into my setting-notions and the current roster of characters, and say, "Then …" So your, Matthew's, and Ian's collective and very evident excitement about playing from/into those dynamics is really the core thing that makes the rest successful.
Ron – Yes, "we're teenagers"/"coming of age" is a major driver. I *kinda* suspected that going in, but it's been impressive just how compelling it is in play. Also, it helps with the "always miss" part of the system – we're not uber-competent Agents or Adventurers or Etc., we're kids who might one day hope to become competent.
Love this game
I'm discovering those sessions. I wasn't much interested in a coming of age game, but I've been attracted by the "non glorantha" setting you did with Runequest Ron, and watched it by curiosity. And I wasn't expecting to be mind blown!
Seriously, it is a blast. I've watched the two first sessions for now. First, you seem to really enjoy yourself, and have worked a lot on this. Players are totally engaged, I can really feel that, and I could totally into it during the first 5 minutes. Second, my first prejudice about a coming of age has been destroyed, it seems really interesting, both fun and for reasons already mentioned here! I really love what you all did, and I would definitly play this game and this settings. Third, the setting is great! I love it. Finally, there is a strong energy from your play, really, you are communicating your love for the game and to Fantasy through this game. I never thought I would be interested in Runequest, even less the "old edition", or even fantasy RPG at all before. Now my soul is sold!
Seriously, what you did with non Glorantha Runequest is really cool, and discovering those two settings and comparing them really helps understanding the potential of RQ 2nd. I'm trying to schedule time to watch the other episodes!
I greatly appreciate these
I greatly appreciate these kind comments. This setting was a remarkable creative act for me, as developed through this game and through the sessions I ran at GenCon 2019. I plan to return to it in detail one day.