Glorantha is a fantasy world created by Greg Stafford at the end of the 1960s. The first publication was in 1975 with the board game White Bear and Red Moon by Chaosium Inc.
RuneQuest soon followed with publications of various roleplaying books. Since the 1980s various fan publications have expanded the world of Glorantha.
Later the roleplaying system HeroWars was added, which was then replaced by HeroQuest. Humakt e.V. translated HeroQuest into German and published it under license. By now, along with the multitude of role-playing publications available, there are many a computer-, card- and boardgames to enjoy.
What does Glorantha look like?
The wolrd is flat. Underneath is the Underworld, above the heaven with a sun and a moon. On Glorantha there is a wide array of creatures and races, from humans to plants to non-physical entities. As in real life (but not as in many other role-playing worlds) not all creatures are created equal. A troll is always mightier and more dangerous than a human, although not always stupider by any means.
As a fantasy world, Glorantha has certain unique qualities. It is strongly influnced through its own varied and multi-faceted mythologies and philosophies. The individual cultures can differ from one another as starkly as those on Earth.
On the prairie Prax, for example, there are human tribes that ride on the backs of different animals and animal tribes that possess herds of humans. In the Lunar Empire there are great cities and even greater decadence. There seven heroes have successfully brought upon the red moon. On the eastern islands a special mysticism is practiced which is completely unintelligble to any and all non-natives. In Fonrit all humans are slaves, regardless if they’re farmhands or kings. There are giant forests, spanning larger distances than any empire, that are inhabited by sentient plants on legs. Once, a green and blue-skinned people reigned over the oceans and hunted dragons to make ships out of their bodies for thousands of soldiers. During the Reign of the Gods the sun died and movied into the Underworld, making it so bright there that the trolls ascended and ate or enslaved the people of the oceans.
Is there magic in Glorantha?
The many religions and cultures don’t offer certain numerical properties for character sheets, rather they represent vast belief systems with various worlds of thought and ethics. The individual characters don’t just try to emulate their Gods and heroes, they want to in a literal sense ascend to their level. This means that they follow their Gods and repeat their acts in order to gain some of their magic. By continuing this road, they themselves can become heroes and finally Gods.
This of course only applies to those who actually worship the Gods. Many creatures accept the existance of the Gods but only worship their own ancestors and make deals with spirits. Others worship no one and instead use magic by making runes influence the world on their behalf.
And although Glorantha is one of the most fully-realized fantasy worlds, there is always room for more. Players can start adventures anytime, discover the world and thereby create a Glorantha for themselves. There is just one golden rule, which is Your Glorantha Will Vary or YGWV. And that it will be!