The Deepest Dive

The Pegasus Plateau and Other Stories is a collection of adventures for players new to Runequest and its world of Glorantha. I wrote for this book. I wrote two adventures (which got squished into one big adventure) and a small environment for new players to get a foothold in Glorantha.

Also, this is the first writing I ever did for Chaosium. After being a fan and a customer for most of my life (ever since 1981), I had never done any official writing for the company until now. And it was for a game I hardly ever played. But there’s a story in all that. Here it is.

My first RPG was Call of Cthulhu. The second was Stormbringer. The third was King Arthur: Pendragon. (I sometimes get the second and third mixed up.) For some reason, I never got Runequest. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I had Stormbringer and that was fantasy enough for me. But years went by and I maintained with my holy trinity with a smattering of Traveller and Champions from time to time along with a reluctant dose of The Other Game (as Ken St. Andre calls it). And on rare occasions, I’d play Runequest, but often, without its accompanying world, Glorantha. It was just standard fantasy using the BRP (Basic Roleplaying System).

In the early ’90’s, I started working with AEG and Chaosium would come down to the Los Angeles conventions. I’d hang out with whoever was there and I met Greg Stafford for the first time. (I also got to meet Sandy Peterson but it wasn’t until I moved to Phoenix that I got to meet Ken St. Andre.) I was star-struck. He was pitching the new Glorantha RPG, HeroQuest, and I picked up a copy. I liked what he was saying about it—all mythology and story and very little mechanics—and I was eager to try it out. Unfortunately, I never did. It stayed on my shelf. I read the books, got a sense of the rich and dense world, and it showed me the true potential of world building. And the dangers of it.

You see, Glorantha is a world unlike any other in fantasy literature. Yeah, I’m gonna include Middle Earth in that list. Greg (and others) had been writing about Glorantha since the ’60’s and the sheer bulk of world knowledge included in these books is massive. Now, I could say that and you’d say, “Oh yeah? Well, Middle Earth has a whole bunch of lore!” So, I’m gonna have to show you.

See this? This is my Red Notebook. It contains everything ever written about my favorite Gloranthan subject: the Red Moon Goddess. Just one subject. And this…

… is how thick my notebook is. Almost 1,000 pages. One. Subject.

Now, that may seem enticing to some but damn intimidating to others. Folks who like to take deep dives (you know who you are), you could spend a lifetime studying Glorantha. I’m serious. There’s history and mythology and speculation and epistemology and…

… yeah. I said “epistemology.” No joke. There’s a whole ‘nuther book I’ve got just talking about “what is real and how do we know it” for Glorantha. And that one is only two hundred pages (give or take). Hey, Forgotten Realms fans! You got a two hundred page Forgotten Realms book talking only about the nature of reality? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Like I said, if you like the deep dive, Glorantha is for you. But if you’re a more casual player and you don’t want to spend a summer studying the various myth cycles of the Orlanth pantheon (which you can do), all of this can seem very intimidating. Well, I’ve got some good news.

A Shallow End

My buddy Jared Sorensen likes to say, “Glorantha is a swimming pool with no steps, no ladders and only a deep end and a high dive.” Well, the fine folks at Chaosium have seen fit to provide both a ladder and a shallow end for new players. And that, my friends, is The Pegasus Plateau and Other Stories.

When Jason Durall asked me to write for this book, I got excited. I love Glorantha—even if I am a tourist by most Gloranthan standards—and I really love showing it to other people. The rich tapestry of cultures and stories is something I can talk about forever. But how do you introduce new players to something this… epic?

I’ll tell you what you do. You provide a single, small village in the middle of everything. A village just big enough to be growing and just small enough to need protecting. And that’s where your players come in. I created a center of operations for your players, a place of divergent cultures and peoples who are all unified by the fact that they need each other to survive. Glorantha is a dangerous place and they need dangerous people to protect it. The village was founded by veterans of the many wars over a place called “Dragon Pass” and they came from all over the world: Esrolia, Lunar Tarsh, Sartar, you name it, and they’re all united in a common cause: keep the damn wars out of our village.

As a GM, your players don’t need to know anything outside their own character sheets. The village is small enough that you can populate it with memorable characters (I gave you a head start) and make the village charming enough that your players will fall in love with it.

And once they fall in love with it, you’ve got ’em. Because we all know how to get players to care about a fantasy world: give them one thing they care about and put it in danger.

I built my village with that in mind. Every choice I made was to help you make your players fall in love with it so you can throw a new threat at it every week.

And they don’t need to know anything about Glorantha. You can show them new things every game session, slowly revealing the world one juicy bit at a time.

Oh, I also wrote this other adventure… and yeah, it’s got the same thing going on. You can use both of them together, in fact.

Dip in Your Big Toe

So, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can now finally try out Glorantha without worrying about all that nasty stuff called “canon.” The book is filled with other adventures with the same goal: introducing new players to a world that’s been growing for over half a century. But rather than throw thousands of pages of lore and history and… epistemology… at your players, you can give them a starting adventure that takes one or two nights to run.

Get a copy of the Runequest: Glorantha PDF and The Pegasus Plateau and Other Stories and run a Glorantha game for your players. Try it out.

And when you’re ready, I’ll let you peek in my Red Notebook.

 

 

The Pegasus Plateau and Other Stories includes:

  • The Pegasus Plateau is a desperate race to the top of a mountain to claim a priceless reward.
  • The Grey Crane concerns an ancient legacy, stolen from its rightful owner. (That’s me!!!)
  • The Rattling Wind is a deadly tale of ghosts and unearthly revenge.
  • Crimson Petals describes a curse afflicting a beleaguered town.
  • Gloomwillow’s Hollow details the Woods of the Dead, a realm ruled by ghouls and worse.
  • The Ruin on the Stream delves into an ancient ruin in search of long-lost secrets of dragon magic.
  • The Pairing Stones presents a tale of a wedding interrupted, lovers separated and reunited.

Additionally, The Locaem is a new tribe for use by gamemasters and players, and the lonely village of Renekot’s Hope (This is me, too!!!), perched between the Lunar Empire and its enemies in Sartar, provide refuge… or a springboard for adventure!

The Pegasus Plateau & Other Stories (A Shameless Plug)

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