08 December 2017

Issues 1 to 10 of French RPG Magazine "Runes" Online

French humour
Runes was a French RPG fanzine/magazine that lasted but ten issues, from issue No.1 of January 1983 to issue No.10 dated “Q1 1985”. The short existence of Runes coincides with my discovery of role-playing games (I had only been playing wargames before that).

Runes was written and published by the Toulousian circle of gamers. At the time, in France, there weren't many RPGers, and they were mostly centred in Paris, Nice and Toulouse. I also happened to live in Toulouse at the time, and I remember vivid fan discussions with the Runes team at the Relais Descartes gaming shop in the centre of Toulouse.

Despite its name, Runes published almost only AD&D and Call of Cthulhu articles and scenarios — it made sense since AD&D and CoC remained the two most popular RPGs in France for a very long time. Yet there were also a few Traveller articles, a DragonQuest one, several RuneQuest ones, one in particular that I remember that described all the classic RQ campaigns in issue No.8. RuneQuest was also introduced as “the most elegant RPG” in issue No.3.

From a graphical point of view, the layout was rather crude, but the covers were beautiful, and there were some funny vignettes (see above).

To drive down nostalgia lane, it's here.

06 December 2017

T&T News

Busy days, so short posts. Steve Crompton of Tunnels and Trolls has announced some exciting news about T&T!

1) An English-language compendium of translated material from the pages of the Japanese T&T magazine called T&T Adventures Japan: Solitaire Adventures, Game Master Scenarios, whatnot. All with delightful Japanese illos.

2) Vaults of K’horror, a gothic-horror fantasy GM adventure by A.K. Holmes — and actually the first one in 20+ years. As a bonus, the book will include an original K’horror mini-solo adventure, written by Ken St André, that connects to the GM adventure.

As usual, I reckon these will ship for ridiculous prices to Europe, so I’ll have to content myself with the PDFs 🙁

05 December 2017

RuneQuest: Fantasy Earth & More

According to information gathered from people who were attending the RuneQuest panel at Dragonmeet in London this past week-end, and from an interview of Jeff Richard and Jason Durall at AetherCon, the next big batch of books for RuneQuest once the various RuneQuest: Glorantha books (core rules, bestiary, GM pack) are completed is going to be a series of historical/fantasy campaign books set in the 10th century AD.

The first one will be a re-working of Mythic Iceland, and the following ones are rumoured to be about Constantinople and the Arabian Nights.

On a parallel note, The Design Mechanism have announced Mythic Constantinople, a supplement describing 15th-century Constantinople at the time of the Ottoman conquest, with rules for Christianity, Islam, and some uchronic pagan cults. The book should also contain details on the factions, institutions, guilds and military orders of the city on the Bosphorus, plus “Old School”-like random tables to create scenario seeds for busy referees.

It will be interesting to compare the two Constantinople books and, why not, set up a time-travel campaign between the 10th and the 15th Century!

01 December 2017

Dealing With Demons – Parts Two and Three

Dave Morris has posted Parts Two and Three of his iconic series about demons that had been published in White Dwarf at the time when it was a role-playing magazine and not a miniatures catalogue, resp. in issues 45 and 46.


28 November 2017

[podcast] Gaming as Mythic Exploration

This podcast about 'Gaming as Mythic Exploration' is from a session at Gen Con (2014, I do not know why it has only resurfaced now) that had assembled an incredible panel: Greg Stafford, Ken Hite, and Lillian Cohen-Moore. These are all great panellists, great game designers, but oh my God is Greg good. I would say this podcast reminds us yet again why we are such big fans of his :-)

The panellists talk about myth, legend, their place in society, in our collective psyche, and how to translate that at the gaming table and/or through game design. It's pure gold.

For those who do not like to listen to podcasts, there is also a full transcript; both podcast and transcript are available here.

27 November 2017

The Language of Kralorela (Part Two)

As written in the Guide to Glorantha (p55):
“Written Kralorelan uses a logographic script devised in the God Time by a student of NiangMao and perfected by Emperor Shavaya. The characters capture the special characteristics that set apart each and every thing on the earth. The script is primarily used for seals and engraving; a less exact but easier to write derivative script devised by Emperor Mikaday is used for most purposes.”
In my campaign, I call these two styles respectively the seal style and the regular style. Both are extremely difficult and time-consuming to learn, being thus the province of aristocrats and scholars. Over time, and in particular at the time of ShangHsa and his God Learner companions, a simpler, non-logographic system was devised, which I call the demotic style, and which is only used by commoners. Its use by aristocrats or scholars entails a loss of Reputation of 1D4%.

Examples of the seal and regular styles can be seen in the Guide to Glorantha, respectively on pages 744-746 and on page 266.

The classical Kralori writing system in both its seal style and its regular style has been adapted by most other Vithelan languages (notably Imperial and Tanyen).
The debased writing system has been adopted by the Ignorants and adapted to write Stultan.

Here is how the phonemic demotic style works:

Clearly denoting God Learner influence, the shapes of the consonants and of the vowels are based on the standard runes the God Learners popularised over Glorantha at the height of their power.

The vowels have been drawn from the Elemental Runes:

Darkness - u
Water - i
Earth - e/ɛ
Air - o/ɔ
Fire/sky - a
Moon - mute/very short vowels

The consonants have been drawn from the other Runes; opposite pairs denote consonantal pairs:

Beast - k
Man - g
Fertility - t
Death - d
Harmony - p
Disorder - b
Truth - f
Illusion - v
Stasis - m
Movement - n
Movement (reversed) - ŋ
Luck - s
Fate - z
Dragonewt - ʃ
Dragon - ʒ

Pairless runes are used for unopposed consonants:

Law - l
Plant - r
Spirit - h
Chaos - q

Less-used runes play the role of diacritics:

Mastery - preceded by semi-vowel
Magic - followed by semi-vowel
Infinity - gemination

Each syllable is written separately within an imaginary square of the same size and shape as a regular character, e.g, Godunya [go - du - nja] is written

21 November 2017

Interview with Rob Heinsoo & Jonathan Tweet

I do not mention podcasts very often on this blog, but the latest Tableplay Podcast with Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet gives a lot of insight into the creation process behind their 13th Age in Glorantha role-playing game, and so it is almost compulsory listening for all Gloranthan fans out there.

You can find it here.