October 3, 2011 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Let's say I wanted to run a tabletop game in the milieu of King of Dragon Pass. What books do I need to read?

I've never played any of the *Quest/Wars games. I have played a lot of King of Dragon Pass, and I was mulling over what the best way to play an in-person, tabletop game with a similar feel would be. What rulebooks/supplements/whatever talk about the world of the Orlanthi tribesmen? Glorantha is a big place I gather, with a long timeline, but I am primarily interested in the region of Dragon Pass and the people/things populating it and its immediate surroundings around the time the video game is supposed to take place (not real sure where that is in the Glorantha timeline, honestly), although the history of those people and places is interesting, too.
posted by adamdschneider to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like your best bets are Heroquest 2 and Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes.
posted by Zed at 1:38 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Gloranthan history is complex, but in simple terms there are three(ish) "ages" of history*. Mainline "modern" Glorantha is late Third Age. That's the default setting for HQ2 and the Sartar Book. There's a second book too, The Sartar Companion, if you're interested. KoDP is very early third age, set in the time just after a great disaster (the end of the Second Age), about tribes repopulating a wilderness. The Sartar books are set 250 to 300 years later when this civilization has settled down and matured. Imagine the difference between 17th century America and today---that's approximately the difference.

If you really want early third age, you need to roll your own. The primary source material comes from Greg Stafford: The King of Sartar. This is the cannonical document of the history of the peoples of Dragon Pass, from pre-time through the end of the Third Age. some of the Stafford "pre-finished" books of notes will also help: History of the Heortling Peoples and the Book of Heortling Mythology, which talks about the Heortlings, the tribe who became the Sartarites. These books are a marvels of fictional sub-creation, but not the most accessible of game aids.

I realise, while technically correct, this answer is fairly unhelpful from the point of view of "I just wanna game!" A masters degree in the fictional antropology of Glorantha isn't necessary to play, per se, but while there is a vast amount of Gloranthan material out there, it is not generally packaged for easy play. Moon Designs is making enormous efforts to change that though.

One of the better documented campaigns on the web for this time period, is, in fact, the one David Dunham gamed in: The Taming of Dragon Pass. It was likely formative for the creation of KoDP.

*There's a dreamtime-like set of eras prior to the (literal) dawn of time at the beginning of the First Age, but that's not going to matter much for a mortal campaign. Heroquests, in the Sartar tradition, re-enact events of the Gods' Age, the second-to-last age before Time. Glorantha has an enormous amount of backstory.
posted by bonehead at 5:37 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's a pity that neither Thunder Rebels nor Storm Tribes appear to be in print any more, as they were really good resources for stats and history on the various Orlanthi gods.

Perhaps that material was folded into Heroquest 2? The Lunar sourcebooks are available as PDFs if you want to be one of those filthy literate Chaos-lovers instead of a noble Heortling....
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:59 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've not seen the two second edition Sartar books, but I do own the first edition TR & ST (as well as the second edition Cults books and the Avalon Hill 3rd edition). I suspect, but don't know, that the Sartar books are reworkings of this material. They certainly seem to cover the same things. Again TR and ST (as well as the Sartar Rising campaign Barbarian Adventures and Orlath is Dead) are the older HQ1 rules. Mostly compatible and easily adaptable to HQ2, but a bit buggier and rougher around the edges.
posted by bonehead at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2011

Like Zed said.

Though King of Dragon Pass itself isn't a bad resource — I once ran a HeroQuest game for some relatives by showing them several pieces of artwork and asking which they wanted to play.

I don't think it's fair to say that Sartar is really a reworking of Thunder Rebels and Storm Tribe — both are ultimately about the same thing, and both draw on earlier works. Including KoDP. (Those two were not folded into HeroQuest in any imaginable fashion.)

As for earlier works, both Jeff's fun Taming of Dragon Pass and King of Dragon Pass were inspired by an earlier settlement-era tabletop game I ran. I'd have to look up the exact dates, but I think KoDP began first. There was definitely some cross-pollination.
posted by ddunham at 9:16 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

You may also want to apply some advancement houserules to whichever game (HW, HQ1, HQ2) you end up playing. I find the general advancement in the systems to be horrendously slow, with the expectation of years of campaigning to improve, and often, causing players to only focus on their strongest abilities and traits.
posted by yeloson at 10:05 PM on October 3, 2011

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