11 June 2014

Back from The Eternal Con

The Eternal Con takes place every year around Whitsun in Burg Stahleck, a (slightly re-built) castle overlooking the Rhine, which is rumoured to have been home to a robber Baron in the middle ages.

Sunny Bacharach

This year's con was a particular milestone because it was the 25th anniversary of having a Gloranthan/Chaosium games-devoted convention take place in Burg Stahleck [edit: actually, it's only been 19 years in a row at Burg Stahleck; the first RuneQuest-Gesellschaft con in 1990, for instance, was held in Cologne], and it was the 5th anniversary of the Eternal Con, the current incarnation of the con [edit: even though the organisers of the previous incarnation, Tentacles, do not view the Eternal Con as its successor]. As a result, it experienced full attendance with very early bookings (I believe it was almost fully booked in January already). Plus we had fantastic weather and cheap German beer.

The programme of the con was quite dense and, as usual, I didn't manage to attend all the events I'd originally planned to. Most notably, I missed Pete's RuneQuest 6 game on Saturday morning. Anyway, here is my report from the con:

FRIDAY 6 JUNE, evening, Moon Design panel

The Guide to Glorantha

News for backers: The Guide is currently in its final proofing. Since it is a coffee table book, it is being printed by a publisher who is not specialised in gaming books. As soon as it's printed, it will be shipped to Europe and then it should be available to backers pretty quickly.

News for non-backers: In a few weeks, you will be able to buy the PDFs; you will also be able to order the books — still no hard date, however, as to when you will actually get them. Backers obviously have to be served first.

The Moon Design team entertained us to a preview of the finished Argan Argar Atlas, "a moment of brilliant madness" as Jeff described it; e.g., each tree has been individually placed by Colin!
The whole of Glorantha is now described on 117 pages at the same scale (1 hex = 8km), and there is an appendix with a historical atlas of Genertela at the end of the Argan Argar Atlas.
There do exist some historical maps of Fonrit, but unfortunately they were left out of the historical atlas.

Draft cover for HeroQuest Glorantha

HeroQuest Glorantha

I've seen the draft of HeroQuest Glorantha, 250 pages!! It should be ready for Gen Con this year, with a cover by Jon Hodgson that represents a scene from the introductory scenario [see ‘Saturday’ below].
The book will emphasise heroic gaming, i.e., you won't be a peasant fighting his way up to ‘herodom’ — you already start as a hero; there are several sample heroquests in the book.

Other Books

The next book in the pipe (end of 2014?) is The Coming Storm by Ian Cooper. Text is ready. Art is missing, and it takes a lot of time because of the painstakingly detailed art direction and the unavailability of artists.

King of Sartar will be re-released, greatly expanded from Greg's archives. Also, he wrote a new chapter! Much of the new material focuses on the House of Sartar. There also are improved time-lines, and new maps.

Next (2015): a new Trollpak. It will build upon the original RQ2 version by Sandy, plus it will feature a fully-fledged Uz-only campaign.

The next issue of Wyrms Footnotes will be a Lunar special issue.

Also in the works: a Gloranthan boardgame by Sandy, similar to Cthulhu Wars.
We were shown an early but working draft of the board — which obviously represents Glorantha with huge geographical zones (4 to 5 zones per continent).

Other projects:
- Gods of Glorantha, an encyclopaedia à la Guide to Glorantha, possibly via a KS project;
- a weekly Gloranthan web comic, by Jeff & Kalin Kadiev, of which at least 20 pages have already been created — it looks fantastic!
Plus, obviously, the various RuneQuest 6 projects by the Design Mechanism:
- Adventures in Glorantha
- Return to Sun County by Michael O'Brien

This was followed by a few Q&A with the audience:

Q: What if someone wants to publish Gloranthan stuff?
A: At the moment, Moon Design are particularly keen on foreign language translations. They assured the licence would be really cheap.

Q: What if it is a free supplement?
A: Just talk to us.

Q: What if it is a commercial supplement?
A: Wait for the Guide if you want to publish a HQ supplement, or wait for Adventures in Glorantha if you want to publish a RQ6 supplement, then get in touch with Moon Design.

SATURDAY 7 JUNE, afternoon

I had prepared a single scenario to run at the con this year. It was called Glorantha in Space. Just as implied by the name, it was a science fiction scenario set in a futuristic yet low-tech Gloranthan universe. I used the Machinations of the Space Princess rules to run the scenario and we all had a blast.

SATURDAY 7 JUNE, evening

I had dinner with, amongst other fine companions, Pete Nash, who said a lot of nice things about The Celestial Empire. I can die a happy man now.

SATURDAY 7 JUNE, late evening

Jeff ran the introductory scenario of HeroQuest Glorantha, emphasising the group creation rules. Apparently there will be quite a number of options; we chose to be a group of lower-class citizens of Nochet, all from the same neighbourhood. I ended up creating a "nice pimp", with a sidekick called David Lee Roth. My daughter played a lazy farmer who owed a lot of money to the local temple. The scenario has quite a number of interesting twists, and can be modulated to be run over a single session, like Jeff did, or over two to four sessions. Obviously, it all ended up with a heroquest, during which Ian's character died (who said no-one ever dies in HQ?). A very diverse scenario, in which everybody gets to play a part.

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, morning

The now-traditional game of Trollball took place in the main courtyard under a glorious sun. I guess you can find a number of pictures on Facebook. It was very entertaining; kudos to the participants who got wetted by water balloons, hit by foam weapons, covered in flour, and trodden upon by Pete...

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, early afternoon

The cool thing at the Eternal Con is that even when you haven't signed up for a game, you can still play because there always are conventiongoers who bring games. My daughter and I discovered a fantastic little abstract boardgame called Kendo. We've played quite a number of games as it soon gets addictive.

Yes, I'm the worst photographer ever.

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, late afternoon

We got to play the latest version of Éric Nieudan's White Books, which I had only received on Thursday afternoon, and clumsily assembled in Bacharach. There were four of us playing, all with GM'ing experience, and the game went like a breeze.

My previous White Books at Chimériades session had ended up in crazy gonzo-ness; this one, on the contrary, managed to stay in the gritty fantasy genre we had decided upon at the start of the game.

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, evening, the Design Mechanism panel

The panel was hosted by Pete Nash, with Loz Whitaker sort of attending over a catastrophic Google+ hangout connection.

Books by Pete/Loz

We had a heads-up on the production schedule:
 - Shores of Korantia had just been released
 - Ships & Shield Walls; basically these are ship and mass combat rules mostly out of Shores of Korantia, but expanded & improved by Pete. A sure bet for naval/military campaigns.
 - RQ Essentials, released that very day (!) is a pay-what-you-want supplement to compete with the 1$ Legend PDF. It is basically a stripped-down version of RuneQuest 6 but, at 200+ pages, it is a real role-playing game, not a set of quick-start rules. Loz and Pete hope it will raise awareness for RuneQuest 6. I certainly hope it will; go download your copy NOW.
 - Mythic Britain should come out next, hopefully in the autumn of 2014.
 - Adventures in Glorantha. Pete has been working on this manuscript for a long time, but the book has been delayed by the publication of HeroQuest Glorantha because the idea is to have the same "look and feel" for magic even though the systems are fairly different. The manuscript should be finished in August and then the Design Mechanism will launch a KS to have money for the artwork because there's expectation from the fans now to have as good art as in the Moon Design books. So here's hoping for an early 2015 release.

Also in early 2015 there will be RQ6 Classic Fantasy coming out, based on the BRP monograph by the same author. And it will be a stand-alone book, with the RQ6 rules tweaked for "old school" play.

Further down the time-line: Luther Arkwright, from a proto-steampunk British comic from the early 80s, which apparently is still fairly popular in the UK. This book will introduce technology rules.
Pete and Loz are aiming at spring 2015.

Books by other authors

Age of Treason should see a RQ6 re-writing by the same author who wrote the original Mongoose supplement.

MOB's Mythic Constantinople should be published at the end of 2014. It is a mix of a big scenario and a campaign setting, set at the time of the Fall of Constantinople.

Next MOB will produce a Return to Sun County book, expanding upon the original 1992 book by Ken Rolston. Aiming at half again or twice as long.

Third party products

Sarah Newton is re-writing and expanding her science fantasy Chronicles of Future Earth source book; it will be powered by RQ6 but published by Mindjammer Press.

Paolo Guccione has re-written and re-published Stupor Mundi for RQ 6.

If anybody else is interested in writing or publishing a RQ6-powered supplement, all they need is get a RQ6 Gateway licence; just drop Loz a line.

Foreign language products

- a Spanish version of RQ6 has just been successfully crowdfunded, with $33k raised.
- Paolo is also going to crowdfund the Italian translation of RQ6; he may publish it in several books, à la D&D.
- Lutz has finished the German translation, and is now looking for a publisher.
- Pete and Loz mentioned that there also were people trying to do French and Swedish translations, without further details.

Question about "culture packs"from the audience:
- Pete expressed interest in doing a RQ6 version of Rome, maybe if Paolo gave the rights
- Pete explained that he would definitely love to write RQ6 Mahabharata, but is afraid that there wouldn't be any market for such a game. Bluntly said, culture role-playing games don't sell.
- Pete also said that he'd love me to re-write The Celestial Empire for RQ6 (blush). I can now die a very happy man.
- A book about Bronze Age Greece or Sumer could very well end up being written one day, because Pete is interested in both these ancient cultures.

By the way, Pete and Loz mentioned that, if anybody wanted to write such a book, he or she please send a few sample chapters to the Design Mechanism, and they may very well end up being published!

Then we had a fun demonstration by Pete of why he had designed RQ6 combat the way he had, with mock fights with helpless members of the audience :)
A fantastic moment!

Personal note from the time I write this blog entry: If you re-read my notes from the Design Mechanism's 2013 panel at Baharach, you'll realise that, except for the hardback edition KS and the Shores of Korantia setting book, everything else seems to have been delayed by a full year.

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, late evening, auction

The auction at Bacharach is a traditional moment of madness and of euros being spent on over-priced mouldy items, which will soon be superseded by the Guide to Glorantha anyway :)

The auction is about to start

Yet it is a moment we all enjoy and, much like last year, I ended up spending way more than I had initially planned. However, some of the items I bought this year were items I had really, really been trying to get hold of for several years, so I ended up quite satisfied. Plus I bought a really cute knitwear Cthulhoid snowman for my daughter.

The loot

SUNDAY 8 JUNE, late late late, closing ceremony + socialising

This year, because of the incredible heat, the closing ceremony was held in the courtyard. It was a magic moment, with the beautifully lit tower of Burg Stahleck over the assembled crowd, and the Rhine in the distance.

After the closing ceremony, we chatted, socialised, and drank astonishing amounts of German beer. I took advantage of the general tipsiness to get insider information about the Field Guide to Gloranthan Creatures that Pete Nash was working on (see my earlier post on the subject). It turns out that Pete has finished the text for a long time. He has written it in the style of the Biturian Varosh travelogues of yore, and apparently put all his wry humour into it, judging by the very funny anecdotes he told us. The way the book is supposed to be published by Moon Design is that the God Learner's unfortunate travelogue written by Pete is to be completed by (a) Third Age comments by a sceptical sage written by Sandy Petersen and presented in side text boxes, and (b) black and white illustrations. Alas, at the time both are missing and, given that Sandy is currently busy making dough selling boardgames working on other projects, there is no publication date foreseen for this product yet.


  1. Vaya, eso es un montón de novedades. Es verdad que los proyectos de TDM parecen haberse retrasado un año, pero eso casi era de esperar. Pero eso sí, son novedades muy interesantes. Creo que la espera va a merecer la pena.

    Me ha sorprendido la extensión prevista para el manual de HQ en Glorantha, no creía que fuese tanto.

    ¿Realmente cambia mucho la versión RQ6 de Stupor Mundi respecto a la de BRP? Estoy pensando en comprar un ejemplar, pero pensaba que lo único que cambiaba era lo referente al sistema de juego.

    Una verdadera lástima lo del manual para una India mitológica. Precisamente esa es la cultura que escogería si pudiese elegir cuál sería adaptada.

    ¿Hay posibilidades de que veamos una edición RQ6 de The Celestial Empire?

    En fin, parece que la convención fue todo un éxito. Me da bastante envidia, la verdad (pero de la sana).

    Un saludo.

  2. Hola Cronista.

    As far as I know, the RQ6 version of Stupor Mundi doesn't differ much from the original version except in terms of stat blocks.

    I agree about the Mythic India book. I'm sure it would be a blast. Do you know about Arrows of Indra? It is based on D&D, but it is really good.

    As for a RQ6 version of The Celestial Empire... I guess I'm simply too lazy for such an endeavour.

  3. Also in the works: a Gloranthan boardgame by Sandy, similar to Cthulhu Wars.

    Noooo. I didn't want to buy boardgames anymore!!

    At the moment, Moon Design are particularly keen on foreign language translations. They assured the licence would be really cheap.

    At least, they do not make the same mistakes as the Tékumel Foundation.

  4. We were shown a working mock-up of the Gloranthan boardgame; a game was organised on Saturday night, but I had already signed up for Jeff's HeroQuest Glorantha game. I haven't managed to get any feedback from whomever played the boardgame.

  5. Thank you very much for this wealth of information about future projects. I can't wait to read the gloranthan webcomic!!!

  6. A couple of things: The Guide to Glorantha and the Argan Argar Atlas are currently being printed, starting a few weeks ago. We are past the "proofing" stage.

    Also, while this was the 25th anniversary convention, only 18 of them, starting in 1996, have been held at the castle. Prior to that they were held in various places including Cologne and Berlin. Once they moved to the castle they have never thought about holding it anywhere else.

  7. I do like that New Lolon Gospel.

    The Imtherian interpretation of Orlanth/Orlantio as a Loki-like figure of ever-shifting loyalties and destructive (even chaotic!) urges makes for some thought-provoking reading.

    I hope that the new Glorantha still has room for such varied viewpoints!

  8. Concerning AiG - it hasn't been delayed, or is waiting, for publication of 'HeroQuest Glorantha'; we've been working on it solidly since May 2013 and the draft will be complete by the end of August. It has waited for the Guide to Glorantha, for obvious reason.

  9. @Loz - Fantastic news, then! Is anyone from the Design Mechanism going to be present at _THE_KRAKEN_?

  10. Very exciting stuff.

    However - you can't just say Glorantha in Space and not elaborate on it a little bit more!

  11. @Daniel - Well, with regards to Glorantha in Space, I am planning to run it at THE KRAKEN, and I don't want to spoil it. But I guess it'll warrant it own, dedicated blog entry.