At the annual Diana Jones Award and Freelancer Party on Wednesday 29th July in Indianapolis, a representative of the DJA committee announced the winner of the fifteenth Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. It is Guide to Glorantha, a role-playing sourcebook by Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, and Sandy Petersen, published by Moon Design Publications.
Since the appearance of the White Bear and Red Moon board game forty years ago, Greg Stafford’s beguiling, mythic world of Glorantha has been a seminal setting for tabletop game play. A testament not only to the depth of the world but also to the loving dedication of its fan community, Guide to Glorantha ballooned into titanic life through a massively successful crowdfunding campaign. Co-authored by past DJA winner Greg Stafford, the equally legendary Sandy Petersen, and the indefatigable Jeff Richard, it thunks onto the table in jaw-dropping, two-volume, 800-page, full-color, coffee-table-sized glory. All twelve plus pounds of it, not counting separate map pack!
The book’s art direction nods to past RuneQuest glories while serving up gorgeous yet functional new pieces from the obsessive likes of Jan Pospisil and Jeff Laubenstein. A compendium in every sense of the word, this is the publishing project only a creation as rich as Glorantha could sustain. The product of a lifetime’s worth of wildly imaginative yet anthropologically and spiritually rigorous creation, the vision of Glorantha served up here provides fodder for more separate campaigns than any one GM could ever possibly run.
Need to know which gods fought in the battle that formed the Jord Mountains? It’s on page 313. The secret of the Orlanth Dragonfriend revelation? Page 133! Who are the Gorgers, and why can no humans withstand them in hand-to-hand combat? Why, it’s all there, on page 542! All usable with either of the game-world’s two diametrically different rules sets, and the third one now on the way.
Though focused on the setting’s traditional present day, the hero-plagued, war-torn Third Age, it lays out enough detail to play in the world’s mythic predawn age, the hopeful first age, or the high weirdness of the second age. Yet it also reflects our current tabletop gaming age, the second Golden Age, a time as wondrous as any ascension by any upstart lunar goddess.
Over the decades Glorantha fans have spent decades in a wilderness of fizzled comebacks, missed corporate connections, and stillborn renaissances. All around the world, from Oakland to Tokyo to the shores of Germany’s Rhine river, its fervent far-flung tribe has pulsed with the impossible hope of one day seeing Greg’s world reach the full realization it has always deserved. To see heroquesters Stafford, Petersen, Richard, et al emerge from the underworld, holding high the recovered light that fell to earth so many times, requires the most mythic and mysterious accolade the tabletop scene can summon. This of course would be the pyramidal treasure you now all behold, the 2015 Diana Jones Award. Loft it with pride, heroquesters. Just don’t let the Crimson Bat eat it.