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.

17 November 2017

Dealing With Demons – Part One

When you talk about RuneQuest and Old School, you inevitably think White Dwarf – at least if you are 40~50 years old and European.

One series of RQ articles we all remember fondly (even if it was “Gateway”, i.e., not set in Glorantha) was the one about demons and demonology. The first instalment in the series, titled “Dealing With Demons”, appeared in White Dwarf issue No.44 (August 1983). The good news is that it has just been made available on Dave Morris' blog. Enjoy!

13 November 2017

The Language of Kralorela (Part One)

(warning: rants about my pet Gloranthan peeve)

Even though Kralorela is supposed to be the ‘Chinese’ counterpart to the Western lands of Genertela, the Kralorelan language has never sounded Chinese in Greg’s writings.
If you look at the Kralorelan chapter of Revealed Mythologies, for instance, you can read the following:

 - Place Names
  • Abzered
  • Hemkarba
  • Hesezmedi
  • Kerandaruth
 - Emperors, false emperors and heroes
  • Daruda
  • Godunya
  • Heen Maroun
  • Heseroon Marn
  • Mao Tzen
  • Metsyla
  • Mikaday
  • Sekever
  • Shang Hsa
  • Shavaya
  • Tarn Gat Ha
  • Thalurzni
  • Vashanti
  • Vayobi
  • Yanoor

Honestly, among all the above names, there aren’t many that sound even remotely Chinese; maybe Mao Tzen and Shang Hsa do. On the contrary, most are multi-syllabic names, quite unlike what one would spontaneously think of as ‘Chinese’. This is the reason I was so disappointed when I read actual Chinese words in the Guide to Glorantha, e.g., Lungren Men (p271) or Lingnao Qiao (p274). So why do I hate the latter?

1- As written above, Greg’s original Kralorelan place and people names sound nothing like ‘Chinese’.

2- Kralorela is supposed to be vaguely inspired by China, not to be its exact equivalent in Glorantha, so please no actual translations. Just when we got rid of the faux Viking names in Dragon Pass!

3- OK, let’s assume (for argument’s sake) that it is OK to equate Kralorelan with Chinese. Well, even if this assumption is true, Kralorela is still supposed to be Bronze Age China, not Qing China. Yet the Chinese words used above (e.g., 橋 qiáo for bridge) are the contemporary Mandarin words, i.e., the ones heavily influenced by Manchu pronunciation after the Manchu conquest of North China at the end of the 17th century. If Kralorela is equated with Bronze Age China, let us at least use the pre-Qing pronunciation of Chinese. For the word 橋 (bridge) this would be something along the lines of “giew”. But since, again, we are rather looking at a Bronze Age version of China, the reconstructed Old Chinese pronunciation of the word 橋 would be even better, i.e., “graw” or “grew” depending on which particular reconstruction you favour.
Lingnao Qiao (Dragon's Head Bridge) would thus become Roongnoo Graw, which still retains an imperceptible Chinese flavour but at least is slightly more similar to Greg's naming scheme.

(to be continued)