In the fantasy roleplaying world of Glorantha, magic works because relations between the spiritual and physical planes are firm and immediate. Maintaining good ties with your chosen god allows your character to learn special magics or to receive visions of other places, provides him with trusty companions in a cut-throat world, and may even give him the chance for divine intervention to escape a tight spot. In many ways Glorantha has a depth and consistency unparalleled in gaming.
This major supplement explores religions useful in and designed for fantasy settings. Starting with the most primitive ancestor worship, the book progresses through tribal deities of nomadic barbarians, the intricacies of more civilized cults, and the horrors of chaos. All cultists receive broad benefits from their divine relations, but some deities specialize in a certain activity or area, such as a war god or a chaos god. Non-human religions include an elf cult and numerous troll cults.
This book offers over 100 Rune and Battle magic spells and skills not in the standard rules, handy for the gamer intent on long-living characters. The wealth of conceptual material can be applied to any role-playing game. Referees will enjoy the many new lines of thought; dozens of examples of tribal behavior and custom can make any encounter more realistic. Excerpts from the The Travels of Biturian Varosh and The Reminiscences of Paulis Longvale suggest many scenarios while providing local color.
Over 40 religions originally printed in Cults of Prax, Cults of Terror, and Trollpak are detailed here. A guideline chapter shows how to design your own new cults. Appendices include a daily sun-time calendar.
Descriptions combine fact, fiction, legend, and magic to add the flavor so useful in campaign play. If they wish, characters can advance without bloodshed or fighting. Only this series provides so much imaginative scope and so much every-day detail.
Each Cult Description includes:
- Mythos and History - the acts of the gods before time, the behavior of the cult once time started, afterlife promised to members, and Runic associations.
- Nature of the Cult - why the religion continues to exist, what its worldly position and power has been, its likes and dislikes.
- Cult Organizations - inter-cult and inter-temple structures, centres of power, holy places, and holy days.
- Cult Membership - here are the requirements to join the cult (species, birth, ability, money, offerings, etc.), the requirements to remain in the cult (sacrifices, hates, geases and gifts from the gods, codes of conduct), the benefits received from the cult (food, shelter, training, healing), the skills taught or restricted, available battle magic, skills and spells peculiar to the cult, Rune magic and cult duties by membership level, and so on. Such aspects are examined separately for Lay, Initiate, and Rune Lord and Rune Priest membership.
- Subservient Cults - includes cult spirits of reprisal (they keep your characters on the straight-and-narrow in such a world) and various hero cults, which may offer added Rune spells or skills.
- Associated Cults - due to Godtime or later actions, certain cults are more friendly to one another and will teach certain Rune spells or skills.
- Miscellaneous Notes - information on diet, behavior, dress, conceptions of the universe, ethics, ostentatious display, behavior toward members of other cults, rituals, architecture, and so on.
In general, it is very similar in layout to the first two volumes. The book contains over 40 cults, including all of the cults found in Cults of Prax, Cults of Terror and Trollpak. To round out the book I have also added in Gloranthan cults from White Wolf and Different Worlds magazines. Associated background articles from Wyrms Footnotes and similar sources give you a complete breakdown on how rune magic, spirit magic, elementals, and runes operate within the game world. To wrap up the book I've added all of the designer's notes, some of which have never been published before. A vastly improved index makes this material accessible all in one book. The topics are vividly detailed with the addition of over 50 new pieces of art, bringing the total over 110 snapshots into cult life (and death). Lastly, it's also worth mentioning that I've added genealogies for the various pantheons along with an updated cult compatibility chart surpassing even the one found in the RuneQuest Companion. In the end, it is a book that can provide untold hours of Gloranthan reading and gaming fun.
What version of the rules does it use?
Just for absolute clarity, the original material has not been updated for the Hero Wars or HeroQuest games published by Issaries Inc. The material is as originally presented, albeit with a new layout and extra art. If multiple versions of a cult were published, the last official version is used. Almost all of this material was written for the second edition of the rules.