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On “The Glorious Reascent of Yelm”

January 12, 2013

The Glorious Reascent of Yelm

By Greg Stafford

(published by Issaries, Inc.)

The Glorious Reascent of Yelm is a photocopied, small-press-style publication, the first volume of Greg Stafford’s Work in Progress for Glorantha. It’s been around for years, but I finally managed to pick up a copy from Leisure Games for £20; if that sounds like a lot for a fairly basic publication, remember that it consists of over a hundred pages of packed information.

As the title indicates, the book largely consists of The Glorious Reascent of Yelm, “The Foundation Document of Dara Happa”, a mythological history of one of Glorantha’s most important realms. In addition, it includes a look at the God’s Wall where images of all the acknowledged deities of the land can be seen (complete with notes on the various gods and goddesses), genealogies of the figures mentioned in the text, “some star lore” and a few other, pertinent myths, all presented as an in-world document, as fans of Glorantha willbe familiar with.

This is a ‘work in progress’, a 90% completed text that, thus, may have its errors and omissions (I am not sufficiently versed in Gloranthan lore to note any factual errors, but there are a few literal errors – typos and pencilled-in corrections – in anything else these would detract from the quality, but, here, they seem in place and didn’t bother me a jot!). The book grew out of Greg’s background notes for a book on the Lunars, the mythology of Dara Happa being at the root of their faith. Other than the cover and one element of the Gods Wall, the art is nothing to speak of, but it does what it needs to and means that, whilst it may not be pretty, it gives you the information that you want (and being intended as illustrations of facts, rather than as artwork per se, the crudity doesn’t detract in the way that you might expect).

I’ve always enjoyed the seeming scholarly realism of Glorantha – the speculation and the in-world errors of the scribes supposedly recording all this lore – and volumes such as this and The King of Sartar  are wonderful to read.

Although this is a supplement to Glorantha, there are no game rules nor any background of the sort commonly seen in gaming supplements. Many gamers will have little use for this – especially if you don’t enjoy faux history and mythology textbooks – but I think most Gloranthaphiles will be interested (in fact, they probably already own it!) and, due to the nature of the world-specific mythology, will be of little direct use to anyone playing other games, although it might inspire some transferable ideas (oddly enough, one brief line actually inspired some science-fantasy ideas in me). But, for lovers of mythology and fictional history, it will prove a fascinating read and will broaden your knowledge of Glorantha. In addition, it could be used as an in-game document for player characters to encounter in Dara Happa. Recommended.

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From → Retro Reviews

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