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Numenera, Nyarlathotep, and Runequest Glorantha: Some Recent Slipcase Sets

Sunday, April 21st, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha Slipcase-small

Kickstarter has fundamentally changed board game publishing over the past decade, and more recently it’s started to have a similar impact on Role Playing as well. Monte Cook’s first Numenera campaign in September 2012 famously raised $517,255 (on a $20,000 goal), and Chaosium’s 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu campaign bested that in June 2013, raising $561,836 (on a $40,000 goal), and those opened the floodgates. Since then some of the most popular RPG properties have turned to fans to get major projects off the ground, with impressive results.

I don’t back crowdfunding campaigns (with the exception of the Veronica Mars movie because, hey, Veronica Mars). But I do trail along after them and buy finished products. Sometimes — not always — that’s more expensive, but it does save me all the drama of late delivery and wondering if the project I funded will ever arrive. Like Judges Guild’s infamous reprint of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, promised in December 2014 and which still shows no sign over ever becoming real nearly five years later.

So far in 2019 I’ve purchased four crowdfunded boxed sets, and I’ve been very, very impressed with all of them. There were:

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha — $119.99
Numenera Discovery and Destiny — $119.99
Call of Cthulhu: Masks of Nyarlathotep — $129.99
RuneQuest: The Guide to Glorantha — $169.95

All are still available to latecomers. Here’s a closer look at all four.

Click the images to embiggen.

First up is RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, which contains the complete set of three new core RuneQuest books in a beautiful slipcase set.

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha — $54.95
RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary — $39.99
RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack — $29.99

Way back 2013 RuneQuest creator Greg Stafford sold his much-loved Glorantha setting, and the RuneQuest and HeroQuest trademarks, to Moon Design. Two years later, following the financial crisis at Chaosium precipitated by the inability to deliver on the massive 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter, Stafford and CoC creator Sandy Petersen regained control of Chaosium and merged the company with Moon Design. As a result this new edition of RuneQuest, subtitled Roleplaying in Glorantha, is based on the 2nd edition of the game created by Moon Design. I’ve been waiting for the first two books to arrive since they were first announced last year.

Runequest Glorantha Core Rulebook-small Runequest Glorantha Core Rulebook back-small
RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary-small RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary-back-small

The three volumes contained within total $124.93 in value, meaning the slipcase set saves you five bucks. It also comes with free PDF versions of all three products. It’s also available in a limited Faux Leatherette edition for $219.99.

Next up is the slipcase edition of two new Numenera core books, Discovery and Destiny. Monte Cook’s Numenera is one of the most imaginative RPGs I’ve ever seen, and I find myself constantly fascinated with its far-future premise. Here’s the details.

They say there have been eight worlds before ours. Eight times the people of this planet, over vast millennia, built their civilizations, reaching heights we cannot even fully imagine now. They spoke to the stars, reshaped the creatures of the world, and mastered form and essence. They built cities and machines that have since crumbled to dust, leaving only their barest remnants.

This is the Ninth World. The people of the prior worlds are gone — scattered, disappeared, or transcended. But their works remain, in the places and devices that still contain some germ of their original function. The ignorant call these magic, but the wise know that these are our legacy. They are our future. They are the Numenera.

Set a billion years in our future, Numenera is a tabletop roleplaying game about exploration and discovery. The people of the Ninth World suffer through a dark age, an era of isolation and struggle in the shadow of the ancient wonders crafted by civilizations millennia gone. But discovery awaits those brave enough to seek out the works of the prior worlds. Those who can uncover and master the numenera can unlock the powers and abilities of the ancients, and perhaps bring new light to a struggling world.

The slipcase edition contains both 416-page corebooks, two poster maps, a striking and sturdy slipcase, a metal medallion, and additional play aids, all for the price of just the two core books.

Numenera Discovery and Destiny slipcase-small

 

Numerera Discovery Destiny-small

Here’s the details on the two core volumes.

Numenera Discovery

Numenera Discovery is a revision of the original Numenera corebook, which will soon be out of print. Numenera Discovery improves the clarity of the game rules and dramatically increases the options available to players. Nanos, Jacks, and Glaives are overhauled, with expanded abilities. Many foci and descriptors are reworked. Numenera Discovery gives you more options, clearer rules, new adventure content, and expanded coverage of the Steadfast and the Beyond.

But this isn’t a new edition. There have been no substantive changes to the way the game plays mechanically, or the way NPCs, creatures, cyphers, artifacts, and other items work. And the setting isn’t changing either. This means you can keep using your bestiaries, adventures, card decks, character portfolios, and books like Into the Night, Technology Compendium, and Jade Colossus, and we will not issue any “second editions” of our supplements. And you can use future supplements with the existing Numenera corebook, if you choose to keep using it instead of Numenera Discovery. You don’t even have to make any changes to your current character—although you’ll now have more options as your character advances.

Numenera Destiny

Become a part of the setting, and help shape the future of the Ninth World. The people of the Ninth World are locked in a medieval-like state, a world of struggle and danger and often suffering—all in the shadows of the prior worlds’ wonders. Numenera Destiny allows you to build adventures and campaigns in which players don’t just explore the wonders of the past—they utilize them to help lift the Ninth World out of darkness. You can make the world a better place. Help a community defend itself from abhumans or the iron wind. Create centers of learning or trade. Innovate, build, and protect. Manage an entire community and help it prosper and grow—or simply create new cyphers, a cool base, or maybe a vehicle for your adventuring group. Numenera Destiny will allow you to take what you discover and make use of it, for yourself or the future of the Ninth World.

I played Larry Ditillio and Lynn Willis’ classic Masks of Nyarlathotep adventure back when it was first released in 1989, and it deserves its reputation as perhaps the greatest role-playing campaign of all-time. The new slipcase edition is just gorgeous.

Masks Of Nyarlathotep Slipcase-small

 

Masks Of Nyarlathotep Slipcase 2-small

It also comes packed with a host of goodies, including two core volumes and lots of play aids. Here’s the description.

The new edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep is a complete revision and updating of this epic multi-part campaign set in 1925, in which steadfast investigators must unravel secrets and battle the minions of darkness in an attempt to stop world-shattering events from destroying humanity. Masks of Nyarlathotep has been comprehensively revised and updated for use with Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, but may also be run with the Pulp Cthulhu supplement.

Global campaign covering seven countries in five continents!
Packed with encounters, side-track adventures, detailed adversaries, geographical information, and more!
Presented in full color, with new artwork, maps and floor plans, and ready to use player handouts.
Appendices collect spells, tomes, artifacts, and travel advice.
Ultimate edition, packed full of advice and tips.

The original six-chapter campaign featuring adventures in America, England, Egypt, Kenya, Australia, and China have been developed and updated by Mike Mason, Lynne Hardy, Paul Fricker, and Scott Dorward, and feature enhanced and new encounters, sub-plots, and on-point guidance for the Keeper.

Complete with a Brand New Chapter…

Set in Peru, this new scenario takes place in 1921 and provides an exciting introductory prologue to the campaign, where the investigators meet Jackson Elias, the industrious and charming author, whose researches lead into the globe-spanning mystery. Embarking on an expedition to find a lost South American pyramid, the investigators come face to face with ancient horrors that foreshadow the task ahead.

This Slipcase Set Includes:

  • The Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign in two volumes. 666 pages of Adventure!
  • A three part Keeper Screen designed for the campaign
  • A tuckbox set with every player handout
  • 11″x17″ world map
  • Individual Maps for every campaign location
  • 10 Pre-Generated Characters with Character and Background Sheets

Lastly, but by no means least, I’ve been enormously pleased with The Guide to Glorantha slipcase set, written by Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, and Sandy Petersen. It contains two oversize 10 by 12 inch, full color hardcover volumes that collectively make a comprehensive encyclopedia of Glorantha, Stafford’s famous Bronze Age fantasy world that has been used by some of the finest fantasy games ever created, including RPGs (RuneQuest, HeroQuest), board games (White Bear and Red Moon, Nomad Gods, Dragon Pass), video games (King of Dragon Pass), comic books (Path of the Damned), novels (King of Sartar by Greg Stafford) and much more.

The Guide to Glorantha slipcase 2-small

 

The Guide to Glorantha slipcase 3-small

 

The Guide to Glorantha slipcase-small

Here’s the description.

A world of gods, heroes, and mythic fantasy, fully described in epic detail.

Coming in at a massive 800 pages and 14 pounds, the two volumes of the Guide to Glorantha (which are 10 by 12 inch, full color, hardcover leatherette books) collectively make a complete encyclopedia of Glorantha. Its cosmology, culture, geography, history, mythology, people, and places are all explored in never before published detail. Hundreds of maps and illustrations bring the setting to life. The two volume second printing is housed in a special “50th Anniversary of Glorantha” slipcase.

Glorantha is one of the oldest and most influential fantasy role-playing settings. It is the discovery of Greg Stafford, who has accumulated that universe’s myths, legends, and other lore since 1966. Glorantha has been the setting for several role-playing game systems, including RuneQuest and HeroQuest, and is the setting for the award-winning computer game King of Dragon Pass. Although games and stories set in Glorantha have been in publication since 1975, until now the setting has never been fully detailed in all its glory. Now with the Guide to Glorantha you can explore this classic fantasy setting in all its glorious depth.

The Guide to Glorantha is more than just a roleplaying game supplement and is not written for any particular role-playing game rules system. The Guide won the 2015 Diana Jones award for excellence in Roleplaying.

Contents include:

  • The major human cultures of Glorantha
  • The Elder Races
  • Mythos and History
  • The Major Pantheons
  • Comprehensive and detailed information on all the lands of Genertela, Pamaltela, and the islands of Glorantha, including color maps, population and political maps, and descriptions of every human settlement of more than 1000 people.
  • Constellations and planets of Glorantha
  • Weather systems
  • Detailed information on the Red Moon
  • Information on the Hero Wars

and much much more.

I admit this is a bit more of a specialized interest than the others (and it was also more expensive). But these are gorgeous books, and I’ve been fascinated by the Glorantha setting since my brother Mike and I first gamed there in the 80s. Glorantha was Greg Stafford’s lifetime obsession, and it shows. Well worth a look for those whose interest in the setting is more than just casual.

Pavis Gateway to Adventure-smallOur previous RuneQuest and Glorantha coverage includes:

Pavis – Gateway to Adventure: The Classic RPG City is Back! (Part One) by Sarah Newton
Pavis – Gateway to Adventure: The Classic RPG City is Back! (Part Two) by Sarah Newton
The Guide to Glorantha Kickstarter by Sarah Newton
Monster Island by Pete Nash & Friends
The Other Appendix N by James Maliszewski
Monster Island by Howard Andrew Jones
Appendix N: Carrying on the Flame by Pete Nash
Choice of the Petal Throne by James Maliszewski
RuneQuest 6 by Pete Nash and Lawrence Whitaker
RuneQuest: Korantia and Mythic Britain by Howard Andrew Jones
Chaosium’s Borderlands: Can Playing RPGs Really Make You a Billionaire?
Chaosium Announces New Version of RuneQuest
Resurrecting RuneQuest: An Investigation by the Tales of the Reaching Moon Editorial Staff by Michael O’Brien

Our previous Numenera articles include:

The Numenera Roleplaying Game by Monte Cook
Torment: Tides of Numenera Breaks Kickstarter Records
Catching Up With Numenera

The other Chaosium boxed sets we’ve covered include:

Pendragon
Thieves’ World
Pavis and Big Rubble
Cthulhu by Gaslight
Horror on the Orient Express
The Complete Borderlands Campaign now Available in PDF from Chaosium

Cthulhu Britannica-smallOur latest coverage of Call of Cthulhu (and its sister game Trail of Cthulhu from Pelgrane Press) includes:

Shadows of Yog-Sothoth from Chaosium (1982)
Cthulhu By Gaslight from Chaosium (2012)
Achtung! Cthulhu from Modiphius Entertainment (2012)
The House of R’lyeh from Chaosium (2013)
Out of Space from Pelgrane Press (2013)
Eternal Lies from Pelgrane Press (2013)
Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows Over Scotland from Cubicle Seven (2014)
Horror on the Orient Express (second edition) from Chaosium (2014)
Mythos Expeditions from Pelgrane Press (2014)
Punktown from Miskatonic River Press (forthcoming)
Trail of Cthulhu: Mythos Expeditions from Pelgrane Press
Cthulhu Apocalypse, Pelgrane Press (2015)
The Print Version of the 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu is Now Available (2017)
Need Some Cthulhu? by Bob Byrne
Alone Against the Flames (2017)
Experience the Terrors of the Mythos in the Old West in Down Darker Trails (2018)

See all of our recent Game coverage here.

9 Comments »

  1. I have both the new slipcase containing the Bestiary, the Game Master Pack and the RQG rule book AND the Guide to Glorantha. The artwork and layout for both is great (the GM Pack especially is a feast for the eyes); I decided to pass on the new Masks of Nyarlathotep since I also bought the original. You are making me regret that decision.

    Thank you for a comprehensive look at some great rpg material, Mr. O’Neill.

    Comment by John E. Boyle - April 22, 2019 6:08 am

  2. You’re most welcome, John.

    Since all four of these sets were published by the original creators (in order, Chaosium, Monte Cook Games, and Chaosium again for the last two) this is also a great way to support them. These products are a bit pricey, or at least more pricey than a single core book, but they’re a good value for serious gamers, and a fine way to help support your favorite game publisher.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 22, 2019 8:17 am

  3. I have the Numenera set and it’s lovely! I also have the Glorantha books (no slipcase, but I did get a third volume that’s nothing but maps) and they’re massive.

    Now I’m kind of wishing Columbia Games would release some kind of huge Hârn slipcased collection.

    Comment by Joe H. - April 22, 2019 8:21 am

  4. Thank you for the overview. I do wonder, however, if we have reached the kitsch stage for these RPGs: once again but without feeling.

    Comment by SJB - April 23, 2019 6:14 am

  5. > I also have the Glorantha books (no slipcase, but I did get
    > a third volume that’s nothing but maps) and they’re massive.

    Joe,

    Wait, what? There’s a third volume? With maps? Waahh!! Why don’t I know about it?

    Wait… is that The Glorantha Sourcebook? I have that one! It has some gorgeous color interiors, but I don’t remember a lot of maps. Tell me tell me.

    > Now I’m kind of wishing Columbia Games would release some kind of huge Hârn slipcased collection.

    Jeepers… I wasn’t even aware Columbia Games was still around. I just checked out their website. Looks like they have some cool new products. Hey! There’s a new edition of Wizard Kings!

    http://columbiagames.com/

    Comment by John ONeill - April 23, 2019 10:53 am

  6. > I do wonder, however, if we have reached the kitsch stage for these RPGs: once again but without feeling.

    SJB,

    Yeah, I know what you mean. There are always merchants out there repackaging old material and dressing it up in a money grab.

    I don’t see a lot of that in the RPG industry, but maybe that’s because I’m often happy to shell out for old material in a gorgeous new package. Your mileage may vary.

    I am a little more cynical of limited edition reprints of out-of-print novels and collections, some of which are priced in the hundreds. But then again, lots of book collectors I know are more than happy to pay to have some of the favorite old paperbacks finally reprinted in a permanent edition. And many of those editions become valuable collector’s editions. (I sold my Meisha Merlin reprint of A GAME OF THRONES last year for $2,250, just as an example, so I’m certainly not one to throw stones.)

    So, yeah. One person’s money grab is another’s priceless collectible. That’s the nature of the market.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 23, 2019 12:16 pm

  7. Blimey, that’s nearly £2k for an extruded fantasy product that is available in every charity store! Luckily, one of the most joyful things about a hobby is that none of us ‘need’ this stuff.

    Comment by SJB - April 23, 2019 12:57 pm

  8. John you only missed the launch of Wizard Kings second edition by 12 years.

    Comment by Glenn - April 23, 2019 2:46 pm

  9. John — Here’s the atlas:

    https://www.chaosium.com/argan-argar-atlas-pdf/

    I got a printed (perfect-bound softcover) copy as part of the Guide to Glorantha Kickstarter back in 2013. I _think_ that’s the origin of the two-volume slipcased Guide to Glorantha pictured above; unfortunately, all of my stuff is currently inaccessible, so I’m going from memory.

    Comment by Joe H. - April 23, 2019 3:36 pm


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