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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Quick Review: New Podcast with a focus on Glorantha

Glorantha luminary Jeff Richards and long time creative force in Glorantha and RuneQuest, Michael O'Brien (who goes by MOB) have joined with "Rob the Producer" to create:

Mythic Tales

Tales of Mythic Adventure Podcast

Now, there has been a terrible lack of podcasts focusing on the amazing fantasy world of Glorantha, and having Jeff and MOB involved means that two extremely knowledgeable and personable folks are going to be broadcasting on a (somewhat?) regular basis, and that is all good.
 
If you know nothing about Glorantha, then you can go here, here, here, here and here and learn a lot.  It began in the imagination of one man, Greg Stafford, as far back as 1966, but grew to be an imagined world of magic and myth contributed to by many creative people and that has played host to fiction, board games, and role playing games. 
 
So, it is very worh knowing about, especially since it is having a resurgence of products related to it released, including the recently issued Guide to Glorantha, the novel: King of Sartar, and the RPG supplement Heroquest Glorantha.  Also forthcoming are 13th Age in Glorantha and Adventures in Glorantha (for RuneQuest 6), as well as a slew of other fiction and game related products from Moon Design (the owners of the Glorantha intellectual property rights) (as noted in this episode of the Iconic Podcast).
 
So, how was Episode 1 of Tales of Mythic Adventure?
 
Uh, yeah, it was a bit of a mess.  Jeff and MOB have a great time swapping stories and digressing on one thing and another.  They lay the groundwork, but they don't show a lot of discipline or rigor as far as talking about their topic, or even having a defined topic of conversation.  It was fun to listen to, but you mostly need to be on the inside of Glorantha and RuneQuest fandom of the last 20 years (or more) to get what they are talking about.
 
It was entertaining, but the first episode is a little forgettable as far as reaching an audience outside of folks that already like to listen to stories of the old days, who perhaps frequent current Glorantha themed conventions.
 
So, I still think this can and will be an important podcase, because Glorantha as a world and a place in which to play games is still extremely important to me (I probably began my readings of Glorantha material and playing Second Edition RuneQuest in about 1982 or 1983).
 
What has to happen?
 
These two smart guys need to get serious about having a show about the big ideas and interesting aspects (which are just about everything) about Glorantha.  While this can be a show for the fans, it is even more vital to be a show to bring in new explorers of all things Glorantha.
 
Also, while they are going to be able to bring on some of the amazing past creators who have been and are involved in Glorantha, it should not be a show that dwells on nostalgia.  It needs to be about how alive and amazing Glorantha is.
 
I really have high hopes for this podcast, and both Jeff and MOB can help be voices to pull in new people to enjoy all that Glorantha has to offer.  However, to do this, I think they need to take after someone like The Tolkien Professor.  Corey Olsen, is a professor with a passion for translating Tolkien Scholarship into exciting discussions and lectures that bring people closer to Tolkien's literary works, explain Tolkien's process, and deepen people's understanding of Tolkien's place in literature, in genre fiction, and as an imaginary world builder.  He brings a kind of magic to what could be a dry discussion, and makes people excited about learning and about ideas.
 
There are a ton of ideas, of issues and cultures, stories and mythology that make up the last almost 50 years of Glorantha.  If this podcast can discipline itself to organize the episodes to appeal to a broad audience and bring those old fans in to a community where they are also creating new fans, well it will be a powerful tool.
 
If it remains a place for old time reminiscing and insider discussions, then it will be an interesting novelty, but for most people, it won't be important.
 
I have cautious hope that these three guys can pull it together.  So, I'll be listening, and I think everyone else who likes role playing, imaginary worlds, or mythology, should be listening too.