Glorantha, Nomad Gods, Runequest

Nomad Gods

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this image from the early DRAGON magazines:

Artist unkown

A lot of the advertisements from this era of the magazine are incredibly evocative and this one certainly got my attention. After doing a bit of research it turns out that this is set in the lands of Glorantha, from Chaosium’s Runequest game.

Runequest has always been one of the great settings that I’ve been meaning to get around to exploring but have never properly taken a look at. In large part this is due to the fact that I rarely see copies of Runequest books out in my explorations of used book stores (unlike Earthdawn, which was apparently very popular in my area, and I have seen countless copies of over the years).

Thankfully, it seems, that Nomad Gods was popular enough for Chaosium to make a modern scan of and offer to the public – and you can actually pick up a PDF of Nomad Gods for less than they were asking in 1977. It’s currently on sale for $8.95.

Nomad Gods was first published in 1977. It was the follow-on game to White Bear & Red Moon. Set on the Plains of Prax, it is a 72 page booklet of wargame rules and background information related to the varied and colorful tribes of Prax including: The Bison Tribe, the Impala People, the High Llama Riders, the Sable Riders, and the Morokanth. Along with the rules for playing the basic and advanced games, with associated scenarios, there is a wealth information on Prax, its history, myths, magic, culture and people. Many of its details have been expanded with later publications, but this is where Prax was first detailed in incredible creative detail.”

Now I’m not real sure where Prax is, or who the peoples described here are, but the included preview page has the sort of art that really gets my attention. So I’m probably going to be picking this one up.

Anyone have any experience with it?

6 thoughts on “Nomad Gods”

  1. You’re picking up the rulebook, not the whole game – you’d need a map and counters as well to play it, and those haven’t been available in print since the late seventies / early eighties. It’s beautifully illustrated by the late, great Gene Day, and is an evocative introduction to the Animal Nomads of Prax, bizarre tribal nations mounted on bison, llamas, antelope and rhinos (among other exotic steeds) — no horse riders though, that’d be ridiculous. I think it’s essential reading for RuneQuest players whose games are set in Prax or Pavis.

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    1. Thank you for clarifying what’s in the reprint! I’m still planning on picking it up so that I can read more on the setting but at least now I know that I won’t actually be able to play it. 😦

      Oh, well, at least the art in the book is amazing!

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  2. Own the “Nomad Gods” boardgame from back in the day (it’s in my game closet somewhere). I don’t think I ever actually played it as a board game, but the map and rulebook were an interesting read and fun to get out and fiddle with solo. I actually tried to play a few games of “White bear, Red Moon” its predecessor but it played closer to the Avalon Hill game Blitzkrieg than anything fantasy. A cleaned-up version of “White bear, Red Moon” was released as the”Dragon Pass” boardgame which is much easier to play but lacking some of the charms of the original. I was happy when Greg Stafford moved on from boardgames to roleplaying with Runequest. Much of the “Nomad Gods” themes are better explored in the Runequest supplement Cults of Prax. There were rumors of a third boardgame “Masters of Luck and Death” I have seen pictures of an early board on the internet. However, it appears at this point Greg wisely abandoned his attempts to shoehorn his visions into the limited format of boardgames and shifted to roleplaying instead.

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