The Runes are symbols which have power inherent in them. They serve as aids in manipulating the universe. However, merely looking at a Rune is not sufficient to use its power. A character must know how to use it as a symbol to gain any benefit from it. In practice, this means being a priest or shaman.I have little doubt that this approach to setting design likely bugs a lot of gamers. Heck, it probably would have bugged me if I'd been aware of it in my younger days. Now, I find it simply delightful, as it comports well with my own approach to creating and describing a setting.
Not much is known about the Runes themselves, although they have been known to change over time. Whether the Runes reveal a deep harmony in the universe, to which even the gods must conform, or whether the gods produced the Runes and they are manifestations of the gods is question [sic] of much dispute, even among the gods, from whom it is difficult to get a straight answer, anyway.
To the practical minded character, interested mostly in the use of power, it doesn't matter. The Runes are there, and they work.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
One of the things I find most delightful about RuneQuest's presentation of Glorantha is its unwillingness to present The Absolute Truth about its metaphysics (assuming that such a thing even makes sense to consider). Take, for example, this discussion of the all-important Runes from the second edition rulebook: