Glorantha is a world permeated by magic and shaped by myth. Its heroes achieve power by questing for runes, physical manifestations of the eternal abstract forces that shape its destiny. Eventually they graduate to even more powerful magics, learning to gain power by emulating the deeds of the gods, mastering the arcane formulae of the sorcerous arts, allying with spirits, or achieving meditative awareness of life’s unknowable secrets. In doing so, they draw on one or more of the mythic Otherworlds surrounding their everyday material world. With the right magic, they can travel to the realms of the gods, become participants in their ancestral myths, and return with wondrous new abilities. Those who fail these daunting tests may be diminished, destroyed, or eternally lost in the mythic realms.
Explorers, adventurers and kings aren’t the only ones who wield magical power here. Ordinary people practice their own spells and charms, helping them to feed, clothe and shelter themselves in what would otherwise be a hostile environment.
Glorantha is a world of clashing cultures, where good and evil aren’t always easy to sort out. Though cursed with more than its share of tyrants, monsters, and villains, no single one of its cultures maintains a monopoly on virtue. Two warring cultures can be, from their own point of view, equally right — or equally ruthless and brutal. Cultures differ on the right way to live, the true events of myth and history, and the very purpose of existence. And that’s just the humans: its inhuman races follow their own alien agendas, as laid out at the beginning of time.
In its glorious Second Age, Glorantha is the prize of warring empires. Two empires, more similar than they’d like to admit, vie for ultimate dominance. The God Learner Empire seeks to crack open and the very secrets of the gods, manipulating them to their own ends. The Empire of Wyrm’s Friends works to transform its land and people into a gigantic, mystical dragon, which will take flight and reshape the entire world.
The Second Age is a time of unprecedented discovery and exploration. For the first time, trade and travel allows the interaction of far-flung cultures. Both Empires innovate feverishly, unveiling new forms of magic, new devices, new modes of perception.
Against this backdrop of unfettered progress, dark omens gather. Men have pushed the Glorantha’s eternal laws of myth and magic to the breaking point. How long will it be before the world strikes back at them, punishing their unprecedented hubris?
Although designed to be used with the RuneQuest roleplaying game, Glorantha: The Second Age contains no rules-specific information, allowing you to use it with any fantasy roleplaying system.