On Maps and Lore

This week I’ve been working on a new fantasy game for the Saturday Night GURPS group and it led me towards some thoughts around using maps and lore from some of my favourite settings to fuel my prep, without feeling bound to using everything the way it was intended by the authors. Of particular note this week has been one old tome:

Examples of great worlds that have inspired me over the years include the Palladium World, RuneQuest’s Glorantha, the World of Darkness, Dark*Matter for Alternity, and the classic Mystara. What always proves a barrier to diving into those worlds is the expectation that I would need to learn all the lore to run a game there.

Given the rich maps and lore within each world, I am easily overwhelmed. But the reality is, of course, that I don’t need to approach it in this manner. Certainly I could just start small and learn incrementally. Of greater appeal is the idea of using the maps and the lore in a looser fashion. In other words, just using what I like and ditching or changing the rest.

The advantage is that I get to use the resources I own and draw some value from them at the table. On top of that, I get to explore the best bits and discover what’s there of true value. I do all of this without the pressure and expectation of becoming an expert loremaster for any of those worlds.

The principle of “Your Glorantha May Vary” applies just as much to Palladium, Dark*Matter, Mystara, and the World of Darkness. More than that, we can say that, “My Glorantha Will Vary Greatly!”

I see no reason to be loyal to one particular vision of the worlds I love when I can adapt and develop them at my own table. In end. any game we play in any of these worlds will end up different by dint of the nature of RPGs.

Canon? What’s that?

Game on!


  1. That has always been my problem with LOTR gaming. I love the series and would love to roleplay there, but I always find myself keenly aware that Middle-Earth is an established place and I don’t know enough about it to “do it justice”.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.