I was a fan of the pen and paper RPG “Runequest”, and Glorantha is an extremely interesting world, in which the game creator probably invested as much work as Tolkien did in Middle Earth (in fact the apparition of RPGs merely allowed him to find an use for the world he had been busy creating). It uses both most of the usual themes/creatures of medfan and the real cultures of Earth, but twisted them a lot. And myths (rather than exactly religion) that aren’t ever straightforward and cultural values are the central elements of this universe. This game, without a game master very conversant with the cults and people of Glorantha (which requires a lot of reading of the various editions of the game, supplements, material published in magazines, etc…) would lose most of its appeal or might even appear absurd or ludicrous. To give a random example, trolls are a complex race, with peculiar customs, social organizations, beliefs and goals. They’re ferocious and highly dangerous, but using them like a random “evil monster” in Dungeons and Dragons would be complete waste of the author’s work.
I could go on, but about the computer game “King of Dragon Pass” (that was commercially a complete failure) :
-The goal is to federate a tribe, and eventually a kingdom around your original clan in a strange area where you recently settled.
-It’s very original not only in content (based on the RPG) but also in form. There is exactly zero animations. Events are depicted by rather nice drawings. It’s part management (how to make your clan prosperous, managing trade, cow raising, neighbour raiding, and of course sacrifices to various deities), part role-play where you aren’t playing a single individual, but rather the successive important members of the clan’s council (and you come to be attached to this formerly promising young warrior, now a withered council member, and when he’ll die, it will sadden you, apart from wondering how you’ll manage to fare without him), part exploration, and part tale.
-The most important part of the game (assuming you don’t fail in management to the point of changing your clan into a bunch of starving beggars) is decision making. You’re presented with events and must choose a course of action. These events can be trivial (someone cheated on his spouse), a matter of life or death for the clan or just strange. In any case what have been said by other posters is true. Don’t try to apply your 21th century morals and cultural norms, you would fail spectacularly. There’s not necessarily a good choice and a bad choice, but seemingly innocuous issue might have long lasting consequences (a family vendetta that will haunt you for generations, a powerful ennemy…). Listen to your advisers (yes, even the guy who serves the trickster god, assuming you dared to give him a seat at the council), remember the values and traditions of your clan and the gods who protect it.
-Finally, the other peculiar feature, the heroic quests, consist essentially in walking in the steps of the gods by reliving events and myths associated with them. They are rare, but vital, and deadly. In this case there are good and bad choices. Make sure not only that whoever attempt them is the best of the bests but also that you have in mind all informations known about your myths. Deciding when embarking on such a quest and whom to send is a very serious matter.
I would highly recommend this game, if only for its originality. However I would note two things :
-The fact that I was already familiar with Glorantha’s world in general and the “Orlanthi” people depicted in this game more specifically certainly played a significant part in my enjoyment. I’m not sure how it will play with someone who isn’t.
-I have doubts regarding replayability. You certainly can pick from the get go a clan with different values, different goals and history, then make different choices so that events will unfold in a different way. Minor events will differ. Major ones will happen again. They will develop differently because you were in a different situation or made different choices. Your mortal enemies won’t be the same. But all in all it’s the same tale of the rise of your clan that will eventually give birth to the first King of Dragon Pass (it is to be hoped). And toward the end, all games are quite similar. Of course, it’s true for many games, and I know that some people disagree with me regarding replayability, but it has been the main issue I had with KoDP.
A last word : take good care of your herds. There’s an official patch that helps with sheep flocks who had a tendency to die off easily at the beginning of the game . I advise to download it if you intend to play this game.