Sun County (1992)

Sun County is a supplement for Avalon Hill’s third edition RuneQuest from 1992.

There is a lot to dislike about the Avalon Hill version of the game – their overriding desire for RuneQuest to be campaign setting agnostic and an obsession with over-complicating everything – but I still have a fondness for it. The layout is crisp and clean, with art that is, if not fantastic, perhaps more consistent than that in the Chaosium books. I love Dave Dobyski’s maps. Perhaps most importantly, their sourcebooks like Dorastor and Sun County explored regions of Glorantha previously mentioned but mostly left undeveloped.

Sun County lies along the Zola Fel river, directly south of Pavis. A theocratic domain, it is ruled by worshippers of Yelmalio, the god of the Sun Dome, and maintains a rigorous and xenophobic character. Outsiders are not welcome in Sun County, but the region’s love of gold attracts adventurers nonetheless. The Yelmalions are a contrast to the morally permissive Lunar Empire officials that administrate Prax and the continued presence of the sun worshippers is tolerated because of prowess of the Sun Dome Templars, whose mercenary services are valued throughout the region.

The scenarios presented are some of the best available in RuneQuest 3 and, along with 1993’s Shadows on the Borderlands, form a natural extension of material contained in Chaosium’s Borderlands box set for RuneQuest 2. Yelmalio also represents a great example of the complexity of Glorantha’s religions, as a sun god who is not THE sun god, who hates Darkness, who has a polite rivalry with cultist of Orlanth (the storm god who killed the Yelm, the actual Sun and Yelmalio’s dad) and whose worshippers coexist with the chaos-worshipping Lunars (in Glorantha, chaos is a force of corruption and terror, rightly feared by non-Lunars). The system underneath may be flawed, but as a book delving into more Gloranthan history and culture, Sun County is precious.

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