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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Jonstown Jottings #6: Arrows of War

Much like the Miskatonic Repository for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, the  Jonstown Compendium is a curated platform for user-made content, but for material set in Greg Stafford's mythic universe of Glorantha. It enables creators to sell their own original content for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and HeroQuest Glorantha (Questworlds). This can include original scenarios, background material, cults, mythology, details of NPCs and monsters, and so on, but none of this content should be considered to be ‘canon’, but rather fall under ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’. This means that there is still scope for the authors to create interesting and useful content that others can bring to their Glorantha-set campaigns.


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What is it?
Arrows of War is a short, two-session scenario set in Dragon Pass during Dark Season easily run as part of the Colymar campaign begun in RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – QuickStart Rules and Adventure and then continued in and around Apple Lane as detailed in the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack, specifically before the events of the scenario, ‘The Dragon of the Thunder Hills’.

It is a five page, full colour, 2.0 MB PDF.

Arrows of War is well presented and decently written, but needs an edit in places. The internal artwork is okay, but the map is decent.

Where is it set?
Arrows of War by default takes place in Apple Lane in the lands of the Colymar tribe and then near Runegate in Dark Season 1625.

If run as part of the Colymar Campaign, it is best run before The Throat of Winter: Terror in the Depths, before the onset of the worst of Dark Season.

Who do you play?
The scenario does not have any strict requirements in terms of the characters needed, but warriors, entertainers, and priests will all be useful.

What do you need?
Arrows of War can be run using just RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. If the Game Master is running the Colymar campaign in and around, then the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack is recommended.

Although optional, The Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass will provide more information about the Gloranthan warfare depicted in the scenario, whilst The Eleven Lights will explain the significance of the scenario’s cosmic events.

What do you get?
In the wake of the Dragonrise, King Pharandros of Tarsh reacts to Kallyr Starbrow’s revolt by sending a large Tarshite army to reinforce Lunar rule in Alda-Chur. In response, she petitions the tribes for warriors and the summons are issued across the tribal lands, including to the player characters.

In contrast to the events the characters will have participated in as indicated by ‘Step 2: Family History’ of the Adventurers chapter of the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha core rulebook during character generation, Arrows of War is not a scenario in which they take part in a great event or battle. Although a battle does take place—at Dangerford—the player characters, along with many of their fellow tribesmen, are stationed elsewhere and can only wait and watch in case the Tarshite army and its Lunar allies attack there.

Arrows of War is about the call to war, preparing for it, and its aftermath, rather than the fighting involved. As a scenario, it is not as obviously dramatic as getting involved in a showdown between Sartarite and Lunar forces would be, but there is plenty of scope for drama and roleplaying within the events it describes. In the main, these involve a lot of waiting and marching and waiting, with suggested small events along the way. It is also about military camp life and the anticipation of battle rather than battle itself. Throughout, the scenario suggestions are given as to what skills might be used and why, many of them less commonly used skills.

Although none are detailed in Arrows of War, the scenario represents an opportunity for the Game Master to bring in NPCs for the player characters to interact with, either of his own creation, or drawn from the backgrounds of the player characters created during ‘Step 2: Family History’ of character creation.

Is it worth your time?
Yes. Although Arrows of War places the player characters on the periphery of events in Sartar, it highlights the importance of those events as well as their consequences, as well as providing opportunities for both roleplaying and skill use. It is a another decent scenario to run as part of the Colymar-set campaign from the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack in and around Apple Lane, one that will benefit from the addition of some named NPCs.
No. If you are running a campaign set further away from Colymar, then Arrows of War may not be of use to you. Its events could be adapted to other battles though.
Maybe. Arrows of War can be run using groups from further away, adapted to other battles, or even with some effort, run for a group of Lunar or Lunar Tarshite characters.

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