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Monday, 4 May 2020

Jonstown Jottings #17: Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass

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.

What is it?
Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass is the first in a series of guides to the role, types, and items of treasure in Glorantha.

It is a sixty-four page, full colour, 20.50 MB PDF.

Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass is well presented, decently written, and includes a wide range of artwork. The front cover is fantastic.

Where is it set?

Dragon Pass and Prax in Glorantha.

Who do you play?

The section on ‘Medicine Bundles’ will be of particular interest to shaman characters, but Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass will be of interest to most characters in the region.

What do you need?

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and RuneQuest – Glorantha Bestiary for its information on spirits and Dragonewts at the very least.

What do you get?

Forty years on since RuneQuest II received its own supplement dedicated to the subject of treasure in the form of Plunder, RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha receives its own supplement dedicated to treasure in the form of Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass. Like Plunder, this supplement presents some notable treasures of Glorantha—in the case of this volume, treasures of Dragon Pass—some thirty of them in total. Unlike Plunder, what it does not do is present the means to generate treasure, whether that is in terms of coinage, jewels, and gems, or special items. This very much reflects the differing approaches to treasure between different editions of RuneQuest, and instead, Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass offers up a discussion of the nature, place, and role of treasure amongst the Orlanthi, followed by two essays on particular types of ‘treasure’ to be found in the region.

The supplement opens with ‘Treasure Among the Orlanthi’, which explores the attitudes that the Orlanthi have towards treasure and its types. These are physical—classic coinage, jewels, and gems; social—increased Reputation, new privileges and responsibilities, and so on; and magical—spells and boons, and other gifts from priests, gods, and spirits. The essay also examines how and why they might be rewarded as well as the outcome of such rewards. It suggests how such treasures might come into the possession of the adventurers and how they might be awarded to the adventurers. The author suggests several options, one of which he suggests is the Orlanthi method, but then goes on to point out that the all good Orlanthi adventurers are expected to pay a tithe to their clan and temple. All of the essay falls within the realms of ‘Your Glorantha May Vary’, but it is a fantastic read, well thought out and reasoned.

The first specific type of treasure examined in Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass is ‘True Dragon’s Blood’. As the title suggests, this is the blood of True Dragon, either molten direct from the body of a damaged True Dragon or found set in ruins where they have been, including those of the Empire of Wyrms Friends. More recently it could be found at the site of the Dragonrise. Despite being anathema to the gods and elements, it can be attuned to and so grant fragments of draconic powers, including being able to use Dragonewt Roads and use Firebreath. This is not without its dangers since it also unhinges the attuned from reality itself... The second type is ‘Medicine Bundles’, essentially collections of items, whether skin, bones, twigs, stones, roots, and so on, given sacred power. These are examined from the traditions of the various Praxian tribes and sacred societies, as well as Daka Fal, Erithia, and Waha. Numerous types of bundles are given, such as for contacting ancestors and spirit weapons which extra powers when user is in the Spirit Realm. This essay offers numerous items and options of interest for anyone roleplaying a shaman, as well as enhancing the spiritual aspects of a campaign. Of the two essays, this is probably the more useful.

Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass
is not only connected to Plunder in terms of shared subject matter, but also in the format followed used for listing each of the treasures. That is, the new supplement uses the same format as the old, listing its description, relationships with various groups and cults affiliated and unaffiliated, who has knowledge of it, its history, the procedure necessary to create or find the item, and what powers it has. The supplement also includes an appendix listing the new Rune and Spirit magic spells to be found in its pages.

The numerous items include Adder Stones, which made from the poisoned bodies of earth elementals grant greater protection against poison when held in the hand; Bones of Luck & Death, bone dice marked with the Luck and Death Runes found in the possession of those who survive the heroquest to become the next body of Belintar, the God-King of the Holy Country, which can be rolled to grant bonuses or penalties to the owner’s next actions; Debt-Coins of Etyries, simple lunar coins enchanted and exchanged to signify that the cult of Etyries will repay a debt that one of its worshippers is unable to; and Hippoi’s Feather, a shimmering feather taken from Hippograf’s wings and woven into a horse’s mane to make it’s spirit more aware. The selection of magical items does include a few weapons, such as Fallen Star, a spear in the shape of a four-pointed star which a Yelmalio worshiper can attune to and advance its capabilities to ultimately become a master of the spear, a Son of Light, and a fierce opponent of Chaos, but whether weapons or other items, they are all interesting and come with detail enough for the Game Master work them into her campaign and use them to tell fantastical stories with.

Is it worth your time?
Yes. Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass is fantastic treatment of treasure in Dragon Pass, combining thoughtful and interesting essays on the subject with numerous relics to help the Game Master weave treasure into the fabric of her Glorantha campaign.
No. Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass may simply not play an important role in your campaign.
Maybe. Treasures Of Glorantha: Volume One — Dragon Pass is only as useful as the role that treasure plays in your Glorantha campaign and you may want to wait for future volumes if your campaign is not specifically set in Dragon Pass.

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