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Monday, 22 June 2020

Jonstown Jottings #21: Blue Moon, White Moon

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?
Blue Moon, White Moon is a short one-night (one session) scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a fifteen page, full colour, 9.71 MB PDF.

Blue Moon, White Moon is well presented and organised. Its NPC illustrations are excellent, but the scenario 
needs a slight edit.

Where is it set?

Dragon Pass, specifically Sartar, but it could be set anywhere where the rule or influence of the Lunar Empire has been felt.

Who do you play?

Adventurers with a few adventures under their belt with a prejudice against the Lunar Empire. The scenario may have more of an emotional impact if one of the player characters is a Lunar Tarshite. It may also be quite fun if a player character is an Issaries initiate.

What do you need?

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. It can also be run using the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – QuickStart Rules and Adventure. Access to A Rough Guide to Glamour may provide further background and context, but is not needed to play Blue Moon, White Moon.

What do you get?
Blue Moon, White Moon is a short, simple scenario which presents the player characters with a physical and a moral challenge. In it, they encounter an Imperial assassin from the Lunar Empire. Fortunately, she is not after them, but is in fact on the run. The question is why, and then, what do the player characters do about or with her? By default, player characters in RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha are from Dragon Pass and are likely to possess strong feelings towards the Lunar Empire. Blue Moon, White Moon is intended to test those prejudices and perhaps give them a slightly altered view of the Lunar Empire.

The other aspect to the scenario’s set-up is that the assassin has encountered some bandits. This is where the player characters enter the story—are they hunting the bandits, is the assassin hunting the bandits, is this a chance encounter, and so on? All of this will probably be resolved in the scenario’s first scene, the second scene will revolve around what the player characters decide to do about the assassin and the consequences of this decision. Although the scenario will involve some combat, this decision lies at the heart of Blue Moon, White Moon. Ideally, it should foster no little roleplaying at the table and despite the brevity of the scenario’s length, those consequences could continue to play out in a campaign for a while after.

The scenario is easy to set up, has only three NPCs which the Game Master will need to handle, and requires relatively little preparation. The simple set-up also means that the scenario could any time that the player characters are on the road or between other scenarios, and its short preparation time means that it could also be dropped into a campaign at as equally short a notice. Ultimately consisting of just two scenes, Blue Moon, White Moon is really all about the set-up, leaving the Game Master and her players to explore the consequences, the Game Master needing to adjust and adapt as normal.

Besides the three NPCs—only one of whom is actually a ‘villain’ (and as written, it is not who the player characters will think it is given their probable Passions)—the Game Master is given details of a new Occupation, the Blue Moon Assassin, one of the Lunar Emperor’s septet of personal protectors and executioners and two associated new Rune spells. These are likely for the use of these NPCs only, that is unless a player really, really wants to play an extremely challenging character.

Lastly, Blue Moon, White Moon would also work as a convention scenario. Especially for players with some experience of Glorantha.

One minor issue with Blue Moon, White Moon is that it shares a similar ‘Lunar woman in peril’ set-up as Jorthan’s Rescue Redux,* which was also designed to test the player characters’ prejudices towards the Lunar Empire. Of course, the actual set-up and scenario is otherwise entirely different, and the testing of the player characters’ prejudices is implicit rather than explicit. Nevertheless, the Game Master should be wary of running the two scenarios too closely together.

* Which in the interests of disclosure I did write.

Is it worth your time?
Yes. Blue Moon, White Moon is an excellent scenario which will present the player characters with an interesting moral dilemma and test their passions. It is also quick to set up and add to a campaign. It is also written by John Wick.
No. Blue Moon, White Moon will be of little use to you if your campaign is not set anywhere near Sartar or you want nothing to do with the Lunar Empire.
Maybe. The Lunar Empire and its minions get everywhere, and one day your player characters might run into the ‘worst’ of them.

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