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Monday, 7 September 2020

Jonstown Jottings #27: Storm Rams

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, 13th Age 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?
Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams presents a noble spirit venerated by the Air pantheon which brings the seasonal rains to Glorantha for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a nineteen-page, full colour, 1.52 MB PDF.

Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams is well presented and decently written.

Where is it set?
Storm Rams, the subject of Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams, can be encountered anywhere in Dragon Pass, most notably in Startar, Tarsh, Esrolia, and Prax, but especially in the lands of the Balmyr Tribe in the high valleys of the Quivin Mountains, where they are known to come down out of the sky and graze.

Who do you play?
Anyone can encounter a Storm Ram, but Orlanth and Heler initiates may be able to summon them as can members of some weather-worshiping spirit societies of Prax. Herders and Weavers of Balmyr Tribe will seek out the fur left behind when the Cloud Rams come to earth.

What do you need?
Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, but RuneQuest – Glorantha Bestiary might be useful. 

What do you get?
Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams describes Storm Rams, the most well-known ‘weather-sheep’ or Urothing spirits of the air, who drive their herds through the air, bringing fertile rains and destructive storms alike. They are defenders of the rain, migrating across Glorantha in regular patterns throughout the year, typically driven back to the Spirit World by the heat of the Fire Tribe. They are known to descend to the earth and graze. In the lands of the Balmyr Tribe, the fur they leave behind is collected and woven into Mistwool, a textile constantly cool in the highest of temperature.

Full stats and descriptions are provided not just for the Storm Ram, but for other ‘weather-sheep’ too. These include the Greater Storm Ram, the Lightning Ram, and the Cloud Sheep, with suggestions how to individualise them and for them to become allied spirits. All three are given their own Summoning Rune spells for the Orlanth Thunderous and Heler cults, but the caster should at least be Rune Masters of either cult, and the caster needs to persuade the Storm Ram to come as well as casting the spell. In addition, Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams gives a description of where Mistwool comes from, what it is woven into, and its importance to the Balmyr Tribe.

Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams could have simply presented the ‘weather-sheep’ as a set of spirits tied to the Air pantheon and Orlanth worshippers, but it widens the scope of the supplement by having Storm Rams honoured by Heler and certain Praxian Spirit Societies, including detailing a Storm Ram Spirit Cult. In all three cases, it explains the reasons why through differing, often contradictory, mythologies. These are decent little pieces which will help underpin their appearance in game. Lastly, the supplement gives sample stats for all four types of ‘weather-sheep’, including the Greater Storm Ram, Urothtrai the Lover, who passes through the Red Cow clan’s lands in Sea Season every year, where Orlanth Adventurous worshipers compete to help him woo his beloved ewe, Helurtha, and so gain the blessings of bountiful rain in Fire Season.

However, beyond becoming a possible allied spirit or a source of Mistwool, where Monster of the Month #8: Storm Rams is underwritten is in terms of application. Of course, a Game Master will be able to dig into the supplement’s contents to develop ideas for her own campaign, but a scenario seed or three would have been useful additions to help her bring the
Urothing into play.

Is it worth your time?
YesMonster of the Month #8: Storm Rams presents an interesting embodiment of the storms and the rain, pleasingly from differing points of view, which the Game Master can work into her campaign.
NoMonster of the Month #8: Storm Rams is yet more spirits, and as much as it falls under ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’, one word might make you wonder how varied it will be when you add ‘weather-sheep’. 
MaybeMonster of the Month #8: Storm Rams is an interesting supplement and it does a nice job of bringing a type of sprint into play through differing points for view, but the lack of immediate use or scenario suggestions may not make it as useful as it could be.

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