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Monday, 8 March 2021

Jonstown Jottings #37: Renharth Blackveins

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 Glorantha13th 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?

Renharth Blackveins presents an NPC, his entourage, and associated cult for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a twenty page, full colour, 1.46 MB PDF.

The layout is clean and tidy, and its illustrations good.

Where is it set?
Renharth Blackveins is nominally set in Sartar, but the NPC and his entourage can be encountered almost anywhere the Game Master decides.

Who do you play?
No specific character types are required to encounter Renharth Blackveins. Humakti characters may benefit from their interactions with Renharth Blackveins.

What do you need?
Renharth Blackveins requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha as well as The Red Book of Magic.

What do you get?
The second volume of ‘Monster of the Month’ presents not monsters in the sense of creatures and spirits and gods that was the feature of the first volume. Instead, it focuses upon Rune Masters, those who have achieved affinity with their Runes and gained great magics, mastered skills, and accrued allies—corporeal and spiritual. They are powerful, influential, and potentially important in the Hero Wars to come that herald the end of the age and beginning of another. They can be allies, they can be enemies, and whether ally or enemy, some of them can still be monsters.

The second entry is Renharth Blackveins, which details a Death Lord, a Rune Lord of Humakt who embodies his master through ‘Humakt Indomitable’, a subcult of Humakt. Deeply honourable, he is feared duellist who always fights fairly to match any opponent, including the use of support of some fearsome bound spirits, chief of which is Liberator, an woken enchanted iron sword that is a fragment of the Unbreakable Sword known as Humakt. Challaren, Renhearth’s swordboy, normally carries Liberator and Renhearth only calls for it when faced with a worthy opponent. Despite currently leading Boldhome’s ‘Household of Death’, Renhearth prefers single engagements to mass battles, and as Death Lord of Humakt Indomitable has overcome ‘death as malice’ and his former hatred of the Lunar Empire which drove both himself and his brother to resist the Lunar occupation of his homeland. Captured and forced to serve himself as a swordboy to a Lunar captain, Renharth would come to see the honour in his former enemies.

In addition to detailing and providing full write-ups of Renharth and his entourage—including several very powerful allied spirits, Renharth Blackvein includes a write-up of the subcult, ‘Humakt Indomitable’ which represents the enduring, impossible to subdue or defeat nature of Humakt. It can be joined by the usual means and requires the initiate to swear another geas, specifically an undertaking that requires dedication to a lifelong task or prohibition. Especially if the new geas has the potential for tragic consequences.

Several suggestions are given as to how to use Renharth, noting that he is a deadly enemy, capable of killing most Player Characters. Perhaps the most interesting way to use him in the long term is as a swordmaster as he accepts students from many religions or as an actual mentor to a Player Character. Above all though, it makes clear that in conquering both his malice and that of death, Renhearth is a pleasant rather than a miserable character. The supplement comes with two scenario seeds, both of which need a little development upon the part of the Game Master.

Is it worth your time?
YesRenharth Blackveins presents a straightforward, even pleasant aspect of Humakt, who can be an interesting supporting NPC or mentor, and if the Player Characters are powerful enough, a truly indomitable foe.
NoRenharth Blackveins present a straightforward, even pleasant aspect of Humakt, who may differ too much from the traditional view of Humakt and who might be too strong a rival for the Player Characters or too powerful an NPC if they are prone to antagonising others.
MaybeRenharth Blackveins presents a straightforward, even pleasant aspect of Humakt, who may differ too much from the traditional view of Humakt and who might be too strong a rival for the Player Characters or too powerful an NPC if they are prone to antagonising others.

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