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Monday, 15 November 2021

Jonstown Jottings #49: GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple

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.

—oOo—

What is it?
GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a four page, full colour, 1.93 MB PDF.

The layout is clean and clean. It is art free, but the cartography is reasonable.

Where is it set?
GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple is set in Swenstown in Sartar

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario, but an Ernalda worshipper or priestess many want to become involved, whilst any Chaos-hating character or character capable of fighting Chaos will be useful.

What do you need?
GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and also Ye Booke of Monstres II. Alternatively, the Game Master can use the Glorantha Bestiary should she not want use Lovecraftian monsters and/or purchase another supplement, and instead prefers to generate somethings more Chaos-related herself.

What do you get?
GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple details a temple to the Earth goddess, Ernalda which was corrupted by Chaos following the defeat of various Earth and Air goddesses and gods in the past. One such temple is located in the caves below the town of Swenstown which sits on a hill, although it could be relocated to any Sartarite town with caves below where an Earth temple might be.

It is suggested that GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple be used as a sequel to either GLORANTHA: The search for the Throne of Colymar or GLORANTHA: A Trek in the Marsh. Beyond the fact that the adventurers might have gained a reputation from undertaking either of those adventures, no actual reason is given as to why GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple might be used as a sequel, so to actually make such a suggestion is hyperbole at best, codswallop at worst. In actuality, to make such a claim and then leave it undeveloped is sheer laziness upon the part of author.

As to the temple itself, it consists of a six-location cave complex based on a free-to-use map by Dyson Logos. Each location is given a sparse one paragraph description, placed around the edge of the map.

Where any flavour or detail is required, GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple very much leaves it up to the Game Master to develop and add. This includes the monsters—Bouchers (rat monsters), Voors, a hell-Plant, and Proto-shoggoth, which she will need to create the stats for after buying Ye Booke of Monstres II. There are no notes or advice on handling such creatures in the different milieu of Glorantha and how Gloranthan magic will affect them for instance, and for some Game Master may push the limits of ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’ in the choice of monsters used. Why the author could not have simply used the Glorantha Bestiary to create something horribly Chaotic to show off a modicum of inventiveness beggars belief.

GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple is not badly written, but very much like the earlier GLORANTHA: The search for the Throne of Colymar and GLORANTHA: A Trek in the Marsh, it is underwritten and underdeveloped—and severely so given the temple’s bare bones description and the lack of advice on mixing the Gloranthan with the Lovecraftian. However, the set-up to the scenario makes more sense than that of the previous two scenarios and since it only defines—however underwhelmingly—six locations, it feels more self-contained with less of any legend or outcome left dangling and unaddressed by the author.

As with the previous titles with the author, there is plenty of development work for the Game Master to do before she brings GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple to the gaming table. Probably more than it warrants, since if the Game Master is going to have to that development work, she might as well grab the map and start from scratch.

Is it worth your time?
YesGLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple contains the germ of an interesting scenario if the Game Master is willing to completely develop the set-up, add the flavour, and the detail to this mini-dungeon which its author failed to do.
NoGLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple is a self-contained dungeon bash which the author kindly leaves all of the detail, stats, and flavour to the Game Master to develop herself. Cheap, cheerless, characterless, and charmless.
MaybeGLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple is a perfect showcase of how to write an uninteresting dungeon bash for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Gloranthaso if the Game Master wanted to know how not to do it, she should start here.

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