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Monday 31 January 2022

Jonstown Jottings #53: High Rock Hill

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.


What is it?
High Rock Hill is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a sixteen page, full colour, 1.17 MB PDF.

It does need an edit and is primarily art free. No maps are provided, but a link is given to one.

Where is it set?
High Rock Hill is set just outside the city of Clearwine in the lands of the Colymar Tribe, but events may take the Player Characters to the city of Wilmskirk. It takes place after the death of Queen Kallyr Starbrow, thus in the year 1626 ST and later.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario as it involves a mix of social interaction, investigation, and action. Player Characters with Passions involving the Aldryami will be challenged, whilst an Ernalda Priestess will likely be of use.

What do you need?
High Rock Hill requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary to play. The RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack may also prove useful.

What do you get?
High Rock Hill is a murder mystery, but not a ‘whodunnit’, even though it begins in the most traditional of fashion with all of the Player Characters at a party. This is a Harvest Celebration at the vineyard on High Rock Hill outside of Clearwine, renowned for the quality of its wines. Whether as guests if they are prominent enough, or accompanying guests if not, their host—who purchased the vineyard only relatively recently—is amiable and the wine lives up to the vineyard’s reputation. However,  the evening is disrupted first by a drunken Storm Bull and then by an attack by members of the Sambari tribe. These are only minor distractions on what is otherwise a pleasant evening.

The Player Characters may choose to investigate the attack further, but whatever they do next, difficulties arise when a fellow guest, a member of the ring advising Queen Leika and an Ernalda Priestess, falls grievously ill and learns that she had been poisoned. Divination determines that the solution lies on High Rock Hill. Returning to the vineyard reveals that events are already afoot and there is more going on than in its grounds than meets the eye.

High Rock Hill is a short, two-session scenario designed for relatively inexperienced Player Characters. Initially it looks like a standard murder mystery, but pleasingly it does not bog play down in a detailed ‘whodunnit’ or burden the players and their characters with a deluge of clues. Instead it weaves its relatively story in and out of events before drawing the Player Characters back to the vineyard for a dénouement with the culprit. Other events from the region’s past will complicate matters though.

High Rock Hill is a detailed and relatively complex scenario, and it does suffer from a handful of problems which mean that it is not as easy to run as it could be. It could be clearer in its plotting and explanation and thus require a little more development. The culprit’s motivations seem extreme, but since they trigger the events of the scenario, that can be forgiven. Lastly, the possible outcomes and consequences to the scenario are underdeveloped and they would have been useful to explore what happens to both the culprit and the vineyard. There are interesting elements here which could have been explored and potentially involved the Player Characters, as well as drawing them further into local events.

Is it worth your time?
YesHigh Rock Hill contains a good mix of social interaction, investigation, and action and should tie the Player Characters into further events and politics in Clearwine.
NoHigh Rock Hill is a serviceable scenario which will need extra effort to adjust to settings other than Clearwine and ‘Your Glorantha May Vary’ when it comes to the motivations of the culprit.
MaybeHigh Rock Hill contains a good mix of social interaction, investigation, and action, but does some further development to fully explore the motivations of the culprit and the consequences of his actions, which are not as fully explored in the scenario as they could be.

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