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Monday 21 February 2022

Jonstown Jottings #55: Creatures of Glorantha

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?

Creatures of Glorantha is a bestiary for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is an eight page, full colour, 1.45 MB PDF.

The layout is clean and tidy, but could have been better organised and it needs an edit. The artwork is decent.

Where is it set?

Creatures of Glorantha does not involve a specific setting, but most of its entries can be found anywhere.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types can encounter the entries detailed in this supplement. Storm Bull worshippers will want to destroy most of them and Orlanth and Yinkin worshippers will hate one of the entries in particular.

What do you need?
Creatures of Glorantha requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary.

What do you get?
Creatures of Glorantha describes seven new creatures of a vile nature, all complete with stat blocks and illustrations. They include the undead, Chaos creatures, and simple monsters, some more useful others, some which lurk around settlements and some which do not. The seven are the Pale Masks, Limbscutters, Corrupted Shadows, Tuskapes, Lamias, Goat Suckers, and Chimeric Hydras.

The septet opens with the Pale Mask, an arachnoid Chaos thing, the result of several creatures, mutilated by the God of Entropy, Kajabor, fusing together. These things stalk Chaos tainted lands in search of victims to share its pain with and instill fear in before impaling them with its bladed pedipalps. This is not an interesting start to the selection, more a beast to be killed by Chaos hunters than anything else, but fortunately the second entry, the Limbcutter, is better, if only slightly. This though is the insatiable hunger of the Uz given form in the deepest recesses of their caves, driven to eat again and again, everything it consumes being lost in the void that is its stomach. Sometimes though, it escapes to the surface where it lurks around settlements hit by famine or the slave labour camps of the Lunar Empire.

Potentially more interesting is the Corrupted Shadow. This is a Shadow Cat, captured by Lunar forces and subjected to Chaotic magic and dark Nysalorean rituals, and thus transformed into a twisted version of their former self. With a bite attack more dangerous to anyone with a high Air Rune, the Corrupted Shadow and its creation process will be seen as abominable by Orlanth and Yinkin worshippers, and so lend itself to stories involving the capture of Alynxs by Lunar forces, their rescue, taking of revenge upon the Lunar priests carrying out the vile ritual. However, it is followed by the Tuskape, the result of fusing black gorillas and trolls via a thunderous intercourse between Kyger Litor and Daka Fal, which is rarely seen and prefers solitude in its deserted lairs, and so does not readily lend itself to story potential.

The Lamia is a Gloranthan version of the child-eating monster of Greek myth. Again, this feels more developed and useable than other entries in the supplement, a negative manifestation of the parenting instinct which kidnaps, scares, and hurts children. It raises them in cruel fashion to create further Lamia. The Goat Sucker is the result of Broo breaking their taboo against eating other Chaos creatures and consequently transforming into a quadruped with a thirst for the blood of other Broo. It is still a Chaos beast and Broo related, so it is difficult to separate the two, at least in terms of storytelling. Lastly, the Chimeric Hydra is a Lesser Hydra which has been transformed by exposure to extreme Chaos, and again, it is just a monster to be killed rather than anything else.

The monsters in Creatures of Glorantha do vary in terms of their story potential and how interesting they are. All of the artwork is in the Public Domain and it is hard not to wonder which came first, the pictures or the ideas, and how inspired by the pictures the author was. Despite the varying quality of the monsters, this is arguably the best thing that the author has written for the Jonstown Compendium, but equally it is debatable as to whether RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha needs more monsters.

Is it worth your time?
YesCreatures of Glorantha contains some interesting monsters with story potential.
NoCreatures of Glorantha only contains a few monsters which are interesting and possess story potential, and given how many there are in the RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary, does the Game Master really need more?
MaybeCreatures of Glorantha contains some potentially interesting monsters, but again, it is a case of ‘Your Glorantha May Vary’ and there may already be too many monsters in the RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary.

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