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Monday 25 July 2022

Jonstown Jottings #65: GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood

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?
GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a five page, full colour, 1.65 MB PDF.

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

Where is it set?
GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood is set in the central hills of the Grazelands.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario, but any Chaos-hating character or character capable of fighting Chaos will be useful.

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

What do you get?
GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood details an ancient Mostali cave where a Quicksilver dwarf has his alchemical laboratory. Madness and failure to restore the World Machine have led him to incorporate Lunar Chaos magic in his research and he has begun the source of a river in his cave. The Player Character, either members of the clan who live along the river or connected to the clan which does, are sent up river to determine why it has turned blood red and begun to kill cattle belonging to the clan.

The Game Master is provided with a short encounter table and details of the cave, plus stats for the Quicksilver Mostali. The cave complex consists of five rooms or caves, worked or unworked. The description of the cave along with its map takes up one page. The map is based a free-to-use map by Dyson Logos. (The blog is worth visiting as Dyson Logos provides a more interesting description of the cave than the author of GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood does.)

The biggest problem with GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood—outside of the fact that it is neither interesting nor good—is how the Player Characters get across a three-foot deep pool of contact poison. No advice or suggestions are offered to that end.

GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood is at best a quick, mini-fixer-upper that a Game Master might be able to develop into something else. Probably not purchasing now that the scenario’s decidedly limp plot has been given away. It could be used as a quick combat encounter if the Game Master has absolutely nothing else planned. Otherwise it is nothing more than an uninspiring dungeon bash.

It is supposedly set in the Grazelands, but the scenario could be set almost anywhere else here there is a river. The fact that GLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood is said to be set in the Grazelands is irrelevant.

Cows with Chaos features is an amusing notion and utterly worth stealing from this review rather than the scenario being reviewed.

Is it worth your time?
YesGLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood is the perfect showcase of how to write an uninspiring combat scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.
NoGLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood 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 of which the author is highly skilled at churning out.
MaybeGLORANTHA: Rivers of Blood 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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