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Monday 5 September 2022

Jonstown Jottings #67: The Sunken Dead

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?
The Sunken Dead is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is an eleven page, full colour, 4.42 MB PDF.

The layout is tight and it needs an edit. The cover is decent, but the scenario name is lost among the canopy. It is art free.

Where is it set?
The Sunken Dead is nominally set in and near the territory of the Orleving Clan of the Malani Tribe in Sartar. With some light adjustment it can be located to anywhere where the practice of cattle raids is seen as honourable conduct.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario, but The Sunken Dead is intended for new players and their characters, as well as the relatively inexperienced Game Master (who may be confused by the use of the Storm Rune rather than the Air Rune).

What do you need?
The Sunken Dead requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the Glorantha Bestiary. The RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack will useful about the area around the Colymar Tribe and Apple Lane if the Game Master is basing her campaign there.

What do you get?
The Sunken Dead is a straightforward and simple scenario. Yantar Raelston, a loyal Thane, of the Colymar tribe, offers to guide the Player Characters on their first cattle raid. He clearly lays out the rules for the benefit of the characters (and their players) and then everyone sets out the next morning. The first half of the scenario consists of a series of skill rolls as the Player Characters attempt to overcome various obstacles their journey. Of course things do not go as planned, and just as the Player Characters is about to snatch up the cattle, both target herd and its shepherds are attacked. Do the Player Characters take advantage of the Chaos—literally—and take the cattle they came out for or do they go to the aid of the herders?

The choice is simple and either way, leads to some decent roleplaying, as does another challenge on the way home from the cattle raid. This challenge can easily be omitted if time is short, otherwise, the scenario offers two good sessions’ worth of play at the most.

The Sunken Dead showcases an element of Heortling culture—cattle raiding—in a short and easy scenario which can be slotted into an ongoing campaign in its early days or perhaps used as a flashback. The details of honourable cattle raiding are a pleasing inclusion.

Is it worth your time?
YesThe Sunken Dead is short filler scenario that pleasingly showcases, ‘How to Conduct a Cattle Raid’, an aspect of Heortling culture and puts it into practice.
NoThe Sunken Dead is not really useful if cattle raids are not part of the culture where the Game Master’s campaign is set.
MaybeThe Sunken Dead is not a sophisticated scenario and may be too action orientated for some groups, although it does have potential if the Game Master wants to turn it around and have her players and their characters defend against a cattle raid.

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