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Monday 14 November 2022

Jonstown Jottings #69: A Grim Pilgrimage

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: A Grim Pilgrimage is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a five page, full colour, 959.82 MB PDF.

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

Where is it set?
GLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage is set in Prax in the Eiritha Hills.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario, but as written are expected to be members of one of the tribes of Prax. A Humakti will be useful, and a worshipper or shaman of Daka Fal would be approriate. magic and enchanted weaponry will be very useful.

What do you need?
GLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the Glorantha Bestiary.

What do you get?
GLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage details a Daka Fal shrine in the Eiritha Hills of Prax. It consists of a simple complex of just five rooms, its description in the main, focusing upon the undead threats currently inhabiting its handful of rooms. Three reasons are suggested as to why the Player Characters might be journeying there, the easiest being that a recent party of pilgrims failed to return from its annual visit, and their queen or khan commands them to investigate.

The Game Master has the option to throw in a random encounter or two, but once there, the Player Characters quickly discover it to be infested with the undead. One add fact is that the most recently dead, and the first ones they will encounter, are skeletons rather than zombies. This is an extended combat encounter, with no roleplaying or investigation required. However, there is scope for the Game Master to expand the scenario a little. One way would be to expand on the restoration of the shrine after it has been cleansed of the undead, whilst the Game Master add details about Daka Fal and his worship to the shrine, and possibly add physical details and possessions to the undead, suggesting who they might have been in their former lives and what they were carrying, which could lead to further adventures. The descriptions of both the shrine and its undead are perfunctory at bests, uninspiring at worst.

GLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage is not badly written for what it is, but very much like the earlier GLORANTHA: The search for the Throne of Colymar, GLORANTHA: A Trek in the Marsh, GLORANTHA: The Avengers of Earth Temple, and GLORANTHA: Underwater Quest, it is underwritten and leaves a fair amount of development work for the Game Master to do before she brings GLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage to the gaming table. Probably not as much as the other scenarios from this author, but to really bring it alive, the effort is required. Of course, since if the Game Master is going to have to do that development work, she might as well grab the map and start from scratch.

Is it worth your time?
YesGLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage is surprisingly not awful. That does not mean that it is actually adequate, but it contains the germ of an interesting encounter if the Game Master is willing to develop the set-up, add the flavour, and the detail, which of course the author failed to do. Then of course, the Game Master can do something about making the dungeon, or rather shrine, interesting.
NoGLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage is a self-contained mini-dungeon bash which the author kindly leaves much of the interesting detail, stats, and flavour to be found in the back story—as is his standard practice—for the Game Master to develop herself. Cheap, cheerless, characterless, and charmless. Mostly.
MaybeGLORANTHA: A Grim Pilgrimage is surprisingly not without potential. The location, the backstory, and possible hooks could all be developed into something more interesting and playable than the mini-dungeon it currently is. Of course, the author could have done that for the potential purchaser too, but why break the habit of the rest of his scenarios for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha?

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