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Monday 26 February 2024

Jonstown Jottings #88: The Bully Bird

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 Glorantha, 13th 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 Bully Bird is a “A monstrous predator packed into two pages” for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha which presents a creature and three hooks to use the creature in a campaign that the Game Master can develop and run as a single session’s worth of play or possibly longer.

It is a two page, full colour 329.59 KB PDF.

The layout is tidy, the artwork rough, but serviceable.

The creature and the scenario hooks can be easily be adapted to the rules system of the Game Master’s choice.

Where is it set?
As written, The Bully Bird details a creature found across Dragon Pass.

Who do you play?
The Bully Bird does not require any specific character type, but the Bully Bird is hated by Orlanth-worshippers in particular, and anyone who keeps alynxes, such as Odayla or Yinkin worshippers.

What do you need?
The Bully Bird requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha only.

What do you get?
The Bully Bird details simple, but very large creature, roughly four times taller than the average man and the size of a mammoth. It is a giant bird that talks and pecks its way back and forth across Dragon Pass, able to fly, but only with the benefit of a running start. It will stalk and eat anything it likes, but not men, though it is capable of defending itself by pecking or grappling with its beak or flapping its wings in a strong strike. Having escaped into the mortal world from God Time following a botched heroquest, it has become both a terror across the region and a much desired trophy for hunters, who are seen as being either very brave or very foolish for wanting to hunt it. One reason to hunt are its magical feathers, which either make magnificent trophies or can be used to attract predators when hunting.

In addition to describing the Bully Bird, how it came to be in the mortal world, and giving its stats, The Bully Bird includes three plot hooks. These will have the Player Characters preventing it being accidently caught by Summons of Evil cast by a clan, the Bully Bird becoming infatuated with a Player Character, and the Player Characters becoming involved in an attempt to banish the Bully Bird. These are thumbnail descriptions at best, and the Game Master will need to undertake a fair amount of development to have something readily playable.

One aspect of the Bully Bird which would have have benefited from further development is the heroquest that enabled it to escape God Quest. That might have better prepared the Game Master who wants to run a heroquest to banish it or it might even set up the possibility of the Player Characters having performed the original heroquest that set the Bully Bird free in Dragon Pass!

Ultimately the usefulness of The Bully Bird will depend upon if the Game Master does not mind adding another creature to Glorantha, especially as one as ridiculous as the the Bully Bird, and does not mind developing the included scenario hooks.

Is it worth your time?
YesThe Bully Bird adds a strange beast to Glorantha that can be seen lurking here and there throughout Dragon Pass before the Player Characters go hunting for it just as in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.
NoThe Bully Bird is just a bit too gonzo, even silly, and needs too much effort upon the part of the Game Master to effectively use.
MaybeThe Bully Bird is fantastically absurd, a looming presence which reminds others of the dangers of heroquests gone wrong and with a bit of effort its plot hooks can be developed in something worth running..

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