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Saturday 13 April 2024

Jonstown Jottings #90: Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon

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?
Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon is a supplement for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha which details an insula or city block with the ruins of the Big Rubble in Prax. It includes a complete description of an atypical city block in the Old City and an example city block, the eponymous ‘Insula of the Waning Moon’, plus four scenarios.

It is a ninety-four page, full colour hardback.

The layout is tidy and it is decently illustrated and comes with extensive floorplans. The Greek style illustrations are nice touch.

The PDF includes floorplans which can be used with miniatures.

It needs an edit.

Where is it set?
Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon is set in the ruins of Big Rubble in Prax. It is set after the liberation of Pavis by Argrath.

Who do you play?
Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon does not require any specific character type.

What do you need?
Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary.

The Big Rubble: The Deadly City will also be useful.

It is a suitable addition to New Pavis: City on the Edge of Forever and the rest of The Pavis & Big Rubble Companion series with some adjustment.

What do you get?
Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon draws upon archaeological plans to present a type of building block found across the old city of Pavis and the Big Rubble, which can be found in various states of repair across the ruin. This is a large, square city block complete with businesses and residences. In the case of the Insula of the Waning Moon, these consist of food sellers, an oil seller, stables and a carter, and an inn, plus residences and a sunken garden. These are mapped out in some detail with a series of large, easy-to-read floor plans measured in one Mostal (or metre) squares.

The insulae were standard designs across the whole of Lord Pavis’ city and details the history and general features of the design, the history of their ownership and how that changed from being municipal to hereditary, and how the design changed as the city’s fortunes declined. Thus, they can be in various states of repair, from simple walls to fortified strongholds in various locations throughout the Big Rubble. This is a possible subject for expansion and a table of ideas as to what might be found in insulae across the various building phases their design would have been useful.

The supplement also address the change in attitudes to adventuring in the Big Rubble with the liberation of Pavis. Where the Lunar administration encouraged adventuring, now it is seen as looting the city’s cultural identity. There is also the push to clear and resettle parts of the Big Rubble. This presents other opportunities for work, though, and building materials from the insulae are still worth salvaging. In addition, a group of Player Characters could actually settle in the Big Rubble, finding an insula that they can occupy and fortify. This is not without its risks as their presence will attract the attention of predators—both human and non-human—from the surrounding area.

There are four adventures in Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon. The first two short, one-session affairs and both involve vermin and both involve the Player Characters simply walking past the insula. In ‘Thirsty Work, the Player Characters come to the aid of a family living the ruins which is using the well in the Insula of the Waning Moon as its source of water, but it has dried up. There is not much to reward the Player Characters if they help, except the gratitude of the family and the knowledge that they have rid the Big Rubble of one more Chaos beast. The second scenario, ‘Lucky Snake Ball’, begins when the Player Characters see snakes slithering across their path and into the insula. Inside they discover a ball of writhing, fighting snakes. Dealing with the odd phenomenon reveals a second problem, one very common to the Big Rubble. It should also expose the cause of the ‘snake ball’, which a rather neat little magical item.

The third scenario, ‘No Good Deed’, is the longest and most heavily plotted of the four, as well as the most traditional. The head of one of the Pavis Survivors clans employs the Player Characters to find his daughter who he thinks has run off to become a Lunar convert after she saw the good work that their missionaries were doing in the Big Rubble. Which is made all the more difficult because the Lunars have fled Pavis. The Player Characters will need to deal with some of the poorer inhabitants of Pavis that live in the ruins and who are very wary of strangers. Eventually, they can track her down to the Insula of the Waning Moon, where she is not living with Lunar missionaries, but has been captured by a gang looking to hold her to ransom. The gang is on the make, so seasoned adventurers will not find its members to be two much of threat, although they could get lucky, plus they have the benefit of being holed up in the insula. How the Player Characters deal with the problem is left up to them, obvious solutions such as paying the ransom or mounting a rescue are described in detail.

The fourth scenario is more of a set-up than an adventure. In ‘First Rule of Fight Club’, the Player Characters are hired to escort a party overnight out into the Big Rubble to a ruined insula. As the title suggests, a fight club is being run. Not though, with the Player Characters, but with slaves. How the Player Characters deal with this is left up to them, although a rescue attempt would be very dangerous. They could take the money or they could devise a solution, it all depends on how they feel about the moral dilemma presented to them.

All four scenarios take place in then Insula of the Waning Moon. This, though, is not all at the same time and the only factor linking the four scenarios is the city block itself. So, they do not form a campaign. Instead, the insula is somewhere that the Player Characters might pass again and again and nothing happen, but very occasionally it does or they have reason to go there. This makes Rubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon easy to drop into an ongoing campaign set in Pavis and the Big Rubble.

Where the scenarios could have been improved is in the presentation of the set-up and possible consequences. The set-up for each is written for the player’s benefit rather than the Game Master’s, so it does take a while for the Game Master to actually find out what is going on, and the consequences of the scenarios are also always fully explored, especially, in some cases, the consequences of the Player Characters doing nothing.

Is it worth your time?
YesRubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon is a solid addition to any campaign set in Pavis and the Big Rubble, with a building type that can be easily customised and four scenarios to slot in between the major plots of the campaign.
NoRubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon is ideally suitable for campaigns with extensive urban and ruined areas, such as Pavis and the Big Rubble, and that is not where my campaign is set.
MaybeRubble Redux: Insula of the Waning Moon because the Lunars and the war against inflicted a lot of damage, so the insula could be relocated to any formerly Lunar-occupied town or city that has city blocks and its scenarios adapted to the new locations.

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