I started a new RuneQuest campaign recently with my son, three of my nephews, an old gaming friend, and his son. Aside from my friend all of them are RuneQuest and Glorantha novices, though we did use Magic World for a previous campaign so they weren’t completely unfamiliar with the rule. We started with the RuneQuest quickstart adventure “The Broken Tower” using the pre-generated characters along with a few name and gender modifications but otherwise all thing being equal. I’ll try to avoid anything more than light spoilers.
This is the first time I’ve ever written a campaign diary entry so if it’s a bit dry or uncharacteristic, well, hopefully they’ll get better in the future.
Prior to the game I asked each player what their favorite color was. They were sure I was going to use the color as part of a Monty Python and the Holy Grail crossing the Bridge of Death sort of encounter. Since my birthday was the day after the session I gave them each a set of dice in that color as a gift for my birthday.
RuneQuest Campaign Dramatis Persona
R (my son) as Romastar (a renamed male version of Vasana), Initiate of Orlanth Adventurous
C (twin nephew one) as Yanioth, Apprentice Priestess of Ernalda (who has a thick brooklyn accent for some reason – perhaps that’s how people sound in Nochet)
F (twin nephew two) as Harmast (which he insists is pronounced Josh), Initiate of Issaries
B (eldest nephew) as Vostor, Initiate of Seven Mothers
J (friend) as Sorola, Initiate of Lhankor Mhy
E (friends son) as Vishi Dun, Assistant shaman of the High Llama Tribe
D (a younger son of mine) sat in for a bit as Cousin Monkey, a baboon.
The players seemed to really like the pre-generated characters with everyone find one that appeals to them. Things got off to a pretty quick start with the players introducing themselves and their relationships and then dropping them into the crime scene like an episode of CSI Glorantha.
Initially the group spoke with the survivor of the cattle raid and gathered about as much information as possible. They then set off to examine the location it took place where they unfortunately couldn’t figure out much of anything. Thankfully it’s difficult to hide where sixty cattle were run off to. So they set off to the west.
They arrived at the campsite of the thieves and discovered the body of one of them. After a brief examination and many failed track rolls Cousin Monkey (in the capacity of NPC at the time) managed to determine that the dead woman was killed before the cattle were driven off. Obviously the cattle were driven in a new direction, North, but why? With no prompting the players decided they should bury the woman.
The Dead Bring About Discussions
This may have been the most interesting part of the whole session. While they were burying the woman B, playing Vostor started asking questions about Glorantha and Gloranthan mythology. J, playing Sorola, the Lhankor Mhy initiate and having played many campaigns in Glorantha over the years started answering them. Since none of them beside J knew much about Glorantha I let it play out as everyone joined in and I think the overall appreciation of the background of Glorantha grew considerably as a result. I was so pleased that they had this discussion I let them each have a cult appropriate lore roll to see if their character learned anything. Unfortunately B was the only one who failed his.
The Watcher in the Woods
Meanwhile I periodically had someone make a scan roll. Eventually B (Vostor) spotted someone in in the nearby copse of tree watching them. He got a critical success so even at a distance he was able to tell it was an old man. R, playing a male Vasana, gave chase and easily caught up with Carthalo. As luck would have it, he knew who it was and when the rest of the players caught up it turns out Carthalo knew who E was, Vishi Dun, a fellow shaman (apparently from ShamanCon MDCXXI).
At this point they learned what they could from Carthalo about the what occurred at the campsite, a hint about something strange and assisted him in performing the burial ritual for the dead woman. The characters were also successful in communicating with her, learning more about the crime and offering to help her find her way out of the badlands.
A Night to Remember (not really)
So the players got on about as good a side as possible with Carthalo and wound up staying the night at his rude, but dry, dwelling. They shared food with Carthalo and learned a bit about the spirits in the badlands and heard a bit about the stone woman, Carthalo urging them to avoid her at all cost. The storm (Orlanth) raged that night and they slept where they could. In the morning the players grilled poor Carthalo again about the area and the stone woman. To their credit they didn’t try to get him to come with him though since they did a really good job of reaching out to him he probably would have.
Picking Up the Trail
Trying to find the trail was a challenge, eventually they located the campsite but the trail was washed out. No success of any sort with track from anyone, not even Cousin Monkey. So they headed north in the damp and moody weather. After a few hours they were able to find the trail again and then discovered an ancient road leading north. J, spent some time trying to figure out the menhirs they encountered along the way but had only moderate success noting that they were inscribed with old Theyalan markings but unable to read them.
R (Romastar) and F (Harmast) were riding point and first heard the bellows of a lost cow. Almost immediately after they discovered a poor steer being set upon by rock lizards. As a group they decided they should try to save the beef. D, sat in at this point and I let him play Cousin Monkey. In brief, because combat is fun to play out but boring to hear described unless anything interesting happens, there was a tiny cavalry charge consisting of a bison and alticamelus, and general cutting down and chasing off of rock lizards. D managed to hit most of the rock lizards at least once with sling stones in an attempt to drive them off. Most interesting perhaps was that C, as Yanioth, made a serious effort to ensure that the steer survived, casting slow spells on rock lizards and healing spells on the steer to keep it alive.
End of a Session
So I really thought they’d be able to play through the entire adventure in a single session. I was wrong. We had to call it quits after the combat with the rock lizards. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before and was quite tired and we’d already been playing for at least six hours. I’m sure the hour long discussion about Glorantha and the mythology slowed things down considerably but it was worth it.
All in all I’d say it was quite successful as the players who hadn’t been exposed to Glorantha embraced it quite a bit. I’m looking forward to the next session whenever that will be but as B is off to college in a nearby city though his roommate with a car has expressed interest in playing so that may bring them up here. R, C, F, and E all start school in a couple of weeks and the beginning of the school year is always a busy time. With any luck we’ll be playing another RuneQuest session within the month.