RuneQuest Campaign Diary – Part One

By Dan Zappone August 9, 2017 7 Min Read
RuneQuest QuickstartRuneQuest Quickstart
RuneQuest Quickstart
RuneQuest Quickstart

I recently embarked on an exciting new RuneQuest campaign with a unique group of players, including my son, three of my nephews, a long-time gaming buddy, and his son. Except for my seasoned gaming friend, the rest of the group had no prior experience with RuneQuest or Glorantha. However, they were not entirely new to the game mechanics, as we had previously played a campaign using Magic World.

We kicked off our adventure with the RuneQuest quickstart module, “The Broken Tower,” utilizing the provided pre-generated characters. To add a personal touch, we made a few minor adjustments to their names and genders, but otherwise, we kept everything as-is. In recounting our campaign experiences, I’ll endeavor to keep spoilers to a minimum.

This marks my first attempt at documenting our campaign journey, so if it seems a bit dull or out of the ordinary, rest assured that I hope to improve in future entries.

Before the game began, I asked each player about their favorite color, which led them to believe I would incorporate it into a Monty Python and the Holy Grail-esque Bridge of Death scenario. To their surprise, and in celebration of my birthday the following day, I presented each player with a set of dice in their chosen color as a special gift to mark the occasion.

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 Adventure Begins

The players quickly took a liking to the pre-generated characters, each selecting one that resonated with them. The game commenced swiftly as the players introduced their characters and established their relationships, plunging them into a crime scene investigation reminiscent of an episode from “CSI Glorantha.”

At the outset, the group interviewed the sole survivor of a cattle raid, extracting as much information as possible. They then proceeded to the crime scene, where, despite their best efforts, they could not uncover any significant clues. Fortunately, the trail of sixty cattle was easy to follow, leading the group westward.

The Thieves’ Campsite

Upon reaching the thieves’ campsite, the players discovered the body of one of the culprits. After a thorough examination and numerous failed tracking attempts, Cousin Monkey (acting as an NPC) deduced that the woman had been killed before the cattle were driven away. The cattle’s tracks now led north, questioning why the direction had changed. Feeling a sense of responsibility, the players decided to bury the woman before moving on.

Delving into Glorantha’s Lore

Surprisingly, this burial scene became the highlight of the entire session. As they were burying the woman, B, playing Vostor, began inquiring about Glorantha and its mythology. J, portraying Sorola (a Lhankor Mhy initiate) and a seasoned Glorantha campaigner, eagerly provided answers. Since most players were unfamiliar with Glorantha’s lore, I allowed the discussion to unfold organically, with everyone participating. This conversation significantly enhanced the group’s understanding and appreciation of Glorantha’s rich backstory. To reward their curiosity, I granted each player a cult-specific lore roll to see if their character gained any insights. Regrettably, B was the only one who failed the roll.

The Watcher in the Woods

As the adventurers continued on their journey, I periodically had someone make a scan roll to assess their surroundings. It wasn’t long before Vostor (played by B) spotted an individual lurking in a nearby copse of trees, observing the group. Owing to his critical success, Vostor could discern even from a distance that it was an elderly man. Playing a male Vasana, R decided to give chase and swiftly caught up with the mysterious figure, Carthalo.

As fate would have it, R‘s character recognized Carthalo. When the rest of the players caught up, they discovered that Carthalo knew E‘s character, Vishi Dun, a fellow shaman (apparently from ShamanCon MDCXXI). The group took this opportunity to gather information from Carthalo about the unsettling events that had transpired at the campsite. They also received a hint about something peculiar and helped Carthalo perform a burial ritual for the deceased woman. Through successful communication with her spirit, the characters learn more about the crime and offer to aid her in escaping the treacherous badlands.

A Night to Remember (not really)

Having established a positive rapport with Carthalo, the adventurers were invited to stay the night at his humble, albeit dry, dwelling. They shared food with their host and learned more about the spirits that inhabited the badlands, as well as some information about the enigmatic stone woman. Carthalo warned them to avoid her at all costs. As the storm, orchestrated by Orlanth, raged outside, the group found shelter and rest within Carthalo’s home.

The following morning, the players continued questioning Carthalo about the surrounding area and the mysterious stone woman. They showed restraint by not attempting to persuade him to join them on their journey; however, given their strong bond with him, Carthalo likely would have agreed to accompany them if asked.

Picking Up the Trail

The adventurers faced a considerable challenge in locating the trail, and although they eventually found the campsite, the path had been washed away. Despite their best efforts, not even Cousin Monkey could pick up any tracks. Undeterred, the group decided to head north through the damp and moody weather. After several hours, they rediscovered the trail, leading them to an ancient road heading northward. J attempted to decipher the menhirs they encountered along the way but had only moderate success, identifying the inscriptions as old Theyalan markings but needing help to read them.

Romastar (played by R) and Harmast (played by F) took the lead and were the first to hear the desperate bellows of a lost cow. Shortly after, they stumbled upon the poor creature being attacked by rock lizards. The group unanimously decided to intervene and save the cow. D joined the adventure at this point, taking on the role of Cousin Monkey. The ensuing combat involved a small cavalry charge led by a bison and an alticamelus and the valiant effort to chase off the rock lizards. D skillfully used sling stones to deter the majority of the rock lizards. Most notably, Yanioth (played by C) made a concerted effort to ensure the cow’s survival, casting slow spells on the rock lizards and healing spells on the cow to keep it alive.

End of a Session

Initially, I believed the adventurers could complete the entire adventure in a single session. However, I was mistaken. We had to wrap up the session after the battle with the rock lizards. Exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before and having already played for at least six hours, it was time to call it a day. The hour-long discussion about Glorantha and its mythology likely contributed to the session’s duration, but it was a worthwhile conversation.

Overall, the session was a success, especially considering the players new to Glorantha embraced the setting. I eagerly anticipate our next session, although the timing remains uncertain. B is off to college in a nearby city, but his roommate, who owns a car, has expressed interest in joining the game, potentially enabling their participation. R, C, F, and E will be starting school in a couple of weeks, making the beginning of the school year a hectic time. If all goes well, we hope to reconvene for another RuneQuest session within the month.