domingo, 10 de mayo de 2020

Review of Jorthan's Rescue Redux

2 comentarios
Jorthan's Rescue Redux is a short scenario for RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha. It is sold on DrivethruRPG, under the Jonstown Compendium terms. Similar to other community content platforms such as the Dungeon Masters Guild, fans of Glorantha can produce their own material and sell it on DrivethruRPG. Below you can read my review.

First of all

This is an adaptation of an old scenario that first appeared on the 19th issue of the White Dwarf magazine in 1980. Back then, the current edition of RuneQuest was the second one, and it had been published only two years before. That scenario, by Stephen R. Marsh and John T. Sapienza Jr, was 4 pages long, including stats! Matthew Pook, the author of the adaptation for RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha, asked permission to the original authors to republish it and they gladly granted it.

Matthew Pook was kind to send me a review copy of the scenario. This has not biased my opinion of it though, as I will point out both what I like as what I dislike about it.

Cover of White Dwarf #19 and a small piece of the original scenario it included.


Jorthan's Rescue Redux is a 22-page-long full color, well laid out scenario. The cover art is by Kris Herbert and it is quite good. It shows two NPCs: a blue-skinned troll dressed in armor and armed with a mace, and a trollkin who is stirring soup in a cauldron. Their facial expressions seem to indicate they have just heard the alarm being raised. The interior art is scarce, only small fillers, but it includes 3 maps, copied from the original scenario. Finally, two NPCs are depicted using pictures of statues.

Internal pages of Jorthan's Rescue Redux showing one of the maps.

The scenario

As you may have guessed already, Jorthan has been kidnapped and needs to be rescued. The premise is therefore plain and simple: his wife will pay the adventurers for rescuing him from his captors. Although the original scenario placed the action somewhere on the trails between Boldhome and Pavis, the new version places it in the lands of the Colymar tribe, to better integrate the scenario with the others so far published by Chaosium, in particular the ones in the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack. In fact, the author has made an effort to flesh out the meager 4 pages of the original mini-scenario with details that make much more sense and make it more rounded. For example, all the NPCs have been given motivations, and the scenario includes the tactics they will follow in response to the actions of the PCs.

I also like that the people that need rescuing are Lunars. Since it will be common for player characters to have the passion Hate Lunars, the scenario provides some reasons why they will feel the need to get involved. This alone can create interesting scenes. For example I wouldn't be surprised if some characters would held them prisoners after having liberated them from the trolls! Aside from that, these two NPCs are described with the same level of detail as any starting player character, so they could be used as future NPCs or even PCs in your campaign.

Ilessa is a Lunar trader in Jorthan's Rescue Redux, while Jandetin is a Grazelander who worships Orlanth.

In spite of that, a couple details could have been further improved. These are mainly due to the fact that in 1980, there wasn't as much information about Glorantha as there is now. For example, what is a gorp doing in the bandits' lair? And is it really possible for a troll to fall in love with a human? Still, these are just niggles that won't affect your player's enjoyment (and they can be easily fixed if you want). Besides, the Jonstown Compendium scenarios don't need to fit into the canon anyway. On top of that, I guess Matthew Pook didn't want to deviate too much from the original scenario out of respect for its authors.

Finally, as in the original scenario, there is an alternative map for the bandits' lair you can use. I find the default one more interesting from a strategic point of view, but it is nice to have this other map as an option for GMs.

All in all, this is an old-school dungeon bash that compensates its lack of originality with a high degree of usability. You get to crush some skulls and have a lot of fun while doing it. However, if you go there over-confidently, your characters may well end up with their skulls being crushed. Because, you know, a critical success, even by a trollkin, can be terrifying in RuneQuest! Moreover, if you ran it back in the day with RQ2, you will love running it again with the current edition.

What I like the most:

  • The simple premise is perfect for beginners in the world of Glorantha.
  • The scenario is very easy to insert in an ongoing campaign. For example, in my campaign I will set it near Adari, in Prax.
  • Tactics are described so the GM clearly knows how the NPCs will respond to the actions of PCs.
  • The NPCs have complete stats and motivations.

What I like the least:

  • Negotiating with the trolls is not contemplated as an option (less fun, but also less dangerous)
  • Having identical stats for two donkeys.
  • As in the original scenario, Jorthan's stats are not described.

Jorthan's Rescue Redux can be downloaded from DrivethruRPG for 6$. For now, all the PDFs of the Jonstown Compendium are only available in PDF, but hopefully in the future there will be a POD option available.

2 comentarios:

  1. Uno de los puntos fuertes del RQ siempre han sido los módulos, con las localizaciones y PNJ listos para jugar. 👍😀

    1. Efectivamente, y en el Jonstown Compendium no paran de salir novedades. :-) Gracias por el comentario, Eihir.


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