07 July 2021

Random Clan Terrain Generator

In 2015 I wrote a blog entry to randomly generate an Imperial Chinese Prefecture for TTRPGs set in Imperial China. I was quite satisfied with my article (itself based on a post on Éric Nieudan's now-defunct web-site), but it has only very recently occurred to me that I could easily adapt it to Sartar to make a Random Clan Terrain Generator!

What you need:
 - A standard 52-card deck with French suits (); remove the jokers and the 2's.
 - Dice.

1. Draw cards to make a 7×7 grid; leave centre of grid empty. The rectangle represents the tula, and the dark grey centre is the main settlement, the clan's capital:

2. Terrain the remaining 48 areas according to card suit; face cards mean there is a steading. See tables below:

  woods or swamp 
 ♥ hills 
 ♠ mountains 

 Jack: hamlet or stead 
 Queen: temple, shrine, other holy place 
 King: manor or mansion 
 Ace: small town or village 

Choose or draw another card for sub-types, e.g.:

 Second Card Drawn   Settlement Sub-Type   Temple Sub-Type   Manor Sub-Type 
 ♦  Sartarite   Orlanthi  Retired Rune Lord/Priest 
 ♣  Sartarite   Ernaldan  Guildhouse
 ♥  Sartarite   other Sartarite   Local Thane 
 ♠  non-Sartarite (e.g., Sun Domers, Lunar colonists)   pre-Sartarite   Wealthy Landowner 

 Third Card Drawn   other Sartarite Sub-Type   pre-Sartarite Sub-Type 
 ♦  Humakt  True/Dream Dragon 
 ♣  Issaries  Major Spirit
 ♥  Lhankor Mhy  Mysterious otherworldly being
 ♠  other  other

3. Encounters and events. Now, whenever the player characters are travelling throughout the clan territory, random encounters may happen! For each card, roll d20 and compare to card value (Jack = 11, Queen = 12,  King = 13, Ace = 14). If the die roll is = card value, look at the encounter on the table below.

Variant: Use a d10 in the light grey area.

 Die   Civilised Encounters
Die roll < card value 
Die roll = card value 
 1   Farmers travelling foraging poaching fleeing 
 2   Fishermen working mending nets famished building a dam 
 3   Merchants caravan lost being robbed loaded with silver  Ambush or trap 
 4   Initiates preaching looking for help begging on a pilgrimage   Impromptu market 
 5   Warriors professional rural militia urban militia press-gang   Freak weather 
 6   Orlanthi from Another Clan mercenaries traders transients pilgrims   Blocked roads 
 7   Orlanthi from Another Tribe warband migrating raiding hiding  Fire 
 8   Non-human Tusk Riders Elves Beast Men Trolls  Flood 
 9   Adventurers bruised & beaten hostile friendly richly equipped   Battle 
 10   Lunars tax collectors ♣missionaries colonists soldiers   Ghosts 
 11   Bandits river raiders on the run hiding carrying plunder   Country fair 
 12   Thieves street thugs running from the law spies burglars   Bandit Lair 
 13   Sun Domers merchants ambassadors prisoners pilgrims   Siege 
 14   Plague 

Feedback and suggestions welcome.

03 July 2021

The Barbapapa

This stems from a humorous thread on Facebook. You don't wanna know.

Zuccarum Netum
The Barbapapa are large, natural shapeshifters living in the wilderness of Genertela. In their native form, Barbapapa are blob-shaped, with a distinct head and arms, but no legs. Male Barbapapa have rounder bottoms, whereas female Barbapapa have a slenderer form. Each Barbapapa can adopt any form they choose, but they remain easily identifiable by always retaining their faces and their distinctive colour.
Barbapapa display likeable faces but are actually flesh-eating predators. Their favourite preys are unsuspecting children whom they attract by singing catchy tunes. The prey is put to sleep by the lullaby and then its body is slowly absorbed by the blob-shaped monster.
Even though they are fearsome opponents, Barbapapa will only fight if cornered.

a Barbapapa in Prax

Characteristics (Average)
STR 4D6 (14)
CON 3D6 (10-11)
SIZ 5D6 (17-18)
INT 2D6+6 (13)
POW 3D6 (10-11)
DEX 2D6+3 (10)
CHA 2D6+6 (13)

Hit Points: 13      Move: 8
Magic Points: 11     Base SR: 3
Armour: 1-point hide. Some Barbapapa are protected by 2-point thick fur.
Skills: Disguise 75%, Dodge 25%, Hide 85%, Listen 50%, Shapeshift 100%, Spirit Combat 50%, Swim 75%.
Special defence: Since the Barbapapa’s shape-shifting ability is almost instantaneous, it will create a hole around any piercing weapon about to hit its body, or modify it cushion-like in case a blow by a crushing weapon is about to land. As a result, only area-affecting physical attacks may harm a Barbapapa. Specials and criticals will also hit a Barbapapa; in this case, the attack was too precise for the Barbapapa to modify its shape in time.

Barbapapa Hit Locations
Body 01-16     1/11
Head 17-20     1/5

Weapon % Damage SR
Envelop 100 8 points of digestive fluid 1
Pseudopod 50 1D8+1D4 7

08 April 2021

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Ultra-Fast Character Generation

Two years ago, I wrote a blog post titled RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Accelerated Character Generation for people who thought the standard RQ chargen process (p23-83 of the core rules) was too time-consuming.

Well, believe it or not, I have received complaints that my system was still too long! After some thought and some testing, I present you the RQ:G Ultra-Fast Character Generation process!

This should work for any character type, except the assistant shaman.

It’s still in eight easy steps but, er, shorter:

1. Homeland choice

2. Character history

3. Rune affinities

4. Characteristics

5. Occupation

6. Cult

7. Personal skill bonuses

8. Misc.

1. Homeland choice

Just write down your choice of homeland, then choose three starting Passions at 60%, irrespective of your homeland. If you’re undecided, or unfamiliar with RQ:G’s passion system, use the following:

  • Love (Family) 60%
  • Loyalty (whatever the referee says will be the core organisation of their campaign) 60%
  • Hate (whatever the referee says will be the main opposition in their campaign) 60%

2. Character history

Let us skip family history altogether (the time-consuming chunk in the core rulebook) and give your character the following:

+1D6 reputation OR 1D6×100 L

+1D20 to a given Passion

+10% to a Communication or Knowledge skill of your choice

3. Rune affinities

3a. Elemental Runes

Roll 3 dice for your primary (60%), secondary (40%), and tertiary (20%) Elemental Runes:

D6 – Elemental Rune

1 – Darkness

2 – Water

3 – Earth

4 – Fire/Sky

5 – Air

6 – Moon

If the result of the second roll is the same as the result of the first roll, re-roll. Ditto for the third roll re: the first and the second rolls.

Finally, add +10% to a single Elemental Rune (even one at 0%).

3b. Power/Form Runes

Roll two dice to determine which of your Power/Form Runes start at 75%:

D10 – Power/Form Rune

1 – Fertility

2 – Death

3 – Harmony

4 – Disorder

5 – Truth

6 – Illusion

7 – Stasis

8 – Movement

9 – Man

10 – Beast

Note: if your first roll was 1, the second cannot be 2, as they are opposing Runes; re-roll the die. Same with 3, 4 – 5, 6 – 7, 8 – 9, 10.

4. Characteristics

Do not roll for characteristics but freely assign the following values: 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 to your characteristics, +4 extra points.

Do not apply the Rune or Homeland modifiers to characteristics (p53 of the core rules) as the values above have already taken them into account.

Attributes & Skill Category Modifiers

Compute them per the rules.

Homeland Cultural Skill Bonuses

Replace the Homeland cultural skill bonuses (p60-63 of the core rules) with the following, depending on your choice of a background for your character:

Urban background

Bargain +5

Dance +5

Intrigue +5

Sing +5

Customs (local) (25)

Farm +25

First Aid +5

Spirit Combat +15

Speak own language (50)

Speak Tradetalk +10

Dagger +5

Battle-Axe +5

1H Spear +15

Sword/Rapier +10

Bow/Sling +10

Javelin +5

Thrown Axe +5

Small shield +5

Medium shield +15

Large shield +15

Generic rural, unmounted

Ride +5

Dance +5

Sing +10

Customs (local) (25)

Farm +20

Herd +5

Survival +5

Spirit combat +15

Speak own language (50)

Speak Tradetalk +10

Dagger +10

Battle-Axe +15

1H Spear +10

Sword +15

Composite bow/Sling +10

Javelin +10

Medium shield +15

Large shield +10

Generic rural, mounted

Ride +35

Customs (local) (25)

Herd +35

Peaceful cut +5

Spirit combat +20

Speak own language (50)

Speak Tradetalk +10

Dagger +10

Lance +15

Sword +10

Composite bow +10

Small shield +15

Medium shield +10

5. Occupation

Replace the Occupational skill bonuses (p63-73 of the core rules) with the following, depending on your choice of an occupational category for your character:


Bargain +10

Dance +10

Orate +5

Sing +10

Customs +5

Evaluate +10

First Aid +10

Lore (choose) +15

Manage Household +15

Treat Disease +10

1st Craft +10

2nd Craft (can be the same) +5 

Devise +5

Play (instrument) +10

Insight (humans) +10

Speak Own Language +10

Speak Tradetalk +10

Weapon (mêlée) +10


Ride +5

Dance +5

Intrigue +10

Orate +20

Sing +15

Customs +5

Lore (choose) +20

Manage household +20

Meditate +5

Worship (deity) +15

Insight (humans) +5

Speak Own Language +5

Read/Write Own Language +10

Weapon (mêlée) +15

Shield (choose) +15

Irregular Fighter/Lowlife

Climb +5

Disguise +10

Fast Talk +10

First Aid +5

Herd +10

Homeland lore (local) +10

Lore (choose) +10

Peaceful cut +10

Survival +10

Sleight +10

Scan +5

Track +10

Hide +15

Move Quietly +10

First Weapon +30

Second Weapon +5

Shield (choose) +5


Bargain +10

Orate +10

Bureaucracy +10

Customs +15

Evaluate +15

Library Use +10

Lore (choose) +25

Manage household +10

Meditate +5

Insight (humans) +5

Speak Other Language +5

Speak Tradetalk +10

Read/Write Own Language +40

Read/Write Other Language +10

Regular Fighter

Ride +20

Sing +10

Battle +30

First Aid +10

Listen +10

Scan +10

First Weapon +40

Second Weapon +25

Third Weapon +15

Shield (choose) +20

6. Cult

Your adventurer starts off as already being an Initiate of a cult. Choose the cult of your character and apply the skill modifiers on p74-79. Alternatively, and if you want to stay in the spirit of the ‘ultra fast’ character generation rules, simply distribute +45 skill points among three to four skills that fit in with the deity’s portfolio or with the deity’s Runes, e.g., Speak Darktongue for an initiate of a Darkness deity.

You also get to choose 5 points of Spirit Magic amongst the cult’s available spells. Your adventurer receives 3 Rune points dedicated to their cult, and an extra Passion at 60% amongst the ones listed under their cult.

7. Personal skill bonuses

Finally, add +25 to any four skills, and +10 to five more. No skill may be raised above 100%.

8. Misc.

Choose the character’s gender and name. I recommend you use this post to finalise the character’s hair and skin colour.

Determine Age (21±1D4)

Add +5 to Reputation.

20 March 2021

[Jonstown Compendium] The Howling Tower

The Howling Tower is my first foray into the Jonstown Compendium, the Chaosium-sponsored corner on drivethru rpg where fans can sell their own RuneQuest content. My contribution is minuscule (I have made sure everything was consistent with the latest edition of the rules, and I have written the stats of the pre-generated characters): the original author of the adventure is Devin Cutler, and Dario Corallo has been the driving force behind this endeavour, doing the layout, the artwork, choosing what should get in and what should stay out, etc. so it's definitely his baby. Moreover, Dario has transformed a mere adventure into a fantastic adventure pack by adding virtual tabletop maps and counters, handouts, enlarged maps, etc.

Irrespective of my involvement, I really recommend you purchase this adventure pack: if you buy The Howling Tower, you will get everything needed for several session of Old School fun via virtual tabletop play (quite useful in these pandemic times), plus loads of re-useable setting material for any RuneQuest campaign set around the Upland Marsh and/or the village of Two Sisters, or even in north-western Sartar.

Buy it now!

08 March 2021

Monsters! Monsters! – New Setting & New Adventure(s)

Monsters! Monsters! is a delightful role-playing game running on the Tunnels & Trolls engine that lets you play the role of the bloodthirsty, flesh-eating, mayhem-bringing monsters instead of the usual puny and boring humans, dwarves or elves.

Thessaly Chance Tracy, GM and T&T advocate extraordinaire, has been working on a grand Monsters! Monsters! setting and campaign for years (you can read about it in issues 1 and 2 of The Hanging Garden), and her work is at last going to be published. I believe Thessaly’s setting is to vanilla fantasy what Sergio Leone’s films were to the western genre: a sonorous wake-up call accompanied by a huge kick in the arse.

After the good news, more good news: there’s so much stuff that the setting and the campaign will be published in several volumes. The first one is titled Uprising at Buzzard’s Gulch and it will contain the setting, the maps, the NPCs, and countless adventure seeds and hooks. The cover is just amazing:

cover by Simon Lee Tranter

The second book will be an adventure, titled Beatdown At Big Battle Ridge, and it should be released very shortly after Uprising.
Then a second adventure (and third book) shall follow, titled Desperately Seeking Plumb Gorgeous, in which the monsters seek to kidnap the most beautiful girl in all the land [Monsters! Monsters! notoriously rewards monsters with adventure points for kidnapping beautiful girls].

25 January 2021

Aldryami Deities

For those who are not on FarceBook, I am copying here the post that Shannon Appelcline has shared yesterday on the “Glorantha Fans” group: a listing of the Aldryami’s spirits/songs/themes/gods. Missing: heroes and some of the Iri fragments.

Dramatis Prosopaedia: The Grower

  • Potential. The unworshipped potential of the universe.

The First Planting

  • The Grower. Potential reborn as the unworshipped creator of all things.

The Second Planting

  • Eron. The healing waters. A piece of the Grower, and one of the Protectors.
  • Gata. The broken earth. A piece of the Grower, and one of the Protectors.
  • Halamalao. The warm sun. A piece of the Grower, and one of the Protectors.
  • Falamal. The Grower reborn in the world, father of all plants.

The Pure Seeding

  • Aldrya. The first seed planted in Gata.
  • Haldrya. The first seed planted in Halamalao.
  • Murthdraya. The first seed planted in Eron.
  • Seyotel. The song that connects all life.

The Sundering of Seyotel

  • Eirennor. The first Seer: Aldryami perception.
  • Larayse. The first Mover: Aldryami mobility.
  • Trileme. The first Doer: Aldryami action.

The Third Planting

  • Bengara. Death-to-live, the power to prune, the Grower reborn to embody the Balance.
  • Veratha. Life-after-life, rebirth, the Grower reborn to embody the Cycle.

The Hybrid Seeding

  • Mee Vorala. The first plant grown in Trigora, a life in death.
  • Slor. The first spore, equal parts life and death.

Dramatis Prosopaedia: The Taker

The First Planting

  • The Taker. Potential reborn as the unworshipped destroyer of all things.

The Second Planting

  • Ekeem. The sterile stone. A piece of the Taker, and one of the Pretenders.
  • Iri. The enshrouding dust. A piece of the Taker, and one of the Pretenders.
  • Zasara. The dark sun. A piece of the Taker, and one of the Pretenders.
  • Bebester. The unworshipped Taker reborn in the world, the great pruner.

The Sundering of Iri

  • Iniri. The freezing snow. A fragment of Iri, and a lesser Pretender.
  • Kitipah. The burning flame. A fragment of Iri, and a lesser Pretender.

The Third Planting

  • Ferotha. Live-to-die, natural death, the Taker reborn to embody the Cycle.
  • Trigora. Death-after-death, the Underworld, the Taker reborn to upset the Balance.

 The post was followed by a Q&A:

Q: Which of these survived the Darkness? Which are still worshipped?
A: The Protectors are all wounded: Halamalao isn’t as bright (and isn’t at the top of the Sky Dome), Gata is broken into thousands of pieces; and Eron has definitely been damaged, but different myths give different descriptions of that (he took some fire into himself, he wept, he bled, he gave control of the oceans to Magasta).
Haldrya is lost, along with all the white elves.
As for “survived”, that’s a funny question, because Glorantha and Trigora (the Underworld) are just two parts of the Cycle. I know that at least one of the “spiritual songs” dwells in Trigora. Maybe Larayse. But that doesn’t stop Aldryami from communicating with him/her/it. (Technically, all three of the spiritual songs died, because they were normal plants that developed the ability to sense, to move, and to act, but I don’t know if they're all still in Trigora or not.)
And there’s certainly been a lot of movement between the Underworld and Glorantha: all of the Mreli and all of the Makisanti for a start. And there have definitely been rumours and prophecies that the Vronkali who were planted during Aldrya’s Woe will be returning.
Oh, and worshipped? The vast majority of Aldryami worship Aldrya (or Murthdrya). After that, small minorities probably follow Falamal, Eron, Halamalao, and Gata. Then Bengara and Veratha. There are also some very few ‘dark’ elves who follow Ekeem, Iri, and Zasara. The others (the “spiritual songs” in the top triangle) are more abstractions and powers.

18 January 2021

Unusual Weapons for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha

As my players might tell you, I love unusual situations in my RQ games, and unusual weapons are an aspect of this. Here are three unusual weapons for your gaming pleasure. Since there aren’t any official statistics for them (yet?), I have created my own, mostly based on old RQ2 publications.


The blowgun is an exotic weapon used in Eastern and Southeastern Genertela. The elf blowgun (also called a dartgun) is described on p22 of the Glorantha Bestiary; the blowgun described below is used by humans, either primitive peoples or assassin cults. Trollkin are also known to use blowguns that are slightly different (they are longer and have 6 HPs).

The blowgun doesn’t do much damage: the reason it is used is because the dart may be poisoned, usually with fast-acting herbal poison (see p159 of RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha).

Category Name Base % STR DEX Damage HP ENC Range SR
Blowgun Blowgun 10 - 11 1D3 4 (3) 30m 2

Net, Trapping

The net will be described in the upcoming Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha. It is favoured by some Darkness and Chaos cults. Here is a simplified version I have used in my games in the hands of NPCs who wanted to capture the player characters.

A trapping net may be of any SIZ but requires one user per 20 pts. of SIZ. A net must have a larger SIZ than its intended target to entrap them whole; if not, roll the hit location as usual to determine the ensnared location.
The STR of the net is 1.5 times its SIZ.

Category Name Base % STR DEX Damage ENC Range SR
Net Net, Trapping
05 9 9 Special† 2/3* 5m 2/1*

†cannot be parried; can be dodged
*the second figure is for a large net (SIZ>20)

A wholly ensnared character may try to rip open the net by rolling their STR v the STR of the net. It will take two rounds to crawl out of the net.
A net may also be cut through, either by the ensnared character or by their comrades, by delivering an amount of hit points of damage via edged weapons equal to the STR of the net. The problem is that, during combat, any damage to the net by a character outside of it is equally shared by the ensnared character.

A partially ensnared character is ‘wrapped’, see the description of the Whip below.


The Whip is favoured by Water cults and is quite unusual in the Dragon Pass area. I suggest this weapon should be placed in the hands of transient NPCs, possibly from the Mirrorsea bay area. Ideally the transient NPC should be a herder, teamster, caravaneer, slave merchant, or some ‘evil’ Water cultist (as whips provide Maximum Game Fun in the hands of villains).

The whip is a weapon of fixed range. It is useless beyond its range, and it can only be used to attack a target at equal to or more than half its maximum range. Within that range, the whip is useless.

Category Name Base % STR DEX Damage HP ENC Range SR
Whip Whip 10 9 11 1D4 12 1 5m 1

The whip will wrap around its target on any Special to hit roll. A wrapped victim cannot act. If a leg is caught, the target must roll DEX as a percentage to keep from falling.
The whip will loosen after one round.
If the Special hit is parried with a weapon, or if the hit location was the weapon-wielding arm, the whip encircles the weapon’s shaft and may whip it out of the user’s hand, roll STR v STR to disarm; if the whip user fails to disarm, the target may try a STR v STR roll to pull the whip from the user’s grip.

Whips are unpredictable and have a double fumble range.

16 January 2021

the Library of Lhankor Mhy

OK, I have just discovered the Library of Lhankor Mhy... it is so useful if you are a true blue Glorantha buff. It is basically a searchable archive of all the online exchanges between Gloranthaphiles at the end of the 20th century, before G+, Facebook, etc.

For instance, I am obsessed about Orathorn at the moment. Well, I have had a look at my numerous RQ/Glorantha PDFs and couldn’t find much beyond “the Nights of Horror” yet a search in the Library of Lhankor Mhy yielded many hits.

06 January 2021

Elemental Runes and Physical Appearance

Katrin Moondaughter is a talented artist artist who often posts Gloranthan-inspired art on social networks (@KleiosCanvas). She has recently posted the following about the effects of Elemental Runes on the physical appearance of Gloranthan characters, and she has authorised me to copy it on my blog.

Skin: Pale, colourless, grey
Hair: Matte Black, Oily
Eyes: Dark Grey to Black, Large Pupils, Not much of whites visible
Facial Features: Sharp Teeth, Wide Mouths, Heavy Brow ridges
Other Features: Tall, Heavy Build
Skin: Olive with strong Green or Blue tint
Hair: Black, Dark Blonde to Light Brown, Green or Blue tint, Wavy and Flowing.
Eyes: Blue and Green, Large and Watery
Facial Features: Soft, Androgynous, little facial hair
Other Features: Soft and lithe, Androgynous, little to no body hair
Skin: Olive to dark Brown
Hair: Dark Brown to Copper, Wavy to Curly, easily keeps its shape
Eyes: Deep Green and Brown
Facial Features: Broad nose, Full Lips, friendly.
Other Features: Short, Stocky and Heavy build, Well-Endowed.
Skin: Light to Light Brown with Golden Tint
Hair: Light Blonde to Golden Brown, Straight to slightly Wavy
Eyes: Light Blue to Light Brown, Golden Speckles, Sharp, slightly slanted.
Facial Features: Aquiline Nose, High Cheekbones, Thin Lips
Other Features: Tall, Light Build, Bony
Skin: Light with Grayish tint to Brown with Bronze tint
Hair: Reddish Blonde, Orange-Red, Coppery Brown, Wavy, Curly and unruly
Eyes: Grey, Light Blue, Light Orange-ish Brown.
Facial Features: Angular, Bony, Fierce, much Facial Hair
Other Features: Muscular, much Body Hair
Skin: Very Pale to Light with Pinkish tint.
Hair: Deep Red, Straight to Wavy
Eyes: Grey to Reddish Brown, Large
Facial Features: Soft, Feminine
Other Features: Soft Skin, Curvy