Jonstown Jottings #13: The Duel at Dangerford

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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 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.


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What is it?
The Duel at Dangerford is a scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, a confrontation between Sartarite heroes and a vengeful Lunar army.

It is a thirty-seven page, full colour, 5.11 MB PDF.

The Duel at Dangerford is well presented, decently written, and illustrated with publicly sourced artwork. It needs an edit in places.

Where is it set?
As the title suggests, The Duel at Dangerford is set in Dangerford—specifically on the Isle Dangerous—as well on the road to Runegate. In the official canon of Glorantha, this takes place in the Storm Season of 1625, but due to the vagaries of the author’s campaign and ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’, in The Duel at Dangerford it takes pace in the Storm Season of 1626.

Who do you play?
The player characters should ideally be heroes of Sartar. The scenario works particularly well if one of the player characters is a Humakti.

What do you need?
The Duel at Dangerford requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack to play. To get the most out of The Duel at Dangerford, the Game Master will need access to The Coming Storm: The Red Cow Volume I, The Eleven Lights: The Red Cow Volume II, and The Glorantha Sourcebook. To get the utmost out of The Duel at Dangerford, the Game Master will also need access to Wyrm’s Footnotes #12, Wyrm’s Footnotes #15, the Dragon Pass board game, the Argan Argar Atlas, King of Sartar, Arcane Lore, and Troll Gods—although the last seven are really only of note or use if you are dedicated Gloranthaphile and have copies in your library.

In terms of the narrative, the player characters will also require an outspoken rival, ideally set up beforehand. If The Duel at Dangerford is run as part of the scenarios included in RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack, this could be someone at the court of Queen Leika in Clearwine or if the Game Master has run ‘Cattle Raid’, then a member of the Malani tribe.

What do you get?
The Duel at Dangerford is a simple scenario at its core. Divided into three acts, it begins in media res with the player characters on the road to Runegate with the Colymar Tribal Host, having answered the call to war in the face of an imminent invasion by a Tarshite Provincial Army. Following a council of war, the player characters are sidelined to Dangerford in order to protect the flank of the Colymar Tribal Host of the Sartarite Army. As they make their way there, they spot both a second column of Tarshite soldiery heading towards to Dangerford, no doubt to cross the river there and conduct a flanking manouevre as was feared, and the fact that the column is led by no less a figure than General Fazzur Wideread, one of the greatest figures of the age. The player characters must therefore rush to Dangerford and find a way of stopping the advancing Tarshite forces, and it just so happens that the Isle Dangerous is a legendary duelling ground, where the Humakti rules of duelling are upheld by an ancient hero.

Unfortunately, as simple a scenario as The Duel at Dangerford is, it could have been a whole lot more simple. The problem is that it is overwritten, the author dwelling just a little too much on details and information that is not really pertinent to the scenario, either in the scenario’s extensive footnotes or annoyingly, in the text itself. So in a lot of cases, it is more hard work for the Game Master than it should be to prepare and run The Duel at Dangerford, but then it is underwritten else where, in particular not really giving information on how the the player characters go about performing a certain ritual on the Isle Dangerous. What is happening here is that the author is showing his love and knowledge of Glorantha, and whilst much of that information is interesting and whilst there is a certain joy to the writing, it is fundamentally just a little too much—certainly for anyone without that same degree of love and knowledge. Especially since the scenario suffers in places as a consequence.

In addition, The Duel at Dangerford comes with four appendices. The first contains a poem that the the author wants the Game Master to read out during the scenario, the second the author’s feedback on the scenario, ‘The Smoking Ruin’—all ten pages of it, some suggestions for expanding the scenario, ‘The Dragon of Thunder Hills’ from the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack; and some stats for any Tarshite militia the player characters might encounter during the scenario. To be fair, this is all interesting content, but it is not useful content as far as The Duel at Dangerford is concerned—except the stats for the soldiery. The poem is optional, the author’s feedback on the scenario, ‘The Smoking Ruin’ is lengthy and not relevant, and the notes on expanding the scenario, ‘The Dragon of Thunder Hills’ are very much optional. Now if the Game Master is planning to run ‘The Smoking Ruin’ or has not yet run ‘The Dragon of Thunder Hills’, then both feedback and notes are useful, but they do feel as if they should be in a fanzine rather than here.

Is it worth your time?
Yes. The Duel at Dangerford presents a fantastic opportunity for the player characters to be heroic—especially if one of them is a Humakti.
No. Either because your campaign is not set in Sartar or you have already run the Battle of Dangerford.
Maybe. The Tarshites and their Lunar allies are sure to launch another invasion of Sartar—at least in your campaign—and The Duel at Dangerford could be adjusted to fit, just as the author adjusted his to fit.

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