null Sprites

RuneQuest Starter Set Design Diary #12: putting the SoloQuest in RuneQuest

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 16th Sep 2021

By Jason Durall, RuneQuest creative director

The Starter Set for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is coming! Between now and its release later this year, RuneQuest creative director Jason Durall's Design Diary will share insights about the development of this exciting new boxed set which will introduce the RuneQuest RPG and Greg Stafford's mythic world of Glorantha to all-new audiences.

When deciding on the contents for the RuneQuest Starter Set, the design team had many discussions sorting items into “nice to have” and “must have” categories. It was obvious that a solo adventure was a critical "must have", to teach players and gamemasters about the setting and the rules.

We wanted the soloquest to really embed the player in a truly Gloranthan experience. While it would have been oh-too-easy to do something self-contained and relatively timeless – a contained physical environment with limited choices – that would not really give the experience of roleplaying in Glorantha. So we went ahead with something much, much more challenging and ultimately, we hope, rewarding for players. 

To that end, we decided that the soloquest should be both epic and personal in scope. As we rolled through all of the options, a few core elements crystalized:

  1. Opportunities for combat, both personal (ranged, mounted, and melee) and in the scope of a grander engagement.
  2. Teaching the rules, especially important mechanics like Runes, augmenting with Passions, and solving problems through a variety of approaches.
  3. Real stakes, with the player’s choices and their contributions to the battle at large making a difference between success and failure.
  4. Immersed in the world, with the player taking part in one of the more pivotal conflicts in Dragon Pass, the Battle of Dangerford.
  5. Magic and worship, both giving the player a glimpse of how personal and Rune magic might be used, but also demonstrating the way adventurers interact with their gods.

Once those were established, we went back-and-forth a bit on whether the soloquest would be suitable for any adventurer, a limited few, or just one predetermined adventurer. As a multiple-branch adventure is incredibly complex, it made more sense to focus on one solid experience rather than try to cater to a variety of adventurers with radically different play styles and roles.

So, with that locked down, the most suitable adventurer for the role was Vasana, a fierce and honorable fighter with a powerful bison mount, a worshipper of Orlanth’s Vingan aspect. We finalized an outline, discussed the decision trees that would cause the adventure’s many branches and outcomes, and then got to work.

After an early attempt to begin writing the adventure in a hyperlinked text document, we switched to Twine for the real development, and at the time, due to limits to editorial bandwidth, the best decision we made was to bring in newcomers to the RQ team, but experienced writers for Call of Cthulhu and also, experts in Twine. Thus, James Coquillat and David Naylor found themselves enlisted with the challenge of actually writing the thing.

With that seemingly impossible list of requirements, they got to work...

Next Design Diary: James and David on writing the Battle of Dangerford SoloQuest

The RuneQuest Starter Set is Almost Here!

The RuneQuest Starter Set contains everything you need to play an epic roleplaying game of gods, cults, magic, family, and fantasy and is coming soon!

Starter Set contents

Sign up with the link below and by Issaries, you will receive an email as soon as the RuneQuest Starter Set is available to order!

Click this link to subscribe