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RuneQuest Starter Set Design Diary #13: Writing the Battle of Dangerford SoloQuest

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 19th 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.

A guest post from Chaosium's James Coquillat and David Naylor

Last year, the two of us were excited to be given the chance to help write the upcoming RuneQuest Starter Set's solo adventure. As Jason notes in his previous Design Diary, this was to be a one person scenario introducing new players to the setting and mechanics of RuneQuest that would also excite veteran adventurers with a thrilling standalone story they can play through on their own.

In the solo adventure the reader plays as Vasana, a capable warrior and leader, as she experiences the perils of a pivotal battle in the war between rebellious Sartar and the Lunar Empire. 

As relatively new Glorantha fans ourselves (both born over a decade after the third edition was released), we worked closely with the RuneQuest creative team to develop the scenario. Using Twine, the open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories, we designed the story structure and incorporated all the mechanics and mythology that made us fall in love with RuneQuest.

As Vasana navigates the conflict, the reader will learn crucial RuneQuest mechanics like drawing inspiration, using rune magic, striking, parrying, and planning manoeuvres. They'll have the opportunity to choose their own route through the conflict and, depending on Vasana's actions and success, the Battle of Dangerford's outcome could be very different.

Using the standard solo adventure framework of branching narrative threads, we pinned distinct scenes that would always happen and used these situations to teach fundamental mechanics. We then allowed the branches to splay apart and ripple with the reader's actions so that unique events and mechanics could be introduced. Not every reader will discover the relevance of the Crimson Bat. Not all readers will stand before the Judge of the Dead and enter into Spirit Combat. Some readers will favor stealth and finding secrets. Others will charge headlong into battle and earn honor for their name and tribe. 

Each playthrough will give different results and although set pieces will be revisited, they'll never be quite the same.

One way we made sure that each reader's playthrough will differ is by tallying a Battle Result Total (BRT) throughout the adventure. When Vasana's actions give the Sartar rebels the upper hand, the BRT increases. When she fails or costs them valuable resources, the BRT reduces. Depending on the final tally, the battle can have several different outcomes. But we won't mention them here. Some things are best discovered!

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

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