Shaivalla, Well-Loved — MOTM #13

This year’s first issue of Monster of the Month is now available on the Jonstown Compendium!

This month’s issue inaugurates a series presenting powerful Rune Masters for your game of RuneQuest. Shaivalla is a power-hungry priestess of Ernalda. Inside, you’ll find her history and motives, a magic item, and the retinue which accompanies her throughout Dragon Pass.

About this Series: Monster of the Month is a series of bestiary entries for Chaosium’s RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. In addition to statblocks and behavior, most issues include supplemental detail and advice for gamemasters and/or new adventurer options for players.

Cover illustration by Alexandre Gauthier

An Earth priestess may seem an unusual pick for a series about “monsters,” and even less obvious as the first in a series of Rune Masters. Yet, I think placing her first helps emphasize one of the ways Glorantha is interesting. As I discuss in the introduction to this month’s issue, the point is that a benevolent deity who might get pushed into the background in other games is being shoved into the center spotlight.

The cult of Ernalda is awesome, and deserves to be highly regarded as a player option when creating their adventurer. I’ve tried using Shaivalla to show ways worshipers of the Earth Mother can be at the forefront of their game’s story, to show ways they can vary from powerful to sexy to frightening. I hope you’ll think I’ve succeeded.

In addition to Shaivalla, this issue includes three minor non-player characters—her bodyguard Brovara, and two of her lovers, Harjarl and Edderslie the Mink. Plus, two generic statblocks for more bodyguards, and attendants. In full, this issue of MOTM should include everything the gamemaster will need to use Shaivalla in their campaign. I’ve added in a magic item too—Lengarthen’s Head, which lets the wielder shed their body instead of dying.

For next month’s issue, I’ve got a Rune Lord of Humakt ready for those gamemasters eager for more combat options. He’s a brutal warrior, with some interesting twists in his beliefs and Passions. This one’s already written. Just need to give it an edit, then send off to my editor. Art’s started, too—Alexandre (who illustrated Shaivalla) has done a great job with the initial sketches. I’m excited to see the final draft.

I’m about a third of the way through March’s MOTM issue, too. As I said in my end-of-2020 wrap-up, I’m trying to see if I can just hammer out a good portion of this year’s MOTM issues, so that I’ll have space and time to get “stuck in” on a larger project. So far, so good.

Until next time, then.

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