Another Month, Another Monster

June has passed us by, and that means there’s another issue of Monster of the Month! MOTM is a series of bestiary entries (sometimes loosely defined) for Chaosium’s RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. You can find MOTM on the Jonstown Compendium, a community content webstore available at DriveThruRPG.com.

Grungnak Fearless, illustrated by Alexandre Gauthier

To finish off MOTM’s run on Rune Masters – powerful non-player characters who are magical leaders of their societies – I wanted a real monster. Enter Grungnak! As a priest-warlord serving Zorak Zoran, the God of Hate and Vengeance, Grungnak’s a nasty gal ready to clobber any adventurers who get in her way. This issue also includes:

  • A short-form cult of Gorakiki the Insect Mother, honoring the subcult of Gorakiki-mantis
  • A pair of more lighthearted side characters – Grungnak’s “runty” lover, and a mantis-obsessed teenage troll
  • The magic item Stolen Fire, taken from a Solar god by Zorak Zoran before Time began

Plus adventure seeds, staging notes, and more to help the gamemaster wield this juggernaut villain. Grungnak was fun to write. This issue’s got lots of lovely touches, and I’m really pleased with how the whole product came together. Grungnak’s a great send-off for this mini-series.

As I said in my last blog, MOTM has become a difficult project. I enjoy writing it, but at the same time the amount of energy I put into the series makes it difficult to focus on creating other works. Not just writing each month’s issue, but the side tasks also eat into my “budget” of energy and focus. Layout, sourcing artwork, editing, and so on.

I’m really proud of my recent work with MOTM. When I compare the first few issues to my recent releases, there’s a world of difference. But I think I need to take the skills I’ve developed – and which I continue to improve – and apply them to more satisfying projects. MOTM provides neither a creative nor financial return commensurate with the energy I spend. A direct example of this is my failure to really do any major work following up on Treasures of Glorantha, despite being six months into the year.

I’ve chosen not to kill the series outright. At the start of the year I said I was doing a second volume of MOTM, and I still plan to finish out the year. However, I am planning to scale the series back. Shorter, more tightly focused issues, with a scope more in line with those early issues.

We’ll probably finish off the year with a larger issue, like I did with The Quacken last year. It’s around that time I’ll need to make the decision on whether or not to end MOTM for good. I have a few alternatives and ideas bouncing around in my head – such as a successor series, with a variety of topics, rather than strictly “monsters” – but working out if they’re plausible will have to wait.

Until next time, then.


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