The Bad Winds — MOTM #20

Yet again a month has ended, and I’ve forgotten to talk about the new issue of Monster of the Month over here on the Akhelas blog!

Let’s correct that, shall we?

For those not in the know, Monster of the Month (or MOTM) is a monthly supplement from Akhelas, which provides new creatures, adventure hooks, and more for Chaosium’s RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. The Bad Winds are the evil kin of Orlanth, the Storm God worshiped by many human cultures in this fantasy setting. Driven by envy and greed, they’ve been corrupted by the wicked Goddess of Disease, Mallia. The Bad Winds use her magic to force humans to worship and “love” them.

The Bad Winds started life as one antagonist in a disease-oriented adventure I spent time on last year, The Fouled Earth. I’ve mentioned that adventure in passing during last year’s wrap-up blog, but basically I ran into writer’s block, and scrapped the project. This issue of MOTM repackages that antagonist with the myth that adventure was exploring, “Kolat Vanquishes the Bad Winds,” and further adds rules for propitiating these spirits, so that they’ll stay away from your community. I’m pretty happy with this issue! It’s short and, I feel, to the point. I’m currently still planning to use shorter issues like Petty Spirits 2 and The Bad Winds to finish out this year’s run of the series, although you’re going to get something bigger and badder once more this December.

Thinking back to The Fouled Earth, I think what made that adventure fall apart was that I had no idea how the beginning and the end needed to connect. I knew I wanted some sort of heroquesting situation, but integrating that with disease spirit themes and a wilderness sandbox proved beyond my abilities. I probably needed to spend more time in the prepping and outlining stages, so I could really come to understand how the different pieces of the adventure worked together.

This is part of why I like site-based adventures. My favorite encounter with the concept is from Free League’s game Forbidden Lands, but the notion exists all over. Site-based adventures are easy for me to conceive and to gamemaster because basically, the adventurers are in a place, and do cool things. What Forbidden Lands does which made me go “Oh, wow!” is that anything can be an “adventure site.” In particular, thinking of settlements this way, and seeing how the authors structured events and a sandbox narrative in their Raven’s Purge campaign has made the game fascinating for me.

(As an aside, I’m currently running my Sylthi group through Free League’s Crypt of the Mellified Mage! When I do the playtest writeup, I plan to share my notes on adapting Forbidden Lands to RuneQuest.)

The classic site-based adventure is, of course, the dungeon crawl. My first publication, The Throat of Winter, was one—I actually initially wrote it for Forbidden Lands after their Kickstarter fulfilled! That’s part of why the adventure tries to have a “Scandinavian” feel. Then, when Michael O’Brien of Chaosium announced the Jonstown Compendium over on BRP Central, I decided to adapt and expand Throat to suit RuneQuest.

Why is all this on my mind? Well, because one of my current projects is a dungeon crawl!

A close friend of mine was interested in creating an adventure for RuneQuest, and asked me to be involved. It’s a classic hack & slash dungeon crawl, pitting the adventurers against a gang of hideous Chaos monsters camping out in the ruins of a Second Age temple. We’re currently working through edits and revisions, and so far the project’s going well. I don’t anticipate writer’s block-style problems, but I also don’t have a firm deadline in mind to complete this. As I’ve noted before on this blog, MOTM saps a good bit more energy than I anticipated when I started the series.

Gamemasters, you’ll probably get to subject your players to this short & nasty adventure early next year. Maybe this Christmas, if all the monsters line up and play friendly with one another.

Until next time, then!

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