"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Monday, November 1, 2021


If you haven't played Six Seasons in Sartar, or read the blog, this post will contain spoilers. Be warned.

PROBABLY THE CHAPTER THAT CHANGED THE LEAST between the HeroQuest blog version of Six Seasons in Sartar and the published RuneQuest version was "In Sheep's Clothing." This mystery, in which an encounter with a ghost draws the player characters into a hunt for missing children, is pretty much the same in both versions. What did change is that the published version falls after "The Riddle" and "Rites of Passage," meaning that the player characters are now adults as they investigate the disappearances. In the blog version, "In Sheep's Clothing" fell before their coming of age rites, meaning that the player characters were technically just children themselves.

With a wink and a nod towards "Hansel and Gretel," "In Sheep's Clothing" deals with one of my favorite (and in my opinion most woefully underused) Gloranthan menaces, the ogre. I think I enjoy Glorantha the most when it borders on the fairy tale, and of the six chapters of the campaign this is the one where I indulge that predilection the most. Gloranthan ogres, which look indistinguishable from humans but have a taste for human flesh, are straight out of fairy tales. "Puss in Boots," "Hop-o'-my-Thumb," and even some versions of "Bluebeard" are classic ogre stories. They tap into that deeply rooted taboo of cannibalism, and the modern exemplar of the ogre would have to be Hannibal Lecter. Drugalla Applecheeks, the ogress in this particular fable,  is essential one gingerbread house short of being a full-on fairy story witch. She lures children to their dooms, devours them, and gives sacrifice to Cacodemon, literally a manifestation of the Devil.

The Fairy Tale Ogre

Of course, having played it all once, the revelation that Drugalla is an ogre was about as shocking to my players as watching any given film version of Dracula ("wait...Count Dracula is...a vampire?!?!"). While there are substantial differences between the other Six Seasons in Sartar chapters and the blog versions this group already played, enough to keep them guessing at least, replaying this one was pretty much the equivalent of watching a rerun. But that was fine. This was their first real session of RuneQuest, and so playing through the same story a second time gave them the chance to worry less about unraveling the mystery and more about learning the new system. As mentioned earlier, the fact that in this version their characters were adults (with magic) rather than children (without magic) also made a big difference.

The ogre from Puss in Boots

Which brings us to the climax.

The characters are now all initiates of the Black Stag and have sacrificed for Rune magic. This led to a very innovative and unexpected use of the spell "The Stag's Leap" (SSiS, p. 18). At the climax, entering Drugalla's cavern, they see her across the chamber menacing her captive child. Rather than cross the distance on foot, both Beralor and Kalliva used "The Stag's Leap" to get there instantly, giving Drugalla no time to react. A special success with a sword attack, added to the luck that it was a blow to the head, made short work of our ogress.

The next session will be "The Deer Folk," the chapter in which The Company of the Dragon has its roots. Now that the players have a basic grasp of the system, it will be time to throw a much fuller RuneQuest adventure at them.


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