Runequest Thursday #67 - 1d20 Random Settlement Events for Glorantha!

Clint Staples

Recently, King of Dragon Pass, the venerable computer game set in Glorantha, where you play out the fortunes of a tribe of Orlanthi over the course of a generation or three, went on sale for half price and I bought it. KoDP is utterly addictive, and absolutely maddening, and, most importantly, extremely lootable for table top gaming. I have not played it for years, but I jumped in with both feet and have wasted more than a few hours, and the fortunes of a number of hapless clans, over the Christmas season.

One of the things that KoDP does really well is generate interesting encounters for your tribe, that you, representing the leader[s] of the tribe, have to resolve. If you have played the game, some of the entries on this list might seem familiar, but I have included them because they are sooooo good for tabletop play. How cool is it to turn things around on the usual job offer scenario by having a band of Undead-hating Humakti visit the PCs' steading and offer to clean out the local zombies, then ask the PCs what they are going to contribute.

A while ago, I wrote a set of Gloranthan Market Happenings. The events presented here are similar, but are the sorts of things that might occur anytime, rather than just at a market. They also have the benefit of not necessarily being initiated by the PCs. Hunters or explorers from the tribe could just as easily be the ones to find things, then report back, or otherwise get the PCs involved. Of course, if your PCs are out hunting, feel free to make them the 'hunters' that discover something.

These events are designed for Glorantha, and for Runequest, but there are no stats, or any other system stuff. You could easily port these to any game in which the Player Characters hang around a small town, settlement, or even act as lords of their own, just by changing a few details about critters, cults, gods or races.

Every one of the 20 is a hook for further action of a number of sorts. Depending on how it is presented, the 'hook' can act as quest, or reward, or opportunity - kicking off different kinds of adventure depending on how the characters respond to it. For example, entry #1 could be a dire portent  of a coming raid delivered by a wandering shaman, a warning that a great spirit has awakened, an attempt by the shaman to extort money or treasure, even a warning of the coming of a horde of Whirlvishes.

Notes: Within some of the entries, you are supposed to roll a further die to determine a specific, whether it be numbers, type of creature, etc. In a few, there is a reference to a number of dice, followed by lower case 'x'. Here, roll the listed number of dice, and if it comes up the maximum number for that die type [6 on d6, for example], roll a further die of the same type and add that to the total.


So, without further ado, here are 1d20 Events for your Settlement:

  1. A wandering shaman appears, warning of dire spirits in the area.
  2. Nomads appear offering animals for sale [Roll 1d6: 1 – stolen, 2 – their own, 3 – poor quality, 4 High quality, 5 - Diseased, 6 – magical].
  3. Cultists of the Death God, Humakt, come to your stead, claim guest-right and ask for aid in hunting undead nearby [Roll 1d6: 1 – Zombies, 2 - Ghouls, 3 - Vampire, 4 – Wight, 5 – Spirit, 6 – Necromancers]. What, or who will you contribute?
  4. Your hunters discovered strange bones in the wilderness nearby [Roll 1d4: 1 – Troll, 2 – Centaur, 3 – Giant, 4 – Dragon]. There is a 50% chance that the bones are unusual in a second way [roll 1d3: 1 – Magical; 2 – The bones are Black; 3 -Fossilized].
  5. River folk approach, complaining of a nearby hungry lizard that attacked and stole their fish.
  6. Cultists of Uralda, the Herd Mother, appear with a fine looking bull for sale [Roll 1d6: 1 – genuinely high-quality bull, 2 – VERY territorial, 3 – Slow to breed, 4 – Prolific Breeder,  5 Sired by a Skybull, 6 – Near human intelligence].
  7. A sizable tribe of people nears your settlement, their warriors alert, every sign of the entire group having seen many miles of hard road. Emissaries approach: [Roll 1d6: 1 - They hope to trade for food, offering some of their rather road-worn goods and thralls in return, 2 – They need medicines or a shaman to heal their sick, but have nothing to trade, 3 – Out of desperation, they hope to lure some important folk amongst them, then take the hostage to trade for food and cattle, 4 – The whole band is a tribe of brigands who will say whatever they must to get through the settlement without trouble. They will trade equably for supplies in the way of food and weapons, intending to take their profit as they leave the settlement’s lands. 1d2 days after they are gone, pursuers appear with stories of their depredations. 5 – The tribe wants to settle nearby and is willing to offer a portion of their produce in tribute once they are established. 6 – One of their Champions offers to fight one of yours, putting up a well-born young woman of the tribe’s hand in wedlock as prize, demanding you put up gold and cattle: Winner takes all].
  8. Someone or something has put holes in the bottoms of several of your boats  or your granaries, or brewery, or looted your larders, or roll again.
  9. Yinkin cultists appear, offering to lead the local alynxes in a ritual that will make them better mousers, for a fee. They also will sell a litter of alynxe kits and their mother if they can be assured of their good treatment.
  10. A giant predator attacked the herd, slaughtering several and making off with another [Roll 1d6: 1 – Giant insect escaped from trolls, 2 – Wyvern; 3 – Wyrm, 4 – Lunar warbeast, 5 – An unearthed demon, 6 - Dragon].
  11. Hunters spotted a brilliant white beast and shot at it in hopes of taking the omen for the tribe. They appear to have wounded the beast and sent it fleeing. They lost its tracks but wonder what they should do to appease the Hunter [Roll 1d3: 1 - Sun Elk, 2 – Aurochs, 3 – no one could agree on the nature of the beast, only that it was bright white – and its blood appears to be magical in some way.]
  12. A herd of 3d6x fine dun horses was spotted in an island in the Great Bog, but they ran like gazelles when approached.
  13. A broo, wretched and outcast from his tribe, approaches some of your folk, offering information on the bullies in exchange for food and magical aid.
  14. Settlers arrive from afar, asking for land and cattle in exchange for their loyalty and service [Roll 1d6; 1 – Pavis, 2 – Garhound, 3 – The Rubble, 4 – Sartar, 5 – Tarsh, 6 – Holy Country].
  15. A Lunar soldier, weaponless and wounded, wanders close to the encampment [Roll 1d6: 1 – a spy sent by his superiors, 2-3 – only survivor of a disaster: boat sank, camp was attacked, patrol wiped out by brigands, etc; 4 – a squad member who got lost on patrol, 5 – Possessed by a madness spirit, 6 – Possessed by a disease spirit].
  16. Neighboring folk have rustled some of 2d6x animals from your herd [Roll 1d6 for the culprits: 1 – Praxians, 2 – Brigands, 3 – Broo, 4 – Centaurs, 5 – Horsemen, 6 – Lunars].
  17. Your hunters find tracks and evidence of strangers poaching on your land [Roll 1d6: 1 – Praxians, 2 – Brigands, 3 – Broo, 4 – Centaurs, 5 – Horsemen, 6 – Lunars].
  18. Changing river flow nearby has revealed a wonder [Roll 1d6: 1 – a cave entrance previously under water, 2 – an ancient shrine/ obelisk/ statue, 3 – the remains of a magnificent set of stairs descending into the earth, 4 – An exposed grave, 5 – A Chaos Stone, 6 – The petrified body of a beast from the Godtime].
  19.  A madman staggers into camp, raving about raven banners, ghostly horsemen, a black sword, and fire everywhere.
  20. Explorers from your camp return, claiming to have heard a large white stone in the middle of the Bog speak. The words were unknown to them, but it seemed clear that the Stone uttered them.


Enjoy! Send in some additions of your own! Maybe we can make this a d30 list, or more!