After months of labor, Valley of Plenty is finally complete and available for purchase on DriveThruRPG. We’re very proud of both the book and its performance so far. As I write this, it is the best-selling title in Jonstown Compendium and the second best-selling title on DriveThruRPG, period. That’s bound to change, but we’re certainly happy to hold those positions, however briefly!
Now that the book is out, I think it’s fair to give everyone a peek inside the covers and talk in more detail about the actual contents than I’ve been able to up to this point. I’ll summarize the contents of each section in the book in this post. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!
Before diving into the book itself, let’s talk a little about its main conceit: PCs begin play as children, roughly aged 8 or 9. They are part of the Wildling Band, a group of youngsters who’ve fallen within the orbit of Hara Dinorthsdottir, King Dinorth’s second youngest daughter.
Hara has free run of the Blue Jay clan tula and that freedom extends to her closest friends. As children, the Wildling Band involved itself in all manner of mischief and adventure, usually masterminded by Hara’s younger sister, Ula. Still, Hara has always been the acknowledged leader of the Band, whose members instinctively turn to her to settle their disputes, mediate with angry adults, and decide which of Ula’s wild adventures to embark on.
Fun and Games, the first section of the book, describes how to start a Jaldonkillers campaign. We give some pointers on how to handle a “Session Zero” for a group new to Glorantha in general and the Dundealos Valley specifically. We help out by providing the GM with a play hand-out that provides some baseline lore about the setting and the broader world. The hand-out limits itself to the basic information a nine or ten year-old would know. One of our primary goals in all our products is to avoid players feeling like they are drinking lore from a firehose. Instead, we do our best to fill up their lore tank a cup at a time.
On the subject of lore: you won’t find the usual multi-page treatments of the nature of Glorantha or the volatile history of Dragon Pass. If you’re an experienced Gloranthaphile, you’ve already read multiple variants of those articles. If you’re not, we’re going to teach you just the bits you need to know in order to enjoy playing in this very small corner of a very large world. If you want to read more, official sources like the Guide to Glorantha or Glorantha Sourcebook are available to sate your curiosity!
We suggest that players create their characters together during Session Zero or a follow-up session. The characters are all destined to be part of a tight-knit clique of youngsters called the Wildlings, so creating characters as a group will ensure that they’re familiar with one another, as young friends should be. To that end, we also include special rules for creating a child character. These rules let you watch your character come of age and become more productive members of their clan as the game years pass.
When you’re finished creating your character, you’ll know their bloodline, Wildling related abilities (Wildling Gibberish and Wildlings Stick Together) and their role within the clique. A this point, your characters are ready to take on the world, albeit a child’s world!
The lion’s share of this section is taken up by a series of adventures suitable for kids, including several kid games, a pitched dirt-clod and stick fight for control of a dirt-pile, and something a little spookier and potentially life changing involving frogs. Lots and lots of frogs. In addition to the scenarios themselves, we’ve included a list of scenario seeds to inspire your own Wildling kid adventures.
Finally, we wrap the section up with guidelines for child character advancement, which occurs prior to Interlude One.
Interlude One represents the passage of three years (1602 – 1605). You receive a new player hand-out that include the cultural knowledge you’ve acquired since your early childhood. You’re still a kid, but you’re an older kid and your knowledge has expanded a bit.
Stuff has obviously happened to your characters in the intervening years. We handle that with a fun table that contains a wide variety of good, bad, and indifferent “highpoints” your character may have experienced. All of them allow you to add an interesting ability or relationship to your character.
You’ll also choose a vocation for your character during the Interlude – you’re not stuck with this vocation, it’s just the job that you seem best suited for at the moment. You’re old enough now that you should start pulling your own weight in the clan!
Finally, you’ll receive your youthful epithet. This is a nickname based on some randomly determined aspect of your character. You might be called “Longshanks,” “Rabbit Ears,” or “Dares Death.” Each nickname grants your character a +1 Breakout (if a nickname or Breakout is counter to your character concept, you can roll again).
The next section, Growing into Your Saddle, sees the Wildlings (now aged 11 or 12) embark on more perilous adventures. They’re now free to wander the valley itself, instead of being confined to sight of the walls of Dundealosford. The scope of their experience expands from their own clan and they begin to gain an inkling of the inter-clan politics within the tribe, including the bad blood between their own clan, the Blue Jays, and that of the neighboring Stormcrows.
Most importantly, the Wildlings receive their own Athi, the famed ponies of the Dundealos.
In addition to the scenarios in this section, a list of story seeds for your own scenarios are included.
Finally, the section concludes with guidelines for character advancement.
Interlude Two covers the passage of time between 1605 and 1607. At its end, your character will be 15 or 16 years old.
This interlude describes events from the wider world that the Wildlings would be aware of. It also includes another Interlude Table that you can roll on to see what events your character may have experienced in the intervening years that would shape their abilities and personalities.
At this point, the Wildlings are ready to cross over into the world of adults.
In the Rites of Passage section, the wildlings undergo the non-Orlanthi Elmali adulthood rites. They emerge (hopefully), as adult Jaldonkillers. The carefree “adventures” of their youth transform into serious undertakings that could leave them maimed, dead, or worse.
As adult Jaldonkillers, they participate in their first major raid against the hated Sambari and become embroiled in filial diplomacy between the Blue Jay and Stormcrow clans. The stakes involved are grave and could impact the well-being of their clan as much as their own.
As usual, we supplement the scenarios in this section with a list of story seeds for you to develop as you see fit. Bear in mind, though, that book two of the Jaldonkillers Saga, Lances at Dusk will begin in 1610. We plan to release it by the end of the year.
The remainder of the book is devoted to describing the Dundealos tribe and the valley named for them. Most of this information is in the Jaldonkilers Guide, which is designed to be used by both the players and GM. We provide explicit permission to print this section for player use and it should be provided to players During Interlude Two.
The guide provides a detailed overview of the Dundealos culture, the tribe itself, and the PC’s clan, the Blue Jays. It also includes descriptions of the Elmali versions of the Elmal, Redalda, Andred, and Drogarsi cults. The Steadfast Circle shamanic tradition is also covered in detail, including the various spirit societies associated with it. Shamanic abilities and taboos are described as well.
This section, combined with the other Player Hand-Outs, paints a clear but accessible picture of the Jaldonkillers and their homeland. We believe we’ve struck a nice balance between detail and brevity that will make this material valuable and useable for both players and GM.
The Dramatis Personae section that follows the Jaldonkillers Guide provides biographies and portraits of major characters the Wildlings are likely to encounter, either as kin, mentors, or rivals.
Growing up in the king’s Greathouse, the Wildlings have the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the tribes highest ranking members.
The penultimate section of the book consists of a gazetteer of the Dundealos Valley and its largest settlement, the walled town of Dundealosford. This information will be expanded on in the second book of the saga, Lances at Dusk, to account for the Wildlings increased familiarity with the valley and its neighboring regions.
The final section of the book is composed entirely of player hand-outs, including: Child’s Knowledge, Youngsters Knowledge, Elmal Follows His Shadow, The Gods at a Glance, and The Runes at a Glance. Each hand-out is formatted for home printing.
The Handouts section includes a regional map for the players.
So, there you have it: Valley of Plenty in a nutshell. We hope it sounds like something you’d find useful, whether you play QuestWorlds, HeroQuest, or RuneQuest. The scenarios presented would be easy enough to translate to RQ, as they don’t feature any wildly unusual monsters or opponents, and the setting material is, of course, system agnostic.
If you have more questions about Valley of Plenty or the Jaldonkillers Saga, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below!