Jonstown Jottings #10: The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2

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Much like the Miskatonic Repository for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, the Jonstown Compendium is a curated platform for user-made content, but for material set in Greg Stafford's mythic universe of Glorantha. It enables creators to sell their own original content for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and HeroQuest Glorantha (Questworlds). This can include original scenarios, background material, cults, mythology, details of NPCs and monsters, and so on, but none of this content should be considered to be ‘canon’, but rather fall under ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’. This means that there is still scope for the authors to create interesting and useful content that others can bring to their Glorantha-set campaigns.


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What is it?
The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is the second part of campaign set in Sun County in Prax, a sequel to Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1. It is an investigative sandbox scenario set on the far eastern edge of Sun County.

It is a forty-five page, full colour, 4.63 MB PDF.

In general, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is well presented and decently written. It does need another edit and the artwork is a little rough, but the maps are excellent.

Where is it set?
As with Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1 before it, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 takes place in Sun County, the small, isolated province of Yelmalio-worshipping farmers and soldiers located in the fertile River of Cradles valley of Eastern Prax, south of the city of Pavis, where it is beset by hostile nomads and surrounded by dry desert. Where Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1 is specifically it is set in and around the remote hamlet of Sandheart, where the inhabitants are used to dealing and even trading with the nomads who come to worship at the ruins inside Sandheart’s walls, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is set in and around Cliffheath, on the eastern edge of the county.

Who do you play?
The player characters are members of the Sun County militia based in Sandheart. Used to dealing with nomads and outsiders and oddities and agitators, the local militia serves as the dumping ground for any militia member who proves too difficult to deal with by the often xenophobic, misogynistic, repressive, and strict culture of both Sun County and the Sun County militia. It also accepts nomads and outsiders, foreigners and non-Yemalions, not necessarily as regular militia-men, but as ‘specials’, better capable of dealing with said foreigners and non-Yemalions.

The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 does not include any pre-generated characters. Six pre-generated members of the Sun County militia in Sandheart can be found in Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1, as well as guidelines to create ‘quirky’ members of the Sun County militia in Sandheart.

What do you need?
The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 requires both Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1 and RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

Although not absolutely necessary, the Game Master may also find the supplements Cults of Terror, Lords of Terror, Sun County, and The River of Cradles, plus issues of the fanzine Tales of The Reaching Moon to be of use in providing deeper background.

What do you get?
The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is an investigative sandbox in which the members of the Sun County militia based in Sandheart are sent out to a remote area of the county to investigate and purge the area of disease. Infected barley crop has been detected in the annual tithe collected from the ‘out of the way’ farms at Cliffheath. Not only is the presence of detrimental to the health and welfare of the people of Sun County, if taxes are not paid on time then the Sun Dome Temple will be displeased. So the head of the militia at Sandheart wants the mystery solved before calling in their notoriously efficient—or ‘heavy-handed interference’—support.

This being a scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, the ultimate culprit behind the infection will be obvious. Determining the who, the what, and the how on the Mortal Realm is another matter, for The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is a complex affair in which everyone has their secrets and the player characters will find themselves crisscrossing back and forth to speak to inhabitants of Cliffheath multiple times. The scenario includes almost fifty NPCs—major and minor—plus ‘monsters’, almost twenty events, and eleven handouts!

In many ways, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is not a traditional scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. Rather it reads and is structured like a scenario for Call of Cthulhu, and like a scenario for Call of Cthulhu, there is a certain insidious nature to its core antagonists. Also like a scenario for Call of Cthulhu and unlike a scenario for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, there is some research involved as part of the investigation, which in this case means visiting the temple archives. The investigative nature of the scenario also means that there is plenty of opportunity for roleplaying, both for the players and the Game Master, who is given good advice for each of the major NPCs to that end.

Essentially, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is a ‘Police Procedural’ in Glorantha, providing four or five sessions of play. Players who charge in or expect a fight straight off or show a lack of respect will probably themselves in some difficulty, socially as well as in terms of the investigation. That said, there are opportunities in the scenario for combat, for heroism, and for the militia members to make a name for themselves as the scenario comes fantastic climax.

Is it worth your time?
Yes. If you ran Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1 and are looking for the sequel, The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 is a rich meaty case for your Sun Dome County Militia—even the ‘specials’ of Sandheart.
No. Tales of the Sun County Militia: Sandheart Volume 1 is not worth your time if you are running a campaign or scenarios set elsewhere, especially in Sartar as per ‘The Broken Tower’ from the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – QuickStart Rules and Adventure or in in and around Apple Lane as detailed in the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack. The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 would be a difficult scenario to add to such a campaign.
Maybe. Although it would be difficult to involve outsiders in the events or the investigation of The Corn Dolls: Sandheart Volume 2 or the setting of Sandheart and Sun Dome County, many of the elements of its mystery could be adapted to the edges of the home area where the Game Master’s campaign is set.

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