Crash Course on Shadows Dance


Okay, I'm thinking of starting a Runequest campaign by the end of October, set in Glorantha. I am thinking of starting the PCs near the city of Adari in the "Shadows Dance" area. But I have very little Gloranthan material, so what I need is a crash course on what I need to know about this area, or even if I should choose a different starting area.

I am willing to run an "alternate Glorantha" if something that I decide ends up contradicting something that Greg Stafford decided. I'm looking for a time when this area is not yet part of the Lunar Empire, although the Lunars are seen as a potential threat.

I'm thinking of setting the story in the year 1558 according to the timeline in the Second Edition of the Runequest rulebook, published by Chaosium in 1980. This is just after the Lunars retake Tarsh (1555), and is also three years after the Dragonewts Dream (1550-1555).

The technology level I imagine to be what I call "Early Archaic" or "Bronze Age". (I suppose I should read the thread about whether or not Glorantha is "Bronze Age", although I figure it is a big planet with a lot of history to it, just as a campaign set on Earth could be set in any of a wide variety of settings or technological levels.)

How would you describe the Shadow Dance area to new players, especially the area near Adari (which is at the southern edge of the hills, between The Better Place and Pairing Stone).

(Hmmmm, maybe I should send the PCs through No Man's March, since it is marked on the map.)
Land broken and rocky as you go further north toward the rock wood mountains, but levelling out in to an undulating landscape as you travel south.
(Always imagined the sky as three or four layers of semi transparent black cloth with rips and holes which move against each other, creating patches alternating patches and rents of grey and clear sky, as well as the obligatory pools of darkness - possibly not a very clear description, sorry)

Plant life
To the south and east scattered conferous forests, some blighted with fungus. Fungus becoming less predominant around Aldryami strong holds like Torch.
West and central - 'fields' of giant plants and toadstool/mushroom forest in more constant areas of darkness.
Most forms of plant life being kept closely croped by the bands of wild trollkin and their rumbling bellies.

Animal life
Giant Instects and giant predatory spiders, plus the ravaging wild trolkin hordes.
My guess is that Adari would have walls of punded earth, or perhaps even stone as these are less edible to Trollkin than wood. Every few years the are will be plagued by a bloom in the local Trollkin population, or have starving bands from population booms elsewhere turn up and need culling.
There are some nice hints about Adari on Oliver Dickinson's Griselda story "A tasty morsel". Suggesting among other things, the wretched life afforded by it's human population living under Troll domination. Of course that may just be an outsider's perspective.

I've always pictured the town as having a wartorn feel battered and decaying, withn a constant brooding anger lying just below the surface as tensions between Troll and Human just waiting to explode.

If you are setting it in the second age, the Trolls will be very strong throughout the entire region. The Trollkin curse has bitten and the humans are beginning to drive them back, but they are still very strong. Indeed it is to the Trolls that the religious conservatives turn to for help and protection as the growing power and arrogance of the Empires drives them out.
I think what I would like is a human town that is not dominated by trolls or other outsiders, but definitely threatened by them. I imagine that the border fluctuates over time and not every fluctuation is carefully mapped out.

This could work out well though, for perhaps the trolls could be temporarily distracted by internal bickering and civil warfare, granting peace and stability to Adari, leading to a potential plot development when one troll leader gains stregth and starts threatening human habitations.
Adari is given a writeup in Holiday Glorantha in an old (~issue 3) Tales of the Reaching Moon magazine, if you can find that! Might have made it into Best of Tales and hence be more available?

Had a rapid turnover of bandit-king leaders who sorta acted like mayor until the next one came along and killed/drove him/her off.