Litanies of the Lost: Grim Harvest

Wrath and Glory

gaming gm settings rpg scifi

I'm reading through the published adventures available for Cubicle 7's Wrath and Glory Warhammer RPG. Litanies of the Lost is a book containing four adventures that can be run independently or as a continuous campaign. The framework requires the IMPERIUM keyword, and the first adventure is for Tier 1 or 2 characters.

This review contains spoilers.

Grim Harvest

The first adventure is called Grim Harvest and it's almost entirely social intrigue. First, the Game Master reads up on the troubled society on an agri-settlement called Ancra. Then the players are let loose in that world to solve all of its problems.

The background information is deceptively detailed. There's 17 pages of background for the Game Master, and the actual adventure is only 11 pages. However, most elements in the adventure's setting are flexible, so the Game Master only has to understand a few key conflicts of interest. The rest is just reacting to the actions of the players.

Conflicts of interest

Ancra (the agri-settlement) has fallen behind on food production. The player characters are sent in to fix the problem.

  • The Administratum wants production to increase
  • The Adeptus Mechanicus wants to help increase production through automation, and to explore nearby ruins for archeotech
  • The Ecclesiarchy wants to use the faltering production to increase its influence on Ancra

That's the setup. When players help any one faction, the other two start asking questions and throwing around accusations of favouritism. Players can choose between a delicate balancing act of diplomacy, or a firm hand of absolutism.


With a little investigation, players inevitably discover that all isn't as it seems on Ancra. It turns out that the drop in production is due to the mysterious disappearances of whole shifts of agricultural workers out in the fields. The local population has come to call the phenomenon "the grim harvest", and a militia called the Children of Dawn has sprung up in the superstitious belief that nearby ancient ruins are somehow related. The more the Adeptus Mechanicus wants to explore the ruins, the more the militia protects it for fear of angering ancient spiritual forces, and the more they work to sabotage the servitors in use to offset the effect of the depleting workforce.

Intrigue and incursion

This is a well-structured adventure, with lots of opportunities to sit around a table together and debate, both in character and out of character, the merits of each faction. I certainly have a personal bias toward Adeptus Mechanicus, personally, but were I playing an Adepta Sororitas character obviously I'd defer to the Ecclesiarchy. But then again, the Administratum surely ought to have the final say in how production proceeds, so other characters could easily argue for working with it.

There's an opportunity to "dungeon crawl", should the player characters manage to get into the ancient ruins. If you're used to D&D-style adventuring, then this is a fascinating exercise in how game design can express the same actions in a completely different way. In this adventure, there's no grid-paper map of the underground ruins. Player characters roll to succeed at navigating the maze, and make discoveries based on their roll result and a random table of events. It's an effective way to delve into an ill-defined structure, and while I can see how it discourages careful mapping of the place, or mapping an effect to a cause, I think it probably gets the job done. It's a dungeon crawl without either a dungeon or the crawl, but it aptly describes exploration and the threat of what might lie in wait within an ancient tomb.

The link from this adventure and the next, even with the suggestions of the book, seem pretty tenuous. I'm not even sure it's entirely worth the effort of connecting them. And I'm not convinced it's necessary. As long as the player characters have a patron sending them on missions, I don't think the adventures need to be logically connected.

This is a good adventure, and it's definitely the kind of adventure that's easy on the Game Master. Read 17 pages, make a few notes about the cast of characters (I admit, I frequently had to remind myself which character was the leader of which faction), and it's all improvisation from there. This could be a great go-to adventure for those evenings you just don't have a chance to prepare.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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