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RuneQuest Rules Q&A


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This is a thread whose purpose is specifically to collate questions to (potentially) address in future Rune Fixes columns, or as official corrections. Rules questions about the following products are accepted here:

First and foremost, it cannot be stressed enough that the rules are guidelines for the gamemaster and must occasionally need to be interpreted when a question arises. No set of rules can accommodate every permutation and interaction between the various sub-systems, nor should they.

When there’s an potential conflict or unclear area, it is the gamemaster’s job to adjudicate, revising later if necessary. When in doubt, make a decision and move on.

The play is the thing, not getting it “right”.

Please post your entries in the form of a single simple, direct question, with references.

Please take any arguments, complaints or discussion to another thread. 

Before you post, please make sure that you have:

Please note that the RuneQuest Core Rules Questions I thread has been transferred to the RuneQuest Glorantha Corrections and Q&A which is searchable.

  • Please be aware that, Sorcery is presented to allow Lhankor Mhy adventurers to be created. Future supplements will detail sorcerers from other cultures and provide more details of the sorcery system.

New answers in this thread are moved to the Q&A when a full page is reached.

When in doubt, make a decision and move on.

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  • Scotty changed the title to RuneQuest Rules Q&A
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/20/2020 at 9:16 PM, Oracle said:

Does a PDF for the Second Printing of RuneQuest:Roleplaying in Glorantha exist?
If I look at my orders at Chaosium's web site, I still see only the PDF for the First Printing.

Yes. It's now available on our webstore and DrivethruRPG. Please download from your accounts.

Please note there is a Clarifications, Corrections and Additions update here:

CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Second Printing Clarifications, Corrections and Additions 1.0.1

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A small axe does Slashing damage, and p. 203 states that a throwing axe doesn't do impaling damage. The weapon table on p. 212 states damage typ for throwing axe (same weapon as small axe) as Impaling, though. Would it be correct to assume that the damage type should be Slashing and the weapon table is in error?

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44 minutes ago, Brootse said:

Which skill can't get an experience check?

The skills with checks are correct in the core rules and on Adventurer sheet version 1.0.1, see:

CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 19 Adventurer Sheets Q&A

Quote

Are the character sheets on Chaosium's page correct? There are some differences between them and the ones I've downloaded earlier from DriveThruRPG.

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16 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Bureaucracy -- not an Experience item in the book but has [] on sheet

Thanks for pointing this out, it had slipped through.

2 minutes ago, Brootse said:

And the book is correct on bureaucracy not having the check box?

Yes, page 61, it's not in Bold, for page 60, the table is correct.

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On 5/29/2021 at 10:52 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

Can animals gain an experience check from an adventure or training i.e. herd Alynx, war dogs, cavalry horses, riding horses etc?

Most of this is subsumed into the relevant adventurer skill, but yes if you train them. Your GM may wish to rule that they get experience rolls too.

Quote

Can bound spirits or allied spirits?

Bound spirits, skills, and only a 5% POW gain roll if they receive a POW check through normal means per:

Quote

Disembodied spirits can increase their POW by successful use of it, but their POW gain roll is only 5%. RQB, page 154.

Embodied spirits like Allied spirits in animals, can improve skills by experience where appropriate and have a normal POW gain chance if they receive a POW check through normal means.

This is also an MGF question too. If a player has an investment in an animal of some kind that is part of their everyday world then yes of course, play them as a full adventurer. It's Bert the entertainer and his swearing parrot vs I have a pet mouse in my pocket.

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7 hours ago, M. Trout said:

Does Heal 6 to restore a severed limb also repair 6 points of damage? I’ve always assumed it does, but I’m playing with an equally experienced person who has always assumed it doesn’t…

Yes. My emphasis:

Quote

This spell repairs damage done to hit points. The caster must touch the part of the body being healed. Each point of Heal immediately repairs 1 hit point in that location

[...]

However,  

and 6 points of Heal restores a severed limb to the body if all parts are available.

Red Book of Magic, page 115 / RQG, page 262

In summary, Heal 6

  • immediately repairs 6 hit points in that location.
  • stops the bleeding of any wound or severed limb
  • restores a severed limb to the body if all parts are available

FYI the wording was identical in RQ1 & 2, RQ3 didn't allow reattachment of limbs.

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11 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

How long does a torch burn?

For a hand held torch, probably 20 mins. This is dependant on wind and of course you could have bigger ones that are harder to carry. If you're interested look up rushlights. 

11 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

How much does it weigh in ENC?

Remember, ENC is not an actual weight:

Quote

Any item that can be held easily in one hand (a sword, a rock, an axe, a rope, etc.) is treated as a “thing.” “Things” for ENC, page 150.

Torches (5) ENC. That is using standard notation from the rules 5 torches = 1 ENC. 

They'd normally be wicker, but other resinous tree branches, fat dipped bones, and other localised materials would be available.

11 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Same for the “load” of lamp oil one buys for 1C, and what is the volume?

Bronze / clay lamps (4) ENC. 1C fills the lamp (that's the load). 2 hours.

For more detail:

Clay lamps have a volume of around 20-30ml and the general formula for oil burning is 15ml/hr.

Bigger lamps will obviously burn longer. Oil would be bought in amophrae, or skins if butter.

I have a reproduction bronze Roman lamp (20ml) and with attention to the wick will burn 4 hours easily.

https://gnwtc.com/product/replica-roman-style-bronze-swan-oil-lamp-item-lamp-147/

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I was about to ask for confirmation of ...

Bestiary page 10 (and page 31)

The hit point breakdown for Centaurs seems rather high in the printed edition.

... but when I loaded the PDF to do a cut&paste I see the numbers look more reasonable (though there still seems to be a discrepancy on page 31, presuming both are based upon "average" centaurs

Page 10:

Quote

Centaurs
Location           D20      HP
Right Hind Leg     01–02    4
Left Hind Leg      03–04    4
Hindquarter        05–06    6
Forequarter        07–08    6
Right Foreleg      09–10    4
Left Foreleg       11–12    4
Chest              13–14    6
Right Arm          15–16    4
Left Arm           17–18    4
Head               19–20    6

Page 31

Quote

Centaur Hit Locations
Location          D20         Armor/HP
Right Hind Leg    01–02       1/6
Left Hind Leg     03–04       1/6
Hindquarter       05–06       1/9
Forequarter       07–08       1/9
Right Foreleg     09–10       1/6
Left Foreleg      11–12       1/6
Chest             13–14       2/9
Right Arm         15–16       2/6
Left Arm          17–18       2/6
Head              19–20       3/7

I'm thinking both the PDF page 10 table, and a corrected page 31 table, are candidates for

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/catalogue/publishers/chaosium/runequest-glorantha-bestiary-print/cha4032-runequest-glorantha-bestiary-qa/#Elder-Races

(that's the first place I looked for corrections -- only stumbled on the page 10 change as stated above)

RQ2/Classic only gives them a 5pt head for baseline.

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14 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I've got some questions about the Summons of Evil. Well, lots of them actually. Apologies in advance, but I'm very much stumped by this thing (I don't think I'm the only one).

Part 1.

As a starting point, the Summons of Evil first appeared in King of Sartar in 1992, and has appeared in many publications since then. You can find the original text and a list of references to other publications that describe the ritual in use in context of an adventure or detail from Gloranthan history here:

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/glorantha-2/the-summons-of-evil

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Summons of Evil part 2

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:

1. The effigy stuff

  1. You do a ritual (generally as part of an Orlanthi worship ritual, but not necessarily) involving some effigy of some enemy (Chaos creature, Lunars, werewolves, the tribe next door, whatever). The spell summons a spirit of that enemy into the effigy (Chaos spirit, Lunar spirit, wolf spirit, ancestor spirit of the tribe next door, etc). That spirit animates the effigy and you now have to fight that. Does the spirit arrive at the beginning of the ritual?

Yes.

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. You now have to destroy the effigy.

Maybe. You only want to destroy it if you don't want the physical summoning to end. You might want to keep it alive for days to make sure you enemy appears.

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Does that typically involve beating the spirit in Spirit Combat?

No.

Quote

The spirit has hit points and a STR equal to its POW and always has one or more spirit powers (Glorantha Bestiary, page 165). Summons of Evil, 345 & RQG RBM page 95

It has STR and Hit points, so it's an embodied spirit, manifest inside the effigy.

Quote

Embodied spirits cannot voluntarily engage in spirit combat nor cast spells when embodied. Glorantha Bestiary, page 176.

It does however have spirit powers. Given the power of the enemy summoned (4D6+6 and 5D6+6, or more...). I'd give it representative powers depending on the form the summoners made: Bite, Chaos, Rune Magic, Spirit Dart, Spirit Weapon are all good candidates. The GM should craft an appropriate powerful embodied spirit. 

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Or does that involve physically fighting an animated effigy?

Yes. The spirit is trapped in the effigy. You might want to restrain it if you want the full summons to continue.

Quote

The spirit remains trapped within the effigy and its boundaries until the end of the ritual, when the participants must destroy it. During this time, it fights back with any abilities it possesses, whether magic or otherwise.

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:

For instance, what prevents the players from immediately shooting a flaming arrow at the wicker effigy, and standing back while it burns down?

Nothing, although you now have a burning effigy charging you. It's likely to have 20 hit points or more... 

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. When the effigy is destroyed, the participants gain some bonuses against the enemy represented by the effigy. These bonuses last "for the duration of the ceremony". What is "the ceremony" in this case?

If it's a Worship ceremony, that. It takes all day so hopefully any thing you've summoned arrives by the end. If it's the start of a HeroQuest (real world or other), until the end of the quest. If it's a Crown test, until the end of the test, etc.

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Is it the ritual itself?

No.

14 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  1. If so, does that mean that the bonuses are effectively only valid against the "summoned representative"?

No.

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Summons of Evil part 3

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

 The representative

In *addition* to summoning a spirit in the effigy, it seems like the spell *also* summons a "real" version of this enemy to you?

Yes.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

So if you had a Telmori effigy, in addition to having some wolf spirit animate the effigy,

Depending on the form of the effigy it could be a telmori or a wolf spirit. There's a lot of room for creativity here. Wolf-headed person or wolf. 

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

you would also see a Telmori raiding party showing up at some point?

Yes if you run the ritual long enough.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

The summoned enemy representative comes from a distance that is proportional to the time the ritual lasted until the effigy was destroyed. The first example mentions a one-day ritual summoning an enemy that would take a one-day trip to get there.

Yes.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

So the cosmos knows ahead of time how long you're going to make the ritual last, and finds some appropriate enemy that would show up roughly at the end of this ritual?

Yes. You may also attract heroquest enemies...

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

What is the advantage of performing a longer ritual (apart from the Ritual Practice gains of casting the spell) ?  Would it summon a stronger enemy, so you do it for more glory/Reputation?

KIng Bryon uses it to summon the Lunar army for the Battle of Auroch Hills in 1622.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Does making the ritual last longer mean having to fight the spirit trapped in the effigy for longer too?

Possibly. Depending on it's abilities.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Or could you have a 1-day-long ceremony during which you destroyed the effigy in the first 5 minutes? If the latter, is it correct to assume that the fastest you destroyed the effigy, the less "committed" the representative was (e.g. they only prepared for 5 minute until they realized "wait, I've got better things to do" and so they don't show up).

If the effigy is destroyed quickly, there is still a chance that the enemy will show:

Quote

Once the effigy is destroyed, the enemy is no longer compelled to travel, but might come anyway, especially if companions, allies, and followers have already begun traveling.

 

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

In terms of gameability, how do you not end up with the effigy *always* being destroyed within minutes? (by virtue of how combat rounds work)

Preparation. See also grappling, subduing and disarming.

15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

How would you play something where the effigy is not destroyed even after a full day, and so the "representative" has time to show up in force?

Depending on what the effigy is: tying it up, throwing it into a pit, time to be creative and hope it's ranged magic is poor and it doesn't have a devastating chaos feature.

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Summons of Evil part 4

16 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Vasana's Summons of Evil

Vasana's Saga gives us a glimpse of how the Summons of Evil is used in practice (RQG p270). She and her companions perform it on the cliffs above Snakepipe Hollow, at the beginning of their quest to find the legendary Snake Pipe. I'm confused about a few things:

What was the point of doing a Summons of Evil?  If the ritual only gives bonuses against Chaos (in this case) for the duration of the ceremony, then it's of no help for later going inside the caves. Worse, it makes them go in the caves with less magic, less ammo, and maybe even a few missing HPs. I don't understand Vasana's reasoning here.

You are correct in saying Vasana's Saga gives us a glimpse of how the Summons of Evil is used in practice. The full circumstance isn't there. It reads like she is doing a real world heroquest.

16 hours ago, lordabdul said:

It says that the summoned Chaos horror "emerged from the effigy before we could destroy the polluted idol". Was this walktapus the "representative", meaning that the characters were *also* fighting some spirit in the effigy?

The ritual is taking place right by Snake Pipe Hollow. Chaos is always nearby. They make weave a torso from handy flexible poles (cut from hazel or willow) and add half a dozen branches for arms and add a few for legs, they then carve some chaos runes on it. It looks crude - but it's chaos. They then do the summons and a huge chaos spirit embodies the effigy which starts whacking the group. Each time they cut off an animated branch - another grows back - this time real, perhaps the spirit has a chaos feature of regeneration, but much faster than a real walktapus has. This gets out of hand and suddenly the spirit is a real walktapus.

Summoning Chaos on top of Snake Pipe Hollow isn't the most sensible thing to do, and in this case they got a real chaos horror. But the benefit of everyone who participated having a +20% bonus in overcoming the magic resistance of or defending against spells cast by the enemy represented by the effigy is well worth it.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Thanks for all the answers!  And just to be clear, the +20% bonus applies to their entire mission later when they go into the caves, because somehow the players and GM framed this dungeon delve as a "real world heroquest" or similar "ceremonial test of strength"?

Yes. The +20% bonus only applies in overcoming the magic resistance of or defending against spells cast by the enemy represented by the effigy. 

14 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

(I guess that +20% still wasn't enough given their dramatic defeat 🙂 )

And so it sounds like the Summons of Evil can be used mainly with two goals in mind:

  1. You want some bonuses against an enemy that you'll fight as part of some extended ceremony (Vasana's Snakepipe Hollow trial)
  2. You want to actively draw an enemy to you so you can fight it with some home advantage (Battle of Auroch Hills)

Yes, and the third most common one:

Holy days where the true nature of chaos is revealed to remind good Orlanth worshippers what the problem with chaos is.

 
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39 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Would that have included the entire Lunar Army at the Battle of Auroch Hills? Or just 1 individual? Or...???

Given the text, the effigy in this instance was the general of the Lunar army (a specific individual can be targeted per the spell). He was drawn to attack so his army followed. Any bonus was about him only. 

39 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Ie, what if the effigy is a generic enemy, and thus, you summon multiple generic enemies?

The spell result is specific: +20% bonus in overcoming the magic resistance of or defending against spells cast by the enemy. So if you summon Dark trolls, it works against those trolls summoned, no matter the number.

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I think there is either a mistake or misunderstanding in the Q&A Pages. It's possible that this has already been addressed in the past, if so I apologise for bringing it up again, but I do think that it is a valid point.

The Well, in the section on The Ordeal:

Quote

Do the shaman abilities taken cost characteristic points? I’m assuming not but it isn’t totally clear to me.

Yes. Every ability after the first ability costs characteristic points. 

It seems to me that this question was answered as though it referred to the abilities acquired after The Ordeal, not the ones earned during it which was my intention.

p.359:

Quote

Gain First Shamanic Ability
The shaman chooses their first ability from the list in
Shamanic Abilities, following. This ability is free, and is
in addition to any abilities gained during Stage Four of the
initiation rite.

The rules here clearly say that the first ability that they gain after The Ordeal is free, and that subsequent ones cost characteristic points. The text quoted from The Well earlier implies that during The Ordeal, if you gain two abilities by winning two rounds, then the first is free but the second costs a characteristic point.

So according to The Well, if I win two rounds in The Ordeal, then I get one free ability, one ability that I pay a characteristic point for, and then after The Ordeal I get one more free ability, after which I start paying again. That surely can't be right!

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