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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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  • 2 months later...
23 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

@Kloster said

if you cast a spell on someone, whether himself or his equipment, you have to do a POW vs POW roll. RQG p244: "A target always resists a spell unless that target voluntarily and knowingly accepts the spell.". At least, we always played it that way, but perhaps we were wrong it was just a house rule.


I always played in the same way, believing it is the rules. But now I have a doubt... Is it a house rule or an official one ?

This is the relevant section in the Magic chapter, it covers all magic:


Resisting Spells

An adventurer’s POW is used to resist spells cast against them. A target always resists a spell unless that target voluntarily and knowingly accepts the spell. To find out if a spell was successfully cast against a resisting target, compare on the resistance table the caster’s POW vs. the target’s POW. Resisting Spells, page 244.

The first sentence tells us how adventurers resist magic. The second talks about targets in general.

Offensive magic cannot specifically target hit locations. You cannot aim for an arm even if you wait until SR12.

example: casting Disruption at an adventurer.

Magic can target specific items (swords, backpacks, spoons, potatoes).

example: casting Bladesharp, Dullblade, fireblade on a sword.

example: casting repair on a spoon.

If the items has a spirit, it resists with their POW or magic points (if no POW).

example: an adventurer casts Dullblade on an enemy's sword that has an Allied spirit in it.

If the item has no spirit, it does not resist.

example: an adventurer casts Dullblade on an enemy's sword .

If the target of the spell is willing to have the spell cast on them, no POW roll is required:

example: Casting Healing on yourself, or a member of the adventurer's party.

example: Casting repair on your sword containing your allied spirit.

If the target of the spell is unwilling to have the spell cast on them, a POW roll is required:

example: a Chalana Arroy priestess casting Heal on conscious wounded tusk rider NPC

example: casting Disruption at an enemy.

There are clearly borderline cases:

example: Can I cast Heal Body on my unconscious friend, without them resisting? 

The answer is clearly yes.

example: An adventurer has a Sleeped person under their care, if a broo casts an offensive spell on that sleeping person them, do they resist.

The answer is clearly yes.

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5 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Scotty is in front of Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion casts dullblade on Scotty's sword (no spirit, nothing else than a sword)

Is there a Perfidious Albion POW versus Scotty's POW ?

Unless Scotty has some form of magic up that includes the sword (Shield for example) No.

This the whole point of Dullblade.

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47 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

that is clear for weapon, thank but now I ask myself about everything else...

armor, clothes , backpack, etc...

let say a sorcerer (we can imagine any kind of spell) casts a magic timeball (effect: anything/anyone in a sphere of 2m diameter, get 1 year older for each intensity point)

now we have desperate windchild, with his woodsword, a loincloth, a metal gauntlet and a bag full of fresh food.

the windchild succeed the POW vs POW.  Let's say the intensity is awesome

What does happen ?

- the woodsword is affected, as you described

- is the metal gauntlet affected ?  it is an armor, not a weapon but, after all, it is not the person

- is the fresh food in the bag affected ?

- Is the loincloth affected ? (aka cloth with no AP)

The easiest way to approach this is to focus on what the target definition is. In your description it's anything/anyone so the spell affects everything you list. For ease of play and game speed, most GMs would say that if the POW roll succeeds, that nothing is effected. However if it's important to the plot or MGF that the food is spoiled, loincloth rots, etc, go with that.

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1 hour ago, Hellfire6a said:

One Rune point gets me a single lightning stroke for 1d6 damage? Or do I have 15 minutes of 1d6 damage? I realize the effects are instant, but does the ability to shoot lightning last for 15 minutes?

The effect is instant, which replaces the default duration of Temporal, see Spell Durations, RQG page 248.

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15 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Considering Vasana's DEX SR 3 and Composite Bow. How many times can Vasana fire her bow over multiple rounds of combat?

If prepared 2 shots in the first round, then 1 thereafter. However most GMs and players would not do two shots in the first round, so that they reload and be ready to fire on SR3 next round. DEX SR0 & SR3 are problematic as at the end of each round, if you start prepared or unprepared, you always end unprepared.

See the S/MR rates of fire table here.

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On 4/23/2021 at 5:32 PM, Marc said:

In the Bestiary, on p. 187, the description says that, if the POW vs CON roll is successful, the victim loses points from STR, INT, or CON( depending on the type of wraith ) equal to half the magic points of the wraith.  However, in the section on Spirit Combat Damage, it says the victim loses points equal to half the POW of the wraith. Which is correct?

Thanks for spotting this.



A victim failing to resist loses points from STR, INT, or CON (depending on the type of wraith) equal in number to half the current magic points of the wraith. Wraith, page 187



A victim failing to resist loses points from STR, INT, or CON (depending on the type of wraith) equal in number to half the POW of the wraith.


5 hours ago, Marc said:

Continuing on with questions about wraiths.  The second paragraph on the right column on p. 187 states "All a wraith’s attacks take place on SR 1".  Is that an exception to all spirit combat happening at SR 12, or does it only refer to the wraiths "one time per opponent POW vs CON" attack?

It's all attacks and yes, it's an exception to spirit combat. There are other exceptions to that rule too, such as using a weapon in Spirit Combat.

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  • 2 weeks later...
36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Summon Cult Spirit vs. Summon Elemental:

Vargast is an initiate of Orlanth, but not of Orlanth Thunderous.

An initiate of Orlanth Adventurous.

36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

1. Can Vargast summon a small air elemental using Summon Cult Spirit?

No. Although the GM at your table may rule otherwise.

36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Does it matter whether he knows the Summon Elemental spell for it?

  • If a cult has a specific summon spell use that, it has a specific set of rules associated with it.

If a cult has elementals, they are cult spirits. Summon Elemental is a specialist version of Summon Cult spirit. Use the specialist spell.

36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

2. If Vargast instead summons a small air elemental using a Summon Elemental spell, what runes can he use (compare the Mago example from the starter set, where he gets all three runes for the Summon Elemental spell)?

Any of his cult runes: 


All common Rune spells use the:20-condition-magic:Rune. Any Rune of the cult providing the spell may be used to cast a spell indicated with the :20-condition-magic: Rune. Common Rune Magic, page 317

As Summon Elemental in this case is a specific version of the common Rune spell, Summon Cult Spirit, Vargast can use Air or Movement.

36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

3. Assuming 1 is a yes, can Vargast summon a large air elemental using Summon Cult Spirit (that is, are large air elementals Orlanth cult spirits,


36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

or are they only cult spirits for Orlanth Thunderous specifically ("subcult spirits"?))?

All Air elementals are Orlanth cult spirits. However:

  • Orlanth Thunderous is the specific aspect of Orlanth as the Air / Storm and has the greatest storm powers, so can summon all and sizes types of Air elementals.
  • Orlanth Adventurous is the specific aspect of Orlanth as Movement / Change and does not have as much power over Air powers so can only deal with small and medium Air elementals.
36 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

4. Assuming 3 is a no, does that mean that he also couldn't command a large air elemental using Command Cult Spirit, since it doesn't count as a cult spirit for him (not being a Thunderous subcult initiate)? 

As Vargast is a member of the Orlanth subcult with lesser air powers, no. But a GM may rule otherwise.


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On 5/8/2021 at 3:16 AM, Shiningbrow said:

Could a Summon Cult Spirit 4+ be used to summon larger, more powerful, etc, elementals?

No. Summon cult spirit only goes to 3 points maximum. Beyond this there are rarer specific summon spells for larger more powerful cult spirits.

As usual, your GM may rule that Summon Cult Spirit go to 4, 5 or even unlimited points.

There is also a group of specific Summon cult spirit spells that allow you to stack on top of the initial summon, beyond three points:

  • Flash Flood 3pts, but you can stack an additional 4 points on top of it. (RBM 52)
  • Mountain leap, 2pts, but you can stack on top of it, effectively summoning a larger wind / ram. (RBM 66)

Cult summons spells over 3 points include:

  • Summon Snake Daughter, 4pts (RBM 94)
  • Summon Thunder Brother, 4pts (RQB 185)
  • Call Founder, 6pts (RBM 21)

It's also possible that there are [little known / regional / secretive] [subcults / hero cults / spirit cults] that can summon more powerful specific Cult Spirits. Spells like these may also be be HeroQuest prizes and so unique to individuals.


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On 5/13/2021 at 1:53 PM, French Desperate WindChild said:

does a shield protect the left arm passively in a melee ?

No. Although your GM may rule otherwise. 


I mean:

the defender fails the shield parry.

the attacker hits the left arm.

What are the damage ?

Looking at the Attack & Parry Results table on page 199

Assuming a normal attack and a failed parry: Attacker rolls normal damage. Defender takes damage.

Roll for damage location, gets left arm. Defender takes damage to the left arm, armour protects.

A successful parry puts the shield between the Attacker and the Defender's weapon.

A failed parry does the opposite, it puts the shield in a place where it cannot protect the Defender, in this case their left arm.


same for missile weapon:

Missile weapon cannot be parried, thrown weapons can.

Shields can protect against missiles:


However, a shield can be used to provide coverage against projectile weapons, if it is not used to parry that round.

An adventurer may specify in their Statement of Intent (page 192) that they are holding their shield in one place, covering specific hit locations instead of parrying.  Use of Shield Against Missile Weapons, page 219

For example a player states that they are not parrying with a large shield, but using their shield against incoming arrows, and protecting their left arm, chest and head. If an arrow successfully hits, and when hit location is rolled, strikes one of those three locations, they get the full value of the shield's armour 


to be sure :

if I want to actively protect myself with a shield (blue sentences),  do I get 100% of its hit points as protection  ?

Yes if it strikes the stated protected location.


when it is a "passive" protection (black sentence) it provides half its points...but only if it is slung on the back ?

Yes, and only against chest hits.

For example, if an adventurer is riding away from an archer, with a slung shield on their back, and the archer makes a successful attack and rolls chest, the shield acts as 50% of its armour.


what about the arm for example (and the loop to the "passive" protection in my melee question)

Your GM may rule this possible in a specific case of an adventurer presenting their back to an attacker and happening to have a slung shield. There is more on this in Shields in the Q&A.

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