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How do you interpret the three runes? Personality, magic system or both?


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Very interesting discussion stemmed in Facebook and I thought to bring it up here, too.

We are talking about the three runes you define for the character in HeroQuest Glorantha. Do you see them as some kind of personality definition that can be also used to solve contests in mundane way? Or are they the magic system of HQG that lets the characters do extraordinary deeds? Or are they both?

On top of that question: what does it mean to you, that the runes are keywords (instead of abilities)?

Which way have you used them in your games?

Edit: Let's add to the question one more aspect: how do you feel the current way works? Has this caused problems in play? Should they be more of only magic system or personality definition?

Edited by jrutila
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26 minutes ago, jrutila said:

We are talking about the three runes you define for the character in HeroQuest Glorantha. Do you see them as some kind of personality definition that can be also used to solve contests in mundane way? Or are they the magic system of HQG that lets the characters do extraordinary deeds? Or are they both?

They are both, as covered in HQG page 45

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Your Runes have a distinct impact on your personality. A person strong with the g Air Rune tends to be violent and passionate. A person strong with the s Movement Rune will tend to be adventurous and unpredictable. Someone strong with the x Life Rune tends to be lusty and desirable, and so on. Each Rune is associated with personality traits; you should familiarize yourself with the Personality Traits of your Runes.

The traits associated with each rune start on page 14:
 

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Darkness: Personality Traits: cruel, cold, secretive

Water: Personality Traits: mercurial, capricious

etc

 

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On top of that question: what does it mean to you, that the runes are keywords (instead of abilities)?

Just as the rules say, it lets you treat them as general umbrella terms and breakout specific abilities (specialist magics) from them.

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Which way have you used them in your games?

Both. It's in the rules:

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the Game Master can also give you a Situational Bonus or even a Plot Augment to the use of a Rune if you have been consistently roleplaying the personality traits of that Rune.

You can use them as flaws broken out from the Rune if you want.

I've had players use:

Air 5M

         +1 unpredictable

I've used them as augments and negative modifiers as well

Just do a search for Personality Traits in the RQG pdf.

Edited by David Scott
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1 hour ago, jrutila said:

Do you see them as some kind of personality definition that can be also used to solve contests in mundane way? Or are they the magic system of HQG that lets the characters do extraordinary deeds? Or are they both?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

1 hour ago, jrutila said:

what does it mean to you, that the runes are keywords (instead of abilities)?

That you can get breakouts from them as @David Scott noted.  My players use these all the time.  The breakout abilities might be either physical or magical abilities, but have a clear association to the specific Rune (and means that they are tied into the advantages/weaknesses of the Rune, too).

They may also use either the keyword or the breakout ability as augments.

 

 

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Let's add to the question one more aspect: how do you feel the current way works? Has this caused problems in play? Should they be more of only magic system or personality definition?

I edited the original start with this question.

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While being a player in @jajagappa's PbF game I've never had an  issue with using them as personality trait as well as a magical base. And this makes sense with respect to, how Glorantha is defined: Everything is based on the Runes. Runes are for Glorantha, what atoms are for our world. So they influence everything, regardless if it is magic or a personality trait.

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The way I generally use runes is that they may affect your personality, but it's not that they are your personality. So, for instance, someone with very weak magical abilities may have a tenuous connection to the air rune, but they could still be a timid, quiet person. If they decide to invest in their magic, though, air will begin to influence their actions more and more as their connection grows stronger, and they'll start becoming proud and boastful and reckless as they become more powerful.

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