CHA4034 Red Book of Magic – Chapter 02 Rune Magic Spells Q&A

Official Answers from Chaosium

This covers the second part of Chapter 2, pages 10-104.

For the Rune Magic Spells, see Chapter 02 Rune Magic Q&A

Rune Spells (page 10)

Spell NameRBM
Page
RQG
Page
RQB
Page
Notes
Alter Creature10318Supersedes RQG
Animate War Tree1227
Appease Earth1369
Arrow Trance1327
Attack Soul1331881
Axe Trance14318
Bear’s Strength15319Updated text
Berserker16319Supersedes RQG
Blinding1981
Carry (Disease)1924
Cause (Disease)1924
Chameleon2427
Chaos Feature2494Updated text
Chaos Spawn2794
Charisma28323
Command cult spirit30323Updated text, Command Cult Spirit vs Control (Entity)
Command Priests30323Supersedes RQG
Counterchaos3382
Crack3432494Supersedes RQG & RQB
Create Fissure34324
Create Ghost3582
Create Revenant3782
Create Shadow37325
Create Skeleton3782
Create War Tree3727
Create Zombie3882
Crush3882
Curse of Thed3894
Darksee4082
Dark Walk40325
Death Binding4169
Dismiss (type) Elemental44326Clarified Seven Mothers information
Dismiss Magic44326Supersedes RQG
Earth Power45327Supersedes RQG
Enchant (metal)46327
Extension49328Supersedes RQG
Fumble5495
Group Laughter55329
Hallucinate55392
Inviolable61332
Lightning63333
Multispell66335Using Disruption, Multimissile.
Pain Tooth6770
Plant Spy6828
Rebirth of Chaos7195
Sanctify76338
Seal Wound7770
82
Shooting Star78Updated text
Silence Sphere7928
Spell Trading82340
Summon (Cult Spirit)89342
Summon (type) Elemental 91342Updated text, clarified Seven Mothers information
Summon Insect Swarm93
Summons of Evil95345
Sword Trance97346
Tanglethicket9828
Transform Self10034587
Warding102347Clarification by Steve Perrin
Wolfhide10487
Wolfrunning10487
Wolf’s Head10487

Alter Creature (page 10)

Alter Creature is binding only on those Praxians who agreed to the Survival Covenant: men, herd men, morokanths, impalas, sables, bisons, llamas, and rhinoceri.

Alter Creature, page 10

Who can be targeted by this spell?

  • men & beast from anywhere? No
  • only those considered as praxian? No
  • what about hunshen? No
  • a sundomer from prax? No
  • a praxian from other beast tribe? No
  • a loskalmi? No
  • a sabretooth; a telmori? No
  • a frog in prax, a newtling? No
  • only those from the impalas/sables/bisons/llamas/rhinoceri tribes? Yes

Does this mean that Waha followers come only from these populations ? none from other praxians community, for example ?

No. Waha is present in nearly all the tribes.

The first time I faced the alter creature, it was from a french casus belli scenario and the victim was a sundomer…

The RQG version of Alter Creature is basically the same as the RQ2 version (See Borderlands classic, page 29)

The RQ3 version were two different spells, Fix & Release Intelligence and not connected to the Covenant.


Attack Soul (page 13)

Must a Kyger Litor cultist using Attack Soul roll INTx5 to take other actions besides spirit combat?

Yes, but the INTx5 is situational and maybe changed by the GM. Down could be x4, x3, x2, x1 or even no roll:

Once a corporeal being is engaged in spirit combat, they may not attempt any skill or engage in physical melee combat with a separate physical melee target without first succeeding at an intelligence check (normally INT×5, but the gamemaster may adjust that up or down, as desired).

Spirit Combat, Combatants, page 366

It’s a GM call.


Axe Trance (page 14)

Does this have any actual “trance” features as per, e.g., Arrow Trance?

Treat them the same. 

Obviously, one would need to modify the exact features…

But will the the Axe Trance’d only be aware of themselves and their foes?  Unaware e.g. of falling allies, larger strategic considerations?  If all the foes are fallen before the spell expires, do they just stand ready for more foes?

If the Tranced character has run out of targets, the spell ends, even if prematurely. Humakt has little interest in his warriors standing around pointlessly when they could be going off to get into more trouble elsewhere. The same could be said for Aldrya or Babeester Gor. The rules don’t specifically spell this out but the gamemaster should be able to interpret the situation that way. 

Similarly, casting Extension on spells like this should only be useful for so long as the spell is useful. If, as a gamemaster, you want to have adventurers running around in a coldblooded murder zone, by all means allow it, but if you don’t, remember that the gods themselves are linked to the Runes that these spells are cast with, the Rune points the spells were cast with were granted by those gods themselves, and the use of the spells should be in service to the god, or at least not wasted on idle tasks.  

Things that fall outside the province of the target/Trance dynamic are ignored, which is why it would be horrible to keep one of these spells going for longer than is absolutely necessary.

Can characters affected by Sword or Axe Trance use other weapons than swords or axes, eg. shields?

Yes, but…

You may parry, but could not use your shield as an attack and gain the (weapon) trance bonus.

Sword Trance also specifically states: 

When they cease focusing on using their sword in battle, the spell ends

Red Book of Magic, Sword Trance, page 97

So if you attacked with your shield while under a (weapon) trance spell, your GM could say that the spell ends.


Bear’s Strength (page 15)

Add
Add to the end of the first sentence “or an associated cult.”

Berserker (page 16)

Someone under Berserker receives a 2/4 point Countermagic equivalent. Does this Countermagic get “popped” when penetrated by a spell (as regular Countermagic), or is it a constant protection (more like a Shield spell’s Countermagic equivalent)?

Constant, it’s a Rune spell and the countermagic is part of the effect, just like Shield. The whole spell would need to be eliminated, with for example Dismiss Magic 2.

Strictly, it reads like the former, but is this the intent?

The berserker gains Countermagic 2 (page 111).

[…]

and against these creatures the berserker is protected by Countermagic 4.

Berserker, page 16

These are just statements.

Also, how does this Countermagic-equivalent interact with spells that are normally incompatible with Countermagic? Is this Countermagic-equivalent incompatible with Shimmer / Protection / Spirit Screen?

This spell is incompatible with Protection, Shimmer, and Spirit Screen (pages 118 and 121).

Countermagic, page 111

These spells are incompatible with Berserker (Note that Shield specifically states its compatible with Protection).

Does Fanaticism/Berserk increase the boost from Bladesharp or other bonuses?

No.

However, the berserker cannot cast magic, parry, or dodge.

Berserk, page 16

If bladesharp was already on their weapon, or was cast on the target’s weapon while under Berserker by someone else. you would add the bonus normally, likewise with passion or rune augments :

In a desperate fight with the Iron Broo, Vasana has Berserker cast on her. Her normal 90% broadsword is now doubled against chaos to 180%. Her existing Bladesharp 4 is added afterwards, bring her attack to 200%. She successfully inspires her broadsword with her Air rune and add another 20% to her ability total, now 220%

Fanaticism works the same way.

Can I cast Dispel Magic on a character in a state of murderous, berserk fury where all but the strongest loyalties are forgotten, and the subject has the effect of Countermagic 2, before the spell ends?”

“Have fun with that!”


Chaos Feature (page 25)

Chaotic Features table (page 25)

93-9 change to 93-94:


Charisma (page 28)

Do the additional points increase your capacity for holding Spirit Magic spells and Rune Points? Obviously this isn’t a question without Extension being involved. What happens to those spells or RP if the additional CHA goes away?

The spell’s description on page 28 says it will increase the target’s limit of spirit magic spell holding, so yes. 

If you sacrifice more permanent POW for Rune points while the Charisma spell is in effect, you could temporarily have Rune points up to this new CHA limit, but they will go away when your CHA returns to its normal value. So you will have spent permanent POW to get a temporary supply of Rune points that can be wiped out with Dispel Magic.


Command (cult spirit) (page 30)

Change

Command (cult spirit)

to

Command Cult Spirit

If a cult has specific command spells use those, otherwise use the Command Cult Spirit spell. The specific spells are always better.

Command Cult Spirit vs Control (Entity)

The difference between 1 magic point of and 1 Rune point is huge for the many players who would like to use an elemental. It’s too expensive in terms of Rune points, especially new PCs who only have 3 Rune points.

Command Cult SpiritControl (Entity)
Cost:2 Rune points1 Magic point
Duration:15 minutes (extendable)2 minutes
Specificity:Any cult spiritSpecific to (entity) eg. Control Fire Elemental
Availability:Common Rune magicControl spells are not taught by any cult (except Aldrya), so are only available to cults with Shaman. Currently that’s Aldrya, Daka Fal, Kyger Litor, Waha, Yu-Kargzant (ignoring Malia and Thed as they are NPC cults).
To learn a specific Control (entity) spell from a shaman, you’d need to find one that’s cult friendly and can find the control spell you want. Just because the rule book say they can teach any spirit magic spell doesn’t mean they actually can.

Starting adventurers are limited to small elementals.


Create Fissure (page 34)

Are all dimensions multiplied by the number of Rune points in the spell, or just the depth? If you create it underneath a target do you have to overcome their POW or does it just work? Why DEX x 3 rather than Dodge to not fall in?

The spell’s overall dimension (5x1x5 meters) is multiplied by the Rune points. So with two rune points you could make it longer, wider, or deeper.

It just works. No need for a resistance roll. The spell would say so if it were the case. 

DEXx3 is easier to keep track of for creatures that may not have Dodge skills defined. If you want, substitute Dodge.


Create Shadow (page 37)

Can it be cast on a target and move with the target (earlier versions were immobile AFAIK?). If One point is enough to allow Dark Walk – does that mean I can cast both and become invisible and soundless for 15 minutes while moving around even in daylight (well there will be a bit of haze)?

It can move with the target, as it has a Movement Rate. 

You can cast Dark Walk and Create Shadow simultaneously. You may be a bit conspicuous, though, with a blurry darkish haze surrounding you. 


Dark Walk (page 40)

This is really a range Self spell isn’t it? The implication is that it works on the caster. I guess it means that anyone attacking gets -75% to hit etc as per total darkness? Anyone more than 160m away can see the target normally if it’s not night?

Yes, range should be Self.

And yes to the rest. If you’re out of range, you see the target of the spell. Anyone attacking you suffers penalties as if in pitch black.

Does the Dark Walk spell make the character undetectable to Second Sight, Soul Sight, Detect enemies, Detect life, Darksense etc.?

Dark Walk vs. 

Second Sight – ineffective, as the character in darkness is still hidden totally.

Soul Sight – ineffective, as the character in darkness is still hidden totally.

Detect Enemies – caster determines roughly where a Dark Walker is, such as “in that patch of shadow” somewhere… but does not see them. 

Detect Life – as the spell indicates, gives direction and distance, but not actual location. 

Darksense – I’m inclined to say that Darksense is going to work vs. Dark Walk to a limited degree, as Uz are folk of Darkness. They might sense an indistinct figure, not being able to identify them but getting a clear outline. In other words, “You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it.”  

As for others, I generally take the rule of thumb that a Rune spell is almost always more powerful than a spirit magic one (especially if points are equal).

When in doubt, the implied intent of the Rune spell should be weighed versus any exploit or apparent weakness. 


Dismiss (type) Elemental (page 44)

Rune varies depending on elemental being dismissed

Dismiss (type) Elemental, page 44

Seven Mothers initiates can Summon / Dismiss Elementals (max 1pt) using the Moon rune, but cannot Summon / Dismiss any form of Air Elemental. 


Dismiss Magic (page 44)

Extension and Dismiss magic

Does Dismiss Magic always take the main spell away or is it drawn between the Extension and the main spell. if there is Earth shield 3 and Extension 3 and an opponent casts Dismiss Magic 3. Which spell is cancelled? 

Extension just increases the duration of the spell, it doesn’t exist separately after casting. See: Extension in the Q&A

The Dismiss Magic 3 eliminates the Earth Shield 3.

What if your opponent notices that there is a spell on a shield because the shield shines and targets the shield with Dismiss Magic. Is it enough to automatically select the Earth Shield and not the Extension

See above.

How come it is irrelevant? There are two spells on that shield, extension and earth shield.

There is one spell, Earth Shield 3, with a duration of a week.

How does Dismiss Magic work on Rune spells with extension?

As normal.

Does extension make the main spell bigger and harder to dismiss?

No. Extension makes the spell last longer. That’s all it does.

How do you calculate the intensity of a Sorcery spell for the purposes of countermagic / dispel? As far as I can figure, the total intensity is 1 + the levels of intensity purchased, is that right?

That’s correct.

Why wouldn’t Extension make a Runespell more powerful?  For example, an opponent casts Charisma and Extension III, Charisma is now cast with 4 RPs, and you should need a Dismiss Magic of at least 4 pts (or 8 pts Dispel Magic) to dismiss it.

You’re not making the spell more effective or more powerful, you’re just making it last longer.

Can a powerful Dismiss Magic remove multiple spells at once?

Yes. But it must completely overcome each of them.

When cast against a general target, without specifying any particular effect or spell, Dismiss Magic always destroys defensive spells first, beginning with the most powerful spell that it can affect.

Dismiss Magic, page 44

A Dismiss Magic 2 against Protection 3 and Shield 1, would only knock out the Protection 3. 


Enchant (metal) (page 46)

The spell description says the Rune used varies with the metal, but I can’t find any information on what Rune is associated with iron.

It’s the Death Rune.

Some earlier edition imply that the knowledge of the Enchant Iron spell was limited to Rune levels [Lords and Priests] as a way of enforcing the cultural prohibition that those who were ‘unworthy’ should not have access to the Metal of Death. Is that still the case?

I cannot not comment on earlier editions as this is the RQG rules thread.

Enchantments as a whole are only available to Rune Levels, Gustbran is the only exception. As such Enchant Iron is only available to Rune Levels. Craft (Iron) is only available to Initiates of Humakt, Yanafal Tarnils (full cult) and dwarves.

The Yanafal Tarnil info comes from the upcoming Gods book and is not the Seven Mothers subcult, but the standalone full cult.


Extension (page 49)

Extension and Dismiss magic

Does Dismiss Magic always take the main spell away or is it drawn between the Extension and the main spell. if there is Earth shield 3 and Extension 3 and an opponent casts Dismiss Magic 3. Which spell is cancelled? 

Extension just increases the duration of the spell, it doesn’t exist separately after casting. See: Extension in the Q&A

So the answer is none of them. The Dismiss Magic 3 eliminates the Earth Shield 3.

What if your opponent notices that there is a spell on a shield because the shield shines and targets the shield with Dismiss Magic. Is it enough to automatically select the Earth Shield and not the Extension

See above.

How come it is irrelevant? There are two spells on that shield, extension and earth shield.

There is one spell, Earth Shield 3, with a duration of a week.

Why wouldn’t Extension make a Runespell more powerful?  For example, an opponent casts Charisma and Extension 3, Charisma is now cast with 4 RPs, and you should need a Dismiss Magic of at least 4 pts (or 8 pts Dispel Magic) to dismiss it.

You’re not making the spell more effective or more powerful, you’re just making it last longer.


Group Laughter (page 329)

Our clan was hosting a major Sacred Time ceremony when a trickster cast a powerful Group Laughter spell that covered several hundred people. We think it must have been around 20 points, and also suspect that a lot of Extension was also used. Obviously we see the funny side of all this, even a few days later, but in all seriousness we need to do something about it.

My question is: when we muster enough points of Dismiss Magic, will one casting be sufficient to dispel the effects of the entire spell on everyone, or will we need to cast it on each victim individually? If the latter, then we will need to enlist the aid of our wyter?

As the spell is centred on the caster one a single Dismiss Magic would work. However as Eurmal’s magic is clearly MGF,  you would need to cast it on each victim…


Hallucinate (page 55)

Is this intended to imply that this spell alone can create all these effects and combine them

Yes.

or that it must be cast as well as the other spells?

No.

Just to note that Create Hallucination is only on a individual, where the illusion spells are grander affairs perceived by all.


Inviolable (page 61)

Is the range on Inviolable 3m after it is cast?

Yes, as the target is self, it’s effectively a 3m radius circle from the caster.

Does Inviolable only work to calm down those it affects,

Yes.

but not the non-associated cult members?

Yes, Ernalda and associate cult members only (currently 15). You may also include in that members of the relevant Husband-Protector where appropriate. So for a Sartarite caster, Orlanth, Grazelander, Yelm, etc.

Does Inviolable also affect the caster

Only if she gets above 50% in the POW vs POW roll. The caster needs to get a POW vs POW result above their own POW for it to affect them.

and potentially prevent them from being violent?

Yes.

Do lay members count for the Inviolable Spell?  Does ‘Member’ generally mean initiate?

Yes, my emphasis:

This spell affects any member of Ernalda.

RBM, Inviolable, page 61

Lightning (page 63)

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 page 248 or RBM page 6.


Multispell (page 66)

Casting Disruption with Multispell:

This spell allows the caster to combine two spirit magic spells and cast them at once. These are resolved as separate attacks. The only exception to this is the Disruption spell, which can be combined with itself and resolved as one attack doing 2D3 damage to one hit location.

Multispell, RQG 335 and RBM 66

do all the Disruptions strike the same location

Yes, the single multispelled Disruption strikes a single location.

And do you roll to overcome the target’s POW for every Disruption spell or only once?

Once, it’s a single attack.

or only a maximum of two Disruptions?

For each additional point stacked with Multispell, one additional spirit magic spell can be combined. Thus Multispell 2 allows three spirit magic spells to be combined and thrown at once.

Multispell, RQG 335 and RBM 66
MultispellDisruption DamageMagic Point CostSR
12D321
23D331
34D341
45D351
56D361
67D371
78D381
89D391
910D3101

Casting Disruption with Multispell:

An adventurer is using a 1pt Multispell to prep arrows in advance with Multimissile (touch, temporal, passive which I interpret to mean that the spell can be cast on an arrow to be used up to 10 rounds later)

Yes – This spell can be cast onto a missile: the spell works (once only) if the missile is used any time within the spell’s duration.

If my adventurer has an arrow and casts multimissile with 5 mps, it goes off at SR1 + 4 (5-1).

Now with Multispell 1

If my adventurer has an two arrows and casts two multimissiles with with 5 mps, both go off at SR1 + 4 (5-1).

Does he, on the same strike rank:

  • make two Spirit Magic casting rolls to cast the two Multimissile spells on the two arrows, or

Yes. Each spell is separate and you need to cast multispell (three rolls in total) 

  • One Spirit Magic roll because it is now considered to be a single spell action affecting two arrows?

No.

In my example it be worth casting multimissile with (12-DEX SR) mps, it goes off at 12, but only one roll.

As in all cases GMs may make their own rulings, some may rule that only the Multispell roll is needed (plus attack rolls), others may rule that all the spirit magic if identical is one roll only – however there is only one specific example of this (disruption).


Sanctify (page 76)

Can the Rune Point spent on Sanctify in the first place be replenished by worshipping in the sanctified area?

Yes. The point has been spent. (This only becomes an issue with Extension, which isn’t needed with this spell.) 

Can they sacrifice POW to gain a Rune Point and a new Rune spell?

No. With Sanctify there is effectively a hidden level in the temple size list:

  • Sanctified area –  no magic available.
  • Site – no magic available.
  • Shrine – single cult rune spell.
  • Minor Temple – all cult and subcult (if present) Rune spells
  • Major Temple – all cult and subcult (if present) Rune spells, and a single associate cult rune spell.
  • Great Temple – everything.

Can the Adventurers doing this personal worship in the sanctified area also sacrifice POW to gain a Rune Point?

Yes.

Note you don’t need to sacrifice a rune point to gain a spell, you just need to do exceptional service, pay, or by GM fiat:  Quote

At the gamemaster’s discretion, an initiate can gain access to the cult’s special Rune spells in return for exceptional service to the cult, by donating the equivalent of 100 L per point of the spell, or for other reasons that further the cult’s goals and standing. Benefits, page 275

In order to gain access to a new spell you, do need some kind of organisation is need, so the minimum is likely a God Talker at a shrine.


Shooting Star (page 78)

I have a Yelornan with Shooting Star. When it says in the Red Book that “armor protects against this damage but magical resistance does not apply,” does that only mean that it ignores Countermagic, or does it also means it ignores magical resistance such as the Protection spell?

This works just like Firearrow. Here is the updated RBM text:

In RQ2, Shooting Star it was Extendible, very handy as you could prepare an arrow in advance. Now it’s listed as an “instant” spell, so you can’t cast Extension on it. Is that deliberate or accidental?

Deliberate. Normal use would have the arrow fired the round it received the spell.

Or since the spell doesn’t trigger till the arrow is fired, does that mean that it just lies fallow till it is fired, therefore theoretically (if Yelorna does not object) available forever, effectively like an arrow *enchanted* with Shooting Star?

Sure, If you can convince your GM to allow arrows once touched to have shooting star “available forever”. However It’s clearly an attempt to extending the spell. If they did allow this, I’d certainly advise that the rune points are not recoverable until the arrow is used.

This doesn’t preclude that this an everlasting shooting star arrow, it would certainly be the object of a Yelorna HeroQuest.


Spell Trading (page 82)

When a rune spell relying on stacking a variable amount of magic points (like e.g. Lock) is traded, is the number of magic points pre-set at the time of the trade (as the spell could go off on a roll of 96-100)?

No. If Lock goes off, it won’t do anything.

When a traded spell is cast (in a situation other than the Spell Trading ritual), what rune(s) and rune percentage(s) determine the success chance? The runes known by the originator of the spell, and the rune percentage of the originator at the time of trading the spell?

see:

To cast the received spell, no Rune points need to be used and the caster uses the relevant Rune rating of the person who provided the spell, even if it is lower than their own.

RBM, Spell Trading, page 82

Can an Issaries merchant trade for a rune spell using only an elemental rune that the trader doesn’t have any percentiles in?

Yes, see above.

Or should an Issaries trader character have at least one percentile in every element rune in order to be able to theoretically cast any rune spell he encounters?

See above.


Summon (Cult Spirit) (page 89)

If a cult has specific Summon spell use those, otherwise use the Summon (Cult Spirit) spell. The specific spells are always better, for example with elementals, you always get the same elemental.

Summon Cult Spirit vs. Summon Elemental:

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

An initiate of Orlanth Adventurous.

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

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

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.

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 Rune. Any Rune of the cult providing the spell may be used to cast a spell indicated with the  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.

Can Vargast summon a large air elemental using Summon Cult Spirit (that is, are large air elementals Orlanth cult spirits?

No. 

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.

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.

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.


Summon Elemental (type) (page 91)

Change

Summon Elemental (type)

to

Summon (type) Elemental

See also Summon Cult Spirit vs. Summon Elemental

Rune varies depending on elemental being summoned

Summon Elemental,  page 91

How does this work for initiates of the Seven Mothers? Vostor doesn’t have the Fire rune, so can’t cast his Summon Fire Elemental (small) spell.

Seven Mothers initiates can Summon / Dismiss Elementals (max 1pt) using the Moon rune, but cannot Summon / Dismiss any form of Air Elemental.


Summon Insect Swarm (page 93)

How does the ‘Summon Insect Swarm’ spell work exactly? I have no trouble understanding the text, but is it an area effect or just against one person? What if the original target (targets?) die, can you redirect the swarm?

This is situational. I’d suggest the maximum number affected be the same as the rune point level, depending on adjacency. A single beehive swarm is a bar will affect a lot more people than outside. Command Cult Spirit works on the insects, or a rare control (insect type), the occasional Gorakikki shaman- priest might teach this.

Does redirecting the swarm takes one’s action for a melee round?

That’s an at your table call. The swarm has to move, so depending on the type of insect may be quick (flying) or slow (crawling).

Can wind magic (or sylphs) could be used to disperse the swarm at least temporarily?

Yes.


Summons of Evil (page 95)

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).

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:

The effigy stuff

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.

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 your enemy appears.

Does that typically involve beating the spirit in Spirit Combat?

No.

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.

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…). 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.

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.

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.

Summons of Evil, 345 & RQG RBM page 95

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…

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 anything 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.

Is it the ritual itself?

No.

If so, does that mean that the bonuses are effectively only valid against the “summoned representative”?

No.

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.

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. 

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

Yes if you run the ritual long enough.

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.

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. If you have a heroquest enemy they will arrive too… 

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.

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.

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:

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.

Summons of Evil, 345 & RQG RBM page 95

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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:

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

When KIng Bryon uses it to summon the Lunar army for the Battle of Auroch Hills in 1622, would that have included the entire Lunar Army or just one 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.

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.


Sword Trance (page 97)

If I am playing my Humakti and I cast Sword Trance and stack 20 magic points in it I gain 200% to hit.

Correct.

If I have 100% to hit with my Greatsword normally I would go to 300%. If this Humakti decides to split his attacks against ambushing Lunars, he can hit 3 in a round at 100 each, correct?

Incorrect. 

Splitting Attacks
An adventurer may split attacks if and only if each attack is 50% or higher. Thus, an adventurer can only split attacks with a natural skill rating of 100% or higher with the weapon (magical benefits or augments that bring a skill over 100% do not count in this case).

RQG, Splitting Attacks, page 202

If his skill was 101% naturally, then he could split his attack 50/51%, and as a GM I’d rule that the bonus would be split evenly, for two attacks at 150% and 151%.

What % would he parry with his greatsword at for the round?

300% for the first, -20% for each additional parry.

If he decides not to split his attack then he would be at 300 and reduce his opponents chance to parry by 200 percentiles, leaving the Humakti at 100%, but with what % critical or hit?

The special and critical ranges are based on the modified chance, so if your Humakti’s skill was at 100% because he was reducing other attackers’ chances to hit, then he’d hit/special/crit as if his skill was 100%.

This Humakti in particular has a DEX SR 1, SIZ SR 1, and swings an iron greatsword, so SR 1 weapon.

His strike rank is 3 for his first attack, and 6 if he is able to attack again. 

Don’t forget the strike ranks for casting the spells, in the initial rounds they’re being cast. Unless he’s casting Sword Trance before the battle, it’s going to take 1 strike rank for the Rune spell + 19 strike ranks for the magic points. So that spell takes him a full combat round and an additional six strike ranks into the next. He’ll need to cast Bladesharp for even more strike ranks. Hopefully an opportunistic foe won’t see what he’s up to and attempt to disrupt him or throw off his concentration. 

Can a Humakti use Extension to have Sword Trance up for a year? 

I’ve said no because a) I don’t want that degree of power to last that long and b) it’s a trance and the Humakti is totally focussed on his weapon and on fighting while it is active and even the most Death oriented character needs to eat, sleep and crap from time to time. 

Correct. You can’t keep a Sword Trance active for a year, unless you can for some reason keep fighting without sleep, eating, self-care, conversation, travel, etc. for that year. 

Though the “as-written” mechanics of the spell and Extension seem to indicate it’s possible, the gamemaster should interpret the purpose of the spell and its use within the mythic framework of Glorantha. If it makes no sense to remain active, then it should end when it feels appropriate.

Does this have any actual “trance” features as per, e.g., Arrow Trance?

I treat them the same. 

Obviously, one would need to modify the exact features… e.g. Humakti will not “Heal” their iron swords, and will be free to parry!

But will the the Sword Trance’d only be aware of themselves and their foes?  Unaware e.g. of falling allies, larger strategic considerations?  If all the foes are fallen before the spell expires, do they just stand ready for more foes?

If the Tranced character has run out of targets, I’d say the spell ends, even if prematurely. Humakt has little interest in his warriors standing around pointlessly when they could be going off to get into more trouble elsewhere. The same could be said for Aldrya or Babeester Gor. The rules don’t specifically spell this out but the gamemaster should be able to interpret the situation that way. 

Similarly, casting Extension on spells like this should only be useful for so long as the spell is useful. If, as a gamemaster, you want to have adventurers running around in a coldblooded murder zone, by all means allow it, but if you don’t, remember that the gods themselves are linked to the Runes that these spells are cast with, the Rune points the spells were cast with were granted by those gods themselves, and the use of the spells should be in service to the god, or at least not wasted on idle tasks.  

Things that fall outside the province of the target/Trance dynamic are ignored, which is why it would be horrible to keep one of these spells going for longer than is absolutely necessary. 

Sword Trance and Bladesharp

Also, where in all this do we factor Bladesharp? Pre or post splitting or reducing for over 100%?

You would add it in with the modifiers for Sword Trance, until either expires. Generally speaking, you can’t pick and choose when magical modifiers come into play if they’re both cast on the same item at the same time.

Can characters affected by Sword or Axe Trance use other weapons than swords or axes, eg. shields?

Yes, but…

You may parry, but could not use your shield as an attack and gain the (weapon) trance bonus.

Sword Trance also specifically states: 

When they cease focusing on using their sword in battle, the spell ends

Red Book of Magic, Sword Trance, page 97

So if you attacked with your shield while under a (weapon) trance spell, your GM could say that the spell ends.

Warding (page 102)

Since I wrote that particular spell, think of it as a volume, not a wall, However, it only works against an intruder once, unless the miscreant leaves and comes back. Its main utility is a warning, not a damage producer.

What was in your mind when you linked this one to the wands? It’s always felt like a specific reference.

You are correct, it is a specific reference. At this late date, you’ll have to check fantasy literature published around 1977-78. I have no idea where I got it.

Steve Perrin, Facebook January 2021

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