CHA4032 Red Book of Magic – Chapter 02 Rune Magic Spells Q&A

Official Answers from Chaosium



Rune Spells (page 10)

Spell NameNotes
Axe Trance
Earth PowerSupersedes RQG, page 318
ExtensionSupersedes RQG, page 328
Shooting StarUpdated text
Sword Trance

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.


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.


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.


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