CHA4032 RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary – Q&A

Official Answers from Chaosium

SectionPagesNotes
Introduction4-11includes experience rolls for animals and spirits,
Distribution Maps12-15
The Elder Races16-87Baboons, Giants, Maidstone Archers, Tusk-Riders, Dark Trolls (Uzko)
Chaos Monsters88-107Broo, Krashkids, Lesser Hydras, Vampires
Monsters108-129Dream Dragon
Giant Arthropods130-139Giant Honeybees
Animals140-163
Spirit runeSpirits164-187
Terrors188-196
plant runeFlora197-201

Introduction (pages 4-11)

How do you handle resistance rolls against undead, or an entity without POW?

If a creature has no POW use their magic points.

Experience

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:

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.


Weapons (page 8)

But as a general rule/guidance is it fair to say that the two-weapon rule is applicable to all creatures (two attacks per melee round) if they have several attack forms listed, and no specific rules/guidance on using them?

Maybe. I suggest looking at the creature and deciding what works best for your table.  Quote

Like in the example of the baboon, which has a 1 handed spear plus bite, and claw attacks? – Otherwise a Gm might extrapolate that you could make two claw attacks, and a bite in one round

It does say bite or claw, and the baboon is holding a spear, but it could drop it. It’s up to the GM how they run the encounter.

(not taking into account circumstantial rulings at the table) 

What’s the general limit to number of attacks, if not specified? 

Given the number of creatures, there is no general rule. For example Cwim (page 191) has 10 attacks.


Creature Hit Points (page 9)

A dog is a four legged animal; both hunting dogs and fighting dogs in the Bestiary have an average of 11 hit points. According to the chart on page 10 of the Bestiary they should therefore have 4 hit points in every location except the hind/fore quarters (which should have 5). However, the chart for dogs on page 144 has 3 points in their limbs instead of 4. Which is correct, and if the dog page is correct, then what is the right formula to calculate unusually sized four legged animals?

Use the specific writeup for dogs, and when looking at other four-legged animals, start with the base creature and adjust hit points per location as indicated on p9.

The charts on page 10-11 are very general, and may not reflect the physiognomy of each individual animal conforming to that broad class.  


The Elder Races (pages 16-87)

Baboons (page 28)

The Base SR4 is incorrect and should be 3 (Ave SIZ (10–11) = SIZ SR2 + Ave DEX (16–17) = DEX SR1 = Base SR 3)

  • Claw SR7 not 8
  • Bite SR7 not 8
  • 1H Short Spear SR5 not 6 (1H Short spear SR2 + Base SR3 = SR5)
  • Sling SR1 not 2

Is it possible for a Baboon to attack with a spear and bite in the same round? Does this fall under the rule of Attacking with both weapons OR Attack with one and Parry with the other in the same round?  Or would the Baboon be able to Attack with a spear, Attack with a bite, then also Parry or Dodge?

Many creatures can attack more than once in a round: if so, unless specified otherwise, the creature uses both attacks at once, instead of working under the guidelines for two-weapon combat shown in the Combat chapter of the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rulebook.

RQ Bestiary, Weapons, page 8

Two-weapon combat was further clarified in Rune Fixes 2 – 18th March 2020

Note: Common tactic is to stab with a spear and close to use Claw or Bite. 

Baboons, page 29

Looking at the ranges involved a baboon would use it’s spear and it has a longer reach than claw, then bite, then rush its target to grapple and bite or claw. One attack and as many parry / dodge as available.

Note that a baboon has a singular claw attack as the other hand has a spear in it.

Note that a baboon with a shield and spear can’t claw.

The baboon tactics I use are spear, then knockback, hoping for a knockdown then bite.

Baboon Dex is listed as 3d6+6! It should be 2d6+6

3d6+6 is correct, it is based on the Gloranthan Bestiary (AH 1987), Giant Baboon.

Also what’s the reason for super dextrous baboons?

You would need to ask the writers of the 1987 Gloranthan Bestiary.


Giants (page 45)

Change

anyone successfully struck by the sweep takes 1/4 the attack’s normally rolled damage (rounded down)


Maidstone Archers (page 47)

What does the Maidstone Archer do with their 3rd arm in melee combat?

Holds the shield.

Does the Maidstone archer use the shield as well as two swords? 

Yes.


Tusk Riders (page 68)

Using the charisma rule as your max number of spell point breaks down with tusk riders and their 1D6 CHA.  Is the rulebook trying to tell me they are “less”? I’m thinking of house ruling INT with CHA as your suppressed spells Ala RQ2?

Tusk Riders were not statted up for, and are not generally suitable as, player characters. 

In RQ1 and 2 they had CHA 1-6, and generally had two spells. Their writeup in RQG reflects this. 

If you think they should have more spirit magic than up to 6 or 7 points, then you can easily assign more CHA to them on a one-off basis, or as a race.  

If you want to have them use a different rules paradigm for their spirit magic than every other race, then by all means do so.

Tusk Rider Runes: Beast 60%, Darkness 60%

Given the Runes of the Cult of the Bloody Tusk are Death, Earth, Beast, would it not make more sense for the default Elemental rune for Tusk Riders in the Bestiary for GM’s to be Earth? Only one of the eight Tusk Rider NPC’s in the GM Pack has Darkness > Earth.

The default runes for Tusk Riders come from their origin (trolls) not from the cult they worship. Nearly all will approach the cult with their Beast rune, with most increasing their Death rune as the rune spells use Death or Beast. Appease Earth can use Earth due to its inherent link but Tusk riders have no need as they use Beast.


Dark Trolls (Uzko) (page 73)

Is the characteristic bonus for their Darkness rune (always their highest elemental Rune) already included in the statistic for trolls? 

So is a Dark Trolls Siz actually 3d6+6 for males, 3d6+10 for females, or is it 3d6+8 for males and 3d6+12 for females?

It is not considered.

Rune modifiers for characteristics are explicitly intended for human player character adventurers as generated using the rules in the core book. It is reasonable to assume that they also apply to human NPCs from similar cultures, but this is solely at the gamemaster’s discretion. 


Chaos Monsters (pages 88-107)

Broo (pages 90-96)

Cause (Disease) (page 93)

Change

A 2-point stacking of the spell automatically begins the target at the chronic state of severity, 3 points at the serious, and 4 points at the terminal.

Crack (page 94)

New spell description

Crack

2 Points

Ranged, Instant, Stackable

This spell must be cast at a non-living, non-magical object, likely a piece of armor, or a weapon or shield. If successful, it breaks the item into pieces. Each point stacked allows another item on the prospective victim to be shattered at once.

If a spirit lives in the item, the caster’s POW must overcome the spirit’s POW. The spell has no effect on spell matrices, crystals, or on elf bows of magical nature. Temporal spirit magic, Rune magic, or sorcery does not make the item immune to the spell. The caster may boost with magic points to overcome the magic at 2 points per Rune point, 1 point per point of spirit magic, or 1 point per sorcery strength. The caster may also boost with magic points to help penetrate Shield (page 78), Countermagic (page 111), or similar defensive spells.

A Repair spell (page 118) will fix a broken object.

Updated in the Red Book of Magic page 34


Krarshtkids (page 102)

Do you have any advice for the multiple attacks of Krashtkids?

After reading Weapons on page 8, look at the creature and decide what works best for your table.

Krarshtkids have a paralytic bite, can spit an immobilizing weblike substance called pratzim, strike out at a distance with their whip-like acid tongue, and even tear flesh and bone with their digging claws.

Krarshtkids, page 102

Spit, glue, tongue.  Can’t spit and tongue in the same round. I wouldn’t have them close unless adventurers do. With six legs, I’d let them attack with two at a time, and spit or tongue. Some GMs might like to have them attack with three legs if backed into a corner or desperate situation.


Lesser Hydras (page 103)

Do you have any advice for the multiple attacks of the Lesser Hydra?

After reading Weapons on page 8, look at the creature and decide what works best for your table.

As a chaos horror, I’d have all heads attack. Clearly if it has 12 heads, not all can attack one target (unless all heads can breath fire / acic /poison). Look at how the targets are arranged and take into account any chaos features.


Vampires (page 105)

Change

Its STR and CON double immediately and its teeth lengthen.

Spells are resisted with POW vs POW . A vampire has no POW. Do they then have no chance of resisting spells? No chance of overcoming other people’s POW? 

When in doubt, use current magic points instead of POW for creatures without POW.

On page 106, it notes that ‘Vampires have several weaknesses’, and then only talks about the Death rune. What about the others

The Death rune is the major one. The elemental weaknesses are covered in the Cult of Vivamort in the approaching Cults of Glorantha. In the meantime, if You have access to Classic Cults of Terror, or older publications the details are very similar.


Monsters (pages 108-129)

Dream Dragon (page 118)

Ignoring breath, how many attacks can a Dream Dragon make in a melee round? Can it attack with bite, two claws, and tail in the same melee round? Four attacks? In the same melee round? Or does it have to pick one of those?

Many creatures can attack more than once in a round: if so, unless specified otherwise, the creature uses both attacks at once, instead of working under the guidelines for two-weapon combat shown in the Combat chapter of the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rulebook.

RQ Bestiary, Weapons, page 8

Two-weapon combat was further clarified in Rune Fixes 2 – 18th March 2020

Dream Dragon have no special notes regarding combat, so normally two attacks per round. The GM is free to alter this given circumstances. Looking at the picture of a Dream Dragon (RQB page 118) should answer a lot of questions regarding tactics. For example, I would allow:

If flying, a tail sweep of the ground and a breath attack would be reasonable on SR3 then SR7. Clearly it couldn’t bite or claw. 

A landing hind claw attack on SR7, wouldn’t allow a breath, bite or tail attack.

On the ground, outside it would use breath attacks and tail sweeps on anything behind it.

On the ground, inside it would likely be unable to use it’s breath attack. So could bite and tail sweep. If it has room to rear, it can use its claws and bite, but no tail sweep.

Don’t forget Dragon Magic, if it has Soul Blast or Terrify will be game changers.

Overall, with creatures with multiple weapons, look at the way they work when fighting, rather than focussing on the weapons and numbers.


Giant  Arthropods (pages 130-139)

Giant Honeybees (page 134-135)

Add
Weapon%DamageSRHP
Bite*301D6+1D47
Sting*301D6+1D47
*A bee can both bite and sting in the same melee round. The sting injects poison with a POT equal to one half the bee’s CON score. It can also impale (see description above).

Spirits (pages 164-187)

Disease (page 166)

Change

The first time this spirit succeeds in spirit combat that is not successfully defended against, it infects the victim with the chronic version of any disease it carries. 


Disease Spirits (page 169)

Replace

Their initial spirit combat attack is normal. But if the disease spirit succeeds in an attack when the victim fails, the spirit infects the victim with the chronic form of any disease carried. A second success infects the victim with the next degree of the disease (see Disease, pages 154–156 of the RuneQuest core rulebook).

Spirit rune

Is the chance to steal POW from a disease spirit limited to someone who has been successfully attacked by the spirit who then throws them out? The use of the word ‘victim’ in the rule seems to indicate that and that’s how I ruled but it isn’t really clear. 

Yes.

The victim has the disease and if they successfully drive it out themselves, they gain immunity and a POW reward. Casting Fight disease on a victim really helps. A shaman does not gain the benefits when driving the spirit out of a victim.


Elementals (page 176)

Do all attacks by the various elementals take place on SR 12?

Yes. They have no DEX characteristics so they’ll go last in any round.

Spirit rune

Is there an error in Bestiary regarding elemental characteristics?

No.

All of them have the same STR/HP characteristics for Small/Medium/Large except Moon/Selene.

I recognize that a small talosi is much more compact than a small umbroli. That makes some sense.

I seem to recall in every past version, talosi had significantly more STR and HP than dehori or lunes, with umbroli, urzani, and veredthi in the midpoint somewhere.

They seem significantly weaker than I recall them.

STR & HP are identical with RQ2 Classic: Volume has been changed and a standard POW added, movement has been changed for a few.

RQ2 Classic Elementals

Now one reasonable swipe with a two handed weapon will destroy any small elemental.

Yes

A small urzani is 1 cubic meter and thus can engulf half a normal size human. Does its attack do anything to a half-engulfed target? I expect that if it cannot fully engulf it gets no attack RAW.

For a human, If the elemetal is covering the head of the target, treat it as a full engulfing attack. If the elemetal is on the ground, the target is standing in a fire, use the Fire rules in RQG page 157. The GM will need to adjudicate for other types of target. 

A small umbroli is 3 cubic meters. It can carry people with a total SIZ equal to its d6+6 STR.

Yes, so an average small elemental (STR 7) could carry 1 child SIZ 7 On 7/7/2021 at 11:33 PM, Dragon said:

The rules seem to indicate it can lift any number of non-resisting targets (those who choose to try to kill it instead).

Up to it’s total STR. A very strong large elemental (STR 30) could carry two SIZ 15 people.

And it gets a STR vs STR roll to lift resisting targets, so I might choose to command it to concentrate its strength on just one target.

Yes.

So let’s say my Vinga choose well which one would be bound in her dead crystal and it has STR 12.

in her Spirit Trapping / POW Storing Crystal. Dead crystals have no abilities, and are normal gems.

I want the umbroli to attack a single broo with STR 15 and SIZ 20. According to RAW, it can toss a SIZ 20 target that it could not ‘carry’ under ‘Abilities’. The broo resists, so the umbroli can toss it 35% of the time.

Yes

If the target didn’t resist, the umbroli tosses it regardless of SIZ.

It still falls within the guidance of the Resistance table, see Specific Uses, STR vs. SIZ Comparatively large objects may still require a roll at the extremes of the table.

Hence, a four wheeled wagon loaded with supplies and with no horses yoked doesn’t choose to resist, so a small umbroli could toss it 3 meters in the air. It just couldn’t pick it up nicely and carry it to the top of a nearby cliff.

The GM may reasonably rule that the cart is too heavy for a small elemental to toss or grant an automatic success if the story requires it.

A small dehori on the other hand can simply Fearshock two normal human-sized targets.

If they are adjacent, yes. 

A small lune can attack any number that it can partially engulf (though the MP loss is for fully engulfed). But perhaps it can make some dimensions less than 1 meter. If it could be .5 m x .5 m x4 meters it could strike 8-12 people in a shield wall with Madness.

It has an englobing attack, so any volume that’s globe-ish (i’d allow oblate or prolate spheres). .5 m x .5 m x4 meters is not globe-ish. Partially englobing two adjacent humans is reasonable, maybe three if your GM agrees to the arrangement.

A small talosi can engulf half a human doing no damage and having a small chance the target cannot break free. As the target is waist deep in soil when it resists, can the target move its normal movement rate the next turn

No.

or does it take the entire next round to pull itself out of the pit

There isn’t a pit anymore, it’s filled with earth.

and stand up on the edge? 

As the attack takes place on SR12, The next round would be DEX SR plus getting up from Prone (+5SR). Then movement.

A small veredthi needs to engulf a target on land. If engulfed, the target begins CON rolls at CONx5. However, I cannot locate how many foes it can engulf.

If it rises up to 2m (to be sure of catching the targets’ heads), it would cover about 13.5 metres square. If outside and the victims were static, it could conceivably engulf 13 people. As it’s a SR12 attack, it’s a situational decision based on the statement of intent and the GMs interpretation of the scene. 

After all, a small veredthi is listed as 27 cubic meters. Seems I should be able to engulf at least a dozen human-sized figures (but the rules are unclear)

If it bursts into a bar, that’s a different matter. 

and about half of them will take 1d8 points of damage. Is that to GHP or to the Chest (like Drown spell or the Drowning and Asphyxiation rules)? (Of course, if the veredthi engulfs a dozen, enough should hit the veredthi by SR12 to break it up.)

As it’s pushing water into the lungs, It’s Drowning, so per those rules the Chest.

Elementals seem unbalanced.

There is no intention to balance these, they are different creatures with different abilities.

A small urzani seems particularly unhelpful in combat, except against a small swarm of bunched rats.

Like all the elementals, they are not specifically intended for combat, although they can be. They are often the allied spirits of Yelm cultists, used for setting fires, in the case of Zorak Zoran cultists, a symbol of their power over fire.

Vostor has a small fire elemental (RQG page 93), it says A fire elemental will ignite any flammable object it touches. It can heat metal (and eventually melt it), bake stone, set fires, and, of course, burn people. As an adventurer in many demo games i’ve run, examples I’ve seen used include:

  • Setting fire to flammable items on a target: feather or hair headdresses, light clothing (not armor), hay, thatch, carts, fields, stacked spears, quivers full of arrows.
  • Causing fires to flare: torches, lamps, candles, enemy campfires.
  • Heat metal items: Sword handles are a favourite. Melting metal door hinges.

Fire Elementals (Page 181)

Replace

Replace shanassae with Shanassee


Moon Elementals (Lunes) (Page 181)

Can the Madness effects of being engulfed by Lunes be resisted with Countermagic effects?

Only with spells specifically protecting against Madness such as Fearless, Inviolable, and Logical Clarity. (Likewise a Darkness elemental’s Fearshock).

or is it just a resistance roll?

Yes. Resistance rolls can be augmented with an appropriate rune, passion or skill.

In other words, is it simply an automatic Madness spell?

The difference is that you need to be in contact with the Lune, where the spell is ranged and must pass through any magical barriers. It’s not automatic, you still have to roll POW vs POW to produce an effect.


Wraith (page 187)

Change

Spirit Screen adds +2 points to the character’s characteristic

Spirit rune

Change

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.

Spirit rune

“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.


Terrors (pages 188-196)

Please note that these are major encounters, so preparation for the GM is important:

The statistics for these incredible things are not here in order to tempt players to create characters strong enough to kill them. They are given to show in detail the types of things which exist in Glorantha which are, and ought to be, far beyond the capacities of even the most powerful human beings. Some parts of Nature cannot be conquered.

Terrors, page 188

The Crimson Bat (page 188)

Do you have any advice for the multiple attacks of the Crimson Bat?

After reading Weapons on page 8, look at the creature and decide what works best for your table.

Bite & swallow, breath cloud and tongues all seem mutually exclusive to me. So one per round. The three tongues can be used in the same round. Eye spit every round too (alternating), it’s up to the GM to decide if they can fire backwards. I’d look at the situation to determine how the other attacks work. For example, if the bat’s statement of intent is to fly at the town wall (Chaos screaming), hover and attack the rune priests standing on it, I wouldn’t allow a breath cloud and a wing storm (eye spit get blown away too), but I’d allow Three tongues, a wind storm (hovering). Before using the Crimson Bat, I’d make notes on how I would run it’s encounter.

For further details, there is a chapter on the operation of the Crimson Bat in Sartar (1619-1620) in the Sartar Companion.


Cwim (page 191)

Do you have any advice for the multiple attacks of the Cwim?

After reading Weapons on page 8, look at the creature and decide what works best for your table.

It says on page 192 that Cwim gets 10 attacks per round. Cwim is large and effectively circular with six roughly evenly spaced arms. Based on the position of adventurers relative to which arms, decide who is hit by which arm. I’d allow one arm from each body to attack each round, but not the same target and drop a spit monster every round. So I’d give it four if surrounded, and use one other to cast the recommended 18 point variable spirit magic each round.

By the time the adventurers get past the gorp rain, the spit monsters will overrun them.


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