CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 05 Game System Q&A

Official Answers by Chaosium

This covers Chapter 5, pages 137-161

Time in the Game137-141
Vasana’s Saga, 1626, Early Fire Season.138 & 140
Ability Use141-142
Opposed Rolls142-144
Abilities Above 100%144
Augmenting Abilities144-145
The Resistance Table145-147
Damage146-149includes Hit Location overview
Death and Permanent Damage149
Natural Conditions and Damage153-157includes Acids

Opposed Rolls (page 142)


Page 144: 1st column, 2nd bullet “but roll the same number” removed. (Part of Second printing corrections)

Opposed Roll Results (page 144)

A tie means that the situation is unresolved. It does say whomever go the better result wins, which looks like a special success > normal success, crit. success > special or normal.


Augmenting Abilities (page 144)

Only one augment may be attempted per ability, and an ability can only be used once per session to augment a task being attempted.

Augmenting Abilities, page 144

The “a task being attempted” clause is causing confusion in our group with different interpretations of it.

For example.  If the group is exploring a ruined temple which is flooded to about chest height and the swim skill is being used by one of them to augment their spear attack.  How often can this be allowed?

a). Only once for the entire scenario – the task is spear attack and the session is the entire ruined temple

b). Once for each battle so if the group moves into a new room and fights some more foes the swim skill augmentation can be used again – the task is spear attack but the session is a scene and each battle is a different scene even if played only minutes after the previous battle

c). Once for each foe in the battle – the task is combat against a particular foe so each foe is a different task

d). Once for each attack the adventurer attempts – the task is a particular attack so each melee round’s attack is a different task

Which interpretation is the official one?

This one is open to gamemaster interpretation, but I tend to go with answer b. The task is “fighting with my spear in this battle” so the Swim augment applies throughout that combat, but would end with it. Most combats resolve within a minute or two (five to ten combat rounds), which feels about right.  

For answer a, you could spend days in the temple and use many different skills in between, which makes a one-use augment too powerful AND too restrictive at the same time. 

For answer c, you’re still using the same spear and using it to fight. 

For answer d, this is far too fiddly.

The first part seems clear – only one augment per ability – but the second part would mean that you could only use e.g. Swim as an augment once per session, so you couldn’t move into a new room, start a new fight and reuse the Swim augment, unless they were over separate sessions. You could use a different skill to augment though.

Is that correct?


I need some guidelines for informing players to estimate availability of Augment by skills (some of these often take long-term). 

If an activity is taking a long time, the gamemaster should consider whether it’s worth breaking up into multiple skill rolls, in which case each roll could be augmented separately (perhaps even with different abilities). 

Alternately, for a long-term activity where one skill roll covers the whole enterprise, the gamemaster might consider a single augment roll (from a Rune, Passion, or appropriate skill) as representing many such rolls performed over the duration of the activity. 

The Resistance Table (page 145)

Augments to the Resistance Table (page 146)

An adventurer may try to augment the characteristic used in the resistance table with an appropriate skill, Rune, Passion, or even with the Meditate skill or ritual.

Augments to the Resistance Table, page 146

The rules proceed to direct the reader to pg244 for Meditation, but makes no mention of the method used to augment using other abilities. Would the successful augment gained from anything except Meditation be +50/+30/+20

Augmenting the resistance table is treated like any other augment, see Augmenting Abilities, page 144-145. passions, page 236 and Runes on page 229.

Remember that there is a combined table for all three on the GM Screen, a single page in the GM Reference, and the same page in the Players Pack for ease of reference.

Damage (page 146-149)

Hit Location overview

One easy way to think about the whole hit location system is this:

I have a 5-point arm hit location.

  • 1-5 hit points in my 5-point arm. I can use the arm freely until it is reduced below 1 hit point. My total hit points are also also reduced by up to 4 hit points damage.
  • 0 to -4 hit points in my 5-point arm. I can’t use the arm any more. My total hit points are also reduced by up to 9 hit points damage (5 initially + up to 4).
  • At -5 to -9 hit points in my 5-point arm. My arm is broken, seriously chopped up, etc. My total hit points are reduced by 10+ now (5 initial + 5-9 more). Any further hits to this arm come out of my total hit points. I am in shock, can’t fight, etc. but I can try to heal myself.
  • At -10 hit points in my 5-point arm, through a fall or some other means. My arm is simply gone. It’s been pulverized, severed, bones shattered, horribly mutilated, etc. Any further attacks that hit my arm instead hit me somewhere else (see top of page, 2nd paragraph, page 151).

Results of Damage (page 146)

When an adventurer has taken enough damage to reduce their total hit points to 0 or less, then the adventurer dies at the end of the current melee round unless healed or otherwise brought to positive hit points.

Results of Damage, pages 146-147

This seems like a good way to allow for last-second healing. However, this might not provide any benefit, since the healer would need to declare their actions during their Statement of Intent (p.192), before the damage occurs.

Only an adventurer who spends their time proactively preparing to heal will be able to heal their ally before the end of the current melee round.

I am wondering if this rule might instead mean the adventurer dies the end of the NEXT melee round, which would provide an opportunity to heal?

Alternatively, is there some way to change actions to heal instead during a melee round? This might not help either, especially in the case of damage on Strike Rank 12. This could occur with Aimed Blows (p.197), multiple attacks, or slow combatants.

A statement of intent can certainly be changed based on events transpiring during the round. Sometimes you state that you’ll attack a foe, but they run away or die before you can strike them, or you end up getting hurt and need to spend your turn healing yourself quickly instead of attacking.

I suggest going with whatever SR is higher between the original stated action and the SR of the new course of action attempted.

Given the way the character sheet looks, I originally thought you just subtract damage from whatever hit location, and that’s it — glossing over the quick “…and to keep track of each separate injury!” sentence on p.146 at the end of the “Damage” chapter introduction. But it looks like, indeed, if you get hit twice in the left arm, you need to keep track of the damage for each of those two wounds? Is that correct? If so, how do people typically track that? Do you find there’s enough room in the hit location boxes on the character sheet?

Yes, you keep track of each separate injury and thus you can apply Heal spells and First Aid rolls separately.

As for bookkeeping, I’ve seen people write little -Xs next to the hit location diagram entries, make notes in the Combat Notes section, or use a piece of scratch paper so they’re not marking up their character sheet too much.

Damage Equals or Exceeds Double the Location’s Hit Points (page 148)

An adventurer cannot take more than twice the possible points of damage in an arm or leg from a single blow.

Damage Equals or Exceeds Double the Location’s Hit Points, page 148

This rule implies that an adventurer can take more than twice the possible points of damage in an arm or leg from multiple blows. Is it right?

Yes. If you have 4 hit points in the right arm and a sword hits it for 9 points, your arm takes 8 points of damage, which is also considered in your total hit point damage.

But if your right arm is hit again for 2 points, you (not your arm) take 2 more points of total hit point damage.

Before maiming, is this rule applied to the blow against the limb?

When the damage is applied to the total hit points in this case, will the damage in a single blow be limited to double of the location’s hit points?


Damage Equals or Exceeds Triple the Location’s Hit Points (page 148)

A limb hit for three times more points than it can take in a single blow is severed or irrevocably maimed.

Damage Equals or Exceeds Triple the Location’s Hit Points, page 148:

It seems to mean that “A limb hit for three times more points than the Location’s Hit Points in a single blow is severed or irrevocably maimed.”

Because maximum damage that it can take in a single blow is double of the location’s hit points, according to “Damage Equals or Exceeds Double the Location’s Hit Points”.

Is it right?

The text is correct. Some means of taking damage, such as falling (see page 156) can exceed the limit of twice hit points to a specific limb in a single impact.

Can a character that has taken more than three times the damage than the locations hit points, still cast spells?

Limb: […] However, an adventurer so damaged from a single blow is functionally incapacitated: they can no longer fight until healed and are in shock. They may try to heal themselves.

Damage Equals or Exceeds Double the Location’s Hit Points, page 148

Head/abdomen/chest… they’re almost definitely dead.

In my opinion a character should be able to cast spells when functionally incapacitated even with damage triple or more locations hit points, because it is stated with double or more damage that healing can be attempted. However, a person from our group argues that since it is not specifically stated with triple or more damage that healing can be attempted, the character can do nothing. Which way it is?

More than twice but less than three times = can cast spells and attempt healing.

More than three times = the adventurer is functionally incapacitated. 

You can certainly allow it in your game if you’re the gamemaster (YGMV), but at the very least I would require an INTx5 or POWx5 roll to be able to focus enough to actually do something other than lie on the ground in shock and/or screaming. 

If someone has already received x2 damage to an arm, further damage to the arm goes towards main hit points and not the arm. What happens if the same arm is then hit for x3 damage? Is the arm maimed/severed or does this not count as the x2 threshold has already been reached?

The character is most likely dead at that point, having taken 5 times their arm hit location’s hit points to their total hit points.

In one of the great loopholes in RuneQuest (pointed out in Murphy’s Rules a long, long time ago), only a character with with a normal maximum of 6 total hit points can survive this, as their arm hit location is 1 point, and taking 5×1 hit points in damage still gives them 1 hit point remaining.

Harnmast Example (page 148)

Harmast has 10 total hit points and suffers 9 point damage in his head (after armour). Shouldn’t he have 1 rather than 2 remaining total hit points, or does the rule that you cannot take more than twice the hit points of a limb in a single blow also apply to heads (arguably not a limb)?

Yes, 1 rather than 2

Healing (pages 149-150)

First Aid (page 149)

“Her skill in First Aid is 20%. Sorala gets a 4 on the first injury, a special success! Rather than the normal 1D3 for a success, Sorala heals 1D3+3 hit points”

Page 149: Example, 2nd column second example

Special success heals 2d3, not 1d3+3 (that’s a critical success)

Correct, yes it should be a 2D3 in the example, not 1D3+3. 

Natural Healing (page 149)

How will the damage to the total hit points heal naturally?

If the damage is against total hit points and not a specific hit location through something like poison, fire, etc., natural healing works there too. Each location gets its natural healing each week, as does any damage to total hit points.

Is the Restore Health rune spell intended to be the only way of recovering lost characteristic points? The Core rulebook doesn’t seem to list any way of naturally recovering from disease and other things that cause characteristic loss.

Unless contradicted in the rules, assume one characteristic point is restored each season a successful CONx5 roll is made. If the characteristic point loss lasts beyond a year, it is not recovered. See the rules for recovering from Blotches (page 155) for a specific instance of this recovery rate.

Severed and Maimed Limbs (page 150)

A player successfully rolls to hit, but the hit location’s limb has been severed in a previous round of combat. Is this a hit, or a miss?

A hit location that has been maimed or severed […] that hit location is lost and should be crossed off the adventurer sheet. Any further blows to that hit location are re-rolled, or pass on to an adjacent hit location, such as the abdomen or other leg for a leg, or the chest for a severed arm.

RQG, Natural Healing, page 150

The GM should decide whether to:

  • reroll the location, or
  • pass on to an adjacent hit location

Any further blows to that hit location are re-rolled, or pass on to an adjacent hit location, such as the abdomen or other leg for a leg, or the chest for a severed arm.

Severed and Maimed Limbs, page 150

After maiming, is this rule applied to the blow against the maimed limb?


Encumbrance (page 150)

There are encumbrance rules, and ENC values for armor and weapons, but no ENC values for equipment. Will these be found in the GM’s book or another supplement?

The Gamemaster Sourcebook.

Chases (page 151)

Range Category – In Sight (page 152)

The paragraph ends abruptly (“The gamemaster may choose to change the time scale from melee rounds to”).

This is from the first printing (now corrected). 

The sentence should end “to turns, if desired.” 

The last sentence about time scale just trails off. What is the alternative to “melee rounds” here? How was that sentence supposed to finish?

…“to combat turns, if desired.” (It’s been fixed in the newest printing.

I have a small doubt regarding chases: in a chase in which all participants are running, is the opposed DEX roll…

A: an opposed roll of DEXx5? (everyone involved in the chase just rolls DEXx5 once)


B: a DEX vs DEX roll on the Resistance table between every chaser and every chased? (the character being chased rolls on the Resistance table once for every character that is chasing him, or viceversa, the chasing characters roll once on the table against the DEX of every character they are chasing).

I’d say A, since it is much easier, but I wonder what was the original intent of the rules, or how other people do it.

On page 151, it says “If in doubt, the gamemaster determines which party is the pursuer and which is the pursued”, page 153 says “each involved party”. How you decide who is the pursued, pursuer and each involved party is up to you. You should also have an idea of what outcomes are possible if a chase.

In a race competition of eight, where four are adventurers, I’d say all are involved (the GM only has to run 4 NPCs)

In a race competition of 30, where four are adventurers, I’d select 4 main rivals (the GM only has to run 4 NPCs)

In a chase of a dozen Lunar antelope skirmishers, running down one player, I’d treat one as the main adversary and group the others into a single party (who I would narrate, and roll only to see if anyone fumbles). (the GM only has to run 2 NPCs)

How complex you want to make the chase is up to you.

In a recent game all my players were being chased by Redeye the boar, all but one were faster than the boar, so only Hateful Khalama and Redeye were involved. I allowed the others to escape on a riding roll, one fumbled and fell off, but was ignored as now not part of the chase. So I had only two involved parties.

So which is the right way, DEX vs DEX or DEXx5?

To determine which party moves ahead, the gamemaster has each involved party make an opposed roll of an appropriate skill roll each melee round (Ride, Drive) or DEX vs. DEX.

RQG page 153

put another way:

To determine which party moves ahead, the gamemaster has each involved party make an opposed roll of an appropriate ability each melee round (Ride, Drive) or DEXx5.

An opposed roll of DEX vs DEX would need DEXx5 vs DEXx5 to make them percentiles.

It might be clearer in this example for you:

eg if in a chase where both participants have the same speed but one is running and the other riding. Unless the runner has run skill or other ability, I’d use DEXx5 against the ride of the other opponent. So a light cavalry Daron (Move: 12) vs a Giant or Allosaur (Move: 12), the Daron rider could use their ride skill, while the other two DEXx5.

Don’t forget the Mount Speeds table in the Bestiary (page 147)

Movement in a Chase (page 153)

“If there is no clear winner, the parties are considered to remain side-by-side“ If I understood it correctly, shouldn’t it read “the range category remains unchanged.“?


Natural Conditions and Damage (page 153)


I didn’t see any rule concerning acid damages. Could you please explain how they work?

The Gamemaster Sourcebook (in development) covers alchemy and acids as something you can buy and use. For creatures with some form of acidic quality, the descriptions are in the Bestiary.

Generally, it works like poison, with a potency (POT) value that does damage over time, depending on the quality/nature of the acid. 

Disease (page 154)

Degree of Illness Table (page 154)

Should Failures 4 not be a 4+, since the rules only specify that you roll until you have a success, and this may potentially take you much longer than 4 dice rolls (although, players would probably stop rolling once you have failed 4 rolls)?


The Degrees of Illness table says the four degrees are Mild, Acute, Serious, Terminal.

This is correct. Acute was mistakenly mixed up with serious used and so it revealed a few needed corrections (see thunder lung below and in the Bestiary Cause (Disease) page 93 and Disease page 166)

Thunder Lung (page 155)

These sneezing and coughing attacks are violent enough to cause damage to the victim. Find the severity of the disease by normal CON×5 resistance rolls. A mild form causes 1D6 attacks; chronic form causes 2D6 attacks; the acute form causes 3D6 attacks; terminal form causes 4D6 attacks.

Thunder Lung, page 155

Change to

These sneezing and coughing attacks are violent enough to cause damage to the victim. Find the severity of the disease by normal CON×5 resistance rolls. A mild form causes 1D6 attacks; chronic form causes 2D6 attacks; the serious form causes 3D6 attacks; terminal form causes 4D6 attacks. 

According to the disease description, the severity of the disease determines how many attacks the character suffers due to the disease. How does the number of attacks relate to time? For example, if the disease is Serious, does the character suffer 3D6 attacks hourly, immediately when the disease contracts, or should the GM spread the attacks evenly over the whole recovery time?

Yes, that’s per hour. It’s a horrible, horrible disease that can literally cause the sufferer to explode.

Randomly roll the POT of each attack and then…

What dice should be used to randomize the POT? Or should the dice rolls to determine number of attacks be actually the POT of the disease at each time interval determined by the Degrees of Illness table?

Use the number of attacks as the POT for those attacks. “Terminal” is pretty much exactly what it says on the label.

“Randomly roll the POT of each attack and then try to overcome with that number with the afflicted adventurer’s CON. If successful, the POT of the attack is done as damage to the victim’s hit points.” First of all, I think there is one “with” too many in that sentence.

Ignore the first “with”. 

I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to roll here.

Roll to determine the POT of the attack. Make a resistance roll of the POT vs. victim’s CON. If the disease wins, the POT is done as damage to total HP. 

Poison (page 157)

What are the adventurer’s healing rate and the adventurer heals at the usual rate for poison?

It is the natural healing rate (page 149).

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