CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 07 Combat Q&A pages 206-225

Official Answers by Chaosium

This section covers pages 206-225:

  • Weapons
  • Armor
  • Mounted Combat
  • Chariots
  • Fighting in Phalanx Formation
  • Other Combat Rules

Weapons (page 206)

Explanation of Headings (page 207)

Minimum Weapon STR & DEX (page 207)

STR/DEX: The minimum necessary STR and DEX required to handle the weapon. An excess of STR makes up for a lack of DEX, on a 2 for 1 basis. Thus, an adventurer with a 10 STR and a 12 DEX can use a rapier (which requires a 7 STR and a 13 DEX). If both STR and DEX are below the requirements, all attacks and parries with the weapon are performed at half skill.

STR/DEX, page 207

What happens when a character has perfectly adequate DEX but not enough STR? Both being lacking halves the skill so it would be illogical for only one being lacking to make it entirely impossible to use the weapon. 

Half-skill. It should read “If either/or STR or DEX are…” 

Weapon Types (page 207)

On page 203 Weapon types listed are Thrusting, Cutting, Cut and Thrust and Blunt.

On page 207 the Weapon types are listed as Crushing, Cut-and-Thrust, Hand-to-Hand, Impaling and Slashing. Which is correct?

  • Blunt = Crushing 
  • Thrust = Impaling 
  • Cut = Slashing 
  • Hand-to-hand = fist / kick / grapple / headbutt

Axes (page 210)

Axe, small (page 210)

It refers to its use in both melee and as a hurled weapon, no mention of a separate skill. Axe, Throwing even refers back to Axe, Small.

Separate skills. 

Swords and Daggers (page 210)

Parrying Dagger (page 210)

Is the Dagger, Parrying, a different skill than the dagger (melee)?


Spears (page 211)

Javelin (page 211)

There is no mention, in the Javelin description on p.211, of the Throwing Javelin skill, I would have expected the same comment as the above quote in that context. Does someone with a javelin use the same skill for both melee and throwing then?

Separate skills.

Spear, Long or Short (page 211)

It refers to its use in both melee and as a thrown weapon, no mention of a separate skill.

Separate skills.

Missile Weapons

Thrown & Melee skills for same Weapon

So, in general, are there separate skills for throwing and for melee with the same weapon?

Yes. It’s not explicit, but when get a cultural or professional skill bonus to a starting weapon (such as a javelin) that can be thrown or used in hand-to-hand, you start with both at the same skill. If you add points to them while customizing your character, you should assign those points to one or the other.

If it is the case, do you get half-skill with the other method (say if you have 80% with the melee skill, do you get 40% with the throwing skill)?

See above. 

Rates of Fire (page 211)

I am bit unsure how to count the missile strike ranks.

If PC’s DEX SR is 2, do I count it like:

  • 2 (shoot) + 5 (loading a new missile) + 2 (shoot), which would give strike ranks 2 / 9 (third shot not allowed)

If they are ready to shoot on SR2 with an arrow in hand, then yes.

  • or 2 (shoot) + 5 (loading a new missile + shoot) +  5 (loading a new missile + shoot), which would give strike ranks 2 / 7 / 12

or a PC DEX SR of 0 (DEX 19+), so you could potentially go on

  • 1 (shoot) 6 (shoot) 11(shoot)  depending on how you interpret DEX SR 0.


Slings (page 213)

Slings are Damage Type C = Crushing but as a projectile they don’t get a damage modifier so Slings don’t benefit from a Special Hit?

Sling damage is already pretty high compared to other missile weapons. Also, generally speaking, your SIZ has nothing to do with your ability to hurl a sling stone harder, which makes the damage bonus feel a bit dubious as a modifier.

However, if if you feel like adding 1/2 damage bonus for normal hits, and doubling the maximum rollable for the special, that would be totally reasonable. 

Armor Table (page 215)

  • Cuirass Leather armor for the Chest has its ENC changed from 0 to 1.
  • Hauberk Leather for Abdomen & Chest has its ENC changed from 0 to (2).
  • Skirts Leather for Abdomen has its ENC changed from 0 to (2).
  • Pants/Trews Leather for Abdomen & Legs has its ENC changed from 0 to (2).
  • Greaves Leather for Legs has its ENC changed from 0 to (2).
  • (Part of Second printing corrections)

Leather Vambraces (page 215)

Are Leather Vambraces ENC 0, or should they be ENC (2), as per Leather Greaves? All the other Leather armor increased from ENC 0 after the 2018-07-01 version of the PDF. I have the 2018-10-10 version of the PDF.

They should be ENC (2).

Shields (page 217)

Can you bear a shield with, let’s say, a Great Axe or a Bow, although you can not parry, in order to get some kind of “passive defense” against missiles, or, otherwise,  what is the meaning of the expression “A shield may not be ready for use when the adventurer is using a two-handed weapon” in p. 219

Here’s where we get into some crunch, based on how realistic you want to go. In the real world, shields usually require a hand to hold onto an interior strap or handle so they don’t get in the way or slip around. Part of a shield’s virtue is being mobile enough that it doesn’t take hits directly, angling them away from the defender when possible. 

These straps not like Captain America’s magical shield that has grips tight enough for him to wield it like a weapon AND then slip over his shoulder with backpack like straps. (Comics version Captain America, in the movie he has some sort of magnetic harness.) That’s not super-fun, though, and fantasy art and fiction is full of characters with a shield slung over one arm loosely while using a two-handed weapon like a bow or great axe. 

So if you want to allow it, I’d use the following ruling: 

  • The adventurer will receive no benefit from the shield unless against melee or missile fire that happens to strike that or an adjacent hit location (see p219) AND comes from a direction that would reasonably have a chance of hitting (gamemaster discretion). In this case, the shield will protect for half its usual armor points (as per the rules for a slung shield on the back, p219). 

For example, an adventurer is using a bow, holding it with their left hand and drawing the string with the right hand. The shield is affixed to the back of the left arm. An attack comes from the adventurer’s left and rolls the left arm hit location. The shield, being between the attacker and the arm in question, protects for half its normal value. Later in the same combat, an attack comes from the right/front or back and rolls the left arm hit location. The gamemaster decides that the arm is exposed and that the shield isn’t between the attack and the arm, so the shield is useless.

Shield Attacks (page 219)

If you make an attack with a shield, do you only loose the parry of  the shield, or do you also loose the ability to parry with a weapon held in the other hand?

You only lose your shield parry, having shifted it into an offensive position vs. a defensive one.

Shield & Weapon Attack

Can you make an attack with a shield and a weapon held in the other hand in the same round? RAW – weapon and shield use appear to be excluded from Two Weapon Use rulings page 225.

If you decide to give up any parries with the shield that round, you can use it as if in two-weapon fighting. Basically your shield is now an ungainly disk-shaped club.

Dodge & Shield Attack

Is dodge restricted (like parry) if you make an attack with a shield? 

No. And again, only shield parrying is eliminated. 

Shield & Weapon Attack

Can you make an attack with a shield and a weapon held in the other hand in the same round? RAW – weapon and shield use appear to be excluded from Two Weapon Use rulings page 225.

If you decide to give up any parries with the shield that round, you can use it as if in two-weapon fighting. Basically your shield is now an ungainly disk-shaped club.

Two Weapon Use (page 224)

First bullet changed to “…may use them for two attacks or attacking with one and parrying with the other, as desired.” (Part of Second printing corrections). Please note that this has been superseded below.

Two-Weapon Fighting (Part of Rune Fixes 2)

Two-weapon fighting (dual wielding) is another of those issues that seems clear enough on paper to the designers and yet confounds many players and gamemasters are the rules for two-weapon fighting (RuneQuest, pages 224–225).

Can you fight with a weapon in each hand?

Yes, assuming all the following are true:

  • Each weapon is a one-handed weapon.
  • The adventurer is trained in its off-hand use. (Adventurers are assumed right-handed but can favor either hand, at the player’s discretion.)
  • The adventurer has adequate strike ranks for both attacks (add the strike ranks of each together).
  • The adventurer meets the STR/DEX requirements for each weapon. Pay attention to the note about the secondary weapon’s required DEX being 1.5 times (round up) what is normally needed (RuneQuest, page 225).

Do I keep track of off-hand skills separately?

Indeed! That’s what those blank lines on the adventurer sheet are for (among other things). The off-hand chance begins at either half its normal chance (if the adventurer has that skill) or the weapon’s base chance plus the skill category modifier.

What if my adventurer uses their off-handed weapon in their primary hand?

The chance is either the default skill with the weapon in their primary hand, or half the off-handed skill, rounded up.

What if my adventurer has more than 100% in a skill and wants to make multiple attacks with multiples of the same weapons?

There is nothing preventing an adventurer from doing so, assuming all the following are true:

  • The adventurer is armed in each hand with the same weapon (two daggers, two shortswords, etc.).
  • The weapon (primary and/or off-hand) is 100+%.
  • The STR/DEX requirements are met (see above for DEX in the off hand).
  • There are enough strike ranks for multiple attacks.

Should these all be true, the adventurer can attack at full skill chance for each weapon, once on the weapon’s normal strike rank and again on the off-hand weapon’s strike rank.

Or the adventurer can split attacks even further: perhaps making two attacks with a divided skill and the other at full; or even splitting each skill to make four separate attacks at the divided skill rating. The only real limit to this is strike ranks, as each attack requires its own strike ranks.

What if my adventurer wants to use a melee weapon in one hand and a missile weapon in the other, or two missile weapons?

If the missile weapon is one-handed (none of the bows or crossbows are, so this will inevitably be a thrown weapon), then figure the strike ranks and rate of fire accordingly (one at SIZ+DEX and the missile at DEX) and act as guided above. Keep in mind the higher DEX requirement for the off hand and the requirement for a separate skill.

If trying to throw two weapons in the same round, one held in each hand, use the rate of fire rules. The adventurer can always try to draw and throw another weapon in this time, if the strike ranks and rate of fire permit.

Isn’t this too much of an advantage?

Far from it! Unless the second weapon is a shield, the adventurer is forsaking the chance to parry missile weapons and must instead Dodge them. Not great against arrows!

The increased number of attacks in a round also increases the chance of a fumble or a result that ends in damaging or breaking one of the two-weapon user’s weapons with a devastating parry. As weapons are generally more fragile than shields, they will thus break with more regularity.

End of Rune Fixes 2.

With two weapons, one in each hand you can attack with both (subject to strike ranks), and parry with both (though only 1 parry allowed per attack) and subsequent parries (in a combat round) are subject to the -20% cumulative penalty, regardless of which weapon is used to parry.

What is the disadvantage of using 2 weapons? I feel like it’s way more advantageous to dual wield 2 weapons and have the option to attack twice (plus defend normally) than carrying a shield, where all you get is maybe some passive defense for missiles? 

Hand weapons can’t parry missile/thrown weapons, and they have lower HP than shields.

Why would anyone use a shield? 

You can’t parry missile weapons with a hand weapon, though your GM may decide to let you try at some astronomically low chance of success. (Maybe a Martial Arts roll?) Shields are also more durable than most weapons, and offer passive defense, even when slung. You can also do mass combat formations with shields. 

If you choose to attempt a knockback attack with your shield, you attack on SR 12 and can’t parry with it that round. 

Why would anyone use a two-handed weapon vs two weapons? 

Two-handed weapons do more damage on average, have low SRs, have more HP, and are much more likely to penetrate armor. 

I hope that clarifies everything. For those who want more grit in the system, you can blame me. The subdivision of weapon skills into attack/parry and RH/LH is, to me, a overly crunchy level of detail that adds nothing to the facilitation of gameplay. 

By all means, if those are desired details, add them right back in. Your RuneQuest will vary. 

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