CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 14 Shamans Q&A

Answers by Jason Durall, RuneQuest Line editor


Tools of the Shaman (page 351)

The reference to p.318 points to the Rune Spell Axis Mundi, which does not mention the Spike at all.

p.354,  top of the right column displays a boxed text with the title Axis Mundi. Am I correct, that this boxed text should be referenced in the Tools of the Shaman text instead of the Rune Spell of the same name?

Yes, the text should refer to p354, not p318.


Becoming a Full Shaman (page 354)

When an apprentice shaman becomes a shaman, what happens to his Loyalty: Shaman score? 

Nothing. The Loyalty is to the individual, not to the rank or the relationship. 


Stage Four—The Ordeal (page 355)

The Bad Man (RQ Rune Fixes – 8th December 2019)

The final ordeal to become a shaman is the confrontation with the Bad Man. The rules included only his POW and not his Spirit Combat skill. The complete stat block for the Bad Man is:

The Bad Man
POW 35
Spirit Combat 175%*

*Please note that Rune Fixes – 3rd July 2018 incorrectly lists The Bad Man’s Spirit Combat at 165% (corrected 8 December 2019)

Note: Combat with the Bad Man does not result in loss of magic points from either side. If the Bad Man wins a round of spirit combat, the would-be shaman gets a shamanic taboo. If the would-be shaman wins a round of spirit combat, they gain a shamanic ability without needing to take a corresponding taboo.

It’s a bit difficult to follow, am I right in understanding that the shaman cannot fail this stage? It goes on for 1D6 rounds or more, the shaman gets either a Power or a Taboo each round, and that’s it?

When I first read it, I came away with the impression that you could attempt to become a shaman, fail it at the Ordeal, and then try again when your master deems you worthy again. Now, on re-reading it, once you’ve made your roll of (average of POW+CHA)×5 or whatever roleplaying satisfies the GM, that’s it. You’re going to be a shaman. The only variables are how good your Spirit Dance roll is to get a toasty Fetch, and how many times you beat the Bad Man in the ordeal.

Is that correct?

The assistant shaman can’t fail, other than to lose all of the 1D6 rounds of combat. They don’t lose any magic points. It is sorely a game of “Chicken”, to test the prospective shaman’s fortitude by seeing how many taboos they will be willing to take.

Do the shaman abilities taken cost characteristic points? I’m assuming not but it isn’t totally clear to me.

Yes. Every ability after the first ability costs characteristic points. 


The Fetch (pages 355-357)

What the Fetch Provides the Shaman

Spell Strength vs POW roll

Does a shaman’s fetch’s POW add to theirs for the purposes of a Spell Strength vs POW roll?

Yes. See the top of page 355: “The fetch adds its POW to the shaman’s POW against any contests involving POW VS. POW struggles.”

The Fetch and Charisma (Part of Rune Fixes – 3rd July 2018)

A shaman gains use of the fetch’s CHA for storing additional spirit magic spells. However, this does not affect the spirit combat damage done by either the shaman or the fetch, which is based on their personal CHA+POW.

Example: Vishi Dun is now a shaman and has a fetch with a POW of 11 and a CHA 18. His personal POW is now 18 and his CHA is 15. Vishi does 1D6+6 damage in spirit combat and his fetch does 1D6+1 damage

Fetch’s Magic Point Usage

When discorporate, the shaman cannot use the fetch’s magic points to defend or attack, though they can use the fetch’s magic points to fuel spells.

A discorporate shaman does not use their fetch’s magic points for defense while traveling in the Spirit World.”

Fetch and Discorporation, page 356

The shaman may always draw upon the fetch’s magic points in spirit combat, but not for attack or defense.”

Fetches and Combat, page 356

In these sentences, I cannot understand what “attack” and “defense” means. It seems to be a legacy from RQ3. If not so, please show some examples or clarifications.

Defense = casting defensive magic to protect yourself from harm. 

Attack = casting offensive magic to cause another being harm.

Fetch’s Magic Points Recovery Rate

The fetch’s magic points regenerate at the normal rate, in parallel with the shaman’s. If the fetch’s POW is 12, for example, it regains 1 magic point every two hours.

What the Fetch Provides the Shaman, page 356

This additional POW regenerates magic points at the same rate as the shaman’s own magic point regeneration.”

Second POW, page 358

These rules seem to contradict each other. I wish you would clarify the recovery rate of the fetch’s magic points.

Use the fetch’s POW to determine the fetch’s magic point recovery rate.


Benefits of Being a Shaman (page 357)

Discorporation (page 357)

2nd paragraph, delete the sentence “Every additional magic point spent during the ritual increases the time that the shaman can remain discorporate by one hour.” (Part of Second printing corrections)


Expanded Charisma (page 357)

How can a shaman’s fetch  improve their CHA? Can they or are you just stuck with the CHA it started with?

There are no current provisions in the rules for increasing fetch CHA.

We encourage enterprising gamemasters and players to determine possible options. 

Teaching Spirit Magic (page 358)

Does a Shaman, Priest, or Spirit teaching a spirit magic spell loose the knowledge of the spell when they teach it? 

No. Why would they?


Shamanic Abilities (page 360)

Spell Barrage (page 362)

How do Spell Barrage and the Common Divine Spell Multispell interact with each other?

They would stack, if the gamemaster allows it. 

When trying to stack them, determine which are the Multispelled spells and which are the ones due to Spell Barrage.

The Multispells are treated as separate instances and the Barrage is all-or-nothing.


Possession (page 360)

Does the Shaman gift Possession allow covert or dominant possession. I’m assuming dominant is the default but would a shaman be able to go covert and hide within the person he attacked. Once they  came round they could perhaps ride inside to penetrate a place normally protected by magical alarms or perhaps emerge to suddenly take over the body at a strategic moment? 

I think it’s pretty straightforward. Maybe future expansions to the shaman ability rules will allow for special cases like that. On the other hand, the gamemaster is well within their rights to allow it desired, such as on a critical or special success with the resistance roll.

Does the Shaman have the same limits on using the unfamiliar body as other spirits given it’s normally a shape he’s familiar with?

I’d say no. The Shamanic Possession (p360) works on a “per hit location chart” basis so it means they’re familiar with their own rough body shape. 


Spell Extension (page 362) & (Part of Rune Fixes – 3rd July 2018)

The shamanic ability Spell Extension allows a shaman to maintain a spirit magic spell indefinitely until the shaman chooses to drop the spell. The shaman cannot forget a spell while it is being maintained with the Spell Extension ability.


Is that shamanic ability for a specific spell named at the point of taking the ability or can it be used for any spell, chosen when casting it? 

It’s not tied to a specific spell. Just one at a time.


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