CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 16 Sorcery Spells Q&A

Official Answers from Chaosium

This covers the second part of Chapter 16, pages 390-401.

For the Sorcery rules section see : Chapter 16 Sorcery Q&A

Please be aware that, Sorcery is presented to allow Lhankor Mhy adventurers to be created. Future supplements will detail sorcerers from other cultures and provide more details of the sorcery system. Some elements of the system will likely change to portray other cultures.

Boon of Kargan Tor
Create Hallucination
Protective Circle
Steal Breath
Tap Body

Boon of Kargan Tor (page 392)

Can Boon of Kargan Tor be cast on the Protective Circle?


This spell must be cast on a weapon.

Boon of Kargan Tor (page 392)

Castback (page 392)


If an offensive spell fails to overcome the magic points of the target of the Castback spell and the strength of that offensive spell is equal or less than that of the Castback, the offensive spell is bounced back at the caster.

Castback, page 392


If an offensive spell fails to overcome the POW of the target of the Castback spell and the strength of that offensive spell is equal or less than that of the Castback, the offensive spell is bounced back at the caster.

Does a Castback spell take effect the next strike rank like Reflection?


Or does the original casting time effect it?


And does a spell that’s neutralized before a POW vs POW roll takes place, by neutralize rune or whatever, get cast back?

This depends on how the neutralising magic works and the casting situation. Some spells only protect if their duration is greater than the attacking spell. It’s also easier to imagine spell in shells around the caster. I would always place Castback outside Neutralize (rune), so you have only one roll to deal with – does it bounce or not? Then if it fails, Neutralize (rune) is the next layer of protection.

Conflagration (page 392)

What is the area/volume of fire produced?

Strength Area Volume

1–3 Candle – size of a candle flame

4–7 Torch – size of a torch flame

8 & above bucketsized – size of a small forge – enough to work metal. 

If it is cast on the space containing a human, for instance, would that human take damage to only one hit location, or is enough to , say, catch both legs.

Page 392

The fire does not move, although it will spread if flammable material is nearby.

Use this in conjunction with the fire rules on page 157. It’s a small fire.

Bear in mind that a human hit with an Intensity 8 or above conflagration on anything but a limb is likely dead.

Would a higher strength spell correspond to a bigger fire?

No, a hotter flame.

This where an adventurer with research could create a new spell based on Conflagration that increased area instead of intensity.

Create Hallucination (page 392)

Can a sorcerer cast Create Hallucination on themselves without needing to overcome their own POW with the spell’s Strength?

If a character wants to allow a spell to be cast upon them, they don’t need to make a resistance roll. That’s already codified in the rules. Why would this situation, however improbable as it is, be any different? Has this circumstance actually come up in play, or is it likely to? 

Protective Circle (page 398)

Can Spirit or Rune magic spells be cast on a Protective Circle, becoming part of it?

Can non-Sorcery spells be cast upon a Protective Circle?


Is the Range, Duration, and Strength of the spell cast on the Circle effected by the Circle? 


Can you cast Ward Against Weapons on a Protective Circle? 

Yes, but remember to increase the Strength (intensity) of the Protective Circle as the Ward Against Weapons spell can’t have a higher strength than the Protective Circle.

Steal Breath (page 400)

Is Steal Breath sorcery spell supposed to generate 1d6 magic points per combat round?

From the first sentence of the spell: 

This spell allows the caster to convert 3 cubic meters of air into 1D6 magic points per round

Using Tap [Steal Breath] against humans, is going to mark the caster as an outlaw by pretty much all other Malkioni. That means no allies, no cult support, nothing. If he is a Lhankor Mhy cultist, his temple is going to get plagued by angry wind spirits and maybe even get a visit from the local Orlanth Rex. The kin of his victims may complain – even if they are nonhumans like dark trolls, that is the sort of “evil magic” that might get you outlawed from your tribe or city.

It is the sort of spell that identifies you to everyone as an Evil Sorcerer – the sort of bad guy that adventurers get hired to kill.

Jeff Richard

Tap Body (page 400)

Steal Breath and Tap Body. They are written similarly. They are both active and temporal, every 2 points grants 1d6 magic points, and the magic points are usable in the same way. Other than target and range, the big difference is that Steal Breath specifically says it works every round. Tap Body does not state how long the tapping continues. But it is listed as temporal, not instant. Now, I recognize that the extra magic points beyond normal only last while the spell is active – in both cases.

So, can my evil NPC sorcerer cast Tap Body 4 on a tied-up captive and

a) keep draining 2 SIZ points every round on the same captive…until the captive is SIZ 1, concentration lapses, or 10 minutes has elapsed?

b) Or is the Tap effect really instant (with only the retained MP over POW portion temporal) and the evil sorcerer has to recast it each time he converts SIZ points to MP?

b) Instant, although for flourish you would see the victim shrink

for more you need to increase the Strength (2 levels per SIZ point over the first).

The big difference between Tap Body and Steal Breath is that SIZ is finite and air infinite (except then removing it from finite lungs).

Could Tap Body be cast on a tree?

Yes. It has SIZ.

or does it have to be animate?


In RQ3, Tap [stat] was considered evil by many cultures. Does that still apply to Tap Body?Does it apply to any Sorcery spell with the Tap technique (of which we currently know 2)?

Maybe, sorcery has not been culturally expanded yet for RQG, but see below.

Why would Malkioni look down on tapping?

Nearly all Malkioni accept the Law of Malkion as the keystone to the faith. Sadly, the ease with which this law can be misinterpreted has led to many different sects of Malkionism. The law is summarized below:

1.      The Invisible God is the God beyond the gods.

2.      Follow the righteous path of your caste. (This is usually defined as imposing different rules for each caste.)

3.      Love that which the Invisible God has created.

4.      Do not ruin that which you love. (This is usually defined as including a proscription against use of the Tap Technique.)

Jeff Richard

What’s the Aeolian view of using Steal Breath?

Very very bad.

For the Sorcery rules section see : Chapter 16 Sorcery Q&A

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