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

Answers by Jason Durall, RuneQuest Line editor

Spell Strength vs POW augmentation

Can the Spell Strength vs POW roll be augmented, and if so, can a single augment affect both POW vs POW and Spell Strength vs POW, if both are needed?

See Augments to the Resistance Table (page 146) and Increasing Chances of Success with Magic (pages 244-246). 

The Magic Rune (page 382) and associated spells

The magic rune in sorcery represents the theory of magic itself – the layout is a bit confusing as it is neither an Element, Power, Form, or Technique. The difference is that you can study Magic Rune in sorcery.

The Magic Rune can be mastered – it is a theoretical understanding of magic itself.

Jeff Richard

Can the Magic Rune be mastered like the other runes?


Is the Magic rune a free rune that all sorcerers receive automatically?


Is the magic Rune in the spell lists, a place holder for another rune, as with rune spells?


Limits to Manipulating Intensity (page 385)

Example paragraph last two sentences changed to “He has an INT of 17, 3 points of spirit magic, and 8 points of sorcery already known. As a result he can add up to 6 levels of intensity, divided amongst strength, range, and duration.” (Part of Second printing corrections).

Casting Spells (page 386)

Spell Cost topic (page 386)

Second Example changed to “Damastol also knows the Logical Clarity spell (Truth + Dispel) at 42%. He knows the Truth rune, but because he only knows Dispel as an insight of Summons, it costs him 3 magic points to cast, plus 2 magic points for each additional level of intensity.” (Part of Second printing corrections).

The rules state that the sorcerer lapses into a semi-trance. On p. 387 it states that “A sorcerer cannot attack, parry, or Dodge while casting a spell”

I interpreted that to mean you can’t move while casting a spell. One of my players insists it doesn’t mean that at all. So, which is correct? Move or no move?

You can move up to 4 meters per round, carefully, just as if using an Active spirit magic or Rune spell (see page 247).

If a sorcerer wanted to change how the intensity of a spell he was casting was allocated between strength, duration, and range, after he had started casting. Would you allow it?

After rereading the rules, I ruled that, because the sorcerer is in a semi-trance while casting, the range, duration, strength and target all had to be specified in the statement of intent of the round when the casting would start, and could not be changed after that.  He could, per the rules, abort the spell at any time, but he could not change those parameters.  The player was ok with the range, duration, and strength being fixed at the start of casting, but feels he should be able to change the target during the statement of intent of the round when the spell would take effect.  He feels that, because sorcery takes so long, if the target should be killed, incapacitated, or moved out of range before the spell went off, he should be able to change the target, rather than have to have wasted all the time spent casting the spell.

So the question is, what is the intent of the rules on this?  Can the spell target be changed after the sorceror has started casting the spell? Or, for that matter, can how the intensity of the spell is allocated between range, duration, and strength be changed after casting has started?

This depends entirely on gamemaster style and how rigid the group adheres to the statement of intent phase and the actual order of combat as played vs as described. 

As written, the rules call for a statement of intent. This actually doesn’t require the player to identify the target of the spell. The example, for example, says an adventurer will “have my shield and sword at the ready if someone gets close” but doesn’t say who that someone is, or if they’ll attack or not. The gamemaster should be able to assume that the player means “I’ll attack if I get the chance” even if they don’t know who the attack would be directed at. 

Similarly, my experience playing pretty much every BRP-based game over the last 35 years is that most of the time groups (my own included) don’t generally follow the formal statement of intent phase of combat, usually just allowing players to announce their actions as their strike ranks are called. 

So as a gamemaster I’d be fine with allowing a player to change the target of a spell if the circumstances change, so long as they’re not altering the actual spell parameters (intensity, etc.). 

Resisting Sorcery

Do Sorcery spells, in general, need to overcome the POW of an unwilling target, as per “Resisting Spells” on page 244? Some Sorcery spells say that they need to overcome an unwilling target’s POW with the Strength of the spell. Is this instead of or as well as a POW vs POW roll?

If it says the spell uses the Strength of the spell in the resistance roll, then use that. Otherwise it’s POW vs. POW where necessary. 

Learning Sorcery (page 388)

Learning Sorcery specifies that your knowledge of a sorcery spell is limited by your Read/Write skill, does this mean the language your written copy of the spell is written in, or just your highest language skill of any kind? If the former, how easy is translation? 

The limit is based on the language the spell is written in. 

The cult of Pavis has grimoires written in Auld Wyrmish to which can’t be learnt by humans at more than 25%, but it is a good question for Lhankor Mhy sages reading Western or Lunar sources as well. 

Humans can’t speak Auld Wyrmish at more than 25% (as per p174-5 in the core rules), but there is no such restriction for reading and writing that script (see page 181).

Inscribing Spells (Page 390)

Can inscribed spells be expanded after initial creation by adding more POW, in the same way that a Spell Matrix Enchantment can? If so, is there an upper limit that a sorcerer can achieve?

Yes they can be expanded later with more POW and there is no limit other than the amount of permanent POW the sorcerer feels like sacrificing.

Yes, this will lead to some potentially hugely powerful spells, but this is tempered by the fact that the item can be taken and/or destroyed

This rule may be revisited when we cover the Malkioni.

Sample Sorcery Spells (page 390)

Spell Name (page 391)

Runes and Techniques Used

The presence of the Magic Rune indicates that this spell can be used with any Rune.

Delete this sentence.

“A sorcerer must have an affinity with the Rune or Runes used in the spell…”

Need to change “affinity” to “mastery” Right?

Yes, for clarity. 

Boon of Kargan Tor (page 392)

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

Was the first line of the spell description – “This spell must be cast on a weapon.” – unclear?

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? 


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

Related Pages