CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 03 Adventurers Q&A

Official Answers by Chaosium


This covers Chapter 3, pages 23-83.


Getting Started

Procedure

Step 1: Homeland

Step 2: Family History

Step 3: Rune Affinities

Step 4: Characteristics

Step 5: Occupation

Step 6: Cult

Step 7: Personal Skill Bonuses

Step 8: Other Information

Step 1: Homeland (page 24)

Playing Inexperienced Adventurers (page 25)

Aren’t adventurers initiated at the age of 16, and thus have been around for 5 years already at start of play?

Yes, that’s what the Family History section generates. If you want to start at 16, playing inexperienced characters is covered on page 25. If you want to alter the adventurer creation system for your games by doing Step 2 last and adding in cult advancement, please do. 

And if this was right, it would strongly encourage new Humakti adventurers to not select Bladesharp at all at start of play, since they would be getting it later for free… Surely this is not intended?

There’s no right or wrong with this. Not selecting Bladesharp at the start of play would allow richer roleplaying opportunities later (finding a temple and teacher, etc). See Humakt in Chapter 12 for further clarification.


Step 2: Family History (page 27)

Family History in general: Is the default Homeland I apply when gaining Passions etc through events the Homeland of my Adventurer, even if the grandparent/parent who took part in the event itself was from a different Homeland? I think it is always the homeland of the adventurer.

The rules don’t really address grandparents and parents of different Homelands (but doesn’t prevent them) so I’d let the player pick. This could mean that the (grand)parent tells the adventurer about the old country and how awesome it was, or they could enthusiastically instil in the adventurer a love for the new adopted homeland.

2. Determine the occupations of your grandparent and parent. (Page 28)

Roll for your grandparent’s occupation on the Occupation table, or pick a result

And again in 

2.2. “Use the Occupation table to choose or randomly determine your grandparent’s and parent’s occupations

If you ignore the former grandparent part it works as you then have an occupation for your grandparent and parent. Unless I’ve gotten something wrong.

It is a duplicate, ignore it.

3. Determine events. (page 28-29)

If the event indicates that your adventurer gains a Passion (Love, Hate, Loyalty, Fear, Devotion, Honor, etc.) that Passion starts at 60%, unless indicated otherwise. If your adventurer already has the Passion, increase it by +10%, unless indicated otherwise.

page 29

Using the above information, if you get a Passion award that raises your Loyalty by 30%, and you didn’t have that specific Passion earlier, what will your Loyalty be now? 90% (60+30%) or 80%? (the first +10% goes to get the Passion to 60%, and the rest gets added to it).

The advice on page 29 is part of creating your adventurer. The rules on page 236, Gaining a Passion should be used once the game has begun.


Year 1608 Events (page 33)

First Invasion of Prax (page 32)

Page 33, family history.

Is the First Invasion of Prax really intended to be so deadly to nomad parents? If you roll on that chart with +10, that means almost half of all parents will die there, in their first year. If it’s really a nomad victory, it seems to be a very pyrrhic one.

It’s actually 60% if you roll on the table, you don’t have to roll:

D20ResultChance
9-11Died skirmishing in the plains. If Lunar Tarshite, gain Hate (Praxians). If Praxian, gain Hate (Lunar Empire).5%
12–15 Survived.20%
16–18Witnessed the Lunar submission to the Pap Priestesses. If Praxian, gain Loyalty (your tribe). If other, gain Devotion (deity).5%
19 Killed in battle.5%
20Died with great glory. Gain Honor Passion and +1D3% Reputation.55%

The Family history section is designed to create Adventures with a rich background that strongly influences their drives and Passions, : Quote

Gamemasters should keep in mind that this section is intended for creating player character adventurers. This is not intended to create the background for a typical resident of Dragon Pass!

How to Use This Section, page 28

and

You may choose the event or roll a D20 to get a random result.

Determine events, page 29

and

The gamemaster and player should improvise, modify, discard, or otherwise manipulate the results of the Family History in the interest of creating a more interesting or relevant background for the adventurer.

Determine your adventurer’s past, page 29

The table is designed to give your adventurer’s family history lots of plot hooks and stuff to use in adventuring.

You could also replace the 12–15 Survived. with your own results, eg 12– 20 Survived.

Hate (Lunar) should be Hate (Lunar Empire) ?

Yes


Random Boons (page 40)

What does “Gain +10% Loyalty (clan) or add +10% to the existing Loyalty.” (Results 13-14 and 16-17) mean? Should that be “Gain Loyalty (clan) (60%?) or add +10% to the existing Loyalty”?

Yes, it’s just awkwardly phrased.


Year 1624 Events (page 42)

Jaldon Goldentooth Summoned

Result 16-18 specifies that you swear loyalty to both Argrath and Jaldon, yet the Passions you gain are Devotion (White Bull) and Loyalty (White Bull). Is this intentionally so?

Agrath is the White Bull. Jaldon is only there temporarily as a summoned ancestor. We had to pick where the Devotion and Loyalty went, and it made more sense for Argrath as being still in the world. 

Players can add Passions at any time they want at 60% so if someone wanted to add one for Jaldon, they could do so once play begins. 


Year 1625 Events (page 44)

Events table “11-17” result changed to “11-16”. (Part of Second printing corrections)


Step 3: Rune Affinities (page 45)

Runes & Cults table (page 47)

Foundchild: Hunting God. info added: Death rune Death 295 Harmony rune Harmony. (Part of Second printing corrections)


Elemental Runes / Water (page 48)

Sense: Taste

what do you roll for it? is it a perception skill?

Use perception and modify depending on situation and taster. 


Step 4: Characteristics (page 51)

Species Maximum Characteristics Box (page 52)

Example: A minotaur with STR (3D6+12), maximum (18+12) = 30, plus number of dice (3 + bonus) = 4. Minotaur maximum STR = 34.


Power (POW) (page 52)

POW cannot normally rise above the total of the maximum possible rolled POW plus the minimum possible rolled POW

is incorrect, use the Species Maximum Characteristics Box on the same page (page 52).


Determining Characteristics / Rune Modifiers to Characteristics (page 53)

changes to Rune ratings after play begins do not affect characteristics.

Rune Modifiers to Characteristics, page 53

I have not understood, does this means that subsequent rune affinity modifications change the characteristics or not?

Not. Once you have created your adventurer, your rune ratings do not change your characteristics.


Determining Characteristics / Rune & Homeland Modifiers (page 53)

Can your primary or secondary Rune Affinities, or your Homeland characteristic modifiers raise your characteristics over the species maximum? Eg. is the maximum SIZ of a Bison Rider 18, 20, or 22?

No. Your species max is your species max, unless boosted by some way through some other (likely divine) means. 

That said, some non-player characters may have transcended these maximums through such avenues.


Attributes (page 54)

A quick search of the RQG PDF shows that there is no luck roll in RQG.

MGF on page 6 is an excellent substitute should you ever feel the need to introduce luck into your game. 

It did show up in the Quickstart, but wasn’t addressed in the core rules. It has been replaced (almost) everywhere with references to a POWx5 roll. 


MOV speed when running (page 54)

What are the rules for MOV speed when running?  As I recall, in previous editions, bipedal  runners moved MOVx2, quadrupeds moved MOVx4 and flyers could move as fast as their fly MOVx5.  Are there running rules in RQG?  I only found rules for chases, which doesn’t address the actual amount someone moves during a round.

Page 54, under ATTRIBUTES

“(8 meters walking or 24 meters running)”

MOV Rate (page 54)

So, does it really mean that the MOV rate is the speed while running, and the speed while walking is 1/3 that?

1 MOV unit equals 1 meter when walking, and 3 when running. Generally players aren’t concerned with their walking speed while in tactical situations, so 3 meters is the value given. 


General Hit Points

General hit points are mentioned throughout the book. What are “general hit points”?

General and total hit points (page 54) are the same thing.


Negative Hit Points (page 55)

What is the maximum (if any) that limbs can go negative, when do they become maimed?

A hit location can “absorb” three times its normal hit points in damage, so technically a hit location can go into negative up to twice its hit points. 

See page 148 in the section titled Damage Equals or Exceeds Triple the Location’s Hit Points.


Spirit Combat Damage (page 56)

If a creature does not have CHA (e.g. animals), do they only use their POW to calculate their spirit combat damage when attacked?

Yes. Although a GM may choose what level of damage is appropriate from the Spirit Combat Damage table on page 56 depending on the needs of the story. Overall it’s likely a D3 or D6.


Strike Rank (page 57)

The sample characters’ animal sidekicks (Vasana’s Bison etc.) all have a Base Strike Rank, and all creatures in the Bestiary are also listed with a Base Strike Rank. However, I was unable to find any explanation anywhere (either here or in the Bestiary), about what a Basic Strike Rank actually is or what purpose it serves. My understanding is that it is merely the combined SIZ+DEX strike rank for the creature and that Vasana’s Bison for instance has a 0+3 Strike Rank (so Base SR 3) and that this is as usual added to the stat of the “weapon” (in case of the Horn apparently 5) to create the Strike Rank for the Horn attack (8). And I assume that if the Bison were to do something other than attacking, they would be doing it in their base strike rank?

Base Strike Rank = DEX SR + SIZ SR. Most natural/unintelligent animals use this as their default physical action SR, whether attacking or doing something else (if in combat). 

We break SR into DEX SR and SIZ SR when dealing with missile weapons or magic, which don’t take into account SIZ. 


Skills Category Modifiers (page 57)

2nd to last paragraph “bonus” is changed to “modifier”. (Part of Second printing corrections)

Knowledge & Perception Skill Category modifier (pages 58 & 59)

Any plans to change the calculation that Knowledge and Perception have the same Skill Category modifier?

No. 


Skill Base Chance (page 60)

Skills listed on page 61 in bold and shown on the adventurer sheet with a 🔲 can be improved during play through experience, training, or research. Other skills can only be improved through training or research, or by extraordinary means.

Skill Base Chance, page 60

Is it possible to improve non “experience-able” skill with “between adventures” experience ?

No, only by training and research. Doing your normal job doesn’t usually count as training or research unless the GM says under a particular circumstance it does. It would be rare for a scribe to be able to increase their Read/write through training or research as part of their normal job.

For example can scribes gain some % in read/write every season because they are scribes (occupation are always “checkable”), or should they train specifically this skill (no check is no check).

Read/write cannot increase by experience. See Corrections and Q&A Adventurer Sheet page


Step 5: Occupation (page 63)

If you disagree with the rules on the skill makeup an occupation is made up of, change them:

The gamemaster and players are encouraged to modify these occupations to fit their purposes.

Occupation, page 64

This could include swapping out some skills for others, or spreading the bonuses thinner over a wider range of skills, or both.


Equipment

Does the javelin weapon as an item consist of a single javelin or multiple? I.e. if a character has a javelin as their cultural missile weapon, then in their starting equipment do they have a single javelin or a few? A single javelin doesn’t seem super useful as a main missile weapon, and the cost of another one (35L) is pretty high. But at the same time there isn’t anything in the book that suggests otherwise.

Usually under occupation it says “weapons”, plural. Players should think about what their adventurer would have and be able to carry. First think about their occupation, it might be easy for a warrior to have multiple weapons. For example, if mounted, five javelins would not seem unreasonable for a mount to carry. Whereas those on foot may struggle with three given a javelin has an ENC of 1. However a craftsperson may want to carry just one along with their tools. 

On a similar note, if starting with a bow it makes sense to start with a quiver, but this also isn’t stated anywhere. Do the players get to choose any of the three sizes and just start with the amount of arrows it would carry? (12, 24, 40)

As above, think about what the adventurer would have. Quivers have an ENC of 0.5 ENC for small; ENC 1 for medium; ENC 2 for large. It might be appropriate for a mounted skirmisher to have a large quiver, but a hunter might only want a small one.

Don’t forget that Each point of ENC reduces Dodge by -1% per ENC, up to maximum ENC, then -5%.

Starting equipment in general seems slightly sparse, and many of the pre-gen characters have lots of equipment not listed in starting (for example, the pre-gen hunter on page 96 is listed as starting with armor, but the hunter profession does not get armor). Is there something I am missing with it?

In family history, it’s pretty easy to get loot, plunder, to buy stuff later. Don’t forget with family history – you can choose your results so you don’t need to roll.

Nathem has Leather hunting garb (1 pt.), leather hood (1 pt.) , cuirboilli hunter’s vambrace (3 pts., left arm only). That’s either:

Leather hunting garb (1 pt.), Legs 15L, Abdomen & Chest 20L, arm 5L

Leather hood (1 pt.) 3L

cuirboilli hunter’s vambrace (3 pts., left arm only) 15L

so 48L. Easily paid for by loot, etc or the player could argue that it’s made from skins made by the hunter. Or the GM could say make an Occupational, Track or Animal Lore roll. Choose whatever is appropriate for your game.

All of the players in my current game got money from family history and bought stuff. Also note that those that are non-combatants don’t wear armour (in the pregens or my game).


Bandit (page 65)

The equipment lists “cuirbouilli cuirass” and “hide or quilted skirt”. However, there is no “cuirbouilli cuirass on the armor table and a quilted skirt offers only 1 pt of protection, not 2.

The current PDF (second printing) has:

Equipment: Cultural weapons, leather skirt (1 pt. protection), heavy leather cuirass (2 pts. protection), sleeping roll, booty worth 1D100 L.

Please note that there is a second printing PDF available from either, your Chaosium account, DrivethruRPG account or Bits and Mortar with your code. 


Hunter (page 69)

Please remember:

The gamemaster and players are encouraged to modify these occupations to fit their purposes.

Occupation, page 64

This could include swapping out some skills for others, or spreading the bonuses thinner over a wider range of skills, or both.

The Hunter occupation seems to lack the Survival skill. Most of the suggested cults would have it, but not Orlanth or Yelm (Grazelands). Is this on purpose, or should all Hunters have it?

It is on purpose. Everyone has the skill at 15% plus knowledge bonus. Your homeland may give you a bonus reflecting the land you are from. It may also be a skill your cult finds useful to your religion (page 275). Orlanth and Yelm do not find it useful. As a new adventurer spends time in their occupation, they may gain experience rolls if the skill was ever needed.

If you want to emphasise your adventurer’s ability with these abilities, this where you use the personal skill bonuses in Step 7 to emphasise your adventurer’s prowess in these areas.

Given hunters are skilled at operating traps for hunting food, as well as dealing with prey animals (page 69) shouldn’t they start with the Peaceful Cut and Devise skills?

All adventurers start with Peaceful Cut (10%) and Devise (5%).

Note that in the game system chapter, page 141 says:

Many abilities are normal functions that anyone can perform. Walking across a room or opening a door can be said to be abilities, but every adventurer is considered competent enough to perform these actions without checking to see if they were successful. The adventurer is assumed to have an automatic success.

Ability Use, page 141

For any ability performed in a dramatic circumstance, an ability roll is required.

No.

A hunter will have no problem in butchering and setting traps, most use being automatic. Only dramatic circumstance needs a roll.

If you want to emphasise your adventurer’s ability with these abilities, this where you use the personal skill bonuses in Step 7 to emphasise your adventurer’s prowess in these areas.

Note that the occupational skill roll for hunters is either Track or Animal Lore for determining income (pages 422 & 423).


Noble (page 69-70)

The starting equipment for Noble characters (p.70) does not include any armour on abdomen hit location, as Bronze (Plate) Cuirass only protects chest. The same problem is with the character Harmast (p.88), whose equipment is based on this list. Notably, the Harmast’s hit location table (p.89) still incorrectly states that he has 6 AP on abdomen.

I suppose the “Bronze/Plate Cuirass” on both these places should actually be Bronze Plate, Segmented (according to the table on p.215).

and

The Noble occupation lists in the equipment section,  a Bronze Cuirass, bronze greaves and vambraces, and a closed helm.  None of those cover the abdomen.  Cuirass is listed in the armor table as only covering the chest.  In the Pre-Gens, Harmast is listed as a noble, and has (in his hit location table), 6 points of armor in his chest and abdomen, but in the listed armor only includes the armor given to nobles.  What am I missing?

Yes, read that as a hauberk.

It’s been corrected in Harmast’s writeup for future publications.


Scribe (page 70)

Base Income – It states that the Base Income for using Alchemy or Customs is 160L, but Alchemy is not listed as an occupational skill for Scribes. Should it be, or should Alchemy be removed from the basic income list?

Alchemy is available to some scribes as a cult skill. 

Occupational Skill – Read/Write

As Read/Write can not be raised by experience, that means scribe can not increase it at all.

It can be raised by training and research. An adventurer can spend up to three weeks per season on activities other than their normal occupation: Quote

The Occupation Income roll assumes the adventurer is engaged in their occupation each season, gone no more than three weeks or so (“adventuring time”). RQG, Additional Penalties to the Occupation Income Roll, page 422.

Do you mean that the training (or research) on Read/Write is outside his normal Reading and Writing activities?

Yes, as it’s not increased by experience, but can be raised by training or research. An adventurer can spend up to three weeks per season on activities other than their normal occupation. Scribes of Buserian or the Lhankor Mhy cult get training in any Sage skill or associate cult skill is free to the initiate, but training takes twice the normal time because they must be fit into the Instructors’ schedules at odd available moments. So that would be 16 weeks required. So that would take a year of all your spare to get 1D6–1 or 2%. Alternatively you can research one skill per season and maybe get a few %.

What’s clear is that in a society where literacy is rare, it’s very difficult to become good at it unless you are full time at your temple.


Thief (page 71)

“Pitchman” is listed as a profession for thieves. What does a “pitchman” do?

Someone who makes a “pitch”, a type of con man who sells stolen or fraudulent/fake goods or works on elaborate swindles. He might also be the “face” for a criminal enterprise that needs someone to do all the talking.


Step 6: Cult (page 73)

Can adventurers join multiple subcults during creation?

Yes. If your GM allows it, they may prefer you to do it in-game.

The adventurer must pay the extra POW cost per subcult (as page 282, Joining a Subcult)

they will then start an extra rune point per subcult, and 

one special Rune magic spell of the subcult per subcult

They do not get any additional Cult Starting Skills (page 79), but may spread them across the subcult’s skills where appropriate.

If available they may choose subcult Spirit Magic as part of their 5 spells (not in addition) (page 79).


Initiated and Initiates (pages 73 & 269)

Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity.

Cult, page 73

Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult

Rune Cults, page 269

Which is it?

You’re confusing being initiated into a cult with being an initiate of that cult. Most everyone in the world is a member of one cult or another, a lay member. Only a small number take the test sacrifice a point of POW and gain a Rune point, and still fewer go on to become Rune Masters or God-talkers within that cult. 

While the word choice on page 73 maybe confusing, a clearer version might be:

Nearly every adult is a member of the cult of a specific deity.

For the purposes of player character adventurers, all are considered to be initiates, so the sentence on page 73 applies specifically to them.


Cult Starting Skills (page 73)

Each cult has starting skills taught to its members. Add the listed skill bonuses to these skills. Add an additional +20% to one of these starting skills and+15% to another. In addition, all initiates start with the following skill bonuses: Cult Lore (deity) +15%, Worship (deity) +20%, Meditate +5%.

Cult Starting Skills, page 73

Does that mean, that those additional +20%/+15% can’t be allocated to Cult Lore (deity), Worship (deity) or Meditate?

Perhaps it’s just a misleading wording, because I think that those three skills (Cult Lore, Worship, Meditate) are cult starting skills as well.  

If you GM agrees, there is no reason why you can’t add the bonuses to Cult Lore (deity), Worship (deity) or Meditate if you want.


Suggested Special Rune Magic (page 73)

Basic question a starting adventurer has 3 rune points. Sever spirit is a 3 point spell does that take 1 or 3 of his starting rune points.  I’d say 3 but the rules seem to indicate 1. 

Adventurers get three Rune spells of their choice. Unless the spell has a higher cost than 1, the Rune spell’s level is 1. 


Common Rune Magic Box (page 74)

Spells About the Cult

Add “Summon Cult Spirit” & “Summon Cult Spirit 1-3 points” (Part of Second printing corrections)

Engizi (page 75)

The description of the cult of Engizi in the Rune cults chapter, page 292, offers only 2 Spirit magic spells: Glue and Rivereyes, while he offers many others in the Adventurers section except for Glue.

it’s:

SPIRIT MAGIC

Initiates may buy Glue and River Eyes at half price. The cult provides Coordination, Extinguish, Heal, Mobility, and Shimmer at the normal price. Prohibited are Firearrow, Fireblade, and Ignite.

Gods of Glorantha, Cult of Engizi, unpublished

Step 7: Personal Skill Bonuses (page 79)

Vasana’s Saga (page 80)

Third bullet point has Farm 30% changed to 35%, and fifth bullet has Javelin 20% changed to 25%. (Part of Second printing corrections)

In Vasana’s stats, she suddenly has a Homeland (Sartar) 35 (sic) skill. There is up to this point no explanation to where she has it from. It is, however, implied on p 82 that you get the Homeland skill from picking a Homeland and then it shows up in the next iteration (also on p.82) of Vasana’s stats.

Delete Homeland (Sartar) 35.


Step 8: Other Information (page 80)

Effects of Ageing (Pages 81 vs. 425)

On Page 81 the costs of additional experience for an adventurer “for each two-year interval or fraction above age 40 subtract –1 point from STR, CON, or DEX”

On Page 425 an adventurer upon reaching 40 rolls on two tables. As a consequence they might lose STR, CON, DEX or SIZ

Should page 81 be consistent with page 425 in this respect? Also should not the rate of loss be the same, for an adventurer (they differ in the rate of loss)?

The rules for adventurer creation are intentionally more forgiving (and more deliberate) than those for aging naturally over the course of a longterm campaign.

The first method is to allow players to create older characters who are not incapacitated out the door by aging rolls.

The second method takes place after the adventurer may have had ample opportunities to increase characteristics, and emphasizes the encroaching mortality that all humans must contend with.

Movement (page 82)

Write this down on the adventurer sheet.

Movement Page, page 82

As there is no specific place to write movement on the current adventurer sheets, use Combat Notes.


Family Heirlooms table (page 83)

Result 12. An awakened small animal (SIZ 2 or less, such as a cat, a lizard, a bird, etc.) with 3D6 INT and 3D6 POW.”

Do they have CHA? What is it? Does this affect their ability to learn additional spells?

Most natural animals don’t have CHA.

The rules for these minor awakened animals are admittedly brief, and a GM so desiring to describe them more fully is more-than-welcome to assign a CHA value as appropriate. 

As for awakened animals learning additional spells, again this is a fringe case and should be up to the GM to determine how this is handled. I’m personally inclined to say that it’s the province of the gods, as even awakened animals don’t necessarily have the patience to sit and learn magic as humans or other sentient races do. 

A newly generated character that rolls a 12 on the D20 table for heirlooms gets an awakened small animal, with 3D6 INT and POW, and it knows 3 points of spirit magic. However, such animals in the Glorantha Bestiary lack CHA, which means that they cannot actually know any spirit magic. I assume, like allied spirits, that the awakened animal gets 3D6 CHA as well?

Yes. 


Result 18 reworded to “An ingot of iron or other pure Rune metal weighing 1D3 ENC which can be forged into a weapon, piece of armor, or other object. An unenchanted iron item has half again the number of hit or armor points. Each point of ENC reduces the user’s chance of casting magic spells by -5%, with the same chance that magic spells cast on them will have no effect. Enchanted items act as normal.” (Part of Second printing corrections)

How does my adventurer get their iron ingot enchanted?

The following cults in RQG have Enchant Iron:

  • Babeester Gor – page 289
  • Humakt – page 297
  • Lhankor Mhy – page 298
  • Orlanth – page 302
  • Storm Bull – page 305

In the upcoming Cults of Glorantha, these additional cults have enchant iron:

  • Aranea
  • Lanbril
  • Valind
  • Yanafal Tarnils,
  • Yelorna
  • Ygg

Only Humakt has Craft (Iron)…

Related Pages