CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 06 Skills Q&A

Official Answers by Chaosium

This covers Chapter 6, pages 162-189:


    Modifying Skill Rolls (page 163)

    It’s probably second nature to experienced gamers but I don’t see anything about how the GM being able to apply arbitrary bonuses/penalties given circumstances? (like some bonus to Track because it rained recently and the ground is soft, or something) There’s a paragraph on p163, just under “Modifying Skill Rolls“, that probably addresses this, but it’s unclear since it can be read merely as an introduction to the augment rules. More importantly, it doesn’t give any hint as to what a proper range for those bonuses/penalties might be (should the Track example above be 10% or 40%?).

    It’s intended that the guidelines for augmenting abilities with Passions/Runes/other skills provide guidance for such benefits, but that regretfully isn’t clear. 

    Given that there’s a lot of grey area in how much a particular circumstance might truly influence a task, it could be anywhere from ±5 to ±75%.

    Jason Durall says

    I personally believe that if a modifier is less than ±20% it’s not worth applying, as the difference is something that should be taken into account with the adventurer’s facility with the ability.

    Augmenting Skills (page 163)

    If one augments a skill with a skill and succeeds, does the augmenting skill get an XP check for successful use (if applicable)?

    Yes, it is clearer in the GM Screen combined augment table.

    Augmenting Skills Example (page 164)

    The gamemaster decides that Biturian doesn’t bother augmenting, as he already has Harmast and his friends over a barrel.


    Additional Skills

    Net Fighting

    Are there net rules?

    Yes. See Weapons & Equipment, page 64.

    Can a net be thrown to tangle someone?

    Attacking to ensnare = tangling someone by throwing your net at them, but if there is no tension on the net, the victim can simply unwind the net from himself. Don’t let go.


    Are there whip rules? I could not find any in the RQ:G book.

    The whip that is mentioned in the core rules is for a chariot driver. These whips aren’t really combat weapons (you crack the whip to make noise, not strike the horse).

    For further types of whip and entangling rules, see Weapons & Equipment.

    So it’s a skill to make a cracking sound?

    Yes: as above, you crack the whip to make noise, not strike the horse.

    To generate an augment to Drive (Chariot)?

    Yes or depending on the situation, Intimidate or other applicable roleplaying situations.

    Skill Descriptions (page 164)

    Second printing correction

    Second paragraph,

    (Elder Race) Lore with Elder Race Lore (Type) eg. Elder Race Lore Uz

    (Homeland) Lore with Homeland Lore (Homeland) eg. Homeland Lore Esrolia


    Agility Skills (page 164)

    Boat (page 164) & Shiphandling (page 182)

    Boat provides the adventurer with a skill in handling oared or poled small boats such as rafts, canoes, and rowboats. Boat is primarily a physical activity, unlike Shiphandling, which is knowledge based.

    Shiphandling allows an adventurer to successfully command a ship that needs a crew of more than two. For smaller vessels, use the Boat skill (page 164).

    What about canoes/rafts suitable for seafaring that can be sailed double handed?

    Canoes, rafts, kayaks, and smaller sea-craft all fall under Boat.

    The currently-in-development RuneQuest Gamemaster Sourcebook includes rules for sea travel and combat, and identifies which skill goes with which vessel.

    Jump (page 165)

    A falling adventurer whose player makes a successful Jump skill may reduce the damage taken by one step of distance fallen (equivalent to 1D6) and pick the hit location landed on.


    Not quite sure I got the difference between the falling with a normal success vs a special success (and this part doesn’t seem to be covered in the section on Falling, so I can’t easily verify this). The way the phrasing read to me initially was that, if I was supposed to roll 4D6 damage, I only roll 3D6 damage instead (reducing the damage by a “step”) and get to pick a hit location. But on a special success I roll my 4D6 damage, but then roll 1D6 and deduct the result from the damage rolled (and get to pick a hit location)? But I was sure that can be right, because it would actually make rolling a special worse than rolling a normal success.

    Mechanically, picking what hit location gets hit in a fall is hugely better than reducing damage by 1D6. It determines whether you break an arm vs being knocked unconscious or dying (if head is rolled). 

    So I am guessing what it really means is, if you get a success, either normal or special, you roll one less D6 than you would have (rather than actually subtracting the result of a 1D6 roll), meaning that for falling, it doesn’t really make a difference if you had a normal or special success, and that for a crit, you not only roll one D6 less, you also then halve whatever damage is left over. Is that interpretation correct?

    See above. 

    Ride (page 166)
    Training Riding Animals

    Page 167 says that mounts must be trained separately to; accept a rider, remain calm in battle, fight in battle and increase their three attack skills up to 50% below the trainer’s ride skill. Training to accept a rider is stated to take a week. How long do the other types of training take?

    The other types of training takes many months, if not years. This can depend hugely on the culture, the environment, the amount of attention provided, and the facilities. 

    Also, does a war trained mount immediately get 50% below the trainer’s skill in attacks or does that have to be trained separately (or separately for each attack)?

    Those are general guidelines. Assume that when a fully-trained warhorse is purchased it will be trained at those levels. For further details see Weapons & Equipment, Training Animals, page 39

    Swim (page 168)

    Swim measures an adventurer’s ability to stay afloat and move in a desired direction. The roll must be made every ten minutes, or the adventurer starts to drown (see Drowning, page 156).


    A failed Swim roll means that the adventurer fails to progress through the water; in the next melee round the player must make a successful Swim roll or the adventurer begins to drown (see Drowning, page 156).


    Communication Skills (page 168)

    Dance (page 169)

    On a critical success, the dance evokes an intense emotional response from its audience: awe, lust, sadness, wonder, or whatever else the adventurer intends. The dancer, and gains a +25% bonus on all Communication rolls with the intended audience for a season.


    Language Tree (page 172)

    Shouldn’t the branch of the Hyaloring languages lead to the Grazer and Pentan languages?

    Here is Jeff’s original drawing from 2017. It was expanded slightly to include the Praxian languages splitting from from Earthtongue and merging with a strand of Theylan after the Dawn IIRC.

    Jeff’s original sketch for the language tree

    So if the answer seems to be yes, is this going to be corrected in the rulebook?

    It’s not an error, the artwork is a representation of some of the information in the drawing. It’s for your interest. Later publications may provide more information.

    Speak Other Language (page 173)

    As an example….A Satarite PC starts with   50% in speaking  Heortling, which confers a 1/5 of that value (in this case +10%) chance with Stormspeech. Would the +20% the character would gain from being an initiate of Orlanth stack with that 10%, making it 30%?

    Orlanth initiates are specifically taught Stormspeech. The skill base of Speak Stormspeech is 00%.


    It is not generally necessary during the adventurer creation process to define starting ability in related languages, but whenever adventurers encounter speakers of languages other than their own, the gamemaster should consult the Language Equivalency table above determine if the adventurers have any basic proficiency. 

    Speak Other Language, page 173

    And how would any bonuses to Comunications skills be included ?


    A character could gain such a bonus twice, once to the initial Speak Own Language (Heortling) value which would then be taken as one fifth for Speak Other Language (Stormspeech), and then again added to that value. 

    Don’t add the skill category modifier twice:

    Skill base skill + skill experience + skill category modifier = total 

    Communication skills category modifier +10% in all examples below.

    • Speak Heortling (50%) + skill experience (0%) + skill category modifier (10) = 60%
    • Speak Stormspeech (0%) + skill experience (20%) + skill category modifier (10) = 30%

    An Orlanth initiate would need to get their Speak Heortling to 100% to reach the same untrained proficiency (100 x 1/5 =20 +10% skill category modifier = 30%)

    So using Speak Heortling (50%) speakers know Esrolian at 1/2, and Old Pavic, Tarshite, and Stormspeech at 1/5 of their Speak Heortling ability:

    • Speak Esrolian (0) +  skill experience (1/2 of 50 = 25%) + skill category modifier (+10%) = 35%
    • Speak Old Pavic (0) +  skill experience (1/5 of 50 = 10%) + skill category modifier (+10%) = 20%
    • Speak Tarshite (0) +  skill experience (1/5 of 50 = 10%) + skill category modifier (+10%) = 20%

    As they’ve been trained to speak Speak Stormspeech, they can speak all Theyalan languages (such as Esrolian, Old Pavic, and Tarshite) at least 1/10 the skill in Stormspeech, and can Speak Heortling at 1/5 their skill. However their Speak Heortling ability is a better base.

    Knowledge Skills (page 175)

    Alchemy (page 175)

    When uses the Alchemy Skill, how do you determine the POT of the potion/poison being made?

    The alchemy rules for RQG are not completely available yet. It is suggested that

    • For plant based potions, the Seasonal Potency table be used on RBM page 72.
    • For mineral based potions the GM should select a die for potency from 1D4 to 1D10 or determine randomly
    • For animal based potions the POT of the creature should be used (or CON) if not available, or as above the GM should select a die for potency from 1D4 to 1D10 or determine randomly.

    Does a higher POT adjust the skill roll in anyway?

    Higher POT is determined using the RQG rules:


    A successful Alchemy skill roll transforms the raw materials into medicine or poison of the appropriate potency. A special success on the skill roll adds 1 to the POT. A critical roll increases POT by 1.5 times (round fractions up). A failure means that the product is ruined and the raw materials wasted. A fumble means that the resultant potion injures the creator for 2D6 hit points immediately.

    Alchemy Skill, RQG page 175

    For most potions, the POT is rolled when it’s used, so a healing potion could be a D6, if successfully made, D6+1 if a special or D6+D3 for a critical (a GM could also rule that it was a super healing potion and just multiply by 1.5

    likewise If a poison was extracted from an unknown Wyvern, the POT would be 2D6+6

    or does it just require the Alchemist to buy more material to potentially higher POT?

    The alchemist is normally the source of those materials, unless of course they buy exotic items from passing adventurers. Finding exotic ingredients are an adventure in themselves. The GM may use the Terrain Type table on page 73 to determine the number of searches available, using an appropriate ability such as animal, plant or mineral lore or abstract the process as appropriate.

    Battle (page 176)

    Does armor count in Battle-skill result table damages?

    No. It’s an abstract of many injuries.

    How do you handle massed combat (army vs army)?

    The gamemaster’s guide will have some rules on this. Right now I’d adjudicate it as based on a common-sense look at the circumstances and make some Battle rolls, as appropriate. 

    So far my idea has been: Roll a battle check, if you fail you take a 1d6 wound to a random location as you were wounded during the battle.
    On a success you survive, on a special you gain 1d6 renown on a crit you get 2d6 success.

    You could also utilize Pendragon’s mass combat system if you’re eager to use something like that.

    But I also want to include battle events in the style of Six ages and KODP where you get a short description and then you decide what skill you want to use to resolve the situation. success is rewarded with more loot or reputation.

    not entirely sure where to work those in, maybe a separate percentile check?

    Until the mass combat rules are available, I’d suggest using Battle as the default skill to determine whether you can choose an appropriate skill.

    You could make a short list of appropriate skills and roll randomly to see which one is required, while a successful Battle roll lets the player decide the skill to use. 

    For example, roll 1D4 on: 

    1. Weapon skill (attack if missile only, attack/parry if infantry/cavalry)
    2. Ride (if cavalry, or attack/parry if infantry)
    3. Dodge
    4. Intimidate

    A successful Battle roll lets the player pick which to roll. 

    I am also unsure how to do post-battle loot, which should be divvied up based on rank, seniority, prestige etc. 

    Maybe a Luck roll? (being able to find some nice stuff from battlefield pickings)

    Or even Reputation? (more prestigious adventurers get better loot, as reward for their recognized efforts) You could also augment this roll with an appropriate skill that was used in the battle, or something Communication-based, as appropriate. 

    Evaluate (page 177)

    If the adventurer has an occupational income skill (see page 423), they have double their Evaluate skill’s normal rating to correctly evaluate materials associated with that occupation. For example, a jeweler has double the normal chance to evaluate the value of gemstones, and an entertainer has double the normal chance to evaluate the value of a instrument.



    Occupational income skills are defined on page 423 as part of the Occupational Income table, they are more restrictive than occupational skills listed as part of an occupation on pages 64-73.

    Note that you can always augment your evaluate roll with an appropriate skill. So imagining a base 5% with category bonus modifiers of +5%:

    • A farmer with farm would evaluate a potential hide of land at 20%, and try to add their animal lore as an augment (does the grass look good for cows).
    • A warrior would evaluate a potential hide of land at 10%, and try to use their animal, plant, or mineral lore to double it (and try for a farming augment)
    • A warrior would evaluate a broadsword at 10%, and try to add their broadsword skill as an augment (has it got a nice weight and feel to it).

    First Aid (Page 177)

    First Aid is applied to each individual wound once, which necessitates keeping track of individual hits/wounds. So a limb with 3 separate hits could have first aid applied 3 times, once for each individual wound.

    Blows to the limbs beyond the max x2 damage limit no longer register with the limb, but do however register with Total Hit points.

    Is it intended that any further damage to Total Hit points received through subsequent hits to limbs (after x2 max dam limit ), will not be possible to heal with the First Aid skill?

    Keep track of the individual injuries, not the hit point totals, and this isn’t a problem.

    You can’t heal more HP to a particular wound through First Aid than was inflicted, whether that injury was inflicted to a specific wound or to total hit points.

    Lores (page 178)
    Celestial Lore (page 178)

    Can you navigate with Celestial lore?

    Yes, but you’ll be unaware of the condition and configuration of the terrain, and would be unable to do so without a clear view of the stars. 

    For navigation on land, you would be better served using Survival, and use Boat or Shiphandling for navigating at sea. 

    Celestial Lore would be better used as an augment for one of those other skills.

    Cult Lore (page 179)

    Does a character automatically have a 5% base chance in every cult, or


    Does the statement “An adventurer must be at least an initiate of a cult to learn the secret lore of the cult” mean that cult lore starts at 0 until initiated? 

    Yes. Although if the information is relevant to an associate / enemy  / related cult then you could use your cult lore, but not for specifics. eg. Using Orlanth cult Lore, an orlanth worshipper may know what generally issaries did on the lightbringers quest, but not their ritual preparations for the quest or the magic words they used in a specific encounter. I would use the Modifying skill rolls (page 163) and reduce the skill level accordingly.

    Martial Arts (page 181)

    Is Martial Arts treated like a weapon for special and critical success purposes? That is, does a critical Martial Arts roll do max damage and bypass armor?

    You don’t roll Martial Arts. It’s a threshold. 

    If you have a Martial Arts skill of 30% and, say, Fist 75%, any roll of Fist equaling 01-30 triggers the benefits of Martial Arts, and any roll of 31-75 is just a normal Fist attack. 

    If your original attack roll is a special/crit AND it is below your Martial Arts skill, then you apply the benefits of the Martial Arts skill (double damage, normal damage bonus). 

    Similarly, anyone can parry with a limb, but if the Parry roll is less than the Martial Arts skill, then it blocks 6 points of damage. 

    Read/Write (all) (page 181)

    The sidebar refers to, for example, Read/Write Theyalan, with the Theyalan scripts being common to Esrolian, Heortling, and Tarshite.

    In addition to the box, all three are described in the Guide to Glorantha: 


    All Theyalan languages are written using the Three Sacred Scripts of Lhankor Mhy. These scripts were created by Lhankor Mhy in the God Time and are the same in all Orlanthi lands.

    Murnulvretan. Also called “Cat Scratching,” this flowing and ornate semi-syllabary is used primarily by the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass, Holy Country, and East Ralios.

    Kanvulvretan. Also called “Dog Scratching,” this syllabary consists of distinct characters (unlike the flowing script of Murnulvretan) marked by angular shapes. It is used primarily by the Orlanthi of Peloria, Fronela, and Ralios.

    Both Kanvulvretan and Murnulvretan use the common vocabulary that more or less reproduces most Orlanthi sounds.

    Elasa Secrets. Also called “stone scratching,” this script is extremely difficult to learn, and is used only for magical formulae. This script uses the second vocabulary, whose words change in meaning according to a complex code system that must be learned separately.

    Guide to Glorantha, page 36

    If an Esrolian speaking scribe writes a text, can a Heortling speaking scribe read it with no penalties (say both have 75% “read/write Theyalan”)? Without invoking a Translate spell.


    Treat Poison (page 182)

    A skill attempt can be made only once per poisoning.


    Magic Skills (page 182)

    Sense Chaos (page 183)
    Second printing correction

    Last paragraph “visible spirits” changed to “invisible spirits”.


    Meditate (page 183)

    If the roll results in a fumble, the adventurer loses 1D3 additional magic points, with the usual effects if magic points are reduced to 1 or 0.


    The gamemaster may also allow the adventurer to use Meditation to reattempt to a failed Intelligence roll, the hour spent allowing them to meditate on the answer.


    Spirit Combat (page 183)

    See the Spirits & The Spirit World chapter for more information about this skill.


    Spirit Dance (page 183)

    See the Spirits & The Spirit World chapter for more information about this skill.


    Spirit Travel (page 184)

    See the Spirits & The Spirit World chapter for more information about this skill.


    Worship (deity) (page 184)

    A successful use of the Worship ability allows participants initiated into the secrets of the cult to replenish Rune points and even attempt a POW gain roll. See Replenishing Rune Points on page 315 and Increasing POW with Worship Rituals on page 418 for more information.


    Can an initiate perform a Worship ritual?

    All initiates have the worship (deity) skill. It takes a day to perform and costs initiates 2mps to perform, and must be done at a sacred or sanctified place. See page 184.

    rather than Worship being a function reserved for priests?

    If you imagine a priest as a master of ceremonies or ritual choreographer, they allow for more complex ceremonies, reenactions, ritual preparations or heroquests. Worship is personal, ritual is communal.

    So can an initiate worship on his own, say if he is alone on a desert island?

    Yes, providing there is a sacred or sanctified place.

    Can an initiate lead a Worship ritual? If ten initiates are without a priest can one of them step up, or not?

    Yes and the likely the most experienced would likely be expected to. An excellent role playing opportunity. They would not receive any of the benefits that a priest would though.

    The RAW are ambiguous but it seems one can interpret them to say one does not need a Rune Priest to officiate at a POW Tick gain when worship has been done. All that is needed is holy day and an initiate needing a POW gain, a holy site of some flavour, and a success in the worship from the individual wishing for a POW tick… If one can interpret a Priest not being needed, one can obviously interpret it the other way as well.

    For rune cults, when you spend your point of POW at initiation it forms your link with your chosen god. It’s this link that makes you your god when you cast rune magic. You don’t need a priest to worship, you have a direct link, worship is a personal activity done publicly. You do need priests to run the cult though, make sure sacrifices are done correctly, etc:

    But simple day long worship on a personally sanctified hill on a minor holy day will get 1D6 rune points returned, and none if they fail. If successful they also gain a Worship (deity) check for the end of the season. They would be able to sacrifice POW for rune points, but that’s it. See pages 184 & 315. 

    Manipulation Skills (page 185)

    Conceal (page 185)

    It says “A special or critical result adjusts for the SIZ of the item.” I am not sure what that means. Is that referring to the previous line that says that you spend about one melee round per Point of SIZ, meaning if you roll a special or crit, you spend less time concealing the object, which is as if the object had a smaller SIZ?


    Craft (specific craft) (page 185)

    Is Craft (Bronze) a separate skill to Craft (Iron)? 

    Yes – different properties.

    I’ve also seen mentions that only Humakt cultists can learn Craft (Iron), is that correct?


    Especially given that Babeester Gor, [snip], Lhankor Mhy, Orlanth, Storm Bull all know Enchant Iron?

    Enchant yes, craft no.

    Stealth Skills (page 189)

    Hide (page 189)

    For use of Hide and Move Quietly simultaneously, the adventurer should use the primary skill being attempted (Hide or Move Quietly), using the other as an augment. Failing the augmenting skill applies the modifier to the primary skill, as described in Augmenting Abilities on page 144.


    Move Quietly (page 189)
    Penalties to Move Quietly

    On the armor table on p.215 penalties are given for various types of armor when trying to move quietly. On p.150 penalties are given to skills of some categories, including Stealth skills. If a character has a ENC penalty, does it add to any armor penalty when trying to move quietly or is the ENC of the armor calculated into the armor penalty?

    Note that the ENC penalty on page 150 is for adventurers who are over their maximum ENC, so this is in addition to the armor penalties. Eg:

    An adventurer wearing heavy scale unencumbered would be at -25 Move Quietly.

    An adventurer wearing heavy scale two ENC over their maximum would be at (-25+(2x-5%)) -35% Move Quietly.

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