CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 08 Runes Q&A

Official Answers by Chaosium

This covers Chapter 8, pages 226-231:


    Using Runes (page 227)

    Runic Inspiration (page 227)
    Elemental Rune (page 227)

    An Elemental Rune may be used to augment the adventurer’s chance with a single non-combat skill within its skills category

    Becoming Inspired (page 229)

    Can we get some clarification on the use of the Runes?

    The uses of Runes are covered in the Rune chapter on (page 227)

    Uses covered are:

    • Casting Rune Magic (page 227)
    • Runic Inspiration (page 227)
    • Casual Use (page 229)
    • Magical Tests (page 230)
    • Conflicting Runes (page 230)
    • Conflicts with Passions (page 230)
    • Personality Disputes (page 230).

    Can you clarify the words “all further rolls using that Rune”

    On a failure to use a rune:

    Failure: On a failure, the adventurer subtracts –20% from all further rolls using that Rune until they can spend a day meditating on the Rune. 

    Becoming inspired, page 229.

    Subtract 20% from any rolls involving the uses listed above.

    and “The adventurer must even avoid acting in accordance with the Rune during that time.” with respect to how Elemental Runes affect entire skill categories?

    on a Fumble:

    During this time, the adventurer cannot use that Rune at all (including Rune magic based on that Rune). 

    Becoming inspired, page 229.

    The adventurer cannot use the rune for any activities listed above.

    The adventurer must even avoid acting in accordance with the Rune during that time.

    Becoming inspired, page 229.

    The player and GM should look at the relevant Rune Affinities description on pages 48-50, so the player understands what to have their adventurer avoid doing. For Darkness it’s cold, cruel, patient, and secretive. So the player should avoid playing their adventurer in that normal manner. 

    If, for example, a player fumbles their Darkness Rune inspiration and enters Psychic Turmoil, would using Maces, Clubs, the sense of Hearing, and Stealth skills be penalized in such a case, as using them acts in accordance with the Rune?

    This is a roleplaying opportunity, it’s up to the player how their adventurer manifests their turmoil. The turmoil prevents augmenting the relevant categories, not using them. However depending on the action that the augment was for, that might influence their actions. If in the case of the Darkness rune, it was for a mace augmentation, they might shun, destroy, throw it in a river, run away from the weapon. They might want to roleplay being struck deaf if a listen roll, or run around screaming if a move silently roll. 

    Finally, once a Rune is successfully used for inspiration, it cannot be used again that session.

    Becoming Inspired (page 229)

    Is the phrase Rune affinity (which is how success at casting Rune spells is determined) a “use” of a Rune?

    No. Using a rune to cast rune magic is not inspiration.

    The mechanics of Psychic Turmoil imply that casting “Rune magic based on that Rune” is a “use” of the Rune.

     No. It says if under the effects of psychic turmoil:

    During this time, the adventurer cannot use that Rune at all (including Rune magic based on that Rune).

    Becoming Inspired (page 229)

    Can you have a Passion and an Rune augment simultaneously in a given scene for separate abilities that aren’t already augmented?

    It depends on the gamemaster and circumstances.

    Using a Passion or Rune to augment an ability represents invoking a spiritual or emotional response to push past one’s limits with an attempted action, so it’s generally a bit awkward to have a character go from that and then turn on a dime from one augment to another. 

    Casual Use of Runes (page 229-230)

    In such circumstances, the player should roll a D100 to determine behavior. If the player succeeds in the roll, then the adventurer acts in accordance with that Rune. In the case of paired runes, If they fail the roll, then the adventurer acts in accordance with the opposite Rune.

    Conflicting Runes (page 230)
    Example (page 230)

    In the example on page 230, right column, the Pendragon rule of “high roll wins a tie of opposed rolls” seems to be used.

    But that isn’t right, is it? Considering that the updated pdf has changed the ambiguous wording on page 144.


    Vasana ties her Harmony and Air rune rolls, yet the Air rune is the winner. Opposed Rolls says she tied, but this rule seems to say the high roll wins, as in Pendragon.

    The result is a tie under the opposed rules, but the player, for MGF, can choose the outcome for a roleplaying opportunity if the result is not immediately clear. The Harmast example on 144 has clear results.

    Personality Disputes (page 230)
    Example (page 231)

    Example: Vostor Son of Pyjeem is traveling to Two Ridge Fort with an uncertain ally, Elusu the Trickster. The local tribal king asks Vostor about an artifact that a rival king desires. Elusu urges Vostor to lie about the artifact, or at least misdirect the king. Vostor is uncertain.

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