CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 12 Rune Cults Q&A

Official Answers from Chaosium

This covers the first part of Chapter 12, pages 268-288.

For the Cults themselves, see: Chapter 12 The Cults Q&A


    Fundamentals of Rune Cults (page 270)

    Divine Intervention (page 272)

    If you have used all your Rune points, can you still ask for Divine Intervention by using your POW points?

    No. It’s powered by a rune point.

    It could be argued that at the time that the adventurer could sacrifice a point of POW for a rune point (providing they don’t exceed their CHA limit, and lose Rune rank) but that would be up to the GM, the situation and MGF.

    Lay Members (page 274)

    When the rules talk about a ”worshiper” (such as a CA worshiper having the ability to calm a berserker), how is this defined? Can a lay member do it, or do you have to be initiated? Same thing for ”cult member”.

    Do cult restrictions apply fully to lay members, such as Humakt ”cult members” not being resurrectable (it’s listed under Initiate, but then the main rulebook has no lay membership descriptions at all).

    The rules seem to suggest lay members. ”Simple worshipers are called lay members.” Temple sizes also count lay members equally.

    Per the Lay Members section (RQG page 274), membership is minimal and casual in most circumstances. Generally Lay members are not subject to the Benefits, Duties & Restrictions of Initiates unless specifically noted. Details on Lay membership for specific cults will be in the Cults of Glorantha:

    • Humakt: must take the Loyalty passion. Can be resurrected.
    • Chalana Arroy:  Lay members have no access to Associated cults, so only initiates can calm Storm Bull berserkers (RQG page 290). They do not take the vows, but are subject to spirit magic restrictions.

    Initiates (page 274)

    Initiated & Initiates (pages 269 & 73)

    Page 269 in the RQG book: “Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult.”

    Page 73 in the RQG book: “Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity.”

    Which is it?

    You’re confusing being initiated into a cult with being aninitiate 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.

    I agree that the word choice on page 73 is 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.

    Orlanthi Initiate and Lay Member numbers

    In Orlanthi society (not the world) how many adults are Initiates? How many adults are lay members of cults?

    Most members of a cult are lay members, with a small portion becoming initiates, and an even smaller subset becoming Priests, God-talkers, Rune Lords, Rune Priests, and a tiny few becoming Rune Lord-Priests.

    As a rough guide, we use a rule of thumb that 1 in a 100 initiates are Rune levels.

    If you need something more specific than that? Exact numbers? Population distribution? You’re the GM. You can decide those figures.

    NPC Initiates

    What are the non-PC initiates like? That is, we know the PCs are “exceptional.” What are non-exceptional Initiates like? How many Rune Points do they have, for example?

    They’re not seasoned adventurers, and most likely are farmers, crafts- or trades-people. They likely have 1 Rune point and special Rune spell chosen based on personal or professional need, or something specific to their role, based on their cult and community.

    What are the qualities that define “exceptional” when it comes to being an Initiate? What are the qualities of being a non-exceptional Initiate.

    They’re not adventurers.

    The rules are written to establish the Player Characters — and so mechanically we only have the information for exceptional people. Imagine the GM wants to understand why the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass that are around the PCs are like so he can create the culture and society that the PCs live within. In terms of Initiation, Rune Points, and Spells, what are the non-exceptional NPC Heortlings of Dragon Pass like?

    Creating NPCs

    Are the character creation rules regarding Rune Points and Rune spells in RQG general principles for anyone growing up Orlanthi in Dragon Pass, or are they specific mechanics applicable to creating PCs alone?

    This is a rules question as much as a setting question, because the GM needs to know how to build NPCs. If a different set of rules apply to creating NPCs, what are those rules? (Even accepting the fact that in RQG every NPC is a living breathing individual, and so everyone is unique, are there any general principles are guidance?)

    We’ll be discussing this more in the Gamemaster Sourcebook and the Dragon Pass Sourcebook, but much of this kind of specific detail is really up to the gamemaster to determine. What role do you want an NPC to have? What function are they serving in your adventure or campaign? Why wouldn’t you consider those to be the primary concerns when creating an NPC?

    For specific examples, look to the adventures and source material in the Gamemaster Screen Pack, which covers a great many non-exceptional characters from townsfolk, guards, herders, farmers, and their ilk, all the way up to Queen Leika.

    This is the kind of general setting material the GM should be crafting based on their own needs, this not the stuff of rules clarification.

    Jason Durall, RuneQuest Line editor

    Becoming an Initiate (page 274)

    Does anything happens to cult status if an Initiate drops to 0 permanent Rune Points (again, due to DI or one-use spells, for instance)?


    Benefits (page 275)

    “To use the god’s magic, an initiate must spend Rune points equal to the points of the spell. The initiate’s maximum Rune points are equal to their CHA.”

    Is this Rune Point restriction per character, or per cult per character? That is, if you’re “full” in one cult, could you join another in order to get space for more Rune Points through sacrifices in that cult?

    Per cult per character. You can have up to your CHA in Rune points per cult.

    The advantage of multiple cult membership is of course access to more Rune magic and more Rune points to cast those spells with (and common spells which can be cast from either pool).

    The disadvantage is that you are required to uphold the responsibilities of both cults, which can be pretty serious and potentially in conflict.

    Are God-talkers, Priests and Rune-Lords similarly restricted? On the one hand, it says “initiate” in the quote; on the other, nothing in the description of the higher ranks says that this restriction no longer applies for them. I’m assuming the answer here is “yes”, but I’m not certain.

    Yes. CHA is the human limit. Some special beings, such as Tarndisi the Dryad from the Adventures book in the GM Pack, have more, but this is on a case-by-case basis and restricted to very special NPCs.

    Common Rune Magic Box (page 275)

    Part of Second printing corrections

    First bullet changed to “…Divination, Sanctify, and Summon Cult Spirit.”

    Rune Priests (page 275)

    Can an adventurer be a priest of two Rune Cults?

    I have two PCs in my group that are ready to become priests, one of Orlanth, the other of Lhankor Mhy. They both have been initiates of Elmal as well.

    Both have asked whether they can become priests of both gods. I’ve told them they can get rune points and rune spells from Elmal (although he is not detailed in the book I someone did a terrific write up on the web) as initiates and also gave them access to the Oath rune spell as rune priests of an associated cult.

    However, they would like to become full priests of both gods. One already meets the requirements, the other is very close. Do the rules permit this? How should I handle the tithing? Technically they are already giving 9/10 of their income to their respective cults and 1/10 to Elmal, though in practice I have not made them pay the tithe to the cult of Elmal yet. (They did the local cult a huge favor in game.) They cannot really pay 18/10ths of their income to two cults. Should I just have them pay 9/10 and rule it goes to the two cults somehow? Or maybe that it is not even possible, since their duties to their main cult requires so much of their time?

    I’d like to say yes to the request. They have really thrown themselves into the Elmal storyline I gave them. And the third priest in the group, who worships Yinkin, is likely to ask for this in relation to Orlanth down the line.

    If I missed a rule that addresses this, can someone point me to it? Or is it something that will be addressed in Gods of Glorantha when it comes out?

    Look at Sora Goodseller in the GM Screen pack, page 28. She’s a Priestess of Issaries, and Initiate of Yelmalio.

    So how did this happen? Issaries and Yelmalio aren’t associated cults. Issaries is Friendly to Yemalio and Yelmalio is Neutral to Issaries.

    Friendly Cults (F)

    Even without formal arrangements these groups find each other supportive and agreeable. Meetings are likely to be pleasant.

    Neutral Cults (N)

    Such cults act according to present circumstance. Trouble may occur, but the spark must be deliberate, not caused by minor squabbles.

    Looks good to me so far. Neither steps on each others toes in any way. No weird geases saying never trust a merchant, etc.

    So they are compatible for Membership in Multiple Cults, page 275.

    Can she become a Yelmalio God Talker now – No!

    Neither are associate cults of each other, page 278, God Talkers, may even be Rune Priests or Rune Lords of a closely associated god.

    So let’s imagine she’s an initiate of Chalana Arroy instead.

    They are both Lightbringers and so closely associated (and associated cults). As long as she follows the restrictions on both cults, she’s fine and can become a god talker of Chalana Arroy and be a priestess of Issaries. But she spents 9/10 her time being an Issaries priestess and 1/10 as a Chalana Arroy God Talker.

    As for tithing – page 278, God-talkers must spend 1/10 of their time at the temple or on temple business. They must give 50% of their income to the temple. A God-talker who is also a Rune Priest of another cult must give 9/10 of their income to their primary cult, and then 1/2 of whatever is left to their secondary cult.

    Can she become a priestess of Chalana Arroy – No. Priests must spend 9/10 of their time at the temple, or on temple business. She’s already spending 9/10 of her time as an issaries priestess. Being a priest is a full time job.

    Overall the Priest / God talker combo will depend on the individual cults involved, there is no one size fits all answer here. Ultimately using 100% of the adventurers time and tithing 95% of their resources, may or may not cause obstacles (this may not be a problem for example with Sora as Issaries Priests aren’t supported by their temple).

    For your group

    • Orlanth / Elmal looks like a good combo, Elmal is an associate cult with Orlanth, and replaces the Yelmalio geas Never speak to or help Orlanth worshipers in any way with a re-roll.
    • Lhankor Mhy / Elmal is possible as Lhankor Mhy priest / Elmal initiate. Lhankor Mhy and Elmal aren’t associates, so they can’t become a God Talker.
    • Yinkin / Orlanth is a fantastic combo as Yinkin is Orlanth’s half brother (and is an associate cult), and it even says on page 310, Yinkin initiates can join the Orlanth cult merely by sacrificing 1 point of POW to Orlanth. So you don’t even need to pass an examiners test!

    I’d like to say yes to the request.

    Those are how the rules work, but as usual If you want to rule that it’s different in your games, go for it. It’s all covered by MGF (page 6).

    Easier POW Gain Roll (page 276)

    Are the +20% POW gain roll bonuses cumulative? As you can be both Rune Priest of one cult (+20% to POW gain roll) and God Talker of another (also +20% to POW gain roll), is the final gain +20% or +40%, benefiting of the help of 2 gods.


    Further Training and Experience (page 277)
    Part of Second printing corrections

    Page 277: Further Training and Experience topic, 2nd paragraph, last paragraph changed to “…occupational skills (see Experience Between Adventures, page 416).”

    Yearly cult spirit magic increase

    Rune Priests earn a 1 pt increase in cult spirit magic every year, does this mean Bladesharp 6 would ‘tick up’ into Bladesharp 7? Is this also the intent for how spirit spells are learned at increasing variables? You find someone with a Bladesharp 7 and they can improve your Bladesharp 6 to 7?

    The 1-point increase is determined by the player and approved by the gamemaster, and is applied to one spell.

    It might mean an existing spell increased by one level, or a new spell is gained from the list of existing cult spirit magic spells.

    You learn to improve your spirit magic by finding a teacher and paying them to teach you. Like any subject, they must know it themselves.

    The gamemaster should determine how available the teaching is and whether anyone in the desired area knows the spell at the desired level. It might be that some of the cost in Lunars is for this research. It might also be that in some cases, a spell’s higher level is only available from rare sources. Someone with Bladesharp 7 is going to be a pretty intensely dedicated warrior, and might not have the time to spend it teaching magic to newcomers.

    Allying a Spirit (page 277)

    To determine whether the attempt works, the priest must persuade the spirit by defeating the spirit’s (POW+INT)/2 with their (POW+CHA)/2 as a resistance roll.

    Disembodied spirits can increase their POW by successful use of it, but their POW gain roll is only 5%.

    RuneQuest Bestiary, page 164

    So the same goes for Allied Spirits?

    No. Allied Spirits inhabit animals or sacred cult objects (RQG page 227) and are not disembodied. Treat them as normal.

    Is the allied spirit disembodied ?

    No. Allied Spirits inhabit animals or sacred cult objects (RQG page 227) and are not disembodied.

    What size is an allied spirit elemental?

    Check the maximum elemental size that can be summoned in the cult write-up. Eg

    Argan ArgarDarkness elemental (small or medium)
    Babeester Gor Earth elemental (small)
    Engizi Water elemental (small or medium)
    Ernalda Earth elemental (any size)

    Now choose which size you want.

    Is it permanently incorporated or does it spend time discorporate or in an object?

    Allied spirits are spirits sent by the deity to inhabit animals or sacred cult objects.

    Allied Spirits, page 277

    In this case an elemental.

    However, some spirits (such as elementals, dryads, nymphs and other genius loci) can incorporate in the Material World, taking physical substance from their chosen matter.

    Bestiary, embodied spirits, page 176

    What are it’s stats? Does it have the normal 3D6 POW of an allied spirit?

    Yes and No.

    Rune Lord & Rune Priest Allied spirits are different

    Yes, so a large Earth Elemental would have:

    For a Rune Priest: STR 3D6+18, INT of 2D6+6, CHA of 3D6 & POW of 3D6.

    For a Rune Lord: STR 3D6+18, INT of 2D6+6, CHA of 3D6 & POW of 3D6+6

    if it is ‘killed’ through hit point loss, is it permanently dead and you need to do something heroic to gain a new allied spirit, or does it just need to be resummoned?

    When an elemental has been reduced to 0 hit points, it dissolves. Its spirit returns to its realm, from where it may be summoned again to inhabit another volume of material.

    Bestiary, General properties, page 176

    It returns to the divine realm it came from (as it’s a divine companion).

    If an allied spirit is killed or destroyed, a new one may be obtained, but this is a matter for heroic deeds on the part of the priest.

    Allied Spirits, page 277

    If the POW of the animal is different to 3D6, does an allied spirit have the POW of the animal?

    No, it uses the allied spirit’s POW. As before:

    Allied spirits are spirits sent by the deity to inhabit animals or sacred cult objects.

    Allied Spirits, page 277

    The two main sections for allied spirits are:

    Rune Priests – Allying a Spirit, page 277.

    Rune Lords – Allying a Spirit, page 280.

    There is a difference between allied spirits and bound spirits, the main difference seems to be rune level access and rune magic access in the spirit.

    Yes. Allied spirits are initiates in the cult they are part of.

    While I understand the enchantment ritual, I couldn’t find the exact way to bind a spirit.

    Allied Spirits aren’t bound, they are persuaded.

    Pages 277 & 280

    Attempting to ally a spirit resembles attempting to bind it, but involves persuasion rather than combat.

    But the spell Spirit Binding, when can it actually be used (assuming you have an item or animal ready)? Does a spirit have to be defeated in spirit combat first? Or does the spell require a successful POW vs POW? Or is it automatic success? Seems unlikely to me. Command Cult Spirit seems to mention POW vs POW.

    There is no resistance roll, but a persuasion roll:

    To determine whether the attempt works, the priest must persuade the spirit by defeating the spirit’s (POW+INT)/2 with their (POW+CHA)/2 as a resistance roll.

    pages 277 & 280

    Please note that an allied spirit is not summoned:

    Allied spirits are spirits sent by the deity

    When a priest first obtains their office, they can attempt to gain an allied spirit as part of the investment ceremony.

    page 277

    Also, to get an allied spirits you need to be Rune Level as I understand it, does the animals get provided by the cult? Shadowcat, bear, for Odayla?

    Depending on the cult, they will either provide the object or animal, or the adventurer will provide their own specially prepared animal or item:

    Many cults provide an allied spirit for their Rune Priests.

    Allied spirits are spirits sent by the deity to inhabit animals or sacred cult objects.

    These creatures and objects are always appropriate to the cult.

    page 277

    If I have Shield up, and my embodied Allied spirit is hit by a Befuddle spell, am I also Befuddled? And vice versa?

    No, it’s mind-to-mind communication, you are not part of a Gestalt unless your GM rules otherwise .

    Can my embodied Allied spirit cast (presumably helpful) spells on me (“through the ally (and vice versa)”) without worrying about defensive magics such as Shield and Countermagic?

    Yes, unless your GM rules otherwise.

    Would it matter if the Ally is in contact with you (say, in your Sword) or separate (in a bird)?

    No, although spell ranges would matter.

    Spell Teaching (page 277)

    Does a Shaman, Priest, or Spirit teaching a spirit magic spell loose the knowledge of the spell when they teach it?


    Learning Spirit Magic

    A shaman may learn any spirit magic spell desired (unless a specific spell is forbidden to the shaman for other reasons, such as a cult restriction or taboo) and without cost. The shaman merely goes to the Spirit World to speak with the relevant spirit, and then makes a focus for the spell. A shaman can do this once per day.

    How does this work for priests and cults without shaman’s?

    Rune priests, lords and god talkers may teach any cult spells that are listed under Cult Spirit Magic:

    Cult Spirit Magic: These are the spirit magic spells taught by the cult, typically at a reduced price. An initiate can also learn spirit magic spells from an associated cult.

    Cult Spirit Magic, page 288

    A priest can teach any spirit magic spell the priest knows to any member of the cult, including Lay Members.

    Rune priests, Spell Teaching, page 277

    As with Rune Priests, a God-talker may teach other cult members the spirit magic spells they know.

    God talkers, benefits, page 278

    A Rune Lord can teach any spirit magic spell they know to any member of the cult, including lay members.

    Rune Lords, Spell Teaching, page 281

    Do cults have specific spirits which are summoned by priests to teach spell to initiates as they did in the previous version of the game?

    RuneQuest Glorantha does not specify the mechanism of the week long ritual.

    Can a priest teach a spell he does not know, if it is a cult spell?

    No. please note:

    Spell teaching is an important source of income for the cult. Most temples require that Rune Priests provide a certain amount of spell teaching for free to initiates and other members of the hierarchy.

    page 277

    It would be a rare priest that does not know a cult spell.

    Can a priest teach a spell that he knows if it is not a cult spell?

    Yes, it says any spirit magic spell.

    This seems wrong as it sets up a situation that a priest can not teach a cult spirit spell, but can teach a non-cult spell.

    If you don’t know the spell, you can’t teach it

    It would be a rare priest that does not know a cult spell and not provide an important source of income for the cult. Although there could be a group of priests at a temple who between them can teach them all. Alternatively you could just say that when building your temple hierarchy that all priests know their cult spirit magic.

    This is the kind of general setting material the GM should be crafting based on their own needs, this not the stuff of rules clarification.

    Jason Durall, RuneQuest Line editor

    If you wish to have Rune priests that don’t know cult spells in your game, that’s fine.

    Divine Intervention (page 278)
    Characteristic Loss

    What happens when you drop below a Rune Point requirement for a cult position, due to one use spells or DI? Reasonably, that should result in a suspended position similar to when a Priest drops below 18 POW, but it’s not in the rules.

    It’s all covered in the rules:

    God-talkers use the same rules as Rune Priests (RQG page 278)

    Rune Lords are unaffected as their status is CHA based, so no rule needed.

    Rune Lord-Priests are effectively treated as Rune Priests (RQG page 281)

    Chief or High Priests have no Rune Point requirement for their rank.

    Leave of Absence

    Is there a section which describes the effects of a leave of absence, voluntary or involuntary?

    Other than the usual description –  an authorised prolonged absence from work, they step down from their post and return when they fulfil the requirements again, no. Other than Divine Intervention , this is likely a rare event, so the GM should improvise where needed, such as roleplaying opportunities and story hooks for this per MGF.

    Aging does not affect CHA & POW, but may affect minimum skill levels in some cults (such as Rune Lords 90% proficiencies and Priests’ 50% cult skills), adventurers may retire, many cults have a retirement path.

    Rune Lords (page 278)

    Requirements for Rune Lords (page 280)

    They [Rune Lords] must possess a CHA of at least 18.

    Requirements for Rune Lords, page 280

    Do Rune Lords always need a Charisma of 18?

    No, but almost all human Rune Lord cults do.

    The core book deals exclusively with human adventurers.

    However, some cults (e.g. Humakt, Kyger Litor, and Zorak Zoran) mention this requirement specifically in their cult write-ups, suggesting that it may not be a requirement across all cults.

    It is clarified where it seems necessary.

    In particular, this requirement is a problem for Tusk Riders (and some breeds of trolls) who cannot achieve a CHA of 18 (due to having 1D6 or 2D6 for CHA).

    The requirements for the Leaders (Bloody Tusk Rune Lords) do not include CHA. See page 70 of the Glorantha Bestiary for more info.

    For Kyger Litor, becoming a Karrg’s Son (Rune Lord) requires a CHA 18+, which pretty much limits it to Mistress Race and dark trolls. It is much easier to become a priestess in this cult, with no CHA requirement.

    For Zorak Zoran, becoming a Death Lord (Rune Lord) also requires a CHA 18+

    In the adventure booklet, Xiobalg is described as “ready to claim Rune Lord status on his return to the Ivory Plinth”, yet he has a Charisma of 4, suggesting the CHA 18 requirement might not apply to the cult of the Bloody Tusk.

    See above.

    It’s not intended to be equitable: these harsh gods want the most charismatic leaders to serve in positions of power within their ranks.

    That said, it is ultimately your RuneQuest, your Glorantha. An exceptional character can potentially have the requirements waived through notable service to the god and/or the cult, or through some other exemplary attributes.

    Characteristic loss

    A Rune Lord might drop below the skill requirements due to characteristic loss, such as from aging. Does that result in no effect once you’re already admitted, being put on probation, or getting booted out? Or is that a GM call?

    If an adventurer loses characteristics and falls below rune level requirements due to aging, they may retire, otherwise treat characteristic loss the same way as POW loss for a Rune priest:


    Priests cannot voluntarily reduce their basic POW below the 18 necessary to become a priest. If it happens to a priest involuntarily, treat the result as an involuntary leave of absence.

    Rune priests, Duties and Restrictions, page 278

    For Leave of Absence see Rune Priests above for more details.

    Note that CHA isn’t lost through aging (see page 425), but should be treated the same way.

    Benefits (page 280)
    Divine Intervention (page 280)

    they roll 1D10 rather than a D100 to determine if the intervention occurs, and to determine how many Rune and possibly POW points are lost.

    Allying a Spirit (page 280)

    To determine whether the attempt works, the Rune Lord must persuade the spirit by defeating the spirit’s (POW+INT)/2 with their (POW+CHA)/2 as a resistance roll.

    Improved Resistance to Magic (page 281)

    First sentence replaced with “A Rune Lord always resists magic with their species maximum POW and not their current POW.”

    Part of Second printing corrections

    Spell Teaching (page 281)

    Does a Shaman, Priest, or Spirit teaching a spirit magic spell loose the knowledge of the spell when they teach it?


    Further Training and Experience (page 281)

    Rune Lords earn a 1- pt increase in cult spirit magic every year, does this mean Bladesharp 6 would ‘tick up’ into Bladesharp 7? Is this also the intent for how spirit spells are learned at increasing variables? You find someone with a Bladesharp 7 and they can improve your Bladesharp 6 to 7?

    The 1-point increase is determined by the player and approved by the gamemaster, and is applied to one spell.

    It might mean an existing spell increased by one level, or a new spell is gained from the list of existing cult spirit magic spells.

    You learn to improve your spirit magic by finding a teacher and paying them to teach you. Like any subject, they must know it themselves.

    The gamemaster should determine how available the teaching is and whether anyone in the desired area knows the spell at the desired level. It might be that some of the cost in L is for this research. It might also be that in some cases, a spell’s higher level is only available from pretty rarefied sources. Someone with Bladesharp 7 is going to be a pretty intensely dedicated warrior, and might not have the time to spend it teaching magic to newcomers.

    Chief and High Priests (page 281)

    Becoming a Chief or High Priest (page 282)
    Change in requirements

    Qualify to Found Own Temple of the Cult: To do this, a Rune Priest or Rune Lord must have a minimum of 15 Rune points and 90% ability in three cult Knowledge skills the support of at least 150 lay members and initiates that will follow them to the new temple. This often requires the permission of the High Priest, which is easy to get if the Priest goes somewhere else to set up the temple, and has sufficient funds to do so.

    Subcults (page 282)

    Joining a Subcult (page 282)

    A candidate for initiation not familiar to the temple hierarchy must pass a test equivalent to that of initiation. All candidates must sacrifice 1 point of POW to establish a link to the subcult (note that this increases the Rune point pool to the main cult), and may choose a special Rune spell provided by the subcult.

    Cult Rune Spell Use Box (page 283)

    Part of Second printing corrections

    Example, second sentence changed to “She has gained the Summon Air Elemental special Rune spell directly from Orlanth.”third sentence changed to “…from that subcult, and gained Increase/Decrease Wind as a member of the Orlanth Thunderous subcult.”

    Associated Cults (page 283)

    Gaining Access to Associated Cult Skills

    What does it mean when an associated cult provides a skill, such as Waha for Eiritha? :

    Waha: Provides the Peaceful Cut skill.

    Waha page 306

    Everyone already has it at base chance, and I can’t see that you gain any additional chance at it, so it doesn’t seem to do anything by the rules.

    “Provides” as in “Provides training in” as per cult-based skill training.

    Gaining Access to Associated Cult Rune Spells

    Can an adventurer go to the temple of an associate deity and sacrificing for the associate spell there?

    e.g. Can Ernaldan visit an Argan Argar temple and sacrifice for the associate spell?

    Ernaldans can visit a temple of Argan Argar and obtain access to the associate spell of Create Shadow, through the usual method of exceptional service, pay, or by GM fiat.

    Or would they sacrifice to Argan Argar but somehow gain the runepoint in their Ernalda rune point pool?

    No POW sacrifice is needed to gain a rune point to gain access to a spell:

    At the gamemaster’s discretion, an initiate can gain access to the cult’s special Rune spells in return for exceptional service to the cult, by donating the equivalent of 100 L per point of the spell, or for other reasons that further the cult’s goals and standing. Benefits, page 275

    The downside of this is you are doing service or paying the Argan Argar temple.

    Casting Associated Cult Rune Magic

    When casting a Rune spell acquired from an associate cult. For spells listed with the “R” Magic Rune, it says (RQG page 317) these spells can be used “with any cult Affinity rune”. Same page, in the table “Common Rune Magic”, it says, “Any Rune of the cult providing the spell may be used to cast a spell indicated with the R Rune.”

    So if I’ve gotten a Rune spell from an Associated cult, marked with the “R” Magic Rune in its description, do I use one of my cult’s Runes to cast it … or a Rune of the Associated cult?

    Shield is currently the only spell this affects, if there is a common rune, use that, otherwise one of the associate cults runes. eg.

    • If a Storm Bull member receives Shield from Orlanth Adventurous, they would use their common rune – Air.
    • if a Chalana Arroy member receives Shield from Orlanth Adventurous, they would use their Air or Movement rune.

    There are two more that are not common with the Magic rune, Axis Mundi & Discorporation – neither are given to associate cults.

    Correct spelling

    On the other hand, Lhankor Mhy worshipper Sorala also has Orlanth Adventurous and has gained access to the Wind Words Rune spell.

    Temples (page 283)

    Temple Sizes (page 284)

    How does one set up a new shrine for a Rune cult?

    The book talks about this being a thing one might be asked to do by one’s cult but only details of how to start a spirit shrine are given.

    This is a task beyond any hard-and-fast rules set. You’ll need to work with your gamemaster to determine the costs of the physical location, the social/civil negotiation required to build it, the procurement of labor and materials, and the process of having a Rune Priest or God-talker come in and Sanctify the place. If in doubt, consider it a case of casting a multi-point Sanctify with Extension to last at least a year. The particular god may have requirements above and beyond these, such as Ernalda demanding an underground chamber, Yelm an eternal fire, etc.

    Weapons and Equipment, page 110, contains a bit more about temples and shrines, with some ballpark prices, but does not go into great detail.

    Can you get a larger temple size with fewer worshippers if the worshippers sacrifice more than the required minimum of magic points?

    No, but there are likely other magical reasons this may happen.

    Wyters (page 286)


    The origins of an individual wyters varies,

    Wyters and Rune points

    The RQG rulebook (p286) says that wyters don’t have Rune Points: they spend POW when casting Rune Magic. Good enough. But the RQ Bestiary says the same (p174) while at the same time giving an example wyter that has Rune Points separate (and different) from its POW.

    Please see Wyters in the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary – Q&A for corrections.

    The RQ Gamemaster Adventures provides stats for the Colymar tribal wyter and it too gives separate Rune Points (although it ties those to Orlanth Rex specifically).

    Please see the RuneQuest Gamemaster Screen Pack – Q&A for corrections.

    So do wyters have Rune Points or not?

    If they have the Rune magic ability, or other relevant backstory – yes, otherwise no.

    Could a wyter use Rune Points rather than burning POW, and should wyters even have RP anyway?

    No. Wyters are not initiates, they can be subcults though. (RQG 287). Remember, a wyter is linked to a single priest, it’s members have an appropriate loyalty and do not spend POW to become initiates of it. If the wyter is a subcult, they are initiated to the main cult.

    Wyters and Extension

    Could a wyter cast Find Enemy with Extension on lots of community members?

    Yes. Providing its priest knows the spells, a Wyter can cast any spell that is known by its priest (see RQG 286 & 287) eg:

    Assuming the priest knows both spells (some cults don’t have all common magic), a wyter casts Detect Enemies on 6 members of it’s community (have appropriate loyalty) Detect Enemies 1pt + Extension 5 + 1 extra point for 5 more people = 7 POW and uses CHAx5 to cast.

    Wyters spend POW instead of Rune Points to cast spells.

    Do they have a means of recovering POW other than normal POW gain rolls? If so what is it, if not what is their POW gain roll?

    Until we go into more detail on wyters, assume that wyters may have POW restored by their bound priests sacrificing POW to them.

     (if they can not recover Rune Points more quickly, that would seem to make using the POW of a Wyter that way a desperation move for a community)

    Exactly so. The wyter is a guardian, not a weapon.

    Some of the wyters also have a separate number of Rune Points listed – what does this mean, if they don’t use Rune Points to cast spells?

    Those wyters described with Rune points can use those Rune points in place of characteristic POW, and can recover their Rune points in the same fashion as adventurers.

    Casting Rune magic with POW or Rune points

    Is it intended that a wyter with RP-use spells can cast a Rune Spell for Rune Points and then use POW to target multiple members of the community with it, or should Rune Point use be regarded as separate from community multi-target casting?

    Separate. Community multi-target casting is of the priest’s spells using POW.

    Wyters, Spirit Magic and Magic Points

    Wyters can also cast spirit magic?


    Their MPs seem standard (equal to POW).

    Not exactly. Their points come from seasonal holy days and are capped at POW, and they cannot regenerate them. (see RQG page 287).

    As the wyter casts Rune Magic, if their POW goes down, their chances of casting spirit magic goes down… is that intended? (big communities’ wyters probably rarely go down in POW enough to go below 95%, but it can matter for small wyters).

    Yes. The thread you referenced by Jeff covers the Wyter POW economy.

    Are there wyters with less than 50 worshippers?

    It’s certainly possible to have one as the result of some calamity affecting its community.

    Do wyters get weaker if they lose worshippers?

    That will depend on the situation causing the loss. I can imagine a wyter that has lost its community and only has a few magic points left being rescued by adventurers.

    What happens to a wyter if the number of their worshippers drops below 50?

    Depends on its situation. In all of these cases use the guidance on page 11:

    When playing and gamemastering in Glorantha, let your imagination go wild. Ignore that voice that demands rational thought and empirical data, and draw upon your unconscious fantasies. Draw upon dreams, folklore, and mythology.

    Keeping it Fantastic, page 11

    Are Wyter’s too strong?
    Minor Temple, Clan, or Regiment251–1,000POW 6D6+6CHA 4D6
    Wyter size table, page 287

    That 42 Power Wyter could – on full moon days – cast a Shield 35 with Extension 5 on itself lasting 2 years (full moon doubles temporal spells). Next holy day, having been brought back up to 42 from worshippers, it can cast Shield 30 with Extension 5 for 2 years upon 25 members of the community. Next holy day, do it again or cast, idk, lets say Spirit Armor Enchantments. 30 points worth on 25 worshippers. Next holy day, make 30 point magic matrix enchantments on 25 items. Make 25 items each with 15 Mindblasts seems good. Will that work?

    Jeff Richard says

    So you have a maximum POW wyter for your example, rather than the normal 27 POW, CHA 14. This is obviously SUPER-clan, whose wyter is some god.

    Your wyter has 42 points of POW. In theory, it could blow 41 points of POW to cast Rune spells, but that is stupid unless this is a murder-hobo wyter. That wyter’s POW has all sorts of other functions, like being the spiritual force of the community, keeping hostile spirits out of the clan sacred lands, etc. Reducing the POW of the community spirit weakens your community – this should go without saying (and not something that should need clockwork mechanical things). Why are the other clan members going to give up their POW – their SOUL – just so that our rules-lawyer chieftain can feel super-swell?

    Reduce your wyter to POW 1, and maybe just it gets captured by a hostile shaman. Maybe some weak hate ghost with POW 15 decides to take its vengeance. Maybe a ritual enemy that normally is obeisance now can manifest.

    I mean the more I think about this, the more I would absolutely ruin a chief or high priest who tried to do this. “You broke our ancestral god – OUR ANCESTRAL GOD! – to do what? Our clan is dying, we have kin slaughter and more than half the community left to form a new clan, so that you be invulnerable? We have summoned the assembly and have decided to strip you from that office so that we might survive.”

    If you spend 40 POW of that wyter, that wyter isn’t going to be terribly magically powerful until some big ceremony could be held to replenish its POW. If I was the GM, I’d probably say that needs to happen during Sacred Time or the high holy day of the wyter. This isn’t the sort of event that should be done casually.

    In the meantime, that wyter is spiritually weak. Who cares if you have 40 nigh-invulnerable warriors for a year, if your wyter is gone. The cosmos tends to react strongly against rules-lawyers who abuse the spirit of the rules.

    I for one would be very reluctant to let the wyter spend more than 10-15% of its POW without an existential threat to the community.

    The max POW of a wyter is whatever the gamemaster decides is the appropriate limit for that particular wyter. The Ernaldori are a very powerful clan that has been around for three centuries. They are the royal clan of the oldest and most powerful Orlanth tribe in Dragon Pass. Normally its POW is 32, but if player characters want to sacrifice up to 10 points of their personal POW, they can increase it up to 42. But that is their call. As the GM, I’m not going to let NPCs do that for them.

    I included enough on wyters in the Core rules so that people could include them in their games. The wyter rules are there so that that the gamemaster can use them in their game as a special resource and not to play mental exercises with about how those rules could be theoretically minimaxed by NPCs.

    As I said, the rules were there to provide additional resources and ideas for gamemasters. If one of the player characters became the wyter-speaker (perhaps for a Heroquest), and in order to fulfill part of their quest they needed to create a few magical items with the wyter, I’d likely allow it. Because that is their function – they are a pool of POW and magic that might make all the difference in a dangerous quest, but at the risk of weakening the community’s magic.

    Their function is not mass produce magical items or any such thing, and I really didn’t think I’d need even raise that point.

    Often it is preferable just to get a concept out there, with the assumption that enough information is there that people can start including them in their games. And then we can wait a bit for a later opportunity to handle some of the deeper nuances. For 95% of the games, what is in the core rules about wyters is likely enough. The RQ Campaign Book gives an opportunity for a little GM facing nuance.

    As an aside, that is a key bit of my own design philosophy. The rules are designed for modelling the player interaction with the setting – it is intended for running RPG games. They are not intended to be a clockwork machine running in the background, determining how NPCs interact with NPCs. Or as I have said on more than one occasion to my line editors – “The GM should not be rolling dice against themself!”

    Here’s the Notes on Wyters section in the RQ Campaign book:

    Notes on Wyters from the RQ Campaign book

    Wyters are intended to be a potential resource for player characters and their community. The description of wyters in RuneQuest Glorantha (pages 286-287) provide a useful overview of wyters. A wyter is the spirit of a given community. Weakening the wyter weakens the community. When a wyter weakens itself through expenditure of points of POW to cast Rune spells, it weakens the spiritual health of the community. If the wyter reduces its POW by half, the community may begin to collapse. Additionally, the wyter must be persuaded that using the magic is appropriate for itself. No wyter will endanger its community simply to function as a rechargeable POW battery for its priest!

    The wyter is responsible for the spiritual well-being of the community, and among its important roles are protecting the community from hostile spirits, vengeful ghosts, enemy gods, and more. Although such things trouble even those communities with a powerful wyter, this happens far more frequently when the wyter is weakened. Pity the doomed community whose wyter becomes weak enough to be defeated by an ordinary spirit or enemy shaman!

    Although members of the community may sacrifice points of characteristic POW to the wyter, this is in practice more complicated than the RQG rules might suggest. Normally such sacrifices only occur on the high holy day of the wyter, although a kindly gamemaster might allow an adventurer to sacrifice a point of personal POW to prevent the wyter from being extinguished. It is perfectly reasonable for the gamemaster to only allow adventurers to make such sacrifices – perhaps that the wyter’s characteristics assume that other community members are already making whatever the sacrifices that community can be expected to make. Alternatively, the gamemaster may decide that any community that has been significantly weakened by the wyter’s loss of POW is too spiritually weak to sacrifice POW for the wyter unless that sacrifice comes from the player characters.

    RQ Campaign book, unpublished, 2021

    Wyters and Spirit Combat

    Can Wyters attack in spirit combat, the rules seems unclear on this?

    They are spirits, so yes.They could have magic, and would use that..If they are incarnated into physical forms, they can make physical attacks, also.

    For the Cults see : Chapter 12 The Cults Q&A

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