Official Answers by Chaosium
This covers Chapter 5, pages 137-161
Tools of the Shaman (page 351)
Assistant Shaman (page 352)
Shamans can simply discorporate, everyone else can only do it with a spell. What about assistant shamans? Can they discorporate at all? And if not, how can they ever become shamans, since discorporation is part of the process of becoming a shaman? And if they can’t go on the spirit plane, doesn’t that make it a lot harder for their shamans to teach them?
Assistant shamans can discorporate through use of the Discorporate spell. All Assistant shamans have access to Discorporation and it is usually their first rune spell gained (this will be in the upcoming Cults of Glorantha).
A full shaman may have both the Rune spell and the inherent ability, which is tremendously useful. Both take an hour-long ritual, but the Rune spell costs 1 Rune point to cast, while the special ability uses 5 magic points. Depending on the circumstance, either method might be desirable.
Free Point of POW per Year
Assistant Shaman get one free point of POW per year (page 354 RQG). Is that in addition to any pow gain rolls or does it replace one of the six possible? (I would assume the sacred time one if so)
It’s not a POW gain roll, it’s an actual free point of POW, no roll required, so in addition to POW gain rolls.
Spirit Combat Bonus
Does an assistant shaman retain their +1 spirit combat damage permanently, even if they are no longer actively acting as assistant to a shaman, and are no longer actively pursuing a career in shamanry?
If they are not actively acting as an assistant shaman:
they do not get the returns in the following paragraph, including the +1. There will obviously be a roleplaying opportunity with the shaman mentor…
Shamanic Skills (page 353)
Becoming a Full Shaman (page 354)
When an apprentice shaman becomes a shaman, what happens to his Loyalty: Shaman score?
Nothing. The Loyalty is to the individual, not to the rank or the relationship.
Sabera Spiritrider (page 354)
Sabera Spiritrider is a woman and Vishi is a Waha initiate, and the Waha is men only. So what is happening here?
Sabera’s cult isn’t given. She’s an independent shaman with a membership in multiple spirit cults. As Vishi’s background tells us on page 90, that he was almost killed by spirits. Later on page 255, he tells the group that A raven summoned me to her. Raven being a spirit cult that’s part of the the Three Feathered Rivals.
What tradition does Sabera belong to,
The Praxian tradition.
and wouldn’t Vishi follow in those footsteps?
At puberty, Vishi became a Waha lay member as he hadn’t been chosen for another cult, after proving himself, he became a Waha initiate. He was called to Sabera (by the Raven) and became apprenticed to her as an assistant shaman.
It could reasonably be assumed that Waha initiates who wish to become shaman are apprenticed to Waha shaman, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Sabera is clearly a trusted individual within the High Llama tribe.
Sabera prepares him for his ordeal to come. Ultimately shamanhood is bestowed by the Horned Man. Waha accepts this and his shaman.
A few other considerations:
- Sabera could be a Waha shaman, amongst her clan and tribe she could be considered co-genderered or a woman who is accepted as a man. Both of these occur amongst real world shaman.
- The High Llama tribe may practice that male shaman must tutored by women and vice-versa. This also occurs in real world shamanism.
Ultimately you can choose how this works in your game.
Stage Three—The Cave (page 354)
Stage Four—The Ordeal (page 355)
Failure at this stage
It’s a bit difficult to follow, am I right in understanding that the shaman cannot fail this stage? It goes on for 1D6 rounds or more, the shaman gets either a Power or a Taboo each round, and that’s it?
When I first read it, I came away with the impression that you could attempt to become a shaman, fail it at the Ordeal, and then try again when your master deems you worthy again. Now, on re-reading it, once you’ve made your roll of (average of POW+CHA)×5 or whatever roleplaying satisfies the GM, that’s it. You’re going to be a shaman. The only variables are how good your Spirit Dance roll is to get a toasty Fetch, and how many times you beat the Bad Man in the ordeal.
Is that correct?
The assistant shaman can’t fail, other than to lose all of the 1D6 rounds of combat. They don’t lose any magic points. It is sorely a game of “Chicken”, to test the prospective shaman’s fortitude by seeing how many taboos they will be willing to take.
Do the shaman abilities taken cost characteristic points? I’m assuming not but it isn’t totally clear to me.
- In Stage Four—The Ordeal, any shamanic ability received is free of cost.
- In Stage Five—The Reward, a shamanic ability is chosen, free of cost.
- Once the stages are complete, any new shamanic ability must be paid for.
A few questions about the process of becoming a shaman and the ordeal in particular, so as I understand it:
- The Horned Man has a power of 35, which translates to a spirit combat skill of 175%
The Bad Man, you mean. See page 355. It’s a common mistake.
- So anyone fighting him in spirit combat will be fighting at there skill -75%
- Which in most cases in a 20% or less skill for the want to be shaman vs 100% skill for horned man
- The ordeal goes on for 1 to 6 rounds which means, which means most shamans will get around 3 restrictions and the one usual ability.
All correct, aside from Bad Man being a different entity than the Horned Man.
- What happens on a tied round where both pass skill?
Stalemate. Nothing happens. Quote
- If the shaman breaks off at the end of a round , does he fail becoming a shaman or just loose the opportunity to gain more shamanic abilities?
No further abilities or taboos are granted and the spirit combat ends. On to Stage Five.
Stage Five—The Reward (page 355)
The Fetch (pages 355-357)
What the Fetch Provides the Shaman (page 356)
Fetch’s Magic Points Recovery Rate
These rules seem to contradict each other. I wish you would clarify the recovery rate of the fetch’s magic points.
Use the fetch’s POW to determine the fetch’s magic point recovery rate.
Can shamans fetch cast spells like allied spirit can? I mean to a different person than her own shaman… Can Fetch cast for example Protection-2 to a warrior next to shaman?
No. The shaman is in the Middle World, the fetch is in the spirit world. Unless of course the shaman has an ability such as Materialize Fetch.
Spell Strength vs POW roll
Does a shaman’s fetch’s POW add to theirs for the purposes of a Spell Strength vs POW roll?
Yes. See Stage Three—The Cave (page 355): “The fetch adds its POW to the shaman’s POW against any contests involving POW VS. POW struggles.”
Fetch and Discorporation (page 356)
Fetches and Combat (page 356)
It says that the fetch can only be targeted by spells from the Mundane World if the fetch first casts a spell against a target. Ok, but how long does this last? It’s not specified what condition resets the fetch to its usual state of not being attackable again.
The Fetch has revealed it’s position (it’s over there), so until the combat ends or the GM says otherwise.
Also, does “against a target” including against a friendly target?
For example if the Fetch cast heal on a friendly target, unless the enemy had a method of seeing this, it’s unlikely (unless the friendly target shouts it’s over there). Ultimately this is a GM call.
Capturing Spirits with the Fetch (page 356)
On page 357 when Vishi Dunn becomes a shaman, he gives 5 points of his 19 POW to his fetch. Since he now has a POW of 14, he does not meet the basic requirements for priesthood (p.276 “Have a POW of 18 or higher.”). Does he count as a priest of Waha, or does he still need to meet the basic requirements in order to function as a priest?
Use the rules for rune priests involuntary loss on page page 278. Although it’s a voluntary loss, it’s needed to become a rune priest-shaman.
Example (page 357)
Benefits of Being a Shaman (page 357)
Discorporation (page 357)
Interacting with the Middle World
If my discorporate shaman is hanging out in the Spirit World, can he see or interact with the Middle World?
In other words, can he discorporate, wander into a nearby cave, and return with a complete inventory of its occupants? I believe he can count the spirits and get a sense of their POW, but can he see whether that powerful spirit in the corner is a Dark Troll, a Human or a Broo? Ok, ignore the Broo, he’d sense the Chaos rune, but you get the idea.
If he wishes to engage in spirit combat, he needs to become visible in the Middle World. If he does so, does the Middle World then become visible to him?
This is up for the gamemaster to determine based on what abilities your shaman is bringing to the table. I would definitely have them sense the spirits of living beings, and would make a more detailed assessment based on circumstances. Is the shaman using Second Sight? How magically potent are the cave’s inhabitants? Are any of them Rune Masters?
RuneQuest, page 366, covers spirit combat between entities in the Spirit World vs. the Mundane World in detail. Discorporate beings are “spirits” as discussed in the last paragraph of the first column.
Expanded Charisma (page 357)
How can a shaman’s fetch improve their CHA? Can they or are you just stuck with the CHA it started with?
There are no current provisions in the rules for increasing fetch CHA.
We encourage enterprising gamemasters and players to determine possible options.
Learning Spirit Magic (page 357)
How does this work for variable spells? Can my shaman pitch up in the spirit world and learn Bladesharp 15 if he wishes?
Or is there a limit on the power of these variable spells?
Yes, but each point takes up a point of CHA:
Limits to Spell Holding
The visit to the spirit world once per day is an abstraction of the whole process on page 374. It assumes that the shaman has a good knowledge of their spirit world, knows their way around and has a good collection of Spirit Vortices. The Red Book of Magic further defines what they can teach:
In the case of Bladesharp 15, the shaman would know a very good Death Vortex and/or I would get them to do a search of the spirit world. As a suggestion, modify the Spirit rarity table on page 375 to reflect the spell cost or make up you own:
|Spirit Rarity||Over 250L||Variable||Modifier|
|Unique||15+ / Cult special||-50%|
|At an appropriate spirit place||(see Spirit places)||+20-50%|
So this includes POW for Skill Category Modifiers and Spirit Combat?
Look at the situation the shaman is in and apply the rule.
For example if the shaman is in the Spirit World and the Fetch is occupying or guarding their body, you would not add their POW together. The situation is that they are in separate places.
Likewise if the shaman and fetch are in separate spirit combat, you wouldn’t add them together. If only the shaman was in the spirit combat, and the fetch was present could you do so.
The situation doesn’t arise when calculating Skill Category Modifiers, but would arise in Spirit Combat if the fetch is present.
Can the fetch’s POW to be added for Spirit Combat Damage?
If the fetch wasn’t in spirit combat or casting spells, yes. His combined usual POW & CHA is 33 plus 11 would be 44 and he could do 2D6+6. Remember the fetch is now defenceless, so Vishi would need to cast some defensive magic on it.
So is the intention instead that the Fetch’s POW is only added to the shaman’s POW for purpose like POW vs. POW rolls, POW x 5% rolls?
Yes. Depending on the situation.
No, they are calculated separately per page 358.
Teaching Spirit Magic (page 358)
Does a Shaman, Priest, or Spirit teaching a spirit magic spell loose the knowledge of the spell when they teach it?
No. Why would they?
Second Sight (page 358)
Spirit Pacts (page 358)
Adding Shamanic Abilities (page 359)
Shamanic Abilities (page 360)
Please note that all of the Shamanic abilities are personal, so not transferable.
For reference, here are the abilities as list
- Conceal Fetch (Rare) 1+
- Cure Disease 1
- Expanded Presence 1+
- Hide Soul 1
- Magic Attack 1+
- Magic Defense 1+
- Materialize Fetch 1
- Possession 1+
- Power Within 1+
- Second Sight (Enhanced) (6 individual abilities, two with advanced versions) 1 each
- Distinguish POW +/- 5 points
- Distinguish exact POW
- Distinguish magic points within a range
- Distinguish available magic points within a better range
- Determine individual’s spirit magic.
- Identify spirit magic spells on an individual.
- Determine individual’s sorcery spells
- Determine individual’s Rune magic.
- Distinguish POW +/- 5 points
- Self-Resurrection 1-8
- Show Spirit 1
- Soul Expansion 1+
- Spell Barrage 1+
- Spell Extension 1+
- (Spirit) Affinity 1+
- Spirit Defense 1+
- Spirit Mastery 1+
Hide Soul (page 360)
Hide Soul & Rune spells
Spirit magic sensory spells are mentioned with regard to cancelling points of this ability according to their magic points. Do sensory Rune spells follow the usual pattern of counting as twice their Rune points when compared to the MP used for Hide Soul?
No, this works only on spirit magic cast by spirits (see example). As usual GMs may add their own interpretations.
Possession (page 360)
Covert or Dominant possession
Does the Shaman gift Possession allow covert or dominant possession. I’m assuming dominant is the default but would a shaman be able to go covert and hide within the person he attacked. Once they came round they could perhaps ride inside to penetrate a place normally protected by magical alarms or perhaps emerge to suddenly take over the body at a strategic moment?
The shamanic ability is effectively active possession, not covert possession. Covert possession would be a separate shamanic ability. For some it might be possible to buy as as as extra levels of Possession for double point cost. In both cases it’s a rare ability.
Does the Shaman have the same limits on using the unfamiliar body as other spirits given it’s normally a shape he’s familiar with?
No. The Shamanic Possession (p360) works on a “per hit location chart” basis so it means they’re familiar with their own rough body shape.
Self-Resurrection (page 361)
Self-Resurrection & the Fetch
Does the fetch come back with the shaman if this ability is used?
Yes. They are effectively the same being and cannot exist separately.
Does that depend on whether the fetch was destroyed itself first (and that is what killed the shaman)?
Yes, a Fetch reduced to zero POW kills both.
And do the above apply for other types of resurrection (e.g. Chalana Arroy)?
Yes. Although there are few ways to reduce POW to zero.
If a shaman dies, what happens to their fetch if it is embodied in an animal? Does the animal die?
Fetches aren’t embodied (allied spirits are). The fetch remains with the shaman in the spirit world (it is part of them).
Self-Resurrection & Ability Cost
If a shaman self-resurrects within an hour (a listed cost of 4 POW) does that imply that they have spent 4 POW to get themselves back to 1hp or is the cost actually 4 POW for each point of Spirit Magic Healing they perform from their deceased condition?
Note that there is a typo in the table heading, Points should be Level. This is likely why you are confusing the points of healing needed to bring the shaman to one hit point point and the already purchased level of the ability. The level is the already acquired ability per Adding Shamanic Abilities, page 359. If a shaman has four levels in Self-Resurrection, they can bring themself back in one hour.
So if a shaman dies and is at -8 Total Hit points, it would usually cost 9 magic points if they used Heal Wound, however this ability uses POW for healing so would cost 9 POW to reach 1 Hit point (and the Rune point for Heal Wound in this example).
It seems that the longer you wait, the easier self-resurrection becomes.
The wait is based on your already developed ability, that you have already acquired to a particular level.
At what point does it become free? A year? A century?
It never becomes free as you need to spend POW to heal yourself.
Can you actually GAIN POW if you remain dead long enough?
No, you need a minimum of 1 level in this ability to use it.
I’m thinking about this in relation to Jaldon Toothmaker and his long death-sleep absences, and the Pendragon “sleep” rules for magic.
Simply, Jaldon is a summoned embodied spirit. This not related to magical sleeping.
Self-Resurrection & the Wait
It seems that Shamans can completely refuse to enter the cycle of death and rebirth, choosing instead to hide out in or near their bodies.
No. If they don’t have enough POW to heal themselves, they remain dead.
Can they spend POW to cast disruption on scavengers who want to eat their remains?
If they remain as ghosts, they use the normal spirit combat rules for attacking (one round to become visible, etc) and use their magic points.
Self-Resurrection & Healing the Body
What condition do Shaman bodies have to be in to be capable of self-resurrection anyhow?
Enough that they have enough POW to heal themself.
Is cremation final for an Oakfed Shaman, or can they be fanned back from the embers of their pyre?
Yes it’s final: Cremate Dead: This spell allows an official (usually a priest) to fully destroy the bodily remains of any one person after death.
What if someone else comes along and heals the body?
This is certainly possible (must be done with resurrect too), and would likely be done by their assistant who would then guard the body hoping for their return (remember depending on their level it can range between an season and 1 SR).
What happens to a shaman with the ability to self-resurrect but lacking the means to restore the body?
They die and their spirit follows whatever path is normal when they die. Usually ending up in the afterlife of their Greater Entity.
Are they trapped in the Spirit World near their lifeless body, unable to die and face Daka Fal?
They could chose to remain as a ghost, tied to where they died, or go on to the usual path. Whichever fits the story better or the player’s choice. Looking Leona the shaman in the last issue of Heroes (Volume I Number 4), there are great examples of bound and haunting shaman relatives.
So a lucky shaman, could rejoin their body without needing to spend POW if someone else heals it. I would still rule it takes at least 1 permanent POW.
No, there is no POW cost in this case.
I’d also rule the rune points used in either Heal Body are Heal Wound are permanently lost.
No, only if the Rune spell is one use for the caster. Healing a body before a resurrect Rune spell does not cost permanent Rune points either.
So, a Shaman who could not heal themselves to self-resurrect could find another body to utilize?
If they have the shamanic ability of possession (RQG 360), yes. Just like the spirit ability of possession (RQB 165), it’s not automatic. Note that the shamanic ability is effectively active possession, not covert possession. Covert possession would be a separate and very rare shamanic ability.
Self-Resurrection & Attuned items
Do crystals and items attuned to a shaman become immediately de-attuned at the moment of death, or is the connection a little more resilient than that?
In this case they aren’t really dead as they are about to self-resurrect, so nothing happens.
Self-Resurrection & Allied Spirits
If the shaman is a Rune Lord or Rune Priest, of a cult that gives them an allied spirit in an animal, and they die, does the animal die immediately?
The spirit departs back to their god and the animal’s original spirit reasserts itself. In this case as they aren’t really dead, it remains.
Is a shaman who dies able to summon back the spirits they previously had bound in crystals and matrices, as RQ3 “shamans learn the names of spirits once they defeat them, and can use those names to re-summon them” rules?
In this case they aren’t really dead as they are about to self resurrect, so nothing happens to their bound spirits.
Yes, they can use the spirit’s name but they will need to learn a specific (named) version of summon (entity), eg Summon (Bob the Ghost). Alternatively they can use Summon cult spirit if appropriate or Summon specific ancestor, or any specialist specific spirit cult summoning. eg Summon Son of Votank per Lightbringers, page 85.
Soul Expansion (page 361)
Soul Expansion & POW Increase %
If Soul Expansion does not increase the chance to increase through experience, how does a shaman ever take advantage of the expansion? How can POW increase from 21 to 22 if the chance to increase is zero? or is it just the “default” 5% chance?
It is 5%.
Spell Barrage (page 362)
Spell Barrage & Multispell
How do Spell Barrage and the Common Divine Spell Multispell interact with each other?
They would stack, if the GM allows it.
When trying to stack them, determine which are the Multispelled spells and which are the ones due to Spell Barrage.
The Multispells are treated as separate instances and the Barrage is all-or-nothing.
Spell Extension (page 362)
Spell Extension & Specific spells
Is that shamanic ability for a specific spell named at the point of taking the ability or can it be used for any spell, chosen when casting it?
It’s not tied to a specific spell. Just one at a time.
Conditions on this ability
When considering the above situation?
All of the Shamanic abilities are personal, so not transferable.
We went back and forth with our GM whether we could get the party shaman to buff 4 PCs with semi-permanent Mobility spells during travel, and several other pretty cheeky strategies.
The shaman can maintain Mobility on themselves indefinitely. Remember to have Spell Extension at level four, assuming it was their first ability would have cost (1 to 2 = 1, 2 to 3 =2, 3 to 4 = 3) 6 characteristic points.
Could a party or PC pay a Shaman to cast a spell / bless them with Strength for a whole season? If they were part of the actual party i assume it would be easier.
Note that the Shamanic Abilities list is not inclusive, there are many other abilities possible. A version of Spell Extension that works on others should have restrictions on who the targets are (such as the shaman’s assistants only) or cost a point of POW to form a permanent bond with the shaman, etc.
Spirit Affinity (page 362)
Shaman-priests (as for Waha and Daka Fal in the core rulebook, or Telmor in the Glorantha Bestiary): Must they meet the requirements for a Rune Priest (e.g. POW 18+, 90% Rune affinity, 50%+ in five cult skills including Worship etc) over and above becoming a shaman?
Generally speaking, no. However as these are cult shaman, there are often extra requirements before becoming a cult shaman, after being an initiate. eg:
- Daka Fal: must know spirit speech at 90%
- Waha: must be of noble descent from Waha
- Telmor: no extra requirements beyond initiate
This will be detailed in the upcoming cults of Glorantha.
Shaman-Priests and Rune Priest Benefits
Do such shaman-priests gain any of the Rune Priest benefits such as the easier POW gain roll?
Yes, if they are shaman-priests. No if just shaman, so
- Daka Fal: Yes
- Waha: Yes
- Telmor: Yes
To clarify, priests receive a +20% bonus to their POW gain roll per page 276.
Shaman-Priests & Allied Spirits
Does the shaman-priest gain an Allied Spirit?
Yes if shaman-priests and their priesthood is stated to receive a spirit. Rune Lord-shaman may have allied spirits.
Shaman-Priests & Divine Intervention
Do Initiates / shamans etc of animist cults get access to Divine Intervention, for example followers of Telmor, or Kolat? i.e. is it the Initiate status that matters, not whether their entity is a Deity in the theist sense?
You need to look at each cult’s description, to check:
- Daka Fal: No (specifically states it)
- Waha: Yes
- Telmor: Yes.
- Kolat is a spirit cult, and follows the rules for them, so no.
Does a character that wishes to become a shaman have to meet the prerequisites for becoming a normal Rune Priest (276) as well as follow the procedures on page 354, or do they just need to follow the latter?
Both prerequisites (if their cult allows it). Unless the cult has shaman-priests, then follow what the cult says.
I’m confused because it says on page 351 that they are equivalent, but it doesn’t explicitly say they need to meet the prerequisites.
When playing a shaman, the player and gamemaster should keep in mind they are the equivalent of Rune Priests in other cults.
Socially and power-level-wise. So shaman of Golden Bow is equivalent to a priest of Orlanth.
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 01 Introduction Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 02 Glorantha Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 03 Adventurers Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 03 Pregenerated Adventurers Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 04 Homelands Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 05 Game System Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 06 Skills Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 07 Combat Q&A pages 191-206
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 07 Combat Q&A pages 206-225
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 08 Runes Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 09 Passions & Reputation Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 10 Magic Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 11 Spirit Magic Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 11 Spirit Magic Spells Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 12 Rune Cults Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 12 Rune Cults The Cults Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 13 Rune Magic Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 13 Rune Magic Spells Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 15 Spirits & the Spirit World Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 16 Sorcery Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 16 Sorcery Spells Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 17 Equipment & Wealth Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 18 Between Adventures Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 19 Adventurer Sheets Q&A
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Chapter 20 Conversion Guide
- CHA4028 RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha – Index Q&A
Page Last updated: 2023-11-08 14:47:31