# Spot Rules

The rules below handle a variety of situations that might occur during adventuring or combat. When in doubt, check here, but the gamemaster should always be the final word on what happens in a situation otherwise not addressed in the rules. In some cases, these rules represent simplified versions of those in the RuneQuest core rules and are intended for ease of use with the materials within the RuneQuest Starter Set.

# Aimed Blows

An attacker can pick a specific hit location to strike by delaying an attack and waiting for an opening. After announcing the desired hit location, the attack is delayed until strike rank 12. The attack skill is halved, then any other modifiers are applied. If successful, the blow strikes the desired hit location. This applies only to melee and missile combat, not with spells. See Knockout or Stunning (see here) for information on striking a foe to knock them out or stun them.

# Chases

When two or more parties engage in a chase, the gamemaster should first determine how close the involved parties are from one another, using the following categories:

  • Side-by-side: Targets can attack one another with melee weapons and may be within reach of one another.

  • Two Lengths: If a mount, two body lengths of that mount, if a person, twice a human’s height. Outside melee range but within missile and magic range.

  • Close: Somewhere between 50 and 100 meters in distance from one another, within range for most missile weapons. Almost out of range for spirit magic but within range for Rune magic.

  • In Sight: More than 100 meters but less than 500 meters away. May be in range of some missile weapons, and if within 160 meters, within range of most Rune magic. In some terrain, may require a Listen or Scan roll to detect one another.

  • Out of Sight: More than 500 meters away and may not be visible unless at sea or on extremely flat land. Out of range for most magic and missile weapons. May require Listen or Scan roll to detect, if at all possible.

Each round, each involved party must make an opposed roll of the appropriate skill, whether Drive Chariot, Ride, Boat, etc., or if on foot, a DEX vs. DEX resistance roll. Reduce the applicable skill by –5% for every point of MOV less than the opponent’s MOV, and adjust for encumbrance if desired.

The successful party moves one category closer (or away from) their opponent or opponents, as desired, up to the limit of their movement rate. A special success allows two categories, and a critical success three. A fumble results in a shift in the undesirable direction. If a stalemate (both parties succeed, both fail), they are still the same range apart.

A target moving beyond the “Out of Sight” range category on land cannot be found by Listen or Scan and may only be sought by Track or some other means. The chase is effectively over at this point.

# Darkness

Subtract –75% from the skill rating of any skills using visual perception, including attacks, made while in pitch darkness. If the result is negative, the chance of success is 01–05%. A torch or lamp cannot be held in one’s shield hand while fighting unless the shield is not used for parrying. The gamemaster may adjust this penalty for partial light.

# Defenseless or Unaware Opponents

Add +40% to the chance of any attacks made against an unaware or immobilized opponent.

# Disarm

An adventurer may try to disarm an armed opponent by striking at their opponent’s weapon instead of the opponent. The attacker has the normal chance of success if the targeted weapon is a strike rank 0 weapon (subtract the user’s applicable SRs from its SR to determine this). The chance is reduced by –10% if it is a SR 1 weapon, –20% percentiles if it is a SR 2 weapon, and by –30% if it is a strike rank 3 weapon. For other items, the gamemaster should estimate based on the weapon size, with higher modifiers for smaller items.

If the opponent is parrying with the weapon, they automatically parry if the attacker succeeds in the attack, with no roll made. If the attacker hits the target weapon, they may attempt one of the following actions:

  • Damage the Weapon. This cannot be done with a weapon meant only for thrusting, such as a spear or dagger. If successful, roll appropriate damage and compare it to the weapon’s current hit points. The targeted weapon loses hit points equal to the amount by which the damage exceeds its current hit points.

  • Knock the Weapon Away. This attack cannot be attempted with a short weapon meant only for thrusting (such as a dagger), but it can be used with spears, clubs, or quarterstaffs to slap away an opponent’s weapon. Hit with the flat of the weapon as an aimed blow (see here) and match the rolled damage against the STR of the target weapon’s user (or STR×1.5 if the weapon is held with both hands) on the resistance table. If the attack succeeds, the target weapon is knocked from the user’s hand and flies 1D3 meters away. If the defender’s STR is greater than the damage done, the weapon is still dropped but lands at their feet. If the attack is unsuccessful, there is no effect on the struck weapon.

  • Entangle the Weapon. A flexible weapon or rope can be used for an aimed blow (see here). On a special success the attacking weapon winds around a defending weapon. The attacker then pits their STR against the defender’s STR on the resistance table. If successful, the attacker wrenches the target weapon out of the defender’s hand. If unsuccessful, the target may attempt a STR vs. STR roll against the attacker. A success lets the defender take the entangling weapon out of the attacker’s hand!

# Disease

Diseases in Glorantha are caused by disease spirits, malevolent entities that delight in inflicting maladies upon the innocent and guilty alike, and can be spread by filthy creatures such as the beastmen known as broo, or those who worship the Chaotic deity Mallia, Mother of Disease.

When an adventurer is exposed to a disease, the player should roll CON×5 or less to determine if they contracted the disease. If the roll fails, roll again until the roll is successful. If it is not successful after four attempts, stop rolling. Compare the number of failures with the Degrees of Illness table, below.

# Degrees of Illness

Failures Degree of Illness Effect
0 None None.
1 Mild Lose 1 characteristic point weekly.
2 Acute Lose 1 characteristic point daily.
3 Serious Lose 1 characteristic point hourly.
4+ Terminal Lose 1 characteristic point every five minutes (one full turn).

The characteristic affected depends on the disease type. Some diseases affect multiple characteristics (though rarely SIZ). Upon contracting a disease, the character loses 1 characteristic point immediately and must attempt another CON×5 roll at each interval specified by the effect. When a characteristic reaches 0, the victim dies and a new disease spirit is born.

# Drowning or Asphixiation

An adventurer expecting immersion (or asphyxiation) can hold their breath for the first melee round with no difficulty. For the second through the fifth melee rounds, they must roll CON×5 or less on D100 to maintain the held breath.

Every melee round after this, the CON roll is reduced by one multiplier. Thus, on the sixth round the roll is CON×4, the seventh is CON×3, etc. After the ninth round, the player must make a CON×1 roll until after the 15th round, then the chance is reduced to 5% unless the adventurer’s CON is lower than 5. Once one roll fails, the adventurer takes 1D8 points of damage to the chest hit location each round, except for any round in which the CON×1 roll is successful.

If the adventurer is immersed by surprise, roll POW×5 to dertermine if they have instinctively taken a breath. If so, then follow the above procedure. If not, go directly to the drowning procedure with a damage roll of 1D8 in the first round.

# Falling

A character takes 1D6 damage to a rolled hit location for every three meters fallen. A successful DEX×5 roll lets the falling character specify the hit location they land on. Unlike combat, any damage beyond twice the hit location’s hit points are still applied to the total hit points. Armor may offer some protection, and Protection and Shield spells will always protect the falling adventurer. The gamemaster may adjust damage based on the relative softness of the surface fallen onto.

# Fighting while Prone

An attacker making attacks while prone has their normal chance of performing a successful attack reduced by half, but the chance to parry is unmodified, as is dodging. While prone, an attacker cannot use their damage bonuses unless attacking with a natural weapon (fist, kick, claws, etc.).

Attacks against a prone character are at +40% to hit.

# Fire

A torch is treated as a light club (15%, 1D6, HP 4, SR 4) if used as a weapon. If held to a foe, target takes 1D4 fire damage directly to the specific hit location at the end of the first melee round. If attempting to ward off the flame (instead of attacking or parrying) the target has a chance of its current POW×5. Protection or Shield spells automatically protect against the flame. If flammable, the target may continue to burn, doing 1D6 damage at the end of each melee round in the affected hit location, with the gamemaster determining the chance of it spreading to another hit location. To douse or smother a fire, roll the fire damage for each hit location, then 1D6 for the attempt against each hit location affected. The higher roll succeeds. A successful extinguish roll is required for each burning hit location.

# Grappling

A successful Grapple roll means a rolled hit location is grabbed. A parry with a weapon means the weapon arm was caught instead, a parry with shield means the shield has been grasped. Defense can be applied against the initial attack with this skill, and a parry with fist or grapple means that the hold was blocked.

After a successful attack, the grappler may attempt to immobilize the limb grasped, or throw the foe in the next melee round. To do so they must make another successful grapple attack. Failure means the hold has been broken. To immobilize a limb, the attacker must also succeed in a STR versus STR roll. If this roll is not made, they still have hold of the limb, but it is not immobilized.

To throw a foe, an adventurer must make a resistance roll of the average of their STR+DEX versus the average of the foe’s SIZ+DEX. Again, failure of this roll means the character did not manage to throw their foe, although the character still maintains a grip. If thrown, an adventurer must make a DEX×5 roll on D100 or suffer 1D6 damage in a random hit location. Armor protects against this damage.

If two characters are attempting to wrestle each other, two successful attacks mean they have grasped each other. Two successful immobilizations (one for each) may either mean nothing was accomplished (if they are contradictory) or that both succeeded. Two throws cancel each other. An adventurer’s attempt to immobilize should always be rolled before their opponent’s attempt to throw. After the initial attack (if it is successful), strike rank should be based on DEX alone, without consideration of SIZ or weapon length.

# Helpless Opponent

A totally helpless opponent can be killed with any weapon unless the attacker rolls a 96–00, which is either a failure or a fumble, based on the attacker’s skill rating.

# Knockback

To knock an opponent down or force them back, an attacker must state this intent at the start of a melee round. An attempt at a Knockback always happens on strike rank 12. The attacker may not attack in any other way but may defend and parry normally during this round.

On strike rank 12 the attacker must make a successful attack with the weapon, shield, or body part they intend to use to knock the target down. This must not be parried or dodged successfully. If that roll is successful, the average of the attacker’s STR+SIZ is compared with the average of the defender’s SIZ+DEX as a resistance roll (see here). For the resistance roll:

  • A success knocks the target back 1D3 meters.
  • A special success knocks the target down (see Fighting While Prone).
  • A critical success knocks them down and disarms them.

The target does not take any damage from the knockback itself. If the knockback is not successful, the attacker must roll DEX×5 or fall. If unsuccessful, the attacker is knocked back 1D3 meters instead, or misses completely and rushes by the intended target.

A fumble by attacker or defender results in a roll on the Fumbles table.

# Knockout

An adventurer may use a weapon to stun an opponent by using the flat of a blade or the haft/hilt of the weapon to make an aimed blow to the head at the end of the melee round, as with an aimed blow.

Subtract the value of any protective armor (including magical protection) from the rolled damage and use a resistance roll to attack the number of hit points in the head with the damage that would be dealt. If the resistance roll succeeds, the target is stunned and unconscious, immediately falling prone.

The target takes 1 point of damage to the head location from the attempt, but only 1 point of damage is actually dealt.

During the Bookkeeping Phase of each subsequent melee round, that character’s player must make a successful CON×1 roll to recover consciousness.

# Mounted Combat

An adventurer can fight with weapons or use magic while mounted on a riding animal, though all skill rankings are equal to the lower of the ability or the Ride skill. It is usually not possible to use a two-handed swinging weapon while mounted. The two most useful tactics in mounted combat are:

  • The charge (usually with a lance), requiring at least 20 meters of space. It uses the damage bonus of the mount instead of the rider.

  • Mounted archery, limited to simple missile weapons.

Unless a riding animal is trained for combat, it will not fight in a battle. When riding an untrained mount, the rider must make a Ride skill roll every melee round and any time the animal is damaged. If the roll is unsuccessful, the rider must spend the next melee round calming the mount using another Ride roll, to the exclusion of all else. If the roll fails or the rider does not try, the animal will bolt away from the excitement.

A trained mount fights for itself and the rider need only sit on the animal. Ride rolls are not necessary and active spells can be cast.

A mounted combatant striking downward with a onehanded weapon effectively hits only the top half of the target. Roll D10+10 for hit location instead of a D20. For combatants on foot striking up with a one-handed weapon at a mounted target, roll for the hit location as normal, but any hit on the opposite side of the rider strikes the mount instead.

# Multiple Actions

Players may declare that their adventurers are performing multiple actions during the Statement of Intent phase of combat (see here) if they have adequate strike ranks and if the actions fall within their normal abilities.

  • Spells are generally resolved first in a melee round, then movement, then attacks.

  • An adventurer whose skill is below 100% cannot attack twice a round in melee combat unless armed with two weapons. This is only permitted if the adventurer has adequate strike ranks for both attacks to occur within the same melee round.

  • The gamemaster should consider applying a cumulative modifier of –20% to any action performed more than once in a round, such as parrying, dodging, etc. The gamemaster should judge whether one action can be performed simultaneously with another, using the higher of the two strike ranks.

For example, casting a Bladesharp spell or drawing a sword while running may be completely reasonable to do at the same time, whereas drawing a sword while attacking with it is not, and should be performed one after the other.

# Poison

Poisons are rated by their potency (POT), matched against the victim’s CON on the resistance table. If the victim fails to overcome the POT of the poison, they take as many hit points in damage as the poison has POT, dealt directly to total hit points and not to hit locations. If the adventurer resists the poison, they take half the poison’s POT as damage to their hit points.

Poison damage is delayed, taking effect after the poison’s delivery, based on the type of poison, but usually three melee rounds for fast-acting poisons, or three full turns for slower poisons. If an adventurer takes two doses of poison, they must resist each one separately: two doses of POT 10 poison are the not the same as one dose of POT 20 poison.

Someone surviving poisoning heals at their normal healing rate. This damage cannot be healed by ordinary healing spells.

# Antidotes

Almost all poisons have antidotes, also with a POT rating. An antidote given to a poisoned but not-yet-dead adventurer within ten minutes cancels the damage done by the poison up to the POT of the antidote. The antidote must normally be specific to the poisoning: however, some antidotes are half effective (always round up) against certain other poisons.

# Shooting at Moving Targets

Movement of a target directly toward or away from the archer (a general term meaning any user of a missile weapon) has no effect on the probability of hitting it. A target moving at an angle from the archer reduces the archer’s chance by half. An evading target reduces the archer’s probability by half. An evading character may only move half their normal movement and may do nothing else but move and evade. These effects are cumulative.

# Shooting at Protected Targets

The chance of hitting a foe behind some form of protection, such as an arrow slit in a wall, is the same as normal. However, if the hit location rolled is not visible to the archer, the arrow or other missile hit the protection, not the target. A critical hit hits in any case. Reroll the hit location until it matches an exposed area. The above applies also to melee combat over barriers, fences, castle walls, etc.

# Shooting into Melee

An attacker firing a missile weapon into a melee may hit an ally. In these cases, divide the attacker’s skill rating by the number of combatants in the melee. If the reduced chance is a success, the attack hits the intended target. If the roll is higher than the reduced roll but lower or equal to the normal skill rating, the attack hits a random combatant.

# Shooting While Moving

An adventurer cannot shoot while moving or dodging. The only exception to this is mounted archery (see Mounted Combat).

# Skills over 100%

Generally, outside of combat, performing an action when the natural and unmodified skill rating is over 100% results in an increased chance of a special or critical result, and a lowered chance of failure (though a roll of 96–00 always fails).

In an opposed roll where one skill is being pitted against another, the party whose natural skill is 100%+ modifies the other opponent’s chance of success by –1% per point above 100%, rather than rolling at the higher chance of success.

Harmast has been roped into playing Enzestu, a dice game, against Ortossi Ninefingers, a Eurmal cultist who is an avowed gambler. Harmast’s Game skill is 25% (base chance 15% + Knowledge skill category modifier +10%) and Ortossi’s is 117%! Ortossi reduces Harmast’s chance of success by –17%, giving poor Harmast only an 8% chance of success against Ortossi, whose skill for this roll of the dice is now reduced to only 100%.

This also applies to combat, with a natural combat skill of 100%+ being used to reduce an opponent’s chance of attacking and parrying by the same amount. Bonuses from inspiration, etc. are not used to modify the opponent’s chance of success.

If against multiple competitors or opponents, the penalty must be distributed amongst the opponents as determined by the player, so an adventurer with a 125% could reduce two opponents’ skills by an amount totaling 25%, whether –20% to one and –5% to the other, –13% and –12%, or –25% and –0%.

Vasana, through a combination of her Broadsword 90%, inspiration from a Passion (+20%), a spell (+10% from Bladesharp 2, cast by a friend), has a 120% chance of success. She cannot modify an opponent’s chance of success. If she raised her Broadsword to 105% normally, with those modifiers her chance of success would be 135%. She could then reduce an opponent’s chance of success by 5% (for her skill above 100%) and would roll with a modified skill of 130%.

Also, an adventurer with a skill above 100% may perform multiple attacks in a round, if there are adequate strike ranks to do so. The skill must be divided into two or more increments, with each having a minimum of 50%.

# Thrown or Dropped Objects

An adventurer can throw a small balanced object one meter for every STR point the they have that exceeds the item’s SIZ. If the object is unbalanced or awkward, the distance it can be thrown falls off to one meter for every extra 3 STR powering the throw. Roll DEX×5 to hit a target with a casual object, doing 1D3 damage, plus half the thrower’s damage bonus.

  • For throws over 10 meters, subtract –3% for every meter beyond 10 meters.

  • For every 3 SIZ an object has (round down), add 1D3 to the damage it does.

An adventurer can effectively throw an object if it weighs less than their STR in kilograms (see Falling). The damage fis the same, with any necessary alteration depending on the size of the object dropped.

A large object hits 1D6 locations at once, doing the same damage to each, causing more total damage. If the object is flung downward, the half damage bonus is added. The weight of the object has little to do with the damage in this case.

# Two Weapon Use

Wielding a one-handed weapon in each hand allows for two attacks, two parries, or one attack and one parry. Unless trained specifically, use of the weapon in the ‘off ’ hand—usually the left—is at 1/2 the normal skill rating. The gamemaster should judge whether a weapon can be wielded in this fashion by that adventurer, based on their STR, DEX, and SIZ.

A weapon trained for off-hand use must be tracked separately for the purposes of experience gain.

An off-handed second attack is made at a strike rank equal to the strike rank of the first attack added to the usual strike rank for the second weapon. If both strike ranks add up to more than 12, the adventurer cannot use both weapons in one round.

# Encumbrance and Movement Penalties

No adventurer can carry everything. RuneQuest handles Encumbrance—the effect of carrying weight as one moves— through a basic system measuring the weight and bulk of items in ENC points, each item rated by a combination of bulk and weight. For the purpose of these rules, Encumbrance rules are not used, though the gamemaster may wish to add a suitable penalty (–10% or higher) to all skills relating to movement and physical activity for adventurers that are clearly carrying too much.