[Let’s Study: RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha] Part 7a: Introduction to Magic


If you have a setting where everyone has access to magic like Glorantha does, you’d probably dedicate nearly half the book to the subject too.

Types of Magic

RuneQuest has three different forms of magic:

  • Spirit Magic – Involves communing with spirits that reside in the Spirit World.
  • Rune Magic – Involves sacrificing living things or objects to a god to allow the supplicant to participate in the deeds of the god and gain a fraction of the god’s Rune power.
  • Sorcery – Is the direct study of the Runes themselves as laws of the universe and imposes the will of the caster upon the material world.

Magic Points

Adventurers use their own life energy in the form of Magic Points to fuel spells, and if they ever spend enough to use up all their Magic Points, they fall unconscious.

Rune Magic however, demands that the adventurer sacrifice points of POW to gain access to their cult’s Rune Magic.

Worship and Ritual

Spells aren’t easy to pull off and when you’ve got the opportunity, it’s best to have an adventurer try to improve their chances. This can be done by Meditation or ritual practices or augmentation with Dance, Sing, or other appropriate skill.

It’s a neat touch that lends credence to why spellcasters work so hard on long and complicated rituals to try and get the best possible outcome for their work.


Another function of magic is to Enchant objects (or creatures!) with magic in a way that permanently changes it. This has a cost in the form of the caster’s POW but for many the trade off is worth it.

As a fan of Mage: the Ascension, seeing such an extensive page count dedicated to magic warms my heart. That said, it is intimidating and I can’t shake off the worry that I might forget something. Still, the way that the basics of magic as described makes sense, and I’m certain that will go a long way in being able to keep track of how to handle magic rolls, given how important it is to the setting in general.

Given the size of the Magic Chapters, I’ll be breaking this into sub-entries. Next up we’ll be taking a look at Spirit Magic, Shamans and Spirits & the Spirit World.

If you’d like to check it out for yourself, RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is available in PDF from Chaosium or DriveThruRPG for only $27.95

For those interested in the hardcover, I’d recommend buying from Chaosium as they’ll be issuing a coupon for those who bought a PDF to discount the price from the physical copy!

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