[RuneQuest] Sample Combat

EDIT: Thanks to the RuneQuest Community, I’ve corrected some of the more glaring issues with my initial understanding of the combat rules. The version below is the most complete take on it.

EDIT 2: Thanks to commenter Phil Hibbs for his feedback to help me figure out how Strike Ranks are calculated per round. I’ve made further changes and now the fight is *much* shorter, and even deadlier now.

So I’ve gone ahead and committed to running The Broken Tower adventure from the RuneQuest Quickstart for a few friends, and I realized that I’d not done a sample combat writeup for the new RuneQuest Glorantha from Chaosium.

So, as a way of getting myself used to the system again I’ve written up a quick rundown of combat pitting Vasana, the iconic character in RuneQuest up against a fearsome creature of Chaos… or as I like to call it:

Vasana Fights a Broo!

Vasana is slogging through a swamp without her Bison mount in search of a Broo that had been terrorizing a nearby village. With the disappearance of one of the villagers, they had asked for a her for help.

It was a decision she was beginning to question as she made her way through the uncomfortable slog of the swamp, with her compound bow held at the ready, an arrow nocked, ready to draw. Places like these were treacherous and it made more sense to be careful.

Vasana catches sight of the Broo halfway through it’s meal: a stinking, bloated carcass of the missing villager. Unfortunately, the Broo also sees her and picks up a spear as leaps onto its feet!

Round 1 Statement of Intent

The Broo, being a particularly nasty creature, is hell-bent on closing the distance and impaling Vasana with its spear.

Vasana decides she can loose an arrow at the creature and hopefully switch to her other weapons as necessary.

For reference the combat begins at about 8 meters of distance between them.

SR 3, Round 1

Vasana shoots the Broo with her bow (45%) and rolls a 10, a success! Hit Location is determined to be the abdomen. Vasana rolls 4 damage, and the Broo, having some armor for his abdomen, takes only 1 damage to that Hit Location.

SR 5, Round 1

The Broo readies the spear and runs towards Vasana. To cover the distance would need 3 Strike Ranks (1 for every 3 meters), but can be done at the same time as readying the spear, which takes 5 Strike Ranks. This means the Broo will have to wait until Round 2 before it can properly attack.

Some actions such as Movement and Readying a Weapon can sometimes be combined (“Multiple Activities Outside of Melee” RQG p.195) however, no actions or combination of actions may be performed if they exceed 12 Strike Ranks (“Limits to Strike Ranks per Melee Round” RQG p.194).

SR 8, Round 1

Vasana drops her bow and attempts to draw her broadsword. But because there are only 4 Strike Ranks left in Round 1, Vasana will have to wait until she can act in Round 2 to do so.

Dropping and Changing a Weapon requires 5 Strike Ranks for each, for a total of 10 (“Preparing or Changing a Weapon” RQG p.194).

SR 10, Round 1

The Broo manages to finally close the distance between them and enters Melee range.

At this point, both Vasana and the Broo are now considered to be Engaged in melee combat. This means that while Engaged, they cannot do much else aside from attack and defend with parry or dodge. (“Multiple Activities Within Melee” RQG p.195)

End of Round 1

At this point extra “unspent” Strike Ranks in Round 1 are disregarded, and both combatants act on their base SR starting over from Statements of Intent. (“Bookkeeping” RQG p.192)

Round 2 Statement of Intent

The Broo wishes to run Vasana through with its spear.

Vasana is looking to draw her broadsword so she can fight the Broo with a weapon that she specializes in!

SR 5, Round 2

Vasana readies her broadsword. Attacking with her sword takes 7 Strike Ranks, which means that her attack won’t take place until SR 12. At least she’s got something to parry with!

SR 7, Round 2

The Broo assaults her with the spear (35%) and rolls a 67, a miss!

Vasana parries with her ready broadsword (90%) and rolls a 71, a success. Because the Broo missed, Vasana gets to roll her full weapon damage and scores 12 damage, snapping the spear in half!

SR 12, Round 2

Now it’s Vasana’s turn to attack. She slashes with her sword and rolls a 9, a Special Success! The Hit Location is the Broo’s chest.

In response the Broo attempts to Dodge (35%) and rolls an 81, a failure.

This means that Vasana deals Special Damage, and therefore rolls the damage of the weapon broadsword twice before adding her damage bonus. She rolls a whopping 17 points of damage.

The Broo’s armor subtracts 3 points, bringing it down to 14, but that’s still double the number of hit points on that hit location. Furthermore, it has to make a (CON – damage) x 5 or less roll to remain conscious. It rolls a 71 and the Broo falls to the ground, overwhelmed by the ferocity of the strike.

End of Round 2

End of Combat


On paper, the combat feels really busy and difficult to track, but it does make more sense in play. Strike Ranks took a lot of time to sort out until I realized that it was actually Exalted 2nd Edition’s Tick System, albeit with a reset at the end of every 12 Strike Ranks. After that was established everything fell into place.

Combat feels very dangerous. The Broo in question didn’t have Vasana’s amazing skill with the sword, but I suspect that player characters can easily get maimed and injured. Shields, armor and positioning matter so much.

I fully expect player characters who know how to stack things in their favor will be the ones who will do best in this system.

Overall, I’m very happy with it. Combat isn’t speedy but the level of detail is interesting and very descriptive, lending to some memorable moments.

Excited to see where my players will end up when I run the game!


  1. There are many issues with this example. Why can Vasana not attack in round 2? Whi does she strike on SR 10 in round 3? Her weapon SR is 7, and it takes 5 SR to prepare her weapon in the second round so she should strike on 12 in round 2 and 7 in round 3.

  2. Great to see someone wade into the waters, though, good luck on your RuneQuesting journey. Happy to help out with anything.

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