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Musings of the Welsh Wizzard

What happens when dilution of the hobby becomes homeopathic

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April 22, 2021

Runequest in Glorantha – Creating a Character – part 1

When I last rolled up a character for Runequest it was back in 1981 and I was 15, I don’t remember that much about it other than rolling 3d6 for characteristics and then deciding where you wanted to start your adventure. this was old school role playing so you started off as weak as a kitten and with no money so you’d spend 6 months getting to a place where you could do anything.

These days things have changed and in the new Runequest version your character starts off as a fully rounded character complete with a back story.

Here’s a screenshot pf the process for creating a character in RG

the first thing you’ll notice is the rolling up of characteristics doesn’t happen until step 4, before that you choose your homeland, work out your family history and decide on Rune Affinities. this means its about choosing things that influence your character instead of just trying to fit into a box depending on your characteristic rolls. I really like this approach as it gives a player something to work with and makes the character come alive.

Last week I tried out the basics of character creation and came up with a Praxian Bison riding Cavalry woman, but as we are about to start a campaign in Satar I decided to make up a new one so I thought it would be fun to blog about it

in this first part I’ll be going through steps 1 to 3 but I’ll be keeping an eye on steps 5 and 6 as well as choosing a Cult is pretty key to this whole thing (in my view)

Step 1 Homeland

This is easy, it’s Sartar and its Sartar because Ralph our GM has decided that it’s Sartar. so what do we know about this area, well the book gives lots of info

  • its the homeland for adventures and is a mountainous kingdom that’s recently been liberated from the Lunars
  • the folk are quarrelsome, reckless and independent
  • the common cults are Orlanth, Ernalda, Babeester Gor, Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Humakt, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, Maran Gor, Storm Bull, Yelmalio.
  • common Occupations are Farmer, Noble, Priest or Warrior

With this in mind I started to read up on the various cults and decided it would fun to go for Yelmalio, so thats my aim

ok I have jumped ahead here as you don’t normally choose a cult until much later but I decided to be a rebel, plus once you know which cult you want to join you can then choose the Rune Affinities to boost your chance of joining. but lets return to the plan and look at the next step

Step 2 Family History

this step takes a while to do as you essentially pick a grandparent and follow his or her life through various events that took place during their lives and then do the same for one of your parents and then finally do your own early life. this creation of a history gives your character a back story plus some extra abilities depending on what happened to them

it’s assumed that all characters are 21 and have been involved in some adventures before the game starts, now there are rules for running older characters if you want to, you can even miss out this whole step and just take a few extra abilities

for this character I didn’t want to do that I started working out my Grandfathers history, the first role is to work out his occupation on a table. a d20 roll later and Gramps was deemed to be a Priest. this is pretty good as it ties in with the occupations for the area

from here I worked out that Grampy was born in 1561 and started adventuring in 1582, where he went to war at the Battle of Grizzly Peak. unfortunately he didn’t make it home and died a heroes death defending the King.

the upside of this is get a few bonuses for having such a famous Grand Father, but the downside is his newly born son never got to meet his father

now it was time to see what my character father got up to, I decided to make him a priest as well (like father like son etc)

he was born in 1582 and went on his travels in 1603, he survived the Feint to the Sea Campaign before fighting in Starbrows Rebelion, where he also died aged 31

finally it was time to work out my characters history (and unlike traveller, he will get to survive this)

I named my character Saronil and he was born in 1604. over the past 3 years he has

  • Fought in the Great Winter War  and nearly starved to death.
  • took part in the Civil War in Esrolia and fought in the Siege of Nochet
  • Fought in the Battle of Pennel Ford
  • Aided Harrek the Berserk in Sacking the City of Wonders, where he was cursed by the guardians and nearly died in Spirit combat
  • Participated in the Liberation of Pavis  and acclaimed Argrath as King of Pavis.

not bad for lad in his early 20’s

from a technical point of view this history adds the following bonuses to my character

  • +5% bonus to Orate skill
  • +1D3% Reputation.
  • Gain Honor x2 and Loyalty (Sartar or Feathered Horse Queen)
  • Gain Loyalty (clan or tribe) +10%
  • +5% to Battle
  • +1D6% Reputation
  • Gain +10% to Spirit Combat
  • Gain Loyalty(Argrath) and +1D3% Reputation.
  • +10% to Battle
  • 1D6×100 L in war booty.


Step 3 – Rune Affiliations

the use of Runes is a new feature of this edition and it really adds to the game, basically a character is linked to certain runes which can tie into their character and also affect which Cult they can join. Runes can be used in the game to boost other abilities so it’s really important to pick the right runes.

there are 3 types of Runes, Elemental, Power and Form and the first thing you do is choose 3 elemental ones, as my character is from Sartar I get +10% for Air Runes. but because I am planning to join the Yelmalio cult I can use that 10% on a Fire rune if I come from the Sun Dome Temple, so that’s a no brainer. for the other 2 elemental runes I choose Moon as it’s linked to the Power characteristic and Magic and finally Air as it still linked to Sartar.

each of these start off at base values which can be extended later on

the next 2 types of Runes are Power and Form which are made up of pairs which  total of 100% split between them. you choose 2 of these pairs and make them 75%/25% and the others are all 50%/50%, as I want to join Yelmalio I need a high value in my Truth Rune so pick that together with Movement as that matches in with my Sartar background

So that finishes off the first part of the character creation, in the next part I’ll be rolling up my characteristics and seeing how that ends up, at the moment I can see my character as a member of Yelmalio but do I follow my lineage and become a priest or do I follow another path in the cult.

Tune in next time and find out


7 Responses “Runequest in Glorantha – Creating a Character – part 1”

  1. Avatar
    Shaun Randell
    July 3, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Wow character creation has come on some!

    • MikeH
      July 4, 2018 at 7:22 am

      it really has mate, I’m loving these new ideas they really give you something to use

  2. Avatar July 8, 2018 at 7:56 am

    I gave up role playing about a decade ago but before that Runequest and Glorantha were my favourite combination.

    This new version is making me almost regret that decision.

    • Avatar
      Simon Bray
      July 9, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      You’re never too long in the tooth to go back to gaming!

      • MikeH
        July 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

        too true, this is my first real return to the game in 30 years and I’m loving it so far

  3. Avatar July 9, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Cool! I also plan to do some PC creatin on my blog soon!

    • MikeH
      July 10, 2018 at 7:59 am

      do it, the new Character Creation process is just brilliant

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