We speak with RuneQuest creative director Jason Durall about The Red Book of Magic, our recently-released "ultimate guide" to spirit and Rune magic.
Q: What is The Red Book of Magic?
Jason: The Red Book of Magic is a new sourcebook and reference guide about Rune Magic and Spirit Magic. More than 500 spells presented in alphabetical order, including some that have never seen print before, with up-to-date clarifications and expanded writeups. There are sidebars on Rune metals, healing plants, ancestral spirits, and more. All in one easy-to-use reference work.
Q: If I'm a RuneQuest player, tell me how the book will be useful for me?
Jason: It contains updated versions of all spells, including new ones, in one handy reference, in a more compact format than the core rulebook.
Q: What about if I'm a RuneQuest GM?
Jason: There are new spells to draw from, a separate reference work so you can pull spell descriptions out of, and many, many portrayals of spells in the art. Descriptions of how magic "works" as well as descriptions of how it looks, sounds, and feels to help immerse players into the setting and enrich your descriptions of magical activities.
Q: The Red Book is the "definitive reference" to spirit magic and Rune spells. How does what's here differ from what's already been published for RuneQuest?
Jason: There have been some clarifications and revisions to some spells in the time since the core book's release, and the general rules for spellcasting have been expanded and revised to make gameplay run smoother and easier for everyone at the table.
Q: Let's say we're sitting down at the gaming table (or, more likely these days, sitting down to play on Zoom) - can you describe how you might use The Red Book in a game?
Jason: For a start, it's a lighter book than the core RuneQuest rules (128 pages vs. 448), and it incorporates revisions, clarifications, and some revisions to spells that have occurred since the game's initial release. The graphic presentation of the spells is improved, and this the most up-to-date version of spirit and Rune magic published thus far.
Q: How can GM's use the book?
Jason: The Red Book of Magic contains Heirophanes' Statement on Magic, an 'in-world' document about origins and nature of Gloranthan magic. More information about how one-use Rune spells work. Further elaborations on Rune metals and the gathering and use of healing plants. Writeups for magical creatures such as War Trees, Giant Loons, Manlings, and Luxites. Expanded guidelines for creating new Rune spells.
Q: Aside from the spells, what other cool things are presented in the book for RuneQuest players?
Jason: Other than a lot of spells, there's a history and clarification of what magic is in Glorantha: how it works, where it comes from, what powers are being harnessed, etc. All of the rules about spellcasting, boosting spellcasting chances, ritual practices, etc. are clarified and expanded here. There are also guidelines about how Rune and spirit magic looks, sounds, and feels in Glorantha, providing guidelines and suggestions to enrich gameplay from the players' and gamemaster's perspectives. The material on healing plants is an invaluable expansion to the Plant Lore skill, even outside of magic use!
Additionally, all the illustrations present glimpses into Glorantha, from the environments, costumes, cultures, and people, showcasing the rich world and setting to help further deepen the experience that is roleplaying in Glorantha.
The Red Book of Magic is currently available in PDF from Chaosium.com and DriveThruRPG. A full colour hardback version is due out in Q2 2021. Purchasers of the PDF direct from Chaosium.com get the full price of the PDF off the physical version when it is out.