RuneQuest - Getting Started

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RuneQuest is Chaosium Inc.’s fantasy roleplaying game set in Greg Stafford’s Glorantha. In RuneQuest, players create adventurers who explore an ancient world rich in magic.

Everyone uses spells and anyone can be a warrior, equipped with bright bronze and stout armor. The gods provide fantastic powers to their mortal worshipers and can intercede on their behalf. Each RuneQuest adventurer is unique, defined by Runes chosen by the player and belonging to a definite culture and cult.

The Adventurers

In RuneQuest, all the characters are adventurers, fighting for renown to prepare for the oncoming Hero Wars, an apocalyptic battle in which gods and humans will fight side by side!

Vasana the Adventurer

As an adventurer, your interests go far beyond mere gold:

  • Your homeland has a distinct culture, with its own advantages and characteristics!
  • You know who your family is, your clan, and beyond that, your tribe!
  • Your background provides you with a personal history, tied to Glorantha’s own history.
  • Your cult and the god you worship are everything, shaping your skills and magic and also giving you incredible powers!
  • Your affinity with the Runes — the mystic building blocks of all existence — can shape your personality as much as the Runes can help guide you and aid you in action!

Adventurer types range from warriors of all types, bandits, healers, nobles, priests, and more, but everyone can learn skills and magic, and develop them as they desire. Learn through experience and training, not by artificial restraints.

Your adventurers might need to rescue a kidnapped noble from an enemy cult, defend a town against marauding Tusk Riders, rescue your clan’s cattle from a hungry goddess, or even negotiate a peace between elves and dark trolls!


The world of Glorantha is rich and deep but is also as complex, or as light, as you want it to be.

The area known as Dragon Pass is the site of much drama and conflict, dominated until recently by the Lunar Empire, now in retreat. These lands encompass the Storm-worshipping tribes of Sartar, the civilized matriarchy of Esrolia, the Animal Nomads of Prax, the horse tribes of the Grazelands, the rugged hillfolk of Old Tarsh, and even the folk of Lunar Tarsh, still occupied by the Lunars.

Map of Glorantha

However, rather than peacefully celebrating their liberty from the Lunar occupation, the factions remaining struggle for power even more fiercely, a free-for-all in which nothing is certain. Adventurers and heroes converge from across the world to take part in the Hero Wars, which destiny has foretold will take place in Dragon Pass.

Gods and Magic

In Glorantha, almost everyone is a member of a cult. Picking which god to worship is the most important decision someone can make, as the cult is like a combination of extended family and career. Adventurers learn magic and skills at their temples, and their gods grant them the most powerful magic in the form of Rune spells.


Though there are hundreds of gods worshipped throughout Glorantha. Many are little more than alternate names for the same god, but some are much more powerful than the others. Among the most influential of these gods are:

  • Orlanth, the Storm King
  • Ernalda, the Earth Queen
  • Humakt, the God of Death and War
  • Chalana Arroy, the Goddess of Healing
  • Issaries, the God of Communication and Trade
  • Daka Fal, the Ancestor
  • Lhankor Mhy, the God of Knowledge
  • Eurmal, the Trickster
  • Storm Bull, the Chaos Killer
  • Yelmalio, the Sun God of the Frontier

Even the departing Lunar Empire has its own pantheon, among which are the Seven Mothers and the Empire’s patron deity, the Red Goddess.


RuneQuest is a skills-based system with gritty combat and immense freedom in character development. It uses percentile dice (D100%) to determine the chance of success or failure. Skills and other abilities are rated by percentage chance, so a Broadsword 75% skill means your adventurer has a 75% chance to hit with a broadsword.

Combat is dangerous and gritty, and every single fight could turn out to be your adventurer’s last, with critical hits bypassing armor and doing tremendous damage. Despite this danger, healing magic is readily available and smart, tactical fighting is the means of surviving and succeeding.

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RuneQuest Quickstart front cover

Try the Ennie-Award-winning RuneQuest Quickstart Rules & Adventure for free! This 48-page booklet provides all the info you need to begin play, from basic rules, five pregenerated adventurers, and a full adventure, letting you step right into the world of Glorantha!