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RuneQuest - Roleplaying in Glorantha - PDF

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The World’s Best Game of Epic Bronze Age Fantasy!

“Mythology is more than old lies and stories, pseudo-scientific explanations for natural phenomena, or hidden secrets of forgotten lore. It is a state of mind and a way of life. It has a sentience and life of its own: a power. RuneQuest lets you experience that state of mind and explore that way of life through the mythic realm of Glorantha.”

Chaosium Unveiled: Inside RuneQuest

Watch the unveiling video to see the book for yourself. Remember that you get the PDF when getting the physical copy.

RuneQuest is the essential game of sword, sandal and sorcery!

Female Noble In Armor

A Female Noble

Enter a Bronze Age world where you are defined by your cult and culture, where you do deadly combat with mythic and fantastical beasts, where everyone can use magic, and where the gods are real.

RuneQuest is an RPG with a difference. It is intuitive and easy to play. All rolls are determined via the roll of percentile dice. RuneQuest has no character classes or alignments; characters are defined by their culture, the gods they follow, and the Runes that inspire them.

We invite you to set aside the mundane world and embark on a journey with your RuneQuest adventurers beginning with your clan and expanding to cross the world of Glorantha and into the Hero Plane.

What’s Inside?

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is the essential book for RuneQuest players and Game Masters alike

Character Creation

RuneQuest Hunter

An Odalyan Hunter

Characters in RuneQuest aren’t ‘rolled’. They are a seed that is planted, and they grow. You’ll determine the family history of your character which in turn teaches you the key events of the setting. Full rules for choosing your characters core traits, cults, and culture allow you to breathe life to a completely unique adventurer.

Characters advance in skills and abilities by using them in course of play. Anyone can try to pick a lock, cast a spell, or decipher some ancient runic script. In RuneQuest, you don’t spend skill points and XP - you slap on your armor and you get good at fighting.

Year 1613 - Events

1613 Events

Deadly Combat

Bronze Age Battle

A Bronze Age Battle

Combat in RuneQuest is visceral and always potentially deadly; players should be mindful that even the lowliest trollkin can take out an experienced warrior with a lucky blow.

Intuitive rules for combat mean that your character always has a choice in the ebb and flow of battle. From casting spells, drawing your bow, swinging your axe and choosing how to defend yourself - which in turn can be deadly to your opponent!

Combat in RuneQuest is always high-octane, with every choice and dice roll holding the fate of your character on a knife edge.

Critical Table

Critical Table

Magic & Gods

RuneQuest Priestess

A Priestess

The gods of the mythic world of Glorantha define their followers. Each god has their own cult, which will determine your characters skills, spells, and personality. With many dozens of gods, RuneQuest has a cult and god to suit each playstyle, personality, and personal aesthetic.

Three unique magic systems -Rune, Spirit, and Sorcery- make for dynamic and powerful combinations where no two RuneQuest characters will ever be alike. The simple yet deep rules for each class of magic will see you cultivating your power and defining your epic adventures.

The Cult of Issaries

The Cult of Issaries

Family & Land

Between Adventurers

Between Adventures

RuneQuest is a game about culture. Full rules for dynamic downtime activities such as farming, managing households, marriage & raising children make for a deep and immersive roleplaying experience.

Building your family tree, and indeed your own familial legacy, is the stuff of epic and long-form campaigns spanning many decades and even generations.


Omens for the New Year

A Setting Like No Other

The World of Glorantha

The World of Glorantha


Glorantha is a world made by the gods but shaped by the deeds of mortals. Magic is part of everyday life, and mythology is the basis of reality. Your adventurer is a mortal, destined to die, but through luck, courage, cunning, and sacrifice, can become a hero or even a god! Your adventures might start gritty and realistic, and become fantastic and mythic, only to return to gritty realism.

In Glorantha, people hold allegiance to tribe, city, and cult, not to abstract alignments or ideologies. Although humanity is the dominant species, their dominance is due only to the quarrelling of the Elder Races, who still rule large parts of the world.

Glorantha’s main theme is religion and the magical relation of humankind to the gods. In Glorantha, the gods and goddesses are real, and through their followers and cults they play an active and important part in most major events. The Sun, Earth, Air, Water, Darkness, and Moon have powerful deities associated with them, as do powers such as Death, Fertility, Change, Stasis, Illusion, Truth, Disorder, and Harmony. There are also countless lesser deities associated with things as diverse as cats, cows, boats, vengeance, and volcanoes.

Glorantha is a complete universe. It is self-contained, and from its myths to its molecules it must be taken on its own terms. However, Glorantha is filled with strange and amazing gods, cultures, and creatures both familiar and fantastic, and players should soon be enthralled by the unique features of the setting.

Downloads for this Product

RuneQuest Character Sheet
Character Background Worksheet
Holdings/Family/Allies Worksheet

What The Critics Say

RuneQuest Reviews

  • "Greg Stafford's supreme creation brought fully up to date with the presentation it deserves and tremendous added depth. A fitting memorial. STYLE - 5/5. SUBSTANCE - 5/5: Can it go higher than 5?"

    —Paul StJohn MacIntosh, RPGNet review.

  • "One of the most stunning RPG books ever made"

    Games Vs Play.

  • "10 out of 10 - that's right, it is that good, it is fantastic, I love this tome!"

    —Jeff McAleer, The Gaming Gang (video review).

  • "In a market stuffed to the gills with fantasy RPGs, RuneQuest offers something a little different from the heroic norm – something a little deadlier, rooted in a time of bronze and barbarians, where historic realism mixes with raw, primitive magic that hangs in the air like early morning mist."

    — Tabletop Gaming review, Oct 2018.

  • "This iteration of RQ is going to redefine my view of what is role-playing... it seems to have everything I could wish to find in a game: smooth mechanics, different levels of gameplay, and a whole mythical world presented for the player to explore from within. It feels like the Chaosium of my twenties is back, there at the forefront of innovation in gaming. As a game designer I must say It will be hard to top that, but it feels good have a new mountain to climb!"

    — Francesco Nepitello (lead designer, One Ring RPG).

  • It’s RQ2 on steroids!... Glorantha is baked in at every step and like the HeroQuest Glorantha book, it gives enough to robustly play in the setting."

    Hearts in Glorantha

  • "Like 2nd edition, but better...a really solid version of RuneQuest which should set the bar for BRP-based Gloranthan gaming for years to come."

    — ‘RuneQuest Comes Home’, Refereeing and Reflection.

  • “…if you’re looking for a fantasy game that gives you a taste of something different, then check out RuneQuest.”

    Bell of Lost Souls.

  • "A beautiful product and the beginning of a very promising re-birth or reinvigoration of a tabletop RPG classic... one of the best examples of using mechanics in a tabletop RPG to create and reinforce setting and tone... just let the game carry you along into the high-magic, mythology-focused, Bronze Age fantasy game you never knew you wanted to play."

    Play To See What Happens.

  • "A game steeped in both real-world and fictional history, where wild myths meld with a realistic approach to rules… Ultimately, RuneQuest succeeds in carving out a powerful niche in the crowded world of fantasy roleplaying, building something that is truly unique."

    — Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

  • "…a fascinating blend of wild heroism and ruthless simulation that goes to create a game that offers something utterly unique…[RuneQuest] breaks away from the core tropes of gleaming armour and codified magic that have come to dominate fantasy in recent decades and replaces it with something that feels closer to ancient myths and legends – more The Odyssey than Lord of the Rings."

    EN World.

  • "RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is a landmark, and was even before it was written... it marks the return of one of the most influential and storied games in our hobby back to the house that built it... No other RuneQuest—and this is coming from a guy from whom you’d have to pry his Cults of Prax or Cults of Terror from his cold, dead hands—does Glorantha as well as RQG."

    —Andrew Logan Montgomery, Exploring the Otherworlds of Fiction, Magic, and Gaming.

  • "RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is a work of art. It is a gorgeous book and an engrossing game in one, the future of the RuneQuest system superimposed on the most detailed RPG setting of them all. The design dynamically delivers the impossible, turning crunch and fluff into one. Its capability to create stories even before the characters are presented to one another, and its crunchiness when the going gets tough and hard decisions are required, have already earned it a place in the pantheon of gaming. Veterans will feel right at home, while new fans will wonder how come a game like this didn't exist up to now. Everything the new Chaosium touches turns to gold. Buy and play, immediately!"

    —Antonios S., RPGNet review.

  • "…this is a very impressive book. The art, binding and writing is all first rate. I would say it is the most attractive book I own. Looks are great, but the real value goes deeper than appearances. The content of RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is up to the standards set by its appearance."

    White Box and Beyond.

  • "There's a reason why (RuneQuest) has been out for 40 years... If it's not on your bookshelf, bottom line: then just go ahead and pick it up... you won't be disappointed at all."

    Logician Tim 'RPG Report Card' (YouTube video review).

  • "Second only to Dungeons & Dragons in the fantasy roleplaying pantheon, RuneQuest cemented Greg Stafford’s world of Glorantha as one of the tabletop’s most imaginative creations and introduced innovative mechanics that would go on to become staples of RPGs for decades to come, most significantly in other Basic Roleplaying titles. Its unique approach to advancing skills and the percentile system used to resolve attacks and actions are still as clever today, while the expansive Glorantha continues to draw in adventurers looking for an immersive and vibrant setting."

    Tabletop Gaming (UK) 150 Greatest Games of All Time (RuneQuest ranked #9)

  • "This book is a goddamn masterpiece."

    Vintage RPG

  • "A mix of visionary world-building and ambitious gameplay that offers something very different to Dungeons & Dragons. A powerful meeting of realism with fantasy, it's a tabletop RPG that has remained a cult classic for decades. It may be as well-known as Dungeons and Dragons, but it deserves to be discovered by more players."

    — Dicebreaker, 6 more great RPGs that aren't Dungeons and Dragons.

  • “There can be no doubt that RuneQuest has been deeply influential in a way that few games other than D&D itself were.”

    — RPG historian Shannon Appelcline, Designers & Dragons, R IS FOR RUNEQUEST.

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Product Footer

Footer Name:[ChaosBrandRuneQuest]

4th Edition Chaosium RuneQuest
Year Released:
Page Count:
Full-color PDF
Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, Jason Durall, Steve Perrin
Contributing Writers:
David Dunham, Steve Henderson, Warren James, Sven Lugar, Chris Klug, Rick Meints, Michael O'Brien, Sandy Petersen, Neil Robinson, Ken Rolston, and Ray Turney
Cover Artist:
Andrey Fetisov
Rick Becker, Bernard Bittler, Simon Bray, William Church, Miguel Coronado, Gene Day, Andrey Fetisov, Piotr Foksowicz, Lisa Free, Merle Insigna, Tomasz Jedruszek, Kalin Kadiev, Roman Kisyov, Rachel Kahn, Jennifer Lange, Rhonda Libbey, Michelle Lockamy
Artists (continued):
Juha Makkonen, Mike Mignola, Christine Mitzuk, Luise Perrene, Kevin Ramos, Roger Raupp, Jakob Rebulka, Alex Ries, Naomi Robinson, Simon Roy, Olivier Sanfilippo, Luoto Sari, Tobias Tranell, Cory Trego-Erdner
Olivier Sanfilippo, Darya Makarava, Colin Driver
Design & Layout:
Simeón Cogswell, Malcolm Wolter
  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Best version yet...

    Posted by Richard Crofts on 8th Sep 2023

    Played RQ2 back in the day and followed the systems for Glorantha since. On first look this feels like the best version yet. I've yet to work through some of the mechanics but to be fair mechanics are the least of it; they can easily be tailored to own preferences / experiences / play style. The richness of the material and the overall cohesiveness of the rules with the world and mythology is fantastic. Thanks for continuing to bring us the world of Glorantha with a decent RPG underpinning it!

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    Very Satisfied w/ RQ:G

    Posted by Michael Massa on 18th May 2021

    Having reviewed the PDF for several weeks, I can say this is a very high quality product that should be a great fit for many gaming groups. It didn't seem fair to give it a 5 star review, as I've not yet played it. I'm an older RPGer (started w/ AD&D), but I'm sorry to say I wasn't really aware of RQ until recently. I feel like I've missed out on a great system that's been available (in one form or another) since the dawn of RPGs. Oh time like the present!

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Stunning book

    Posted by Tim Clark on 31st Aug 2020

    A comprehensive read, beautifully put together. There is so much in this book. Amazing really.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    A Stunning New take on the old Classic RPG

    Posted by Balazar Lightson on 3rd Feb 2019

    RuneQuest Glorantha is a brilliant addition to the long legacy of the RuneQuest RPG. This game really brings out the mythic and cultural aspects of gaming in Glorantha. The character generation process, with it's focus on recent ancestors their place in the history of Dragon Pass, helps to firmly embed each PC into the world. Incorporating ideas about the importance of relationships from another great Chaosium game, Pendragon, gives PC's a simple personal history to fall back on, and build from in play. The art work is first rate; a stylized bronze age aesthetic permeating the whole book, from arms and armor, to dress, magic, spirits and daemons, the art truly brings Glorantha alive. The otherworldlyness of it's non-human peoples, and the cultural oddness of it's human ones are highlighted in the art, and help to describe the milieu for both Players and Game Masters. A focus on Rune relationships of the characters add elements not really seen in previous play versions of RuneQuest, an superb addition for Gloranthan play, and relationships with Gods and Heroes, but perhaps less so for use in another world setting. Sorcery magic, again in this edition, is a touch lacking, and hopefully more interestingly explored in later publications. I'm not sure we've had a satisfactory sorcery system for RQ yet. Hopefully one day. Mechanically, at heart it's a BRP game much like prior RuneQuest editions, but the few extra tweaks from Pendragon help fill the world with life and passion. Overall, I see it as the best incarnation of RuneQuest to date for a Glorantha based game, there are a few tweaks I will bring to it's rules. Nothing unusual there though, as I've house ruled every previous edition so far, and many other RPG's that have crossed my table. 'Out of the Box' it's a great rules set for an RPG, but it lacks for enemies to throw at the PC's. This is not so unusual for the hobby, as the most famous game in the industry also has the some problem. An easy problem to fix by picking up the Gloranthan Bestiary, which is in and of itself a superb book. Together with the GM Screen pack it's a beautiful slipcase set that I will definitely pick up for my shelf at home. For players of previous editions, this one is perfect for Gloranthan play, might need a couple tweaks to play in another world, but the differences with previous editions are relatively minor to account for for and experienced GM. For new players looking to be introduced to Glorantha, it is a superb book. To me it was always going to be a must have game, but I have been really positively surprised at what a joy it is to both play and run.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    An amazing game and setting

    Posted by Jay Steven Anyong on 24th Jul 2018

    The new RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha by Chaosium is an incredible product. Blessed with fantastic artwork, lovely layout and writing that could only come from the heart of someone who truly, absolutely loved the setting, reading RuneQuest was a heck of an experience. **Myths and Stories** RuneQuest’s setting of Glorantha has seen many incarnations and rightfully so. It’s a land that feels like a real myth, and the practices of the people in the land and their magics and beliefs are so grounded in what could have been that simply exploring that could fuel me for entire campaigns. It’s rare that I find a setting so well adapted to sandbox campaigns, where the point is to help your community see the next year with healthy children, a larger herd of cows and the blessings of your Gods. Gone are the traditional “Chosen One” and “Murderhobo” formats, replaced instead with the simple (but difficult) task of living. **As I Live And Breathe** Few settings are so well explored in terms of the daily lives of its denizens as Glorantha. I remember early on that I came to RuneQuest hoping that it could deliver the same sense of culture as Legend of the Five Rings. Now I find myself praying that the new edition of Legend of the Five Rings can relay their setting with the same care and attention to detail as Glorantha was presented in RuneQuest. Everything and everyone has a place and a role, and Adventurers are motivated and constrained by their role in their communities. It’s a beautiful social ecosystem that never feels contrived or made-up. And even in the absence of some world-shattering horror or Big Bad Evil Guy, there’s plenty to do. **The Rules** RuneQuest is a product of an older era of game design, and it shows. It’s not quick, easy or narrative. The rules don’t fade into the background as you play, and combat determines the smallest thing from where you hit to how much damage it does, and if it harm’s the target’s armor. I see a lot of slow combat and plenty of rules look ups early on and feel a great need to own a GM’s screen. And that suits me fine. RuneQuest is a stellar example of a game that knows what it wants to do. Combat is detailed because we’re playing out a simulation that is ugly, dirty, and likely to leave everyone injured. Magic is detailed, and full of requirements and considerations and options for ritual add-ons because you’re entreating spirits or gods to show you favor. The rules aren’t there to obscure the moment: they’re there to highlight it. So while I won’t reach for RuneQuest for Fast! Furious! Fun! I will use it when I want to tell a tale of heroes that reads like the Literary Epics rather than a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. **Downsides** Not everything is perfect though. RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is a fantastic product, but it does feel incomplete. Without a bestiary (a concern now addressed with the release of the book just a few days ago) the book itself is less of a complete experience. Also missing are chapters devoted to teaching people to run RuneQuest. While there is no shortage of inspiration, I had hoped that it would include more advice on how to start and what kind of adventures one could run for it. I’m approaching this review as a GM who has run all sorts of games so what might be obvious to me may be a concern to new GMs who picked up RuneQuest only to find that there wasn’t enough support for them right out of the gate. I know there’s a GM book in the works somewhere, but I wish that and the Bestiary came out at the same time if only to give the full experience. **Conclusion** RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is a glorious game, and much like reading the epics, is extremely rewarding if you sit down and put some effort into reading it. The rules are complex but fit together in the manner of a Swiss watch, and the setting only makes it even more impressive. It’s not fast, nor narrative, nor does it want to be. It knows it’s place, and doesn’t try to reach out to other spaces when it completely dominates at what it is. I would highly recommend it to GMs looking for a setting that can sandbox extremely well, has a wonderful sense of mythic realism, and isn’t intimidated by the reputation it has. Chaosium has wowed me consistently from day 1 with my experiences with Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, but RuneQuest is the one game that has knocked me off my feet and made me a believer. Get it, study it, and fall in love with it. I know I have. --- Thanks for reading my review. This is a fraction of a huge 10-article "Let's Study" review series on my blog that you can find over at There you'll find a breakdown of the contents and impressions of the major chapters of the book.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    My dream RPG, that I had no idea I wanted

    Posted by Ellie on 21st Jul 2018

    With well over 100 hours of playtime already with RQ:G, I can firmly say this is the best system I have ever played. Don't let RuneQuest's crunchy reputation hold you back. Combat is fast, fun and easy to learn. Narrative and combat loving players alike will have a great time with this one. The art is also coffee table book quality all on its own.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Extremely Well Done

    Posted by Eric Christian Berg on 11th Jul 2018

    The melding of setting and system is accomplished beautifully. The character creation system is a masterful way of introducing players to Glorantha and tying them into the world's history. Additionally, the accretion of skills and passions from life events, culture, profession, cult, and personal interest lead to a well-developed and multi-faceted character. Reading through the book has definitely left me wanting more. Looking forward to the Bestiary, Gods book, and GM resources.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    A triumphant return!

    Posted by Leonard O'Grady on 16th Jun 2018

    What can I say? This edition of Runequest is a seriously immersive return to the Bronze Age Myth-Making of Glorantha. Not finished reading yet, but what I have is clear and concise as one could expect from such an arcane and elaborate world. My only quibble is that the PDF itself is such a cumbersome beast and not given to quick flipping; Chaosium could look to Paizo's Lite PDFs for a way to tighten the reading experience.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    A new doorway to Gloranthia

    Posted by John Noad on 2nd Jun 2018

    Fantastic looking rule book, keeping enough of the older rules to be backwards compatible, whilst building on solid foundations to add more depth to the system. Can't wait for the slip case combo (with this, the bestiary & GMs book), although it does make me wonder where the Gloranthia sorce-book fits in, especially with the two volume guide to Gloranthia! My only grumble is the lack of any animals or monsters at all in the book - the game reads more like a players hand book than a complete system.