Roleplaying Game Review – RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha–Quickstart Rules and Adventure

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha—Quickstart Rules and Adventure
Publisher: Chaosium
Release Date: July 1, 2017

Just in time for Free RPG Day (which is tomorrow, June 17, 2017, at participating retailers!), the folks at Chaosium have given roleplayers the opportunity to visit Glorantha, the mystical land in which RuneQuest adventures take place. Whether you are new to the realm (like me) or a veteran pro, chances are you’ll enjoy perusing this new edition of the classic game’s rules and even partaking in the provided adventure as well.

If you are not familiar with Glorantha and RuneQuest, here is a brief description of the RPG, courtesy of Chaosium:

Welcome to Glorantha! A mythic world of mortals and gods, myths and cults, monsters and heroes. In Glorantha, the Runes permeate everything, and mastery of Runes allows astonishing feats of bravery and magic. Glorantha is an ancient world, and has known many ages, but now it is at the brink of the greatest conflict it has ever known…the Hero Wars.

Glorantha is the setting of RuneQuest, one of the oldest and most influential roleplaying games ever published. This Quickstart collects all the essential rules for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and presents them in abbreviated form. Use this booklet to start playing immediately, and to discover the improvements to the system. These game rules and a new adventure—The Broken Tower—preview the newest edition of RuneQuest, developed in close consultation with the designers and authors of the original RuneQuest and of Glorantha.

The Broken Tower, set in the heart of the Dragon Pass, is suitable for up to 5 adventurers and one gamemaster, complete with all the rules needed to play.

As an old hand of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, I consider myself to be a pretty decent judge of entertainment value when it comes to RPGs. As such, I can definitely say RuneQuest brings some nice newer elements to the table. These include different magical energies, such as spirit magic, which is the most common type of magic found in the land, and Rune magic, which is available only to members of specific cults/gods.

Another nice feature is the ability to put armor on and target specific body parts when attacking. This might have come about in later editions of D&D and Pathfinder, but I never ran across the options back in the day. RuneQuest includes these on the character sheets, which makes battling a much more immersive and intense action.

This Quickstart guide is an excellent introduction to the core rules and basic gameplay of the RPG. The information is presented in an easy-to-follow manner, and it covers every aspect potential gamemasters and players might need to know before playing. I had no problem getting started, and my players quickly learned most everything they needed to get the adventure going. At the conclusion, the general consensus among our group was that this RPG is a lot of fun and worth more time investment.

The included adventure, The Broken Tower, is pretty basic, but fun nonetheless. It utilizes pre-generated characters, which threw me for a loop at first because I thought using them might make the adventure a bit lopsided. Thankfully, they were not super-powerful characters, just random folks that might appear as NPCs (non-player characters) in the game elsewhere.

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha—Quickstart Rules and Adventure is a huge win for me, and I suggest giving it a look. If you’re new to RPGs, then snag this Quickstart and dive right in; you’re sure to have a great time. If you’re already schooled with other RPGs, still give this one a chance; it might just surprise you.

The RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha—Quickstart Rules and Adventure will be available for FREE at participating retailers (visit to find stores near you) tomorrow for Free RPG Day. Otherwise, the book will be available from the Chaosium website (link above) on July 1, 2017, in both a physical and PDF format.


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