Quick and Easy NPCs for Runequest Glorantha

Runequest Glorantha is out, and it’s the most beautiful RPG book I’ve ever seen! https://www.chaosium.com/runequest-glorantha/

I con’ believe I’ve never gotten into Runequest before now. I’ve always been aware of it, even had a copy of Legend and Mongoose Runequest for awhile. I liked MRQ okay, but it didn’t compel me like RQG does.

Making characters can be a little time-consuming, though, which means it takes time to populate a whole village of NPCs. Here are the quick-and-easy rules I came up with for making NPCs.


Roll for Characteristics. Re-roll or swap as desired.

Calculate Attributes. Formulas are on RQG pg. 54.

Assign Rune Affinities. Choose three Elemental Runes at 60%, 40%, and 20% (with the remaining Elemental Runes at 0%), and may choose two Power or Form Runes at 75% (with the opposing Rune reduced to 25%). Ignore Rune modifiers to Attributes.

For Skills, NPCs will use a variant on the Skill Pyramid from here: https://www.maranci.net/skill.htm . So, one Skill at 70%, two Skills at 60%, three at 50%, four at 40%, five at 30%. We’ll ignore anything at less than 30% as more or less meaningless; the NPC will only have the Base Skill Rate there.
So: 70% x1, 60% x2, 50% x3, 40% x4.
The big list of Skills is on RQG pg. 61.

Ignore languages. The NPC can speak their native language at 70%, Tradetalk at 50%, and one additional language at INT 13, and 1 more for each 2 thereafter, at 25%. They are literate if it makes sense for them to be, at half their spoken language percentage.

Choose Homeland, Occupation, and Cult. Record Skill modifiers, and starting equipment.

Choose three Passions, at 70%, 50%, and 30%.

Ignore Family Background. Use the optional rule on RQG pg. 29.

Rune Magic: Most characters don’t know that much Rune Magic, compared to PCs. For most characters, choose three common and two other Rune spells. Rune Priests, Rune Masters, and so on may know more, as the GM chooses.

Common Rune Spells: Command Cult Spirit (2 pts.), Dismiss Magic (1 pt.), Divination (1 pt.), Extension (1 pt.), Find Enemy (1 pt.), Heal Wound (1 pt.), Multispell (1 pt.), Sanctify (1 pt.), Soul Sight (1 pt.), Spirit Block (1 pt.), Summon Cult Spirit (1–3 pts.), Warding (1 pt.).

NPCs will typically start with 2d% Lunars in coinage if free, 1d10L if non-free, and 1d1000L if noble. Add 3 additional pieces of equipment. Only named and vitally important NPCs may roll for a family heirloom.

All of these are only rules of thumb, and may be increased or decreased as needed.

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