[Runequest] Spirit combat - lots and lots and lots of questions.

Wayne Shaw shaw at caprica.com
Wed Aug 19 02:29:54 EST 2009

>Now I've had a long running campaign and my lack of understanding 
>here is starting to become more apparent.  I think I *must* be doing 
>it wrong (because spirit combat seems really lopsided - either 
>nearly trivial or super-lethal), and would appreciate some advice / 
>answers from the assembled worthies.  We're using RQ3, but I have 
>lots and lots of house rules so don't be afraid to offer something 
>that works regardless of system.  I've tried to break these piles of 
>questions into general groups.
>1) RQ3 says a spirit has to materialize to attack a mundane creature 
>(ie a character), and this takes a round.  Does that mean that 
>essentially the players get a free round of swinging at it while 
>it's materializing?  What are it's hp in material form?  It seems 
>that if we postulate that it's MP are it's HP, spirits will never 
>really successfully attack ANYTHING, since they have no armor and a 
>couple of decent sword whacks by any schlub will put paid to even a 
>strong 16POW spirit.  Further, this just seems odd, since my 
>conceptualization of spirits would be that thwhacking at them with 
>swords and clubs seems like it shouldn't affect them at all.

My understanding was "materialize" is a bad choice of term here (and 
I realize its in the book, but that's still true).  In most spirits 
cases, that seems to just be "drop down from the spirit plane to the 
mundane" and doesn't otherwise change their properties (the exception 
here being elementals, but there may be a few other odd cases).  Most 
"materialized" spirits aren't any more vulnerable to physical attack 
than they ever were.

>2) As I understand it, spirit combat in its most basic form is MP vs 
>MP for the success chance, a success draining 1d3 mp from the 
>target.  Both the attacker and defender roll simultaneously, the 
>effects to each are applied before the next 'round'.  Both sides 
>keep it up until one or the other is drained of MP.  Each round, the 
>'success chance' for each opponent is recalculated.   How fast does 
>this occur?  Does each "round" of spirit combat take the same time 
>as a "round" of melee?  Do the


>  drained MP actually go away, or is that just a handy mechanic to 
> use to measure resistance to possession?  I'd presume you use 
> current MP, but that would have the

They actually go away.  They're spiritual "wounds".

>contrarian effect of making heavy magic-users MORE vulnerable to 
>spirits, because they'd be spending their MP.  It seems odd that 
>Gandalf, exhausted from casting a

Yes, they are more vulnerable if they're using their own magic points.

>bunch of spells (and down to a handful of MP), could be be easily 
>possessed by some puny POW 12 ghost passing by.  What about disease 
>spirits, who 'attack' a targets stat (like CON), do they then still 
>burn MP away?  That would seem odd, too.

Its no more odd than the fact he's more vulnerable to other magical 
attack.  That's just been one of the premises of the RQ magic system 
from day one.  And I'd have to look up the odd spirits (like disease 
spirits and the like) but I believe they still impact magic points 
(might be misremembering this one though; its been a long time).

>3) How fast does a spirit move?  If they have to incorporate to 
>attack, are they considered flying while corporeal?  Can you really 
>'run away' from a spirit attack?  What if

I believe its supposed to be something like POW x 10m SR if I'm 
recalling correctly (it might be that per round instead; either way, 
its bloody fast enough nothing not another spirit is going to 
successfully run away).

>you're on a horse or something else fast?  What other physical 
>actions can a character perform while they are in spirit combat?  In 
>the sense of '2 actions per character, attack, parry, or dodge' 
>system, would we consider 'make a spirit attack' as one of 
>them?  Could they, for example, make a spirit attack and dodge a 
>spear?  Are there

Yes, its treated as an attack action.

>any modifiers to spirit attack success?  I can't imagine physical 
>position would batter (ie attacking from above/behind) but what 
>about target sleeping?  Befuddled?  Demoralized?

Other than Spirit Shield, nothing standard effects it (there's 
probably some odd specialty spirit or divine spells somewhere).

>4) can someone else help someone resist a spirit attack?  My 
>understanding is that only spirits and shaman's fetches can initiate 
>spirit combat, so by my ruling, no, another mundane character 
>COULDN'T 'attack' an attacking spirit, they can only get involved 
>when a spirit attacks them first.

That's correct.

>5) a disease spirit, do they just 'carry' the disease, or are they 
>ACTUALLY the disease (ie if they possess someone, they get the 
>disease, but what if the spirit leaves to attack someone else?  Does 
>the first victim still have the disease?)

If I'm recalling those, they effective are the disease, as you say.

>6) if a character dies, what happens to his allied spirit?  Does it 
>go away too?  Does it (if in combat) continue to fight to help their 
>master's group in hopes that maybe their master could be 
>saved/rezzed?  What if it's in an inanimate object like a storm 
>bull's helmet?  In this example, what in particular would a Humakt 
>spirit do - rezzing being prohibited by prior geas?

There's no guidance on this subject that I know of.

>7) Rune Lords and Priests can cast spells through their allied 
>spirits, who are intelligent.  I'd presume that this means that each 
>- the Rune Lord and the spirit - get to declare independent actions 
>for the upcoming round.  Could they both cast the same spell in the 
>same round?  If the RL casts a spell 'through' the spirit, does this use


>the spirit's action for that round too?  Can the allied spirit cast 
>the whole repertoire of the character's spells?  What if the 
>character is unconscious?  Dead?  Divine magic

That goes back to what happens to the relationship between the allied 
spirit and the owner when the character dies, and is similarly 
undefined.  The owner being unconscious should be irrelevant though.

>too?  Does it matter whether the allied spirit's INT is 'holding' 
>the spell or the character for any reason?  What if the allied 
>spirit's inhabited body gets obliterated? (I'm thinking about a 
>Chalana Arroy priestess with a butterfly who walks through a warding 
>spell...zzzt, dead butterfly, no?)

Spirit gets punted back up to the spirit plane, so until she can get 
back to the temple and get it reembodied its out of play.  Always the 
risk with the mobile, familiar-style allieds that you get for their 
ability to operate more or less independently.

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