Since its release in 2018, Chaosium’s new edition of RuneQuest has accrued a small, but notable, number of licensed game aids. Wooden trackers for strike ranks or hit points, a variety of miniatures, and most of all, dice.
Q Workshop—known for its decorative dice for many different roleplaying games—produces a line of dice for RuneQuest which, no joke, changed how I gamemaster. The face of each die is marked with one of the game’s eponymous Runes. For example, the D6’s faces have small Water, Earth, Moon, Fire/Sky, Air, and Darkness Runes on each of the die’s faces, from one to six.
What makes these Runes so useful for me?
They help me with improvisation. When my players surprise me (inevitable, really), when I don’t know anything about a non-player character, when I’m not sure what happens next—I “throw the Runes.” Most often, I roll the D6 and the D8. This nets me an Elemental Rune and a Power Rune. Together, these act like a writing prompt, helping prod my imagination toward a single direction. When trying to improvise, I often freeze up; Q Workshop’s dice for RuneQuest help me avoid that.
To give a quick example, I just rolled those dice, and rolled a Water Rune, and a Harmony Rune. For meeting a non-player character in a tavern, I would interpret this as, perhaps, a poor, peaceable fisher down on their luck. Or maybe a talking turtle-spirit who needs the players’ help out in the wilds. Or maybe our next adventure is that the ocean gods are angry, and the players must negotiate peace between the sea and a coastal city (perhaps Corflu? perhaps the Triolini are angry at Queen Samastina, in Nochet?). The Runes help jump-start this creative process.
That’s not to say that these dice will make improvisation happen in Glorantha overnight. I do find my knowledge of the setting helps with interpreting the dice. They just point me in useful directions. For newer gamemasters, though, this method can definitely be of use with the description of the Runes and their associations on pages 48–50 of the RuneQuest core rules. Need a sense when trying to describe a scene, or to provide a clue about a mystery? Toss the D6, and draw on each Rune’s described perception (Air leads to smell, Darkness leads to sounds, etc.).
They really have changed how I improvise during play. You can purchase Q Workshop’s dice for RuneQuest here.
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