Sever Spirit

This spell was mentioned on page 18 of the Gamemaster Book (RQIII AH version) but was never published in the Magic Book. Details are transcribed from Heroes Magazine Vol 1 No 6 . Republished here as a service to RuneQuesters who do not have access to the magazine in question.

Avalon Hill Heroes Magazine. volume 1 Number 6 cover

Sever Spirit

3 points
Instant, non-stackable, reusable
War God

This spell acts as a sword to cut the bond between body and spirit of the target. The user must make a successful magic points verses magic points roll. If successful, the target dies. If unsuccessful, the target takes 1D6 damage to his general hit points, with effects similar to poison damage.

Moon Spear

A cult spell for the Moon Goddess. May her radiant face shine upon us.

Moon Spear

3 Points
Instant, Nonstackable, Reusable
Moon Goddess

This spell works only when the moon is directly visible. When cast, an icy moonbeam freezes one caster-designated target.

The target must be visible to the caster and the moon must be in plain sight of the target. Without needing to overcome magic points, a 1-metre-diameter cylinder of damage descends on the target.

very living thing within the circle receives 1D6 damage per quarter phase of the moon. Hence 4D6 for full moon, 3D6 for three quarter moon etc. Only soft leather or cloth armour will protect against this damage; spells are ineffective. The number of moons visible and whether the same goddess has influence over them will further sway damage. Thus is two moons are full, visible and influenced by the same goddess, damage could potentially be 8D6.

Moonspear was initially published II September MMIV

Battle Blade / Battle Club

Makes a weapon look and handle as if it were of superior material and craftsmanship.

Battle Blade (Battle Club)

2 Points
Instant, stackable, reusable
War God

This spell must be cast on a melee weapon and will only last so long as the caster is holding the weapon. Battle blade will make the weapon look and behave as if it were made of an immediately superior material and quality. Thus a bronze gladius of good quality would behave as if I were an iron sword of excellent quality.

The weapons AP are adjusted to match the new quality for so long as the spell runs. AP lost only transfer to the weapons normal AP when the spells wears off if its original AP value was breached. Thus a bronze gladius with 10 normal AP which took on AP of 12 for the duration of the spell would: •Revert to 10 if 0, 1 or two AP were lost.
•Revert to 9 if 3 AP were lost, 8 if 4 AP lost etc.

Additional quality is simulated through an additional +5% to attack and parry rolls per 2 magic points spent. Superior material is simulated through an additional +1 point of damage per 2 magic points spent.

This spell was originally published XII October MMVI

Attract Missile

This spell is detailed in Sandy Petersen’s The Big Hit adventure published in Heroes Magazine Vol 1 No 6. Republished here as a service to fellow RuneQuesters who do not have access to the magazine in question.

The death of King Harold

Attract Missile

Passive, temporal

If the caster overcomes the target’s magic points, this spell causes the next missile aimed at the target, or anyone touching the target, to strike the target. An individual standing between the target and a missile-user may be struck by happenstance. Even a missile that would normally miss will strike the target. Fumbles are determined normally.

Each additional point of Intensity increases the number of missiles drawn to the target by 1. Thus, if a target were hit by an Intensity 7 Attract Missiles spell, the next 7 missiles fired at him, or anyone touching him, will strike him. The spell has no effect on melee weapons.

Art from The Big Hit – Avalon Hill Heroes Magazine, Volume 1 number 6

Illium Cromia

Illium Cromia is an island with an ancient and powerful civilisation. Forming part of the Western Isles, its once invincible legions conquered most of North Western Gaia. Now, centuries later, many a Dalatian, Slavinian and Aquatinian can trace their roots back to the Island.


This is not Troy, Illium was just a nice sounding name for the Isle of Cromia.


The largest and most densely populated island of the group simply known as the Western Isles, it is also situated far south of the other major islands. Indeed if Illium Cromia were any more distant it would not have een considered as part of the island chain.

Illium Cromia is also separated from the path that the submerged mountains, which form the rest f the island chain, follow. Cromia is unique in that its origins are volcanic, vis-à-vis, it is not formed from the peak of a submerged mountain thrust from the ocean by the tremendous pressures caused by tectonic movement. Being volcanic, is not only an older island, but is also growing relatively faster than the other main islands in the group: Valatia and Fornudia.

The volcanic origin of this island has led to it being a virtual paradise in places, with much of it covered in thick forests, which have risen from rich volcanic soil. Verily the only places on the island that are not covered in ancient deciduous forests are the areas where volcanoes are still active and lowland areas, which are the home to vast green meadows of various grasses and grain. The lowlands make for excellent farming and a large part of is cultivated, producing a wide variety of crops.


Due to its relatively remote situation off the coast of Gaia, favourable currents, warm climate and fertile soil, the people of Illium Cromia have never been lacking for food. Crops which practically raise themselves allow for hands to be employed in other occupations. Time that would otherwise be spent trying to survive from day to day could be spent on other activities, such as art, philosophy, invention and war. As such, Illium Cromia fast became a cradle of civilisation in the northern hemisphere. Over time the various tribes on the mainly human populated island were able to settle their differences.

Chieftains from the most powerful tribes set up a council that met annually to settle disputes. Ianjoora, a small town on the southern coast with no real value, was chosen as a neutral place to meet. As the decades wore on and the island prospered, a growing population demanded more of the council. Tribal leaders were replaced by representatives of burgeoning city states. The city states had their own agendas and were often in competition with each other.

Eventually, in order to preserve peace between the major city states, the council took a decision to disband in favour of establishing a formal government to whom the city states would answer. The government was first known as the Cromian Conference, after the extensive and turbulent talks which were common in its first few years.

Ianjoora had grown over the years and grew further when the Cromian Conference decided to govern from there. The Conference most notable improvement in structure over the old tribal council was to include a mix of representatives from the six provinces – thereby allowing fair representation for all the cities – as well as merchants, priests, guild masters and military within its ranks. Together they took an oath to strive for the betterment of Illium Cromia. Thus was the Cromian Confederation was born.


The Cromian military developed mainly from a need for an engineering corps. As the once barbaric population of the island slowly became civilised, warrior types found work as city guards and such. Each city had its own idea of what was required of its guard, different uniforms, styles of armour, weapons and pay. Local efforts to better city infrastructure were made, including the building of roads and bridges within their sphere of influence. Roads outside cities surrounds were non-existent however, making inter city travel an arduous affair.

One of the last big changes made by the council was to establish a central engineering corps. The Engineers Corps was tasked with formalising road links between the cities. As time passed, the engineering corps gained prestige. They were seen to be doing things, erecting marvelous viaducts and aqueducts to link the major cities together with stone roads.

With the advent of roads came the requirement for policing of the roads from bandits and wild animals. The corpse expanded its activities to include special policing units. Their splendid uniform and superior pay soon had many city guards transferring to them. The police units ranks swelled. The corpse enjoyed a large degree of popularity as a result. Being a member meant prestige, both to the member and his family.

It came to be that during the formative years of the Conference, the city state of Thejora, being by far the most powerful and feeling that the government was not acting in their interests, announced that it was not interested in being part of the Cromian Confederation. Relations between the Confederation and Thejora deteriorated rapidly and war erupted between the powerful city and the Confederation. Cities were hesitant to allocate their forces to the government, fearing that they would be left with no means of defense should the Thejoran army turn their way.

The only alternative was to make use of the engineering corps police. After a few skirmishes, a combined force of engineer corps police and city state guards defeated the Thejoran army at Etra, in the Agripinian province. A settlement was reached between the Confederation and Thejora, resulting in Thejora joining the Confederation.

As a result of the war, military representatives (being city guard captains and the chief of the engineering corps police), insisted on the formation of a standing army. The corps police were reinvented as the First Cromian Legion, taking a crossed pick and spade as their standard, a reminder of their engineering heritage. They also retained their blue uniforms and plate armour as opposed to subsequent legions who were issued scale armour and had green uniforms.

Seven legions were established in all, one garrisoned in each province while the First legion continued its duties of policing the extensive road network which eventually linked all the cities.


Having mercantile and military representation in government proved to be a big step for the Cromians. Eager to open new trade with neighbouring islands and the Gaian mainland, with whom there had previously been little contact, small vessels made their tentative way to foreign lands. While most trade envoys were warmly received and firm routes established, there were always exceptions. Shipyards came into being (notably along the coast of heavily forested Mungar Province) to meet the demand for bigger, faster and more seaworthy trading vessels started to receive orders from the military.

Illium Cromia used to be a far bigger island. Some five hundred years before, the island extended seventy kilometres further south west. A huge volcano, whose legendary eruptions would send earthquakes through the island and cause tidal waves along the coast of Gaia, marked the furthest extent of the island. Due to the volcanoes temperous nature, the population of that part of the island was minimal. This was fortunate, for one fatal night, Mount Kralium as it was known, bellowed outs its defiance to the world for a last time. Vast clouds of superheated rock and ash were spewed high into the atmosphere, while its slopes came alive with rivers of molten lava. Sometime near dawn Mount Kralium collapsed in on itself cracking the earth as it did so, to allow the oceans water to rush in.

The resulting explosion has become a part of legend, passed down from Cromian father to son. The earth shook with such force that whole buildings fell to the ground, galleys sunk in the harbour and a huge wave swept along the coast, washing away whole villages. Thousands died that night, not all of the Cromian for the resulting tidal waves had ravaged the coasts of all the western isles as well as western Gaia.

Within a day of the disaster, Cromian legions were marching west, while its navy, still reeling from the swath of destruction the wave had cut through its galleys, was working throughout night and day to sail west. What they found when they got there was so horrifying that some witnesses were driven mad. A whole piece of Illium Cromia had disappeared beneath the waves, hundreds of leagues of land had simply vanished overnight. The land that remained, between where Mount Kralium had stood and the Whitestone Hills had been seared clean of any life. Not a blade of grass or a buzzing insect remained.

In the five hundred years that followed, life would slowly return to what became known as the scoured lands. Yet the lands remain windblown, inhospitable and still for the most part, blackened rock with only the occasional clump of grass or low stand of stunted trees. The only sign of civilisation is Fort Kralium, erected in the coast to defend against any landing by Valatian forces.

The death of Mount Kralium has a resounding impact upon Illium Cromia. Until then, the isles navy and legions had held sway over the western isles and much of the Gaian seaboard. With its navy all but destroyed by the tidal waves, the isles remaining galleys were overwhelmed by those of the Valatian navy. The change of power was swift and had far-reaching effects.

Until then Illium Cromia had enjoyed dominance in the area for centuries. Trade and technology exchange with the Gissian Empire had provided them with far superior galleys, tactics and methods of arming their legions. As a result, their navy had never seen defeat against Valatia. As time went by, Cromia’s sons began to colonise Gaia, in what is now knows as Southern Dalatia and Slavinia while Valatia was blockaded, receiving little new technology. Envy grew to enmity which grew to hatred.

Subsequent to the Mount Kralium disaster the whole balance of power in the isles changed. While Forundis remained more or less neutral, the Valatians seized the opportunity handed to them and turned the tables on Cromia. Some disastrous attempts to invade and conquer Cromia followed. Numerous battles followed wherein the Cromian legions prevailed, but at a terrible cost. The loss of life was so great that some cities devastated during the war were abandoned and a whole portion or north eastern Cromia, where many of the battles took place, reverted to the wild as the populace was too diminished to tend the land.

Illium Cromia was first detailed on IX May MMIII

An old map of Illium Cromia

Bridge Trolls

A slightly whimsical look at an alternate type of troll to the standard (cave) trolls found on Gæa.

Trolls on Gæa

The trolls of Gæa are secretive creatures who have a tendency to dwell deep in rocky mountains although on rare occasions, they can be encountered in other terrain. Little is known about their behaviour, mostly due to the fact that anyone attempting to engage in a study on the subject finds themselves eaten in relatively short order. There is only one kind of troll on Gæa, which for game purposes, is the cave troll from the RuneQuest monster book.

Other types of troll such as mistress race, dark, trollkin etc are endemic to Glorantha, which is not Gæa.


Too cool not to share. Bridge Troll by Gido @ Deviant Art

No one is aware how the bridge troll phenomenon started. Trolls being dim-witted creatures at best are usually unable to comprehend even the simplest of barter concepts. It would appear that sometime in the distant past a troll settled at the site of a bridge in order to avail itself of the easy pickings to be had in the form of travellers who wished to cross the bridge.

Trolls, being lazy beasts are want to settle near a reliable source of food. What is strange from this case was that somehow, over time, the troll was able to curb its appetite and learn to barter for passage over the bridge. Perhaps it was the innate troll laziness which allows it to identify with the benefits of not having to catch its food. Over time, other trolls of above average intelligence learned of the benefits of being a bridge troll and sought out to take up residence at other bridges.

While the benefits of being a bridge troll are relatively obvious, there are also some drawbacks. At times, prospective bridge trolls have met with untimely death through, inter alia:

  • Taking up residence on a bridge too close to human or orc territory with the result of the local residents setting about slaying the troll.
  • Attempting to build their own bridges with disastrous consequences.
  • Losing their place to a stronger bridge troll.
  • Starving after taking up residence at a disused backwater bridge. This is either through stubbornness, or just plain stupidity.

Bridge trolls are further noteworthy insofar as some have actually, although very rarely, been able to construct rudimentary yet strong bridges. Of further note is the fact that some have learned to band together for mutual benefit – unheard of for normal trolls and still very rare for bridge trolls. Some bridge trolls have even gone so far as to set up working ferries across broad rivers.

Where one will be likely to encounter a bridge troll

Bridge trolls are unlikely to be encountered within proximity to lands which are more than sparsely inhabited by orcs or humans as the inhabitants of these lands will usually drive them out. Even so, there is a small chance of coming across a troll bridge in such lands in areas or times where there has been little presence of any local warriors.

Troll bridges are more common in the wilds and on backwater roads with little traffic. Areas where there is a above average population of normal trolls usually have an inverse population of bridge trolls. It is assumed from this observation that normal trolls and bridge trolls do not get along well.

What to do when you come across a troll bridge

Most importantly, have something – preferably a decent supply of food – to barter. If one does not have food to barter, remembering of course that food to trolls is basically anything meaty, one may:

  • Try to barter something else.
  • Run away.
  • Try to discuss the matter with the troll in a fast talk kind of way (discouraged).
  • Try to fight the troll (also discouraged, unless one has brought a reliable number of warrior friends along).
  • Mosey along and hope to find a crossing elsewhere.

The World

An overview of the world of Gæa.

The world map is bound to change a lot as continent shapes have been drawn from memory and only three continents currently have names.

Gæa circles a yellow sun, slightly larger than the earth’s own sun. In size, Gæa is larger than the earth but temperatures are much the same due to it orbiting a bit further away from the large sun.

Gæa spins on its own axis much like earth, although at a slightly faster rate. The faster rate of spin and larger size combine to allow a day length comparible to those of earth.

As such, a Gæan year is 427 days long and is split into 13 months, most or which have 33 days. The number of days per week differ between cultures.

Due to the length of the year, many cultures have adopted a concept of six seasons, where the Summer and Winter are of such length that they are divided into two sections each, First Summer – from the end of Spring to Mid Summer, Second Summer – from Mid Summer to Autumn. The same would apply to Winter.

Gæa has two moons, a shiny white moon which orbits nearby and affects the tides and seasonal cycles, and a dark moon, which appears as a small surly green globe on the horizon if it is seen at all. Its orbit is further out than the yellow moon and is also elliptical. Thus the green moon is invisible for most of the time. Many believe that its cycle has an affect on the spirit plain and can be used to channel magic.

A modern world map
An ancient world map attempt

Life in the Empire

Class structure among the Lizard Men.

Class Structure

The inception of the alliance of primitive gissian tribes, which would eventually knit together to build a vast empire, resulted in certain thought processes becoming engraned into the culture of the lizard men. The very nature of the first alliance resulted in an “us and them” class division. The tribes who joined the alliance began to benefit from the pooling resources and, in time, the giss who had stayed apart realised that the grass was indeed greener on the other side. Initial petitions by Jarak (outsider) tribes to join were granted but, as time went by, the population began to grow too fast. Surplus giss resulted in the first fights over food and other resources since the alliance began.

Jarak tribes were no longer welcomed and over time, the term grew to encompass any non alliance member, giss or otherwise. The giss had begun the climb to civilization. The tribes had become houses, each of whom belonged to the Gissian Federation. Each house supplied young giss to serve in the defense and administration of the federation. As borders expanded, it became apparent that the houses could not supply enough giss to meet the expanded administrative needs of the federation. New laws were passed, allowing for individual Jarak to become citizens of the federation upon application. In order to gain their citizenship, they had to serve a term of duty in the service of the federation. By this time, the giss had been in contact with the humans from the north and a human word was coined for these non-house citizens – the Foederati.

Another concept which the giss inherited from their human neighbors was that of slavery. The giss had long followed a strict, yet simple, code of law. If anyone acted to place themselves outside the law, punishment would be severe and in most cases, deadly. As time progressed, the concepts of lenience and lesser punishment for lesser offences made its way into gissian law. Lesser criminals were given the opportunity to repay society for their offences. Stripped of any rank, they were named as slaves and forced to work for the federation until their debts had been repaid. Later on the concept of selling slaves became more common and a slave industry developed. As the demand for slaves grew, raids into neighboring lands became common. These raids were often followed by wars of retaliation and once again, new legislation was drafted. Only criminals could become slaves. These criminals included prisoners taken from any enemy the federation was at war with. Slaves who had paid off their debts or had been freed via some other mechanism became Jarak. The children of slaves were born as Jarak, to all intents and purposes, free.

Thus a four tier class system became entrenched within the federation and later the empire. On top are the Kaderasti, those born to or who had been accepted into one of the great houses. The emperor, ranking officers, officials and senators are all Kaderasti. Next are the Foederati, citizens who may hold land and who had served the federation and empire, yet had not joined a great house. Although freemen (freegiss), the Jarak are lowly and may not own land. In certain times, they have been hated and persecuted. Last come the slaves. So low that they may not even entertain the idea of joining the Jarak auxiliaries in the legion. Giss despise slaves as the lowest form of life. an old Giss proverb recounts “Better it is to die than a parasite be,” referring to preying on ones own kind like a criminal. Slaves and criminals are equated as one in Gissian culture.

The Great Houses

The great houses are not simply what the tribes became over centuries: Lizard men are ovoviviparous and the females usually give birth to a brood numbering anything from one to nine infants. The female will usually care for its young for a few weeks before they are placed in a nursery with other young, pooling their resources to find food and protect the young from danger. This is still the practice among the primitive Jarak giss who inhabit the jungles and islands off the southern coast of Araktor. Among the civilized giss, these nurseries later became the basis for a clan, where youngsters raised within the nursery usually remained together, until they matured. It became the custom for females who reached maturity to leave their birth clan and seek another clan to join. Young that were born to a clan nursery inherited the maternal clan name, vis-a-vis the name of the clan who had accepted their mother, not that of her birth clan. Thus, even though the father may have belonged to a different can, the young would belong to their mothers clan. Over time, the riverside nursery pool of the clan was replaced by an enclosed nursery house. The word clan fell out of use, as giss would ask each other in which nursery house they were raised, and later on, which house they belonged to. As adults, some male giss change their house allegiances, although most will stay with their birth house. Very rarely will a female remain with her birth house. In the cases where this happens, it is usually because no male child has been born to their mother.

As the empire grew, so too did the wealth and honor of certain houses, so that today there are some extremely powerful and ancient houses. Pride in ones house is the backbone of gissian society, no matter whether born or adopted by ones house. The head giss of the most powerful house is usually the most influential giss in the senate, which in most cases ensures that he or she is emperor or at least that the emperor is of the same house.

Currently house Udrak rules the senate, but the emperor is old and his house is weakening. Before them, house Glanhas was the most powerful house for over two centuries, until Mimbrus I lost the sword of Gorgoth, causing house Glanhas to loose its honor and with it, its influence.

Welcome to Araktor

A geographic introduction to Araktor, the continental home of the Onyx Empire.

Araktor is a large continent which straddles the Gæa’s equator. Situated to the South-East of Gæa (the continent), Araktor’s northern most tip is only a few degrees in latitude south of the Wika-Waka wetlands, Gæa’s southern most point. It is a warm continent covered for the moist part by lush grassland, forest and jungle, bar an arid lowland region which spans much of the north west “horn”.

The equator bisects Araktor a few degrees south of its widest point. As such, much of the area it lies across is highland terrain, including the towering Cimmerii Cloud peaks. As a result, the vegetation is mostly very dense forest with only small tracks of equatorial jungle near the coast. Further south, once the highland plateau drops off, the vegetation rapidly becomes a dense, impenetrable jungle. The land to the north of the equator is separated into two “horns” by the Tranquil Bay, so named for its glassy waters, calm air and lack of storms. The two horns could not be more different. In the east, the dense forests from the equatorial highlands continue, gradually changing from the evergreen hardwoods further south to deciduous hardwoods the further north one travels. The woodlands north of Lake Kyror are all deciduous and are the last place left on Araktor where elves can be found.

The western horn is very different. The highlands north of the Cimmerii Cloud peaks continue for some time before an escarpment is reached. A great rift valley extends from the escarpment to Water Town, in the far north. If the valley were any lower and if the range of hills along the Tranquil Bay were not present, the land would have been sea bottom. The climate of the valley is hot. The hills to the west and highlands to the south and east block all but the most persistent rain clouds from bringing their moisture to the interior. Certain areas still support the fragile grassland that once covered lowlands, but in the most part, it is desert, some natural, other man/giss made.

The warm jungles of the south are the ancestral home of Lizard Men, a race of intelligent bipedal lizards who, over many centuries, have carved a vast empire, spanning the entire continent of Araktor as well as parts of Gæa and Vasniss.

This article was last updated XX August MMII

Ancient map of Araktor

Sabre Toothed Tiger, (Smilodon Populator)

A ferocious predator from the ice age. Once again a creature I designed long before realising it had stats in the Glorantha Bestiary. However Earth and Gæa are not Gloratha and the tiger’s stats differ considerably.

Artist Unknown

Sabre toothed tigers grow to roughly the size of an adult tiger or lion. They have shorter legs and are much heavier set however. Tawny brown with faint black striping in colour, their most prominent feature is their oversized canine teeth, which can be up to 40 centimetres long.

Like normal tigers, sabre toothed tigers prefer to hunt by ambush, but may stalk prey on occasion. They will also consume relatively fresh carrion. Preferring colder climes, their range includes grassland, wooded areas and rocky areas, such as hills and mountains. On rare occasions, one may be encountered is more arid regions and light jungle.

They are greatly feared creatures and are very proud of the fact. A challenge will be met in most occasions, unless the tiger is nursing cubs or otherwise occupied in a more important activity.

Last updated MMVI July MMII

Sabre Toothed Tiger

STR6D6 + 1033-37Move 8
CON3D6 + 615-18Hit Points 27
SIZ4D6 + 1529Fatigue 46
DEX3D6 + 314-15
Hit LocationMelee (D20)Missile (D20)Points
RH Leg01-0201-023/7
LH Leg03-0403-043/7
Hind Q05-0705-093/10
Fore Q08-1010-143/10
RF Leg11-1315-163/7
LF Leg14-1617-183/7
WeaponSRAttack %Damage
Bite830 + 151D12 + 2D8
Claw550 + 121D8 + 2D6
Rip5802D8 + 2D6

Note: A sabre toothed tiger gets one bite and two simultaneous claws each round. The bite hits 3 strike ranks after the claws. If both claws hit, the tiger will hang on and rip with its hind claws on the next round, while continuing to bite. Should the tiger obtain a special success with its bite, it will impale its victim due to the length of its canines. Once impaled, the victim will have to attempt to break free as the tiger will hold on until the victim perishes.
Skills: Dodge 40 + 1, Scent 50, Hide 70-5, Jump 55 + 3, Sneak 80-10.
Armour: 3 point skin.