Runequest Bonus Content - Magical Special Maneuvers!

Clint Staples

So while planning and writing my post for Runequest Thursday tomorrow, I realized that I needed to preface it with something that I 'house-ruled' in my game. It has to do with Special Maneuvers in Combat.


The art for this post is by the awesomely talented Y-mir.

In Runequest 6, or the Legend RPG, there are 'Special Maneuvers' things you can do when you succeed at a task exceptionally well. They replace the simpler expedient of previous editions, which allowed what was called variously an 'Impale' or a 'Special' and increased weapon damage by some degree. Special Maneuvers provide a short but evocative list of Maneuvers for attackers and for Parrying, that allow you to do extras, or extra well, if you succeed by a margin of success over your opponent [essentially getting a special or critical hit, when you opponent gets a lesser result on an opposing roll]. The greater the margin of success, the more Special Maneuvers, or the better the Maneuver you can choose.


To give you an example, with a single margin of success, you could inflict a Bleeding wound with a slashing weapon, or make a bonus Trip attack against your target. If you had two margins, or more, you could do both of the above or others from the list. Some require a critical success to access - Maneuvers like Maximize Damage or Choose Location.


OK, back to my Brightwater Saga RQ game.


All of my players have at least a smattering of magical skill. Several are cultists, who have gained magic from their gods for their devotions. One is a sorcerer [which is one of the reasons I worked out 'A New Sorcery': go ahead and read that, then come on back here. I'll wait], and the other is a shaman.


The long and the short of it is that some of the players started asking if there were any Special Maneuvers for Spellcasting. Always up for a rules hack, I provided some, with enthusiatic and helpful input of my players. The result is below.


Note: Use it at your own risk. It has not been fully playtested [we are doing that as we go], but it does seem to be working so far. Not all are appropriate in every situation, but some are, so there is always at least one or two available. I have been toying with the idea of defensive maneuvers for those times when a character resists a spellcaster's attack with a Margin of Success. 


Magical Special Maneuvers and Criticals [Choose 1 Special per degree of success, Critical to access Critical Hit Only]: If you have sufficient Margin of Success, you may choose the same maneuver more than once.


  • Reduce the POW cost of a spell by 1d4 [Minimum 0 POW].
  • Increase the level of effect by 1d2 Levels of effect, or 50% in duration. 
  • Roll Effect dice twice, choose one result.
  • Disarm opponent as the Combat Manuever [only with direct damage effect].
  • Damage Weapon, as the Combat Maneuver [only with direct damage effect].
  • Bestow or inflict spell effect on an additional target at no POW cost. Must overcome POW again, if necessary [Critical only].
  • Roll damage, then you may Maximize one die of the spell's effect [Critical Hit only].


Now. How does this subject relate to the Runequest Thursday post for tomorrow? You'll have to wait and find out. But here is a hint. These magical Special Maneuvers are part of it, along with the Runes and Rune Mastery that I mentioned at the end of A New Sorcery, Part the Fifth!


Tune in tomorrow!