Runequest Thursday #2: Old Jack

Clint Staples

Old Jack is the colloquial name given by locals to a large and dangerous jackobear that wanders the River of Cradles region from Sea to Darkness seasons, before heading into the eastern wastes of Vulture Country for the rest of the year. Old Jack is much larger and more dangerous than a normal jackobear, and has become a bogeyman to the folk of the region, responsible for dozens of deaths and attacks over the last couple of decades. Hunts have been organized, but Old Jack has, through cunning or luck, evaded them all. Yet he has acquired a healthy respect for fire, learned at cost by attacking a band of sundomers, who nearly killed him with fireblades and salamanders. If Old Jack is set on fire [roll his POW x3 to avoid being set on fire if he is struck by a fire attack] he will flee, howling, into the darkness.

With an INT of 8, Jack is remarkably smart for an animal, but he is still an animal, albeit a chaotic one. He cannot speak, not can he reason like a human, but he is exceptionally wily in terms of setting up ambushes, attacking the weakest targets in a group, and in his escapes. Jack will often attack to kill a single target in a group, then flee until the opportunity comes to attack again, or return to feed on a carcass left behind. He has learned that humans, and some other intelligent races, will not leave dead comrades behind, and thus often will prefer to kill a horse or other draft animal instead. 

Because of Old Jack's notoriety, those who finally kill him, will gain fame from the deed. But many have claimed the Killing of Old Jack, only to be disproved later when the creature appears for another massacre. In this way the legend of Old Jack was born, and continues. If you wish, allow Old Jack to re-corporate bodily, reforming from the stuff of primal chaos to appear again the following Sea Season, sowing terror as men sow grain.

STR     21                                  Right Leg          5/8

CON     16                                 Left Leg             5/8

SIZ       25                                 Abdomen           3/8       

INT      8                                    Chest                3/9

POW    15                                 Right Arm         5/7

DEX     9                                   Left Arm            5/7

CHA     11                                 Head                 3/8

Combat Actions 2

Move 9

Strike Rank 11


Chaotic Features:

Defense: 25%, or risk eye to eye contact to negate Defense, which forces a POW 15 Harmonize if the Player fails a Luck roll [POW x3].

Bony plates: [+2 Armor on legs and arms];

Sickening Pustules: Old Jack’s back and forepaws are covered in bulbous pustules that leak a glowing green fluid that reeks so terribly that anyone within melee reach must make a CON x5 or be so sickened that they lose their next 1d3 Combat Actions.

Harmonize: As the Spell -  POW 15 vs. Target POW

  • As a Combat Action, Old jack can attempt to Harmonize a foe.
  • Countermagic 2 or Dispel Magic 2 negates Jack’s power.

Possibly Re-Corporation [See above].


Skills:  Athletics 25%, Brawn 40%, Evade 35%, Perception 30%, Persistence 55%,

Resilience 60%, Stealth 50%, Swimming 50%

The image of Old Jack is of a figure [manufacturer unknown] that I found in the scrap bin at my FLGS Imagine Games and Hobbies for 50 cents. It is 50 mm tall and quite bulky, so about 9 feet tall in standard RPG miniatures scale [28-30mm]. Thus it is much larger and bulkier than a typical jackobear, which tend to be about the same size as a large man [SIZ 17]  It had a different face, so I sculpted on more of a jack-o-lantern face.


Weapon           Reach    Attack   Damage                                     Maneuvers

 Claw                  3        50%      1D8+1d6                                         Slash


Note: The content you find here is compatible with my personal Runequest campaign and is not intended in any way as a challenge to Glorantha, the River of Cradles, the Runequest game or brand, or those who hold the rights to it. In fact, my intent is to direct readers toward the official versions in order that they experience the awesomeness for themselves. Various iterations of the game are readily found for sale via the internet. Go get some.