Converting Items and Effects from RuneQuest to D&D

Although most of the entries in the Chaos Project are described generically and can be applied to most fantasy RPG systems without effort, there are some items which include system-specific elements. These are generally expressed in RuneQuest terms, for obvious reasons. Converting from RQ to D&D (or any related FRP system, such as Pathfinder) is relatively easy.

POW is the abbreviation for Power in RuneQuest. It's a characteristic like Strength or Dexterity, and for humans it normally ranges from 3-18 (although it can go a bit higher with use). All living things have POW. It represents spirit or soul-force, the magical strength of the character or creature. It is used to overcome enemies with your spells, and to resist hostile spells. It also represents luck. The closest D&D equivalent is probably Wisdom, but the two don't match up perfectly; in RuneQuest virtually all characters use some magic, so POW is a more generally-useful and important characteristic. For D&D characters for whom Wisdom is an important characteristic, such as clerics, POW should be considered the equivalent. For magic-users, Intelligence might be a more accurate substitution. For other classes, use the primary class characteristic or just go with Wisdom, as seems appropriate.

STR, CON, DEX are Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity. They translate cross-system pretty well. For old-school players, RuneQuest does not have percentile Strength. Unlike D&D, characteristics in RuneQuest are relatively linear; an 18 Strength in RQ is impressive, but nowhere near as impressive as it is in D&D-type systems.

SIZ is Size, another characteristic. There is no D&D equivalent as such. It represents the physical height and weight of the creature or person. An increase or decrease in Size might cause a similar fluctuation in related characteristics such as Strength and Constitution. A great increase in Size might possibly reduce Dexterity, or at least make the target easier to hit. And, of course, a small Size should reduce the chance to hit!

APP is Appearance. Charisma is the obvious equivalent.

Overcome/Resistance - in RuneQuest, most types of spells and magic effects must overcome the target's resistance. The closest D&D equivalent (roughly) would be the saving throw. Unlike saving throws, however, resistance and overcoming are directly tied to the relative strength (small "s") of both the attacker and defender. For example, if someone casts a spell at an enemy, they compare their POW to the POW of the target. If the two are equal, they have a 50% chance of overcoming the target and affecting them with the spell. For each point of POW that they have more than the target, they get a 5% improvement in their chance to overcome. So a wizard with a POW of 18 who is casting a spell at a troll with a POW of 15 has a 65% chance of overcoming that troll. Likewise, their chance decreases by 5% for each point of POW that's less than the target. If that troll casts a spell back, it only has a 35% chance to overcome! This "resistance roll" can be applied to any characteristic, such as Strength vs. Strength; that's the classic arm-wrestling mechanic. It can even be applied to different characteristics or their equivalent. The potency of a poison would have to overcome the Constitution of the victim, for example.

Levels, Experience Points, and Skills - There are no levels or experience points in RuneQuest. Instead, almost all capabilities are expressed as percentile skills. Some RuneQuest skills convert to D&D equivalents (particularly "to-hit") at 5% skill to each point of to-hit. So a skill of 100% would translate to a 20 to-hit ability. D&D skills which are already expressed in percentiles require no translation in either direction, of course.

Hit Points are one area where the two systems are most dissimilar. In D&D, hit points are gained with experience (levels). In RuneQuest, hit points are determined by Constitution and Size, and do not normally increase unless those characteristics increase (which is unusual in the case of Size). Very high hit-point totals are unlikely in RQ. When converting to D&D, it might be appropriate to multiply the hit points by the effective level of the creature or target - within reason.

Armor is another point of difference. In D&D, armor helps the wearer avoid blows, reducing the chance of being hit. In RuneQuest, armor absorbs damage from attacks, negating some or all depending on the armor and (of course) the amount of damage. Armor values may be considered to be roughly equivalent between the two systems, even though they work in very different ways.

Main Page

Roleplaying Adventures & HeroQuests

Generic & RQ Alternate & Add-On Rules
Alternate Rules

The Chaos Project: Magic Items, Found Items, & Chaos Features. Add yours!
Chaos Project

RQ3, RQ2, & CoC Character Sheets, a RQ Help Sheet, more
Character Sheets

NPC People, places, & Things
NPCs & More

Rune Art & the RQ Font

Random Thoughts From A Random Brain

Issues of my old zine, resurrected from paper
Rack & Rune

Battle Evil Online! Or get munched
Peasant's Progress

Game & Other Recommended Links

So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2013 by Peter Maranci. Revised: October 30, 2013. v.1.0