04 November 2022

the Gateway Bestiary and the Barguest

In my latest blog post, I wrote about the Barguest and, not having the Meints Index to Glorantha (MIG) at hand, I thought it hadn't been described in RQ terms.

Well... yesterday night I retrieved my copy of the MIG from the cellar and, lo and behold!, it did mention the Barguest. The creature is listed as being described in the Gateway Bestiary. So I went to look for my signed* copy of the Gateway Bestiary, and yes there it was on p25, "a sort of fairy dog" whose description is actually more that of an undead dog. The main differences with 'my' take on the Barguest are as follows:

- it Demoralises rather than it inspires Fear
- it doesn't turn Invisible

So maybe now you can have two versions of the Barguest in your RQ games... A spectral one, and an undead one!

*I had to brag about it, didn't I? BTW the little-known Gateway Bestiary has an interesting story. When Sandy Petersen signed my copy, he told me this was how he was hired by Greg Stafford-- he went to Albany with the manuscript, and Greg said 'cool stuff, want a job?' and hired him.

Also (if I am not mistaken), Sandy's maiden publication is also the very first frp bestiary that, instead of merely listing its entries in an alphabetical order, has them grouped by type of creature.

01 November 2022

the Stafford House Campaign and the Barguest

I am currently reading ‘The Stafford House Campaign’, a collection of personal notes and of Amateur Press Association (APA) articles by
Greg Stafford. These essays are a narrative of his early RuneQuest campaigns (“expeditions” as he calls them) interspersed with various commentaries, musings and Q & As with other APA contributors.

The book is invaluable for the insight it provides on the very early years of our hobby in general, and on the birth of Glorantha as a frp setting in particular.

You may read my various thoughts about the book here.

One item that struck my fancy is the mention, on p52, of an expedition to ‘release the barguest’. Now I don’t have my Meints Index to Glorantha available right now, but I don’t recall the “barguest” as being a RuneQuest creature.

A friend kindly pointed out that there is a Barghest (with an ‘h’) on p6 of All the Worlds’ Monsters, vol.2.

As a tribute to Greg Stafford’s early RQ expeditions, I present you the Barghest from All the Worlds’ Monsters, vol.2 converted to RuneQuest using Steve Perrin’s conversion guidelines from All the Worlds’ Monsters, vol.3.


Type: Undead Spirit

Description: a large spectral hound that may become invisible, and only while invisible will it shriek.


STR 4D6 avg. 14

SIZ 4D6 avg. 14

POW 3D6 avg. 10-11

DEX 2D6+3 avg. 10

The number of hit points of a Barghest equals its POW, hence its hit points equal its magic points. If reduced to zero hit points or magic points, it is destroyed forever.

Move: 10

Base SR: 5

Armour: 5-point spectral hide

Skills: Dodge 50%, Jump 45%, Listen 30%, Spirit combat 50%, Swim 55%, Track 50%.

Magic: The Barghest may spend 3 magic points to turn Invisible.


Bite 40% Dmg 2D8+1D4 SR 9

Claw 40% Dmg 1D8+1D4 SR 9

Special attack

Shriek (SR 1): All those hearing the shriek must roll their POW vs the monster’s POW on the Resistance Table or be paralysed with fear for 2D6 combat rounds.

Special defence

A Barghest can only be damaged by magic, e.g., a sword with Bladesharp 4 would do 4 points of damage; Fireblade 3D6 damage. True Weapon spells do normal damage.

The Barghest is completely immune to emotion-affecting magic such as Befuddle, Demoralise, and Fear.