WOD:Glorantha – Divine Intervention Rules

Divine intervention calling on your Characters deity for it to intervene in a miraculous, powerful and obvious way for the benefit of the worshipper.  All characters with a pact with a deity can call on their God for intervention .

A successful divine intervention usually removes the character from immediate harm.

Divine intervention always risks a permanent loss of magical ability so is therefore usually used as a method of last resort in usually situations.

Limits on Divine Intervention

A deity is limited in how it can intervene on the behalf of the worshipper by two factors, its nature and its sphere of influence.

A deity will not act outside its nature therefore is limited to acting within a broad interpretation of its runic abilities, interest and agendas. Chalana Arroy will not give the ability to kill, Stormbull will not bless chaos or Zorak Zoran would not be able to fish a character of the deep blue sea.

It is also limited to acting upon its worshippers only, so therefore divine intervention is primarily used for positive benefit for the petitioner, their allies and  possessions. But not as a combat manoeuvre or attack against a  third party.

Types of Divine Intervention

There are two common types of divine intervention a specific request which asks a deity to perform a specific action on behalf of the character, or a generic request where the character merely asks for aid in a difficult ( or deadly ) situation.

The mechanics for both are similar but have some variation.

Generic Requests

When a character merely asks for the divine intervention from there God, the players chooses how many of their rune points they are going to risk, difficulties is set at 6 and modified as stated later. The players rolls a dice pool of the rune points risked.

Success is gradually one success is a marginal success which should be enough to save the character, five is an overwhelming success which should be spectacular.

The exact way which the deity chooses to aid the character is at the discretion of the storyteller but will reflect the nature of the deity, however note most Gods are not capricious and seek to genuinely bless their worshippers ( but if you just called on trickster, all bets are off)

Also for is every dice rolled which is a failure the character looses one permanent runepoint and the associated rune at the players discretion.


Johanus the Orlanth has been dropped from 500 foot by a Griffin, he has 3 runepoints, but no access to the rune spells need to save him. He chooses to rolls all 3 runepoint he has. Calling to Orlanth for aid he rolls a 7, a 3 and 4.

The storyteller determines Orlanth sent a sylph to cushion is blow, and he lands battered, bruised and dazed, but very much alive. He also permanently looses the two failed runepoints and the associated runes.

Specific Requests

If players are seeking a particular effect from the God, the storyteller has to determine two things;

First is the difficulty, this is determined by how applicable the runes and power of the God is to the action the petitioner requests. Standard difficulty is 6 for things which are within the Gods area of power, the further away they are the higher the difficulty up to 10 for acts completely unconnected to the Gods power.

The second is a number of success required which reflects the scale and magnitude of the task, this will usually be number between 1 and 5.  The difficulty is then modified by the factors suggested below. The players is not told the number of successes required.

The player then chooses the number of rune points he wishes to risk and makes the roll.  If they makes the requires successes he deity is willing and able to respond as they have requested. If they make some roles a partial success is possible dependant of the petition made.

Also for is every dice rolled which is a failure the character looses one permanent runepoint and the associated rune at the players discretion.


Shanara the Chalana Arroy priest calls on her deity to make her give off an aura of peace for the next 15 minutes which means the surrounding broos cannot attack her.

The Storyteller sees this as a with the direct affects of the harmony rune and sets the difficulties at 6, as Shanara is a Priestess in good standing and on a cult sponsored mission to heal diseased villages he lower difficulties to 4.

As it is a significant and powerful effect he decides 3 success are needed for the effect to take place.

Shanara chooses to risk 6 rune points rolling 2,7,5,6,3, and 9.

The effect happens as requested but the failures mean 2 rune points which and associated runes are permanently lost.


The following factors will affect the difficulties of divine intervention rolls, each will change the difficulty by 1 but extremes can change it by up to 2.

  • Location – If a divine intervention is in an area of influence, holy site, temple the effects should be beneficial. If the petitioner is distant from areas of influence or is in enemy sacred sites difficulties will be higher.
  • Time – Holy days, high holy days and sacred time all have a beneficial effects. Lunar cycles have an effect outside the glowline, current events which diminish a deities power will make difficulties harder.
  • Standing – The petitioners standing with the Deity (not cult) will affect difficulties, favoured followers finding things easier, characters in poor standing will have their difficulties raised.
  • Agenda – If characters are performing tasks for the God or that allied with agenda difficulties will drop, if they are acting contrary to the interests of the deity they will be greater
  • Ritual – Formalised religious rites can make a planned divine intervention easier and reduce difficulties.
  • Sacrifice – Significant and appropriate sacrifices can make a planned divine intervention easier and reduce difficulties.

Modifiers are never able to make a divine intervention difficulties less than 1 or greater than 10.


As divine intervention is the action of the Gods not the individual willpower cannot be used for an automatic success.


Botched rolls in a divine intervention will either bring a divine retribution from the petitioned God or divine opposition from an enemy God, whichever the storyteller thinks is most appropriate.

Ritual Divine Magic

It doesn’t take a leap to see how with the proper use of rituals, sacrifice, holy days and holy sites can make divine intervention a relatively low risk, powerful, freeform type of divine magic. This is the mechanic the game uses to cope with ritual and structured divine magic outside the realm of rune spells.

It is possible for communities to cooperate in divine intervention through the use of Rituals performed via a high priest, the mechanic sees rune points risked individually but pooled together to form the pool of successes required.


The village of Snaggleford seeks to petition Ernalda to bless the land of the village this year, this has a standard difficulty of 6 as it is what Ernalda does, the ritual takes place at the temple of High Holy day reducing the difficulty down to 3.

The high priestess and the acolyte of Banatar successfully enact the Rite of the Plowman and further  reduce the difficulty down to 2.

Some 58 of the initiates of Ernalda risk one runepoint in the ritual, 50 make the role, but the 8 that don’t looses that point in rune magic. The 50 successes ensure the ground is blessed for  the year village witta grows in power and both the people and animals of the village  are fertile.

3 thoughts on “WOD:Glorantha – Divine Intervention Rules

  1. My thoughts on the DI… there is an issue.

    You’re basing a lot on Rune Points and their Runic Associations… the more dots in a God’s runes, the more likely to get a DI.

    However, Pavis has 4 Runic Associations, but Yelmalio only has 2. I think most would find it difficult to believe that Pavis is a much stronger god than Yelmalio and thus more likely to answer your prayers….

    And then, if you have failures, it also means you lose ALL connections to those Runes… meaning – no more spells associated with that Rune! Pretty harsh!!! (especially if you return to town, wait for months until you get a festival to pray at… and then botch the roll!)

  2. Any chance that you will one day get the Sorcery rules up? All good if you have permanently moved on, but this is all very interesting as a WoD player intrigued by RuneQuest! Thank you for everything you have already done!

    1. Hi Jason, thanks for the comment, it’s good that people are still finding this useful.

      My writing times is limited at the moment and what I have is focused elsewhere, but I see sorcery working very similar to the magic systems of mage, probably using Runes instead of Spheres. So i’d run off the mage system with very minor tinkering, I hope that helps.

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