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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Apparently this one was released just this summer. While D&D 5th Edition looks like it could be something great, it's still too early to tell and I'd like to look into other options for the next RPG group I'll be starting next year.

    RuneQuest has lots of praise, but that was 30 years ago and later editions seem to have been quite some chaos. The new 6th edition did get quite positive reviews so far, but I'm still searching for options to get a look at the basic system before jumping at such a rather considerable purchase out of a whim.
    Has anyone played or read it and can say something about it?
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Only wanted to ditto this as I was wondering about this as well.

    Is it set in the third age of glorantha or has expanded to include several settings?

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Review as I go

    From all the info I could find, I decided to just jump in and got the pdf version for 19. At 458 pages, it's a massive thing. There's a paper version for about 50, but apparently it's not hardcover, which doesn't seem like a good idea. Even if I like the game and want to run it, I might much rather have the sections that are relevant at the table printed and stick to the pdf. 450 pages softcover sounds like it wouldn't last very long unless you always handle it with velvet gloves. My 3.5e books did see a lot of use to the point of the pages actually starting to get dirty, but as 300 page bound hardcovers, they took it very well. And what's the point of a paper version if you can't stuff it into bags?

    The pdf has an internal table of content that is well organised into 16 chapters with each one having only about 10 sub-items, which I think works much better than being swamped by one TOC-item for every 3rd level sub-heading.
    The single page TOC from the paper version is also included as a page and it is fully linked, getting you to the page you want to in an instant. That's very nice as well.

    I've only had a short glance over the 1st or 2nd edition rules once and otherwise I have no experience at all with the game, so I can't make any compairison with the older editions. However from what I've read, it seems to be most similar to the 1st and 2nd Edition, which I've also heard to be the most loved ones, while the many other and oddly numbered ones from mid 80s, 90s, and 2000s appear to be less well recieved.
    RuneQuest also seems to aim for Sword & Sorcery fantasy campaigns, which is something most fantasy games don't really do and instead go for early modern 16th to 18th century high fantasy feel. How much that influences the rules remains to be seen.

    Character Sheets can be found here: http://www.thedesignmechanism.com/downloads.php

    Basics and Character Creation

    The basic sytem of the game is a d100 system, which is the one thing I dislike the most about it before I even start to get into the actual rules. But I think using d20 instead of d100 shouldn't be a problem at all. I think it uses a d100 because it always used a d100, the most unneccessary dice of all. Now you do improve your skills by 1% steps, but you also increase skills as you go without gaining new character levels. Based on that, I think it's easy to play the game by having skills increase by 1% points but you get an effective new "rank" only at 5%, 10%, 15% and so on.
    It's also a roll under system, which I also dislike, but I think converting it to roll over would be way too much work to be worth it and make the rules uneccessary complicated to read.

    Characteristics (Ablity Scores)
    The basic ability scores are mostly the same as in D&D, with Power being pretty much the same thing as Wisdom in D&D, and a new stat called Size, which is exactly what it says on the tin. I wonder what use there is in having such a stat, but maybe it will become clear as I learn more about the rules. But it could be quite interesting for out of the box thinking, with small thieves being able to squeeze into spaces where armored hulking brutes can't fit inside, or large characters might be able to reach leavers and handholds that are out of reach for smaller ones. More on that later.

    Assigning ability scores can be done in three ways:
    Roll 3d6 seven times and assign them to Strength, Constitution, Size, Dexterity, Intelligence, Power, and Charisma in that order. Size and Intelligence roll 2d6+6 to prevent tiny sizes and animal-like intelligence.
    Roll 3d6 five times and 2d6+6 two times and assign them to the abilities as desired.
    Assign 80 points to any abilities in whatever way desired. This is what I'd be going with all the time. Random characters are only fun for one shot games with disposable characters.

    Based on the Characteristics are the Attributes of Action Points, Damage Modifier, Experience Modifier, Healing Rate, Height and Weight, Hit Points, Luck Points, Magic Points, Movement Rate, and Strike Rank.
    Action Points are based on the combined Dexterity and Intelligence scores, ranking from one to three actions per round and possibly more if a character has extremely high scores. 2 or 3 actions seems to be what most characters will have, with 3 not being very hard to get, though probably much more rare than 2.
    Damage Modifier is based on a combination of Strength and Size.
    Experience Modifier is based on Charisma and does seem to affect how much one increases ones skills. Let's call it an "interesting design descision".
    Hit Points are also based on both Constitution and Size. They are split into seven different body regions, which sounds a bit fidgy, but I guess makes sense for a Sword & Sorcery game, where battle wounds are part of the narrative and healing is not freely available all the time.
    Luck Points are the same as Action Points or Destiny Points in other games and allow to alter the outcome of certain roles. A character has only a few and they are regained only between sessions, whenever the GM decides that's to be. Luck Points are based on Power.
    Magic Points are simply mana and based on Power.
    Strike Rank is Initiative and based on the combines Dexterity and Intelligence scores, just like Action Points.

    There are also 22 standard skills that every character has, which consist of things like stealth, jumping, riding, swiming, and things like that. All are based on the combined scores of two Characteristics.
    Combat Styles are special skills related to combat and are explained later.

    Culture
    There are fur cultures, Primitive, Nomad, Barbarian, and Civilized. Each culture has some standard skills professional skills, and combat styles two which the character can assign 100 additional points as desired. Professional skills work like standard skills, but you can't use them if you havn't spend any points on them.

    Background Events
    As an optional addition, characters can have one of 55 special events that happened to them in the past before the beginning of the game. These seem to be just hooks for backstories when creating random characters.

    Social Class
    RuneQuest does have Social Class as part of the character creation, which is awesome because exactly the same thing I have planned for my own setting and takes all the work off me.
    The classes are Outcast, Slave, Freeman, Gentile, Aristocracy, Ruling, but not all are available in every culture. Each class provides starting money and other possessions and resources available to the character. But I guess the roleplaying element is the most important.

    Numbers of family members can be rolled randomly, but I guess they aren't relevant in most games anyway and when they do they can be made up on the fly. I personally wouldn't bother with this step during character creation any more than in any other game system.

    Passions
    Passions seems to be the same thing as Allegiances in d20 modern. A character is simply devoted to certain people, groups, or ideologies. More on that is explained later in the rules.
    Also awesome, as I wanted to use such a thing in my next game as well.

    Career
    Careers work just like Cultures. Your chose one career out of 25 and each has a number of Standard skills and professional skills, on which you can distribute 100 more points. But you can chose only three professional skills to advance in that way.

    After that, each character gets another 150 points to distribute, which also allow him to learn one new Combat Style or Professional skill.
    That's 350 points, if I am not mistaken, which each skill having an average base of 20. The 350 points can be distributed among the 22 standard skills and the characters six professional skills. Based on some other special limitations, the starting values for skills would be about 10% for untrained standard skills and poor ability scores to up to 75% for maxed out skills with very high ability scores.

    I'll leave equipment, magic, and nonhuman races for now as they are deal with in later chapters, but so far it seems both a quite neat and simple system, as well as providing huge space for customization and covering about anything a character needs.
    So far, I do quite like it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hopeless View Post
    Only wanted to ditto this as I was wondering about this as well.

    Is it set in the third age of glorantha or has expanded to include several settings?
    From what I gathered, the rules are setting neutral, only assuming a generic Sword & Sorcery world. People mentioned in several places that the old Glorantha sourcebooks are available for $1 as pdfs and work just fine with the new rules.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-10-31 at 09:30 AM.
    Spriggan's Den - Thoughts on RPGs and some of my personal creations.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    I'm GM'ing RQ6 right now and having a BLAST.

    First off, check out the official forums here: http://www.thedesignmechanism.com/forum.php#/ They aren't as active as GiantITP, but it's a pretty friendly community.

    An important thing to know about RQ6 is that it's at least partly a throwback to older RPGs like D&D 2E where a lot of stuff is left up to the GM instead of being detailed in the book. This is a good thing! The attitude, as the designers put it, is "Your Runequest May Vary (TM)".

    For example, the chapter on Magic explains how characters spend Magic Points to cast spells. It then sets out several different ways that characters can recover spent MP: recovery over time while resting, meditating in a magic-rich location, consuming magical substances, participating in spiritual worship or ceremonies (very suitable for priests and others that get magic from a diety), or ritual sacrifice of animals or even people. Then, it points out that the GM can choose which of these methods actually works in his setting (one or several or all of them), and how much MP each method provides. It also lays out guidelines on how easy it should be to recover MP if you want a High Magic, Medium Magic, or Low Magic setting. But there's no default - the GM MUST decide how his personal setting and interpretation of the rules is going to work before the game can start.

    This is awesome, to me, because it kills a lot of the player whining over "But the book says X" and such. By default, players only have access to the spells the GM lets them have access to, and there's no real equivalent of D&D's Feat system or Class Features, so you've also killed a lot of the theoretical optimization, rules loopholes, and obsessive character building. Don't think this game isn't crunchy, though - combat can get pretty complex and tactical, and character creation is a four-phase process that really gets players thinking about who their character really is and where he or she comes from.

    There's a lot of aspects of the game that encourage good roleplay, too, such as the Passions rules. Hell, it's the only game I've ever seen that has a side-bar dedicated to the question "Is your character married or in love?"
    Last edited by Edge of Dreams; 2012-10-31 at 02:26 PM.
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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Magic is what cofuses me the most. Folk Magic is simple enough and what you expect from a basic spellcasting system. There are also four more complicated magic systems that are all presented as optional, which is a good thing as each requires to more magic skills and characters wouldn't be able to really use more than two or three at the very most.

    For my own campaign, magic is the domain of druids who cast magic like "using the Force" and also communicate with spirits. In RQ6 terms, that seems like a combination of Folk Magic, Animism, and Mysticism. Yet all the best spells for that are in Theism, which is the worship of gods, which don't exist in my setting, and the powers from Mysticism, which are based on Meditation, don't match the idea of spells I have in mind.
    So instead I take Folk Magic for basic spells, Theism for advanced spells, and Animism for interaction with the spiritworld. But the Devotion (Power + Charisma) and Exhort (Intelligence + Charisma) skills used for Theism magic don't thematically fit with drawing mana from nature, so instead I think about substituting them with the Trance (Constitution + Power) and Binding (Power + Charisma) skills from Animism.
    Yes, I think I can create a magic system from that that works with my setting. But if the magic rules are presented as optional rules to pick from to match any original setting, it does a rather poor job. I end up taking everything apart and reassembling those aspects that I want anyway. It would have been much easier to just present a number of spellcasting systems and also a number of spells that can be used with any system. Five systems each with their own powers and their own two magic skills is a bad way to approach this.

    And what confuses me the most is that thing about runes. The magic chapter starts with saying how everything is based on the runes, which seem to be something like domains of magic or aspects of the supernatural reality, but after that seem to have no mechanical relevance at all. RQ6 is supposed to be setting neutral, but this seems like an artifact from decades ago when the game was directly linked to the Glorantha setting, from which these runes seem to originate, and now seem just to be crammed in because there's still the word Rune in the title. But it's not just useless information, it actually would be much better if those three pages were completely removed. This way they just create confusion, causing you to endlessly flip back and forth to figure out what's the deal with these runes. But there's no purpose to them at all, it's just a piece of fluff stuck into the magic rules, that doesn't have anything to do with the magic rules, in a book that otherwise makes no assumptions about the setting at all.



    I also feel unsure about the percentages, without having tried them out in actual play yet. As you make your character, at the points of Culture, Career, and Bonus Skills, you can each time increase some skills between 5% and 15%. But after making my first character, I had almost all skills at meager 35 to 45%, with only the combat style reaching 60%. Which seems awfully low. Since you will likely not be able to improve the same skills in Culture and Career, it looks to me as if assigning anything but the maximum of 15% to a skill is a waste of time.
    You probably start with a base chance of about 25% and then increase it to 40% with Cultures and Careers. When you dump all your bonus skill points into the same skills as well, you have just 55%, which means failure at those skills half of the time. And those are the skills that are maxed out. My gut tells me that attempting anything risky with less than 70% shouldn't be attempted in the first place. Since things that are trivially simple don't get rolled at all, this could mean that you actually get to roll only in situations where using the skill is a means of last resort, but intuitively that still feels wrong.
    I think I am either missing something important yet, or this works out rather differently in actual play.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-10-31 at 03:31 PM.
    Spriggan's Den - Thoughts on RPGs and some of my personal creations.
    Ancient Lands - PF/d20 Sword & Sorcery campaign setting

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I also feel unsure about the percentages...
    You're missing the difficulty modifiers. I don't recall the page number, but the chart goes like this:

    Impossible: Don't roll.
    Herculean: 1/10th of your skill
    Formidable: 1/2 of your skill
    Hard: 2/3 of your skill
    Normal: Skill
    Easy: 1.5 times your skill
    Very Easy: 2 times your skill
    Stupidly easy: Don't roll.

    Most working professionals have 50% (a blacksmith, say) or so in their primary skill at the age of 18 to 25. That's someone who has just finished his apprenticeship, probably. On any Very Easy task (making a horseshoe, perhaps), they'd be rolling against a 100% skill, so failure is pretty unlikely. Even on an easy task (making a simple dagger with a sharp blade), they'd be rolling against 75%. Then, as the person gets older, and gets training and experience, the skill just keeps going up.

    For players, yes they are going to have a lot of skills below 50%, but that's because not everyone is good at everything. As long as they have a Combat Style over 50 to 60%, and a few other key skills at 40 to 50%, they'll be doing pretty good to start out. Also, take a careful look at how the math of XP rolls and getting training from a more experienced character works. A skill that you didn't invest in much during character creation sitting at 25% can jump up as much as 10 points or so with one training session with a good teacher plus a single good XP roll.

    As a GM, I make sure I use the full spectrum of the difficulty chart. And I try not to heavily penalize players for failure on skill checks. I'm only going to screw someone over on a fumble, and those are rarer in RQ than D&D (2% rate versus 5%). Plus, every fumble adds 1% to the skill, so you learn from your mistakes!
    Last edited by Edge of Dreams; 2012-10-31 at 03:55 PM.
    I spent an hour on the edge of dreams,
    I walked between the worlds,
    and when I woke I never knew
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Oh, and one more thing:

    Low level D&D characters miss on about half of their attacks and fail about half of their skill checks if you are using appropriate DCs anyway.
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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    I haven't played RQ since the days of RQ2 and RQ3, but I thought that the size roll was race dependant ?

    I also seem to recall a trick of giving yourself lots of fairly weak skills so that they can be improved by use ?
    p = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: RuneQuest 6th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    I haven't played RQ since the days of RQ2 and RQ3, but I thought that the size roll was race dependant ?

    I also seem to recall a trick of giving yourself lots of fairly weak skills so that they can be improved by use ?
    The size roll IS race dependent. However, the base rules of RQ assume you are playing humans only. If you go into the Monsters/Creatures chapter, there is advice on playing non-humans, and instructions on how to roll your stats differently depending on what species you choose.

    Recent editions of RQ have done away with keeping track of which skills you have or haven't used during each adventure. Experience Rolls can be applied to any skill, even if you haven't used it, unless the GM objects.

    That said, lower skills do advance faster than higher skills. This encourages players to shore up their weaknesses rather than try to pump a single skill to extremely high numbers. I've never seen a player intentionally spread out his skill points in order to start with more lower skills though, because that tends to leave you as a jack-of-all-trades master-of-none who will be outshone by players who specialized in the most useful skills.
    I spent an hour on the edge of dreams,
    I walked between the worlds,
    and when I woke I never knew
    to which side I had fallen

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