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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Originally Posted by Hopeless
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.