Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

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Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

Post by Havard »

Steve Perrin returns to RuneQuest 7:
Chaosium Inc wrote:Yesterday at 05:33 · Melbourne, VIC, Australia ·
In the spirit of bringing the band back together, Chaosium is delighted to announce that Steve Perrin is joining the design team for Chaosium’s new edition of RuneQuest. "We knew that Steve Perrin’s place at the table, as both the creator and lead author of the original groundbreaking ‘78 and ‘79 editions of game, was a natural fit that harkens back to the genius and originality of RuneQuest", said Rick Meints, President of Chaosium.

In late 2015 Moon Design Publications and Chaosium successfully Kickstarted the RuneQuest Classic Edition campaign, a triumphant reissue of the iconic 2nd Edition of the RuneQuest rules and the supplements produced for it: Cults of Prax, Pavis, Big Rubble, Griffin Mountain, TrollPak and many others.

“We want to usher in the newest exploration of Glorantha with a tribute to the masterpiece opus of work that has come before. Part of Steve's role is to help insure that this edition contains the best possible game mechanics while maintaining backwards compatibility with RuneQuest 2", said Jeff Richard, creative director at Chaosium.

The new version of RuneQuest maintains backwards compatibility with earlier editions, while also containing a number of unique innovations that resonate with Glorantha, Greg Stafford's mythical campaign setting where RuneQuest started and to which it returns. This new edition incorporates Runes directly into both your character and the magic system you use, including their passions and motivations.

"The rules reinforce immersion in the setting even more than the original RuneQuest rules did, and ideas experimentally brought forth in Griffin Mountain reach their fruition", said Richard.

Seizing this unique chance to get this right, Chaosium has brought in a team of notable game designers to support Chaosium’s rebirth of RuneQuest, including Sandy Petersen (Call of Cthulhu), Ken Rolston (Paranoia, Elder Scrolls, RQ3), Chris Klug (James Bond 007 RPG, DragonQuest) and Jason Durall (BRP, Conan).

A special pre-release version of the new rules will be revealed at Gen Con later this year, along with introductory scenario sessions. A wealth of all-new campaign material and supplements for the new edition will follow.
How is this going to compare to the previous editions of RuneQuest?

-Havard

Related Piazza Threads: RuneQuest Settings, RuneQuest Editions, BRP Settings, Elric & Eternal Champion, Call of Cthulhu, HeroQuest, Glorantha
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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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"The rules reinforce immersion in the setting even more than the original RuneQuest rules did"

Good news to some...
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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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BlackBat242 wrote:"The rules reinforce immersion in the setting even more than the original RuneQuest rules did"

Good news to some...
I honestly have no idea what that sentence from Jeff Richard means. I doubt he is talking about some kind of Forge-esque "deep immersion" gaming philosphy though. My guess is that it simply means there won't be rules that get in the way of exploring the setting. I like RuneQuest, but the later editions of the game have gotten a bit on the rules heavy side for my tastes.

As I reported earlier, this edition of RuneQuest will not be based on RuneQuest 6, but rather go back to the 5th version of RuneQuest, that is Mongoose Publishing's RuneQuest II with certain modifications of that one. It would still be nice if this new editon is labelled the 7th edition though, since RuneQuest numbering have been messy ever since the Avalon Hill edition (RuneQuest 3).

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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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What it reads like to me is "The rules are inextricably tied with the setting, and you can't really use them without the setting."
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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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BlackBat242 wrote:What it reads like to me is "The rules are inextricably tied with the setting, and you can't really use them without the setting."
Interesting. I wonder if that turns out to be true or not. The one thing that makes me think it is not is the reference to Griffin Mountain, while a classic RuneQuest module, AFAIK is not part of the Glorantha Setting. RuneQuest has always been usable with other settings than Glorantha, perhaps more so from RQ3 and onwards so it would be disappointing if this is not the case with the upcoming edition.

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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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More on the design process of the new RuneQuest edition: http://www.chaosium.com/blog/designing- ... est-part-1
Jeff Richard wrote:In approaching the design of the new edition of RuneQuest, we had four over-riding goals:

1. Set RuneQuest firmly in Glorantha.
2. Maintain backwards compatibility with RuneQuest 2 - in particular with the adventure scenarios and campaigns that were rereleased as a result of the highly successful RuneQuest Classic Kickstarter in late 2015.
3. Bring the Runes directly into the game mechanics - the game is Rune-Quest after all! And at the same time, make it more fun to use Rune magic as an initiate: Rune Magic had to be replenishable somehow,
4. Provide deeper incentives for character immersion into the setting, to fulfill the promise of Greg's original Dragon Pass campaign from the early 1980s. The acclaimed computer game King of Dragon Pass provides a rich immersive Gloranthan experience: we want to achieve something as deep as that in the tabletop RuneQuest game. The gold standard for doing this is, of course, Pendragon, a rules system that has strongly influenced my approach to game design and play.
The article continues to go into the reasons for these design goals. The second design goal seems to touch on your concern BlackBat....

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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

Post by Havard »

Following up on this, I asked Jeff Richard about it on Facebook:
Havard on Facebook wrote:Hi Jeff! Quick question. How difficult will it be using this edition of RuneQuest with settings other than Glorantha given design goal 2?
The response?
Chaosium wrote:About as hard as using RQ2 or Pendragon with different settings is.
Now I think Pendragon is a poor example since that game doesn't have a magic system in its core rules, but that is certainly not going to be the case here. I suspect RuneQuest will, as it always have, lend itself better to some settings than others, but that is true for most systems.

In the past RuneQuest has supported a number of settings, so I don't see why this would be more difficult with the new one. On the other hand, there are several different versions of RuneQuest out there now so it should be easy to find a version in print or PDF that can fit your needs. :)

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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

Post by BlackBat242 »

Havard wrote:More on the design process of the new RuneQuest edition: http://www.chaosium.com/blog/designing- ... est-part-1
Jeff Richard wrote:In approaching the design of the new edition of RuneQuest, we had four over-riding goals:
1. Set RuneQuest firmly in Glorantha.
The article continues to go into the reasons for these design goals. The second design goal seems to touch on your concern BlackBat....

-Havard
As does #1... ;)

Jeff Richard wrote:In approaching the design of the new edition of RuneQuest, we had four over-riding goals:
3. Bring the Runes directly into the game mechanics - the game is Rune-Quest after all! And at the same time, make it more fun to use Rune magic as an initiate: Rune Magic had to be replenishable somehow,
I have long wanted a workable form of runic magic for AD&D* - I've seen several articles etc that touch lightly on the concept, but they never went far, nor did they really seem to lend themselves to expansion.

Perhaps I'll look into that section of the rules after they are published... it couldn't hurt.


* Especially for Dwarves, but also for nordic-style human cultures. However, any culture that uses symbolic structures extensively would have runecasters well-established - egyptian/chinese-like ones for example.
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Re: Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

Post by Havard »

BlackBat242 wrote:
Havard wrote:More on the design process of the new RuneQuest edition: http://www.chaosium.com/blog/designing- ... est-part-1
Jeff Richard wrote:In approaching the design of the new edition of RuneQuest, we had four over-riding goals:
1. Set RuneQuest firmly in Glorantha.
The article continues to go into the reasons for these design goals. The second design goal seems to touch on your concern BlackBat....

-Havard
As does #1... ;)

Heh, excellent point.

Another thing has been brought to my attention that has me a little more skeptical about this. At first I assumed that when they were talking about compatibility to RuneQuest 2 they meant Mongoose's RuneQuest II. It turns out they were talking about Chaosium's RuneQuest 2, so getting a bit confused about the different editions of RuneQuest here. I know that Chaosium's RuneQuest 2 has a cult following, but personally I think it is a bad idea to ignore the last four editions and go back to something from the 1980s. Not everything added by Mongoose may have been good changes, but personally I liked a few of the changes they made and also some of the additions made by Design Mechanism (RuneQuest 6) looked interesting. Additionally this raises the question of whether the new edition will be compatible with the RuneQuest SRD which is from the Mongoose Era. Overall a little "Meh" in my book.

I now better understand the concern about splitting up the RuneQuest fanbase once again. This is something you can perhaps afford with D&D fandom, but with much smaller fanbase such as that for RuneQuest it seems like a clumsy move.


I have long wanted a workable form of runic magic for AD&D* - I've seen several articles etc that touch lightly on the concept, but they never went far, nor did they really seem to lend themselves to expansion.

Perhaps I'll look into that section of the rules after they are published... it couldn't hurt.


* Especially for Dwarves, but also for nordic-style human cultures. However, any culture that uses symbolic structures extensively would have runecasters well-established - egyptian/chinese-like ones for example.
Have you taken a look at the Rune magic system from Gaz7 The Northern Reaches for Mystara? That would be easy to use with AD&D 1st or 2nd edition as well. Gaz7 was also written by a RuneQuest author, Ken Rolston, by the way. Also, Kingdom of Nithia for the Hollow World has rules for Pyramid Magic linked to Hieroglyphs etc...



-Havard
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Re: Steve Perrin Returns to Chaosium's RuneQuest

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More details on the design process of the new RuneQuest:

http://www.chaosium.com/blog/designing- ... est-part-2

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Re: Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

Post by Havard »

Part 3 of the Design Journal for RuneQuest 7: http://www.chaosium.com/blog/designing- ... est-part-3

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Re: Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

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Discussion about Griffin Island / Griffin Mountain split into a separate thread here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=15796&p=177551#p177551

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Re: Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

Post by Havard »

Here's part 7:
Jeff Richard wrote:Designing the New RuneQuest - Part 7

By Jeff Richard

On Zeroes to Heroes

We all know the classic RPG trope - we make a character based on a concept, but when we first start playing them, they generally suck at doing anything. We fumble along through "low level adventures", fighting trollkin or rubble runners, until we've gained enough experience that the character can do the sort of stuff we imagined when we first created them. Only now we are really gaming - but oops! Real life has interfered and the campaign is on hiatus. Sigh.

I hate the "zero to hero" trope - if my character has fought in several battles, let me have the skills that correspond with a veteran warrior. Or if I want to play a priest, give me a reasonable chance of getting there in not too many game sessions. If I want to play a newbie kid just out of initiation, that's fine too, but in Greg's Harmast stories, Harmast is already capable of some pretty impressive deeds during his initiation (as is Lokamayadon, and we all know that Argrath killed four men right after his initiation - just read the comic!).

Another more prosaic issue - time. Back when we all lived in Seattle, David Dunham, Neil Robinson, and I used to game weekly come hell or high water. Nowadays, I do good to game every other week - and I consider myself lucky. We just don't have the time to be able to crunch out long zero-to-hero arcs.

The new RuneQuest is going to reflect that bias. If you want to play a "beginning" character, fine - but if you want to make a weapon master, you can! There's a good chance that a character starting in 1627 has already participated in several major battles, and may already have made a name for themself. As a result, a character's best starting skill is often in the 80%+ range. Frex, a Sartarite veteran warrior starts with a broadsword of 20% (with cultural modifiers). To that add a +15% Manipulation bonus. Our character is a veteran of a light infantry unit, so add another 25% to her broadsword. That gets us to 65%. She decides to be an Orlanth Adventurous initiate, so she gets another 10%, meaning 75%. Finally, she chooses to put the maximum number personal skill points - 25% - into broadsword and bam! She starts at 95% in broadsword - she's a weaponmaster at the start of play!

Initially some people were shocked - it didn't seem right that a character could start as a master. I mean, aren't characters suppose to work their way up to being where we want them to be? After which the next question was, why shouldn't characters be able to start at the skill levels where the player wants them too?

After much reflexion and discussion, the conclusion was that heroes to zeroes is needed to "discover" the character. Traditionally when we rolled up a character, we needed several sessions to "discover" them.

But what if we were able to start a character in media res, having already already enough knowledge of the character's drives and loyalties to be able to safely skip The Introductory Phase?

Runes and passions are part of we accomplish that in the new RuneQuest. New RuneQuest characters start with a psychological element much greater than previous editions. Our exemplar Orlanthi decides to take Air at 100%, Moon at 40%, Movement at 85% (meaning Stasis is at 15%), and Death at 75% (meaning Fertility is at 25%). From that we know she is passionate, impulsive and violent, energetic, rebellious, and ambitious, but also ascetic, ruthless, and relentless - and that she has mystic tendencies. Already, I got a good idea how to play her.

But she also has a history - that's the other we get to "know" our character from the outset. Thanks to the Family Background History, I know that she is a Sartar Loyalist (with a Loyalty Sartar passion of 75%), she's got an Honor passion of 70%, she Hates the Lunar Empire at 60% (her father was devoured by the Crimson Bat!), she participated in the Liberation of Sartar (and was one of those who witnessed Kallyr Starbrow acclaimed as Prince of Sartar), and fought at the Battle of Queens after nearly dying from magical backlash in Kallyr's doomed Lightbringer's Quest. She's an experienced campaigner, who knows her way around a battlefield. I decide to add a Devotion to Orlanth passion of 60%, and I know this character. Why shouldn't a character who has already been through 4 years of war start as a weaponmaster?

(But let's say the I decide I want my character to be a farmer rather than a warrior. With the same stats she again starts with 20% broadsword, plus 15% Manipulation bonus. The Farmer occupation adds just +10% to broadsword, bringing it 45%. She decides to spend another +10% from her personal skills on her broadsword, giving her a starting skill of 55%. She knows how to use a sword, and can consider a life adventuring, but she's not a veteran, let alone a master. Instead she chooses to take on a capable and potentially highly prosperous role in her local community, with a Farming Skill of 95% and the ability to manage tenant farmers at 70%. She also decides to take Scan at 60% and even know a little bit of Bronze Smithing (55%). Particularly good skills since the GM has announced that this is going to be the Risklands Campaign, and the ability to manage a stead is even more important than the ability to fight!)

Now here's a secret - you could always create such experienced characters in RQ3. A 27 year old barbarian warrior from Sartar started with 30% in broadsword. A +12% Manipulation bonus was pretty common for such characters (that's DEX 15, INT 13, STR 17), so now we are at 42%. Add 48% from previous experience and we are already at 90%. The difference is that this is pretty much all we knew about our RQ3 character!

Here's another point - RuneQuest combat is just plain deadly. Having a skill of 95% isn't going to stop you from being killed by arrows (although you should do really well in one-on-one duels). And letting characters start with a few high skills means that you can actually do most of the published adventures - and they are still going to be plenty challenging!
I never had a problem with the zero to hero concept which I guess is what most D&D campaigns are about, but I could see how RuneQuest would be more fun with a different approach. I have played my share of useless farmer and herders in early edition RuneQuest...

-Havard

Related Piazza threads: RuneQuest Settings, RuneQuest Editions, BRP Settings, Elric & Eternal Champion, Call of Cthulhu, HeroQuest, Glorantha

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Re: Chaosium's RuneQuest 7 - Design notes

Post by Khedrac »

Havard wrote:Here's part 7:
--snip--
I never had a problem with the zero to hero concept which I guess is what most D&D campaigns are about, but I could see how RuneQuest would be more fun with a different approach. I have played my share of useless farmer and herders in early edition RuneQuest...

-Havard
I like the look of this. It should make it much easier to have a new character join an existing party (something that happens quite a lot given the lethality of combat) without feeling useless most of the time at the start.
Also I always had a problem with the compactness of the timeline (from when most campaign start to the Hero Wars begin) when matched against the speed with which characters' skills advanced. They simply were not going to be close to ready to join in with the big stuff.
Also it probably helps the con-combat focussed cultists who are trying to get 90% in skills they never use to become RuneLords/Priests...
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