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Fantasy d100. Blessed or cursed with choice? How to choose for a new campaign?


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#1 madprofessor

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:12 AM

Hi everyone,

I am new around here, and I don't know if I am on the right forum. My apologies in advance if I have posted this in the wrong place. :o

I don't know which rules to use for an upcoming campaign that I have been invited to run. I'm trying to choose between OpenQuest, RQ6, and Magic World and I am having a terrible time making a decision. The last thing I want to do is ask my players...so I've joined this forum.

For a little background, I've been GMing D100 games for 30+ years. Besides Stormbringer and BRP, I've run campaigns in HarnMaster and WFRP (which I consider Chaosium derived), among others. These rules, along with reams of house rules that I've created over the years, have begun to blend together in my head. This actually works pretty well for my regular gaming group as I tend to be a story-first, improvisational GM who doesn't let rules get in the way. They don't ask where one set of rules stops and another starts - as long as its fun.

This won't work for this new group who will expect to play a game as written, something I haven't done in a long time. So my question is for a RAW game.

Stormbringer has been my go to fantasy game for a long time so MW is a natural choice, but I have already had 1 player express distaste for anything resembling SB due to what he calls "game balance" (perhaps 1st edition but more likely bad a GM). I for one, see Stormbringer's baroque mix of mechanics as a feature. I do not yet own MW, but I have 4 editions of Stormbringer and most of the supplements. Of the 3 games under consideration SB is, I think, the deadliest and most gonzo >:>. It works for me, but I don't know if it will work for my players, and there is always the lure of something new.

I like OQ a lot. I do not yet have OQ2 but I have run a couple of games with OQ1 and its great fun. My regular players rather have a preference for it. The biggest problem I have is that I can't help but tinker with it and add bits from other games. OQ is so easy to mod from other d100 games that I do it accidentally. However, OQ RAW might be too simple for this new group that consists of veteran and fairly serious players (in fact I think every player is a GM with his own group).

I really want RQ6 to be the end of my quest for a perfect rules set. I've never run it. In fact, I've never run RuneQuest in any form =|. RQ6 is a thing of elegance, a wonder to behold, not just in the presentation but in the mechanics. However, I'll come out and say it...its intimidating. How the heck do GMs keep combat straight with hit locations, action points, and special effects in a melee with 5 PCs and half a dozen or more bad guys? :? I like RPG combat, and I've become very good at narrating it. Its pretty scary to replace my well-worn and effective habits with crunch, no matter how good it is. Everything else in the game is near perfect.

I've never had such a wealth of choice. Its not like the old days when we played whatever was at hand, or like recent years where I threw it all in the blender and improvised. I've been dwelling on this decision for about a month now and have less than 2 months left to prepare. I can't seem to make a choice. Any advice would be most welcome.

I am sorry to go on for so long. I tried to be thorough - thinking that might be helpful.

Oh, I haven't chosen a setting yet either, but its a fair bet it will be a low magic, possibly semi-historical something with a touch of mythology and some sword and sorcery Weird Tales vibe. All of my fantasy games end up that way. Any suggestions wold be appreciated.

Aaron

#2 Pete Nash

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:53 AM

I really want RQ6 to be the end of my quest for a perfect rules set. I've never run it. In fact, I've never run RuneQuest in any form =|. RQ6 is a thing of elegance, a wonder to behold, not just in the presentation but in the mechanics. However, I'll come out and say it...its intimidating. How the heck do GMs keep combat straight with hit locations, action points, and special effects in a melee with 5 PCs and half a dozen or more bad guys? :?

Practice! ;)

Try running a few small combats first and get used to how combat flows, before moving up to larger scale engagements. Once you get a feel for how quickly opponent's can be defeated without needing to dismember them, it won't be so intimidating. I also suggest using the Combat Tracking Sheet (page 446) or using status markers/labels if using figures.

Hope that helps!
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#3 Mankcam

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:56 PM

Well OpenQuest is a good start, but its charm is play in RAW I reckon. If you start bolting on options then it will certainly hold up, but it kinda defeats the purpose of running OpenQuest, essentially a streamlined BRP.

MagicWorld will have what you need, and if you go with this I don't think you would be disappointed. The character generation is quite quick, and it is a reasonable take on fantasy BRP. If your players are big Call of Cthulhu fans then moving to MagicWorld is probably the least disruption if you are wanting to play fantasy with them.

However, my totally subjective opinion is that RuneQuest 6th edition is definitely what you are after. I have been gaming since 1984 and I think this is the best set of rules for a semi-historical dark ages or ancient setting, or pure fantasy and sword n sorcery.

I'm not one for complex rules, and I don't think RQ6 is all that complex. Yes it is the 'crunchier' option but that doesn't weigh the combat system down, it actually enhances it. It is a lot of fun to play, and you can hand wave a lot of things on the fly like in all BRP-related systems but if you have a look at the rules you will see most combat situations are covered, and a lot of non-combat ones as well. Character generation is fun, with Passions and Relationships it really goes a long way to fleshing out a character right from the start.

Pete's suggestion of using the combat tracker certainly makes life easier for combat scenes. I think if you have RQ6 in your collection then you certainly need to try it out if starting a fantasy campaign, its really great. As far as supplements go, you can use the RQ6 ones as well as most LEGEND supplements as well, the stats blocks are almost interchangeable.

So I'm certainly recommending RuneQuest 6th edition, its a great game

#4 madprofessor

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:57 AM

Hi Pete, thanks for dropping in to help out.

I must say that RQ6 is a work of true craftsmanship.

Yes, practice. I will do just that. I plan to generate some characters, hand them to my regular group this weekend, and give RQ6 combat a serious go. I will give each player a copy of the Special Effects Table (pg 144) so they each know their options. Handing them "rules" will be a shock, but they're pretty open-minded. Other than the Combat Tracking Sheet, are there any other aids that you recommend to simplify tracking combat?

I don't normally use minis but I might this time. One of my players has a 28mm scale Roman gladiatorial arena that I think could build mood and enthusiasm for some dynamic 1 on 1, or 2 on 2 combats.

Aaron

#5 madprofessor

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:08 AM

Hello Mankcam,

Thanks for the in-depth advice. I agree with what you have said regarding OpenQuest, at least for this game. I want to avoid house-rulings and bolt-ons with this group of old-hands because I do not want the game to degenerate into a discussion over mechanics and game design, which could easily happen. It’s not that I mind such debate with intelligent folks, but I want to give them a chance to actually play for a change. RAW OQ is probably not enough crunch for this particular group without subjective rules additions.

However, in general, I do think that OQ is a great option for compulsive rules tinkerers like myself. For me at least, it easier to add rules to a simple game than it is to subtract them from more a complex system (like GURPS does).

Most, if not all of these guys have run CoC, and several have run other genre games from the BGB. MW would certainly be the easiest game to get up and running. I do need to buy the book though, as I am only making assumptions about it based on years of running Stormbringer. Its a great option.

I think though, after the advice from Pete and yourself, I must give RQ6 combat a serious try before I make a decision. I am very impressed with the rest of the game, and if combat goes as you and Pete have said, it could easily become a feature. Other than combat, the game appears to be no more complex than other D100 games. Chargen may take a little longer, but that is perhaps a price of depth. Some of the guys in the group have played RQ2 and 3, but none of them are familiar with MRQII, Legend, or RQ6, so the newness may add some “shinny new game” factor for them. I need to give RQ6 a shot or I'll never quit wondering whether its the holy grail of d100, just too fiddly to play, or something in between.

A couple of questions though.

Is MRQII stuff directly compatible with RQ6 in terms of stat blocks? Or do they need adjustment?
Is the Book of Quests multiple separate adventures or a mini campaign?

Aaron

#6 Chorpa

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:23 AM

Is MRQII stuff directly compatible with RQ6 in terms of stat blocks? Or do they need adjustment?

Most of the stuff is directly compatible with very few minor details. Skills and other things have changed names but as long as you are aware of those changes it is usable as it is written.

Is the Book of Quests multiple separate adventures or a mini campaign?

Well it is actually both. It does contain 7 independent adventures that you can use in your own campaign world or The Realm that is described in the same book. Each adventure can be connected to each other to form a campaign but it is not needed. A suggestion is to download the sample adventure Caravan and check it out.

Personally I can't recommend Book of Quest highly enough (or any other Design Mechanism product). They just reek of well written goodness and even if I didn't run RQ I would still use the products for other games.

#7 Mankcam

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:49 PM

Yep, ditto what Chorpa said ;t)

#8 lawrence.whitaker

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 11:49 PM

Is the Book of Quests multiple separate adventures or a mini campaign?


As Chorpa says, its both. The scenarios are linked but can easily be run separately and in any order.

We also have 'Hessaret's Treasure' which is set in the same world as 'Book of Quests' and acts as a great intro to that campaign/set of scenarios.
The Design Mechanism: Publishers of RuneQuest 6th Edition
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#9 madprofessor

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:09 PM

Thanks everyone for the strong support and advice!

Loz, my sincere compliments on RQ6. I've been a fan of your work for some time, but you and Pete have outdone yourselves this time!

I downloaded Caravan and read through it. Thanks for the freebee!

To be honest, my initial reaction was "not another caravan guard hook..." However, on further reading I was greatly impressed by two elements of the adventure:

The first is brevity and density. Like many aging GMs I am busy, and I have come to appreciate the short format adventure that has everything I need and little of what I don't. This is probably not the time and place to rant about the plague of excess verbiage in the modern RPG industry though. Its clear that you guys get it, and its sufficient to say that everything in the adventure is instantly useful at the table. ;t) It should be easy to drop into whatever setting I go with.

The second is tone. Caravan has CoC/"The Enemy Within" vibe of chaos and madness. If the rest of The Book of Quests follows suit, and if the adventures are already linked via the mad mastermind villain, then it may be perfect for my little campaign! If it is non-linear as Loz's comments suggest, all the better. I ordered it this morning.

Is there a print version of Hesserat's Treasure? I am not fond of PDFs.

I also ordered Magic World. I'll be running play tests of RQ6 combat tomorrow to see how it goes. Ultimately, my decision for system will rest on whether I can adjust my old narrative habits for combat to RQ6 mechanics.

Chorpa, its sounds like all the Legend/MRQII will work for compatibility. I normally have no problem porting material from one game to another, but my newness to RQ in general has got me a little on edge about unforeseen implications incorporating non-canon material. I'm sure I'll get over it. I am gonna need to comb through this stuff for monsters, magic and cults. Any suggestions are welcome.

I want to thank everybody for their tremendous help and response,

Aaron

Edited by madprofessor, 31 January 2014 - 09:15 PM.


#10 Baragei

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:42 PM

The second is tone. Caravan has CoC/"The Enemy Within" vibe of chaos and madness. If the rest of The Book of Quests follows suit, and if the adventures are already linked via the mad mastermind villain, then it may be perfect for my little campaign! If it is non-linear as Loz's comments suggest, all the better. I ordered it this morning.

The Book of Quests impressed me a lot, with a strong Warhammery-feel throughout.

#11 Mankcam

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 12:04 AM

I normally have no problem porting material from one game to another, but my newness to RQ in general has got me a little on edge about unforeseen implications incorporating non-canon material.

As far as LEGEND goes, I think the stat blocks will be almost directly compatible with RQ6. LEGEND and RQ6 vary in some mechanics and bolt-ons, such as Legendary Abilities in LEGEND and Passions in RQ6, for instance, but I think the stat blocks will be about 99.9% compatible and most GMs would be using the supplements interchangeably I would think. You won't have an issue using the resources for each other, its actually one of the strengths from a GM's point of view.




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