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About this blog

This blog discusses and explains decisions made in the process of creating the BRP/Questworlds/Pendragon mashup game system, or glorified house rules that I call Rivers of Sartar.

All images are from wikimedia, diagrams are by the author.

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Entries in this blog

Background: Dice Probability Tables

Questworlds is Chaosium's rules and prep-lite RPG system. Fundamental to it is the opposed roll, in which a skill is rolled against a resistance, using  'highest rolled value  as a tiebreak i both rolls succeed. The produces a table of probabilities that looks like this:   This table skill on the left, and resistance on top. Both are unrolled so 22 is 42.  This table has 2 key desirable properties: thanks to the tiebreak rule, it almost always (at least 95% of the time) p

radmonger

radmonger in Rivers of Sartar

Cults of Runequest: Clans

The previous blog entry described Rune Cults in abstract rules terms. This by itself is enough for running an adventure-focused game, where rune cults serve a game function much like that of D&D character classes.  However, many people prefer a community-focused game, in the style of the Red Cow campaign or Six Seasons in Sartar. This requires a somewhat deeper understanding of how the rules portray the setting, in particular what a clan is. In the RQ:G rules, the term clan is used

radmonger

radmonger in Runequest

Cults of Runequest

For Rune and Spirit Magic,Rivers of Sartar uses a lightly modified version of the RQ:G cult rules that underlay the supplements in the Cults of Runequest (CoR) line. So in order to explain these rules, and justify their existence, it is necessary to first explain how the official rules work. Hopefully this will also prove useful to those who want to stick with the Rules As Written (RAW), or make their own preferred tweaks. RQ:G RAW A PC is born into a clan, which is normally

radmonger

radmonger in Runequest

Scenario 2: Voria's Run

The Festival The first day of the year is Freezeday of Disorder week, Sea season. This day is holy to Voria the Spring Virgin, the goddess of new beginnings, youth and innocence. In Nochet, this is traditionally celebrated by a mass run. Horns call children, and the young-at-heart, into the streets. There, they simply run until exhaustion. There is no start or finish line, no winning or losing, just run until you drop. Wherever you fall, when you recover you look around for a sign of Voria'

radmonger

radmonger in Lyksos

Background: Repeated dice rolls and probability

One of the three modes of play that these rules support is free-form play, where every contest is resolved with a single opposed roll. For some GMs and groups, this by itself is enough. Many successful campaigns have been run in this way, ever since it was adapted for RPGs from the style of wargame invented by Tom Mouat. However, sometimes you might want a contest that isn't resolved so quickly. One that fills more of the session, one that has several twists and turns that generate an emerg

Game Mechanics: Consequences and Resources

When a contest resolves, whether simple or ongoing, if the result is not to any contestants liking, they may reject it. Normally this will because they lost, but a particularly confident contestant might be unsatisfied in the level of success they achieved and try for more. In order to do so, if they are losing, they must accept a number of consequences sufficient to bring the contest back to being a draw. If they were winning, they must give up successes instead. Either way, at this point

Introducing Rivers of Sartar

There are many BRP-derived, Runequest-inspired fantasy role-playing game systems; ones I am aware of include Mythras, OpenQuest, SpeedRune, SimpleQuest, Revolution D100, Jackals and Legend. This is mine[1]. For people who are not me, it's main selling point is that it is a unofficial adaptation of some of the principles behind the QuestWorld game engine to Chaosium's world of Glorantha. In particular, it changes certain aspects of the QuestWorlds core mechanics to support the direct us

Game Mechanics: Opposed Rolls and Tie Breaks

How to roll In Rivers of Sartar, all rolls are opposed rolls, between contestants, each of which is using an ability. Each contestant simultaneously rolls a single D100 (the success D100), and zero or more D20s (the bonus D20). The option of using different numbers of bonus D20 provides an additional dimension by which different situations may be handled in game: if a contestant has advantage, roll 2 bonus die; use the higher one.

Game Mechanic: Ongoing Contests

In an ongoing contest, a sequence of rolls are used to resolve a single contest. As with freeform play, success or failure simply changes the situation which must be dealt with. Compared to freeform play, within that contest, additional rules and guidelines apply, and so the need for GM fiat is somewhat lessened. A contest normally ends with a decisive roll, which will indicate the degree of success or failure the contest resulted in. A PC may

Scenario 1: Childhood Games

This short cameo is designed to introduce players to the basics of the rules in a low-threat environment. Player characters are 11 or 12 year old children in Nochet (N:AG), the largest city in all Glorantha.  At the start of play, nothing else is known about them; they will gain characteristics and skills during play. In Nochet, children of that age spend their morning doing chores, and evening with their families. But for much of the afternoon, they are free to play in the streets. The gam

radmonger

radmonger in Lyksos

The Lyksos Campaign

The Lyksos mini-campaign is intended as a step-by-step tutorial for these rules. It is based on Harald Smith's Nochet, Queen of Cities, and in particular the adventurer's guide  (N:AG). It is designed to be run interleaved with RQ:G character creation, so that characters emerge through play, start out knowing each other. By default, when going through the first two steps of family history, it is suggested to pick an answer by consensus.  This means the players will have a common authority,

radmonger

radmonger in Lyksos

Game Mechanics: Free-form Game-play

Rivers of Sartar supports three modes: free-form game play, structured contests and tactical combat. A given game may use any or all of these, by simply switching between them as required for pacing and to maintain player interest. In free-form play, the rolls to be made should be based on the logic of the situation as it unfolds. Each roll is standalone, in that there are no built-in mechanical consequences for succeeding or failing. There is no defined time scale. Instea
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