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EpicureanDM

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About EpicureanDM

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  • RPG Biography
    35 years across dozens of RPGs, including RQ3.
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    D&D, RQG
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    Hello.

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  1. I like that observation, but do combatants get a free disengagement after downing a direct opponent in RQG? The closest I get to a "free disengagement" is a prone opponent who isn't incapacitated who might attack at a penalty if their opponent chooses the Flee option when disengaging. The prone opponent could attack at a penalty. Every other downed opponent is "functionally incapacitated" and cannot attack anyway. I can see how that's a "free disengagement," but that's not really what RQG's rules mean by "disengagement," is it? With that aside, it's a valuable perspective to raise for newcomers: "Don't be eager to jump back into melee combat. You could be more useful as an Outside of Melee support character for a round or two." Agreed! If you've got tips and tricks to share, I'd love to see them in that thread. Make it better and more complete. To return to the thread's original idea, do you (or did you) ever find the PCs making use of these techniques to stabilize spirit magic beyond RQ3's five-minute duration? If it didn't come up much, it adds more data to the idea that RQ's design basically handwaves the duration for spirit magic in most cases.
  2. I've been playing and GMing RPGs for 35+ years and have been involved in online RPG discussions since the Usenet days. I ask questions like these because I have an interest in game design and playing games as closely to the written rules as I can to see how design works at the table. I pick up RQG with the assumption that its designers have made choices that they believe will produce the best Runequest experience in play: "Follow these rules as we've written them and you'll have a great Runequest experience." Posting questions like these help me to figure out if the rough spots I'm seeing in play are supposed to be there or not. Are what I consider "rough spots" actually part of a good Runequest experience? If enough other people out there are keeping strict track of time once a spirit magic spell's been cast, then that's probably the design intent and I should try to stick with it. The problem's with me and my assumptions. If most folks are handwaving it, then that's probably a design failure (not considered important enough or fun by most folks) and I can smooth it out with house rules. That's why I'm often asking people to provide more detail in this forum. I see more than a few well-respected members with high post counts providing advice based on their RQ2/3 experience who seem unfamiliar with RQG's actual rules. I watched a YouTube video the other day in which Jason Durall told a new RQG player to use RQ2's rule for calculating impaling damage rather than RQG's, which is different. Jason also allowed a player to parry an incoming arrow, which is not permitted under RQG but maybe it was in RQ2? So I ask questions about how literally people take the two-minute duration in play to see which folks are thinking practically and from experience, rather than theoretically. I disagree here. I own a large RQ collection spread across RQ2, RQ3, and Heroquest. I compare the text in many sections of RQG to RQ2 and RQ3 to find that it's close to verbatim in many instances. What's different is that the majority of old RQ2 and RQ3 players never really played at this middle point in RQ's power curve. As you suggest, most RQ2/3 campaigns likely never reached the power level that RQG starts at. To twist your analogy, it's basically the same horse, but most of us never rode it past a trot. Now we're starting at a canter. That's part of why I started that combat tips thread. Even though most of the folks responding seemingly rely on RQ2/3 experience, those are the only people with practical experience of the RQ system when it's "cantering." If RQG was "a whole new beast," their advice wouldn't translate. But it does, doesn't it? Not perfectly, but enough.
  3. G33k put the point into better perspective with the analogy to D&D. It became concrete by allowing me to translate a familiar language into the new one. My dismissal of Joerg's and Bill's points was itself too vague. In hindsight, I don't think it could produce the sort of rules-grounded advice that I'm keen on in the combat tips thread. G33k's fine effort to put meat on the bone arguably applies to many RPGs. I could deploy that advice for 5e fights without much of a disconnect for my players ("The fewer enemies there are on the battlefield, the fewer d20's are being rolled against you, which is usually how you lose hit points.") But G33k's excerpt above does feel concrete and useful. It spotlight's D&D's attritional grind and how that buffer allows for some tactical laziness or foot-dragging (I'm adding that last bit). There's no death spiral in D&D like their can be in RQ. G33k explained why the rules of RQ compared to D&D (no hp buffer/grind, inclusion of death spiral or sudden swings in combat) make Joerg's point more vital, perhaps. It'll be easier to explain to my 5e players.
  4. This is what I'm digging for. So your group switches into detailed, round-by-round time-tracking as soon as the first, preparatory spell goes off. Do you get granular with movement before engagement with opponents (assuming it's a fight)? PCs with 8 Move advance 24 meters per round, all that stuff? What about actions or scenes that require some time but aren't centered around combat? I'm thinking scouting or stealth, but there might be other examples. I'm not sure that's the way I want to play it, but I'm curious to know if that's the style of play that most people think matches the rules about spell duration. My first- and second-hand experience suggests the same. What's strange for modern TTRPG audiences is the old idea from the '70s and early '80s of PCs dragging henchmen and followers around with the party. It's a style of play that largely died out with AD&D. But RQ2's a contemporary design with AD&D, so if it's design includes assumptions about PCs having henchmen (either as allied spirits or the more traditional NPC), modern TTRPG players who largely just understand 5e need to be made aware of that fact. I'm not saying they shouldn't adapt or try new styles of play, only that it won't occur to them and if RQG's higher level play assumes that it will, it could turn off new RQG players. For most RQG play, allied spirits, bound spirits, or elementals are effectively magic items in 5e terms, even if allied spirits could be considered intelligent magic items that should be respected by the PC. But as a conceptual bridge from RQ to 5e, it works. Once RQG players start to find spirit allies that can cast spells while the PC jumps straight into battle, that changes the dynamic a bit. Spell duration doesn't matter because someone else (the spirit) will make sure it never runs out, barring unique, situational circumstances in play. So that pushes us back towards the idea that spell duration doesn't really matter once higher level play is reached. You can keep track of it if you've got the bandwidth, but it's not a big deal if you don't. I am that gent. It's well-intentioned, but too vague to be of use: "I find that the best way to win a football match is to score more goals than my opponent." True, but useless in practice.
  5. EpicureanDM

    Good examples of Strike Ranks in action

    It occurred to me that what I'm looking for is the RQG version of Mengtzu's "Exalted 3e: Combat 301" thread from Rpg.net. I should probably get to work on it. Here's what it looks like: https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/exalted-3e-combat-301.769761/
  6. That's very helpful for reorienting my approach to RQG, since I've only got practical experience with RQ3. I use RQ3 as my touchstone when trying to figure out RQG. I wasn't aware of the Design Diaries. I'll dig into those. Defining spell duration in terms of minutes rather than narratively (e.g. one scene or encounter) is definitely an artifact of the prevailing design philosophies of the late '70's or early '80s when RQ2 was created. But it conflicts with some more modern approaches to duration found in RQG. Rune inspiration lasts "for the time it takes to complete the activity or task, such as the duration of the combat or battle. Generally, inspiration should have a maximum duration of one day." The duration's primary definition is narrative ("complete the activity or task"). It eventually puts a stricter, chronological limit on inspiration ("one day"), but that's more of a tie-breaker assumption. So why don't spirit and rune magic share the same framework? Let's assume that a PC casts some spirit magic before they scout a ruined tower. If most RQG GMs aren't keeping strict, round-by-round track of time outside of combat, then it doesn't matter if the duration of spirit magic is two minutes or two hours. They'll sort it out by feel, guided by descriptions at the table, and their internal sense of drama and pacing. But is that functionally equivalent to "one scene or encounter"? These very specific durations might make more sense when we're in combat and keeping strict track of time, but how many RQ fights last 20 turns? Are there enough 20+ turn battles that we should really worry about the duration of spirit magic so precisely? If the answer is that we should handle it loosely, then the change from five minutes to two minutes wasn't motivated by any meaningful design purpose aside from honoring RQ's past. When my group reads that the duration of spirit magic is two minutes, it changes their frame of mind and their approach to play. Two minutes is not a lot of time. By announcing, "You have two minutes to get the value of the magic points you just spent," the game sort of slows down. People can get focused on describing relatively small actions and slices of time. It can seem like the game's asking you to switch from describing that your character climbs the stairs to narrating every step. Put another way, have any experienced RQ GMs ever asked their players to re-cast their spirit magic before a scene or encounter ended because they "took too long"? Or do most RQ GMs just hand-wave it unless the players try for something that's clearly outside of the duration limits, e.g. trying to make use of a Mobility spell when running a marathon?
  7. If your answer is, "Because it was two minutes in RQ2," that will not be very helpful on its own. What design goals does the change serve? Were there styles of play or "abuses" of the five-minute duration that RQG's designers sought to curb by dropping duration to two minutes? I assume the change was made with some sort of intention in mind. Does anyone who's running RQG keep fairly strict track of time (outside of combat) once someone's cast some spirit magic? If most folks are hand-waving it, as I suspect they are, then is the only benefit of switching from five to two minutes to put more of an informal limit on how much use can be obtained from a spirit magic spell? The reduced time limit could spur a greater sense of urgency once the spells have been cast. It shortens the window between casting the spell and trying to benefit from it. If you're heading into a situation where you face opposition, it might also close the distance between you before you engage (whether via combat or some other means). You've got to be one-minute's walk away from your opposition instead of four.
  8. EpicureanDM

    Someone on rpgnet looking for help

    That's me. If no one can provide one, I'll do it myself and ask for feedback from this forum.
  9. EpicureanDM

    Four Phases in a Melee Round (Resolution of Missiles)

    My group just bashed its head against the OP's question for a couple of hours. This is basically the solution we arrived at, but it runs counter to most modern players intuitions for how combat works. My players' primary fantasy game experience is 5e and that game allows characters to move, attack, then move again. You can also attack first, then move. RQG's design assumptions run contrary to those habits. Today's session had a lot of frustration.
  10. EpicureanDM

    Good examples of Strike Ranks in action

    I would love to see a full, proper example of play describing the mechanisms of combat instead of the piecemeal illustrations of individual rules we see in the corebook.
  11. EpicureanDM

    Vishi Dunn

    Thanks for sharing that, @David Scott. Not quite what I was pointing to in my reply, but I like it. Jason's proposed guidance would give an RQ neophyte who's struggling at the table (as in the OP's example) some guidance for how to be effective with Vishi Dunn. Your handout summarizes some spells that might be helpful, but doesn't put the pieces together for a newcomer like Jason's does.
  12. EpicureanDM

    Looking for practical combat tactics for GMs

    That's one of the pieces that's been missing for me. Spirit "combat" suggests that it should have similar stakes to physical combat (injury, dire consequences, death). This comment suggests deploying spirits as hazards. If the PC loses the fight, there's a generally non-lethal or mildly harmful consequence. The stakes for spirit combat don't have to be high at first. A lost battle might result in a small penalty to certain skills until a possessing spirit's kicked out. A victorious guardian spirit might place a geas on the defeated PC to recover an item that will strengthen the guarded location (or to correct an existing flaw in the location's defenses). When reading old RQ material, I usually see spirits and spirit combat included as part of a fight to the death or involving disease spirits to harm the PCs. There are probably examples when that's not the case, so I acknowledge that I've probably got some confirmation bias going on.
  13. EpicureanDM

    Vishi Dunn

    I defer to your experience, which obviously differs from that of the OP. However, I don't see any conflict between having fun and providing guidance to brand new players on how the RQ system contains some interesting mechanical options that might not be obvious to D&D players. Providing an extra page with magic and %'s doesn't seem like the same thing I'm advocating for. I could be wrong, so if you shared the contents of one of those extra pages, I'd have a better idea of where you're coming from.
  14. EpicureanDM

    Vishi Dunn

    This sort of information (written just like this) should be provided along with the stats for pregen characters. Players who are new to RQ (especially in a con scenario) should be given explicit, practical guidance on how to make effective use of their character, especially when modern gamers largely have no experience with game systems like RQG. Why risk disappointing a potential customer because they can't figure out what makes Vishi Dunn interesting to play?
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