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New characters into existing games, RQG

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You would also have to decide whether character balance is even required. RuneQuest isn't D&D in this regard - game balance is optional, not mandatory. New RQG characters are potent enough that they should be able to do meaningful stuff in campaigns that have proceeded to the rune levels, as long as niche protection is in place. Those established characters fought and bled for their experience! 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

You would also have to decide whether character balance is even required. RuneQuest isn't D&D in this regard - game balance is optional, not mandatory. New RQG characters are potent enough that they should be able to do meaningful stuff in campaigns that have proceeded to the rune levels, as long as niche protection is in place. Those established characters fought and bled for their experience! 

I wouldn't go that far to say that game balance is optional.

Take a pack of rubble runners. Your experienced fighter can easily parry four of them critters in a melee round, whereas a rookie might already despair of parrying the first or second attack.

When it comes to escape skills, rookie characters will be left behind where seasoned travelers keep succeeding in their ride or climb rolls thanks to skill checks from earlier such challenges.

It isn't much fun to roll up a new character once your original character fell out of the game, but doing so frequently without really catching up due to the more serious challenges the GM needs to provide for the old hands certainly is even less fun. In effect, that player will become some kind of redshirt actor. That can be fun once in a while, but who wants to play Kenny in every single session?

I know that I am overstating the problem, and that it is possible to introduce the new character with a moderate survival skill set in an environment that is a new challenge for the old hands - e.g. shipboard activity. But that won't do when the new character is introduced in the middle of the Elder Wilds.

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6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I wouldn't go that far to say that game balance is optional.

Take a pack of rubble runners. Your experienced fighter can easily parry four of them critters in a melee round, whereas a rookie might already despair of parrying the first or second attack.

When it comes to escape skills, rookie characters will be left behind where seasoned travelers keep succeeding in their ride or climb rolls thanks to skill checks from earlier such challenges.

It isn't much fun to roll up a new character once your original character fell out of the game, but doing so frequently without really catching up due to the more serious challenges the GM needs to provide for the old hands certainly is even less fun. In effect, that player will become some kind of redshirt actor. That can be fun once in a while, but who wants to play Kenny in every single session?

I know that I am overstating the problem, and that it is possible to introduce the new character with a moderate survival skill set in an environment that is a new challenge for the old hands - e.g. shipboard activity. But that won't do when the new character is introduced in the middle of the Elder Wilds.

In the rubble runner situation, it's the experienced warrior's job to go engage those four so that the newbies don't have to. Also, if the newbie character is, say, a Lhankor Mhy sage, they don't even act in the same kinds of dimensions - you do stuff the warrior can't do in the first place. This is my default position - you don't need balance, but you do need niche protection. The warrior who is merely a worse warrior may be a tricky situation to handle (but there are  plenty of dimensions even for that warrior - you might be the best mounted warrior, the best ranged combatant, or something like that).

Also, the experience check system means that catching up is quicker.

RQ encounters (apart from any mandatory fights, but you shouldn't have many of those) aren't balanced in the first place. That's part of the charm.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Let's use a nice round number.  Ten.  Ten skills checked every time the adventurers have a session.  If we stick to the RQG concept of an adventure every season, then 50 skills checked a year.  You successfully go up in what?  40% of the skills you check?  60%?   Let's say half, so 25 skill increases a year of PC adventuring.  Average experience gain is 3.5 and if you multiply that by 25 you get 87.5% additional skills.  Let's be generous and for simplicity's sake as well, then, and call it an even 100%.  How many years have your PCs been gaming?  Give the new PC 100% additional skills for every year.  Then let the players deck him out in magic items to get him up to speed and give them something to do with all that extra stuff they've found.

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On 9/10/2019 at 5:28 AM, Akhôrahil said:

You would also have to decide whether character balance is even required. RuneQuest isn't D&D in this regard - game balance is optional, not mandatory. New RQG characters are potent enough that they should be able to do meaningful stuff in campaigns that have proceeded to the rune levels, as long as niche protection is in place. Those established characters fought and bled for their experience! 

I have never sought balance in my games, that to me smacks of an area of unrealism I do not want in my fantasy games.

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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On 9/11/2019 at 2:24 AM, Bill the barbarian said:

I have never sought balance in my games, that to me smacks of an area on unrealism I do not want in my fantasy games.

I don't find "game balance" interesting (Greg used to always tell me, "game balance is for *******"), and RQG reflects that bias. In our house game, Yanioth is the most magically powerful, Vasana is the best fighter who overawes folk with her CHA, but if the session ends up being about knowledge, Sorala is all-powerful. Especially if she can use her Library Use skill. The characters solve obstacles however the characters can. Depending on the group, that might be through personal violence, magical attack, negotiation, stealth, calling in powerful friends, etc.

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On 9/12/2019 at 8:52 AM, Jeff said:

I don't find "game balance" interesting (Greg used to always tell me, "game balance is for *******"), and RQG reflects that bias. 

The Chaosium's own John Wick has some very nice things to say about game balance as well, but the short of it is: 

"In a roleplaying game, game balance does not matter.

Let me say that again:

In a roleplaying game,
game balance does not matter.

What matters is spotlight. Making sure each player feels their character had a significant role in the story. They had their moment in the spotlight. Or, they helped someone else have their significant moment in the spotlight."

Edited by Christoph Kohring
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