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weasel fierce

Runequest 3, house rules, Borderlands and questions

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Greetings gang. 

I am looking at running Borderlands for a group that is quite new to Glorantha (with the exception of one player) and got to pondering.

* I am leaning towards Runequest 3 since I feel it fits the best balance of things I want (robust rules without too many options to overwhelm the group, multiple character creation options, rules for a ton of critters and gods etc.). It's also the one I am the most comfortable with, and since I'll be running it for a fairly large group, that's going to be important. 

Though as most people no doubt do, I am of course intending on borrowing from here and there.

* Divine magic bugs me a bit though. I feel that it's too limited in 2 and 3, but I also feel like RQG gives too much, too soon. Have anyone adopted a middle ground? 

I was pondering making it easier to regain spells for initiates (something that both the never-released Adventures in Glorantha and Roleplaying in Glorantha does) but I don't want to undermine what makes priests special either.

* 2nd edition scenarios give out a LOT of coin, but prices are all over the place across editions. Even from 2 to RQG, it seems you'd run into some challenges. Is there a reasonable rule of thumb out there to convert money amounts or do people just not worry about it? 

* To avoid quite as many limbs flying off, the rule will be that limbs are severed if you take double hit location damage in a single blow, not from accumulative damage.

* Spirit magic will probably work as in 2e (it just works, unless there's a resistance roll). Last time I ran RQ, we adopted that for spell casting outside combat and honestly, nobody found the dice rolls to be adding much to the game. 

* A long term goal is to run through several of the campaigns. I know Borderlands leads to Griffin Mountain fairly naturally. Its also not too hard to end up in Pavis. Assuming the players dont get their hearts set on something specific, is there an ideal progression if we start in Borderlands? 

 

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1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* I am leaning towards Runequest 3 since I feel it fits the best balance of things I want (robust rules without too many options to overwhelm the group, multiple character creation options, rules for a ton of critters and gods etc.). It's also the one I am the most comfortable with, and since I'll be running it for a fairly large group, that's going to be important. 

I would use RQG rather than RQ3 personally, and I say that as a massive fan of RQ3.

If not, use the good things that have come with RQG and add them to your RQ3 game.

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* Divine magic bugs me a bit though. I feel that it's too limited in 2 and 3, but I also feel like RQG gives too much, too soon. Have anyone adopted a middle ground? 

RQG actually does it well. Runemagic Pools work well and are not overpowering. Initiates regaining Runemagic makes sense, if gained on High holy Days.

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

I was pondering making it easier to regain spells for initiates (something that both the never-released Adventures in Glorantha and Roleplaying in Glorantha does) but I don't want to undermine what makes priests special either.

You could make Runemagic recover on Holy days for Initiates, so once per Season. However, you would need Priests to have an edge, so they can repray them faster. I can't remember the recovery rate for Priests' Runemagic, though.

It is interesting that you find RQG Runemagic too much, too soon, but want Initiates to regain Runemagic faster.

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* 2nd edition scenarios give out a LOT of coin, but prices are all over the place across editions. Even from 2 to RQG, it seems you'd run into some challenges. Is there a reasonable rule of thumb out there to convert money amounts or do people just not worry about it? 

RQ3 had a different pricing mechanism to RQ2 for that very reason. The RQG rules has a Conversion Guide that covers this. Basically it says to divinde RQ2 coin by 5 and RQ3 by 2, I think. Someone will be able to look it up and correct me if I have misremembered.

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* To avoid quite as many limbs flying off, the rule will be that limbs are severed if you take double hit location damage in a single blow, not from accumulative damage.

I used that rule in RQ3. I think that RQG needs the blow to be 3 times the location's normal Hit Points to be severed, which makes it even harder. 

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* Spirit magic will probably work as in 2e (it just works, unless there's a resistance roll). Last time I ran RQ, we adopted that for spell casting outside combat and honestly, nobody found the dice rolls to be adding much to the game. 

Yes, rolling POWx5 to cast a spell is just irritating.

1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

* A long term goal is to run through several of the campaigns. I know Borderlands leads to Griffin Mountain fairly naturally. Its also not too hard to end up in Pavis. Assuming the players dont get their hearts set on something specific, is there an ideal progression if we start in Borderlands? 

Have a look on my website, www.soltakss.com, and search for "Mega Campaign", as I did a similar exercise and took the various campaigns from RQ2 and RQ3 and stitched them together. It formed the very loose basis of my recently finished Gloranthan Campaign.

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Thanks mate.

I'll have a look at your site.

I think what I am after is a middle ground for divine/rune magic really: A bit more available than it used to be, but not quite as commonplace as RQG either. 

I want it to be something they work towards, rather than already starting deep in the cult, if that makes sense? 

Regaining spells seasonally does make a lot of sense. I think the unfinished "Adventures in Glorantha" was going to go down that path too.

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The only thing in RQG Runemagic I might change would be to make Common Runemagic work the same as other Runemagic. By this, I mean use the highest Cult Rune to cast them as normal, but the Cultists need to sacrifice for the spell. Alternatively, have them not need to sacrifice for the spell, if they don't want to, but double the Rune Points needed to cast a common Runespell not known. that way, they can still be used, so someone can always cast Sanctify for example, but it is harder.

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Being able to cast at double cost without sacrificing does make a lot of sense. There's a lot of handy spells that players might not be inclined to take, because there's usually something else that's more important.

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55 minutes ago, soltakss said:

ou could make Runemagic recover on Holy days for Initiates, so once per Season. However, you would need Priests to have an edge, so they can repray them faster. I can't remember the recovery rate for Priests' Runemagic, though.

Pretty much once a holy day gives a chance for a worship roll and it does not even need to be the main cult, an associated cult will do.(one a week for an issaries near a market (or shrine of some sort, before associated cults)) to gain a shot at some regained RPs. soltakss. The initiates also gain a chance for fewer RPs (and seeing as worship should be lower a lesser chance here as well) in the rules as written. I am assuming you are HRing to achieve the use that weasel fierce wishes to have.

Alas, I have to agree with soltakss. Though the RQ G rules are not quite ready for prime time (that never stopped Belushi et al) they are great and weill be better than RQ 3 ( a system I loved) eventually. They are also easy enough to HR as soltakss points out.

38 minutes ago, soltakss said:

The only thing in RQG Runemagic I might change would be to make Common Runemagic work the same as other Runemagic. By this, I mean use the highest Cult Rune to cast them as normal, but the Cultists need to sacrifice for the spell. 

I will definitely HR this for my NPCs, thank you.

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3 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Alas, I have to agree with soltakss. Though the RQ G rules are not quite ready for prime time (that never stopped Belushi et al) they are great and weill be better than RQ 3 ( a system I loved) eventually.

Why do you believe that ("will be better eventually")?  Being completely tied to the RQ2 rules engine pretty much dooms RQG to be never more than "advanced RQ2", which is pretty darn limiting.

There are lots of good reasons to house-rule RQ3 in various ways, and several of those reasons come from RQG, but the core engine of the game is a lot sounder than the older rules.  (IMO, obviously.)

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4 minutes ago, BWP said:

Why do you believe that ("will be better eventually")?  Being completely tied to the RQ2 rules engine pretty much dooms RQG to be never more than "advanced RQ2", which is pretty darn limiting.

 

Hmm, being a bit lazy (and after all you brought it up) let me turn that on its head. Why do you think that they won’t be better. Again, this is me be lazy not mean, but still you brought that up so I will let you start the lifting.

cheers

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5 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Why do you think that they won’t be better.

Um, do you need me to re-post my previous reply?

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6 minutes ago, BWP said:

Um, do you need me to re-post my previous reply?

You mean the only problem with RQ G would be that it is based on RQ 2. Sounds okay to me. Again, opinion. I agree that the rules to RQ 3 were sound, but I see no reason that RQ G will not make it there.

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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We allow the return of divine magic to rune levels with the conduct of a worship service (points) number of days after casting.  So lightning 3 could be re castable in a worship service conducted at least 3 days after casting.  Of course you have to have the worship service which can be challenging in some contexts.

For severing we use 3x the limb up in damage, after armor.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, styopa said:

We allow the return of divine magic to rune levels with the conduct of a worship service (points) number of days after casting.  So lightning 3 could be re castable in a worship service conducted at least 3 days after casting.  Of course you have to have the worship service which can be challenging in some contexts.

For severing we use 3x the limb up in damage, after armor.

 

 

I like that solution too. Keeps it from being too easy but doesn't require tracking a calendar either. 

Hm. I'll do a bit more musing on the topic. 

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1 hour ago, weasel fierce said:

I like that solution too. Keeps it from being too easy but doesn't require tracking a calendar either. 

 

Now we are getting to the nut of the situation and a tough nut it is. A fair sized group with a diverse cult membership could keep the holy days hopping off the calendar pages. I like the idea of the strategy of keeping track of the calendar days on paper but the reality could entail much more book keeping than I thought. Definitely granular, but all those holy days and associated cult holy days times adventurers. Wow!

"Break out the spread sheet app, Martha! This one’s goin’ ta be a bear!"

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11 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Now we are getting to the nut of the situation and a tough nut it is. A fair sized group with a diverse cult membership could keep the holy days hopping off the calendar pages. I like the idea of the strategy of keeping track of the calendar days on paper but the reality could entail much more book keeping than I thought. Definitely granular, but all those holy days and associated cult holy days times adventurers. Wow!

"Break out the spread sheet app, Martha! This one’s goin’ ta be a bear!"

Yeah, we'll have 5 players and with my luck, nobody will want to play the same deity :)
We just finished a Harn campaign and it was a bear to track there, and that was just for regaining a few points of piety, not for actually recuperating spells.

 

I do like the idea of using the calendar and having them struggle with decisions based on it, but I can already feel a headache coming on, and I have a one drink maximum when I GM :) (okay 2.. maybe 3 but you know)

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33 minutes ago, weasel fierce said:

I do like the idea of using the calendar and having them struggle with decisions based on it, but I can already feel a headache coming on, and I have a one drink maximum when I GM :) (okay 2.. maybe 3 but you know)

Alright Martha, break out the drink cart and the spreadsheet, this is really going to be a bear!

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2 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Now we are getting to the nut of the situation and a tough nut it is. A fair sized group with a diverse cult membership could keep the holy days hopping off the calendar pages. I like the idea of the strategy of keeping track of the calendar days on paper but the reality could entail much more book keeping than I thought. Definitely granular, but all those holy days and associated cult holy days times adventurers. Wow!

Yep. Speaking as a GM using, more or less, RQG's magic rules as written, it can be a right pain in the arse. I've printed out the one-page calendar from the PDF in the GM's Screen Pack for each player, and that does help them keep track of their holy days, somewhat.

The other challenge is that if an adventurer is trying to optimize their access to and use of Rune magic, then the "one adventure per season" paradigm RQG encourages breaks down. For example, I can't just narrate "Weeks pass, and it grows hot as the world turns to Fire Season, when a mysterious courier comes to Pavis..." because my Issaries merchant player will go "hang on hang on hang on! I've got weekly holy days, and I want to be poking around each week to see if there's any new opportunities to Spell Trade with my bonus 1D6 Rune points on those weeks!"

So my game process at-table has instead become something more like "Death Week, anyone doing something? Okay, moving to Harmony Week," etc. between adventures.

@weasel fierce My old RQ3 game didn't really use much Rune magic—I was a sorcerer-knight, and we had a couple other sorcerers and a shaman for support, plus one lonely theist—but I'd say the play experience of using Rune points is really fun. It's both strong and flexible. However, I do agree that something a bit more slow and granular than RQG would best fit my taste, both in terms of starting skills as well as in terms of magic access.

In hindsight, if I were to re-start a campaign with new rules & norms, I'd really like to try implementing some of @soltakss's suggestions above. Probably have adventurers start without "free" Rune points, but eligible to become initiates if they meet the skill requirements. Probably have to buy the common spells (maybe each cult would have one or two for free, instead of the whole gamut), and initiates only able to replenish their Rune points on a seasonal holy day.

Fortunately, if you like the RQ3 engine better (and I do as well in several places) IMHO it's not too difficult to tack RQG's Rune magic and cults on top. I'm not quite convinced that D100 games are as modular as some folks claim they are, but in this case it seems pretty cut-and-paste to me. If, of course, that would suit your table and Your Glorantha.

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16 hours ago, soltakss said:

I would use RQG rather than RQ3 personally

This.

RQG provides runes, passions and a Rune Magic system that actually works. 

Even though RQG badly needs a second edition made in less hurry, these bits are good enough to warrant using it.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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There may be circumstances that require the player characters to miss their regularly scheduled holy day.

For rune point renewal the player characters can always sponsor an extra worship service for the community, providing the sacrifices (and paying for the incense, fuel etc., as well as for additional bread and veggies to be eaten alongside the sacrificial meat in the feast with which they bribe the congregation to attend, and - if required, i.e. if the characters don't lead the service themselves - for the god-talker or priest holding the service (at least 3 days of work for that, with ritual cleansing etc. as preparation). They won't get as good a timing bonus as a serice on a regularly scheduled holy day, but taking the appropriate weekday and possibly week might mitigate that slightly. Extra sacrifices may take care of the rest.

King of Dragon Pass had rules for the seasonal upkeep of a temple or shrine, most of which will have gone into the weekly and seasonal worship services. I'd have to look those rates up, but I seem to recall 4 cattle, 10 sheep and 10 cattle worth of goods per shrine per season, double that for a temple, quadruple that for a big temple (congregation to be feasted).

There will always be people willing to sacrifice a little of their daily recoverable magic (aka MP) for a bit of a free lunch and extra piety.

 

In case of doubt, you could have a mini-session with the chief delegating such an impromptu extra service to the player characters. Other than rune point retrieval,  such displays of piety and generosity are useful for diplomacy or politicking inside the clan or tribe, and there will be other purposes that can be married to such an extracurricular service - e.g. marriage negotiations, guesting a VIP belonging to or favoring that cult, ..

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

King of Dragon Pass had rules for the seasonal upkeep of a temple or shrine, most of which will have gone into the weekly and seasonal worship services. I'd have to look those rates up, but I seem to recall 4 cattle, 10 sheep and 10 cattle worth of goods per shrine per season, double that for a temple, quadruple that for a big temple (congregation to be feasted).

As "maintaining a shrine" is well within what a PC might end up with, I would love to see the economics of the various temples worked out in rules text. (Especially as there are some odd outliers in the text, such as a small family being able to support its own minor temple (!!) to Daka Fal.)

The numbers you provide translated into RQ would mean that (rounding coarsely) a shrine would cost 1500L yearly to maintain, and a minor temple 3000L, out of a clan GDP (sample clan in rulebook) of 16000L. In the case of the sample clan, that means that its public domestic spending of 4500L yearly would be able to just about support a minor temple and a shrine. To me, that seems a little (but not a lot) on the harsh side - while that amount of temple facilities might be fine, there are non-cult-related public expenditures as well, such as public works, maintenance of the war-band, and so on.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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4 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

As "maintaining a shrine" is well within what a PC might end up with, I would love to see the economics of the various temples worked out in rules text. (Especially as there are some odd outliers in the text, such as a small family being able to support its own minor temple (!!) to Daka Fal.)

The numbers you provide translated into RQ would mean that (rounding coarsely) a shrine would cost 1500L yearly to maintain, and a minor temple 3000L, out of a clan GDP (sample clan in rulebook) of 16000L. In the case of the sample clan, that means that its public domestic spending of 4500L yearly would be able to just about support a minor temple and a shrine. To me, that seems a little (but not a lot) on the harsh side - while that amount of temple facilities might be fine, there are non-cult-related public expenditures as well, such as public works, maintenance of the war-band, and so on.

Those numbers were purely from memory. I need to install KoDP on my current tablet to check (the last ones which had it don't work any more). Anyway, KoDP is not exactly an economic simulation, and those numbers may have been yearly rather than seasonal cost (considering the amount of shrines and temples your KoDP clan could support without falling into the negative sheep production problem - negative cattle production could be caught up with cattle raiding or general raiding, but somehow those raiders failed to bring back sheep, and nobody would trade them away either).

I am not entirely sure whether this is that harsh as the beasts sacrificed will still be within the food pool of the clan, and they would be mainly surplus male beasts culled from the herds for efficiency. Your typical sacrificial bull will be two years old and selected for its fur coloration, with its other non-breeding brothers with less pleasant skin coloration being gelded as draft oxen. Your sacrificial cow on the other side is likely to have given birth to six to eight calves before getting culled from the herd as her milk quota decreases or the birthing becomes more problematic. I have seen the claim that the Zoroastrian reforms had as one aim to preserve the cattle herds from the demands of the magi for sacrifice that were getting out of hand (possibly the Mithras cult with the tauromachy as a central rite?).

Anyway, the temple maintenance also includes the maintenance of the temple or shrine maintainer, and might have to be reduced as doubling for the temple and the livelihood of its personnel and retainers, and possibly contributing to the public expenses.

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49 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I am not entirely sure whether this is that harsh as the beasts sacrificed will still be within the food pool of the clan, and they would be mainly surplus male beasts culled from the herds for efficiency.

I'm considering this as well - you have to sacrifice 10% of your income to the temple, but it's not clear exactly how this works out - is it net or gross? For instance, does it count as 10% if you sacrifice 20% but get 10% back as part of sacrificial feasts (totaling a 10% net)? For a farmer - but less so for an adventurer, who might earn huge amounts of coin - it would make sense if it does. In the ancient world, typically the majority of all consumption of meats came through sacrifices (this is why it's a such a huge deal in Paul whether or not you can eat sacrificial meat), and it makes sense that the same might hold true in Glorantha.

Second, I would think that maintaining non-priest thanes and the war-band would not be included in regular Temple maintenance. However, that would require some differentiation between the Chieftain's role as head priest and his role as community leader, and I'm not sure how much the game sees a difference there.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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I don't think it's a problem that temple maintenance is a strain on the community (if a modest one): After all the temple is the core of the community's survival in many cases. It would also help explain why "adventurers"tend to be tolerated, because despite their tendency to cause trouble and draw in enemies, they also tend to acquire large amounts of loot and potential sacrifice animals (if they win a victory over a rival clan f.x.).

Of course being Glorantha, there's no doubt ways to make a cow grow faster or something.

 

As far as the repeated upselling of RQG - Thanks guys, I get it.

Lets just pretend that I have seen the light and is totally for sure running RQG but I had questions about reducing the amount of rune magic and converting money from old scenarios. 

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11 hours ago, Crel said:

The other challenge is that if an adventurer is trying to optimize their access to and use of Rune magic, then the "one adventure per season" paradigm RQG encourages breaks down. For example, I can't just narrate "Weeks pass, and it grows hot as the world turns to Fire Season, when a mysterious courier comes to Pavis..." because my Issaries merchant player will go "hang on hang on hang on! I've got weekly holy days, and I want to be poking around each week to see if there's any new opportunities to Spell Trade with my bonus 1D6 Rune points on those weeks!"

I've found the same problem. I have been trying to move the players from continuous play to one-adventure-per-season and the Holy Days screw that up. Not to mention the Shaman musing about things he could be doing in the spirit world during the weeks not adventuring, all of which would require some form of roleplaying. I'm contemplating having some sort of "seasonal activity sheet" where the players can "schedule" downtime activities including worship and spirit quests, but it's hard to see what that will look like.

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