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Runequest 3, house rules, Borderlands and questions

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On 11/15/2019 at 8:08 PM, weasel fierce said:

"Rune levels" is nothing, honestly. 

To be a full-blown priest, all you need is 4 skills at 50, plus 50 points of ritual magic. 

You don't even need to commit to priesthood. Acolytes get re-usable rune magic as well. 

If you use the freeform character creation, you can easily start off at that rank and even if you don't, if the campaign is such a meat grinder that getting four skills to 50 is literally impossible, the problem is not the system but the GM.

 

 

Like, everyone understands that the priest rules in 2 and 3 are different right? 

 

I'd houseruled that the 'tests' had to be in application, not on the character sheet.  So if a cult requirement was "90% with bow attack", then they put up 10 arrow butts and the character had to sink 9 of 10 arrows to pass that test.

FAR more interesting, FAR more stressful for the players, FAR more fun imo.  

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On 11/17/2019 at 1:46 PM, soltakss said:

Yes, but for the cults that were not described in RQ2, we used the RQ3 spells for our RQ2 Campaign.

There's nobody that's played RQ(any) for any length of time that hasn't become adept at more or less CONSTANTLY repurposing everything from RQ2, RQ3, MRQ1/2, RQ6, and now RQG into whatever niche-flavored rules they're using.

CONSTANTLY.  :)

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On 11/17/2019 at 4:34 AM, Jeff said:

But not, interestingly enough, the people who wrote it - most emphatically Greg. Greg strongly believed that RQ2 was the superior system to RQ3 and that although RQ3 had some useful rules fixes (like magic points instead of temporary POW), it went too far in many areas and that its "generic" approach was a huge step backwards. 

I can completely see that.  I utterly agree that RQ2 carried the spirit of "what Glorantha should be" into the game more substantially than the otherwise-sterile RQ3.  That makes perfect sense knowing Greg.

At the same time, people have different priorities.  I don't know that Greg cared a great deal about things like mathematical consistently, repeatability of results, precision: he was a "big story" guy not a "make sure the jots and tittles all line up" person.  He certainly wasn't a wargamer (not intended to be a slam, that's just on observation) except insofar as it let us experience the grand sweep of events in Dragon Pass and Nomad Gods in a PARTICIPATORY way that wasn't other wise available in 1970. 

That said, I have many, many times wondered why in the heck Perrin's crunchy quasi-realism ended up connected to Glorantha.  They seem like entirely alien bedfellows.  When Robin's HQ system came out- THAT, indeed, seemed to better encompass not just the Campbellian approach that seemed to underlay everything Greg wrote, but the story-driven narrative that are the (lack of) gears behind the entire Gloranthan storyline.

I admit over the years I have always seen that tension - between an empirically-based, mechanics-driven rules system that is so perfectly suited to simulationism, underlying a subjective, impressionist, imprecise GAME - and even wondered why RQG went back to RQ2 in the first place instead of HQ.  It's like putting a pair of old rigid hobnail boots on someone at burning man who'd be much more comfortable barefoot or in moccasins.  

EDIT: these are my IMPRESSIONS of Greg.  I was merely an acquaintance, we'd corresponded a bit on Gloranthan weather and maps, occasionally over the years.  I'd say my "know what Greg was like" skill was certainly 15% or lower.  Maybe I was totally misreading the guy, others would know vastly better than I do.

Edited by styopa

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9 hours ago, Jeff said:

It certainly didn't help sales. RQ2 did significantly better than RQ3 in terms of sales.

I'm not sure about that comparison.  RQ3 selling in the mid 1980s at the PEAK of D&D's early apogee, vs RQ2 in a totally different market environment?  AH's utter bungling of well, everything having to do with marketing, pricing, boxing, product values, target buyers, I'm not sure I can list all the places AH failed.

In simple raw numbers?  D&D did better than RQ3 OR RQ2...I don't think anyone wants to go there.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

TBH it's just considered as part of the "resting" process for us.  You wake up, and if you're a Rune level that last hour before you start your day is a worship service.  We don't play it out any more than most of the mundanities of daily life.  (shrug).

That sounds heretically close to being "spend an hour each day with your spellbook" mister... ;)

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

Amusingly, that was something I liked.

I liked it too. Plus Greg's later statements that RQ never really represented Glorantha well, and that HQ supposed was better at doing so, contributed to my feeling that the game system worked  better outside of Glorantha. 

1 hour ago, styopa said:

I liked that RQ3 was a gritty, 'realistic', d100 system that was portable.  Ran a campaign set in a fantasy Europe back in the day (but I will agree their default RQ3 quasi-Roman setting was a rubbish mess; Vikings was an amazing supplement as was Land of Ninja).

Yes, they needed a  Fantasy Europe setting pack s imilar to thier usual packs, and  I  suspect there was one in the  works,  but  never got printed. I think Ninja wasn't as good as Vikings, and was too far removed from Fantasy Europe. LotN seemed to lack the wort of detail that Bob Chareette had put into  Bushido, and there was a lot of blank space, and reused the same art multiple times. It reminded me a lot of the old Hawkmoon boxed set. It was if there was supposed to be more but for some reason it never got done and they had to find away to fill out the page count. It was still a good supplment, but I think they would have been better off saving it until after they had fleshed out Fantasy Europe more. 

1 hour ago, styopa said:

I've grown to accept it better over the years but I'll admit the heresy that I've never LOVED Glorantha as a setting.  It IS the most logically-consistent fantasy setting I'm aware of in which magic is really, truly, intrinsically linked to the setting - not just "faux Medieval with magic bolted on but not meaningfully rationalized" as in most cases.  But I'm a little too empirical to love it as much as some.

I like Glorantha but:

  • It is  very different than any other FRPG setting, making it harder for a new player to just play.  Everything from who can cast spells (everybody), what races are available and what they are like (they are not Tolkien/European Elves, Dwarves and Trolls),  to what weapons and armor are available (bronze?) all made it tougher for new combers to  grasp.
  • The rich background and history has a steep learning curve, made worse by the fact that it isn't a common legend that we all know a little about. 
  • Glorantha is/was unique and that made it both appealing and also harder to both run and play.

It will be interesting to see how non-Glorantha RQ develops. Will it  s till closely to and be compatible with RQG, or will it diverge to better emulate whatever setting it is being used for, or  even be more generic.

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3 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

It will be interesting to see how non-Glorantha RQ develops. Will it  s till closely to and be compatible with RQG, or will it diverge to better emulate whatever setting it is being used for, or  even be more generic.

Well, as the only announced non-Gloranthan RQ item is supposed to be Mythic Iceland, I would think it would be tailored to that. Hopefully going a bit further into Greenland, and the home lands... to give us a bit more room to roam.

If their Medieval supplement for Cthulhu ever sees the light of day, and it ranges early enough in period, I might just move to Cthulhu for my non-Glorantha fix.

SDLeary

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2 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Well, as the only announced non-Gloranthan RQ item is supposed to be Mythic Iceland, I would think it would be tailored to that. Hopefully going a bit further into Greenland, and the home lands... to give us a bit more room to roam.

I'm sure it will be, but in what ways, mechanically  Nordic runes replace Glortathan ones seems obvious, although that would mean a lot more rune skills. But what hit point  method will be used, will armor potect as in RQG despite being iron or steel, or have higher values?  All that stuff. 

2 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

If their Medieval supplement for Cthulhu ever sees the light of day, and it ranges early enough in period, I might just move to Cthulhu for my non-Glorantha fix.

SDLeary

Well, there is also this game called Pendragon which does handle  medieval fairly well. And now Charlemagne. With a few adjustments it could probably give you your fix. A lot of BRP stuff could be bolted onto or adapted to the KAP core rules. 

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

I'm not sure about that comparison.  RQ3 selling in the mid 1980s at the PEAK of D&D's early apogee, vs RQ2 in a totally different market environment?  AH's utter bungling of well, everything having to do with marketing, pricing, boxing, product values, target buyers, I'm not sure I can list all the places AH failed.

In simple raw numbers?  D&D did better than RQ3 OR RQ2...I don't think anyone wants to go there.

D&D got the monopoly of non Gloranthan fantasy gaming. Quite possibly if Runequest had *initially* abandoned Glorantha all the way back in the '70s, it could have gone head to head with D&D. I ran into one of the original founders of RQ at the last Dundracon, forget his name, and he said he'd argued for that. Once fantasy gaming became identified with D&D in the public mind, the Avalon Hill-Chaosium attempt to push Runequest as a generic system was trying to close the barn door after the horse had been stolen, and was doomed. The appeal of Runequest is Glorantha. Without Glorantha, Runequest can never go anywhere, except as just another of the myriad niche games out there that come and go. The tie in with Avalon Hill only meant that RQ would end up as one of the least popular of the niche games, and die quicker.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

I can completely see that.  I utterly agree that RQ2 carried the spirit of "what Glorantha should be" into the game more substantially than the otherwise-sterile RQ3.  That makes perfect sense knowing Greg.

At the same time, people have different priorities.  I don't know that Greg cared a great deal about things like mathematical consistently, repeatability of results, precision: he was a "big story" guy not a "make sure the jots and tittles all line up" person.  He certainly wasn't a wargamer (not intended to be a slam, that's just on observation) except insofar as it let us experience the grand sweep of events in Dragon Pass and Nomad Gods in a PARTICIPATORY way that wasn't other wise available in 1970. 

That said, I have many, many times wondered why in the heck Perrin's crunchy quasi-realism ended up connected to Glorantha.  They seem like entirely alien bedfellows.  When Robin's HQ system came out- THAT, indeed, seemed to better encompass not just the Campbellian approach that seemed to underlay everything Greg wrote, but the story-driven narrative that are the (lack of) gears behind the entire Gloranthan storyline.

I admit over the years I have always seen that tension - between an empirically-based, mechanics-driven rules system that is so perfectly suited to simulationism, underlying a subjective, impressionist, imprecise GAME - and even wondered why RQG went back to RQ2 in the first place instead of HQ.  It's like putting a pair of old rigid hobnail boots on someone at burning man who'd be much more comfortable barefoot or in moccasins.  

EDIT: these are my IMPRESSIONS of Greg.  I was merely an acquaintance, we'd corresponded a bit on Gloranthan weather and maps, occasionally over the years.  I'd say my "know what Greg was like" skill was certainly 15% or lower.  Maybe I was totally misreading the guy, others would know vastly better than I do.

I think that's about right, Heroquest is more like Greg's original vision of a game than RQ3, certainly. But let's face it, Heroquest just isn't that popular as a game, the game system is just too vague, slippery and annoying to get far. So Greg in his last years wanted to bring back RQ2 and make it more runic and bring into it more of the spirit he wanted , as a sensible compromise. Sales figures seem to indicate that he was right.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Well, there is also this game called Pendragon which does handle  medieval fairly well. And now Charlemagne. With a few adjustments it could probably give you your fix. A lot of BRP stuff could be bolted onto or adapted to the KAP core rules. 

Well, yes. That is fantasy of a different ilk though compared to the zero-to-hero that RQ has traditionally supported. As has been pointed out other  places on this forum, its a bit deadly (deadlier than RQ) when you remove the  ever present armor. 

I can certainly do it, and have in  the past. Its not something that I would necessarily want to set new players in front of though. Much better to have published rules for that.

SDLeary

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32 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Well, yes. That is fantasy of a different ilk though compared to the zero-to-hero that RQ has traditionally supported. As has been pointed out other  places on this forum, its a bit deadly (deadlier than RQ) when you remove the  ever present armor. 

Yes, and pointed out by your's truly. The deadliness would be less than RQ if you just used RQ armor values for armor, weapons and shields, with parry weapons soaking damage per RQ. 4d6 damage wouldn't be so bad if a shield blocked 12 points on a partial success. 

32 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

I can certainly do it, and have in  the past. Its not something that I would necessarily want to set new players in front of though. Much better to have published rules for that.

SDLeary

Yes. While KAP coul d be adapted to replace RQ for non-Glorantha games, it is obviously better if RQ could just handle such games. Hence why even those of us who are not pleased with RQG are still curious about RQ-nonG. I think CoC7 would need some work to really replace RQ. As some of the threads have illstrated, the bonus dice do not quite equal to bonus to attack.

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9 hours ago, styopa said:

That said, I have many, many times wondered why in the heck Perrin's crunchy quasi-realism ended up connected to Glorantha.  They seem like entirely alien bedfellows.  When Robin's HQ system came out- THAT, indeed, seemed to better encompass not just the Campbellian approach that seemed to underlay everything Greg wrote, but the story-driven narrative that are the (lack of) gears behind the entire Gloranthan storyline

I've often wondered the same thing, yes. I'd love to get some behind-the-scenes tales about how the original first Glorantha RPG happened this way.

9 hours ago, styopa said:

even wondered why RQG went back to RQ2 in the first place instead of HQ.

That, however, I didn't wonder about. Writing Gloranthan material for crunch-loving/miniature painting gamers means access to a far bigger audience and market than HQ's... especially at a time when the OSR movement is strong, and all the nostalgic bearded grognards of old are seeing their kids move out of the house, leaving them with enough free time, money, and mid-life existentialism that they will want to get back into gaming. Chaosium only releasing for the HQ line wouldn't make as much sense both in terms of finances and in terms of just reaching more people with an awesome, original, mythic world, so it makes sense to maintain 2 lines. Also it's possible the authors just really like the visceral aspect of impaling a Broo with a spear.

Edited by lordabdul
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10 hours ago, Crel said:

That sounds heretically close to being "spend an hour each day with your spellbook" mister... ;)

It does.  I don't think playing "spell recovery" should be more elaborate or game-focus consuming than casting them. 😕

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

I don't think playing "spell recovery" should be more elaborate or game-focus consuming than casting them. 😕

Is it because you're playing "in real time"? I think the game was mostly design for a 2-phase gameplay:

1) Play a "short" adventure, as in "it only lasts between a few hours to a couple days in-game". The PCs are focused on the adventure, and have virtually no time to bother with any worship/cult duties.
2) Fast forward to the next season. Look at the calendar for any Holy Days between the end of the adventure and the start of the next, roll for improvements.

It indeed doesn't work super well at first glance with a more "free flow/real time" campaign, where Holy Days become a logistical burden for the party. It might also punish parties who are staying out in the wilderness/borderlands/etc. far from any big temple.

Edited by lordabdul

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28 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

It indeed doesn't work super well at first glance with a more "free flow/real time" campaign, where Holy Days become a logistical burden for the party. It might also punish parties who are staying out in the wilderness/borderlands/etc. far from any big temple.

It has the same advantages and disadvantages as it does in Pendragon. 

The advantages are that gives the campaign a more of a sense of time passing and adds weight and significance to the major events by spreading them out over time. It also helps with the fell of hero maturing and taking time to reach hero status, as opposed to the r apid improvement possible in older RQ, with (approximately) weekly improvement rolls.

The disadvantages are that it is not well suited towards longer adventures, or times when a lot is happening and characters have to jump from one adventure to another. It can also force a GM to have  to choose between two good adventure ideas at times, because there is only enough time to fit one of the adventures into the year, or else have a really long year. Oh, and sometimes GM might have to rush through something to have more time for something more important. 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Is it because you're playing "in real time"? I think the game was mostly design for a 2-phase gameplay:

1) Play a "short" adventure, as in "it only lasts between a few hours to a couple days in-game". The PCs are focused on the adventure, and have virtually no time to bother with any worship/cult duties.
2) Fast forward to the next season. Look at the calendar for any Holy Days between the end of the adventure and the start of the next, roll for improvements.

It indeed doesn't work super well at first glance with a more "free flow/real time" campaign, where Holy Days become a logistical burden for the party. It might also punish parties who are staying out in the wilderness/borderlands/etc. far from any big temple.

Yes, absolutely.   To put it bluntly, what I've found is that whenever there's substantial downtime my players want to train more obsessively than some steroid-crazed 'builders on instagram.

Funny Workout GIF - Funny Workout GIFs

The "oh they still have to have real jobs to support themselves and their lives" becomes meaningless the first time they manage to find even a rather trivial treasure...not that they can necessarily live like kings forever (unless you mistakenly give them some of the piles of loot from RQ2 scenarios without first seriously editing them...sheesh!) but 'daily bread' really ain't their concern any longer (even giving 90% to their cults).

So no, our campaign runs pretty nearly like the tv show 24...it is a constant barrage of happenings that they could ignore but I know they won't. 

Not unrealistically, I think, I expect that a world like Glorantha with ACTIVE MONSTER POPULATIONS, actual inimical evil cults, atop all the normal human drama of crime, war, families, etc. if a local potentate finds a reliable band of 'fixers' to solve a lot of blunt-force problems, he/she is going to use them extensively.  If they're NOT reliable...well then sending them off to their doom isn't a bad idea either.  And then there's going to be the fact that anyone inimical is soon going to recognize these individuals as "something that they'll need to deal with if they want to X" ...the plotlines just write themselves.

The idea that a group like that can only find essentially one "thing" to deal with per SEASON is ...unrealistically sedate for such a world, in my view.  And downright dull.

FINALLY, I very much liked some advice I read from Orson Scott Card about writing that a single plot line is fairly dull.  Really interesting stuff happens at the INTERSECTIONS of things...so take your typical classic "hey there's a spooky tomb we should explore" vanilla adventure crawl.  But then intersect it with a local violent rebellion in full swing in the same area and you can get some interesting plot twists that even I as a GM didn't even faintly expect.

I did bow to a general request from them at one point that they begged for downtime...not that I was forcing them down rails, but I was perhaps a little too effusive with plot hooks that they couldn't ignore happening when the previous "thing" was only 75% done so they never felt that they had a time to catch a breath.  I wasn't sad about that :) but I did try to give them SOME breathing time lately.

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22 hours ago, styopa said:

That said, I have many, many times wondered why in the heck Perrin's crunchy quasi-realism ended up connected to Glorantha.  They seem like entirely alien bedfellows.  When Robin's HQ system came out- THAT, indeed, seemed to better encompass not just the Campbellian approach that seemed to underlay everything Greg wrote, but the story-driven narrative that are the (lack of) gears behind the entire Gloranthan storyline.

That's easy - this was in the infancy of RPGs, and there was neither the design history nor the RPG theory to even make anyone think that a modern rules-light narrative game was something that was possible. As it was, RQ all but invented simulationism. Would it have been better if it had invented narrativism instead? Possible, but instead proto-narrativism had to wait until the late 80's and full-on narrativism a decade longer. No-one was in the headspace to do it in the 70's.

RQ is as good as it gets in 1978! But that also means that even a polished version of RQ - like RQG - can feel quite old and clunky at times in 2019.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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28 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

That's easy - this was in the infancy of RPGs, and there was neither the design history nor the RPG theory to even make anyone think that a modern rules-light narrative game was something that was possible.

Sure but still, it's weird that Greg got together with a guy who essentially went "D&D isn't realistic enough, let's add more rules" instead of what I would have expected, which would have been (in the absence of narrative rules innovation) "meh, I'm not quite sure WHAT I want yet, can't put my finger on it, but in the meantime, errr, let's just go with D&D but remove those 3 things I don't like".

55 minutes ago, styopa said:

So no, our campaign runs pretty nearly like the tv show 24...it is a constant barrage of happenings that they could ignore but I know they won't.

My players are the same, they won't be able to sit down and relax while time passes.

I wonder if an Ars Magica-style troupe play could be the solution here? It might be worth starting a new thread on this, but I think it would fit Glorantha extremely well, especially with Sartarite/Praxian clan structures: you have a couple or a handful of characters, ranging from clan thane/shaman/inner circle member all the way down to teenagers about to get their initiation rites. Depending on the adventure, you pick one or the other, whichever is appropriate (doesn't make sense to have the clan shaman go out to retrieve stolen cows, but it does make sense to get him/her involved when the kids track down the cows to something powerful and evil!). As you switch characters, each character gets the downtime and "I actually have a job and a community to take care of" vibe, while the players get to enjoy a continuous and possibly wide-ranging narrative.

Edited by lordabdul
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16 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Sure but still, it's weird that Greg got together with a guy who essentially went "D&D isn't realistic enough, let's add more rules" instead of what I would have expected, which would have been (in the absence of narrative rules innovation) "meh, I'm not quite sure WHAT I want yet, can't put my finger on it, but in the meantime, errr, let's just go with D&D but remove those 3 things I don't like".

 

I know what you mean, but there is one other thing to make to even weirder. It seems that Greg Stafford may well have been the first  customers for D&D (before it even came out). There are tales of Greg seeing a prototype while shopping around games himself and bought a copy,

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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21 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:
I know what you mean, but there is one other thing to make to even weirder. It seems that Greg Stafford may well have been the first  customers for D&D (before it even came out). There are tales of Greg seeing a prototype while shopping around games himself and bought a copy,

Not quite. A colleague belt buckles salesman of Greg who knew about his stories and the boardgame idea happened to be at the printer when the first print run ever of D&D was delivered, and he bought a copy for Greg.

Apparently Greg loved the concept and loathed the execution (i.e. how the rules were written).

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

That's easy - this was in the infancy of RPGs, and there was neither the design history nor the RPG theory to even make anyone think that a modern rules-light narrative game was something that was possible. As it was, RQ all but invented simulationism. Would it have been better if it had invented narrativism instead? Possible, but instead proto-narrativism had to wait until the late 80's and full-on narrativism a decade longer. No-one was in the headspace to do it in the 70's.

There is a bit more to that. For starters, a lot of RQ was based around SCA experiences and the desired to not do things the same way D&D did, namely in that D&D abstracted everything with Armor Class and Hit Points. As you noted  RQ all but invented simulationism.

Would it have been better if it had invented narrativism instead? I think not. HQ is a much more narrative game, yet many RQ fans prefer RQ to HQ, to the point where MRQ and RQG are things desites years of being told that RQ wasn't a good fit for Glorantha. Frankly, had they gone narrative   it probabyl would have crashed and burned.

I think Greg went with RQ because it was the best option available to him at the time. He did reject Ardiun for it.

Quote

RQ is as good as it gets in 1978! But that also means that even a polished version of RQ - like RQG - can feel quite old and clunky at times in 2019.

Yup. There are quite a few things that RQ lack, because they didn't come along until later, such as opposed rolls, some sort of hero/character/rescue points to save characters  and so on. Note that most of these thin gs only came out a few years later. RQ also benefits from doing something in ways that can be modern even today. While many do not like skill checks, they are still one of the few improvement methods where characters actually get better at the things to do, as opposed to the things they want to get better in. A sniper who hides in the woods, climbs trees, and shoots things with a crossbow will get better at hiding, climbing and crossbow, unlike, say, D&D where he might just level up as a wizard.

Edited by Atgxtg

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45 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Not quite. A colleague belt buckles salesman of Greg who knew about his stories and the boardgame idea happened to be at the printer when the first print run ever of D&D was delivered, and he bought a copy for Greg.

Apparently Greg loved the concept and loathed the execution (i.e. how the rules were written).

Just to make it that little bit weirder, if the tale wasn’t odd enough already...

<grin>

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14 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Just to make it that little bit weirder, if the tale wasn’t odd enough already...

<grin>

It's not really that weird. In the early days you kind of had to know somebody who knew someone who gamed to find out about it. So most of the early RPG creators knew people who knew the people behind a game. So everybody in the business either knew or knew of everybody else. It was like that for the first few years, and was very a friendly and close-knit cooperative community until  D&D really started to take off and TSR became more business-like and started to view the other companies not as fellow gamers but competition. 

If Greg hadn't stumbled across an early copy of D&D we might not have Chaosium producing RPGs, at all, or  until later than they did. Although it's possible that the RPGers who were playing White Bear & Red Moon might have still convinced Greg to publish a Glorantha RPG. 

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