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Ask Jeff! RuneQuest design questions


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What it means in game is that characters cannot typically replenish their Rune points in the middle of a scenario. Characters can get their Rune points back if they go to their temple on a holy day, h

The primary design goal on hero questing for RuneQuest is to bust out entirely from the rigid structure presented before, and let hero quests become more fluid and unscripted, while still exploring Gl

Simple - because a lot, arguably most, of the cool bits of the game start taking place once the characters are Rune Lords, priests, and shamans. That's when you get to see large spells in action, alli

6 minutes ago, Frp said:

I, for one, liken the new sorcery rules, even though it makes one of my old characters way less powerful. 

We're those changes based on some old unpublished material or is the whole design brand new?

Sorcery builds off ideas presented in the Guide to Glorantha, and years of discussing how Gloranthan sorcery ought to involve the manipulation of the Runes themselves to create a desired effect. By studying myths, scholars can learn how Glorantha operates, and then manipulate the cosmos according to their will.

To the extent we looked outside of RuneQuest for mechanics, I'd say it is influenced by Ars Magica (itself influenced by RuneQuest) and by Lawrence Whitaker's Unknown East, both of which I thought had excellent ideas for a "clockwork" sorcery system.

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I'm confused with Special Parries vs. Failed and Fumbled attack. They do 1 point of damage in total? Or they do 1 point of damage for each point over the weapon hit points?

Also, did you guys ever considered using CoC 7e version of the Parry Matrix, allowing successful and better parries to actually damage the attackers? 

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@Jeff I'm curious about the vision for the forthcoming mass combat rules.  In running other systems I've found the main challenge of portraying mass combat is in making the battle as interactive to the players as possible without bogging play down by trying to model too much mechanically.  Can you speak at all to the structure of mass combat?  As in, where does it position the players and their characters, or how many distinct 'entities' does a battle typically model (and requires rolls for)?

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14 minutes ago, ajtheronin said:

I'm confused with Special Parries vs. Failed and Fumbled attack. They do 1 point of damage in total? Or they do 1 point of damage for each point over the weapon hit points?

Also, did you guys ever considered using CoC 7e version of the Parry Matrix, allowing successful and better parries to actually damage the attackers? 

The first is a rules question of the sort that I am not going to address in this thread. 

The second, we looked at that and decided against it. CoC7e and RQ have a different interface with physical combat. In CoC7e, melee combat is comparatively rare, and often at the level of fisticuffs. Very few CoC investigates are running around fighting regularly with sword and shield!

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There are a couple of significant changes in melee from RQ2.  Could you address the design thoughts to change these?

  1. Weapon parry is no longer a separate skill.  This makes 2H weapons (or 2 1H weapons) much more efficient in terms of "skill tax" and using augments.  e.g. Using Storm to augment your sword augments both attack and parry if using 2H sword, but only your attack if using 1H sword and shield.
  2. One can parry additional attacks at -20%.  This makes "ganging up on" a tough opponent less useful.

For the record, I like change #2 and not so sure on #1.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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14 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

There are a couple of significant changes in melee from RQ2.  Could you address the design thoughts to change these?

  1. Weapon parry is no longer a separate skill.  This makes 2H weapons (or 2 1H weapons) much more efficient in terms of "skill tax" and using augments.  e.g. Using Storm to augment your sword augments both attack and parry if using 2H sword, but only your attack if using 1H sword and shield.
  2. One can parry additional attacks at -20%.  This makes "ganging up on" a tough opponent less useful.

For the record, I like change #2 and not so sure on #1.

1. Yes. The idea of there being separate skills for a weapon attack and for its parry is to me just plain silly. My old sifu Mike (who was also the guy who introduced me to RuneQuest when we were both in Middle School) used to ask me in training, "so are we studying the attack skill or the parry skill now?" Attacking and parrying are all part of the same thing. Shield and weapon though are a bit different, and justify having different skills (I did toy around with a Sword and Shield skill, but that just added complications).

2. That is exactly the intent. 

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Hero Quest and Rune Quest: are they basically two different ways of telling the same Gloranthan stories (like, say, poetry and prose) or are they suited to tell fundamentally different stories? Are there topics or aspects of Glorantha that would fit one but not the other?

Relatedly, are there aspects of Glorantha that you (re-)discovered through the design of RQ?

   

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Always enjoy the gritty RuneQuest Gloranthan combat experience, which for me helps ground the higher fantasy aspects of the game. Breaking weapons/shields and loosing limbs is big part of that. 

In RQG there have been a few tweaks to the way weapons and shields receive damage, as well as a slight change to the point at which limbs are severed. Instead of directly copying RQ2 or RQ3 you have found another all be it similar expression of this in the rules. What was the reasoning for this? 

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Thanks for doing these Q&A threads Jeff! Much appreciated.

RQG consciously starts with "experienced characters" who have a few years' worth of adventuring (the skill scores' difference with a starting RQ2 character are pretty telling!). I wonder what went into this decision? Was it a desire to depart from the "zero to hero" grind, or instead wanting to have Rune Lord levels accessible within a certain reasonable number of sessions, or something else?

Somewhat related: what went into the decision to recommend seasonal adventures? (and to actually recommend anything at all in the first place)

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What prompted the choice to return the paradigm for sorcerous knowledge to learning individual spells in RQG, as opposed to HQG where a sorcerer learns a grimoire? Was there something in the process of writing the Guide which changed the approach?

What about the nature of Gloranthan sorcery is the Free INT game mechanic simulating?

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26 minutes ago, Crel said:

What prompted the choice to return the paradigm for sorcerous knowledge to learning individual spells in RQG, as opposed to HQG where a sorcerer learns a grimoire? Was there something in the process of writing the Guide which changed the approach?

What about the nature of Gloranthan sorcery is the Free INT game mechanic simulating?

Two things: 

1. That sorcery is an intellectual activity, unlike Rune or spirit magic (which are charismatic). INT gives the maximum amount you can manipulate sorcery spells.

2. That spirit magic interferes with your ability to manipulate sorcery. Logic and singing to spirits just don't mix well. People do it, but serious sorcerers eschew that.

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Why did the number of spirit magic that can be memorized change from INT to CHA?

Was it simply because you wanted to increase the role of the disadvantaged CHA? Or was it because there is some new insight into the relationship between Spirit Magic and the world?
It seems to me that the old rule of "memorized" by INT is more plausible.

 

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3 minutes ago, hanataka said:

Why did the number of spirit magic that can be memorized change from INT to CHA?

Was it simply because you wanted to increase the role of the disadvantaged CHA? Or was it because there is some new insight into the relationship between Spirit Magic and the world?
It seems to me that the old rule of "memorized" by INT is more plausible.

 

Because spirits aren't stray thoughts to be memorized. They are spiritual entities that do things for you but not because of something you know, but because you hold them "captive". That's charismatic magic not intellectual. 

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A follow up the question about Free INT - why is Free INT reduced by knowing sorcery spells? Why does knowing more sorcery make you worse at casting sorcery? 

Also, do you envisage future rules or supplements will make it easier for dedicated sorcerers from sorcerous cultures to advance their spell knowledge faster than the rules in the rules book would? For example, are they able to receive training easily, or will the Book rules you unveiled a few months ago see significant use, are their special sect techniques, etc? 

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If I understand correctly, when doing the early tests for chosing which rules would form the basis of the new RuneQuest, you considered two options (RQ2 and RQ6/Mythras), and opted for RQ2 as your playtest group disliked Mythras.

Did you envision using another, simpler, version of BRP as a basis for RQ:G, such as Elric! or one of the two Magic World games ? Especially concerning combat -I don't think RQ magic needs any simplification.

Or even the rather obscure japanese RuneQuest 90s, which is a true Gloranthan game despite his bland stereotypical anime-esque heroic-fantasy cover.

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Shamans and their ability to go in the Spirit World introduce a very similar problem to the "netrunner problem" of the old 1990s Cyberpunk game, where you have one player going somewhere other players can't go, and that ends up splitting the party, or forcing most of the table to sit and wait while their friend has fun in the cyberspace/Spirit World. I wonder whether this problem weighed a lot (or not) on the design of spirit-related rules? For example, was the ability to attack spirits in physical combat with magically enhanced weapons done for narrative/world-building reasons, or for solving that "netrunner problem"?

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I'm curious about the design rationale behind the rules for skills over 100%.  My initial reaction when I read those was "I don't like this", without a conscious reason why.  As I've used them( both as player and GM ), I find I like them less.  More complicated.  You have to keep reminding each other of how much your skill is over 100%.  You also lose the better chances for criticals and specials, which can be important when fighting heavily armored opponents ( Broo with chaotic trait of +9 skin, for example ).  I'm strongly leaning to a house rule in games I GM to get rid of that, and your benefit for having a skill over 100% is the higher chance of a critical or special success, but I would like to understand why the rule was written as it is before I do that. 

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Related questions about the thinking/design behind combat changes in RQG compared to the RQ2 “engine” that RQG is built on. The below does not imply any value judgement about the changes, I was just curious about the “why” behind the design decisions.

1. When parrying with a shield using RQ2 rules, damage not absorbed by the shield goes through to the hit location rolled in the attack, as it does when parrying with a weapon. In RQG when parrying with a shield, excess damage goes through to the adjacent location (typically left arm), unlike when parrying with a weapon. Was the decision to do this based on “realism” or some other thinking?

2. Damage for critical hits in RQG is higher in RQG. Was this to make combat deadlier, resolve quicker, simplicity, give the trollkin more of a chance, or some other thinking?

3. In general there seems a little more complexity/detail to attack/parry in combat, as reflected by the Attack & Parry Results Table. Was this the result of improving on RQ2 in terms of balance between attacker and defender, play testing, realism, fixes, or something else?

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I'm curious as to why the Strike Rank system and melee "rounds" are used, rather than a simple additive structure, such as A+B+C... Starting at 1. (I'm referencing Harnmaster here).

 

Also, what other sources (games and systems) do the designers particularly like (and try to emulate)?

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I'm curious as to why the Strike Rank system and melee "rounds" are used, rather than a simple additive structure, such as A+B+C... Starting at 1. (I'm referencing Harnmaster here).

 

Also, what other sources (games and systems) do the designers particularly like (and try to emulate)?

I think you rare referring to the impulse system used in Ringworld. A neat concept, but turned out to be easily-screwed up in practice. The structure of melee rounds also acts so the GM keeps moving from player to player, so that they all get their chance. Which is a good thing.

The published game systems (other than the historical varieties of RuneQuest) that we referenced the most were Pendragon, Cthulhu, HeroQuest, and Elric/BGB. A few of Greg's unpublished systems were very influential (especially Epic). As for non-Chaosium systems, probably the most influential was Ars Magica as an influence on sorcery. A few others struck me as a good examples of how mechanics can help reinforce your interaction with the setting, in particular Bushido.

 

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