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Clarity of RQ rules?


Stephen L

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I am a great fan of RQ.  Always have been.  A beautiful, elegant and inspired system. 

Yet again, on a different thread, I’ve not liked a rule initially, only to come to a deeper appreciation of Rules as Written. (In this case Pow gain roles).

The only problem I have, is that RQinG needs a lot of reading and internalising, so you understand the rule (not just know it superficially).  Then you’re able to use the intent behind the rule to easily make sensible decisions in a wide range of contexts.

The rules, for me, don’t have the *clarity* of RQiii.  Of course, RQiii was a long time ago, and I’m probably viewing it with rose-tinted glasses.  Maybe it never had the clarity I claim.

(and as an aside, whilst I liked RQiii, and had great fun with it, I never loved it like RQii or RQinG.  The fixes RQiii made were fine, they were needed, worked, but were quite heavy handed, and added another level of complexity which I didn’t think was required).

So…

  • Is rule clarity in RQinG actually an issue, or am I just amongst a small band of whingers? 
  • Is that clarity achievable?  Is that a rules rewrite, an official errata, or the web based services we’ve now got?
  • Is that clarity practical?  E.g., we could have a rules rewrite, but at the expense of a pipeline of supplements.
  • Is it even desirable, is *requiring* re-reading and internalisation a good thing?

Also, this very much isn’t a gripe about Chaosium’s approach, or the quality.  I am delighted that we have the game we got.  I am delighted that we got it when we did.  If the price of clarity is the loooooong wait we had for RQiii, then releasing RQinG when it was published is *much* more important than endless polishing and losing momentum (for this whinger at least).

Edited by Stephen L
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57 minutes ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is rule clarity in RQinG actually an issue, or am I just amongst a small band of whingers? 

I think it's pretty bad (but then I also have membership in that band). I don't think I have ever seen a game that is this good in all the other aspects while having this poor consistency and rules-editing. The rules look like they've been slapped together through copy&paste from different products. It's understandable if the game was produced in a hurry, but that just makes cleaning it up more important.

I could not in good conscience recommend RQG to anyone new to roleplaying because of the lack of clarity and consistency. But then, I guess that’s the idea behind the starter set.

57 minutes ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is that clarity achievable? 

Yes, it just takes work. Virtually all professional games do it better than RQG. I would guess that the decision to include a lot of old baggage for compatibility reasons was a big offender here.

57 minutes ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is that clarity practical?  E.g., we could have a rules rewrite, but at the expense of a pipeline of supplements

Errata would help. Second edition would be better. Putting a lot of editing work into the Starter Set might be the most practical at this point - then use that as a springboard.

The risk with not doing it is that you can keep locking in bad rules when you publish supplements, and then you get increasingly stuck with them.

57 minutes ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is it even desirable, is *requiring* re-reading and internalisation a good thing?

If I wanted to create my own game, I would do that. I buy games in order to get a working rules-set, not a Choose Your Own Rules game. Since it's doubtful that even the designers are in complete agreement about what the rules say, you also risk cascading inconsistencies in future supplements when everyone uses their own interpretation.

I thought I was getting crazy when I tried to understand the Attack vs. Parry outcomes the first time.

*

Beyond just clarity and consistency, I think it would also be wise to look at some of the most conspicuously odd rules. Do we really need both a rule about Species Maximum for characteristics and a different rule about how you calculate Characteristic Gain chances, especially as these produce the same result for humans? Does that special rule about only Dex for Species Maximum actually fulfil any purpose? Why on Earth can't a spear or a greataxe damage other weapons on a crit, when they can on non-crits (and why would a greataxe of all weapons be unusually bad at damaging other weapons and shields in the first place?)? Make up your mind on whether SR is an initiative system or an action economy. Things like that, that do nothing except add complexity and confusion.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Taking the Species Maximum discussion as an example, I've been imagining what would have happened back in 1984, before forums like this.

I'd have read the rules, noticed that there were two different systems for calculating the maximum characteristic, and decided that one was a mistake. It really would not be a big deal, I'd mention it to my group, we'd come up with an answer that we all agreed on, and that's that. I think we had our own rule for Species Maximum that was subtly different to the standard one anyway.

Now that we have internet forums, it's a huge deal. The conversation about it goes on for weeks and takes up a ton of time and emotional energy.

So, I'm moving on from that issue, and I will try to spend less time getting involved in rather minor problems like this, because they really are being blown out of proportion.

RuneQuest has always had gaps and ambiguity and contradictions. Back in the day, we just got on with it. Nowadays, we rant in forums over it. I don't think that that is a step forward.

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9 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Taking the Species Maximum discussion as an example, I've been imagining what would have happened back in 1984, before forums like this.

Actually, what I'd have done is assumed a mistake, whilst missing the fact that it was actually what I now regard as an improvement. 

So the forum has been helpful.

11 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Nowadays, we rant in forums over it

Hopefully quite politely!  I wouldn't like to have come across as rude!

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

I think it's pretty bad (but then I also have membership in that band)

Is it pretty bad? Or is it a little bad round the edges?

I find it hard to judge.  I'd have said a little bad round the edges.  But then I'm an old hand, so I'm probably have a head start in understanding (or should I have said prejudice?)

Also I haven't played anything else for a while, so I've little to compare it to.

It doesn't seem as slickly explained as Pendragon or RQiii, but that could be nostalgia speaking.  (and I can't go back to reread to check, as I'd be doing so from a position of already understanding).

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9 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

It doesn't seem as slickly explained as Pendragon or RQiii

 

29 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

RuneQuest has always had gaps and ambiguity and contradictions.

Also I should point out that it's possible that RQinG is no less well well explained that RQiii or Pendragon.  It's just that I read the others at an age when I was quicker of understanding.

Please respond politely.

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

If I wanted to create my own game, I would do that. I buy games in order to get a working rules-set, not a Choose Your Own Rules game.

No, by internalising I meant expending (perhaps substantial) effort to understand, not to rewrite.

I don't mind pouring over rules.

But I don't like making up my own rules.

Actually, I do, what I don't like is running them through adventures, because we don't get much time for roleplaying, and I don't want it to be a beta experience for my players.

So I almost never house rule, I would far rather wave my hands based on a deep understanding of RAW.

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2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Is rule clarity in RQinG actually an issue, or am I just amongst a small band of whingers? 

  • You have a skill, roll D100, if it is 1/20th of the skill you have a critical, 1/.5th you have a special, under the skill a success, over the skill a failure96-100 could be a failure or fumble, and within 1/20th of the failure chance a fumble, but check a table for fumbles or only check if over 95.
  • Specials do good stuff, criticals do great stuff.
  • You cast spirit Magic with POWx5%
  • You cast Rune Magic with a Rune
  • You cast Sorcery for NPCs
  • Runes and Passions can augment, once you have decided the best way to use augments they are easy
  • Shamans have rules that only apply to shamans
  • Combat is a bit trickier, as the combat matrix is different to previous versions

Whet else is there?

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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2 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

It's just that I read the others at an age when I was quicker of understanding.

unfortunately, we are all in the same situation ;)

 

Back to your questions, my answers should be read with the idea I played with previous rq version too. For example I discovered the "pow gain case" yesterday, as I ruled unconsciously the house rule (or previous official rule)  "Max - current" %.

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Is rule clarity in RQinG actually an issue, or am I just amongst a small band of whingers? 

is there a crisis ? no

is there big problem ? no, as we can play, can't we ?

is there some scratching points ? yes, and I would say more than other game rules I saw. but there is no other rpg I play more than rq (all editions) , so less opportunity to find issue too. In all case, I can manage all the points I have seen, until now.

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Is that clarity achievable?  Is that a rules rewrite, an official errata, or the web based services we’ve now got?

maybe, maybe not. When I read the house rules and answers proposed by the community, sometimes I find more issues (divergence, unbalance, inconsistency, ...) than resolution (And I think my own answers can bring issue too, errare humanum est, I m not telling people are dumb or anything). So who will do the job, re-think, re-write, validate ? What is the priority ?

 

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Is that clarity practical?  E.g., we could have a rules rewrite, but at the expense of a pipeline of supplements.

The good question ! 

what is the impact of a full review, rewrite, simplification (or not), etc..

That means cost for chaosium, probably not planned. Does that mean another edition (so new cost for customer of previous RQG ?), another version (so new loss for chaosium ?)

That means time for chaosium, so delay for supplements (or cancel some projects).

My choice is clear: I want god and goddess before all, I want detailled background in dragon pass, and i want heroquesting, malkionism (the religion & magic, not the regions), human draconism and illumination informations and rules. Then, why not some rules fix. I have no prioty for some exotic background (east, west, south, north)

Do all RQG fan / customers share the same priority ?

  Yes ? whaou, Chaosium needs to hire me (consultant, not employee :)  ) ! 

  No  ? Arf we have an issue then (in fact no), we just have to follow Chaosium choice (may I suggest a survey ? it could be good for communication)

Well i m pretty sure the answer is more No than Yes, and it is just normal, we all find different things and interests in this wonderful world

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Is it even desirable, is *requiring* re-reading and internalisation a good thing?

I would say there is no "requirement". If you are not happy (you is generic, not you Stephen) stop to play, stop to buy, go to another game. That's the deal. RQG is not required to live, not required to have fun, not even required to play in glorantha. You can do that without rqg. As a shareholder of chaosium you can require a strategy change, as a customer of a very very not essential product... no.

But yes of course, I would be happier to have better rules. It is legitimate to see and share issues. It is legitimate to desire the best. But the best is often the ennemy of the good.  So desire yes, obtain at all cost,... no, except if you are Argrath or Red Emperor

 

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Also, this very much isn’t a gripe about Chaosium’s approach, or the quality.  I am delighted that we have the game we got.  I am delighted that we got it when we did.  If the price of clarity is the loooooong wait we had for RQiii, then releasing RQinG when it was published is *much* more important than endless polishing and losing momentum (for this whinger at least).

in my arm young guy !

 

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Taking the Species Maximum discussion as an example, I've been imagining what would have happened back in 1984, before forums like this.

I'd have written a letter to the publisher and/or author, politely requesting a clarification, and some weeks later probably gotten a simple and maybe even apologetic response clarifying the error in print.  In fact, this very thing once happened exactly as described.  It was a very pleasant experience, gratifying even.

I've been lamenting the illusion of immediacy and accountability since I got my first mobile phone a couple of decades ago.

11 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Whet else is there?

A significant page count by my reckoning.

!i!

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1 hour ago, Stephen L said:

Hopefully quite politely!  I wouldn't like to have come across as rude!

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Never, you are invariably polite, and on point. 

 

1 hour ago, Stephen L said:

Is it pretty bad? Or is it a little bad round the edges?

 

Just rough around the edges and full of Glorantha goodness!

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Taking the Species Maximum discussion as an example, I've been imagining what would have happened back in 1984, before forums like this.

I'd have read the rules, noticed that there were two different systems for calculating the maximum characteristic, and decided that one was a mistake. It really would not be a big deal, I'd mention it to my group, we'd come up with an answer that we all agreed on, and that's that. I think we had our own rule for Species Maximum that was subtly different to the standard one anyway.

We all arbitrated a lot and and in my case anyway, went to the mat with the rules to solve thorny issues so that it was good enough to bring to a table. 

 

1 hour ago, Stephen L said:

That would be a shame, because why would you want to play anything else!

Agreed!

 

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

My post was not intended to be a criticism of anyone's specific attitude. It's partly just the nature of people on the internet that the things we say are easy to misinterpret. And I'm sure I'm as guilty as anyone of being a little abrasive at times.

Remember when leaning "the netiquette" was a thang?

 

1 hour ago, Stephen L said:

Also I should point out that it's possible that RQinG is no less well well explained that RQiii or Pendragon.  It's just that I read the others at an age when I was quicker of understanding.

 

 

Age sucks!

24 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

I'd have written a letter to the publisher and/or author, politely requesting a clarification, and some weeks later probably gotten a simple and maybe even apologetic response clarifying the error in print.  In fact, this very thing once happened exactly as described.  It was a very pleasant experience, gratifying even.

 

And would have expected a polite answer and a lifetime of correspondences back then.

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:
  • You have a skill, roll D100, if it is 1/20th of the skill you have a critical, 1/.5th you have a special, under the skill a success, over the skill a failure96-100 could be a failure or fumble, and within 1/20th of the failure chance a fumble, but check a table for fumbles or only check if over 95.
  • Specials do good stuff, criticals do great stuff.
  • You cast spirit Magic with POWx5%
  • You cast Rune Magic with a Rune
  • You cast Sorcery for NPCs
  • Runes and Passions can augment, once you have decided the best way to use augments they are easy
  • Shamans have rules that only apply to shamans
  • Combat is a bit trickier, as the combat matrix is different to previous versions

Whet else is there?

The issue is, while you can boil down the rules to a few oversimplified bullet points which get the idea of the game across well enough, the rulebook itself does a poor job at making things as clear as that. Yes, the rules may be clear once you know them, but the OP is saying that picking the rules out of all the text and fluff is difficult for someone without a lot of prior experience.

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4 hours ago, Stephen L said:

The only problem I have, is that RQinG needs a lot of reading and internalising, so you understand the rule (not just know it superficially).  Then you’re able to use the intent behind the rule to easily make sensible decisions in a wide range of contexts.

In fact, for me, even with time, internalizing (as you said), it is difficult to understand what the authors wanted.

4 hours ago, Stephen L said:

The rules, for me, don’t have the *clarity* of RQiii.  Of course, RQiii was a long time ago, and I’m probably viewing it with rose-tinted glasses.  Maybe it never had the clarity I claim.

For me, RQ3 is still the golden standard of readability and clarity.

4 hours ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is rule clarity in RQinG actually an issue, or am I just amongst a small band of whingers? 

Sometime it is, but mostly not. Some cases are really problematic, but most are not.

4 hours ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is that clarity achievable?  Is that a rules rewrite, an official errata, or the web based services we’ve now got?

Yes, it is, and I think an errata would be sufficient. A document that summarize all the changes and clarifications (like pxxx, replace A by B).

4 hours ago, Stephen L said:
  • Is that clarity practical?  E.g., we could have a rules rewrite, but at the expense of a pipeline of supplements.

If done through an errata, yes. If it requires a full rewrite, no.

4 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Also, this very much isn’t a gripe about Chaosium’s approach, or the quality.  I am delighted that we have the game we got.  I am delighted that we got it when we did.  If the price of clarity is the loooooong wait we had for RQiii, then releasing RQinG when it was published is *much* more important than endless polishing and losing momentum (for this whinger at least).

Fully agree.

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I don't think I have ever seen a game that is this good in all the other aspects while having this poor consistency and rules-editing.

Same. The sheer fact we needed pages and pages of discussion about how we should understand the wounds rules is proof there is a problem.

4 hours ago, Godlearner said:

I am "cruchy" kind of guy when it comes RPG rules. That is why I still play with mostly RQ3 rules with RQG and RQ2 stuff added in.

You're harder than I am. I'm also on the crunch side, but I now use RQG with RQ3 replacements.

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

I wouldn't like to have come across as rude!

You were not. The points you raised are valid and you were polite.

2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Also I should point out that it's possible that RQinG is no less well well explained that RQiii or Pendragon.  It's just that I read the others at an age when I was quicker of understanding.

I think you are not alone here in that age position, but nonetheless, RQ3 (that I love) and Pendragon (that I don't like) are far better written and explained.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Whet else is there?

The nicest, prettiest RQ version ever.

1 hour ago, Psullie said:

Clarity is important if you want to attract new players and encourage others to write content. I actually found RQG easier to fathom by not importing any baggage from earlier editions, but some sections really do need examples. 

Completely agree here. I had some problems with new players that were completely unable to understand some rules, so it is not (only) a problem of rules changes, but also a problem of writing and examples.

45 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

The issue is, while you can boil down the rules to a few oversimplified bullet points which get the idea of the game across well enough, the rulebook itself does a poor job at making things as clear as that. Yes, the rules may be clear once you know them, but the OP is saying that picking the rules out of all the text and fluff is difficult for someone without a lot of prior experience.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult even if you have a lot of prior experience. In some case, it is even more difficult if you have some prior experience.

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

he issue is, while you can boil down the rules to a few oversimplified bullet points which get the idea of the game across well enough, the rulebook itself does a poor job at making things as clear as that. Yes, the rules may be clear once you know them, but the OP is saying that picking the rules out of all the text and fluff is difficult for someone without a lot of prior experience.

Sure, I get that, which is why I posted.

Those are what I see as RQ Clarity.

People can wade through the book and work it out for themselves or read something like that post and see what the important points are.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Sure the rules could be a little clearer in places - I asked a few questions regarding combat when I started running RQG - but we have had no significant issues during play. The group consists of myself, who had not played since 1982, two who had played RQ3 a while back and two new to the system. Those of us that have played before sometimes momentarily confuse ourselves between the different versions! We all agree the flavour and lore is presented very well in the core rules and it is that that is compelling in the game. 

I quite enjoy some of the esoteric discussions on this forum - but most of it is details I do not need to know. I have noticed there is a relatively small group of regular posters and so it is hard to extrapolate from that how the rules are generally viewed. I very much appreciate the practical help everyone here gives - for example responding to my recent post about Alebard's Tower - that is invaluable.

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1 hour ago, Trotsky said:

Sure the rules could be a little clearer in places - I asked a few questions regarding combat when I started running RQG - but we have had no significant issues during play.

Have to agree with you there, Trotsky. No real problems with the rules, yet in a few months of gaming online and a few in life. Luckily no need to ask questions but I read a lot so... same thing. I just answer my own question from the same people.  I am more confused by playing online than anything else so far. But even that is getting better. 

1 hour ago, Trotsky said:

I quite enjoy some of the esoteric discussions on this forum - but most of it is details I do not need to know. I have noticed there is a relatively small group of regular posters and so it is hard to extrapolate from that how the rules are generally viewed. I very much appreciate the practical help everyone here gives - for example responding to my recent post about Alebard's Tower - that is invaluable.

and again agreed. 

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12 hours ago, lordabdul said:

For some reason this reminds me of this thing I see popping up again now and then :D

This one of the best things I've seen in a while. A very helpful post.

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