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What do you think of the new character creation mechanism in RQG?

We are pondering whether upgrading characters from previous editions or starting new characters from scratch. It seems that characters creation in RQG is tailored to players who have already played Runequest. We may actually end up with characters as strong as the battle-hardened ones we used to play.

For beginning Runequest players however, who need to learn everything, this new creation process seems quite long as compared to the previous editions. I am specifically thinking of the background steps. In RQ2,3 characters were informed about past history during their adventures. Now it seems that they need to take an history course and learn all the dates of major Glorantha events at character creation!

RQ2,3: during your journey, you meet the spirit of a fallen warrior that reveals that your father's brother served in the Lunar army in his youth.

RQG: please write down on your character sheet the name of all your ancestors up to third generation. Then roll for each of them on some of the following 49 tables (no joking!).

It seems not so easy to bypass these steps since it brings a few skill bonuses I understand that there are these pregenerated characters for a quick start. Character creation was a mandatory initiation ritual for the beginning players in 1621 though, and a pretty fun one. Ah, the old times...

Which brings me to the following question. Is there a cheatsheet somewhere for quick RQG character creation?

 

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you have the cheatsheet in the rules, to bypass the family history part, that could save your time, p29

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Skipping the Family History Step 2: Family History is optional. It can take quite a while to go through, and may be inappropriate for one-shot games. If you do not want to use the family history section, do the following: .Add up to three additional Passions to start at 60% each. .Add +20% to one Passion of your choice. .Add +10% to another Passion of your choice.

 

Short-Cut Version of the Family History If you want a quicker version of the family history section to only determine your adventurer’s prior background (but not that of your adventurer’s parent or grandparent), skip ahead to the year 1622.

My way is to let the players create their background, with or without the help of the family history rules.

Then determine with them the consequences (passion, bonus skill, reputation ...) The only limit is to try to be fair with all pc (% bonus/malus)

a good pc can be a pc without interaction with History, with local history (clan/tribe events like raid, king election, ...) or with personal history only

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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On 3/7/2021 at 12:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

What do you think of the new character creation mechanism in RQG?

As someone who has never played RQ before RQG: I like it!

I generally like games with a "life path" section in character creation, because that helps with making up the backstory of a character when you don't know anything about the setting. If I'm playing a generic spy action game I can make a character because I can draw on the real world and James Bond tropes. If I'm playing Star Wars or some other well known pop-culture world, I can also draw on general movie knowledge, or look things up easily. Glorantha is clearly not like that -- you either know it (because you have the books) or you don't, and if you don't, you can only draw on general fantasy tropes. Those tend to be non-applicable to Glorantha, but surely with the help of the GM you can adapt things. You say "my parents were killed by orcs when I was a baby, and I was raised by some kind of fierce warriors" and the GM says "ok let me replace orcs with Tusk Riders, and maybe barbarians with a group of Storm Bull cultists in a Praxian clan... I'll tell you what those are in a second, but you can add Hate (Tusk Riders) at 70%". That works. But the Family History also serves another purpose, which is to tell you about recent events in memory. So that also serves to replace a potentially equally lengthy bunches of lore dumps from the GM. It front-loads it, however, and you may prefer to do it as appropriate -- that's perfectly valid.

Note that the rulebook tells you that you can entirely skip the Family History section (you may still want to roll on, say, the Family Heirloom table). Frankly, the only thing you'll miss are Passions. You could prefer a "blank slate" starting point for PCs, in which case you can just slap some Loyalty (Clan) and Love (Family) passions as appropriate, and you're set. You may only later declare that your character hates elves for some reason, and add "Hate (Aldryami)" when they meet the first elf in play, coming up with some quick backstory on the fly to justify it. That's again perfectly valid. Although I guess you'd have to set some limit for "unallocated Passion points" ahead of time.

This method of "discovering" (building) your character backstory as you go is, I think, more appropriate when the setting itself is also vague, and the people at the table also build up this setting as they go. My understanding is that Glorantha was a lot more like this back in the RQ2 days.... but nowadays, it's a pretty fully described world. Hence the possible increased need to find entertaining ways to front-load setting information. Hence the Family History section.

 

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Which brings me to the following question. Is there a cheatsheet somewhere for quick RQG character creation?

If you have the Gamemaster Screen Pack thing, the PDF version includes a "Players Pack" that has a two-pages "character creation checklist". But of course the step for Family History is just "do the Family History p27". The other steps are summarized.

Edited by lordabdul
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31 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Its great, but it makes creating NPC a pain.

Just forget it for NPC. NPCs are whatever the GM needs (or simply wants) them to be.

 

On 3/7/2021 at 9:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

What do you think of the new character creation mechanism in RQG?

The problem is that it makes difficult creating characters from another time period or from another geographical origin. Except this point, I like it.

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On 3/7/2021 at 6:47 PM, resurrected duck said:

What do you think of the new character creation mechanism in RQG?

I've always loved structured character creation and the RQ3 method has been my preferred method for decades (choose race, culture, religion, profession, etc.). The main difference for RQG is the family bacground section which is inspired from Pendragon.

Pros: Great for players who like character creation to be a mini game. It immediately roots the characters into the setting. It connects the various characters (or their families) through past events.

Con: Too long for players who don't care for character creation mini games. Players may fell forced to look up events they do not know about. Limited to a specific areas.

Fortunately, all the cons are easily bypassed by not rolling on the family background (see p.29).

I really do not like the options for creating older characters. Every 10 years give only minimal bonuses. This section is useless. 

On 3/7/2021 at 6:47 PM, resurrected duck said:

RQG: please write down on your character sheet the name of all your ancestors up to third generation. Then roll for each of them on some of the following 49 tables (no joking!).

This is highly optional and only serves for creating a rich background for your character. If it is not useful for your game, don't use it.

23 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Its great, but it makes creating NPC a pain

I never used player character creation to create NPCs. In any games. It might guide me but I will mostly assigned numbers that make sense.

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On 3/7/2021 at 12:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

Which brings me to the following question. Is there a cheatsheet somewhere for quick RQG character creation?

See the inset box on p.29 of RQG.  Characters will generally come out less powerful than by the extended Family History method.

This is not a popular answer, but there it is.

!i!

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

Its great, but it makes creating NPC a pain.

What I find makes it a pain to create NPCs are things that have been there all the time: the tables for damage bonuses and hit points and strike ranks, the skill category modifiers (which I really dislike for many reasons), etc.   I do follow the philosophy that "NPCs have whatever stats you need at this specific moment", and so I only prepare a couple notable stats and skills in my scenarios (not just in RQ, but in general), so that mostly solves it, but I'm sad they didn't make this explicit in the Gamemaster Screen Pack booklet.

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2 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

What I find makes it a pain to create NPCs are things that have been there all the time: the tables for damage bonuses and hit points and strike ranks, the skill category modifiers (which I really dislike for many reasons), etc. 

Joerg and I continually critique the Skill modifiers in our chats being ol’ RQ3 Grogs (even I, who came from RQ 2 dislike the following). We concur that we dislike that it is a table rather than a very easy formula (I can still recite all of the “formulae" of RQ3 and I dislike math still more) and that the breakpoints are abrupt instead of gradual. Give Joerg a bit of headwind and I think he might be able to add to that.

9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

"NPCs have whatever stats you need at this specific moment", and so I only prepare a couple notable stats and skills in my scenarios (not just in RQ, but in general), so that mostly solves it, but I'm sad they didn't make this explicit in the Gamemaster Screen Pack booklet.

Love Handwavium!

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

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On 3/7/2021 at 3:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

Is there a cheatsheet somewhere for quick RQG character creation?

My crew is all new to Glorantha, so the backstory really helped.   Who are these Lunar guys you are talking about?  /rolls dice.  Oh no, they used Godzilla to eat Grandma?  I have a passion of hating them?  /direction achieved.

It did slow things down a lot, but not really.  We might have wound up with a lot of those questions the first meeting anyway, just to ground the characters into the world.  Actually that's the biggest advantage of the process -- these aren't generic fighters or thieves, or what have you.  They have families, communities, and passions from prior life experience. 

What really sucked was the second stat calculation via Zoom.  I may write a simple program to let us do that without my voice going hoarse from so much repetition.  In person that was never a problem. just a chore to crank through.  Also part of the charm.

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On 3/7/2021 at 1:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

What do you think of the new character creation mechanism in RQG?

 

Well here I have to be a lone dissenter. As much as all (orlanthi of course) adore this I have to say I don’t get it. Sure for newcomers its great. Love the lore it provides. Even love the backstory it provides. But... despite all that I am just not sold on it. Would not remove it but...

1 hour ago, Dissolv said:

What really sucked was the second stat calculation via Zoom.  I may write a simple program to let us do that without my voice going hoarse from so much repetition.  In person that was never a problem. just a chore to crank through.  Also part of the charm.

A wise denizen of BRP once said (who was that masked individual?) that online (i.e. a virtual table top) is so much more difficulty than a table that one should play with half the number of adventures they were used to having and in half the time, as well. This has been great advice for me!

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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

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On 3/7/2021 at 8:47 AM, resurrected duck said:

For beginning Runequest players however, who need to learn everything, this new creation process seems quite long as compared to the previous editions. I am specifically thinking of the background steps. In RQ2,3 characters were informed about past history during their adventures. Now it seems that they need to take an history course and learn all the dates of major Glorantha events at character creation!

To me, that's a strength.  This is the session in which you get together your chosen snack food, and put your history together.  The GM talks about history as it happens, and after a while you know how you know each other, and when you parted company and met each other again.  It's a session's-worth of mutual planning.  A lot of this will go on the sheet and not do much, yet.  You don't have to demand they REMEMBER this.  Just that they write it down, and end up as a party.  I had no clue what the words meant when I made my D20 rolls, but my GM tied together the story as we went along, and the result was that in my very first session, I knew I was a hyper-aggressive little warrior who HATES Broo and Chaos.  And lo, there was Chaos to fight...

The process is a good one - the dice rolls are just the bones.  It's up to the GM to put the meat on.

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3 minutes ago, Diana Probst said:

The process is a good one - the dice rolls are just the bones.  It's up to the GM to put the meat on.

Maybe this is the missing Je, nest ce quo? I have only run it twice so maybe it still feels wooden.

 

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

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15 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Maybe this is the missing Je, nest ce quo? I have only run it twice so maybe it still feels wooden.

Our GM created a bunch of NPCs first, to get used to the rolling, which was good.  He ended up with some great people (the Humakti Temple in Boldhome has some of the most strained internal politics imaginable, and as for how the High Sword gets on with the Earth Priestess, just don't ask...) and he also ended up knowing what was going on in the world and the past.  When he ran the PCs through chargen, he did it individually, so we got a lot of attention, but that attention was mostly on our pasts, individually chatting about what we were.  When I've run it, I've both done it with all the PCs together, and done it with all the PCs individually, and I prefer together.

I've also nicked his NPCs, because they're a really solid set of people who have their own loves and hatreds.  Mostly, he doesn't create NPCs by that method, and neither do I, but those ones?  They're special.

Edited by Diana Probst
Typos. We hates them, we does.
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15 minutes ago, Diana Probst said:

When he ran the PCs through chargen, he did it individually, so we got a lot of attention, but that attention was mostly on our pasts, individually chatting about what we were.  When I've run it, I've both done it with all the PCs together, and done it with all the PCs individually, and I prefer together.

Here we go, a topic near and dear to my heart. And good advice as well. I am an advocate for simplicity, and if the game is complicated look elsewhere for a solution says I. It seems you did and found that one at a time would fill the bill! Sounds very good, I put four through the entire CharGen and the additional JC one as well as we play 15 years earlier that RAW. I had planned to do three but a late joiner wanted a look-see and how could I say no. Created a great character, actually created 7 great characters.... ahhh, I am beginning to sense a pattern... After about 4 or 5 hours of rolling and... well I was wasted. I wonder how the players felt. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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

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1 hour ago, Dissolv said:

My crew is all new to Glorantha, so the backstory really helped.

A more concisely written version of what I experienced so far, so yes! Thanks.

Quote

What really sucked was the second stat calculation via Zoom.

What I usually do is share my screen, with the PDF open at the right page(s). It's the digital equivalent of leaving your book open in the middle of the table. When necessary, I screenshot the tables for a given player and send that file to him/her directly (for example when they need to each have their list of cultural or cult skills, so they can put them on their character sheet). Or they can do their own screenshot while I share. Then they can do their own calculation! And while they do that, I can frenetically write down last minute notes for the first adventure because I just realized there was a giant plot hole in the middle 🙂 

1 hour ago, Diana Probst said:

The process is a good one - the dice rolls are just the bones.  It's up to the GM to put the meat on.

Yeah -- it sure would be incredibly dry if the GM was just reading the text for a given year, players roll a d20, write down the event on their sheet, and move on to the next table. For me it's an opportunity to share info about the setting and build compelling backstories. The one time I did it with newbies, it was a good opportunity to share some basics about Glorantha, like discussion prompts for a 101. Also, players often read between the lines, so to speak, and find a narrative that ties everything together. In my most recent game, a player had his dad survive several big battles without seemingly accomplishing much, so he decided he was an arms dealer Issaries merchant who, eventually, got killed because people realized he was always supplying both sides of every conflict. You don't find this kind of stuff in the tables, but it sometimes jumps at you after a few rolls. You could surely come up with the same thing by writing your backstory on a blank page, but I like random tables anyway.

Edited by lordabdul
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2 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Joerg and I continually critique the Skill modifiers in our chats being ol’ RQ3 Grogs (even I, who came from RQ 2 dislike the following). We concur that we dislike that it is a table rather than a very easy formula (I can still recite all of the “formulae" of RQ3 and I dislike math still more) and that the breakpoints are abrupt instead of gradual. Give Joerg a bit of headwind and I think he might be able to add to that.

 

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

My brother created a one-page quick character creation sheet, but it's for a pre-release version of the rules so some of the calculations (hit points, category mods) and skill names are wrong.

Ohhhh, now this is cruel to @Bill the barbarian as earlier draft seemed much closer to RQ3 (it would have been my preference as well)

1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Maybe this is the missing Je, nest ce quo? I have only run it twice so maybe it still feels wooden.

Hmmmm, is that French Bill? Je ne sais quoi? 😉

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9 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Joerg and I continually critique the Skill modifiers in our chats being ol’ RQ3 Grogs (even I, who came from RQ 2 dislike the following). We concur that we dislike that it is a table rather than a very easy formula (I can still recite all of the “formulae" of RQ3 and I dislike math still more) and that the breakpoints are abrupt instead of gradual.

Completely agree here.

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9 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

Ohhhh, now this is cruel to @Bill the barbarian as earlier draft seemed much closer to RQ3 (it would have been my preference as well)

My character creation spreadsheet that I linked earlier supports both. There's a couple of buttons on the Rules tab that swap out the calculations.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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15 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Joerg and I continually critique the Skill modifiers in our chats being ol’ RQ3 Grogs (even I, who came from RQ 2 dislike the following). We concur that we dislike that it is a table rather than a very easy formula (I can still recite all of the “formulae" of RQ3 and I dislike math still more) and that the breakpoints are abrupt instead of gradual. Give Joerg a bit of headwind and I think he might be able to add to that.

At the begining, I was like you. Continuity is softer than gap and I am a softly angry old man

but... I remember how frustrating it was to modify all % on the paper every +1/-1 characteristic changes (particularly power) Seems simpler now

but... I don't use anymore paper, only excel (and that shows % to evaluate success and % to evaluate experience check) so.... yes the continuous formula was simpler than the rqg one in excel

 

so yes... no .... yes pffff

I just gain +3 in disorder rune... and no sign of illumination, that's sad

 

 

 

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I find the detailed character generation a great help with making the players a part of their society. I'd use it if I'm planning a campaign involving lots of politics with the characters taking part in major events. If I was playing a more D&D style dungeon-crawl game, maybe as a one-off to familiarise new players with the system, I'd skip it.

 

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