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RuneQuest Sixth Edition - Preview 2


lawrence.whitaker

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Apart from technical questions, the changes I see sound extremely positive. I still have to see the details, but I really like the concept of "Duration of one scene" introduced in Folk Magic. Similarly, the sacrifice mechanics sound way more adherent to how divine worship works in real religions.

Overall, it sounds like the already-big improvements present in Legend have been taken to a new height with some more [brave] departures from some holy cows of old mechanics.

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Isn't 'Duration of One Scene' what 4e Encounter powers are?

When I get a chance I'll have to sit down and read the sample material later this evening.

Never played 4e (or even done more than skim it), but I suppose the idea isn't so far removed.

The idea is to keep working magic effective in its context. Let's say the characters are going off on a broo-hunt. The action starts with them entering the Vulture County badlands and the scene begins with them trekking through a canyon. The Gm knows that the scene may involve a combat but much depends on various skill rolls beforehand. The characters therefore have an opportunity to prepare any magic beforehand knowing they might be walking into an ambush. Traditionally your Bladesharp spell might only last a few minutes before needing to be re-cast. Using the scene as a participatory time element, RQ6 treats the successfully cast Bladesharp as effective until the scene terminates, rather than a fixed, specific-spell duration. So, after 20 minutes of negotiating the canyon and failing to spot the broo ambushers, the combat starts. The characters might be taken unawares, but prepared Bladesharped weapons are still effective. The scene ends when the combat finishes, book-keeping is done, and the action/story shifts.

Not all spells benefit from scene-based durations. Some have active concentration requirements and some, of course, are instantaneous and must be cast in-situ. The scene-based duration is there to more easily handle spells requiring low, background concentration spells, that don't require dedicated concentration, need a specific duration based on magnitude, or are instantaneous.

Is that similar to 4e?

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Never played 4e (or even done more than skim it), but I suppose the idea isn't so far removed.

The idea is to keep working magic effective in its context. Let's say the characters are going off on a broo-hunt. The action starts with them entering the Vulture County badlands and the scene begins with them trekking through a canyon. The Gm knows that the scene may involve a combat but much depends on various skill rolls beforehand. The characters therefore have an opportunity to prepare any magic beforehand knowing they might be walking into an ambush. Traditionally your Bladesharp spell might only last a few minutes before needing to be re-cast. Using the scene as a participatory time element, RQ6 treats the successfully cast Bladesharp as effective until the scene terminates, rather than a fixed, specific-spell duration. So, after 20 minutes of negotiating the canyon and failing to spot the broo ambushers, the combat starts. The characters might be taken unawares, but prepared Bladesharped weapons are still effective. The scene ends when the combat finishes, book-keeping is done, and the action/story shifts.

Not all spells benefit from scene-based durations. Some have active concentration requirements and some, of course, are instantaneous and must be cast in-situ. The scene-based duration is there to more easily handle spells requiring low, background concentration spells, that don't require dedicated concentration, need a specific duration based on magnitude, or are instantaneous.

Is that similar to 4e?

No. 4e "encounter" powers are effects that you can use once per scene, but their duration is still expressed in rounds, so you have to check at the end of each round whether the effect has expired.

This kind of approach, instead, avoids bookkeeping and speeds things up. Though it might trigger the "Let us cast Bladesharp, just in case" syndrome.

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Though it might trigger the "Let us cast Bladesharp, just in case" syndrome.

I agree with this. The scene shall be carefully defined and limited to avoid this. In the exemple above, if the scene is the exploration of the canyon, the "just in case" syndrom will certainly be triggered. We all know our players. For the bladesharp, the GM could state instead that the scene is the actual fight, which the bladesharp is actually usefull for, not the full exploration. The "context" of bladesharp is the fight. If the the spell is cast long before and is not in use, it shall dispel after a while.

I still like the "scene duration" principle, which makes things faster, easier and more logical. Is this extended to other magics ? After all, if a spirit or a god agrees in helping somebody, it shall help for the scene (ex: the merchant god for a full bargain session), not for a fixed amount of MR.

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I agree with this. The scene shall be carefully defined and limited to avoid this. In the exemple above, if the scene is the exploration of the canyon, the "just in case" syndrom will certainly be triggered. We all know our players. For the bladesharp, the GM could state instead that the scene is the actual fight, which the bladesharp is actually usefull for, not the full exploration. The "context" of bladesharp is the fight. If the the spell is cast long before and is not in use, it shall dispel after a while.

I still like the "scene duration" principle, which makes things faster, easier and more logical. Is this extended to other magics ? After all, if a spirit or a god agrees in helping somebody, it shall help for the scene (ex: the merchant god for a full bargain session), not for a fixed amount of MR.

Yes, its up to the GM to frame the scene and decide what applies and how. You can classify a scene as just a combat or as long as the above example. Depends on the circumstances.

It might lead to some Let's Cast Just In Case, but I don't see that as a major issue. They still have to succeed in the casting roll.

And it does extend to other magic types - not just Folk Magic.

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4E has spell durations of Encounter (5 minutes or until the encounter ends), until the end of the caster's next turn, and until the end of the target's next turn. As 4e is very combat oriented the spells are too.

My comment was mostly flippant, but your exposition was very welcome.

I see one poster has confused the duration encounter with the once per encounter usage for 4e spells. I was opurely talking of the duration.

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Nigel

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A few "Let's Cast Just in Case" as the heroes traverse a section of the path laden with potential ambush sites will give them a sense of well-being that can be punctured by the advent of an attack as the potential ambush site is left behind. Hit and Run attacks using missiles will deplete MPs just fine as the heroes keep trying to close as well as maintain magical defences.

Nigel

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FWIW, I like durations of "one scene" or "one combat" instead of game-minutes or game-hours. The duration of a combat round itself is a bit vague, so precise units of game time add more bookkeeping without any real benefit. Resource management is all the rage among "old-school" gamers, but if the GM wants to track hours of lamplight or rations at all a rough notion of when they'll run out will suffice.

Also, just browsing the preview, I like how Mysticism is shaping up. The few rare discussions of Mysticism I've unearthed made it sound unplayable, either a useless waste of time or an ultimate transcendence of time and space. The preview suggests a system distinct from Folk Magic or the other types that's subtle enough for other magicians to sneer at but potentially as profound at high levels as sorcery or divine magic.

Frank

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The preview suggests a system distinct from Folk Magic or the other types that's subtle enough for other magicians to sneer at but potentially as profound at high levels as sorcery or divine magic.

You've hit the nail on the head. Mysticism is deeply personal (a mystic cannot 'cast' any of his powers on another) and, at first glance, it seems both Magic Point hungry (it can be) and under-powered when compared with sorcery, theism or animism. However, clever use of a mystical path can yield some extraordinary results. It also lets you simulate a wide range of genres, from wuxia, through to a certain order of knights inhabiting a galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

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Mysticism is deeply personal (a mystic cannot 'cast' any of his powers on another) ... It also lets you simulate a wide range of genres, from wuxia, through to a certain order of knights inhabiting a galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

Most of the "mystical" rules I've seen, notably Dragon Magic / Draconic Mysticism, looked just like Battle / Common / Folk Magic with a draconic theme and dire backlash results. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole Mysticism system (and the whole RQ6 book).

FWIW, I've thought about my own rules for Mysticism, but only got as far as the basic themes I wanted to hit: control of self, progressive "immunity" to the veil of illusion (starting at magic and ending with basic physical principles), at least three paths based very loosely on Gnosticism (independence from the Fallen World), Eastern practices (martial arts and emotional/material detachment), and Sufism a/o Western religious traditions (visions and knowledge from union with the Ultimate Reality), and perhaps at least one "corrupted" path (e.g. manipulation of the Illusory World). Maybe I can build some or all that on top of the RQ6 rules.

Frank

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FWIW, I've thought about my own rules for Mysticism, but only got as far as the basic themes I wanted to hit: control of self, progressive "immunity" to the veil of illusion (starting at magic and ending with basic physical principles), at least three paths based very loosely on Gnosticism (independence from the Fallen World), Eastern practices (martial arts and emotional/material detachment), and Sufism a/o Western religious traditions (visions and knowledge from union with the Ultimate Reality), and perhaps at least one "corrupted" path (e.g. manipulation of the Illusory World). Maybe I can build some or all that on top of the RQ6 rules.

Actually, the Mysticism rules as they stand will allow you to pretty much replicate all of that. All you need to do is decide on what combination of mystic talents you mix together to form each separate path. :)

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It will be interesting to see how you work them into Glorantha when you publish material for the setting.

It'll certainly make dragonewt magic more evocative.

Much depends, though, on the areas you look it. Not everywhere in Glorantha has a mystic tradition. Kralorela, some parts of Pamaltela, perhaps some small sects in Esrolia and Teshnos. Otherwise, theism dominates east of Ralios and a sorcery/theism mix dominates to the west. In the Lunar Heartlands you would have a weird amalgam of theism, sorcery and, possibly, mysticism depending on cultural traditions. Is Sedenya truly a goddess or a mystical representation of enlightenment and transcendance? Is the Moonson a theist, a sorcerer, a mystic or a mix of all three? How does Lunar magic truly work? All interesting questions to answer.

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How does Lunar magic truly work? All interesting questions to answer.

...but which you'll have to answer, if you're ever going to publish adventures involving Lunars. Looking forward to it!

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