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rabindranath72

RuneQuest 3 without magic for all characters

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Dear all,

I was thinking of starting a RuneQuest 3 campaign, but I don't like the "common magic" approach for everyone. I am not expert at this game, so I don't know whether removing magic skills from all character types (except "proper" magicians) would affect the balance of the game. A possible solution could be to give the non-spellcasters additional skill points. If so, how many?

 

Thanks,

Antonio

 

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Yes that's a good solution.

I think each 1 point of spell should be equivalent to either 15% or 20% of skill points;

Off the top of my head that sounds like a reasonable figure

Someone else on this forum may already have worked this out actually, so you might get a better answer, but if not I think my figures are in the ballpark

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I would probably take my cue from gaining Spirit Magic during the RQ3 Previous Experience process in character generation:

  • 'Accumulate 1D3-1 points at age 15yrs, and an additional 1 point per 10 yrs thereafter'.

Then just multiply each point by 15% for characters who are unlikely to have magic, and use that figure for additional skill point allocation of player's choice.

It looks like a reasonable fix, so I certainly would be inclined to calculate it with something along these lines.

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I was thinking of starting a RuneQuest 3 campaign, but I don't like the "common magic" approach for everyone. I am not expert at this game, so I don't know whether removing magic skills from all character types (except "proper" magicians) would affect the balance of the game.

 

 

Most RQ3 campaigns I have played in had some common magic (Spirit Magic in RQ3, Battle Magic in RQ2), if only for healing.

 

A scenario without the Heal spell might be over very quickly, as RQ combat can be quite deadly, especially against large/strong foes, or those with big weapons.

 

Having a Healer in the party might help, but only if the healer has not been injured. Also, RQ3 Spirit Magic is quite costly in terms of magic points, so a healer might only be able to heal 2 or 3 wounds per day, without magical support (MP Storage devices, bound spirits etc).

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A scenario without the Heal spell might be over very quickly, as RQ combat can be quite deadly, especially against large/strong foes, or those with big weapons.

 

You could make healing potions/poultices more common in the game world.  (Instead of magic, assume they're some sort of wondrous herbal concoction.)  Thus you're not dependent on a magical healer or his MP.  Parties would still have to manage their potions like any other resource.

 

To remove any further stink of magic, maybe they're useful in stabilizing downed heroes, but they only accelerate natural healing (bonus to CON rolls and/or points of healing per day).

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@Soltakss: I'd like to run an Hyborian Age game, and magic should really be of the Mythos type, definitely not spirit or healing of any type. Although Conan does cast a spell (well, he scribes a rune, really) in one of Howard's yarns, I don't think giving magic to ALL characters would fit the setting.

 

MRQ II allows games without any magic; I'd try to reproduce the same thing in RQ3.

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Do you have a copy of Call of Cthulhu? If so, I would just use that magic system, and you can easily change some of the entities names to be more Hyborian rather than Lovecraftian. It's a pretty good fit for Hyborian sorcery. Sounds like you are already aware of this.

 

If there is no common magical healing opportunities, then I would recommend checking out the Herbalism chapter from Advanced Sorcery, as it gives some samples of narcotics, stimulants, and medicinal preparations. Ideal mundane skills for priests, sages, or village hedge healers in this kind of setting. You definitely will need some other form of healing besides natural recovery for the player-characters, and Herbalism offers a faster recovery process in a non-magical setting.

 

Or you could use similar game mechanic rules as RQ3 does for Poisons, except reverse it for Healing Concoctions.

You can have Healing Concoctions matching POT vs the character's CON, and success indicates that the character recovers HP by allowing natural healing rolls occurring on a daily basis, as many accumulative days equal to the healing concoction's POT (or if unsuccessful, equal to half of the healing concoction's POT in days worth of natural healing rolls).

 

So successfully ingesting a POT 4 healing tonic would grant a natural healing roll for four days in a row, whereas unsuccessfully ingesting it would yield a natural healing roll for only two days in a row. Much quicker than the typical weekly natural healing rate, yet not miraculous in nature.

 

It should not grant automatic natural healing in my opinion, but each day  of convalescence requires a roll of CONx5% in order to gain the opportunity for natural healing. If the character is not resting (such as general travel), then make it a roll equal to (CONx5%)/2 instead. These mechanics keep medicinal preparations firmly in the realms of the mundane, although more simplistic cultures could perhaps view such lore as 'magical'.

 

Of course, fumbling the intial ingestion roll (CON vs POT) may have disastrous consequences ranging from allergic reaction, nausea, confusion, etc etc up to the devious mind of a GM

 

For healing Limb HP, I keep the Potencies low (POT 1 - POT 4), and the trappings for this are typically things that are applied with the carer's First Aid skill (salves, ointments, bandages, splints, etc).

 

For Healing Total HP the trappings are typically tonics and potions. With these I allow for greater Potency (POT 1 - POT 10); I keep the 'average' Potency range POT 3 - POT 6, with any greater Potencies being preparations made only by the highly skilled. These tonics & Potions all require an Ingestion roll ( as previously explained). Only Total HP are affected, not Limb HP.

 

In this manner I tend to find impairments such as broken arms and such heal only slightly quicker than at the natural healing rate, even after the character's Total HP are recovered to maximum value. Characters need to rely on convalescence and their carer's skills such as Knowledge (Medicine) if they are to receive any bonuses to their natural healing rolls. 

 

I use these mechanics with medicinal preparations in my settings, as I previously used RQ3 for many of my fantasy campaigns, and it worked fine so I've kept the rule with my current games.

 

With a way to allow quicker healing, RQ3 is perfect for a sword n sorcery setting where magic is not a typical player-character option. Expect lots of damage done in combat however, and unless you have cinematic rules ( Mooks, Luck/Hero Points, etc) then the player-characters may end up quite injured. You might be in for a very brutal game, something G.R.R.Martin or R.E.Howard would be proud of

 

All good fun

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Mongoose RuneQuest has Hero Points to keep wounds non-lethal. RQ3 has not.

 

Even with extra skill, the odds are 10:1 that using RQ3 without magic will result in characters dying at the most anti-climactic moment possible, rather than in incredibly heroic feats done without the help of magic.

The best way to obtain a conanesque game by manipulating a gritty ruleset like RQ3 (which fits the bill perfectly in all department of sword&sorcery except the "keep the hero alive or make him die heroically" one) is using one of the various "luck" mechanisms developed for other versions of BRP. You can take the rules at page 176 of the Big Gold Book, or use the MRQ1 or RQ6 system, or take my system which is downloadable here in the "Parpuzio game system" forum. All will work, and none will disrupt the sense of realism of your game, as they work by altering chance at crucial moments and not by making your hero implausibly tough.

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Thanks for the inputs guys! Perhaps I'd just be better off using MRQ 2 with CoC spells, rather than change everything. To be honest, the only reason I chose RQ3 is that it's very close to CoC (which I like quite a lot) in terms of system (this, plus I LOVE the cultural backgrounds,) so porting Sanity and magic would be very simple.

Or perhaps use Elric! ? I'd re-classify the skills according to the RQ3 categories to get the ability score bonuses (which I like.)

Problem is, I'd have to create cultural background packages...

 

Is Elric! more survivable than RQ3? I haven't played it in a loooong time (like, 15 years ago...)

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For what it's worth, back in the day I ran RQ3 without magic for PCs as the default for a long time very successfully. There was however a large amount of dice fudging behind the GM's screen. RQ3 is not so much super lethal as prone to disabling and requiring a lot of healing time. That said, I was largely running urban fantasy and the NPCs didn't have magic either so, to adopt a current term, damage potential tended to be bounded and survivable. Combat was relatively rare and usually based around ambushes. Any time the PCs got ambushed they did their best to surrender as quickly as possible. 

 

Still, these days I would be more likely to use RQ6 because it builds survivability into the system without the need for magic and healing potions and I no longer need to hide away the dice rolls. 

 

You could mash up the systems by importing RQ6 Luck Points into RQ3 and, if you want to balance things, you could say something along the lines that any character with magic doesn't have Luck Points. Perhaps exposure to Mythos magic dooms you in more ways than one. Generally in RQ6 NPCs don't have Luck Points while in the kinds of s&s you're talking about, only NPCs have magic so the balance would sort of happen by default anyway. 

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...Is Elric! more survivable than RQ3? I haven't played it in a loooong time (like, 15 years ago...)

Yes and Magic World is currently in print and pretty much identical to Elric!...

Now, if you let people run around with Demon Swords etc in Elric!, it can get very lethal, but the baseline characters are tougher and a more competent than in RQIII, and a few judicious tweaks can obviate the problems a lack of healing magic might cause. To wit: use heroic hit points for PC's (THP=SIZ+CON); allow a Physik roll for each individual wound (and possibly multiple applications, say once for every 8 hours rest etc); don't have 0 THP be death, but rather "dying" and allow suitable intervention to stave off the final curtain where it suits the story.

Cheers,

Nick

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Probably just use MRQ2/LEGEND if you don't have RQ6.

Or simply port the MRQ2 Hero Points into RQ3, that will work just as well

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Thanks again for the inputs, much appreciated!

I have the RQ6 pdfs, and while nice, the whole system looks ponderous. I don't plan on buying hardcovers; actually, one of the aims of this campaign, is to decide which RQ should I keep on the shelf and which to sell. Looks like RQ3 is going on the chopping block.

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Straight RQ3 without magic works fine. If differently from with

CoC is testament to that. Whilst in RQIII you know that a fight could well lose you limbs and that surrendering, running and missiles are all good options a fight in CoC probably means that you CoCd up somewhere (no apology) and the decision to enter a dust up is a significant and heroic story point (or plain stoopid mistake)

Using heroic Hit Points (con+siz and don't divide by 2)

Ruling that 0 HP means unconscious and death is when reach negative score equal to full unfounded positive

Both work well (possibly a bit extreme to use both)

Allowing multiple parries (at cumulative -30% penalty for each additional parry)

Allowing Dodges against multiple attackers (at cumulative -30% penalty for each additional attacker, remembering that RAW Dodge allows you to Dodge all attacks from the same attacker)

Can increase survivability

I tone down unarmed combat (including monsters and animals) with the following 3 rules:

Metal armour provides double AP against unarmed attacks (including teeth and tentacles)

Damage inflicted is the highest of attack type OR damage bonus

if you survive a combat then half of the unarmed damage heals immediately (as you realise that the pain was not that bad after all ) if you are killed or unconscious from unarmed damage you have still been beaten to a pulp and heal normally

That might fit with your plan

In terms of extra skills for peeps without magic a chum of mine had a simple rule that you can "raise to max" one skill for each spell you forgo

I.e. If your character was 'entitled' to 3 spirit spells you can raise 'any' 3 skills to 75% each (or 100% if they have no experience check box)

If you still want to allow some magic set a threshold POW for magicians a la Elric (which says 16 in the YK I recommended 21 for a friend's game set in Middle Earth

in summary:

RQIII with no magic?

No reason why not

Plays differently (but not broken or unfun in any way)

There are some options for tuning the danger

Al

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