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New RQ Designer Notes - Part 4

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Just now, Runeblogger said:

Very interesting.

But what if the player asks his god to kill an enemy? Is there going to be a numerical value attached to the quality of a god's response in this case? (I hope there is. IMHO it should be somehow related to how strictly the initiate follows his god's doctrines. For example, never lying for humakti even if they don't have that geas).

In RQ that's a no-no. You see, there was an agreement made between the gods called the great compromise which prevented a god from directly attacking/targeting those who were not his own followers. It's fair game to get your followers to kill another's gods followers, but gods can't do it themselves. Most rune magic did an end run around this restriction by giving the followers the power to cast a spell, and thus be the acting party. Divine Intervention, on the other hand, is different because the god himself acts directly. 

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Just now, Atgxtg said:

Because how quickly do the PCs advanced in non-magical power in RQ was left to chance. So why would you single out magical power?

I dislike the method used in MRQ where advancement rolls are doled out as some sort of reward system by the GM. That's too D&D ish for me. 

 

 

 

There's a difference between advancing in non-magical power and advancing in magical power: the amount of experience rolls you make. For magical power, it's all based on whether you roll under your POW gain check. Whereas in the case of non-magical power, you can fail one or two skill rolls, but then roll over two other checked skills and still advance a bit. There are more chances to advance in one skill or another. But with POW, you either make it or not. I don't like that luckier players get to advance their characters quicker. It just doesn't seem fair to me.

For example, in my Pavis campaign with RQ3, one of the PCs was an agimori shaman. When experience rolls where rolled at the end of an adventure, he usually only had his POW gain check and a couple of skills. If he didn't even roll under his POW gain check (which was sadly crucial for a shaman), he had to wait until the rest of the players happily rolled all their checked skills. That's also why I prefer a system in which, at the end of the adventure, you can tell the players, OK, 5 experience rolls for everyone. That's the home rule I used in this campaign in fact, before RQ6. You could only roll to increase checked skills, but you could repeat every failed experience roll once by spending one of the awarded experience rolls. On top of that, you could exchange 5 experience rolls for 1 luck point (luck points allowed a reroll or cancelled a critical).

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10 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

In RQ that's a no-no. You see, there was an agreement made between the gods called the great compromise which prevented a god from directly attacking/targeting those who were not his own followers. It's fair game to get your followers to kill another's gods followers, but gods can't do it themselves. Most rune magic did an end run around this restriction by giving the followers the power to cast a spell, and thus be the acting party. Divine Intervention, on the other hand, is different because the god himself acts directly. 

OK, you are right. But then, you could ask your god to infuse you with divine power so that you can kill your enemy. How much sudden divine power could your god give you in this case?

Edited by Runeblogger

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54 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

In my experience in a long RQ3 campaign, the POW gain system obviously rewarded players who are lucky with their dice. So I had this humakti with POW 15 or 16 who would only sacrifice POW whenever he got an increase (by ilogically casting Disruption/Demoralise in combats until he got the check) and the last time we played he had between 15 and 20 "runic points" (because we used this mechanic, only we called them "faith points"), and he even wasn't a Sword of Humakt! He was just an initiate.

So, even if lucky players are not the norm in your campaigns, why would you like to leave to chance how quickly do the PCs advance in magical power?

I think that the system presented in RQ6, where you exchange experience rolls for new spells, avoids the situation in which an unlucky player always ends up being magically inferior to her luckier comrades.

I'd be quite happy with that. Even though he is an initiate he is still a powerful Humakt.

The issue with unlucky players is still an issue for things like increasing skills. I had a PC who had half INT for non-swords and double INT for swords, but he kept missing his sword experience rolls, probably 20 times in a row. Unlucky players will have reduced skills, but we don't have a mechanism for that (Well, I do, I houserule that even a failed improvement roll gets 1 and rolling a 1 gets 2).

 

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11 hours ago, MOB said:

Absolutely! Chance of Divine Intervention is equal to the character's POW + current RP on d100.

If the DI is successful, the character loses the number rolled in POW plus all their current Rune Points. However, these RPs do reduce the POW cost of the DI.

For example, at the commencement of a battle Coriander Before-Whom-Even-The-Crimson-Bat-Trembles has a POW 17 and 9 Rune Points. During the fight he casts 6 points of rune magic, leaving him with 3 RPs. But things go catastrophically for his side, and he decides to call on Orlanth for Divine Intervention ("Orlanth get me out of here!"). At this precise moment, his chance of DI is 20% (POW 17 + 3 current RP). His player rolls 14 - success! Orlanth whisks Coriander away to safety on a divine wind, but he immediately loses 14 points of POW and all his current Rune Points. But he gets to add back 3 POW due to his RPs, leaving him with a new POW of 06. He also now has no RPs until they can be regained at the next holy day. At least he's alive.

We use the same mechanic at the moment, except the player chooses how much comes from POW and how much from their RP, so someone with POW 15 and RP 10 rolls 12 on a Divine Intervention, so he chooses to take 7 from POW and 5 from RP.

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Does this mean each spell will indicate multiple runic associations? Are these associations going to be multi-cultural? I believe Shield is available to both Storm and Darkness cults. So will this spell list both runes in its description?

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8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Because how quickly do the PCs advanced in non-magical power in RQ was left to chance. So why would you single out magical power?

I dislike the method used in MRQ where advancement rolls are doled out as some sort of reward system by the GM. That's too D&D ish for me. 

 

 

 

I used a measure of both. Players would be rewarded for their contribution to the enjoyment of the scenario as a whole with "Non-Specific Experience Checks". Meaning, basically, XPs, Hero Pts. or whatever you want to call them to be spent on skills or other they wished. I had developed a basic cost chart for these N.S.E.C.s for various uses. This could also be used to help skills that weren't used in that session if that was the desire of the player.

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My entire group loved a lot about RQ6, especially the devotional pool.  One thing they hated, though, was the lack of skill checks.  They hated being doled out 3 each.  The game as it was intended was that you get good at what you do.  This allows you to become anyone you want.  That shaman Runeblogger speaks of?  He gets rolls based on what he did.  It isn't a contest of who gets the most roles, it's about getting good at what you like to do.  Along the way, maybe that Agimori shaman makes a Stealth roll or two and starts getting better at being stealthy.  So be it.  If he doesn't, then that's just not him.

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My players also liked the skill check system from earlier BRP games. My compromise with RQ6 is to hand out the usual 2 or 3 Improvement Rolls at the end of the story chapter, and also to award a bonus skill check at the end of any scene during which a character performs a critical success with a skill.

The above seems to work well, although I don't mind if the next edition of RQ returns to the earlier BRP skill check system,

Edited by Mankcam
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10 hours ago, Pentallion said:

My entire group loved a lot about RQ6, especially the devotional pool.  One thing they hated, though, was the lack of skill checks.  They hated being doled out 3 each.  The game as it was intended was that you get good at what you do.  This allows you to become anyone you want.  That shaman Runeblogger speaks of?  He gets rolls based on what he did.  It isn't a contest of who gets the most roles, it's about getting good at what you like to do.  Along the way, maybe that Agimori shaman makes a Stealth roll or two and starts getting better at being stealthy.  So be it.  If he doesn't, then that's just not him.

What you say makes perfect sense. However, the rules as written didn't allow the shaman character to advance in his shamanic skills, even if he used them all the time. As you say, he wanted to get good at what he liked to do: shamanic things. But the rules only allowed him one way: the POW check.

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As usual when reading RPG discussions; I agree with everyone, especially the diametrically opposed views.

A big feature for brp games for me when I first encountered them was that my character got better at what (s)he tried. My only previous experience (30 points per year) was with Dragon Warriors. A fine, fine game. But I found it frustrating that my Sorcerer ran out of magic points early on in each game and was then forced to carve the baddies up with his sword. But then we went up in Rank (level) didn't get any better at using a sword, but did get better at using magic.

With Tender Feelings?

But (or and) .... the POW economy doesn't quite do it for me either. For much the reasons eloquently laid out above.

I think that newRQ2 has the potential to address this. If my character's Runic affiliations/traits rise according to their behaviour and these have a noticeable effect on magic. Well then alongside the experience check system for skills, we could have the best of both worlds (lozenge and oblate spheroid)

 

Al

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On 2/29/2016 at 11:19 AM, Runeblogger said:

 OK, you are right. But then, you could ask your god to infuse you with divine power so that you can kill your enemy. How much sudden divine power could your god give you in this case?

You could ask for that, but the results probably wouldn't be what you wanted. If I recall the way DI is spelled out in RQ, you have to be more specific about what you want. Your god doesn't want to have to look over the situation and try to figure out just what you need to accomplish the task, as opposed to what someone else might need to accomplish the task. 

Depending on your god it's possibly that he might just decide to give you a one use divine spell like Sunspear or Sever Spirit to fulfill your wish. You would, technically have the divine power to kill your enemy-just no guarantee that it will work out that way. 

As for how much divine power he could give you, well that would be lots and lots. But, since DI costs a loss of POW, I'd assume you wouldn't get much more out than the POW sacrificed or your POW score. Just because a character rolls and 01 for DI doesn't mean he's going to get enough POW to nuke the Crimson Bat. You might get more under the right circumstances, that being something that is really more in your Gods self interest that your character's. 

Typically, if you want nasty offensive magic, you should just sacrifice for it. DI is more of a special get out of dodge perk granted to worshippers for dealing with something they otherwise cannot. 

 

Some of the stuff printed in old issues of Wryms Footnotes indicate that Glorathan Gods are not ominponent, and in fact don't really "get" things and people that are not  directly tied to them, such as worshipers or friends and enemies from Godtime. That seems to be why characters have to heroquest in order to really get what they want from their deity. 

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One other thing I wonder about with the new "runic affinity" based divine magic rules is that getting spells from associated cults would seem to be less productive than before. For example, a Humakti, with a high Death affinity isn't going to be able to cast any divine healing magic at any reasonable reliability.  I wonder if this will impact some of the relationships between the cults. It seems far more useful to bring along an ally from an affiliated cult than to learn any of their divine magic.

 

I wonder if we will get pantheon modifiers or some such that boost the cast chances? Something like Pendragon's directed traits.

Edited by Atgxtg

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In an old campaign of mine, we sacrificed Power for specific runes from the god worshipped and those runes could then be used to call for rune magic, see snippet below from the rules we used. What I liked about this solution was that it made sense to seek out a larger site if possible for increased chance of success, improved for a holy day and even more for the high holy day, and also with additional bonus possible for a critical, or penalty for a fumble!

The day following use, or later, Rune-power can be restored by the god that provided that particular Rune.

An initiate can once per season attempt to regain his Rune-power used to cast reusable Rune spells by attending a successful Worship Ceremony. A priest (i.e. a character with full investiture) can in a sanctified location on any day following the use attempt to regain a single Rune-power used to cast reusable Rune magic spells, through the successful use of the Ceremony ritual, only one attempt to regain a Rune can be made per day.

If the attempt to regain a Rune-power used to power a reusable Rune magic spell fails, a new attempt can be made next day for a priest or next season for an initiate.

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On March 1, 2016 at 5:43 PM, Pentallion said:

My entire group loved a lot about RQ6, especially the devotional pool.  One thing they hated, though, was the lack of skill checks.  They hated being doled out 3 each.  The game as it was intended was that you get good at what you do.  This allows you to become anyone you want.  That shaman Runeblogger speaks of?  He gets rolls based on what he did.  It isn't a contest of who gets the most roles, it's about getting good at what you like to do.  Along the way, maybe that Agimori shaman makes a Stealth roll or two and starts getting better at being stealthy.  So be it.  If he doesn't, then that's just not him.

My issue with lack of skill checks is similar: In classic RQ, characters tended to go up in whatever skills they used. As a GM, you could 'encourage' players to build up skills that they did not see as critical, by giving them a chance to roll on the skill. Over time, skills used became skills raised. With a Improvement Points, the players tend to put their points in the skills they consider most important, and nothing else. Being specialized is not necessarily a problem; but the character that can't do anything outside his speciality can be a real problem. 

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1 hour ago, pachristian said:

Being specialized is not necessarily a problem; but the character that can't do anything outside his speciality can be a real problem. 

Even when playing a non-class based game, my players like to specialize. One wants to be the thief, one the spell caster, one the healer, etc. They find that the Experience Roll award system lets them retain that aspect, where a skill check system typically doesn't. They don't necessarily want to be told that only the thief can climb walls (as in AD&D), but the thief wants to be the best at it. Having a limited amount of skill increases at the end of each session means that the players will concentrate on the skills that best fit their character concept, otherwise, everyone can start to look similar after a long campaign, at least in my experience.

It really comes down to play styles, and in that there is no right or wrong way to play. Luckily, d100 games have systems that cater to all groups.

Rod

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I prefer skill checks. But I disagree with threedeesix's players. Typically, specialization works just fine in skill-based RPGs. Im my experience it's the players that mess it up. 

For example, in some of my old RQ games, the players would want to sneak up and scout out an area. They had a hunter and a thief who were both good at sneaking, but the group would mess thing up because when told that they had to make sneak rolls, EVERYONE would look on their character sheet, say "I have that skill!", and then roll. 

Now the hunter and thief both had stealth skills in the 70% range, but the rest of the group were at the base percentages. Sure enough when 6-8 people try to sneak around and most of them are at 20% skill or less- somebody blows the roll. For a month or so the group never managed to sneak up on anybody. 

Eventually (that is, when a frustrated GM pointed out that skills were like excuses, and that everybody had "that skill", but most of the group shouldn't be relying on it), they figured out that skill specialization was still the way to go. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I prefer skill checks. But I disagree with threedeesix's players. Typically, specialization works just fine in skill-based RPGs. Im my experience it's the players that mess it up. 

For example, in some of my old RQ games, the players would want to sneak up and scout out an area. They had a hunter and a thief who were both good at sneaking, but the group would mess thing up because when told that they had to make sneak rolls, EVERYONE would look on their character sheet, say "I have that skill!", and then roll. 

Now the hunter and thief both had stealth skills in the 70% range, but the rest of the group were at the base percentages. Sure enough when 6-8 people try to sneak around and most of them are at 20% skill or less- somebody blows the roll. For a month or so the group never managed to sneak up on anybody. 

Eventually (that is, when a frustrated GM pointed out that skills were like excuses, and that everybody had "that skill", but most of the group shouldn't be relying on it), they figured out that skill specialization was still the way to go. 

 

Your kind of making my point for me. In an Experience Roll system, it doesn't matter it everyone rolls or not, only the players that want their characters to be good at sneaking will put an Experience Roll into advancement. Thanks Atgxtg.  :P

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3 hours ago, threedeesix said:

Your kind of making my point for me. In an Experience Roll system, it doesn't matter it everyone rolls or not, only the players that want their characters to be good at sneaking will put an Experience Roll into advancement. Thanks Atgxtg.  :P

Not quite. With experience rolls players end up spending their rolls on the things they WANT to improve and everything else just stagnates at starting percentages. So you wind up with characters who can't bandage themselves, spot a ship on the horizon, or fast talk someone because they are putting all their rolls into upping Sword, Shield and Bow. So you wind up with characters who have a ridiculously narrow focus becuase of the limited number of skills he can improve. 

 

The example I used to use to illustrate the differences in experience between RQ and D&D was this:

Say you got a guy who climbs up in a tree with a crossbow and shoots goblins. Over time, in RQ, the guy would get better at climbing  and shooting a crossbow. in D&D he would go up a level and might become a more powerful magic user and learn how to cast a fireball! 

In a experience roll system, the guy might never get any better at climbing trees, despite doing so everyday, because he only gets so many rolls to improve skills.

 

What I think I'd prefer is rather than having the GM assigning the number of experience rolls one could make, I'd  have him assign the number of skills that could be improved.  During play the players would get skill checks per the normal RQ rules, but when rolling for improvement they would pick which ones to try and improve first. The difference here is that the player could still try to prioitize what he wants to get better at, but "secondary" skills would eventually improve when the main skills fail to do so.

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I always figured that training was how you increased skills that you wanted to specialize in, if you weren't getting the desired checks in play. Especially in RQ2. Sort of like turning gold into XP. :)

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I think kpmcdona has a good point. Also, I have been considering that one could do a hybrid of skill checks and experience rolls. Say that you made skill checks as in RQ2/3. Then, when it was time to roll for them, one (or two, or experience roll#) would be considered an automatic success on the check!

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I always figured that training or research was the means to increase your ability in lores and other check-less skills. Training a checkable, regularly used skill would be taken only if that was the crucial factor keeping the character from reaching another milestone achievement. Finding a suitable teacher willing to teach the character is often hard. Finding the cash to pay his dues is... a lot of hard carrying and other treasure logistics, not to mention getting access to these treasures in the first place.

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8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

What I think I'd prefer is rather than having the GM assigning the number of experience rolls one could make, I'd  have him assign the number of skills that could be improved.  During play the players would get skill checks per the normal RQ rules, but when rolling for improvement they would pick which ones to try and improve first. The difference here is that the player could still try to prioitize what he wants to get better at, but "secondary" skills would eventually improve when the main skills fail to do so.

If you're saying you'd prefer that the player checks of the skill boxes like normal, then the GM assigns a number of skills that can be improved after the session is over, and the player picks from those checked off skills only, that's covered with the RQ6 Experience Rolls.

From page 109 (Sidebar): Sometimes, however, it may be unrealistic for a character to practice Lockpicking when he is currently on a ship and has done nothing but fight sea monsters for the last few game sessions. In such cases it is reasonable for the Games Masters to request that characters only attempt to improve skills which they have recently used, or for which the situation exists to practice them.

This could be easily extrapolated to mean "check off a skill when you use it, when I assign Experience Rolls you can only pick from those skills", and easily covers the "if you want to improve a skill you have to use a skill" form of advancement.

Rod

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10 minutes ago, threedeesix said:

If you're saying you'd prefer that the player checks of the skill boxes like normal, then the GM assigns a number of skills that can be improved after the session is over, and the player picks from those checked off skills only, that's covered with the RQ6 Experience Rolls.

From page 109 (Sidebar): Sometimes, however, it may be unrealistic for a character to practice Lockpicking when he is currently on a ship and has done nothing but fight sea monsters for the last few game sessions. In such cases it is reasonable for the Games Masters to request that characters only attempt to improve skills which they have recently used, or for which the situation exists to practice them.

This could be easily extrapolated to mean "check off a skill when you use it, when I assign Experience Rolls you can only pick from those skills", and easily covers the "if you want to improve a skill you have to use a skill" form of advancement.

Rod

This is the house rule I have been using all awhile. Works well.

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15 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

In a experience roll system, the guy might never get any better at climbing trees, despite doing so everyday, because he only gets so many rolls to improve skills.

I think few people are getting what Atg is trying to say. The point is that the tickbox approach makes characters advance also in areas where they would not - normally - wish to "spend" a limited resource. Yet it is quite dull that after spending half of a session on  a tree a character does not improve Climb because the player wishes to privilege Dodge and Crossbow instead.

One great thing about the tickbox method is that the character sheet itself tells you your character's history. That odd +4% in Sleight of Hand is there for a reason, not just because you did not know where to put that last IR.

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