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Concerns about the new RQ edition


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Am I the only one who has some concerns about the new RQ edition (RQ4)? From the design notes I fear that it will lack the storytelling gears I would have wanted to see. Much has happened in the hobby since the 80s. Even Dungeons & Dragons 5e have picked up on the storytelling with backgrounds, inspiration etc. It would have been easy to include rules that would have helped drive the story.

And yes this is wild speculation from my part. But RQ (II and III) has, since the 80s, been my "to go system" and I really want to see it great again. It is elegant and easy to understand. But it has always been a tad dry and simulationist. 

 

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Comparing D&D and RQ is a bit like comparing the Princedom of Liechtenstein and the People's Republic of China. Instead of looking at D&D and for ways to bring RQ to a similar status by winnin

How many shelves of D&D modules you can fill compared to how many shelves of RQ modules you can fill is directly proportional to how many people play D&D to how many play RQ.  And it's not bec

What I expect is a good set of rules and other handles for a simulation of the background of a character and their environment, in the good tradition e.g. of RQ3 Gamemasters Book(let). Rules for off-s

6 hours ago, aknaton said:

It would have been easy to include rules that would have helped drive the story.

 

Which is why I am not concerned. Even if the core system would not include such rules, there would doubtless be someone (perhaps Chaosium themselves, perhaps someone from the community, with a monograph or in some download section) who would provide them soon enough. :)

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47 minutes ago, rust said:

Which is why I am not concerned. Even if the core system would not include such rules, there would doubtless be someone (perhaps Chaosium themselves, perhaps someone from the community, with a monograph or in some download section) who would provide them soon enough. :)

That's a point. RuneQuest has always had a really good community ^_^

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It's too early to say. To be honest, as much as anything, I was just confused by the last designer update. I don't really know how it will finally turn out. 

The bigger priority for me currently is just receiving my Classic RuneQuest book, which is beginning to feel like a mini CoC7E style patience test at the moment, and I am actually still content with my copies of RQ6 and HeroQuest currently anyway.  

 

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I think they need to be careful with striking a balance with any "story" mechanics that are added. They can be a divisive issue, with purists on both the "Story" and "Simulation" sides. 

There is already HeroQuest as the Glorantha RPG which takes a story-focused approach. Glorantha gamers that are allergic to story mechanics have stuck with RQ. If you put too many story elements into RQ, you could turn off a lot of fans. On the other hand, it's possible that they might bring in new players. It would be a gamble, especially as there are plenty of other BRP options around for players to flee to. 

Personally, I like both story and simulation elements depending on my mood and the group I am playing with. I'm not sure if I want them in RQ, but I might be sold on them if they were interesting enough. I'm not going to lose sleep over it, as Mythras is still around if RQ 7 doesn't win me over. 

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It'll really depend on how they're implemented.

I didn't play Pendragon, so my understanding of it is only secondhand, but AFAIK in that game the passions DROVE play.  For example, whether a character would lie to an NPC, cower in fear from something, etc could be essentially taken away from the player's control, and made subject of a dice roll result to which the player was expected to hew.

That would trouble me deeply, because that takes agency away from players.  

OTOH, Runequest *needs* runes and always has, not to mention a better "tie in" to the world of Glorantha.  That seems a natural place for them to dovetail.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

For example, whether a character would lie to an NPC, cower in fear from something, etc could be essentially taken away from the player's control, and made subject of a dice roll result to which the player was expected to hew.

That would trouble me deeply, because that takes agency away from players.

Loss of player agency is bad. We like carrots better. We want bonuses to the players when they do things that carries the story further onward. By complicating it och by resolving troublesome relationships etc. 

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In Pendragon it is the Personailty Traits, not the Passions, that can railroad a character's story arc. The Passions can add intensity to parts of the narrative and provide benefits/shortcomings depending on how the passions interact with specific elements of a scenario. The Passions are cool. I agree about the Personality Traits though. They can create a third person, rather than a first person, experience.

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1 hour ago, goldenwheeldancer said:

In Pendragon it is the Personailty Traits, not the Passions, that can railroad a character's story arc. The Passions can add intensity to parts of the narrative and provide benefits/shortcomings depending on how the passions interact with specific elements of a scenario. The Passions are cool. I agree about the Personality Traits though. They can create a third person, rather than a first person, experience.

Only the traits that are above 15 or below 6 can dictate your character's behavior. Traits between those boundaries are just tendencies that you are free to ignore.

Also, traits tend to change according to the way you play your character.

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7 hours ago, styopa said:

It'll really depend on how they're implemented.

I didn't play Pendragon, so my understanding of it is only secondhand, but AFAIK in that game the passions DROVE play.  For example, whether a character would lie to an NPC, cower in fear from something, etc could be essentially taken away from the player's control, and made subject of a dice roll result to which the player was expected to hew.

That would trouble me deeply, because that takes agency away from players.  

OTOH, Runequest *needs* runes and always has, not to mention a better "tie in" to the world of Glorantha.  That seems a natural place for them to dovetail.

Yeah, not a big fan of using passions to drive the story.  I think passions are kinda silly myself.  A player knows who his character is, he doesn't need a percentage value to tell him. 

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Passions are just another way to model the vulnerability of the character in areas hitherto ignored. I haven't heard anyone complain that the player knows how healthy his character is, thank you, don't meddle here, GM, or that the player is in complete control of the sanity of his CoC investigator. Just like some systems will allow you to overcome a physical handicap if you do a successful die roll, this allows you to act against the established nature of your character under the same proviso.

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Passions are a great way of driving the story, but they need a little practice to use well. They are deliberately a bit exaggerated in the way they work in Pendragon (for reasons that should be apparent to anyone who has read the Morte d'Arthur), but they can be subtler. 

They do need some negotiation, giving a PC passions that go against the players conception is no fun, but mostly they are a tool for enforcing character consistency that works because they are mostly carrot rather than stick - most of the time, there are good reasons for your character to have a passion, so as a player you want them, and the times when they come back to bite you are often fun roleplaying. 

Sometimes they are a great way of enforcing cultural values. Sometimes they are like a contact between player and game - if you want to say this is your characters motivations at this point, when it is in their favour, we can expect some consistency later. Sometimes they are a tool that pulls the group together. 

Passions are a great tool. If nothing else, giving you incentive to have a passionate character, and play that passion, makes for more interesting characters and more fun play. 

You don't even really need a way to enforce passions that often. Just let players use them to inspire themselves in combat or enhance other abilities, and then tell them they might be drastically reduced if players don't act on them when the question comes up, and players will tend to follow them. And if they do have a change of heart, it matters. 

The only thing I'd say about passions is make sure there are good gamemastering suggestions so people know appropriate ways to use them. 

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2 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Personally, I don't really care what is in which edition of RQ/D100-style rules.

I take what I like and ignore what I don't, so I'll take the good bits from RQ, Mythras, Legend, BRP, Renaissance, Revolution and so on.

 

Yeah. RQ is very moddable. And thats a good thing.

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

Personally, I don't really care what is in which edition of RQ/D100-style rules.

I take what I like and ignore what I don't, so I'll take the good bits from RQ, Mythras, Legend, BRP, Renaissance, Revolution and so on.

 

Which is perfectly fine for many people, particularly grognards that have been futzing with RQ systems for decades.

*NOT* so great for pulling in new players to the genre.

Runequest reddit has 306 subscribers, 2 viewing.

D&D reddit has 136,000 subs, 1300 viewing.

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28 minutes ago, styopa said:

Which is perfectly fine for many people, particularly grognards that have been futzing with RQ systems for decades.

*NOT* so great for pulling in new players to the genre.

I second this and is of the same opinion.

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2 hours ago, styopa said:

Which is perfectly fine for many people, particularly grognards that have been futzing with RQ systems for decades.

*NOT* so great for pulling in new players to the genre.

I will chime in for one moment.

The point you highlight here is valid, Styopa. And it puts a lot of responsibility on the designers' shoulders.

It is absolutely true that most old schoolers will create their own variant, mixing and matching according to their experience. Thus a good D100 game must be modular, to adapt well to this specific treatment that you know your players will apply to it, without breaking at the first modification introduced. A different approach will leave a majority of your potential users dissatisfied.

However, you cannot use this as an excuse for not producing a consistent, solid ruleset, possibly aiming at a specific game experience that the rules, if used "out of the box", must clearly support and preferrably promote. You have to be ready to your customer base houseruling heavily, but you cannot count on it.

In short, the game must be both self-consistent and flexible. Designing a game with such characteristics is a big challenge.

 

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3 hours ago, styopa said:

Runequest reddit has 306 subscribers, 2 viewing.

Two years ago we had less than 10. So there's that..  

Either way, comparing to RQ to D&D isn't really fair. For many people, roleplaying is synonomous with D&D. It is owned by Hasbro - it being pretty much the only proper company with a horse in this race. And D&D as a game is plagued with edition-warring, because that game has an actual metric ton of editions, clones and spin-offs, so going by your argument there, no one should be playing D&D.

When it comes to the reddit-community, RQ is fairly respected. It regularly comes up as an alternative to anything else, and even people who don't like the d100-system grudgingly acknowledges its qualities. It's just that it isn't as pop as D&D - it doesn't have the visibility, availabilty and massive inertia of the big dog. I could see RQ6 starting to gain momentum as a quality game - whether new Chaosium manages to kill that off remains to be seen, but I suspect the majority of their prospective customers don't hang out on reddit. Still hurts, though..

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7 minutes ago, Baragei said:

D&D as a game is plagued with edition-warring, because that game has an actual metric ton of editions, clones and spin-offs, so going by your argument there, no one should be playing D&D.

Did you actually just criticize D&D's confusion & variety of editions in a RUNEQUEST post?  Seriously? :)

FWIW I thought RQ6 did a good job of bringing RQ back into the commercial limelight, certainly, although some could credit that increase as a by-blow of RPGs flourishing generally today.  I think it would have been better had it been more closely tied to the canon/world, frankly.  

MRQ was fairly clever in going back to 2nd age, that was a fresh approach, if not as sound mechanically as RQ6 later was (which itself wasn't as sound as previous editions, itself ***very much only IMO***).

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Comparing D&D and RQ is a bit like comparing the Princedom of Liechtenstein and the People's Republic of China. Instead of looking at D&D and for ways to bring RQ to a similar status by winning over players of other games to RQ we should probably concentrate on the expectations and wishes of the current RQ community.In the end we are the ones who have to like the game enough to support it, and if we are very lucky our enthusiasm will lure some other players into our community.

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2 hours ago, rust said:

Comparing D&D and RQ is a bit like comparing the Princedom of Liechtenstein and the People's Republic of China. Instead of looking at D&D and for ways to bring RQ to a similar status by winning over players of other games to RQ we should probably concentrate on the expectations and wishes of the current RQ community.In the end we are the ones who have to like the game enough to support it, and if we are very lucky our enthusiasm will lure some other players into our community.

You probably meant to reverse those comparisons, respectively?  

I'd completely agree.  I'm not saying "make RQ like D&D" - that would be silly (and pointless).  *IMO* people come to RQ for essentially two reasons (AFAIK almost nobody starts playing RPGs in Runequest, which itself is a damned shame, but very much due to your China vs Liechtenstein effect...):

1) mechanical: people sick of the rationalizations in D&D look for a 'tighter' system with more realistic combat, results, hit locations, more danger; or

2) setting: some people are enchanted with Glorantha and as RQ is sort of the 'go-to' rule set for Glorantha, end up here.

Number two is of course, no longer really completely true: Heroquest is specifically Gloranthan, and one could say that it's supported by everything from 13th Age, FATE, GURPS, even probably a d20 variant or three (one could even now sort of say Mythras supports Glorantha, oddly).  But Glorantha = RQ and RQ = Glorantha to most people still.

I'm very much a #1 guy, admittedly.  I probably am far more interested in simulationism than 99% of the gaming public (hell, I'm probably one of the dozen people that actually played Phoenix Command and LIKED its gun-combat system).  So on that front, I know I'm not the target audience.  I can get over that, certainly.

My point is that I believe RQ can be brought into the 21st century and appeal to modern-day new gamers (and their expectations) and still remain essentially RQ.   For example, the opposed die-roll mechanic is a clever, quick (modern) resolution system.  I believe Jeff said it's being used to some degree in the new RQ which I think is terrific.

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