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HQ2 Basics Page?


The_Wombat

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Greetings all, while I am a long time gamer, this is my first post in this forum and any answers, positive or negative, are welcome.  :-)

I have a new gaming group, 3 long time gamers who have never played HeroQuest or had anything to do with Glorantha, and the fourth is an absolute neophyte to gaming.

Is there anywhere I could point them on line for the basics of the HeroQuest rules, srd, something along that line?  We currently only have one copy of the rules.  I am NOT looking for a pirated copy of HQ2, only a couple of pages with the basic mechanics.

Much obliged!

 

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There were a number of HQG games started about the same time I started my first one.  I probably borrowed this from one of the others, but if so, don't recall which one (so credit may not be where it deserves).

The Rules - the quick start guide

Abilities
HeroQuest Glorantha abilities are scored on a range of 1–20, but are scalable. When you raise a rating of 20 by one point, it increases not to 21, but to 1W. The W signifies a game abstraction called a Mastery. Mathematically, it signifies a value of 20. You have now reached a new order of excellence in that ability. The W symbol is a Mastery Rune, with strong significance in the world of Glorantha. As you get more powerful you could get a rating of 10w2 which indicates 2 levels of mastery ie ability rating of 50 (10+20+20)

Tests
Roll 1d20 and roll under your Ability rating.  Sometimes this is an opposed test which introduces a more complex test format in which not only do you want to pass but you want to roll better (i.e. successfully and with a higher roll) than the opponent. Note that a roll of 1 is a Critical Success, and a roll of 20 is a Fumble.

Hero Points and Masteries really come into play for the more complex tests. A Mastery allows you to perform a "Bump" greatly improving your chance of outperforming an inferior foe.

Additionally you can use an "augment" to improve your test (an associated ability which will aid you in a test)

e.g. Running fast 16w2 could be augmented by Running Shoes 19

Tests Part 2
There are 4 levels of success or failure (plus a tie result)
Marginal, Minor, Major and Complete

In combat the success/failure determines your health level (assuming your no longer Healthy)
Hurt, Impaired, Injured, Dying

Situational Modifiers
can be +3 to +6 if you're using an ability brilliantly or -3 to -6 if applying it badly

This also applies to "situational" mods, so for example you beat him last time so you're +3 as he fears you, or if you're afraid of fire you may be -3 vs a fire elemental (or even I could use an augment of your fears fire 15 ability)

NOTE: I don't use these often (mostly carryovers from prior events that are relevant)

A "Stretch"
In some cases, though, your proposed match-up of action and ability is somewhat implausible. A successful attempt with it wouldn’t completely break the illusion of fictional reality - just stretch it a bit. If you saw the same scene in a book or movie, you might smile a little at the convenience of it all, but still remain engaged with the story. Using a somewhat implausible ability is known as a stretch. If your Game Master deems an attempt to be a stretch, you suffer a -6 penalty to your target number. Further, any major or complete victories you might score are instead treated as minor
victories.

Hero Points
Hero Points are a resource players must carefully allocate. They can be used to improve the results of contests, as well as improving abilities over time. They are also used in a few unusual adjudications – such as resolving tied results between heroes.
star_yellow.gifNote: everyone starts with 3 Hero Points available at the beginning of a session and can use as they wish during the session.

How Good are Masteries?
A hero with the same ability rating as an opponent will win about half the contests they engage in.
• One mastery will beat anyone who is a full mastery lower about 75% of the time.
• If the hero is two full masteries higher, the chance of victory is about 95%.
• At three levels, he is all but certain to win.
• At four, he will always be victorious, although opponents might survive to tell the tale…

The feel of Heroquest
In general, don't sweat the nitty gritty details in HQG: you can just give a general guideline of what your ability does and then make things up as you go along from there.

Think mythic, Think high adventure, Think Beowulf, Think Iliad and Odyssey, Think Story - do not think "if I take a sword +5 of Lunar slaying and apply my +2 feat of striking I will be uber-munchkin"

The Robinson Principle: As a player, be willing to Embrace Failure. Sometimes your hero will fail, and that is what makes the game more interesting. This is not a computer game or miniatures skirmish where you need to succeed each time to continue the story. Sometimes failing is the story.

The Stafford Principle: As a Game Master, it is important to maintain a sense of wonder in the world. It is not possible for any mortal to fully understand the workings of Glorantha, and to do so takes away from the pleasure of the unexpected.
 

Heroquest is a game using the "Yes" and "Yes, But" game concept

This next part I borrowed from Andrew Raphael (with some slight edits):


Die Rolls

To determine how well your hero uses an ability, roll a 20-sided die (d20). Compare the rolled number with the target number (ignoring masteries for now); high rolls are better than low as long as you succeed. At the same time, the Game Master rolls based on the difficulty level.

Critical: If the die roll is a 1 (even when the target number is 1), you succeed so brilliantly that the Game Master may reward your hero with an additional, unexpected effect.  Criticals occur in two situations.
1) You roll a 1. That does not change no matter how high your level.
2) You achieve a result of Success and apply either a Mastery or a Hero Point to bump the result from Success to Critical.

Success: If the die roll is greater than 1 and less than or equal to the target number, you succeed, but there is nothing remarkable about the success.

Failure: If the die roll is greater than the target number but not 20, you fail. Things do not happen as you hoped.

Fumble: If the die roll is a 20, you fumble (even when the target number is 20). This is the worst result possible, and you will suffer a disturbing or entertaining catastrophe.

Augenting Ability Rolls

You can augment the ability with another ability. An augment should meet some of these criteria:

star_white.gif Naturally complements the targeted ability;
star_white.gif Elicits an emotional response;
star_white.gif Illustrates character;
star_white.gif Creates suspense;
star_white.gif Reveals something about Glorantha;

Generally, we’ll use what are termed Quick Augments, so they’re calculated from the augmenting ability rating and not an extra contest.
For a Quick Augment, take the ability score, add 20 for each level of mastery, divide by 5, and round up.

For example, Apavena might augment Esrolian 13 with Rally, inspire, and command 3W (a magical ability from Vinga) which gives a +5 augment.

The Augment is added to the targeted ability's rating (not the Die Roll). It ends up increasing the chance of Success (e.g. pushing the ability from 13 to 18 where a Die Roll of 17 becomes a success instead of a failure) or pushing the level into a Mastery (e.g. raising the ability from 18 to 3W where: d10-1 a Die Roll of 17 is initially a failure, but the Mastery raises it to a success where it's likely to get an edge to win; or d10-2 a Die Roll of 2 is a success but likely beaten by other rolls, but the Mastery raises it to a critical).

Difficulty Level

These will be assigned by the GM to the task at hand. They can range from Very Easy to Nearly Impossible. In some cases they represent the situation; in some cases the ability of another character (e.g. could be Orlrik's Reckless flaw, could be Gardangar's Leadership ability); could be the clan's resources; etc.

Contests
There will be a number of types of contests requiring die rolls.
Simple Contests: pit your ability vs. a difficulty level (both roll, best result wins).
Comparative Contests: pits your ability vs. a set of opposing difficulties/rolls (your roll will place you anywhere from best to worst in the set)
Extended Contests: multiple rolls will be required over an extended period with opportunities to aid colleagues, etc.

Difficulty Levels in a Contest
Difficulties work on a scale of:
Very Easy / Easy / Moderate / Hard / Very Hard / Nearly Impossible
Moderate is the Base value from which rolls may typically be made.
The initial Base value is 14. It will change over time.
Hard is the Base value +6
Very Hard is the Base value +W (i.e. 1 Mastery)
Nearly Impossible is the Base value +W2 (i.e. 2 Masteries, which at this point almost assuredly bumps a result for the opposition to a Critical and may bump you down to a Failure - which is a Major Victory for the opposition.)

Here's an example.
Hendrick is trying to impress Minaryth Purple of the Jonstown Library of his knowledge of the History of the Heortling People.
Hendrick has History as a breakout of his Skald ability. Skald is 19 and History is +1, so 20 is his ability.
Minaryth Purple considers himself to be THE expert on the history of Dragon Pass and the Heortlings. It will be Very Hard to convince Minaryth that he has anything new to add.
Without explicitly coming up with a specific skill level for Minaryth, I will use that Very Hard set difficulty instead. For now that would be 14W.
Hendrick rolls 18.
Minaryth rolls 15.

Hendrick has rolled below his ability of 20 (and did not roll 20), which is a Success.
Minaryth rolled higher than 14, so if he was a Moderate opponent that would be a Failure and Hendrick would win the contest. But Minaryth isn't the average opponent. Minaryth bumps his result from a Failure to a Success with his Mastery.
Both have scored a Success, but in this case Hendrick still has the higher die roll and gets a Marginal Victory.

If Hendrick rolled a 15 and Minaryth rolled 18, then both would end up as a Success as well after Minaryth's mastery bump. BUT, in that case Minaryth would have the higher die roll between the two Successes and Minaryth would get the Marginal Victory.
...

Andrew had some useful descriptions of degrees of Victory and Bumps so adding those here as well.

Degrees of Success and Failure

The possible degrees of success, from least to greatest, are: Marginal, Minor, Major, and Complete. Ties are also possible. A success for one contestant means a corresponding failure for the loser.

Tie: Tie means no result. Effort was expended, but the net result is that nothing consequential occurs, or else both sides lose or gain equally.

Marginal: A nominal victory or defeat, with little gain or loss. The victor gains only the immediate benefits of winning. The loser suffers no lasting effects of his defeat beyond the end of the contest.

Minor: A clear victory or defeat, with a significant but limited effect. The victor gains the immediate advantage of his victory, plus the defeat has some lasting effects, although they are typically annoyances. The loser suffers penalties that last for at least a day, possibly longer.

Major: A resounding victory or defeat, with serious consequences for all participants. The victor may gain fame or glory. The loser is prevented from pursuing his plans until he somehow counters the results, and he will likely suffer lasting penalties. For both, the effects are long-term, lasting weeks or even months.

Complete: A total victory or defeat, with momentous consequences for all involved. These repercussions are often permanent or irreversible; the Game Master might make their removal the goal of an entire adventure or campaign. The victor will be famous (at least for a while). The loser suffers a severe penalty.

Bumps

A bump affects the degree of success or failure of the die roll. A bump up improves the result by one step, changing a fumble to a failure, a failure to a success, or a success to a critical. Bump ups come from two sources: masteries and Hero Points (applied in that order). A bump down reduces the degree of success of your opponent. Bump downs come from one source: masteries.

Bump Up with Mastery

You get one bump up for each level of mastery your hero has greater than your opponent’s. Opposed masteries cancel out (based on target numbers, not beginning ability ratings), so if your opponent has as many or more masteries as you do you will not get a bump up.

Bump Up with Hero Points

You can spend a Hero Point to bump up any result by one step. You may only bump your own rolls, not those of other heroes or supporting characters – with the exception of your companions and retainers, which, as extensions of your hero, you may spend Hero Points on. You can decide to use a Hero Point for a bump after the die roll results are calculated (including any bump ups resulting from masteries).

You may spend only one Hero Point on any given dice roll. During extended contests, you may spend only one Hero Point per exchange.

The expenditure of a Hero Point represents that moment in a story where the protagonist pushes himself to the limit, marshals previously untapped reserves, or pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Strive to make this as exciting a moment in your game as it would be in the equivalent fiction. Describe exactly what extraordinary thing you’re doing to bolster your use of the ability at hand. One useful approach is to look at your character sheet for other abilities you might be using to bolster this one, as if you were performing an augment. When stuck for a solution, feel empowered to describe outside forces acting on your hero, making him the beneficiary of good fortune or convenient coincidence. Wherever you reach for inspiration, be creative and play up your big moment.

Bump Down with Mastery

A bump down works like a bump up, but in reverse. It decreases the result by one step: a critical to a success, a success to a failure, or a failure to a fumble. If you have a critical and still have one or more “unused masteries,” you can use them to bump down an opponent, since you cannot get a result better than a critical for yourself. The opponent receives one bump down for each level of mastery remaining. Bump downs come from masteries, never Hero Points.

A few more of my notes on using Augments....


Augments
An augment is a bonus a hero gets to his target number. It may be framed as a contest to apply another skill to the current contest or added as a quick bonus. There must be a plausible reason it should be applied. In a nutshell, an action that qualifies as an augment should:
• Elicit an emotional response; or
• Illustrate character; or
• Create suspense; or
• Reveal something about Glorantha.

You get one chance to receive an augment on any given contest. Failure does not allow other augment attempts. It is impossible to augment an augment roll. Augments can, however, combine with other modifiers, including those from benefits of victory.
Augments last for the duration of a single contest, whether simple or extended. The story’s internal logic will dictate whether a given augment has to be used right away (and is useless if the recipient is somehow delayed or interrupted), or whether the recipient can deploy it at will.

Specific Ability Bonuses
When you contest against an opponent whose ability is less specific to the situation at hand than your own, you gain either a +3 or +6 modifier to your target number, with the higher modifier reflecting a larger gap between the specificity of the two abilities.

Breya's Heal Wounds, Aren's Watchful Eye of the Ridge, Hendrick's Inspire Warriors, Orlrik's Incredible Speed, and Dyrrkind's Thunder's Voice are all examples of specific abilities.

They have an advantage when used in the relevant specific situation over generic keywords such as Heortling or Thane or Movement, etc. For instance, Aren is trying to spot raiders from the Greydog Clan on the Starfire Ridge. The raiders just have their Heortling keyword at 17. Aren uses his Watchful Eye of the Ridge. Aren's base target with this ability is 2W. But his ability is more specific, so probably a +6 bonus in this case giving him a target of 8W.

Stretches
You can think of this as the opposite of a Specific Ability Bonus. When you propose an action using an ability that seems completely inappropriate, I may rule it impossible - just not applicable and would have no consequence to the action.

In some cases, though, your proposed match-up of action and ability is only somewhat implausible. A successful attempt with it wouldn’t completely break the illusion of fictional reality - just stretch it a bit. If I deem an attempt to be a stretch, you suffer a -6 penalty to your target number. Further, any major or complete victories you might score are instead treated as minor victories.

Situational Modifiers
I may also impose modifiers when, given the description of the current situation, believability demands that a hero should face a notable advantage or disadvantage. During an extended contest, they should typically last for a single exchange, and reflect clever or foolish choices by the hero. I will only assess modifiers of +6, +3, –3, or –6, though in some situations there may be a cumulative effect.

Plot Augments
A plot augment is earned by overcoming a particular plot obstacle created by the Game Master. The magnitude of the plot augment is +3, +6, +9, or +W. The more challenging the plot obstacle, the higher the augment.

Unlike normal augments, plot augments probably require the heroes to succeed at a number of simple contests. They may fail a few, but still
triumph in the end to overcome the obstacle. Some plot augments might be available simply through clever and interesting roleplaying, without a die roll in sight.

Game Masters introduce plot augments so that it is obvious that overcoming one obstacle will grant an advantage in a later one.
Player prompting may also suggest possible plot augment scenes to the Game Master. Depending on the story, a plot augment can modify the abilities of several heroes. They typically apply only to a single
situation, going away when that situation is resolved.

Plot augments combine with other modifiers, including other augments. Multiple plot augments can be applied to a single contest.

Improving Your Hero
You may improve any ability by 1 point per session, at a cost of 1 Hero Point.

It costs 1 Hero Point to raise a single breakout ability under the keyword, or 2 points to raise the entire keyword or runic affinity by a point (multiply the costs of raising abilities by 2 if you want to raise a keyword more than one point at a time).

You can add a new ability by spending 1 point; it begins with a rating of 13. If the ability seems out of character for your hero, I will probably require you to come up with a believable explanation before approving it. The easiest way to get an apparently out-of-character new ability approved is to do something in the game to justify it.

You can add a new breakout ability by spending 1 point; it begins with a rating of +1 to the keyword it modifies. Same aspect for believability as noted above.

Events that occur in play often serve as inspiration for organic-seeming new abilities. If you befriend an interesting supporting character, you can acquire a Contact or Patron ability that ensures
an ongoing relationship with him. (In some instances, I may determine that certain relationships are not possible for various reasons). Likewise, you can make sure that you can permanently hold onto a new piece of equipment by buying it as a new ability. The process is to establish relationships or equipment is called cementing an experience.

NOTE: On occasion I may increase one of your abilities, by 1 to 3 points, or give you a new ability, rated at 13. These are called directed improvements.

Ability increases are usually rewards for overcoming particularly important or dramatic obstacles. They happen immediately, rather than at session’s end. Directed increases are not counted against you when determining the cost of an ability increase for that session. Post-session rewards often boost colorful secondary abilities.

Edited by jajagappa
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A little bit more:

Extended Contests

An extended contest unfolds as a series of simple contests. At the end of each simple contest, the winning hero (or obstacle) scores a number of
Resolution Points (RPs) to his tally, which varies between 1 and 5, depending on the result. Tied results leave the score unchanged.

The first of the contesting heroes to accumulate a total of 5 points wins; his opponent is knocked out of the contest and loses whatever is at stake in the storyline.

The number of Resolution Points the winner garners at the end of each exchange depends on the degree of victory he scored. He gets 1 point for a Marginal Victory, 2 for a Minor Victory, 3 for a Major Victory, and 5 for a Complete Victory.

Put another way:
Exact tie = 0 points
Same level victory = 1 point (e.g. Success vs. Success, etc.)
One level difference = 2 points (e.g. Critical vs. Success, Success vs. Failure)
Two level differences = 3 points (e.g. Critical vs. Failure, etc.)
Three level differences = 5 points (e.g. Critical vs. Fumble)


Once one side has received 5 points, the contest is done. The final difference in number of points determines the final level of victory (as well as if the winner took any losses as well - e.g. Hurt in a physical fight, bad reputation in a social contest, etc.).

If you lose an extended contest, you probably suffer lasting consequences, depending on the number of Resolution Points your opponent (or, in some cases, opponents) scored against you.

Level of Victory and consequences depends a bit on situation and whether it represents the final climax or not.

Generally, 1-2 point difference is a Marginal Victory for winner, but winner may suffer some Hurt; 3-4 points is a Minor Victory; 5-6 points is a Major Victory; 7+ is a Complete Victory.

These are a couple options for Extended Contests - Defensive Responses are more useful when trying to slow down a tough foe.

Risky Gambits
During an extended contest, a character can attempt to force a conflict to an early resolution by making a risky gambit. If the character trying a risky gambit is lucky enough to win the exchange, he lodges an additional 1 resolution point against his opponent.
However, if the character trying the risky gambit loses the exchange, his opponent lodges an additional 2 resolution points against him.
If both contestants engage in a risky gambit, the winner lodges 2 more resolution points than usual against the loser.

Opting for a risky gambit should never be a purely mechanical request. Specify what you’re doing that’s so risky, and what bad consequences are likely to result if your gambit fails. If your proposed negative repercussions seem weak, your Narrator will worsen them when narrating consequences to match the actual outcome.


Defensive Responses
In an extended contest, a character can make a defensive response, which lowers the number of resolution points lodged against the losing party to an exchange. If the character wins the exchange, he lodges 2 fewer resolution points against his opponent. If the character loses the exchange, the number of resolution points lodged against him decreases by 1. The total number of resolution points assigned by an exchange is never less than 0; there is no such thing as a negative resolution point.

Weird edge cases aside, defensive responses are useful only in group extended contests, when you find yourself waiting for rescue as you struggle to hold your own against a stronger opponent.

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1 hour ago, The_Wombat said:

only a couple of pages with the basic mechanics

The two posts above should give you most of the basic mechanics (excluding Character Creation). 

Found one other note that may be useful:

With HQ:G, everything follows the same basic rule flow:
d10-1 you roll for an ability at some skill level + any augment and get a level of success (and the GM determines if the ability/augment are applicable or if they represent a Stretch or if any other Situational Modifiers apply)
d10-2 the GM rolls a resistance at some level and gets a level of success
d10-3 levels of success are compared
d10-4 one or the other gets a 'victory' of lesser or greater degree which is then described as the outcome

In a simple contest, that is it. In an extended contest, your level of victory determines whether you inflict points against your foe or take points (and the first of the two to take 5+ points against them loses the contest).

Combat, social interactions, magical use, etc. all follow that model. The questions tend to be: what ability makes the most sense to use in this situation? and what is an appropriate augment?

Where you have a noted ability, you use that (and that gives you an extra +6 bonus as your target for your roll). Since many abilities are not broken out, you draw on a relevant keyword (with no bonus).

For combat or the like, the culture, clan, or occupation keywords could all be used. Examples: For Breya, she'd draw on the Hunter keyword if using her Bow but Heortling keyword for Sword combat or Orlmarth clan keyword to get Chief Gordangar to lead a raid into the Colymar Wilds. Other abilities may be relevant for augments (though they can't be breakouts of the same keyword you are using as the ability). Breya can use her Stalker ability as an augment to her Hunter ability for instance to move quietly and close to a target.

For magic, you draw on your Rune keywords or specific magical abilities. Initially, you can use your Runes to augment another ability, but cannot use them directly as an ability until you are an initiate of a cult.

Initiates may use the Runes they possess that are associated with their god (or relevant magic style for spirit magic and sorcery) to invoke the god's power (that is use it as a keyword). In association with that, you may describe actions and contest results as overtly supernatural. For example, Gavran wishes to turn his fingers into Cat's Claws to climb a tree. He can use his Yinkin rune keyword to do so, though he wouldn't have any means to augment that roll. However, his use of the ability and affinity with Yinkin might give the opportunity to get that feat as a breakout ability in the future.

 

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Outstanding summaries, Jajagappa!

I also find useful this three page reference with all the key tables on pages 1&2 and a  tracker on page three for extended contests and the Pass/Fail cycle.

Here's the PDF.

There's also this one-pager hosted here last month that's pretty good, but I can print double-sided so I dig the previous one a bit more.

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21 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I should note that there is one important/significant change between HQ2 and HQG:  in HQ2, low die rolls were best; in HQG, high die rolls are best.  My writeup reflects HQG conventions.

Thank you for the reminder, I forgot this one.   ;)

I plan to use the HQ2 rules as they appear in HQG though, it will be a generic version of the HQG rules with the character creation rules from HQ2.

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  • 11 months later...

Here's a quick list method approach I threw together for an upcoming cross-setting mashup game. It pre-chooses some things and constrains in places so as to guide a player quickly through the process.

 

How to Make a Character in Under Ten Minutes

  1. Write a pithy one-liner description of your species/culture/background.
    • Assign it a rating of 15
    • Come up with two breakout abilities for details or specialties within it.
    • Rate one at +1 and one at +2.
  2. Write a pithy one-liner description of your training/profession/experience.
    • Assign it a rating of 17
    • Come up with three breakout abilities for details or specialties within it.
    • Rate them at +1. +2, and +3.
  3. Describe three more abilities to represent other things not covered by the above, or things that are related but distinct enough to merit a seperate ability.
    • These can represent special abilities or powers, connections, character/personality traits, special gear, followers, etc. - basically anything that might help you solve a problem.
    • Rate two of them at 13, one at 15.
  4. Write a pithy one-liner description of a distinguishing characteristic, ability, or trait.
    • Either make it it's own ability rated at 17, or a breakout under any of the above at +4
  5. Do ten of the following, note the ability next to each one you choose.
    • "Raise a stand-alone..." ability cannot be used on the same ability as "Add a new +1 breakout.." or "Raise a keyword..."
    Option Chosen Ability to which applied
    Raise a stand-alone ability by 1  
    Raise a stand-alone ability by 1  
    Raise a stand-alone ability by 1  
    Raise a stand-alone ability by 1  
    Raise a stand-alone ability by 1  
    Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1  
    Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1  
    Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1  
    Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1  
    Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1  
    Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13  
    Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13  
    Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13  
    Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13  
    Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability  
    Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability  
    Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability  
    Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability  
    Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1  
    Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1  
    Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1  
  6. Describe 1-3 Flaws.
    • The first has the same rating as your highest ability/keyword.
    • A second gets the same rating as your second highest ability/keyword.
    • A third gets the same rating as your lowest
Edited by JonL
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  • 2 weeks later...

On a sadder but hopefully useful criticism note, the mashup game I made the list roster above for ended up being played with Savage Worlds. I had more or less sold the other rotating co-GMs, all lifelong gamers who have played lots of different sorts of games over the years - including one published RPG author - on the of use HQ for the ease of prep and challenge balancing it provides and its qualitatively-conceptualized mechanics making it simple to have a cross-genre mashup party on dimension-hopping adventures right out of the box without worrying about balancing a +3 Mithril battle-axe's, armor-piercing rating vs futuristic power armor in a sensible fashion. 

They pretty much did a 180 when exposed to the rulebooks.  Some quotes:

Quote

I can say that I find the writing styles of HQ rulebooks to be terrible. I read the HQ2CR character generation chapter 3 times and I still don't get it. And the HQG book ends up lost in the Glorantha jargon too quickly.

Quote

Jon...sorry...I appreciate the explanations but I'm not getting it. I've just got to play a game a bunch to be comfortable running something on it and HQ doesn't seem to be THAT simple.

Quote

With time so short, I'm leaning towards SW. 
I'm finding HQ to be confusing, and won't feel comfortable running it next week.

Quote

We have Jon’s word that HQ is a functional system and that he’s used it successfully. From what I’ve been able to gather from banging my head against the HQ rules, I think that I can see how it would be a useful addition to our system arsenal, but for a game that we’re going to play in two weeks, I think that familiarity wins out.

Now the time constraint they're mentioning is a factor, but 3/4 of these guys had played in HQ games I've run once or twice before, all played modern games like Fate or Cortex+ before, and all either played in or run long Pendragon campaigns. They still struggled to absorb the rules from the books. I think showing them the quick-ref sheets actually made things worse, as the ones in circulation cram lots of seldom-used things alongside key elements, don't represent relationships between the tables application clearly, and mostly expect the GM to already know what to look for and just need a refresher.  They saw a whole bunch of tables without much in the way of context and started making comments about Rolemaster. 

We had a great time at our old pals' weekend getaway playing our crazy mashup game in Savage Worlds, but sure enough there were the expected headaches trying to balance all the disparate mechanical bits in a satisfying fashion.

My point in all this, and here directing to @Ian Cooper and @Jeff  in particular, is that despite being a game that can be taught to utter novices in half and hour, and that can trivially have it's complexity dialed up or down to suit a given game/group's needs, in this instance the presentation sunk it. HQ would greatly benefit from a concise quickstart that clearly guides a new person through the key concepts. Similarly a play-aid that groups key related tables together along with notes on their application would be a great boon to adoption. I've started such a thing here, based on Ian and @Corvantir's work elsewhere on this board. 

I say all this not to bash the game or any author's writing style, but out of love for the game and a desire for it to be more accessible to new people.

Edited by JonL
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The quickstart you mention Jon is exactly what I was banging on about, on the Sun County thread recently. My problem is Only one player who is too time poor and not his thing to read rules. So it falls on my shoulders to do the grunt work and both explain the rules together with a fun scenario across the table at the same time. My wish would be for a Glorantha QS, that also works with non traditional group sizes. Baby steps with all the background depth of the setting. I should add that even though I can enthuse about this or that setting, I only have one chance to sell it at the table. We have a glut of very cool games on the market all clamouring to go for a test drive.

Edited by Aprewett
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/16/2018 at 3:28 AM, Aprewett said:

My problem is Only one player who is too time poor and not his thing to read rules. So it falls on my shoulders to do the grunt work and both explain the rules together with a fun scenario across the table at the same time. 

When teaching HQ, I try to structure the first session or two in such a way as to introduce the rules concepts as we go. We'll have a couple of Simple Contests right off the bat to get them used to the core mechanic, Masteries, and Augments. Once that's comfortable, there'll be a skirmish that introduces Group Simple Contests. Later, an investigation, political/social challenge or duel get used to introduce Extended Contests. I may or may not include things like Risky Gambits or Assists at that point - that depends on how the players are absorbing things. If the above has gone well, a big fight at the end then provides the chance to demonstrate Group Extended Contests. If absorption has been more of a struggle, I'll do serial/chained Group Simple Contests at the climax instead since that's just applying things they've already learned (or are still working to learn), and save the GEC for another day.

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My wish would be for a Glorantha QS, that also works with non traditional group sizes. Baby steps with all the background depth of the setting. I should add that even though I can enthuse about this or that setting, I only have one chance to sell it at the table. We have a glut of very cool games on the market all clamouring to go for a test drive.

The Sartar Players Primer remains decent for this, at least for a Dragon Pass game. I keep several printouts of excepts from TSPP select cultures from HeroQuest Voices in my HQ binder to share at the table. I wish HQV would be updated to reflect the current interpretation of the Malkioni & similar changes. The HQV entries for the central cultures like the Heortlings, Dara Happans, and Praxians are still pretty solid though.

Edited by JonL
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