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Glorantha: HQG or RQ Classic?

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I would like to get into Glorantha and I have two choices: HQG or RQ2 Classic which has just been released. Both games look interesting but I have some reservations I'd like to ramble on about. 

RQ2C

I really like RQ but not sure what's in RQC. I dislike systems where you have one skill (for example) 'Melee' and that covers everything from 2 Handed Greatswords to a fist punch. I love hit locations but found the healing/damage rules in Mythras too fiddly. As it goes, I dropped Mythras because I found combat required too much bookkeeping. I also dislike the Resistance Tables but I can live with that. I like a character to have lots of improvement before they reach a ceiling (it aides longer campaigns, which is something I always look for in an rpg). 

HQG

I like narrative systems but there are errors in HQG so I'm worried it might not make sense to me. I'm also not entirely happy with the way HQG automatically raises difficulties every four sessions and how the pass/fail system is a rule for the GM to fudge things in order to maintain pacing and drama. I mean, I understand it, and I can see how it makes sense storywise but I can't help shake the feeling it's a bit heavy-handed and diminishes the effect of a character's attribute/skill ratings. 

Lastly, I love feudal settings. I think there's a lot of roleplaying possibilities when you have a feudalistic system in place. There's a social pecking order and you'd better know yours. Am I right in thinking Glorantha doesn't have a setting where a feudal system is in place? I understand Glorantha is based on myths and that they colour most everything a character does, but are there settings where a feudal society is in place?

Any advice?

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26 minutes ago, Scout said:

I would like to get into Glorantha and I have two choices: HQG or RQ2 Classic which has just been released. Both games look interesting but I have some reservations I'd like to ramble on about. 

RQ2C

I really like RQ but not sure what's in RQC. I dislike systems where you have one skill (for example) 'Melee' and that covers everything from 2 Handed Greatswords to a fist punch. I love hit locations but found the healing/damage rules in Mythras too fiddly. As it goes, I dropped Mythras because I found combat required too much bookkeeping. I also dislike the Resistance Tables but I can live with that. I like a character to have lots of improvement before they reach a ceiling (it aides longer campaigns, which is something I always look for in an rpg). 

If you want to let your players' characters traipse through the wilderness, caves or musty ruins, fighting off encounters and inhabitants old-school style, RQ2 is a good system to use. It has some old-school traits that are endearing only through nostalgia, but every instance of old-school rpgs will have such.

Until the kickstarter pdfs/reprints are available, you should use the Cults Compendium and one of the three RQ Classics campaign pdfs, and have a go.

The resistance table is laughably simple to compute in your head. Equal values for active and reactive ability score will have a 50% chance at succeeding, every point the active skill is better will raise the chance by 5%-points, every point worse will lower it by that amount. In the case of extreme differences, a 1% chance for success or failure can be applied.

 

26 minutes ago, Scout said:

HQG

I like narrative systems but there are errors in HQG so I'm worried it might not make sense to me. I'm also not entirely happy with the way HQG automatically raises difficulties every four sessions and how the pass/fail system is a rule for the GM to fudge things in order to maintain pacing and drama. I mean, I understand it, and I can see how it makes sense storywise but I can't help shake the feeling it's a bit heavy-handed and diminishes the effect of a character's attribute/skill ratings. 

Raising the difficulties is an advice, as are pass-fail cycles. Failing forward is more important than these technicalities, and the players should feel challenged on their path through the narration.

HQG has ready-to play campaigns in Sartar-Kingdom of Heroes and The Eleven Lights (with the required companion volume The Coming Storm).

26 minutes ago, Scout said:

Lastly, I love feudal settings. I think there's a lot of roleplaying possibilities when you have a feudalistic system in place. There's a social pecking order and you'd better know yours. Am I right in thinking Glorantha doesn't have a setting where a feudal system is in place?

If you say "hierarchical" rather than "feudal", you'll be right at home e.g. in Esrolia, in the West, or in Peloria. Dragon Pass Orlanthi and Praxians won't be able to give you this. Sun Domers on the other hand are perfect, and you could use the RQ3 Sun County book for the setting, and then go on to either Borderlands or Pavis, using the Gloranthan Classics - regardless which game system you will be using. Copies of that book should be available online. In case of doubt I have a shrink-wrapped spare one I could part with.The problem with this is that you have to do much of the setting preparation yourself if you play away from Prax/Dragon Pass. Esrolia is comparatively easy, as Harald Smith has done quite a bit of background preparation for his play-by-forum Nochet HQG game over on RPGGeek. House membership and your position in the House are pretty similar to a feudal system in terms of rank. 

26 minutes ago, Scout said:

I understand Glorantha is based on myths and that they colour most everything a character does, but are there settings where a feudal society is in place?

Any advice?

Caste systems are the norm in Malkioni lands. Different name, very similar effect. There is little directly gameable material available for this culture, and none exactly for the two systems you consider. The eastern cultures of Kralorela and Vormain have similarly layered societies, but apart from the out-of-print RQ3 Land of Ninja campaign (which could be played in Vormain) no gameable material has been published.

Fonrit with its layers of slavery has seen some gameable material distributed over convention fund raisers. Not feudal (unless your definition of feudal includes an extremely dystopian interpretation of the feudal system), but again with clear hierarchies, and magic to ensure obedience and compliance.

The Lunar Empire has a layered society following the Dara Happan model. Not feudal in the normal sense of the word, either, but certainly hierarchical.

Teshnos and Maslo might qualify, too. Both have caste systems different from the Western one.

 

The Guide offers quite extensive gazetteers for all of these settings, but leaves the local details to be worked out by the narrator (and possibly input by the players).

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Thank you very much for that in depth reply Joerg. At first blush, it looks like RQC is my best bet.

As an aside, do we know if RQ7 is going to include Glorantha as a default setting?

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You needn't worry about the very small number of errors in the existing HQ:G book and PDF. They really won't cause you any issues, especially if you have a look at the crowd-sourced errata threads.

If you're going for RQ Classic (RQ2) then the Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror PDFs (two out of the three publications compiled into the Cult Compendium document from Moon Design) are available for purchase from chaosium.com. Though the campaigns that @Joerg refers to aren't available via the RQ Classic Kickstarter yet, so you'd need to go for the Glorantha Classics versions from Moon Design.

Yes, the new RQ is officially called RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, and does include Glorantha baked in.

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1 minute ago, Steve said:

You needn't worry about the very small number of errors in the existing HQ:G book and PDF. They really won't cause you any issues, especially if you have a look at the crowd-sourced errata threads.

If you're going for RQ Classic (RQ2) then the Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror PDFs (two out of the three publications compiled into the Cult Compendium document from Moon Design) are available for purchase from chaosium.com. Though the campaigns that @Joerg refers to aren't available via the RQ Classic Kickstarter yet, so you'd need to go for the Glorantha Classics versions from Moon Design.

Yes, the new RQ is officially called RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, and does include Glorantha baked in.

Thanks Steve

There was a time not long ago I'd have been disappointed that RQ7 might be bundled with Glorantha, but that's changed and I'm quite looking forward to it. Perhaps it makes sense to go with RQC and then dovetail into RQ7.

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8 hours ago, Steve said:

You needn't worry about the very small number of errors in the existing HQ:G book and PDF. They really won't cause you any issues, especially if you have a look at the crowd-sourced errata threads.

@Steve is quite correct on this point.  I've been running HQG for three years and there's been nothing that impeded play. 

9 hours ago, Scout said:

I'm also not entirely happy with the way HQG automatically raises difficulties every four sessions and how the pass/fail system is a rule for the GM to fudge things in order to maintain pacing and drama. I mean, I understand it, and I can see how it makes sense storywise but I can't help shake the feeling it's a bit heavy-handed and diminishes the effect of a character's attribute/skill ratings.

It's a suggested convention.  I think I raised difficulty level after about 6 'sessions' (I run PbF games so gauging a 'session' is a bit different). 

I don't use Pass/Fail, but focus on the Climax and Resolution points as the key actions.  As with any game (including RQ), the GM has to decide the right point to increase difficulty (in RQ and other more simulationist games, it's just done by increasing # or strength of foes).  You're just using a different tool to do so.  What's nice with the HQG mechanism is you can maintain pace in the game - something that's difficult in games like RQ2 where you suddenly have to resolve a complex battle scene.

9 hours ago, Scout said:

RQ2 Classic which has just been released.

Personally, I'd suggest going with RQG rather than RQ2 (i.e. Classic) from the start.  The Quickstart is available now, and you can largely leverage older scenario books if you wish (and depending on the area where you wish to campaign).  I've found the Quickstart quite manageable/enjoyable, including the intro scenario.

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I like HQ, for me it makes a great narrative universal system, but I don't particularly like it for this setting or genre.

I envison HQ to be a great fit for Pulp Adventure or Contemporary Action genres, but for some reason I am not overly fond for it to do fantasy. But that's just me, I really do love narrative systems like Fate and HQ these days. Despite such, I like my fantasy to be 'down and dusty', more gritty than cinematic, and a BRP system ticks alot of boxes for this.

HQG is a beautiful rpg book to have, but personally RQ is my preferred system for Glorantha.

I would perhaps wait for RQG to be released, then you should be able to use it with any RQ Classic products as well as new RQG products. The game is due late this year/early next year.

If you have Mythras but find it too fiddily, then in the meantime I would suggest OpenQuest, especially OQ Basic.

Edited by Mankcam

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What's wrong with RQ Classic? It looks a solid system. I haven't bought it yet but my finger's on the trigger so to speak. 

Also, I've been looking through the errata and it seems quite extensive with errors that directly affect play. 

Edited by Scout

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3 hours ago, Scout said:

What's wrong with RQ Classic? It looks a solid system. I haven't bought it yet but my finger's on the trigger so to speak. 

Also, I've been looking through the errata and it seems quite extensive with errors that directly affect play. 

RQClassic *IS* a very solid system.  The main thing "wrong" with it -- from a modern perspective -- is that it's VERY much a product of its time.  This isn't made to a modern esthetic (very-minimal interior art, b/w only), or with the decades of lessons-learned in organization and layout &c that we see in the current generation of RPG design.

Can you point us toward the "errata" you're looking through?

 

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On 9/18/2017 at 9:58 AM, Joerg said:

Raising the difficulties [every 4 sessions] is an advice

No, it's not just advice.  It's core and goes-hand-in-hand with the ability advancement rules to make an explicit treadmill.

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52 minutes ago, Roko Joko said:

No, it's not just advice.  It's core and goes-hand-in-hand with the ability advancement rules to make an explicit treadmill.

Since there is no official tournament gaming, and since each campaign will have its own pacing and scale, the rules of HeroQuest in whichever incarnation are mostly a social contract of the gaming group. 

These rules/suggestions may be a defining trait of HQG, but this doesn't mean that they have to define your games of HeroQuest in Glorantha. There are different styles of narration and of cooperative gaming that use this rules set, but with their own conventions and methods, using different platforms (face-to-face in campaigns, convention one-offs, by hangout (or other such internet methods) or by forum, wiki or mailing list.

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5 hours ago, Scout said:

I expect these to be rolled into the HQG pdf in time, and thence eventually into a reprint when stock runs out... But that's HQ, not RQ.

Have you a RQClassic errata doc you're working from?  IIRC, that PDF was passed through several very-competent "crowd-source" proofreaders before going to the printer...

It's still almost-painfully (dis)organized in places, but that's a "product-of-its-time" phenomenon.

 

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Here is my advice.

What is play like at your table. If you like telling a story with your players, are happy agreeing what is credible or not, or how hard something is among yourselves, and want to roll to inject a little bit of uncertainty in the proceedings, but don't want to step out of the fiction into mechanics too much - opt for Heroquest. If you like to emulate what it would be like to live in Glorantha, want arbitration on what is possible, and like a tactical combat system - opt for Runequest.

There are other trade-offs, prep-time, what you can cover in a session of play etc., but for my part it mostly amounts to a stylistic difference, so you have to figure out what you want to play.

For my part, I like the fast-paced play of Heroquest, the feeling that I don't interrupt the role-playing for roll-playing that often, but you may prefer the feeling that you are living in the world with a realistic portrayal of what that means

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6 hours ago, Roko Joko said:

It's core and goes-hand-in-hand with the ability advancement rules to make an explicit treadmill.

Do you want to adjust for ability advancement.  Yes.  Do you need to slavishly tie it to 4 sessions. No. 

The GM is best positioned to determine the right rate of adjustment.  Where my players tend to use HP's in play and not hoard to buy advancements, it doesn't make sense to follow that tightly.

 

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11 hours ago, Scout said:

The only pdf I own is HQG

Hi Scout 

With HQG you have all you need to start exploring Glorantha with your players in terms of background and cults etc. It covers the core area of Dragon Pass and Prax and gives you enough material to play regardless of which rules you decide on. In fact when I ran the QuickStart for RPG day I used HQG's maps and cult write ups to introduce new players.

From your opening post I get the feeling that RQ is more your thing, a recent post on the community link explains very well the core concept of HQ particularly how keywords relate to solving  problems rather than objective values. 

The new version of RQ will have so much of it's RQ Classic DNA that transitioning will be easy. If you like games with wargaming like skills and abilities and can wait until November hold off and buy the new edition, if you really can't wait then RQC will get you going. In this case I recommend Apple Lane and Snake Pipe Hollow as the two introductory scenarios, while very dated now by today's standards they are great to get you and your players started.

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I'm going to wait for the updated HQG pdf as the errata is quite extensive and in some cases directly impacts the rules. Being new to HQG I can't take the chance I'd be able to work through it all.

Thanks all. 

Edited by Scout

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15 minutes ago, Scout said:

Is the RQC bestiary section plain text numbers/statistics with no creature art?

Mostly plain, though with descriptions (not just stats).

3 pix:  a dragonewt, a little snake, a couple of Aldryami (one elf, one... Runner?  not sure...).

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7 hours ago, Scout said:

I'm going to wait for the updated HQG pdf ...

That may be some wait.

I do not know that Chaosium has announced this, I'm just presuming they intend it...

Maybe @Ian Cooper or @David Scottcould answer this ... ?

 

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Considering the wealth of gameable modules available for RQ2 — Apple Lane, Snakepipe Hollow, Broken Tree Inn, Hellpits of Nightfang, Duck Tower, Duck Pond, Griffin Mountain, Thieves’ World, Borderlands, Trollpak, Pavis, and Big Rubble — that’s a hell of a lot of awesomeness, and you’re set for years and years’ worth of honest-to-goodness, tried-and-true (and justly famous) campaigns. That was a big factor for me. Also, the reprints have their layout redone and are very high quality. I will be buying any and all that they produce!

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