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Mikus

Mongoose RuneQuest I

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First off I am not trying to start a war, I'm honestly looking for complaints about the game which are not systemic of BRP in general. My main reason for asking is that I am thinking about tweaking the SRD for my own house game which I could then print for my players.  If it is that broken though I might just be better off making a sourcebook for a "better" set of rules.

Mongoose RQ1 seems to get blasted all the time.  Having never played it, (but I do have it on the shelf),  I was wondering if someone could list the main problems with the system.  From what I see of the top on my head:

Athletics Skill - covers too many disparate things.  Brawn, Agility, Swim  - I think they are better left as individual skills - easily separated so no big deal.

Opposing Skill Rolls - MRQII handles this nicely and it is quite easy to implement in MRQ so another no big deal in my book

Hit Points - no total damage vs total HP but MRQII, RQ6, and Mythras seem to follow this lead so it seems that must not have been a major gripe.  If so, it is very easy to reimplement.

So what is so wrong with the system that it can never be mentioned in polite company?

Thanks,

Mike

 

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            As Runeblogger stated, one issue was that you had to find and "attune" Runes in order to cast magic in the game.  In addition, different spells REQUIRED different Runes so you could find yourself searching high and low for a specific Rune in order to cast a given spell, or being limited in the spells you could cast based on your collection of Runes.  MRQ1 WAS true to the name RuneQuest.   You would also gain special abilities from your Runes.  I would classify those abilities as something similar to Feats in D&D.  They were not well thought out.  Nor were the Heroic Abilities that you could buy with Hero Points IF you had a sufficiently high skill in something.  Then there was the hassle of Divine Magic/Theism requiring a certain size of temple to regain Divine Magic.  The biggest gripe initially was splitting the base rules into TWO BOOKS (ala D&D), RuneQuest and The RuneQuest Companion.  Sorcery was in the Companion so you were screwed IF you wanted to be a Sorcerer initially.   I liked the CONCEPT of attuning Runes but disliked the IMPLEMENTATION in MRQ1.  I changed this concept to requiring the attuning of the Spirit Rune for the Shaman and the Magic Rune for Sorcerers.  Runes could be granted by Cults or found as physical Relics/Manifestations just like True Stone or Magic Crystals for those who might NOT like the idea of committing to a Cult.  Thus, in my game, Runes were both "spiritual" (mostly granted by Cult Affiliation) AND "physical" (an actual Rune made "solid" that granted connection to that Rune's power without a Cult Affiliation).   I changed the rules to allow you to "attune" a number of Crystals, Relics, True Stone Fragments, or Runes (I use a Willpower stat to replace POW and this is what I use for a limit to attunements, but you could also use CHA or POW).  Attuning one of these items would cost 1 point of permanent POW (remember that I made POW a "derived characteristic" like HP) and you COULD buy heroic abilities linked to Runes IF you spent permanent POW.  Attuning a Rune would grant a POW gain roll.    

      Some players also didn't like the idea that weapons had both Hitpoints AND Armor Points.  I thought it was a good idea as it added another distinct trait to weapons.  

     Overall, my impression of MRQ1 was that the product was "rushed" in development and suffered from being "designed by committee" where the committee didn't always agree on the direction the game was heading.   

Edited by olskool

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Yeah, the grognardia kinda-sorta-totally HATED the thing where the fundamental/cosmic/elemental "Runes" could be found and picked up like a chunk of rock, and your connection to the Rune was tied to possession of said item.

"Rushed" development was probably one of the biggest gripes against the whole MRQ interregnum.  Some good ideas, some great ideas, some mediocre stuff, some real stinkers.  Pour into a bag, shake-and-bake, publish.

Recall that the MRQ fork has waxed to RQ6/Mythras at TDM, one of the really well-respected and vibrantly active branches of the hoary ol' BRP family-tree; the core was good, but the developers/writers/editors/playtesters/etc needed time that Mongoose apparently couldn't/wouldn't give them just then.

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Really, mrq came off to me almost a beta version, and later, the TDM guys explained that they were badly constrained by page count at that point...then they had a little more elbow room with mrq2...and finally they got to do what they really wanted with rq6 (and then got to polish that up a little more with Mythras).

If you want to explore those mechanics developed how the designers really wanted them to be, check out Mythras.  I'd say doing anything else is wasting your time.

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There were a number of technical issues in Mongoose's first attempt at doing RuneQuest (some of the info in combat tables was contradictory, etc) although some of the developments introduced reached some good conclusions in the game we now call Mythras. As written, however, the MRQ1 rules were clunky and dysfunctional. 

I think the main problem with MRQ1, however, was in the culture and intent about how to make use of RuneQuest. While the Glorantha setting was developed (in an earlier age than the canon usually used, it should be noted) as a supplementary setting, Mongoose really just wanted a system to replace the waning D20 market with, so as to be able to hang off various settings from. The OGL used to do this largely illustrates it, while the issues with physical Runes merely highlights that the 'committee' that designed it didn't really have a feel for what RuneQuest was. 

MRQ2 had a better grasp of what the history of the game was, and tidied up a lot of the mechanics into what was a much more refined and effective game system. However, the books were still rushed in terms of interior presentation and even the title name: was the 'II' really necessary? 

The tensions in the game design intentions can probably be seen best when Mongoose lost the RQ license and ended up putting out Legend, while The Design Mechanism went ahead with RuneQuest 6. The former was a cheap ($1 on PDF!) and cheerful, generic game published in handy, little black book with minimal art. It was entirely functional to fit into the RPG market alongside titles like Savage Worlds or Fate - had it garnered more setting support and less alternative BRP/RQ alternatives it may still have been flourishing now. The latter, however, was a classy big book, with high quality binding and a beautiful, full colour cover that was a throwback to the original RQ cover art. Whilst it too, eventually lost it's license, the contrast between approaches tells you all you need to know. 

 

 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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As bad as it is, MRQ is still far better than the utter crap the first playtest draft of the rules was. Mongoose inexperience ouside the d20 world was blatant.

Originally, the game had a completely different system for combat and non-combat skills. Non-combat skills used a roll-under mechanism, and combat used a roll-over one, where you added the skill to a d100. It also used the Warhammer trick for hit locations, where you reverse the 10s and units of the roll.

Runic magic was originally created by Steve Perrin, but what he proposed as a draft was never re-worked at all. I would haave loved a sorcery system built over the runic skills, however, instead of RQ3-inherited spell skills.

The last playtest version (v1.5, I think) had been edited by Kenneth Hite, and it was in my opinion a very interesting version of BRP. But, unfortunately, the rules were later modified by Mongoose staff, with the infamous combat rules...

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Really, mrq came off to me almost a beta version, and later, the TDM guys explained that they were badly constrained by page count at that point...then they had a little more elbow room with mrq2...and finally they got to do what they really wanted with rq6 (and then got to polish that up a little more with Mythras).

Just to clarify, neither Pete nor myself had anything to do with the MRQ1 rules. They happened long before I joined Mongoose. When I did join, Pete and I made some efforts to address the clear issues MRQ1 had, and those fixes eventually turned into a full blown second edition of the rules. But neither of us was involved in the original rule set.

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As another option OpenQuest was originally derived from the MRQ 1st edition SRD and has it's own OGL version available. It's a much better base to start from than the SRD, if the MRQ2 SRD doesn't suit you.

Simon Hibbs

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You all forgot to mention the armour penalty rule that stated that a warrior in full plate had a -42% to both attacks and parries while a naked one had a -40% to attacks only if he wanted to ignore the armour. Because you know, if the pict and the knight meet in the arena, the pict usually kills the knight by stabbing through his armour with a wooden spear while dancing around him and dodging blows.

Blatant mistakes aside, the point is different. MRQ1 is the least loved of the incarnations of RuneQuest (it got one single vote in the pool just because I clicked the wrong button and the poll does not allow second thoughts) but it is still fun to play if you are prepared to houserule 50% of it on the fly. The point is: why should you build on a system with known flaws when there are many variants where others have already separated the clunky bits from the good ideas for you?

Gore, Legend, OpenQuest, Renaissance and Revolution all provide an improved variant of MRQ1 while remaining OGL, and each of them is already free from the problematic parts. Is there a particular reason why you should want to redo this specific job when others have already done it for you?

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1 hour ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Just to clarify, neither Pete nor myself had anything to do with the MRQ1 rules. They happened long before I joined Mongoose. When I did join, Pete and I made some efforts to address the clear issues MRQ1 had, and those fixes eventually turned into a full blown second edition of the rules. But neither of us was involved in the original rule set.

Ah, fair point. Sorry, I thought you had been - my error!

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8 hours ago, Spellslinging Sellsword said:

MRQ2 in it's Legend incarnation is OGL, so you could also use it as your base to build your rpg.

Um... I'm pretty sure that MRQ2/Legend was never released under the OGL.

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45 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

Legend is OGL. There is no downloadable SRD but the entire core book is labelled as Open Content.

Ah, okay, I was under the impression that to be OGL it needed to have an SRD.

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5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Legend is OGL. There is no downloadable SRD but the entire core book is labelled as Open Content.

Too bad for that.  I was hoping to just tweak some things to try for myself.  I'll take a look at Legend but I must say I have recently picked up Mythras and it is one sexy beast.  What I should really do is just shut up,  pick a system and stick with it. It would RQ3 or Mythras I'm certain. Most of my ideas have probably been tried and shelved anyhow, otherwise they would be in a current version.  Sometimes I forget how much fun I had with 1st Ed Stormbringer, D&D and Traveller black box.  There is so much more to a good and fun game than the particular mechanics.  Back in the old days we really had no rules for anything so nearly everything was a house rule on the fly.  The original EPT was overwhelming in its scope at the time. Now it is a thin little book.

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9 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Just to clarify, neither Pete nor myself had anything to do with the MRQ1 rules. They happened long before I joined Mongoose. When I did join, Pete and I made some efforts to address the clear issues MRQ1 had, and those fixes eventually turned into a full blown second edition of the rules. But neither of us was involved in the original rule set.

Yep, and it shows right from the First Chapter too.  I bought RQ6 in the first run of hardbacks TDM put out and there was NO HOPE of Legend (which I bought at the same time) competing against it.  At least Legend had a good price point, although I'm not fond of the digest-sized book my hobby shop was selling.  But then again, I'm a fan of big hard-backed "dead tree" editions.  I cannot wait for Chaosium or The Design Mechanism to print their games in a BIG leather and brass bound full-color hardcover like an old Gutenberg Bible (you know, the ones that break your toes if you drop them on your foot).  I'm SO buying that!  

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On 10/04/2018 at 4:53 AM, Spellslinging Sellsword said:

MRQ2 in it's Legend incarnation is OGL, so you could also use it as your base to build your rpg.

I would concur. Legend is much better than RQ1 in all ways, except that it vastly reduces the number of Legendary Abilities, but I would just adapt the ones from MRQI.

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On 10/04/2018 at 8:08 PM, Mikus said:

Too bad for that.  I was hoping to just tweak some things to try for myself.

You still can. Buy the Legend PDF and run it through a PDF to text converter, that gives you a workable SRD.

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