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Jason Durall

Summoning RuneQuest Gamemasters

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The (borrowed from) Baker principle - say yes or roll the dice. If players are asking questions and there is nothing at stake, keep saying yes. Don't block good ideas or insist on dice rolls for everything.

The (anti) Boyle principle - it is better to be kind than correct. Small mistakes and errors can be ignored and glossed over.

The Richards principle - start in media res, get the session started with excitement and backfill the details once the players are engaged.

The Richards irreducible clue and content corrollary - if the players have to find a specific piece of information to progress the story, then they are not rolling to see if they can find it (they have to) they are rolling to see what additional information they find. Of course the players don't have to know that at the time.

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3 hours ago, Al. said:

The (borrowed from) Baker principle - say yes or roll the dice. If players are asking questions and there is nothing at stake, keep saying yes. Don't block good ideas or insist on dice rolls for everything. 

Yes, absolutely, very much agree.

However, I do like numbers and I do like players rolling the dice. I love the comedy of a fumble and the players sense of achievement when you seem to give them extra information when they roll a special and a critical. Asking for more dice rolls than are necessarily required is perhaps my greatest GMing fault. I happy to own this and confess this to my players.

Imaginative, comic or passionate descriptions can enhance the gaming experience for everyone, but I would like to speak up for those of us who get as much out of an honest straightforward number as a well delivered description. Humour us 😁.

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6 hours ago, Al. said:

The Richards irreducible clue and content corrollary - if the players have to find a specific piece of information to progress the story, then they are not rolling to see if they can find it (they have to) they are rolling to see what additional information they find. Of course the players don't have to know that at the time.

Very much in agreement with this, newbie GMs do this all the time.  Leaving themselves “unable” to progress the adventure because the players do not have the necessary information.

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On 9/22/2018 at 6:55 PM, Pentallion said:

Survivability Tip:  Runequest is a dangerous game...

That's 210 words! Ok, I breached the 80 word limit by 7, but I suggest that yours may need some serious trimming! Of course it's up to Jason whether a long entry is worth the extra space, some may well be, but how about coming up with an alternative, shorter text? I don't want to see a good tip miss the cut due to space issues.

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21 hours ago, Gryphaea said:

Yes, absolutely, very much agree.

However, I do like numbers and I do like players rolling the dice. I love the comedy of a fumble and the players sense of achievement when you seem to give them extra information when they roll a special and a critical. Asking for more dice rolls than are necessarily required is perhaps my greatest GMing fault. I happy to own this and confess this to my players.

Imaginative, comic or passionate descriptions can enhance the gaming experience for everyone, but I would like to speak up for those of us who get as much out of an honest straightforward number as a well delivered description. Humour us 😁.

You can call for a roll just to check whether the character shines while succeeding, or just succeeds (variant of fail forward).

For instance; the characters want to get to the next port. If they roll Persuade against the ship captain, they get a discount passage by ship and spend little time and money. If they don't, they must either spend a fortune or waste time by going on land.

The only thing to remember is that even in case of fumble, the character still succeeds. He or she just embarasses him/herself while doing so, with possible negative fallout in the afterwards. There is nothing worse than frustrating a good plan because you thought it would be cool to call for a roll on that 100% skil,l and then the player rolls 00...

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51 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

The only thing to remember is that even in case of fumble, the character still succeeds. He or she just embarasses him/herself while doing so, with possible negative fallout in the afterwards. There is nothing worse than frustrating a good plan because you thought it would be cool to call for a roll on that 100% skil,l and then the player rolls 00...

Heh, I like that.

GM: "Ok roll to persuade the captain to let you travel on the ship."

Player 1: "99, that's a fumble."

GM: "He says welcome on board, really charming, offers you all lovely cabins at a bargain price!"

Player 2: "Oh great, slave market here we come..."

Of course, the party can go on to foil the captain's abduction plan and take his ship, which gets wrecked in a storm within sight of their destination.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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8 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

That's 210 words! Ok, I breached the 80 word limit by 7, but I suggest that yours may need some serious trimming! Of course it's up to Jason whether a long entry is worth the extra space, some may well be, but how about coming up with an alternative, shorter text? I don't want to see a good tip miss the cut due to space issues.

Doh!  I totally didn't notice the word limit.  Thanks for pointing that out.  Edited down to requested size.

Edited by Pentallion

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The Mihalas Principle: Combat should be fast-paced and exhilarating! Briefly describe the situation at the start of each round. Encourage players to make swift statements of intent. Have players learn to calculate their own strike ranks with appropriate modifiers. As you count up through the strike ranks, they can call out when they act. When resolving attacks, have everyone roll all the necessary dice at once, including percentiles, hit location, weapon damage, and damage bonus.

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A thought based playing through a few campaign sessions with the RQG rules

Your stories may generate an actual sense of imminent danger to the characters or their world, so your players may want to follow up adventure hooks immediately rather than waiting for the next season. If you are playing 4, 5 or even 6 sessions before the season ends and experience checks are taken (p415), don’t let the players feel they are losing out. Consider letting them have experience rolls during a night’s rest every two sessions . Then given them extra down time to catch up with cult and occupational skills.

 

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4 hours ago, Gryphaea said:

A thought based playing through a few campaign sessions with the RQG rules

Your stories may generate an actual sense of imminent danger to the characters or their world, so your players may want to follow up adventure hooks immediately rather than waiting for the next season. If you are playing 4, 5 or even 6 sessions before the season ends and experience checks are taken (p415), don’t let the players feel they are losing out. Consider letting them have experience rolls during a night’s rest every two sessions . Then given them extra down time to catch up with cult and occupational skills.

 

This is actually the way that every other RQ version handled it.  You get checks when you have some reasonable downtime to think about what you've done.

The whole "you only get checks at the end of the season" is a weird function of the also-weird "you only adventure once per season" thing that someone thought was a good idea for RQG.  

Disregard freely.

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10 minutes ago, styopa said:

This is actually the way that every other RQ version handled it.  You get checks when you have some reasonable downtime to think about what you've done.

The whole "you only get checks at the end of the season"

You used to get the checks when you make the roll. You rolled for improvement during downtime, or 

10 minutes ago, styopa said:

 the also-weird "you only adventure once per season" thing that someone thought was a good idea for RQG.  

It's a port over from Pendragon. There is helps to give a epic feel to the game, since players will notice time passing and see their characters age-something rather rare in most other RPGs. I assume that the designers wanted to give RQG that effect. 

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23 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

It's a port over from Pendragon. There is helps to give a epic feel to the game, since players will notice time passing and see their characters age-something rather rare in most other RPGs. I assume that the designers wanted to give RQG that effect. 

I can see that; but I think at least as big a bit of the intention is to embed them into the culture -- jobs, family, rewards, etc.  When they save a village, the village remembers and is grateful.  Their Thane or clan-chief assigns them better lands, bigger herds; they are given bigger roles during important rituals.  "Important" (to an adventure) NPCs return, outside the "adventuring" context.  Etc etc etc,

And they get to see the world from that other, non-adventurer perspective.

Edited by g33k

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:
Quote

 the also-weird "you only adventure once per season" thing that someone thought was a good idea for RQG.  

It's a port over from Pendragon. There is helps to give a epic feel to the game, since players will notice time passing and see their characters age-something rather rare in most other RPGs. I assume that the designers wanted to give RQG that effect. 

It also reflects that your heroes are grounded by/bound to everyday pursuits like keeping the roof from leaking, getting the harvest in etc. - the non-murder-hobo way of roleplaying integrated into a society.

If you take an entire season or more off going on a campaign or a very long sea journey, you had better give your community something of equal value to replace your lack of work - thralls, a couple of oxen or cows, goods, a wagon-load of grain... if you're a god-talker, loan of a spell matrix worth a few rune points...

The alternative is indistinguishable from lesser exile, which is fine if you stay away an entire year or two relying on a leader you follow to replace the security of your clan. You better bring gifts or at least experience and connections back when you come home.

 

You can play a campaign where you are hanging by your nails most of the time, and resolve a few experience checks in the few downtimes you manage, but you won't be able to put in training or research in such a campaign. On the whole, you'll probably end up with more than half your skills checked and non-checkable skills withering along when your campaign reaches a season finale without too many cliffhangers. At least that's my experience with RQ3.

The RQG approach gives you the chance to improve skills like lores on a similar rate as checkable skills. Not really required for broo-bashing and treasure-hunting, unless the map you get is in a language you cannot make sense of (and then over-paying an NPC LM sage for the service, and the privilege to encounter a rival party with all bits of the map translated).

You shouldn't have to switch to Pulp Cthulhu to play investigative action scenarios in Glorantha with some reasonable advancement for scholars and the like.

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I can see that; but I think at least as big a bit of the intention is to embed them into the culture -- jobs, family, rewards, etc.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

It also reflects that your heroes are grounded by/bound to everyday pursuits like keeping the roof from leaking, getting the harvest in etc. - the non-murder-hobo way of roleplaying integrated into a society.

 

Oh definitely. It helps to immerse the players into their characters' culture. 

 

Back on topic...

The Infallibility Rule- I's okay (and inevitable) for GMs to make mistakes. 

-It's even okay to admit them.

--Even to players

---And it even okay to correct them when and if necessary. 

----You might even learn something from them, too.

 

Quite a few GM's especially new ones starting out, feel that they have to be perfect, or at least appear to be, and that they somehow loose trust, credibility and respect if they admit to a mistake or try to correct it. This is compounded by the fact that everybody makes mistakes and new GMs will make more, try to cover for it, and end up losing the trust, credibility and respect that they were trying to keep. 

Edited by Atgxtg
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The bucket full of dice - when attacking roll d100 (to hit) d20 (for location) and damage dice (for erm well damage) together.

The 'get on with it man' principle - any die roll which falls of the table or lands cocked or anything which slows down play is a fumble

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2 hours ago, Al. said:

The bucket full of dice - when attacking roll d100 (to hit) d20 (for location) and damage dice (for erm well damage) together.

The 'get on with it man' principle - any die roll which falls of the table or lands cocked or anything which slows down play is a fumble

That's mean ^^

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Actually, this probably wants to be offered as a tidbit (per the OP) -- editing accordingly:

On 10/5/2018 at 8:48 AM, g33k said:

Steve's "downtime" Rule --

It's not just "downtime."

Sure you do a bit of non-roleplay mechanical stuff.  But it's REALLY there to help embed the PC's into the culture -- jobs, family, friends, rewards, etc.  Their Thane or Chief assigns them better lands, bigger herds; they are given bigger roles during important rituals.  When they save a village, the village remembers and is grateful in downtime, happily sending a few woodsmen & carpenters when they want to expand their hall.  "Important" (to an adventure) NPCs return, outside the "adventuring" context.  Etc etc etc,

And the players get to see the world from that other, non-adventurer perspective.

If you aren't playing with "downtime" & seasonal adventures, feel free to add advancement rolls & other mechanical bits between monthly/weekly/whatever adventures, any time the PCs have a few days to reflect on the experiences and practice the improved skills a bit.

 

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GM Tip for ‘Non-deadly Combat Scenes’: 

Whenever I want to run a combat scene without the risk of significant damage consequences (no HP loss to the PCs), I just make opposed Attack Rolls. The loser of that roll must make a an additional roll of half CON vs Attacker STR on the Resistance Table. 

Success indicates that they fight on as usual (although a bit injured).

Failure indicates that all subsequent skill rolls are at half % for that scene. If they fail the same situation again, they drop down to making skill rolls at Special Success to hit. If they fail again, they are incapacitated for that scene

In the next narrative scene, all impairments are gone

This is more of a scene pacing technique than it is to simulate real damage.

I basically use this approach for things like loose bar room brawls and such, and only when people are not using weapons, (well tankards and such but that’s more for colour rather than anything else!)

Once anyone pulls a real weapon out, then things get serious and I always switch to standard combat rules, just to reinforce the deadlines of using weapons in RQ.

Edited by Mankcam
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Not sure if I dig the whole bucket of dice idea, but we do a version that is smilar -roll Attack Rolls as usual, and opponents roll Dodge/Parry as usual.

Then if the Attack succeeds, roll the D20 Hit Location Dice along with the Damage Dice in one handful. Saves a bit of time, but feels less chaotic for us than just rolling all the dice in one big handful

Edited by Mankcam
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On 10/8/2018 at 2:39 AM, Mankcam said:

Not sure if I dig the whole bucket of dice idea, but we do a version that is smilar -roll Attack Rolls as usual, and opponents roll Dodge/Parry as usual.

Then if the Attack succeeds, roll the D20 Hit Location Dice along with the Damage Dice in one handful. Saves a bit of time, but feels less chaotic for us than just rolling all the dice in one big handful

This (handful of dice) is how I learned RQ, 3-4 decades ago.

Attacker rolls d%ATTK + DMGdice + d20LOC & defender simultaneously rolls dodge/parry.

The attacker "racks" the dice in-hand -- in a line across the palm (underside of the knuckles) -- and wraps their fingers 'round.

The cast is a pinky-first sideways slew, with the dice often (with practice, almost always!) ending on the table in the same ordering they were racked into the hand.

This let's the attacker simply read the roll out as a sentence:

"42% !  That's a hit with my rapier *** doing 5 points to the 14 Right arm" with a pause at *** and glance to the GM/defender for them to announce parry results, possibly preempting the rest of that sentence.

The d20 and DMG can be reversed in-hand and in the grammar of the sentence: "hitting the right arm for 5 points."

It's a single cast of the dice, and the "sentence" structure makes for a straight forward read...

It's not Chaotic, @Mankam, it's Esrolian -- there is another way!  I think I will nickname this "the Esrolian roll" or "the Esrolian cast" at my table.  😁 

I'm fine with any/all of this going into a Chaosium product, @Jason Durall , with or without credit, but (a) I don't see how to snippet it down to your requested wordcount, and (b) I don't even want to TRY to imagine the scorn and pushback if Chaosium published a section of the rulebook on "the right way for you to roll your dice" <shudders>

Edited by g33k
Hit, not Impale!
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The principle of adaptive stories: As a GM you will often have the player characters searching for something – the Key to the Plot. If they end up chasing the Key in the completely wrong direction, consider changing the story to match the party's actions and let the Key be where they are looking. Their theory of what and where the Key is may be a better story then what you planned out to begin with.

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The Game before Rules Principle: do not allow the flow of the game to be ruined looking up the detail of a rule. Tell the players you are making a ruling and will check rules after the session.

Too often a moment of tension in the game is allowed to dissipate as everyone consults rulebooks and argue over details.  This is the GMs job, keep the pace of the game up and when in doubt, rule in the player's favour (unless ruling against them would make for a better story and be more fun).

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"It's Your Time at the Bat!" Greg Sharpied those words across the cover of a book for me. We had been talking about gaming in Glorantha, and I thanked him for all the great times I've had with friends over the years...and he thanked me for sharing that sentiment with a gleam in his eye. YGMV is a rule that has been passed down as a shorthand to emphasize  that this is an endeavor fueled by creativity and wonder, but at the end of the day it is about FUN. We are all gathered together to share in an experience whose only requirement is we all enjoy ourselves. Don't worry too hard about rules, canon, comparative ethics etc. We are all sitting at this table to have fun.

Edited by tedopon

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I agree. It is for that reason that I run a low risk, low reward game. 

I like the players to survive, and it is for that reason that I run a low risk game. I do tend to put in humourous aspects in my game, that the players may appreciate (or may not). One of the funniest ones I have put in was having a dungeon created on polar graph paper-and I describe the corridors as being rectangular. It was amusing (from the gamemaster's viewpoint, at least) in seeing the players find rooms where they could not fit in.

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