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Marty Jopson

Help me sell RQG to my players

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

In playtesting, that approach quickly got clunky and confusing for many players. People had no trouble with the idea of using the 1H Spear skill for attacking and parrying, but viewed using their Shield as a separate thing.  Some people like using their shields to parry with, some people like using their attacking weapon to parry with. 

Coming from someone who loves Mythras, I can see that. It takes a different mindset to get around combat styles and they are a bit unsettling at first. They break some kind of paradigm so theycan be confusing ( but clunky, not really). I personally like both appraoches.

2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Getting rid of separate attack/parry skills solved a BIG problem in RQ2/3 where folk had an absurd imbalance in those skills (it also effectively DOUBLES the number of weapon skills characters have). I'd rather have players play around with more minor, character-defining skills like various Lores or Communication skills than double the number of weapon skills. It also added additional complexity to character generation, etc. 

I personally never experienced the big problem you mention but it did double the number of weapon skills. Again, i like both approaches and I am happy with the decision made.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

In playtesting, that approach quickly got clunky and confusing for many players. People had no trouble with the idea of using the 1H Spear skill for attacking and parrying, but viewed using their Shield as a separate thing.  Some people like using their shields to parry with, some people like using their attacking weapon to parry with. 

Getting rid of separate attack/parry skills solved a BIG problem in RQ2/3 where folk had an absurd imbalance in those skills (it also effectively DOUBLES the number of weapon skills characters have). I'd rather have players play around with more minor, character-defining skills like various Lores or Communication skills than double the number of weapon skills. It also added additional complexity to character generation, etc. 

Thanks for the insight.

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4 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

Coming from someone who loves Mythras, I can see that. It takes a different mindset to get around combat styles and they are a bit unsettling at first. They break some kind of paradigm so theycan be confusing ( but clunky, not really). I personally like both appraoches.

I think conceptually the "archetype" skills work great for NPCs because they are quick to generate and "good enough" but they founder on edge cases (and the adjudication of each of those ends up being so niggly it's easier just to leave them separate). 

Does a 1H sword skill always come with "and with a shield" for free?  There are obviously ample martial 1h sword traditions that had nothing to do with shield use.  Could you have given a shield to, say, a samurai or a 14th century French rapierman and really expected they would automatically" be proficient with it?  Obviously not.  Is someone trained as a Tercio-era sword-and-bucklerman going to function the same if you hand them a massive scutum?  Would a Roman legionary be fine with a buckler?  

For NPCs this doesn't matter at all.  They're good with whatever they need to be good at, and likely they are equipped with that.

Characters generally want some freedom of choice.  I as a player, and the group I dm, find the choice of weapon use and (sometimes) idiosyncratic combinations interesting tactical choices.

 

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7 hours ago, styopa said:

I think conceptually the "archetype" skills work great for NPCs because they are quick to generate and "good enough" but they founder on edge cases (and the adjudication of each of those ends up being so niggly it's easier just to leave them separate). 

Does a 1H sword skill always come with "and with a shield" for free?  There are obviously ample martial 1h sword traditions that had nothing to do with shield use.  Could you have given a shield to, say, a samurai or a 14th century French rapierman and really expected they would automatically" be proficient with it?  Obviously not.  Is someone trained as a Tercio-era sword-and-bucklerman going to function the same if you hand them a massive scutum?  Would a Roman legionary be fine with a buckler?  

For NPCs this doesn't matter at all.  They're good with whatever they need to be good at, and likely they are equipped with that.

Characters generally want some freedom of choice.  I as a player, and the group I dm, find the choice of weapon use and (sometimes) idiosyncratic combinations interesting tactical choices.

Problem is some of those choice imply to learn two different skills, and put your life in danger due to reduced parry chance. :)

For instance, there's a pregen in the quickstart booklet that has Broadsword 90% and Shield 55%, and both weapons have 12 AP. Using only the sword for attacking and parrying seems a no-brainer to me, because, until the sword becomes damaged enough that it's not really useful for parrying, the 35% loss is just too much risk.

 

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17 hours ago, Mugen said:

 Using only the sword for attacking and parrying seems a no-brainer to me, because, until the sword becomes damaged enough that it's not really useful for parrying, the 35% loss is just too much risk.

Until someone shoots you with an arrow, then that extra 35% parry with your sword doesn't help you at all.

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So, returning to my original post, the group met up and discussed our options. Bottom line - no one wanted to make the investment of time to involve themselves in the Gloranthan setting. The rule set was also seen as overly complex and simulationist for our play style. Runequest was rejected. 

Instead we are first having a gonzo break and I will run a spot of 5e DnD partly for my son who wants to have a go at the system. Then back to the very excellent One Ring for a more extended campaign. 

I’m a little disappointed I will be honest as I was willing to give it a go and I tried selling it. In retrospect I should have Gone about this differently. I tried to get across my own enthusiasm for the setting - but that was a mistake as it just made it seem daunting. I also should not have given out my spare rulebook as if my enthusiasm was daunting that book is doubly so. Maybe just running them through the quick start adventure with no other background would have worked but that was specifically not what they like doing (they like making characters in a setting they relate to). 

I’ll try again when we are done with the One Ring and by then hopefully there will be a few more campaign settings / adventure books out I can tempt them with. 

So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest. 

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Just now, Shiningbrow said:

Sad face...

Yes, a pity.

I'll be having a short RQG weekend in about three months, with a couple of people from Northern Germany meeting in a holiday home in the outback for one evening and a full day of gaming. I am to co-GM, and I'll need to come up with a short scenario to illustrate my style of Glorantha gaming in addition to some of the already published scenarios (or possibly published by then, looking into the direction of the Grazelands to see some smoke rising from an EWF ruin). If anybody doesn't mind traveling to Kiel and join the car ride, we still have a place or two.

Just now, Shiningbrow said:

Do they really get into the world of Middle Earth? Or just superficially like the ideas?

Unlike Middle Earth, Glorantha doesn't have a day's worth of movie to get a glimpse of the possibilities without much insight into the cultures (and whatever one might think about the alterations to the story lines of both the Lord of the Ring and the Lord of the Ring appendixes with The Hobbit mixed in, Jackson and his team did a nerd's job to create the visuals of the cultures).

There isn't that much to be learned about the Middle Earth cultures, really. Tolkien did a better job portraying the Beleriand cultures than he did the Ringwar cultures. And you have to be a nerd to know more than three Middle Earth deities (Elbereth, Sauron and Morgoth get occasional spotlight, but that's about all the deity names you get confronted with). Contrast this with the Orlanth pantheon plus the Lunars plus the Trolls. That deities section in RQG stretches on for pages. I hope that these get re-done in the Glorantha starter set as single-sheet each, in the style of Freeform Character info, so a player won't get distracted too much by other stuff. Likewise, the past events could benefit from being shown on a map, and possibly some illustrations of the main actors in those events. Possibly as a special chapter of the Prince of Sartar comic, and with heavy re-use of artwork from other previous publications.

But basically, a number of easily accessible cheat sheets for Glorantha.

(saves this to his to do list...)

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1 hour ago, Marty Jopson said:

So, returning to my original post, the group met up and discussed our options. Bottom line - no one wanted to make the investment of time to involve themselves in the Gloranthan setting. The rule set was also seen as overly complex and simulationist for our play style. Runequest was rejected. 

Instead we are first having a gonzo break and I will run a spot of 5e DnD partly for my son who wants to have a go at the system. Then back to the very excellent One Ring for a more extended campaign. 

I’m a little disappointed I will be honest as I was willing to give it a go and I tried selling it. In retrospect I should have Gone about this differently. I tried to get across my own enthusiasm for the setting - but that was a mistake as it just made it seem daunting. I also should not have given out my spare rulebook as if my enthusiasm was daunting that book is doubly so. Maybe just running them through the quick start adventure with no other background would have worked but that was specifically not what they like doing (they like making characters in a setting they relate to). 

I’ll try again when we are done with the One Ring and by then hopefully there will be a few more campaign settings / adventure books out I can tempt them with. 

So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest. 

Glorantha + RuneQuest definitely outsells RuneQuest. But like every game, some people like it, some people don't (for example, most of my players HATE every incarnation of D&D and won't touch a D20 system to save their life). 

If you ever try again, start small. Promise them they don't need to know ANYTHING to start with - you'll learn it all as you play. Start with them all being members of the same community. Then ease it in with something like Rainbow Mounds or Cattle Raid. And build on that.

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1 hour ago, Marty Jopson said:

So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest. 

In my view, you made the same error french publishers did for gloranthan games since the beginning : presenting the world as a huge and intimidating setting full of details, instead of starting with smaller scale areas.

Edited by Mugen
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2 hours ago, Marty Jopson said:

The rule set was also seen as overly complex and simulationist for our play style. Runequest was rejected. 

I can see why they would think that, I confess to not having worked through the whole rulebook yet myself and, for example, am frankly not that interested in sorcery, for which reason I will steer my players away from it. There are a lot of elements to the rules, but the same can be said of D&D – there's so many class traits, spells, monster specific rules, etc. that it's impossible to track them all and something is always forgotten in play. I guess one advantage of D&D rules wise is it starts simply and the complexity develops over time as they level up.

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Instead we are first having a gonzo break and I will run a spot of 5e DnD partly for my son who wants to have a go at the system. 

We are playing D&D5e at the moment as my players wanted to try it, and TBF it's a cracking iteration.  Even the initial doubter is now saying how much he's enjoying it. Personally, I've had enough now – The Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign is good, but it does go on somewhat. I'm sure you will all have a good time with 5e.

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…I tried to get across my own enthusiasm for the setting - but that was a mistake as it just made it seem daunting. … Maybe just running them through the quick start adventure with no other background would have worked but that was specifically not what they like doing (they like making characters in a setting they relate to). 

You have made me wonder if I've fallen into that trap, waxing too lyrical about Glorantha. But I have also sold it to my players as something which can be episodic with fairly self-contained adventures, much like Call of Cthulhu, and as such we can drop in and out of it rather than be committed for six months (which I feel has happened with our D&D). 

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So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest. 

This sound odd to me, but then for me the two are synonymous. Runequest without Glorantha is Mythras, I guess. When I got back into gaming I looked at RQ6/Mythras, but without Glorantha it just wasn't RQ for me. Of course, we all have different tastes, the world would be a far less rich place if we didn't.

Edited by Cloud64

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

And you have to be a nerd to know more than three Middle Earth deities

HA! There's only 1 "deity"! Those you mentioned and their ilk are more like angels!

Being tricksy, are we???

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On 7/16/2019 at 11:49 AM, Cloud64 said:

I can see why they would think that, I confess to not having worked through the whole rulebook yet myself and, for example, am frankly not that interested in sorcery, for which reason I will steer my players away from it.

Well, combat in RQG is also very simulationist and complex, and it's more difficult to just ignore it than Sorcery.
It's possible to use simpler iterations of BRP combat (like those in StormBringer, or OpenQuest), but you need to be aware those exist, and you'd lose some parts in the translation.

Apart ftom this, I agree D&D 5e is not the super-simple game some seem to believe it is, for all the reasons you mentioned. It's the simplest version since the "Basic" version in the 80s, but it's still much more complex.

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50 minutes ago, Mugen said:

Well, combat in RQG is also very simulationist and complex, and it's more difficult to just ignore it than Sorcery.
It's possible to use simpler iterations of BRP combat (like those in StormBringer, or OpenQuest), but you need to be aware those exist, and you'd lose some parts in the translation.

Apart ftom this, I agree D&D 5e is not the super-simple game some seem to believe it is, for all the reasons you mentioned. It's the simplest version since the "Basic" version in the 80s, but it's still much more complex.

For what it is worth, long before I was in charge of the revival of RuneQuest, I found RQ's combat system extremely simple once you get used to it. At worst you need to look up the Fumble Table from time to time. 

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

For what it is worth, long before I was in charge of the revival of RuneQuest, I found RQ's combat system extremely simple once you get used to it. At worst you need to look up the Fumble Table from time to time. 

I entirely agree.  There may be more steps (for the player of D&D who's used to a to-hit roll then damage roll) but rather than unpredictably rationalizing parts of the chain of events, RQ has always just laid them out very logically and intuitively.  This, at its very foundation, is the reason for my 40 year love for this game.

IMHO: (at least this is my experience)

  • RQ seems "complicated" for people who have internalized the rationalizations of d20 systems.
  • RQ is *easier* to teach and far more intuitive to people who are coming at RPGs for the first time.

"You have a 75% chance to hit, they have a 25% chance to dodge, you hit them in W location, you did X damage, and they have Y armor resulting in Z harm to that location"

...really makes more real-world sense to anyone than

"You're level X (why?) and they have armor class Y (why?) so roll above Z (why?) to do damage to them."

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1 minute ago, styopa said:

I entirely agree.  There may be more steps (for the player of D&D who's used to a to-hit roll then damage roll) but rather than unpredictably rationalizing parts of the chain of events, RQ has always just laid them out very logically and intuitively.  This, at its very foundation, is the reason for my 40 year love for this game.

IMHO: (at least this is my experience)

  • RQ seems "complicated" for people who have internalized the rationalizations of d20 systems.
  • RQ is *easier* to teach and far more intuitive to people who are coming at RPGs for the first time.

"You have a 75% chance to hit, they have a 25% chance to dodge, you hit them in W location, you did X damage, and they have Y armor resulting in Z harm to that location"

...really makes more real-world sense to anyone than

"You're level X (why?) and they have armor class Y (why?) so roll above Z (why?) to do damage to them."

Oh definitely! To be honest I still need someone to hold my hand anytime I play a d20 system. Whenever I am a player, the action stops completely as I ask questions like "what am I able to do again?"

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:07 AM, Mugen said:

In my view, you made the same error french publishers did for gloranthan games since the beginning : presenting the world as a huge and intimidating setting full of details, instead of starting with smaller scale areas.

That's why games in fringe places like Prax or Pavis or Sun County work well as stepping off points: the players (and GM) don't need know a lot about the world...

1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Oh definitely! To be honest I still need someone to hold my hand anytime I play a d20 system. Whenever I am a player, the action stops completely as I ask questions like "what am I able to do again?"

Thought to be a big reason of why plain vanilla "Human Fighter" is the most popular character class by far on DnD Beyond.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

 

...really makes more real-world sense to anyone than

"You're level X (why?) and they have armor class Y (why?) so roll above Z (why?) to do damage to them."

I wrote a long piece about this elsewhere... It ignores so many other sources of modifiers... Plus for Bless, plus for Bears Strength, plus for feats, plus for a whole slew of other things...when I tried D&D recently, I was always forgetting one modifier or another. 

The counter to that was "but you always have to check a table"... Statistically, that's likely to be required only about 5% of the time if you don't have it written down. (5%, because some numbers are obvious! Like 01, 02, 99, 00... It's only required when the math isn't straightforward)

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33 minutes ago, MOB said:

That's why games in fringe places like Prax or Pavis or Sun County work well as stepping off points: the players (and GM) don't need know a lot about the world...

Thought to be a big reason of why plain vanilla "Human Fighter" is the most popular character class by far on DnD Beyond.

Worse was when I was asked play a dark elf sorceress. As long as the focus was roleplaying, or magic to help in the (unimportant for rules mechanics) social situations, I was fine. But in combat, I had no idea what to do as spells seemed to modifier other things which modified other things. and I just ended up asking other players, "Ok, what should I do?".

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

The counter to that was "but you always have to check a table"... Statistically, that's likely to be required only about 5% of the time if you don't have it written down. (5%, because some numbers are obvious! Like 01, 02, 99, 00... It's only required when the math isn't straightforward)

IIRC in RQG at least, after the initial learning period, the only tables that you 'have to' consult would be the fumble results?  Or?

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11 hours ago, styopa said:

IIRC in RQG at least, after the initial learning period, the only tables that you 'have to' consult would be the fumble results?  Or?

Or my phenomenally mathematical 2nd youngest nephew who is usually yelling "special" just as the dice stop rolling. 😊

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On 7/16/2019 at 12:33 AM, Marty Jopson said:

So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest

Thanks for the feedback! I indeed started pitching RQG to my table and after initially trying to convey my enthusiasm for the setting, I also started getting a sense of a little push back, so I pivoted to just pitching a game where they play as part of tribe, instead of being murder hobos, and so they would have a community, some traditions, and they'll choose whether they want to lead that group to glory (or death! or both!) in the upcoming turmoils, or, instead, keep a low profile or even (gasp!) collaborate with the invaders. Basically, pitching them what they are going to do instead of pitching them something they can't relate to yet.

And if I was to pitch them, say, a Pavis campaign instead of a Sartar/Kallyr Starbrow one, I would also now probably talk in terms of "core activity", and I might not even mention Glorantha more than a couple times before we start rolling.

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On 7/26/2019 at 12:16 PM, Jeff said:

For what it is worth, long before I was in charge of the revival of RuneQuest, I found RQ's combat system extremely simple once you get used to it. At worst you need to look up the Fumble Table from time to time. 

Well, compared to StormBringer 1st edition, I would not say RuneQuest is extremely simple, quite the contrary.

There are a lot of rules to remember in RuneQuest, with Strike Ranks, the effects of special successes depending on your weapon type, the effects of wounds depending on which location is hit, and so on.

My own tastes are for rules between the two, as I remember how boring StormBringer fight were, in which the usual attack result was either a miss or a parried hit.

But I understand why some people don't want to learn anything more complex than "initiative on reverse DEX order/attack/parry or dodge/hit point loss = weapon die-armor/on 0 you're dead".

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:33 AM, Marty Jopson said:

So, returning to my original post, the group met up and discussed our options. Bottom line - no one wanted to make the investment of time to involve themselves in the Gloranthan setting. The rule set was also seen as overly complex and simulationist for our play style. Runequest was rejected. 

Instead we are first having a gonzo break and I will run a spot of 5e DnD partly for my son who wants to have a go at the system. Then back to the very excellent One Ring for a more extended campaign. 

I’m a little disappointed I will be honest as I was willing to give it a go and I tried selling it. In retrospect I should have Gone about this differently. I tried to get across my own enthusiasm for the setting - but that was a mistake as it just made it seem daunting. I also should not have given out my spare rulebook as if my enthusiasm was daunting that book is doubly so. Maybe just running them through the quick start adventure with no other background would have worked but that was specifically not what they like doing (they like making characters in a setting they relate to). 

I’ll try again when we are done with the One Ring and by then hopefully there will be a few more campaign settings / adventure books out I can tempt them with. 

So what have I learnt from this? Maybe, just maybe, Glorantha is not the best sales pitch for Runequest. 

I played through the Broken Tower Quick Start on free RPG day in a local venue in Cardiff with @Dimbyd as GM. I hadn’t played RuneQuest for 25 or so years, but it all came back so naturally. I don’t need to preach to RuneQuest players about the systems virtues, suffice to say it was exciting from start to finish. 

I think I was the only player with previous RuneQuest experience ( apart from the GM). We had a mix of ages with some late teens/early 20’s playing too. The new players loved the game and picked it up easily. 

Beyond a very quick introduction to a couple of concepts like “this is a Bronze Age world” and “the gods are real and very important”, we went straight into the action of the scenario. There was no need for the bigger Glornatha picture. The world was revealed simply through playing through the adventure. I have to say it worked perfectly as an introduction to Glorantha and RuneQuest with it’s excellent nail biting combat.

Well worth a try as a one shot to see if your players like the RuneQuest Glorantha experience - I find RuneQuest runs so intuitively in play, best way to introduce it. 

Edit: by the way I also adore The One Ring. Great game.

Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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On 7/26/2019 at 4:04 PM, MOB said:

That's why games in fringe places like Prax or Pavis or Sun County work well as stepping off points: the players (and GM) don't need know a lot about the world...

My current plan is to put it on the back burner and await the forthcoming Lawsian Pavis book before I try for a second time. 

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