First impressions on the new RuneQuest

Mongoose publishing, a UK company that made their name and business out of D20 games, have produced a new version of a game I have fond memories of Runequest.

Well this member of the ‘old guard’ (RQ2/RQ3, started in late 80s played solid until 99) opened his mind, stopped grumping and bought a copy yesterday.

Despite the fact that I’m more than happy with RQ2 with the Gloranthan Classics from Moon Designs, for my Old School RQ needs (despite playing Rq3 more I find it a bit broken in places and over fiddly), I’m quite enjoying MRQ.

Its nicely written, clearly laid out and despite a few typos is a joy to read.

I ran through character generation last night, and rolled up two characters in half an hour and found the char gen system much more streamlined. As someone who struggles with lots of maths in games I’m glad the characteristic modifiers for skills have gone and is replaced by simply using the appropriate characteristic or sum of characteristics as a base. Also I like the professions and character backgrounds, a much more streamlined version of cultural backgrounds and occupations from RQ3. Once niggle however was the laughable amount of kit that even a noble could afford. I rolled up a pc with a noble background and he could just afford his main weapon, a shield, a leather shirt and a backpack! I plan to fix this by having default equipment for each background and profession, like in RQ3.

It should also be noted that both characters I rolled up, a noble solider and barbarian woodsman, are without any magic. In the core rules only magic using professions get access to magic. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand one of the unique selling points of RQ as a system was that everyone got magic. However even playing in Glorantha you tended to find beginning players weren’t interested in what magic they had started with until they saw non player characters using it. Then quite often they wanted to dump the magic spells they started with and learn ones of more use. The new Rune magic system in MRQ with its pick up the runes left in the adventure approach will maybe work with these types of players?

Read thorough the Combat rules this morning on the bus to work with the intention of running a combat with my two new characters tonight. Looks pretty straight forward and there’s allot of rules that used to be house rules in our old games, such as the impaling weapons staying in wounds or being painfully ripped out. Saying this I’m still a bit timid about the lack of Total Hit points, since I played in Tom Zunder’s play test (version 1.5 of the rules) and we got really stuck on this point and ended up fighting the limbless broo for several rounds (think Monty Python Black Knight meets RQ combat). Saying this reading the rules it answers most of my questions arising from that combat.

So far its not the RQ of my yoof, and its not a modern RPG, in the sense that Burning Wheel, HeroQuest and Sorcerer are, by any stretch of the imagination but its a nice updating of a game that has many happy memories for me.

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