OK RQ Glorantha is coming out soon and we have seen peeks, we have had numerous design & teasing posts, many have played it at conventions, we have had the teaser released and we have debated about it at length on the forums.
I’m really excited about the project, some of new design are awesome, other bits I am worried may end up a missed opportunity. So, I thought I’d do a post on my thoughts on what we think we know so far.
What excites me.
These are things I have seen that I’m sure are going to be great.
- Runequest without Glorantha is like an acoustic motorhead show, interesting but lacking its prime appeal. Wrapping Runequest and Glorantha together again has been essential, Runequest has always struggled commercially when removed from Glorantha. Top marks for making them intrinsically linked.
- The new rune magic system. Love it, great games design, simple effective make sense, fits the settings and fixes significant issues in the older systems.
- The desire for a simpler lighter system than RQ6, I like a few bits of RQ6 but it was starting to feel a little rules heavy for me.
- More realistic monetary system. RQ2 money was just nowhere near right. In RQ2 the entire world economic system was based round getting treasure from adventures and then spending it on training and spells.
- The Sartar focus. Sartar was never fully explore in supplements till HQ era, opening up RQG with this amount of dragon pass background is awesome.
- Greater range of cultural options and deeper looks at Esrolia, & Grazelander culture than in any other edition of RQ.
Great ideas but …
Place where I think RQG has had great ideas but the evidence to date makes me fear the delivery will not match the aspirations.
- Character& family life events. Building historic events into a character’s creation and family background is a great idea. However, the implementations that I’ve seen both in test and in pendragon which it is based from don’t live up to the promise of the concept. They are longwinded, are prone to give very similar results across cultures and make characterisation random (which is a taste thing for me)
- Runes as personality traits. In theory a great idea. In practice it will mean that most cultists have very similar balances of runes and therefore similar personalities, leading to the playing of more stereotypes rather than individualised characters. Also I can’t see how numbers of form runes are going to be used in the game going forward.
What worries me
These are the things that worry me about RQG, some I think are just personal preference and I can’t exact the design to team to design for me alone, and others I may be proved 100% wrong on. Some I will probably may want to mod as I play the system.
- Using RQ2 as a base system. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adored RQ2 and thought was brilliant and revolutionary in its day, but its day was 40 years ago. Roleplaying has developed since then and some of the newer incarnations of RQ had tweaks, angles and approaches that would have improved the mechanics of the system and kept it fresher. I’d have used the best of to date as the starting point.
- Sorcery will not be different enough from spirit & rune magic. I would love sorcery to vastly different in mechanics and game balance to the currently well-defined forms of magic. I fear due to game balance considerations it may have similar flavours but a different title.
- The later campaign start date. I’m still in love with 1616 -1621. I like the earlier start where not as much is in motion, the world stands in balance and on the edge. Players are on the cusp of massive change, not hurtling down the hill caught up by it. If you have been playing 1616 -1621 for 40 years constantly you may have a different opinion.
- The decision to scrap hero to zero as a playing option. I like the ability to start characters from lower power levels and think RQ is suited for that style of gaming. Character creation lead to creating characters who in my mind were much too powerful. I know this can be altered by house rules, but its much easier to mod up than mod down. Even MRQII – (yes evil MRQII ) had a great table that allowed different levels of character generation.
- Passions as stats, Ok a personal hate thing of mine. Let’s leave stats as stats and characterisation to the discretion of the player. Anything that can allow the ref role and dice and then tell a player what his character should do, should be removed from the game. Also as the current rules allow passion too great a game effect.
Ok some of that is just down to personal taste, but other elements are valid points on games design. Don’t get me wrong I’m so grateful that this project is going ahead and hope my concerns are unfounded.