RuneQuest 6 preview: First impressions

Ok admissions first. I’m a huge huge RuneQuest fantatic, so much so that when I played the game solidly in the 90s I dropped everything else except Cyberpunk 2020 and casually forgot that I had ever played any D&D. In fact I was disdainful about it, in the big playground punch up that was D&D vs RQ, I would have argued that RuneQuest was superior in every way conceivable. It wasn’t an argument born out of logic, but one of pure passion. I simply love RQ and leafing through my old editions of the game still brings a shiver down my spine. I’ve got an aching summer cold and merely typing this and thinking about RQ is making me feel vastly better.

Secondly I know both authors Lawrence “Loz” Whitaker and Pete Nash from the Tavern bulletin board and the Continuum series of conventions, and I’ve a very healthy respect for both of them. Pete’s the author of the Ennie Winning Rome supplement for BRP and both of them worked on the Mongoose Runequest 2 line,as well as a number of other books for their other lines before striking out on their own as Design Mechanism to do RuneQuest 6.

So don’t expect a eye wincing critical review of RQ 6 from me 😉

I’ve got hold of the final pre-publication internals pdf from Loz and Pete, who’ve been very gracious to give me a copy.

The book is a generic implementation of RuneQuest over 456 pages. There’s an implied setting, an Ancient style Fantasy world alluded to by pictures of Greek Hopilites and ladies in long flowing linen dresses, but otherwise the book apart from the appearance of Gloranthan Runes as presentation elements and in the Rune Magic chapter is Gloranthan free. Don’t worry though armed with the requisite background material, such as the 2nd Age Glorantha books, you can run Glorantha out of the box. If you are not interested in Glorantha or find it off putting, its not there to get in the way.

Art is black and white through out, and by a small stable of artists. The impact on me personally is from Good to a bit meh (some landscape pieces). There’s an obvious play on nostalgia with all the Ancient world images, which after doing a similar thing with OpenQuest I can understand 😉 What does impress me however is the layout, which is clean and readable,scaling nicely on my IPAD. This is very important when I’m working from the pdf, and will probably pay off in spades for me when I use it in this format at the gaming table.

The core book is the complete rules, so no crafty hiving off of magic item rules in a follow up supplement for example. Three chapters detail character generation, there’s a fairly meaty chapter on combat (more on that later in a separate blog post when I look at in detail), chapters for the five magic systems(Common, Animism,Theist, Sorcery and the new Mysticism rules), monsters, equipment and a chapter on running the game. I’m sure I’ve left something out, but I’ll pick this up as I go through the book in detail in later posts. Notable exceptions are there is no dedicated setting chapter (but there’s an implied setting throughout the examples and flavour text ) or starter adventure. So you’d be expecting a dry rulesy book? Nothing could be further from the truth. The book reads smoothly,with lots of entertaining examples and rules advice throughout. Each page builds on my understanding and desire to bring these rules to the gaming table.

RQ 6 lives up to Loz’s and Pete’s promise of building on and streamlining what they wrote for Mongoose RuneQuest 2. If you are a MRQ2/Legend ref,you’ll find a much better implementation of what they actually wanted to produce. There’s lots of additional bits, Passions and Mysticism (for all those Kung Fu hero settings) for example, that makes it worth getting. It’s the Pathfinder RPG of the D100 family. The big crunch heavy sibling who carries it off with grace and style. While I still in my heart of hearts prefer my own lighter OpenQuest, I’m excited enough by RQ 6 to play it as written and have fun exploring its depths.

Next up: a detailed look at character generation.

Related Links

UPDATE!

RQ 6 now available in PDF format & Print Pre-order (with free pdf now) over at the Moon Design Publications site.

About Newt

Games Designer, Publisher, Web Developer, Dad.

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5 Responses to RuneQuest 6 preview: First impressions

  1. Pruneau says:

    Sounds good so far, but you just know we wanna read more about – well, just about everything 🙂

  2. Olorin says:

    Would you care to give examples of some of the refinements compared to Mongoose’s 2nd edition?

  3. DrBargle says:

    I’m really looking forward to this, but 456 pages! I know that a complete game in a book is a good thing, but that is huge. I would be interested in any refinements to MRQII – I’d hope that they have used the ideas from their Signs and Portents article as the basis for explaining ‘combat styles’, given that all the text in the MRQII core rulebook suggests that a level of granularity akin to weapon skills in RQ1-3 is the default.

    I’m very interested in seeing what they have done with combat actions. As it is, differences in number of combat actions is far more decisive – it appears to me – than differences in % skills/styles. One of the things I like about OQ and other d100 games is that multiple attacks and parries are a product of high skills, not something that is completely independent. Nevertheless, I like the feel produced by MRQII combat, but find it too crunchy for the way I GM once you have more than a few combatants, so I’m hoping that RQ6 combat is slightly streamlined.

  4. Steve says:

    I miss the age of the old 3es edition of RQ. If this is all in one book, I will be very interested in this edition.

  5. john says:

    Haven’t read many of the updates, but i loved the original . The cults & the background?s made it, along with a cracking system. Will this new version retain the gloranthean background we love ? Or is it another reprint for the sake of it .

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