RQ6 Actual Play: Tales of the Blessed City

Over at the Tavern Forum, Tom Zunder has a short write up of his RQ 6 campaign Tales of the Blessed City.

Being a chronicle of the perspicacious adventures and tremulating exploits of three perambulating personalities of the convivial conurbation that personates itself as “Fayoval, Blessed City of the East”.

This is a RQ6 game, largely RAW, and run face to face on alternate Thursdays.

Our tales exhibits overtly the actions and infers the motives and hints at the emotions of our protagonists, being:

Toc, Shaman of the exiled Sylvings and retainer of House Marozzo, played by the illustriously legal Andrew Watson.
Antonio di Marozzo, of the House Marozzo, notable youth and duelist of the Equestrian class, played by the fastidious revenue agent Duncan Rowlands.
Baptiste, sometimes madam and sometime concubine in the Walled Quarter of Gems, played by the ever teenage Monster Heart, Neil Gow!

Our story starts one hot and sunny endless day in the days of the Twinight, when the solar radiance of the orb above us blazed all the hours of the day and at a time when the sunburnt, eye strained and sleep deprived folk had almost forgotten the meaning of the word ‘day’.

Read more at

RuneQuest and me

So last post was me & D&D, so where do I stand as far as the game that I probably reverer more in the Old School stakes?

RuneQuest 2 is where the story starts for me. In Pavis in Glorantha sometime in the mid 80s. A one on one session with my friend I rolled up a simple character who could just about wield a sword and was a couple of thousand of lunars in debt to the Fighting Guild as a result. His name lost to me know, but I remember he had aspirations to be an initiate of Humkat (the Gloranthan Warrior god of Death and Gloom). So off on a trip to Troll Town, a Troll strong hold established by the Hero Arkat in the Dawn Age. With me so far… don’t worry it was all new to me and a good three quarters of the game was my GM friend explaining the background to Glorantha and all its associated workings (Cults, HeroQuesting, Myths as a way of changing reality). Solid foundations which I’ve built on still, but still a huge learning curve that fortunately I fascinated with.

RuneQuest 3 is where it all took off. The Games Workshop Hard covers (RuneQuest, Advanced RuneQuest and RuneQuest Monsters) at pocket money prices made the game accessible to all in the UK, and when they chucked them in the bargain bin during the Great Betrayal (when they dumped all their RPG support around White Dwarf 100 at the end of the 80s) everybody and his brother had a copy. This time I was in a proper group of about five playing in a generic setting, possibly Griffin Island, fighting off zombies with a young twenty something Civilised Peasant Farmer whose claim to fame was he was OK with a Pike (about 40% from memory). Next session I wanted more so with the GMs OK I rolled up a Sorcerer called Tel-Kar-Nath who new the sum total of one spell, Venom (“I shall turn your blood to poison!”).  Next session I had grabbed the reins of GMing and huge files of notes were produced.

Stormbringer 1st Edition (a slight detour). Also in the same bargain bin as a result of the Great Betrayal. I’ve gone about this game before, but this was a revelation in terms of scope of what the game could do and how you could modify the D100 engine to produce a very different style of game. A very lethal style of game 😉

Then at University having access to a student grant and making a solid investment in the future I got all the Glorantha Boxsets  from the newly opened Travelling Man (up in Headingley Leeds for those who could remember it). Que the 10 years long campaign set there that one day I WILL PUBLISH the setting for. During this time we kept on striping out the crunch until the system resembled what OpenQuest is today. These were my glory years running RQ set in Glorantha – both at home and at at cons. RQ 3 for me was story gaming done right, a post for another day.

The wilderness years came for me in the late 90s when we gradually drifted away from our regular RQ3 Glorantha game due to entering the wacky world of employment. Then there was the case of mistaken identity that was HeroWars (effectively 1st edition HeroQuest), a wonderfully epic narrative game which is nothing like RQ.

Mongoose RuneQuest – The return!  Well sort of. Bad editing and shonky rules take the sheen off what should have been a fine version of the great and glorious game. But the release of a SRD did lead to the following …

OpenQuest is my RuneQuest (with a bit of Stormbringer thrown , which is why its got so many demons). Originally designed to be a small fantasy interpretation of my favourite bits of BRP/RQ with my own common sense house rulings. Its kinda grown into OpenQuest Deluxe (a open tribute to the collected RQ3 Deluxe of the 1990s produced under Ken Rolston’s time as RuneCzar during the so called RQ Renaissance) and then be paired back to the slim and slender version of OpenQuest Basics. Its been a great journey which started at lunch in my office in 2007 and continues to this day.

MRQ2 Lawrence Whitaker’s and Pete Nash’s go at refreshing MRQ, and a damn fine one too.  I never got to play this one because my group at the time would have none of it, and Greg Stafford pulled the license from Mongoose a year or so into the license.

RuneQuest 6  Loz and Pete now working together as the Design Mechanism revised and expanded version of MRQ2 which is the ultimate big book RuneQuest dwarfing all its prediscesors. A fine version of the game and a worthy inherittor of the name RUNEQUEST 🙂

RuneQuest 6 Special Edition Hardcover

Finnnnnnally, the IndieGoGo campaign for the RQ 6 Hardcover is up and going, and about 50% funded at time of writing after about a day and a half with thirty days to go.

I’ve funded this modest campaign, which I reckon will have modest stretch goals, but if you want a hardcover version of the most excellent RQ6, which won’t be available via retail, go check it out.

Magic World character + RuneQuest 6 detailed review + Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition podcast

Over at that hotbed of BRP grognards, The Tavern , there’s a couple of recent threads that may tickle the fancy of D100 lover.

Ben Monroe editor in chief of the upcoming Basic Roleplaying Magic World, has posted an example character.

OpenQuest editor/rules consultant Graham Spearing has been enthused by RQ6 and is posting his chapter by chapter thoughts on the book.

Also yog-sothoth.com has posted the recording of the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition seminar given by Mike Mason and Paul Fricker

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.

2012 D101 and the old skool

OK here’s that beginning of year statement that frankly I should have put out at the beginning of the year…but hey this is the man who is doing the not so synchronized 12 Days of the UK OSR (which I’ve not forgotten about) 😉

So here’s how D101 stands with the Old School Renaissance (which ever form you are following);

Pretty fuckin’ Tall

OpenQuest is still my biggest seller, despite being something you can download for free, and Crypts and Things completely blew me out of the water when I ran the pre-order. From recent discussions where various folk have basically poked me repeatedly about the General Release date, I kinda get the feeling I’m sitting on a volcano here. Nice feeling that 🙂

In fact the Old school stuff is definitely half my income, the other half being Glorantha + my more indie games ( Monkey + Wordplay ). Part of me thinks it would be fun to go OSR all the way, but practicality + the fact I still like my Glorantha and story telling games so this ain’t going to happen. But saying that from coming in as a curious outsider, attracted because a couple of folk like Akrasia ( Akratic Wizardry ) and Shange Magnus ( Swords against the Outer Dark ) from the OSR blog sphere said nice things about OpenQuest, I’m now fully a champion of this style of play.

OpenQuest
OpenQuest 2nd Edition
This is going to be a 2nd edition in the same way that Chaosium does new editions for Call of Cthulhu. i.e. the underlying rules stay the same, with some clarifications and fixes, but with some additional content. So far we’ve made good progress towards achiving milestone number 1: Clean up, which is where I can put out a nice version in 8″ x 11″ ( which means hardcovers ) with tidied up rules and all the clip art replaced. Simon Bray has done a Stirling job on the art, touching up the existing art (his choice not mine) & illustrating the monsters that currently are presented by clip art. John Holmes is applying his laser eye to the rule book.

Milestone 2 “Additional Content” requires a bit more work. There’s going to be additional advice from me, because it became clear that I wrote a lot of OQ from the point of view that people would already be familiar with over 30 years of Game development history. The Otherworlds in the game are a good example. If you have been following Glorantha’s chequered history you’ll know exactly what I mean by Spirit World. If not you’ll need it explaining, which is what I aim to do. Other articles already lined up are “The Life Cycle of a Character” which explains the levels of play that an OpenQuest character goes through, so that players and Games Masters can create appropriately exciting adventures. There’s also some additional Optional rules by Simon Bray for “Relationships”. The big draw for additional content is a selection of new spells. I’ve got about 30 to add from the newly OGLed Legend, which will ensure compatibilty for GMS running adventures from that line and hopefully RQ6 to, + another 30+ of my own devising. Once we’ve reached Milestone 2 2nd Ed will be most accurately described as “OpenQuest Deluxe Edition” 🙂

Depending on the amount of work I generate aiming for a Summer release by the very latest 🙂

Here Be Dragons
Simon Bray’s and Paul Mitcheners weird and wonderful Swords and Sorcery island is currently in Editorial, so you’ll be getting a brand new Sandbox to play in. Release to coincide with OQ2 (so Summer/Autumn).

Crypts & Things
Main rule book
I’m fulfilling this as I type, so pre-orders should start landing in people’s post end of this or next week. General release very soon…watch this blog.

Blood of the Dragon and other adventures
The first module, is nearly finished writing wise, so that should be with pre-order people in March, with a general release a week after pre-orders have had theirs sent out. Look at ref number “UKS-01”, what could that mean? Well it means that its the start of a three module series set in “The Spires” (that’s where the S comes from ) 🙂 Next module “UKS-02 Fort Boneguard” is kinda my take on Keep of the Boarderlands with scads of undead. Finally things end with a bang with “UKS-03 Tower of the Hydra” a Sorcerer’s tower for you and your chums to take control of , or not if you don’t understand its twists and turns.

I’ve also got a couple of half-finished pieces, such as the 5th Level adventure I ran at Furnace 2010 here by known as “The Sky is Falling”, that will get written up at some point hopefully this year.

More stuff in the pipeline as well, but since its more nebulous I won’t mention it yet.

Crisis of multiple RuneQuests!

“Arrrgh my leetle brain can not handle it” is what some of you will probably be thinking when you contemplate the number of RQ like systems that are available now or in the near future.

This time next year there will be at least :

Renaissance* (Black powder era flavoured RQ)
OpenQuest*
Aeon
BRP with the Magic supplement
Legend*
and of course

RuneQuest 6 itself.

(Systems marked * are OGL)

RQ 6 of course is the 400lb gorilla in the room. If you are a 3rd party publisher who is focusing on the sales you want to go that way. Lawrence & Pete are excellent authors, who I know are polishing and fine tuning the work they started with with MRQ2 into something that will be slick and awesome, that will have a solid schedule of support supplements which will have the same level of care and attention paid to them as the core rulebook. Pete n Loz’s legacy of MRQ2 and work they did on other systems during their short stint at Mongoose (Traveller – Judge Dredd and Strontium Dogs were ably pulled together by Loz, while Pete worked on the Lone Wolf multiplayer for example) speaks volumes.  The’ve also partnered with Moon Designs as a publisher, who are in turn distributed by Cubicle 7.  MD have successfully resurrected the fortunes of Glorantha and HeroQuest, making them playable and accessible to new players, without compromising the artistic vision of either, and been able to support books of a very high page count with large amounts of art and stay in business. With C7’s powerful distribution behind them, it means you’ll be seeing MD books in your local gaming shop.  The HQ Gaming license is simple to follow (no standalone games, page references to the rules with a very simple approval process to make sure that nothing obscene like a HQ F.A.T.A.L gets released). I speak from experience here and RQ6 will have a virtually identical license.

So where does this leave OQ? Well I must confess that when I heard Loz n Pete were going to be doing RQ6 I thought “Oh Funk that’s the end of it” and nearly gave up there and then. Then I remembered all the lovely OpenQuest fans, who regularly say nice things about the game and egg me on, how Rik and John have poured their hearts and soul into The Company (Modern OQ) and River of Heaven (Sci-fi OQ), to mention how much fun I’ve had with OQ and quickly realised that quiting was not an option. I’m also very hopeful that supporting OQ financially is a viable option as well, since people say repeatedly they like the simplicity of OQ over the other interactions of D100. OQ sells steadily enough to support itself. In other words OQ has its niche. With The Company & River of Heaven its quite a solid “Fist of Fun” too 🙂

I’ve always held that D100, like D&D, is a shared gaming language and that its worth keeping it alive. 2012 is going to strength the options that D100 players both old and new have and I hope that the community of gamers see this as a positive thing, taking what they like form the various releases to run the most fun game of D100 they can. This is certainly the case in the D&D OSR and I hope this something D100 fans learn quickly rather than descend into arguing the merits of their favoured system. Early signs ,from the various forum discussions that have sprung up around the release of Legend, seems that this is the case 🙂

RuneQuest 6

RuneQuest is coming home – to the fans to the people who care about it 😉

Former MRQ2 writers Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash, both longtime BRP/RQ heads have the licence to do RuneQuest 6 🙂

What the following brief announcement doesn’t say, but the FAQ does, is that there will be a RQ Gateway license that will allow 3rd Parties publish RQ supplements. This is something I already have plans for D101 games to do 🙂

But onto Loz’s announcement, follow the link to the Design Mechanism’s website for the RQ Q&A which gives more details.

Its with great pleasure and excitement that I’m able to announce that The Design Mechanism, the new company formed by myself and Pete Nash, has successfully reached an agreement with Issaries Inc to become the new licensee for RuneQuest. The full Press Release can be found on the RuneQuest page at www.thedesignmechanism.com along with a detailed Q&A sheet for those who want to know more about what we have in store for RQ.

Greg Stafford, Issaries President, had this to say on the agreement: “RuneQuest is an old, highly respected brand that requires creativity, dedication and knowledge of the product. I know that Loz and Pete have that, plus enthusiasm and professionalism that will keep up the reputation and good name. I am pleased.”

Clearly its early days for both Design Mechanism and RuneQuest’s 6th edition but we have exciting plans for the game building on the work Pete and I have already done with Mongoose’s RuneQuest II and we look forward to sharing them with the roleplaying community as we develop the new rules.

Lawrence