Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mongoose Runequest: The Good and the Bad

So we've now been playing Mongoose Runequest (MRQ) for about 6 months.  I have to say I'm generally happy with the system, with a few provisos as outlined below.  Here's my brief analysis of the best and the worst points of the rules:

The Good

  • I like the abolition of distinction between parrying and attack. It always seemed odd to me that you could reach high levels in one and not in the other.  Not using a weapon to parry should be more of a function of the unsuitability of the weapon (weakness or vis-a-vis a shield, for example) than lack of skill, or so it seems to me. It does make for faster advancement, but I can live with that.
  • The combat actions/ strike rank system seems to work well. It's important to have a degree of randomness in deciding combat order for variety, but the quicker characters do still tend to act before the slower characters.
  • We haven't used it much but the fatigue system is much better than any other version I've seen
  • In general the rationalization of the skills system works very well, although the brute force vs general athletics distinction is confusing.
  • I like rune integration. Seems very Gloranthan, even if Runecasting, holding physical runes etc doesn't.
The Bad

  • The lack of a general Hit Points system has led to some ludicrous combat situations akin to the Black Knight from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. I think I'll restore a general HP total of CON + SIZ for PCs and important NPCs.  The alternative combat rules from Signs & Portents #54 have certainly helped with arrow fodder less important NPCs.
  • Magic appears to have been nerfed. A character with high Persistence can normally shrug off even major spells from powerful opponents, and less powerful magicians often don't even cast the spell successfully in the first place.  And vice versa, so my PCs don't use target-affecting magic very often, while when considering what tactics to use for their opponents I generally only use such spells near the beginning of a combat.  Now in my Glorantha, most combats are supposed to have magic crackling all over the place (something HeroQuest reflects quite well) rather than fizzling or bouncing routinely. This needs to be sorted out.
  • Various systems that worked very well with the Resistance Table (most notably spirit combat, poison and disease) don't work nearly as well with the replacement rules.  I think I'm going to bring back the Resistance Table for spirit combat.  Not sure about the others.
As we work out the House Rules, we'll post them here.  Of course, with MRQII coming, it may all be moot.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty much our experience with armour and Black Knight syndrome. I'm running the superb Dara Happa stirs and another oddity emerges in the downtime rules for practice - four seasons downtime +buckets of gold = pretty astonishing improvements in skills.

    The other big issues you do not mention are a) Runecasting skills per rune make "battle magic" (rune magic in this edition) pretty awful, unless you have a lot of points to spread around and no plans to ever wear armour, and b) there seems to be no relation between the runes known and spells known to a starting character and their cult. We house rule fixed that. I will pick up MRQ 2 soon and hopefully that builds on the basic rules: I'm not really a fan of physical runes either, so hopefully that has changed?

    cj x