Sunday, June 3, 2018

Returning to the Scene of the Crime...

A lot of water has flowed down the River Styx since I last posted. In particular, Mongoose Runequest 2 became The Design Mechanism's wonderful Runequest 6 (and I am the proud possessor of a slipcase edition from the Kickstarter). The incredible Guide to Glorantha also came out (which I also helped Kickstart) and for a brief, wonderful period, there was the possibility of these two giving birth to Runequest: Adventures in Glorantha. And the Elder Gods returned to Chaosium to rescue it from its own Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter oblivion. In the process yet another Kickstarter allowed for the reprint of the much-loved Runequest 2nd Edition as Runequest Classic (and a project to re-issue all the old 2nd Edition supplements and adventures in cleaned-up PDF format is ongoing).

Sadly, however, Runequest: Adventures in Glorantha was not to be. The creative decision was taken by the team at The Chaosium to bring Runequest back in house, and retool the rules set. Runequest 6 became Mythras, and spawned a host of excellent supplements and adventures, including providing a new home for Thennla, the splendid world of Mongoose's Age of Treason.

Mythras: A truly excellent rules set

Meanwhile, Chaosium and Pelgrane Press teamed up to create 13th Age in Glorantha, heretically bringing a d20 class-based system to Greg Stafford's world (I kid, I kid). Set later in time than previous Glorantha-based games, the heroes of a 13G game are facing a world where the Hero Wars have unleashed chaos back into the world, and the power levels of higher-level characters would put the days of Super-Runequest to shame.

13th Age in Glorantha: A new approach
Yet Gloranthan Grognards (Gloragnards?) were still left without the system they had been waiting for since the end of the 1990s "Runequest Revival" - a fully-supported modern edition of Runequest allowing them to play in the 3rd Age. A taste was given of what could be with the 2017 Free RPG Day Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Quickstart (which you can pick up for free in PDF here). But the release date of the full game appeared to be like the old Chaosium Heroquest - any year now.

Finally, on June 1st, the Gloragnards' patience was rewarded when Chaosium released the full rule set of Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. The new edition was intentionally designed to be compatible with the Runequest Classic line, meaning that those adventures and supplements could be used with minimal retooling from the gamesmaster.

It's here!!!
I will have a full review of RQ:RiG in the very near future, along the lines of my ancient review of Mongoose RQ2. My initial impressions are that this is a good system, with some excellent additions to the Runequest Classic rules, but that some enhancements to the old system made on the road to Mythras were ignored that could have made the rules even better. I imagine that GMs with experience in running Gloranthan adventures using MRQ2 or RQ6/Mythras will be doing a lot of house-ruling, and I'll be writing about my decisions along those lines here.

I'll also take the opportunity to tidy up this blog a bit, including the incredibly-out-of-date sidebar. Chaosium have kindly given permission to use some of the art from the new games in social media postings - and I hope a blog qualifies as well. I'll also try to throw in a few reviews of Design Mechanism games too.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Further Thoughts About Martial Arts in Legend

Martial Arts (Vampire Slayer) in action
Let's face it, my first attempt at representing Martial Arts in Legend/MRQII didn't work very well. I've been trying to come up with something better and have been attempting to flesh out a system. As someone else had very similar thoughts, I just posted these to the Mongoose Forum, and thought I really ought to post them here. Comments etc are very welcome.

By the way, it looks like RQ6 approaches this through its new Mysticism rules, and they'll probably be much better than these anyway, but for the nonce...

Martial Arts

Each Tradition or School teaches a Combat Style, the Martial Arts skills, probably a few other skills, and a variety of Techniques that help modify the Combat Style by adding Combat Maneuvers, abilities and effects through the Martial Arts skill. It may also teach Heroic Abilities.

Martial Arts (Specific Tradition) skill (POW + DEX)

The Martial Arts skill is used to apply martial arts techniques to a Combat Style. Each ten percent of Martial Arts skill allows the martial artist to apply 1 point of technique to his/her combat style for the combat action (round?).

This skill is not rolled against when fighting. Its value merely limits how much the martial artist may modify his/her combat style.

In fantastical worlds, each Technique used may cost 1 Magic Point.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

RIP Firu ba Yeker

I was deeply upset to hear of the passing of Professor MAR Barker, the inventor of Tekumel and what must surely be the first dedicated RPG setting, the Empire of the Petal Throne. I am a proud possessor of the original EPT box set, even if it is rather more battered than the one depicted here. Some of my earliest gaming memories are of composing notes and props in the amazing Tsolyani script. And my box set still contains my version of the first level of the Jakallan underworld, made from 4 sheets of A4 scientific graph paper taped and stapled together. I even have several pages of the key. Sadly, I only ran the system for a few sessions, because then Runequest 2 came out and we all switched over to that pretty quickly (apart from a few diehards who decided Chivalry & Sorcery was their "improved" game of choice.)

I never had any personal interaction with the good professor, but the great Dave Morris did. His moving tribute is here.

Sandy Petersen, creator of Call of Cthulhu and long-time Chaosium guru, created some RQ3 rules for Tekumel, which are available at the Tekumel site. They should be convertible to Legend with a few tweaks.

As I've mentioned before, my vision of Glorantha's Kralorela has more in common with Tekumel than the official version. I shall now spend more time trying to bring Lur Nop to life in homage to Jakalla.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Whirr... Click... Resetting

Well, last Summer I had a book come out. It's about American politics from a libertarian viewpoint, so for the few of you who might be interested, the link is here. What knocked me for a loop is that since my last book came out, I had to work four times as hard to sell a quarter of the copies. Life is extremely hard in the mainstream nonfiction publishing world at the moment, and the gap between the quick (the best sellers) and the dead (everyone else) is bigger than my publisher has ever seen. Add to that new management responsibilities at my work and something had to give. It was gaming. Apart from a brief and hilarious foray into OD&D run by one of my group, and starting and then scrapping three different iterations of a Gloranthan side-campaign set in Kralorela, I have had little interaction with the gaming world. So all the rash promises made below about a fanzine and so on fell by the wayside, and I did nothing to rectify the situation when it became apparent I would have to drop them, and for that I apologize to everyone. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Things are slowly returning to normal. So I hope to restart semi-regular updates. Here are a few brief links to begin with:

The Flamesword

  • Jamie "Trotsky" Revell has self-published his Heroquest book on Glorantha's Seshnela: Kingdom of the Flamesword. If you liked his Book of Glorious Joy, you'll love this. It treats the Gloranthan west in a much more medieval fashion than the current official interpretation allows for (and I have to admit I am somewhat disillusioned with the current direction of Glorantha, however excellent the Moon Design products are). Highly recommended.
  • Design Mechanism have made the excellent products written by Pete Nash and Lawrence Whitaker for the Second Age of Glorantha available for the bargain price of a buck each. If you've somehow missed this, dive in. The late MRQ1 and entire MRQII era of the Second Age books included some really excellent stuff, and at the very least they'll provide some great inspiration for a homebrew Legend/RQ6 campaign. I hope the Second Age is not dead and would love to see Tenets of the Inner Dragon appear at some point.
  • In OSR D&D, I'm really excited about Dwimmermount. I recently purchased Adventurer Conqueror King and between that and LOTFP, I think there are two really workable early-D&D-inspired rules systems out there that could persuade me to run a D&D campaign again.
  • And, of course, the Heroquest Pavis book is due any day now. I will be getting a copy as soon as I can, and I shall be interested to see whether it is as compatible with my vision/plans for Pavis as I hope it will be.

I thought that the way I would get myself back into gaming mood might be to review some of the great products I've picked up over the last few months, like Legend's Blood Magic and the brilliant Age of Treason. So I hope to produce one review at some point this week.

And who knows, I might produce some original content at some point too.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Murder at Ronegarth

Image from this site. Reminded me of Storm Bull...

The heroes returned to Ronegarth via Horn Gate, where they dropped off the women of Black Rock, to find the small settlement in a state of excitement. The famed trader Biturian Varosh was soon to visit Raus Fort with his caravan, bringing with him exotic goods such as the poor settlers of Weis Domain had not seen for a very long time.
Soon the fort began to fill up. First to arrive were the Thunder Bison, a warlike branch of the Bison People. ToXaraya’s dismay, they were led by Moharo Blessed-by-Waha, to whom Xaraya had been engaged at birth. Moharo expressed great delight at seeing Xaraya again, and complemented her repeatedly on her beauty, the fullness of her bosom and the length of her leg, much to the chagrin of one Karnyne Widehips, who, it transpired, was Moharo’s current fiancee. Moharo repeatedly made lascivious advances to Xaraya, suggesting that even though she could no longer be his wife, having no tribe, she could enjoy a privileged position as his most favored concubine. Xaraya rebuffed Moharo on every occasion. With the Bison was Kagrunner, a Storm Khan and warrior of renown. He insulted every warrior in the Fort, including Grom, who bridled and looked forward t a chance to duel the bully.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

RuneQuest Comes Home

It has just been announced that Pete and Loz, the team that brought us Mongoose Runequest II/Legend have acquired the license to produce RuneQuest 6, in collaboration with Moon Design. Here's the announcement:

We are delighted to announce our agreement with Issaries Inc, allowing The Design Mechanism to produce a new edition of RuneQuest and supporting supplements. You can read the full Press Release by clicking on the link to the right.
The way all this will work is as follows: 
  • The Design Mechanism will be producing the sixth published edition of RQ for an early 2012 release.
  • We will be publishing the core rules and all future supplements in partnership with Moon Design. This allows us to call upon their resources for a wide range of things that would be too costly for us to develop singly.
  • Working with Moon we also have access to Glorantha, meaning that RuneQuest material for both Second and Third Age Glorantha will be not just possible, but a reality.
Work on the 6th edition of the rules has begun but the hard work will be between September and December as we prepare for the release. More information on the actual release date will be given nearer the time. 
We're anticipating RuneQuest fans will have a lot of questions, and so we've prepared an FAQ sheet that should address most queries - see the 'RQ FAQ' PDF document link on the right. However, we also have our discussion Forum here at and will be establishing a dedicated RuneQuest forum over at Moon Design. 

This is fantastic news. Third Age Glorantha, it seems, will be supported once again. I expect the rules system to be a further significant improvement on MRQ2 (which was pretty close to perfect, but has some issues that only really come out after repeated play, like the charging rules), so color me excited about this one. Best news of all is that there will be an Open Licence.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mongoose Matt's Statement on the Future of "Wayfarer"

Is here.

I think the most important point is this:
We have been asked whether we will make Wayfarer OGL. This will be a decision made later but, at this time, we are leaning towards it. However, I don't think it will be the usual OGL/logo licence combo, as messing around with SRDs is very time-consuming for us. If we go ahead with this, it is more likely to be a case of everything in the core book range is ripe for picking, just stay away from the setting books - aside from using a 'Wayfarer Compatible' logo, there will be nothing to sign or register for. Just pick up the rules and use them.
If that's the route they follow, I think this excellent system will survive. The approach they are leaning towards is refreshing too - there's been such confusion over the status of the MRQ1 SRDs following the end of the RuneQuest license that it will be good to have a, dare I say it, more libertarian approach.

I am now confident that RuneQuest will survive as a living game system.