Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Old School: Mining White Dwarf 3

The cover to White Dwarf issue 3 is one I particularly like, because the adventurous couple, who have obviously bit off more than they can chew, aren't wearing any armor.  I like this because our first level characters never really wore any either, except for the odd fighter who claimed he was of knightly stock and had inherited some chainmail.  The reason for this was simple - you go into dungeons to liberate large amounts of cash and the more you are weighed down by armor, the less you can be weighed down by treasure.  In the first few levels of the dungeon, those amounts of cash are likely to be copper or silver rather than gold, so you really need the carrying capacity.  At least, that's how we reasoned it.  As a result, the lives of our PCs tended to be nasty, brutish and short (a bit like the players, really - we were 12-13 year old boys...)

Turning to the contents, the first article is extremely interesting and I suggest still useful.  It suggests a non-geomorphic approach to solo dungeon mapping which requires considerable investment in time to set up but once you've built your library of 200' by 200' dungeon elements, you can use it to create a massive variety of dungeon layouts.  I did this one summer vacation and it worked extremely well.  Worth looking at.

Runequest Campaign: Rabbit Hat Farm I

As part of the deal that took them from Pavis to Ronegarth, Duke Raus gave the PCs a land grant.  Rabbit Hat was the name of the walled settlement and farmlands that made up the grant, and the PCs expressed an interest in visiting their lands.  Daine, however, had some news for them.

Far from being a fully working holding, Rabbit Hat was currently, Daine presumed, unpopulated.  The settlement had been attacked out of nowhere by Bison Riders from the Wastes.  The few survivors fled to Sun County on hearing that broos had been seen in the area after the nomads had departed.  As a result, the settlement was presumed ruined.  Daine added that the Duke's title to Rabbit Hat was also a matter of legal dispute with the Count of Sun County, although the case had lain on Sor-Eel's desk in Pavis for years and was unlikely to be decided soon.  Because of the likely presence of unquiet spirits, the shaman Stars-Not-Night was prevailed upon to accompany the party, as was a Storm Bull follower, Subodai the Uncouth, in case the broos were still around.  Finally, a young Orlanthi mercenary, Oderic, also accompanied the group.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Runequest II Core Rulebook (Mongoose)

First, apologies for the lack of updates. I've been afflicted with various health problems (I have something wrong with each of my heart, lungs and digestive system. Yay!) and haven't really felt like writing outside work.  However, the release of Mongoose's latest version of my favorite role-playing game is worth getting back in the saddle for.  Simply put, this is the best role-playing game ruleset I have ever seen.  Lawrence "Loz" Whitaker and Pete Nash have done an astounding job in fixing the problems with the system - many of them going back to the classic Runequest 2 (don't get me started on the numbering issues) of 1979. They have both simplified and enhanced the rules while remaining true to the central principles of RQ and, indeed, Glorantha. So let's take a look at the major features of the book.

Production Values. First of all, this book looks impressive.  It is leather-bound with gold lettering (runing?) although the rune is not the Magic rune as depicted above, but the Luck rune (looks like Pi). The typesetting is clear without the annoying borders Mongoose often uses.  Pull quotes are useful and tables make sense. There are a few typos and mistakes but an errata sheet is due soon.  The artwork is serviceable to good with only a few gratuitous scantily-clad women (not that there's anything wrong with that).  This is the sort of book you wouldn't mind leaving out in plain view, which sadly isn't often the case with RPG books.