Monday, July 3, 2017
Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha - There's a Lot of Game in Here
First off, you don't need my impressions to give you a sense of Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha when you can find it right here for free. This edition is a fifty page free release to accompany the "Free RPG Day" which is, best I can tell, something other parts of the country get but no one in New Mexico participates in. Luckily (?) Chaosium is offering the print version for $9.95 on their site as well. I was a bit behind in snagging the latest Call of Cthulhu goodness so I threw a copy in for good measure.
My first impression on reading through the PDF is it happens to be a mostly complete game. Although specific bits (such as additional possible magic systems beyond spirit magic and rune use) and a bestiary are clearly reserved for a future actual release, you pretty much have about as much in this book as, say, Mythras Imperative offers, and Runequets also offers a scenario.
One of the reasons I'm grabbing a copy is that the new core system is really pretty classic and also pretty nice. It's got some "issues" depending on whether you are still sold on certain classic elements of BRP and RQ....I have no love of the strike rank mechanic, for example (but accept that it's still core to the Runequest design concept). I have fallen in love with Call of Cthulhu 7E's bold excision of the 3-18 stat ranges in favor of uniforn percentile scores, shoring up what now feels to me like a nearly forty year old artifact of game design derived from D&D. But all this aside, the new RQ looks a lot like old RQs of the past.
It's still "RQ 7th Edition" to me no matter what the Chaosium crew would like me to think. And the "Roleplaying in Glorantha" part is still annoying, but I guess in some respects this is a vanity product aimed at a niche audience so this is probably a design feature we will just have to accept if Glorantha is not your thing.
There is good news, though.....nothing overly unexpected.....but just from reading this tome I can safely say that running Runequest adventures in settings other than Glorantha should be just as easy as it was in 1982. All you have to do is embrace the runes and core conceits of the magic system as chracteristic of whatever setting you desire, and that's it. Gamers have been cutting the setting from the mechanics since the dawn of the hobby, this is nothing new here. And this sort of concern is ultimately only for people like me who do not need a pre-created world to run games in, or who find the specific design ethos of Glorantha not to their liking. For most gamers, I have a feeling the new Runequest is going to make Glorantha accessible and easy to adapt to in a way we haven't seen before.
Anyway....check it out....I am really hoping we get to see the final product later this year.