22 November 2021

The RuneQuest RPG Wiki

The RuneQuest RPG Wiki is online at long last! Not to be confused with the fan-created Glorantha Wiki, which tackles Gloranthan lore, the RuneQuest RPG Wiki has been created and is maintained by the Chaosium and is solely about the game’s rules.

The RuneQuest RPG Wiki can be seen as an online extension of sorts of the RuneQuest Starter Set: since the latter does not contain a character generation chapter, or the full details of all the RQ weapons, etc., you can now find them online on the wiki.

from the RQ wiki

You can now spend a mere €25 for the RuneQuest Starter Set and have anything else missing available at your fingertips via the RuneQuest RPG Wiki. No more excuses for playing inferior role-playing systems!

17 November 2021

Ultra-Fast Aldryami Character Generation

The day before yesterday, I wrote that the RuneQuest Starter Set contained all the rules needed to play RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha except for character generation.

So if you’re not particularly interested in the intricacies of Gloranthan lore, but rather in RuneQuest as a TTRPG engine, you may well purchase the Starter Set and simply use my character generation posts to create your RQ adventurers. You will also need the PDF of the Classic Edition (for weapon stats and for critters), and the Red Book of Magic if you fancy a larger choice of spells.

I have already blogged about the generation of human adventurers. Today we are creating Aldryami player characters in eight easy steps:
1. Passions
2. Rune affinities
3. Characteristics
4. Starting Skills
5. Occupation
6. Cult
7. Personal skill bonuses
8. Misc.

1. Passions

Choose three starting Passions at 60% amongst the ones listed on p17 of Book 1: Rules of the Starter Set. Elves would typically have at least two of the following passions: Hate (Dwarves), Hate (Trolls), Loyalty (Elder Sister), and Loyalty (Great Tree).

2. Rune affinities

2a. Elemental Runes

Male adventurers start with the Fire/Sky Rune at 60%, females with the Earth Rune at 60%. Choose another Elemental Rune (except Darkness) that starts at 40%, and yet another at 20%.

2b. Power Runes

You may choose a Power Rune (it cannot be Death) that starts at 75%.

2c. Form Runes

All Elves start with the Plant Rune at 75% and the Man Rune at 25%, meaning that the Man-Beast axis on p1 of the adventurer folio is replaced with a Man-Plant axis.

3. Characteristics

Do not roll for characteristics but freely assign the following values: 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 to your characteristics, +4 extra points.

INT and DEX cannot be among the four lowest characteristics. STR cannot be among the three highest.

4. Starting Skills

Use the values on p2 of the adventurer folio, with the following changes:

Climb 70%
Swim 05%

Elf Lore 25%
First Aid 25%
Plant Lore 50%

Spirit Combat 50%
Worship (...) 30%

Conceal 20%

Elfsense 40%
Listen 45%
Track 25%

Hide 25%
Move Quietly 25%

Attacks - Weapon
Elf Bow 35%
Short Spear 20%
Shortsword 20%
Sing 25%
Small Shield 25%

5. Occupation

Choose an occupational category for your adventurer, and add the relevant skill bonuses:

Communication: Bargain +10
Knowledge: Evaluate +5, Lore (...) +10, Plant Lore +30, Speak Other Language (Tradetalk) +10
Manipulation: Conceal +10, 1st Craft +30, 2nd Craft (can be the same) +10
Perception: Elfsense +5, Insight (Elf) +5
Attacks - Weapon: Elf Bow +10

Agility: Dodge +5
Communication: Orate +5
Knowledge: Animal Lore +5, Elf Lore +10, First Aid +5, Homeland Lore (own forest) +5, Plant Lore +25, Speak Other Language (Tradetalk) +5
Perception: Elfsense +15, Listen +5, Scan +5, Search +5
Attacks - Weapon: Elf Bow +20, Short Spear +10, Shortsword +10

Agility: Dodge +20
Knowledge: Homeland Lore (own forest) +20
Perception: Elfsense +5
Stealth: Hide +15, Move Quietly +15
Attacks - Weapon: Elf Bow +25, Short Spear +20, Small Shield +15

Communication: Dance +5, Sing +15
Knowledge: Alchemy +5, Cult Lore (...) +15, First Aid +15, Lore (...) +5, Plant Lore +25, Treat Disease +15, Treat Poison +5.
Magic: Meditate +5, Spirit Combat +10, Worship (...) +15.

6. Cult

Your adventurer starts off as already being an Initiate of a cult. Elf adventurers are overwhelmingly initiates of Aldrya, which brings the following benefits:

You receive an elf bow, a living plant-weapon that provides you a source of 2D6+2 extra magic points in spellcasting.
The elf bow has the same stats as the composite bow from the pregen folios (except that it has 6 HPs).

You distribute +45 skill points among three or four of the following skills:
Agility: Climb
Communication: Sing
Knowledge: Cult Lore (Aldrya), First Aid, Plant Lore, Read/Write Aldryami
Magic: Meditate, Worship (Aldrya)
Manipulation: Conceal
Perception: Listen, Search, Track
Stealth: Hide, Move Quietly
Attacks - Weapon: Elf Bow, Short Spear

You also get to choose 5 points of Spirit Magic amongst the cult’s available spells: Befuddle, Countermagic, Dispel Magic, Extinguish, Heal, Light, Mobility, Multimissile, Repair, Second Sight, Shimmer, Silence, Speedart, and Vigour. Your adventurer receives 3 Rune points dedicated to their cult and is taught the Rune spell Arrow Trance. You also choose an extra Passion at 60% amongst the following ones: Devotion (Aldrya), Loyalty (Great Tree/Elder Sister).

7. Personal skill bonuses

Finally, add +25 to any four skills, and +10 to five more. No skill may be raised above 100%.

8. Misc

Choose the character’s gender and name.

Determine Age (21±2D8)

Add +1D6+6 to Reputation.

Add +1D20 to a single Passion.

Add +10% to a single Perception or Stealth skill of your choice.

Equipment: leather armour, a small shield, a short spear, a shortsword, and any equipment appropriate to your occupational category.

15 November 2021

RuneQuest Starter Set

The RuneQuest Starter Set is available at last. Chock-full of Gloranthan goodness, it is an absolute must-buy for any serious TTRPG player and/or collector.

chock-full of gaming stuff, for €25 only

I'll point you to someone else's blog post for a ‘standard’ review of the RuneQuest Starter Set. Since this blog is mostly followed by seasoned Gloranthaphiles, I am going to concentrate on what a grizzled Gloranthaphile will find of interest in it and on why you too should purchase it. First and foremost, the RQ Starter Set has been written with years of feedback from newbie and veteran players and GMs, and it shows in how the rules have been clearly laid out, re-organised, and re-written. Honestly, except for character generation (which has been left out of the Starter Set and replaced with 14 pre-generated characters), Book 1: Rules of the Starter Set contains all the rules needed to play RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. In this aspect, it is completely different from most TTRPG starter sets that only give you an inkling of the fully-fledged game system, and which require you to purchase the various manuals later on. With the RQ Starter Set, you can skip the purchase of the rulebook if you are happy not to go through the fully-fledged character generation procedure (the one with the adventurer's family history, etc., from the core rulebook) and if you are willing to use a simpler system like, for instance, my accelerated character generation or my ultra-fast character generation.

In some areas, I feel the Starter Set is even superior to the core rulebook. The tricky parry/dodge mechanisms with regards to success quality (fumble, failed, normal, special, critical) are clearly explained, with a very detailed table that details all the various cases with the relavant results. Spirit combat and the shaman–fetch relationship are also expounded upon in a much more unequivocal way than in the core rulebook.

Obviously, Book 2: the World of Glorantha does not attain the encyclopedic depth of the Guide of Glorantha, nor does it give the same overview of the myths and of the religions of Glorantha that the 220-page Sourcebook does, yet it does solve the eternal GM problem of ‘how am I going to quickly introduce Glorantha to my players’. In a mere 21 pages of (dense) text, it manages to give a satisfactory overview of the history of Glorantha, both mundane and mythical, of the Runes and of the Elder Races, of what makes Gloranthan magic and religion different from your vanilla TTRPG setting, and of what organisations your adventurer will gravitate to; it also includes a mini-gazetteer of the Dragon Pass area with the added benefit of it all being for GMs and players alike (which means you can safely pass on the booklet to your players for reading).

This is followed by what can only be described as a mini-campaign setting of Jonstown and northern Sartar. Again, in a mere 39 pages you have everything you need as a GM to run your games in the Jonstown area: city map, gazetteer, guilds, cults, major NPCs, sample NPCs, etc.

Book 3: SoloQuest is a Tunnels and Trolls-like solo adventure that has the double aim of teaching you the rules and of making you familiar with the situation in the Dragon Pass area in 1625. As a seasoned Gloranthaphile, you probably don't need to be taught the rules. However, if you've only played the adventures that were published for RQ2, RQ3 and HeroQuest, you won't be familiar with the new situation (the Dragonrise, the end of the Lunar occupation of Sartar, Argrath's conquest of Prax and Pavis, etc.), and going through the Battle of Dangerford with your player character will brush you up on your Know Glorantha skill.

As implied by its title, Book 4: Adventures presents three adventures set in Jonstown and northern Sartar. The interest for the seasoned GM is, again, to make you familiar with the new political landscape of the Dragon Pass area; the second adventure, A Fire in the Darkness, is particularly useful in this regard. As for the third adventure, the Rainbow Mounds, your players will certainly be extremely surprised if they try and go through it using whatever they may remember from the original RQ2 adventure— the times they are a-changin'!

Last but not least, the Starter Set contains several reference sheets, amongst which a handy ‘Strike Rank Tracker’ with helpful SR-related information directly printed on it such as spell casting times & SRs, held actions, spirit combat, aimed attacks, etc. Again, this should prove useful even for grizzled players & GMs.

27 October 2021

What is New with RuneQuest? (THE KRAKEN 2021)

OK, so unexpected shit happened and, as a result, I was unable to travel to THE KRAKEN this year. But as they say: ‘if you can’t travel to THE KRAKEN, THE KRAKEN will travel to you’, which it did electronically by posting a video of Jason and Neil’s What is New with RuneQuest? panel at THE KRAKEN.

Here it is for your enjoyment.

For people of the tl;dr persuasion, or who have trouble listening to people speaking English, I have written a small summary below.

As everyone is aware of now, the RuneQuest Starter Set is coming next. It is an epic, ridiculously heavy labour of love, and it’s been the core aim of the RQ team for two years.
Unless most starter sets, this starter set is designed to be useful AFTER it’s been used as a ‘starter set’:
 - the Sartarite city of Jonstown is fully detailed
 - the scenarios can be used as non-starter scenarios in a GM’s campaign

(my 2 cents: except for the character generation part, which is missing as the Starter Set only contains pre-generated characters, it can be safely used as your reference RQ rules set— the rules are sometimes even better explained and presented than in the core book!)

These products are supposed to follow:
 - the Weapons & Equipment Guide
 - the Sartar boxed set (the first in a series of locale sets)
 - the Cults book, which is actually going to be two very large books plus a slimmer prosopædia, book, all of them with mind-boggling art.

Further down:
 - maybe some small PDF-only publications (stand-alone adventures, using the elder races as PCs, this kind of stuff)
 - Big Rubble and Pavis by Robin Laws is being edited right now
 - a collection of adventures by Jason
 - a book about key Gloranthan locations by Jonathan Tweet

Even further down:
 - the GM book is ongoing — it’s been slowed down by the battle system
 - Spell decks are also in the works (personal note: do we really need these??)

On the digital side, there will be an official RQ wiki with:
 - an overview of the world of Glorantha
 - the very basic rules + a chargen module

Q&A session

Q: Any news about the heroquesting book?
A: It will probably end up as a boxed set because of all the cool ‘props’ that can be used on top of the character sheets.

Q: What is the status of the new Dragon Pass boardgame?
A: We’re going back to the original design and making it more modern (rather than the reboot that had been demoed at an earlier convention)

Q: Is there a RQ video game in the works?
A: Black Shamrock, a video game development studio, is working on one.

07 July 2021

Random Clan Terrain Generator

In 2015 I wrote a blog entry to randomly generate an Imperial Chinese Prefecture for TTRPGs set in Imperial China. I was quite satisfied with my article (itself based on a post on Éric Nieudan's now-defunct web-site), but it has only very recently occurred to me that I could easily adapt it to Sartar to make a Random Clan Terrain Generator!

What you need:
 - A standard 52-card deck with French suits (); remove the jokers and the 2's.
 - Dice.

1. Draw cards to make a 7×7 grid; leave centre of grid empty. The rectangle represents the tula, and the dark grey centre is the main settlement, the clan's capital:

2. Terrain the remaining 48 areas according to card suit; face cards mean there is a steading. See tables below:

  woods or swamp 
 ♥ hills 
 ♠ mountains 

 Jack: hamlet or stead 
 Queen: temple, shrine, other holy place 
 King: manor or mansion 
 Ace: small town or village 

Choose or draw another card for sub-types, e.g.:

 Second Card Drawn   Settlement Sub-Type   Temple Sub-Type   Manor Sub-Type 
 ♦  Sartarite   Orlanthi  Retired Rune Lord/Priest 
 ♣  Sartarite   Ernaldan  Guildhouse
 ♥  Sartarite   other Sartarite   Local Thane 
 ♠  non-Sartarite (e.g., Sun Domers, Lunar colonists)   pre-Sartarite   Wealthy Landowner 

 Third Card Drawn   other Sartarite Sub-Type   pre-Sartarite Sub-Type 
 ♦  Humakt  True/Dream Dragon 
 ♣  Issaries  Major Spirit
 ♥  Lhankor Mhy  Mysterious otherworldly being
 ♠  other  other

3. Encounters and events. Now, whenever the player characters are travelling throughout the clan territory, random encounters may happen! For each card, roll d20 and compare to card value (Jack = 11, Queen = 12,  King = 13, Ace = 14). If the die roll is = card value, look at the encounter on the table below.

Variant: Use a d10 in the light grey area.

 Die   Civilised Encounters
Die roll < card value 
Die roll = card value 
 1   Farmers travelling foraging poaching fleeing 
 2   Fishermen working mending nets famished building a dam 
 3   Merchants caravan lost being robbed loaded with silver  Ambush or trap 
 4   Initiates preaching looking for help begging on a pilgrimage   Impromptu market 
 5   Warriors professional rural militia urban militia press-gang   Freak weather 
 6   Orlanthi from Another Clan mercenaries traders transients pilgrims   Blocked roads 
 7   Orlanthi from Another Tribe warband migrating raiding hiding  Fire 
 8   Non-human Tusk Riders Elves Beast Men Trolls  Flood 
 9   Adventurers bruised & beaten hostile friendly richly equipped   Battle 
 10   Lunars tax collectors ♣missionaries colonists soldiers   Ghosts 
 11   Bandits river raiders on the run hiding carrying plunder   Country fair 
 12   Thieves street thugs running from the law spies burglars   Bandit Lair 
 13   Sun Domers merchants ambassadors prisoners pilgrims   Siege 
 14   Plague 

Feedback and suggestions welcome.

03 July 2021

The Barbapapa

This stems from a humorous thread on Facebook. You don't wanna know.

Zuccarum Netum
The Barbapapa are large, natural shapeshifters living in the wilderness of Genertela. In their native form, Barbapapa are blob-shaped, with a distinct head and arms, but no legs. Male Barbapapa have rounder bottoms, whereas female Barbapapa have a slenderer form. Each Barbapapa can adopt any form they choose, but they remain easily identifiable by always retaining their faces and their distinctive colour.
Barbapapa display likeable faces but are actually flesh-eating predators. Their favourite preys are unsuspecting children whom they attract by singing catchy tunes. The prey is put to sleep by the lullaby and then its body is slowly absorbed by the blob-shaped monster.
Even though they are fearsome opponents, Barbapapa will only fight if cornered.

a Barbapapa in Prax

Characteristics (Average)
STR 4D6 (14)
CON 3D6 (10-11)
SIZ 5D6 (17-18)
INT 2D6+6 (13)
POW 3D6 (10-11)
DEX 2D6+3 (10)
CHA 2D6+6 (13)

Hit Points: 13      Move: 8
Magic Points: 11     Base SR: 3
Armour: 1-point hide. Some Barbapapa are protected by 2-point thick fur.
Skills: Disguise 75%, Dodge 25%, Hide 85%, Listen 50%, Shapeshift 100%, Spirit Combat 50%, Swim 75%.
Special defence: Since the Barbapapa’s shape-shifting ability is almost instantaneous, it will create a hole around any piercing weapon about to hit its body, or modify it cushion-like in case a blow by a crushing weapon is about to land. As a result, only area-affecting physical attacks may harm a Barbapapa. Specials and criticals will also hit a Barbapapa; in this case, the attack was too precise for the Barbapapa to modify its shape in time.

Barbapapa Hit Locations
Body 01-16     1/11
Head 17-20     1/5

Weapon % Damage SR
Envelop 100 8 points of digestive fluid 1
Pseudopod 50 1D8+1D4 7