13 July 2016

RuneQuest Classic Edition Char Gen

RuneQuest 2 (henceforth referred to as RuneQuest Classic Edition) is my all-time favourite fantasy role-playing game. Its age, however, shows in some of its aspects, and in particular in how unorganised and convoluted character creation is compared to modern games: you have to go back and forth between several chapters to “get character creation right”, and some information useful at character generation is hidden within the sections about character improvement.

Also, we’ve been used to using “professions” and “cultural backgrounds” from later incarnations of the game and from its sister publications, and forgotten (at least it was my case) how deeply “Old School” the RQ2 char-gen was, with its focus on adventurers’ organisations and on repaying back debt by looting dungeons...

Anyway, I present you here for your enjoyment (and, hopefully, for actual use) a summarised RuneQuest Classic Edition Character Generation primer, perfected with the help of the jolly RQ2 G+ community.

STEP 1 – Characteristics

Roll the character’s seven characteristics according to their race (roll 3D6 for each characteristic for a human character; see Chapter VIII of RuneQuest Classic Edition for other races):
  • STR ⓘ
  • CON ⓘ
  • SIZ
  • INT
  • POW
  • DEX ⓘ
  • CHA

ⓘ: can be increased by training, see step 7 below.

STEP 2 – Abilities and other Derived Characteristics

STEP 2a – Abilities
Compute abilities according to section A of the Classic Handouts.
  • Attack (skill category bonus)
  • Parry (skill category bonus)
  • Defence
  • Hit Points (Total HPs + Hit Points per Location using the table in section A of the Classic Handouts)
  • Damage Bonus
  • Perception (skill category bonus)
  • Stealth (skill category bonus)
  • Manipulation (skill category bonus)
  • Knowledge (skill category bonus)

Note 1: the Oratory skill does not fall in any of the previous categories.
Note 2: Should any of the character’s characteristics be increased by training, please do not forget to re-calculate the character’s abilities.

STEP 2b – Other Derived Characteristics
  • Movement (always equal to 8 for humans; see Chapter VIII of RuneQuest Classic Edition for other races)
  • Maximum Encumbrance, average of STR and CON, but capped by the character’s STR
  • Strike Rank Modifier, per the table in section A of the Classic Handouts.

STEP 3 – Starting Money

Roll according to section A of the Classic Handouts.

SPECIAL – Creating a Shaman Character
Becoming a shaman is so time-consuming that the character cannot undergo any other training (i.e., skip Steps 4 to 7). Please refer to pages 44 to 46 of RuneQuest Classic Edition.

STEP 4 – Compute Combat Skills

STEP 4a – Starting Combat Skills
The basic chance of all weapon skills is 5%, except when indicated otherwise (see section A of the Classic Handouts).

STEP 4b – Get Credit
These skill increases may be bought using the character’s starting money. However, since this amount is usually very low (and thus insufficient), a character may obtain credit from the various guilds; the credit is equal to STR × 100L.

STEP 4c – Increase Combat Skills
See tables on p26, p30 and p31 of RuneQuest Classic Edition.

STEP 5 – Compute Non-Combat Skills

STEP 5a – Starting Non-Combat Skills
The basic chance of each skill is indicated in the various tables in section D of the Classic Handouts.
Note that alchemical skills are not expressed in percentages.

STEP 5b – Get Credit
A character may obtain credit from the Thieves Association; the credit is equal to DEX × 100L. This credit may only be used to purchase thieving skills. Other guilds/crafts do not offer credit, and require apprenticeship in order to receive credit for training during character generation (see Appendix H of Chapter X of RuneQuest Classic Edition for more details on this).

STEP 5c – Increase Non-Combat Skills
See section D of the Classic Handouts.
Contrary to combat skills, non-combat skills are only taught by some guilds, which may have special requirements:
  • Becoming an associate member of the Alchemists Guild costs 5,000L. This is a pre-requisite to learning any of the alchemical skills.
  • Becoming an associate member of the Armourers Guild costs 5,000L. This is a pre-requisite to learning any of the armourers’ skills.
Other guilds do offer training for pay to learn their skills but all payment is required in advance: the Free Sages, Players and Minstrels, Foresters, Maritime Brotherhood, and the Horsemasters’ Guild. Each of these guilds offers training in a different sets of skills, consult Chapter VI for more details.

STEP 6 – Purchase Battle Magic

Credit from cults for Battle Magic spell purchases = POW × 100L.
See section H of the Classic Handouts.

STEP 7 – Increase Characteristics by Training

STR may be increased by spending 1,000L per STR point.
CON may be increased by spending 2,000L per CON point.
Neither STR nor CON may be raised above the highest of STR, CON, SIZ before any modifications are applied.
DEX may be increased by spending 1,000L per DEX point.
DEX can be raised up to the racial maximum.

STEP 8 – Equipment

Starting equipment depends on the background rolled at Step 3.
What the character may purchase depends on the amount of money rolled at Step 3, and whatever credit money they have left from Steps 4 and 5.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE – Appendix H of Chapter X of RuneQuest Classic Edition presents an optional system of previous experience for player characters.

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