Showing posts with label RuneQuest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RuneQuest. Show all posts

Friday, February 05, 2016

Steve Perrin Joins RuneQuest Development Team

In the spirit of bringing the band back together, Chaosium is delighted to announce that Steve Perrin is joining the design team for Chaosium's new edition of RuneQuest. "We knew that Steve Perrin’s place at the table, as both the creator and lead author of the original groundbreaking ‘78 and ‘79 editions of game, was a natural fit that harkens back to the genius and originality of RuneQuest", said Rick Meints, President of Chaosium.

In late 2015 Moon Design Publications and Chaosium successfully Kickstarted the RuneQuest Classic Edition campaign, a triumphant reissue of the iconic 2nd Edition of the RuneQuest rules and the supplements produced for it: Cults of Prax, Pavis, Big Rubble, Griffin Mountain, TrollPak and many others.

"We want to usher in the newest exploration of Glorantha with a tribute to the masterpiece opus of work that has come before. Part of Steve's role is to help insure that this edition contains the best possible game mechanics while maintaining backwards compatibility with RuneQuest 2", said Jeff Richard, creative director at Chaosium.

The new version of RuneQuest maintains backwards compatibility with earlier editions, while also containing a number of unique innovations that resonate with Glorantha, Greg Stafford's mythical campaign setting where RuneQuest started and to which it returns. This new edition incorporates Runes directly into both your character and the magic system you use, including their passions and motivations.

"The rules reinforce immersion in the setting even more than the original RuneQuest rules did, and ideas experimentally brought forth in Griffin Mountain reach their fruition", said Richard.

Seizing this unique chance to get this right, Chaosium has brought in a team of notable game designers to support Chaosium's rebirth of RuneQuest, including Sandy Petersen (Call of Cthulhu), Ken Rolston (Paranoia, Elder Scrolls, RQ3),  Chris Klug (James Bond 007 RPG, DragonQuest) and Jason Durall (BRP, Conan).

A special pre-release version of the new rules will be revealed at Gen Con later this year, along with introductory scenario sessions. A wealth of all-new campaign material and supplements for the new edition will follow.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Perrin Conventions

The place where OD&D and Runequest merge and overlap are in the Perrin Conventions. Originally a set of house rules for the play of D&D in his games, Steve Perrin wrote up what became known as the Perrin Conventions. The house rules became popular in many California-based campaigns and also lead to inspire the creation of the Runequest system (of which Perrin was also an original designer). You can also see how these inspired the Holmes revision of D&D as well.

It is interesting, also, to see an era thought of as preferring rulings over rules as generating house rules that add quite a bit of complexity to the D&D system. Like anything, there was a lot of variance among gamers and no real standard of play. While some have always liked lighter approaches to the rules, there have also always been those who are interested in heavier, more detailed rules for play. A part of the reason that I decided to post these houserules is because I periodically think about the use of them (or more likely portions of them) in my own Demon Codex game, or at least rules inspired by them. I really like the idea of Perrin's Dexterity roll, but that is probably because I have liked the idea of it in various BRP games over the years as well.

Anyway, posting them can start discussion, so perhaps something will shake loose that will inspire me and my design.

After this point are the Conventions, enjoy!

Per the introduction to Chaosium's All the World's Monsters, vol. II: "Steve Perrin's CONVENTIONS have been used entirely or in part by fantasy role-players in the San Francisco bay area and beyond since they debuted at DUNDRACON I in March 1976. They are revised and expanded here for all those who want to know how people fight these monsters. While the ideas start from D&D, much of the material can be used with any system."

Many thanks to Steve Henderson. Clint Bigglestone, Nioolai Shapero, Jerry Jacks, Michael McNeil, Owen and Hilda Hannifen, Dave Harqrave, Dan Pierson, and the many contributors to Alarum & Excursions: may your characters have close shaves and your dungeons be hairy.

In a melee round, (which takes up 10 seconds), each character can perform one or more of the functions below, unless he is busy bleeding his life away and is no longer interested. The functions below are listed in the order to be followed, even if some of them can be thought to be simultaneous. For those wishing to subdivide movement into seconds, the approximate seconds within the round during which the action may occur are shown in italics after the description of the action.

Anyone attempting to use missile or spell when melee cannot use them, and will strike last in that melee round (see the description of combat for the usual strike order) if he manages (via a dexterity roll) to get a hand weapon free. Otherwise, he will have no strike at all for that round, and must take the punishment if his armor fails.

(1). Monster Motivation. The DM determines what his monster will do in the coming round. No melee time (MT) spent

(2). Declaration of Intent. Players declare their character(s)'s intentions for the coming round, including specific target and the nature of missile or spell. Target can be ''first one to come through the door," "the last one in line," etc. Once declared, the character may follow through or abort, but not change his target or objective. But alternate targets can be chosen as a contingency plan. No melee time (MT) spent

(3). Preparation. The undertaking of something to be completed by the next round or of the end of the current one. Involves complicated procedures such as finding a special item in a full pack, changing dissimilar weapons, pouring oil in front of the character to make a barricade, etc. It should be an activity which will last the whole turn. A DM can vary the speed of completion because of various characteristics. MT: 10 seconds base.

(4). Missile Fire from Prepared Weapons. This refers to crossbows, guns, bows, wands, spells, etc., which already have been aimed. Missile weapons can be fire at this time only if the same target was fired at previously or if the character has prepared (see 3. above) opportunity fire for a specific area, such as a doorway or corner. MT: 2nd second

(5). Movement Up To 30'. If characters meet within this space, missile fire or spells at one of them after this phase may hit the other, unless their sizes are disparate. MT: 2nd-5th second.

(6). "At Hand" Missile Fire. At-hand missile weapons which were not already aimed may be fired at an obvious target. The intention to fire at an obvious target must have been declared during the Declaration of Intent. MT: 6th second.

(7). Movement Up To 30'. More movement available for those not already engaged in melee. MT: 6th-9th seconds

(8). Melee Resolution. Fought out for all who came next to an enemy after the first movement (see 5.). Those who came next to an enemy during the second movement (see 7.) do not have time to strike a blow for this turn, must take any fire from at-hand missiles (see 6.), but prevent even a prepared missile (see 4.) from being used on them next turn. MT: 4th-9th seconds.

(9.) Spells and New Missile Fire. This can be done by unengaged characters who have not moved more than one 30' movement phase. MT: 7th-10th seconds.

(10). Bookkeeping. Take this time to add points regenerated, subtract spell points, updating the cheracter for the next round.

MOVEMENT - from the basic ''armored man moves 60 feet." The phases of a character who can move 120' (12") can be done as two movement phases of 60' (6") each. The derivations and possibilities are obvious.

PREPARATION TIME - time required for complex tasks can be based on a dexterity roll. For every 10% of a roll better than the needed dexterity, a character completes the task one second earlier. Example: a character with a dexterity of 12 rolls a 23. He needed 60, bettering the roll be 37%, or three increments of 10%. His task could be done within 7 seconds instead of 10, leaving him free to meet an attack. If he was spreading oil of Slipperiness in front of himself and an enemy came next to him on the second move phase, that's one enemy down. The dexterity roll would not work on anything which takes a set period of time, like gathering energies for a spell. If the character had rolled an 83, that would put him 2 increments of 10% over what he needed The task goes 2 seconds into the next round.

MISSILE FIRE - a wand or stave takes a certain time to be ready for another burst, so only one charga could be expended a melee round. Missile weapons have other limits, which follow.

Heavy Crossbow: one shot per two melee rounds, always to be fired in the same missile phase the first one was, unless purposefully delayed. Cannot move.

Longbow, Composite Bow, Light Crossbow: two shots per melee round. First either at Prepared or Ready phase (assuming either applies), and then at the New Missile Fire phase. If moving, forsake one shot for every 30' or fraction thereof moved.

Short Bow, Modern Guns: three shots per melee round if Prepared for the first one and there is no movement. Lose one shot per round for every 30' or fraction thereof moved. Thus a user of such a weapon could fire a Prepared shot, then run 60' in that round. The same applies to the user of a wand or staff or a Prepared spell or device.

Early Gunpowder Gun: one shot per three to six melee rounds, depending on just how ancient the piece is. No movement allowed by firer in a round in which the piece fires.

DEXTERITY - the term "dexterity roll" appears throughout these conventions. The ability to do many things, especially combat and magic, as well as complex actions such as changing weapons, turning and firing, opening a box and jumping back, closing a door quickly, etc., depends on a combination of dexterity and experience. Success in the percentile dice roll depends on the following: the basic dexterity roll is a simple roll of 5% per point of dexterity, A dexterity of 3 always has a 15% chance of succeeding; a dexterity of 18 always has a 10% chance (91-00) of muffing it.

The type of armor worn can decrease the effectiveness of dexterity. For plate, subtract 2 from the dexterity bonus; for mail, subtract 1 from the dexterity bonus; for bare skin, add 1 to the dexterity bonus. This could be offset by experience.

(1). First strike in any sltuation, whether melee combat, spell casting, or whatever depends on who has the highest dexterity. This does not apply to surprise situations, unless it is mutual surprise. Hasted or sped conditions do count. Haste doubles dexterity in this connection. (Wayne Shaw Option: once the first strike dexterity is determined, all haste bonuses, etc., are figured, roll 2D6 for each character and add the result to the dexterity. This will give a little variety to just who gets to strike first.) (Further Modification: a character with a long weapon or a long reach and a dexterity of at least half of his opponent's will have first strike.

(2). When a character takes more than 10% damage, and each time he takes damage thereafter, the percentage of hit points he has left shall be found and precentile dice rolled. If the percentage or less is not rolled, the character is knocked back(if less than 50% down) or knocked down (if 50% or more damaged). If not knocked down, roll again to see if the character is knocked back.

Knocked Back: a character must make his dexterity roll in order to get in a blow if he has the lesser dexterity and therefore must strike after being hit, or retain his place of first strike on the next round if he has the higher dexterity.

Knocked Down: a character gets no strike on that turn (if he has the lesser dexterity) and must make his percentage to get a strike on the next turn. If he does get a strike, it will be the last one of the turn. If left alone, he can regain his feet on making a percentage roll, but if pressed he will stay down, defending himself as best he can, continuing to get in the last shot.

Remember: a character must make his percentage every time he takes damage, after the initial 10% damage is taken.

(3). One-to-one combat cannot be broken off unless an opponent has been knocked back or down, or the higher dexterity fighter makes a dexterity roll. If the higher dexterity fighter makes his roll, the lower dexterity fighter may pursue, getting first shot, if he makes his own dexterity roll.

(4). A combined strength, dexterity, end level score of 30 is necessary to allow a character the use of two weapons in melee combat (and strength and dexterity must each at least be 11). Anyone useing two weapons without the necessary total will add the difference between the necessary total and his total to the number needed to hit his opponent. A dexterity roll must be achieved to use the second weapon in any melee round.

(5). When using two weapons, the first weapon strikes according to the wielder's dexterity, and the second weapon as if his dexterity were halved. EXAMPLE: a character with a dexterity of 16 is fighting someone with dexterity 12. The 16-man will get his first weapon in first, then the 12-man will strike with his, and then the 16-man will get in with his second weapon as if his dexterity were 8.

(6). A two-weapon man may up his armor class by one by using one weapon as a shield in man-to-man combat. Despite any pluses on the waapon, it acts as a simple shield. Of course, if used as a shield, the second weapon cannot be used to strike.

- Steve Perrin
Oakland, California

November, 1977

Musings On Chaosium's Magic World, Part 1

Magic World is a fantasy game from one of tabletop gaming's longest existing publishers, Chaosium Games. Once upon a time there was a role-playing game that thought that fantasy games could be more than the high fantasy tropes used and reused by D&D. This game was called Runequest, and you have probably heard about it before. Runequest was interesting in that it dealt with some things that RPGs really didn't deal with otherwise: the impact of religion and culture on the game's world and the player characters was probably the biggest things. These ideas from Runequest spawned a lot of interesting concepts and games over the years, from King Arthur Pendragon to Hero Wars/Heroquest to hundreds of non-Chaosium games big and small.

For Chaosium Games, Runequest became a cornerstone of their publishing. Their tabletop RPGs took ideas or the system from Runequest and adapted it to things like Lovecraftian horror and Occult Fantasy (if you've never seen Chaosium's translation of the French RPG Nephlim, you need to find a copy of it). Along the way Chaosium acquired the license to Michael Moorcock's Elric Saga and published boardgames and a series of role-playing games based on Moorcock's characters and worlds. This lead to one of the earliest dark fantasy games, based on Moorcock's Elric called Stormbringer (with a brief sidetrack into the Elric! game for its 4th edition). Stormbringer spawned five editions and a wide variety of supplements over the course of its history.

Flash forward to today (or a few months ago when this book came out) and Chaosium found itself in a hobby where fantasy is king, and they were no longer able to publish either of their fantasy properties. No more Stormbringer because the license to Moorcock's stuff is with another publisher, and no more Runequest name because, well, a lot of stuff happened. What's a publisher to do when they have the system and no name to go with it? Simple, they dig around in their history for a name that they do own (Magic World from the old Worlds of Wonder boxed set) and build a new game around it.

Magic World is literally built upon the shoulders of giants. Editor Ben Monroe went through years worth of Stormbringer material and carefully weeded through it to take out the references to Moorcock's work but kept all of the flavor and assumptions of the underlying system's approach to fantasy gaming.

The system eschews the standards of class and level for a skill-based approach that puts more importance on what a character knows and is capable of doing, and letting that define the character. While using the same Basic Roleplaying System that was originally developed for Runequest, it is a standalone game and does not require anything else to play. You could use the big gold book, Basic Roleplaying, from Chaosium to give your Magic World game more options, but it is not a requirement. And if you're looking for creatures to populate your world, everything from old Runequest supplements to the Malleus Monsromo (one of the best monster manuals ever made) for Call of Cthulhu to the old Stormbringer stuff will be compatible. Some material, like the Call of Cthulhu monsters, may require a minimal bit of adaptation, but ultimately it will all fit. By its nature and ancestry, Magic World has a lustier approach to fantasy than with many other fantasy RPGs. For me, this is a good thing because I think that Magic World has less of a high fantasy feel to it (as typified by Tolkien and his many, many imitators) and more of (what I hate to call) "low fantasy" approach. I would use the label Swords & Sorcery, but I think that this would pigeonhole the game and make people think that it is capable only of characters like Elric or Conan or the Grey Mouser.

Magic World is available in PDF and print, either directly from Chaosium Games, or via traditional distribution through your local gaming store. If you want fantasy, but you are looking for something that is different from many of the fantasy games that are out there, you would not do wrong to check out Magic World.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Magic World PDF Is Live!

Another announcement of a "book" going on sale. This time it is the Magic World PDF from Chaosium. Yeah, that price is a bit wow. I don't set the prices, I just report them. Hopefully that's just a typo or something. I've seen the early stuff and +Ben Monroe has done a really good job with getting this new book together and spiffing up the old Elric and Runequest material for this. The physical book is supposed to be ready in March, from what I am told.

I do love that cover, however, and this is BRP Fantasy Role-Playing at its finest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Magic World Cover

Magic World from Chaosium games is coming. Built from their historic and influential line of fantasy role-playing games comes a new edition of Magic World. This is a "generic" fantasy RPG that isn't tied to any one world or setting and is built from the foundation of Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing system that haw powered such games as Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, SuperWorld and Larry Niven's Ringworld. Here is a first look at the cover to come:

There is also further support for Magic World past this core book planned, so stay tuned for more to come.

Item # CHA2028
220 Pages (estimated)
SRP $26.95 (estimated)
ISBN10: 1568823657
by Lynn Willis, Ben Monroe & Friends

You can find out more about the upcoming Magic World at: and

Between this book and the new edition of OpenQuest coming, I am very excited for percentile-based gaming.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Talking About Mongoose's Legend Role-Playing Game

Mongoose's Legend is the spiritual successor to the RuneQuest game originally developed and released by Chaosim Games and Avalon Hill, back in the 70s and 80s. Mongoose's Legend is the actual successor to their own RuneQuest game, rebranded and given a life extension after Mongoose gave up the license on the RuneQuest name. Much like the earlier incarnations of the RuneQuest game, Legend does one thing very well: it gives gamers a grittier alternative to the 800lb. gorilla of fantasy role-playing...Dungeons & Dragons.

Inspired by, and derived from, the Basic Role-Playing System that has powered games such as RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu, Legend is a fantasy game that relies on character attributes and skills, rather than classes and levels, to define the capabilities of a character. This might not be for everyone, and Legend would take some stretching to reach some of the power levels of that other fantasy role-playing game, but what Legend does well.

Character generation in Legend is a snap. Legend offers two manners with which to create characters: the tried and true random method as well as a point buy method. Either of these are capable of creating well-rounded and interesting characters. Coupled with guidelines for Veteran characters, you can make characters that run the gamut from starting adventurers to seasoned pros, in no time at all. Cultural Backgrounds and Professions let you decide who your character was before becoming an adventurer, leaving it up to you to determine what your character is going to be through play. Having the option of both random determination and focused point buy should make a spectrum of gamers happy. Heroic abilities give your character the sort of "legend"ary capabilities to grow into that will make them the match of any fictional creation.

Task resolution is simple and everything is based off of the percentile dice, giving an intuitive way to explain what characters are capable of doing to both non-gamers, and gamers who may not be experienced with percentile-based game systems.

Legend postulates a world filled with magic, more so that many other fantasy games available on the market. One of the things that sets this game apart from many other fantasy games is the concept of Common Magic. Common Magic, simply enough, is the inherent magic of the universe, those magical effects that anyone can use without having to go through the training and experience of most magic-using characters in other games. This helps to create a richer fantasy world where magic is a part of the every day. This might not be fancy or powerful magic, but it can be life (and game) changing. This is one element that has been with RuneQuest since the very beginning, and it surprises me that has not been adopted by more fantasy games. Having common, everyday magic within the reach of everyone makes for a fantasy that is so much more fantastic that what you find in a lot of role-playing games.

The graphic design of Legend isn't fancy, but that isn't a problem. The black and white design is clean and easy to read. The illustrations, also in black and white, do a very good job of setting the tone for the game, and its implied world. Legend may not have a default setting, like when Mongoose published it originally under the RuneQuest brand, but the implied world that comes across through the text, the art work, and through design choices like Common Magic, makes for a rich implied world that is just waiting for you and your gaming group to fill in with the exploits of your characters. If Legend is not in your gamer's toolbox of fantasy games, you should fix that with this PDF. Even if you do not play Legend, the ideas presented in this game can be brought across to any fantasy game and enrich it with its different approaches to the genre.

Another nice thing about this game is that it is 100% OGL-released open gaming content. Obviously the illustrations and such are not a part of this, but there is still plenty of meat on this game's bones. What exactly does this mean for you? Basically, one of two things:
  1. You can publish your own expansion material, settings, new rules options and the like for the game (you can find a compatibility logo over here on Mongoose's website). Your Legend games can then inspire and create games for others.
  2. You can create a completely new game based on the Legend system. This is what D101 Games did with the earlier RuneQuest SRD to create their great OpenQuest game. I talked about OpenQuest in a previous blog post here, if Legend sounds interesting to you, you should check it out as well.
Legend is a solid game, a game that is well worth your time and effort to check out. I have a link to buy the PDF just below (which is selling for only $1 at the time this was written). If you have questions or comments about this review, you can find me over at Google+ or Twitter. If you follow me at Google+ and it isn't readily apparent for me why you are doing it, just drop me a mesage via my profile and let me know.

You can purchase the PDF of Legend from RPGNow/DriveThruRPG. Yes, that is an affiliate code, but it helps me to be able to pick up new material to be able to talk about with you. I have a couple of the other Legend PDFs, and if there is enough interest in this I will talk about some of them as well. Let me know in the comments here and either of the places I mentioned above, if you would like to see further material talked about on this blog.

And designers/ can reach me at either of the above links if you would like reviews done of your material as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking About D101 Games' OpenQuest

OpenQuest is a game that readily admits to standing on the shoulders of giants. Much of the foundation of it, as a game, were laid by the multitude of designers from Chaosium and Mongoose working on Basic Roleplaying and the games that it inspired. That does not, however, make this a knock off by any stretch of the imagination. Like many games being put out today, particularly those among the retro-gaming and Old School Renaissance movements, OpenQuest is first and foremost a labor of love by its creator Newt Newport.