Tales of Mythic Adventure Episode 17 – “A Foundational Document for RPGs”

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Kickstarter Countdown 0:00 – 3:35

With four days to go on with the RuneQuest Classic Kickstarter, Jeff reckons this episode is as timely and punchy as a recent episode of “South Park”. In this up-to-the-minute torn-from-the-headlines podcast the Griffin Mountain stretch goal is just about there, tripping over $145,000.

RQ1 Glorontha (sic) by Chasium (sic) 3:35 – 14:25

The RQ1 manuscript has also recently been included added to Kickstarter as an Add-on. As Steve Perrin discusses in his introductory essay to the RuneQuest Playtest Manuscript, RQ1 was put together in a screaming hurry for the 1978 Origins convention. As the deadline approached about a quart of white-out had to be used on the typewritten manuscript, but even so the back cover managed to misspell both the name of the setting (“Glorontha”) and even the company producing it (“Chasium”). Nevertheless, the game was a hit and they sold every copy.

RuneQuest was very influential and was one of the two foundational documents for RPGs (D&D obviously being the other one). There are level-based games and skill-based games, the X and the Y axis of game design, if you will. From the interplay between those two sets of rules you get just about every game, which generally fall into two camps: d20 (D&D and its many successors) and d100 (RQ, the many variants of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying system, and beyond)

When it first appeared on the scene in 1978 RuneQuest was quickly recognized as revolutionary. Where D&D uses a level-based approach, in which characters of the same class are similar, RQ has a probability-based percentile skill system, allowing a practically infinite number of player variants. With classes irrelevant, players are able to do this skill development on their own during the course of the game. As Steve Perrin says in his essay, “characters could do anything”.

RuneQuest directly influenced (or was even the progenitor) of many other games, including Call of Cthulhu, 3rd Edition D&DGURPS, World of Darkness, the Morrowwind and King of Dragon Pass computer games, Pendragon, Ars Magic, and many more.

Treasures from the Vault 14:25- 25:50

The one thousand dollar backer level is going to have several volumes of unpublished material. MOB is at pains to point out that this material was not published due to lack of quality, but had to be removed from RQ3 when that game was made taken into a generic fantasy game direction: it was just too Glorantha-specific. Jeff diplomatically says that he played and enjoyed many RQ3 games, but from a design perspective it meant that a lot of richness departed from the choices available to the writer. The guys note in passing that the new Chaosium version of RuneQuest, due later in 2016 is fully-enmeshed in the Gloranthan setting, but also incorporates lessons learned from the last thirty years of RPG game development, including many elements from RQ6.

Rich and Frugal Value Kickstarter pledge levels 14:25 – End

For those who find the $1000.00 dollar level a bit out of their reach, MOB points out that the base $30.00 pledge provides backers with a hardcover book, printed player handouts and a GM screen, plus PDFs of Fangs, Apple Lane and Snakepipe Hollow. Jeff says that anyone who has listened this far in the podcast should surely have pledged at this level, but he may indeed just be preaching to the converted! You can also get the RQ1 Origins manuscript as a $10:00 pdf, so it is available for reading at a frugal price point.

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