I’m reposting this from elsewhere in the threads because I think it is a significant point:
RuneQuest is about having epic fantasy that is interwoven with a fantastic setting. It is geared up for letting your player characters confront dragons, fight off tusk riders, interact with spirits and gods, and get involved in the affairs of one’s tribe, city, or kingdom – and that’s just the stuff in the GM Adventure’s Pack. The rules reflect that – they model how your player characters interact with the setting, including with NPCs.The rules are not there for the GM to model how all the NPCs interact with each other or the setting. That’s already defined or can be quickly decided by the GM. The GM Pack has plenty of “benchmark NPCs”- good Orlanthi warrior, average militia, herders, a tribal king and other leaders, etc. There’s the Bestiary with plenty of samples, plus several more scenario books, with more to come.
In short, there are not one set of rules for players and another for NPCs, or PCs have special rules – there are simply rules for playing a Tabletop Roleplaying Game with a GM and one or more players. And that’s it.
The rules do a good job of showing mechanically how the gods and adventurers interact, through spells, Rune points, magic point economy, etc. But they have their limitations. The God Learners could “see the rules” and figured out ways to “minimax” – but they didn’t realise the rules didn’t model everything and the cosmos was able to “snap back” from the abuse.
In short the monomyth was not the God Learner failing – it was their rules lawyering and power gaming minimax abuses!
What about RQ3? the problem was that RQ3’s approach meant: 1. the rules broke easily, 2. stat blocks were much harder to create (which means less material can be produced), and most importantly, it meant 3. the rules were going to be wrong. A lot.
In ALL games the PCs are special. Because they are played by Players. And because they get involved in a lot of stuff. By definition that makes them special. They are protagonists.
That doesn’t mean they a super-magical, or more powerful, or whatever. It means they are the protagonists of what is going on at the table.
So if I run a game where all the characters are farmers and herders (which I have done), the PCs are still special. More interesting stuff happens around them than to the ordinary farmer – because at the end of the day, the game is about the stuff that happens to the PCs and the players and the GMs are there wanting to have a good and entertaining time. And when the PCs are doing “uninteresting stuff” we tend to gloss it over. “OK for the next few weeks, you all are going to be plowing your fields because it is that time of year. So let’s skip a head a season….”
So it doesn’t matter whether you are running Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon, Nephilim, or even games like D&D, your Player Characters are special because they are the characters at the table.
Even more to the point – Why would I as a GM ever want to be making experience checks for every NPC? And to take this train of thought to its logical absurdity, shouldn’t I as a GM populate EVERYONE in the setting using the chargen rules? I mean why should I privilege only those NPCs that the PCs have meaningful interactions with?
In my games, characters under Player control get all the benefit of experience checks, etc., as long as the Player does the work. The poor NPCs under my control get whatever skills and such I feel appropriate.