Today we are diving into the RuneQuest RPG for the first time ever! I am excited to share what I have learned about this RPG with you on this blog and on YouTube (link at the bottom).
First off, where can you buy RuneQuest?
$60 from Amazon
$55 from the Chaosium website
$28 for PDF on Drivethrurpg.com
The book I have is a hardback version and is 445 pages.
$55 divided by 445 pages comes out to $0.12 per page. I know there is a lot more that determines value, but I like to know the price per page just as a comparison.
The art on the cover and the back of the book is really nice. It has an old-school flare that still looks modern and up to date.
Inside the book
Flipping through the book, the pages have a nice satin finish to them. Some of the full-page art pages they made gloss finish to make the art pop nicely. But it is only on the pages with nothing but art. This makes me very happy. It allows me to see the beautiful artwork on the glossy pages but still be able to read without fighting glare the whole time which is exhausting.
What is RuneQuest? – page 5
RuneQuest is one of those RPGs that I have heard about for a long time but have never gotten the chance to look into. It first came around in 1978 and was the first RPG published by The Chaosium which was a 3 person company out of San Francisco Bay, California.
Back then, RPGs were pretty new and RuneQuest took the world of roleplaying by surprise because it was different than other games out at that time. There was no leveling, no experience points, no classes, and very few restrictions on how weapons and spells can be used by the players.
What is Glorantha?
The world that RuneQuest takes place in is called Glorantha. It is a Bronze Aged world where people align themselves with their tribe, city, and cult. Humanity is the dominant species but only because the Elder Races keep on fighting with each other.
In Glorantha, religion plays a big part of every day life. The gods and goddesses of this world are real to its inhabitants. And there are many gods.
The Sun, Earth, Air, Water, Darkness, and Moon have powerful gods associated with them. There are also gods of Death, Fertility, Change, Stasis, Illusion, Truth, Disorder, and Harmony.
There are lesser deities such associated with things like cats, cows, bats, vengeance, and volcanos.
Runes – page 6
Characters are tied to several Runes. These Runes were created by the gods and your characters can join cults of these gods and gain new magical abilities. As you progress in your cult, your connection to the Runes also gains strength as well as your abilities.
What will you need to play? – page 6
RuneQuest uses many different dice. d10, d20, d8, d6, and d4 dice.
Most of the skill checks use a percentile system based on d100 rolls. Some of the time you are going to be rolling multiple dice to determine damage. Something like 2d8+1d4 would be 2 d8 dice then roll 1 d4 dice and add them together.
Just know you are going to be using a bunch of different dice. So you finally get to use that cool set you bought that is currently collecting dust.
Unique features of RuneQuest – page 7
First of all, combat is dangerous. If someone attacks you with a sword, you better be able to parry or dodge that strike or block it with a shield of another weapon or your going to be in trouble. Humans only have so many hit points and there are no luck points or hero points in this game. If you run into combat without being prepared, your character is going to die.
Even then, they say it doesn’t matter how skilled or powerful your character is, disaster is always around the corner and combat should not be taken lightly.
Something else that is cool about RuneQuesst is that magic is everywhere. Everyone has magic. They say magic is and religion are basic to living in Glorantha and it is accepted by everyone.
Gods are real things that can exert their powers upon the world. Most people are polytheistic, meaning they serve many gods. There is also shamanism, philosophical materialism, and mystical illumination. A person may worship one special god but they acknowledge and often worship several gods.
The powers of magic in RuneQuest
Fighting with magic in this world can change the tides completely. Priests can cast bolts of lightning, or call down flames from the heavens; shamans can summon spirits that can destroy entire regiments of military soldiers.
Victory normally doesn’t go to the side with the most numbers, it goes to the side with the mightiest gods and spirits.
A small band of adventurers can take down an army if they are backed up by powerful shamans.
The same goes for one on one fighting. If both fighters are of equal skill, the one with the most powerful magic is more than likely going to be the winner.
The book says if you plan on having a combat oriented character, it is smart to have them join thee cult of a war god and get all that awesome magic that comes with it!
Ideals and Motivations – page 8
In RuneQuest, your character has strong feelings about the world and is tied to the ongoing cosmic conflicts of the gods. In the game, this is represented by what is called rune affinities and Passions that give large bonuses and abilities.
Following these Passions and Rune Affinities in your roleplaying will allow the powerful abilities gained from these to remain strong. If you go against what your character’s Passions and Run Affinities are too much or too often, those abilities will begin to weaken.
If you don’t have deep Passions or strong Rune Affinities, you will be weak and at a huge disadvantage compared to those that have them.
Cults – page 8
Your cult is one of your most valuable resources. It allows you to communicate with the gods. It is a community along with a religion. Being a member of a cult will gain you access to some of the deity’s power in the form of Rune Magic. The cult will also teach you Spirit Magic, which is less powerful magic, but still useful to know.
In return, the member supports the cult with sacrifices, worship, and loyalty.
Basically, the cult will help give you support for your way of life. And as you advance in the cult, you will gain more magical powers and resources.
Besides your cult, you have your family and clan or else you are going to very lonely and isolated. Most of the time, you are going to have parents, siblings, children, spouse, etc. And you are going to belong to a larger kinship group such as a clan.
Your kin are going to support you against enemies, offer ransoms if you get captured, and avenge you when you die. Your kin is going to support you and be the basis for a lot of your roleplaying in the game.
Passage of Time – page 8-9
I thought this was pretty cool. They tell us that Time passes by very quickly in RuneQuest. The assumption is that a Season passes each time you do an adventure.
In about a month of gaming if you play every week, a full year of time will have passed in the game. After a year of gaming has passed in real life, your characters will be about 10 years older or even a full generation has passed.
This just sounds awesome to me. I can see roleplaying my character knowing I am getting older and I need to start taking time to train my protégé to one day take my place. It just sounds like a lot of fun.
The bronze age – page 11
As I mentioned earlier, Glorantha is set in an ancient world or even prehistory in a Bronze Age. Bronze is the primary metal, instead of iron which makes those who wear the bronze armor not only well protected, but a bit of a status symbol to show off to others as well.
In this world, the rulers are usually a king or queen, a chieftain or author supreme authority. They are usually a priest as well as priest-kings are the norm in much of this world. This is because temples are the source of the awesome power of the gods which allows them to destroy their enemies.
Keeping it Fantastic – page 11
The world of Glorantha is very magical and fantastic. There are demigods who are insanely powerful that can transform battlefields in ways that have no equivalent to warfare in our own ancient world.
The Lunar Empire has magical weapons such as the flying Chaos demon that eats entire armies. Units of magicians who can call down comets on their enemies. There are sleeping dragons many kilometers long that people have mistaken for hills and ridgelines for years.
There are talking ducks and baboons, flying bulls, sentient fish, and numerous immortal beings and races in this world.
When playing RuneQuest, they say to let your imagination go wild. Ignore rational thought and draw upon your unconscious fantasies. Draw upon your own dreams, folklore, and mythology to make Glorantha even more fantastic. Almost anything can happen and exist here.
Next time, we will go over how Character Creation works in RuneQuest!
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