[Runequest] Runequest II

Bruce Mason mason.bruce at gmail.com
Sat Nov 6 01:44:17 EST 2010

On 4 November 2010 01:57, David Cake <dave at difference.com.au> wrote:

>         I'd disagree because I quite liked RQ4, and while I have vast
> nostalgia for RQ2 I always found it a bit of a struggle in play.
>        But I'm definitely interested to hear your relatively high opinion
> of MRQ2. Particlarly interesting to me because MRQ always seemed to make
> quite an effort to extend to high level play, a traditional weakness of RQ2
> especially - do you think MRQ2 would make for a good high level game?
>        Cheers
>                David

My feeling is that MRQII is decent for 'high level' play for a variety of
reasons, some of them specific to RQII and some of them transferrable to any
BRP game.

Firstly RQII has much more of a linear progression than older RQs and BRP in
general. PCs start off more competent but once over 120% or so there's a
distinct diminishing of returns. Magic is also more powerful and scales in a
linear manner. Conversely, there is no need for a horde of enchantments in
order to cast more than one or two powerful spells per day. So high level
characters don't rely on stuff. In RQ3 it could take 1/2 a day to come up
with a Magus. In RQII you can do it in less than 30 minutes.

Because combat is a pseudo opposed roll, you no longer have the RQ3 style
stalemates. There are also various tweaks to the combat system to facilitate
facing up to hordes of opponents.

As with MRQ1, the system does without the resistance table and makes a lot
of use of opposed rolls. Although there is still the usual awkwardness of
the 100% break point, the opposed rolls system used means that 130% vs 110%
simply converts to 100% vs 80%.

The use of locational but no general HPs plus the use of hero points means
that characters are always robust but don't survive being dropped from

Taken together, those rules means that you high level characters tend to
feel like very competent low level characters. Hero Points can keep them in
the game but only for so long. If a 10m giant attempts to stomp on you then
you might spend a Hero Point to prevent the wound from killing you and
another to re-roll your Resilience skill or you might try to make him miss
you in the first place. The result is a mix of RQ versimilitude (being
stomped on by giants kills) with cinematic (rolled out of the way just in
time) action.

What is transferrable to other BRP systems is the modelling of heroquests.
Early RQ tied itself into knots trying to portray gods in heroquests with
skills in the 500% range and stats to match. Gods met in heroquests are
imagoes so if you meet Orlanth in his pomp in a myth he may have the skills
and stats of an elite runelord. So you don't need to worry about how to
handle characters with 500% stealth and 78 DEX because it's a moot point.
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