[Runequest] Drastically simplifying RuneQuest

Tomas Björklund tomas.g.bjorklund at gmail.com
Tue Oct 16 00:40:05 EST 2012

It sounds to me that you are trying to design a new game, a narrative
roleplaying system, and what you call sheetless RPG is to my ears
another word for narrative, possibly freeform rpg play.

When you say "Any system can theoretically be used for a sheetless
game, but RuneQuest is particularly well-suited to it because it maps
so well to the real world.", I must say my experience is exactly the
opposite to yours. I find RQ particularily ill suited to narrative
gaming because of its simulationist bent, and heavy reliance on
detailed mechanics.

Runequest to me is a simulationist old school system, and I mean "old
school" in a affectionate and positive way, which we love to play when
we feel a craving for really crunchy gaming in Glorantha.

There is a huge amount of work done within the roleplaying field, the
last decade or so, when it comes to narrative games. There are a lot
of very well designed narrative systems out there that do exactly what
you set out to do, amongst them Heroquest/Herowars. I myself favor the
FATE system, and have made an adaption for Glorantha which works very
well for my game group.

I would recommend you go in that direction instead of trying to adapt
RQ into a role I think it ill suited to fill.

- Tom

> Any system can theoretically be used for a sheetless game, but RuneQuest is
> particularly well-suited to it because it maps so well to the real world.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 4:58 AM, Peter Maranci <pmaranci at gmail.com> wrote:
> I recently posted an article on my website about sheetless roleplaying -
> that is, running a roleplaying campaign in which the players don't interact
> with the game system directly, but instead play their characters as people
> rather than statistics while the gamemaster handles all the numbers. It's a
> pretty advanced and hardcore approach; it does seem to carry a greater risk
> of psychological breakdown for some players, but the games are incredibly
> intense.
> Any system can theoretically be used for a sheetless game, but RuneQuest is
> particularly well-suited to it because it maps so well to the real world.
> You don't want to have to justify limitations on action which are based
> solely on issues of system design or game balance during such a campaign -
> it ruins the suspension of disbelief! And with RuneQuest, such limitations
> are rare or nonexistent.
> That said, since the gamemaster handles ALL the paperwork in a sheetless
> campaign (including the paperwork which would be handled by players in a
> normal game), it helps a lot to reduce that paperwork as much as possible.
> I've tried to do this by using a greatly simplified version of the RuneQuest
> system for such games. Since the players aren't aware of mechanics, and in
> fact are encouraged NOT to think about the game in terms of numbers and
> rules, the GM has much more latitude for handling issues by fiat and
> off-the-cuff decisions - as long as they can do so in a reasonable-seeming
> manner, so as not to strike a false note for the players.
> Skills are collapsed into the seven skill categories, with the possibility
> of breakouts for skills which are defined during character creation or play
> as being exceptionally bad or good. A single combat skill replaces the usual
> attack/parry skills (for all weapons); players get a compensatory degree of
> control over their actions in combat by intelligent use (or not) of terrain
> and other tactics, along with a set of five differing approaches to combat
> which can be changed every "round": all-out attack (attack skill doubled, no
> defensive actions possible), aggressive stance (50% bonus to attack chance,
> defensive chance halved), neutral stance (obvious), defensive stance (attack
> skill halved, defensive skill +50%), and all-out defense (defense skill
> doubled, no attack possible).
> Just curious, has anyone else experimented with anything like this? Here's a
> link to the full article. I'm pretty sure that I'll continue to revise and
> expand it now and then. If anyone has feedback on it, I'd quite interested
> to hear it!
> http://www.runequest.org/sheetlessrpg.htm
> ->Peter
> --
> Peter Maranci - pmaranci at gmail.com
> Pete's RuneQuest & Roleplaying! http://www.runequest.org/rq.htm
> The Diary of A Simple Man: http://bobquasit.livejournal.com/
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