[Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

Ashley Munday aescleal at btinternet.com
Sat Aug 24 15:43:46 EST 2013

You're looking at a RQ2 book (Griffin Mountain) and trying to interpret them in terms of the RQ3 rules. Loads changed between the two versions. Have a look at the version of Blueface in Griffin Island - he's a lot different (a 200 POW fetch is one difference that sticks in my mind) and see if you have the same problem.

 From: Craig Simons <craigms at q.com>
To: runequest at rpgreview.net 
Sent: Saturday, 24 August 2013, 3:31
Subject: [Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

To begin with, this post is clearly decades too late or I may be misunderstanding something completely. Maybe both. Additionally, I could not come to this conclusion without current computer and spreadsheet capabilities, neither available in the '70's.  


1. I am a firm believer in a consistant rule system, but "because" is not a valid rule, and
2. The GM may have house rules "because".

What's the problem? There are inconsistencies and outright missing rules about combinations of fetches, allied spirits, familiars and bound spirits. In particular, there are examples of a NPCs having a fetch, multiple allies, and many bounds. Worst case: in Griffin Mountain, Blueface has a fetch, 3 familiars and 6 bound spirits. Granted, he is a special case, but he incurs no penalty for having so many.

The RQ rules describe the connection between the shaman, fetch and familiars as basically that of the Mindlink spell, only permanent. This spell does not seem to have any downside for a permanent connection, a la Blueface. This stymied me for a long time until I realized that the Range and Duration Cost tables had a clue: math. Those tables are a listing of a formula that is rooted in x^n, where x is the distance/duration times 10 and n is the number of MP used. Aha! Math. Formulas. Spread-sheets.

With this idea, came a realization that the permanent Mindlink really needed to consume free INT. Assuming that the shaman wanted his allies to be able to coordinate with each other, besides himself, the best fit requires one two-way link between each member, so 2 points of free INT per connection. The formula n*(n-1)/2 (where n is the number of minds) covers the number of links, so twice that. Blueface would then need 20 free INT: 
2*5*(5-1)/2. Try it. (Note: something else is needed for bound spirits). This INT can be taken out of the pool of INT available to the group, but because the link is permanent, so is the INT loss. 

An assumption I've made about these allies is consistent with the stated rules, to wit: besides all spells being available to all in the permanent Mindlink, so too are all POW and INT points, a big amorphous pool of points available to all in the link. 

Okay. This post is long enough, so before I move onto ramifications, have at this. What have I missed or misunderstood? (Please keep in mind #1, above, and discuss the rules, not game balance, etc.).

Nervous thanks, hoping not to go down in flames,

Craig Simons
craigms at q.com

Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic? 
Steven Brust, Dzur

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