[Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Sat Aug 24 16:30:28 EST 2013


Yeah, stats from one edition to another don't necessarilly translate - and the more high powered magic you have (and Blueface is about as high powered a character as has been published, in whatever edition) the more the editions differ. 

In RQ3, there was a sort of implicit limit where POW gain was essentially the major limiting factor for progress in both divine and animist magic (and sorcery tended to break the system, because their real limiting factor was free INT and/or skill, which scaled very diffferently), and to a limited extent POW gain as used for enchanted items was a very big factor for sorcerers as well. RQ1 didn't have that anywhere near as consistently, and instead bound spirits and other POW storage items (crystals, etc) proliferated. Sure, skill improvement was useful, but for magical improvement it was all about POW gain. 

The Mongoose editions, and especially MRQ2/RQ6, have changed this so POW gains are no longer of major significance, but skill improvement/Experience Rolls are the main 'currency' of character improvement overall. 
One the one hand, this is a big improvement. POW gain as a mechanic was problematic - very random, an not really correlated well to play. And Divine Intervention meant some players just got randomly penalised out of a realistic hope of being usefully powerful every now and then. All in all, it was pretty arbitrary. 

So all in all, a big improvement. In RQ6/Legend/MRQ2 very meaningful measure of player improvement (other than, I guess, powerful items, and/or cash) is linked to the one mechanic, Experience Rolls, and this makes player advancement much more controllable and predictable. 
My only big quibble is terminology - Experience Rolls in RQ6 are also used for characteristic improvement, learning spells, etc. They are the de factor all purpose character improvement mechanism, so the name Experience Rolls is misleading. Experience Points or Improvement Points or similar would be a better name. 

Cheers

David

On 23/08/2013, at 10:43 PM, Ashley Munday <aescleal at btinternet.com> wrote:

> 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.  
> 
> Also, 
> 
> 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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