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RuneQuest: A Fantasy Roleplaying Game of Myth and Magic
If you are looking for a roleplaying game that offers a unique blend of realism, flexibility, and immersion in a rich and diverse fantasy world, then you might want to check out RuneQuest. RuneQuest is a classic game that has been around since 1978, but it has recently been revived by its original publisher Chaosium with a new edition that brings back the best features of its previous versions. In this article, we will give you an overview of what RuneQuest is, why you should play it, and how to get started with it.
What is RuneQuest?
RuneQuest is a fantasy roleplaying game that uses a system based on percentile dice and skills. It is set in Glorantha, a mythical world where magic permeates everything and gods are active forces in shaping reality. In RuneQuest, players create adventurers who explore this ancient world, joining cults, performing heroic deeds, and wielding powerful magic.
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The World of Glorantha
Glorantha is a world unlike any other. It is inspired by many real-world cultures and mythologies, but it has its own logic and cosmology. Glorantha is a flat world that floats in an endless sea. It has two major continents: Genertela in the north and Pamaltela in the south. It also has several smaller lands such as Teshnos in the east and Vormain in the west. Glorantha has four seasons: Sea (spring), Fire (summer), Earth (autumn), and Darkness (winter). Each season has its own elemental powers and influences.
Glorantha is populated by many different races and creatures. Humans are the most common race, but they are divided into many cultures and ethnicities. There are also non-human races such as elves, dwarves, trolls, dragonewts, centaurs, minotaurs, scorpionmen, duckmen, baboons, and more. Some races are friendly or neutral to humans, while others are hostile or alien. Glorantha also Glorantha also has a rich and complex mythology. The gods and goddesses of Glorantha are not abstract entities, but real beings that can manifest and interact with mortals. The gods have their own personalities, agendas, and conflicts. Some of the most important gods are Orlanth, the storm god and king of the gods; Ernalda, the earth goddess and queen of the gods; Yelm, the sun god and emperor of the sky; Kyger Litor, the troll mother and goddess of darkness; Sedenya, the red moon goddess and bringer of change; and many more. The gods have their own cults, which are organizations of worshippers who follow their teachings and receive their blessings. The cults are a major source of identity, community, and power for the people of Glorantha.
Glorantha also has a unique form of magic. Magic is not a rare or mysterious force, but a natural and ubiquitous one. Everyone in Glorantha can use magic, to some degree or another. There are different types of magic, such as spirit magic, rune magic, sorcery, and heroquesting. Spirit magic is the most common type of magic, which involves manipulating the spirits that inhabit everything in Glorantha. Rune magic is the most powerful type of magic, which involves invoking the runes that represent the fundamental forces of the cosmos. Sorcery is a rare and complex type of magic, which involves manipulating the laws of nature through logic and will. Heroquesting is a special type of magic, which involves reenacting the myths of the gods and changing reality in the process.
The Rules of RuneQuest
RuneQuest uses a simple and elegant system that is easy to learn and play, but also realistic and flexible. The core mechanic of RuneQuest is rolling percentile dice (two ten-sided dice that show numbers from 00 to 99) against a skill or characteristic. For example, if you want to hit an enemy with your sword, you roll percentile dice against your Sword skill. If you roll equal to or lower than your skill, you succeed. If you roll higher than your skill, you fail. The degree of success or failure depends on how high or low you roll. For example, if you roll 01 to 05, you get a critical success, which means you do something exceptionally well. If you roll 96 to 00, you get a fumble, which means you do something disastrously wrong.
RuneQuest has a comprehensive list of skills that cover various aspects of adventuring, such as combat, stealth, social interaction, knowledge, crafts, etc. Skills are rated from 00% to 100% or more, and they can improve with experience. Skills are also influenced by characteristics, which are innate attributes such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, etc. Characteristics are rated from 1 to 20 or more, and they can affect skills positively or negatively.
RuneQuest has a realistic and detailed combat system that simulates the dangers and challenges of fighting in a fantasy world. Combat is divided into rounds of 12 seconds each, during which each character can act according to their initiative order. Characters can perform various actions in combat, such as attacking, parrying, dodging, casting spells, etc. Combat is resolved by rolling skills against each other and comparing the results. For example, if you attack an enemy with your sword and they try to parry with their shield, you roll your Sword skill against their Shield skill. If you succeed and they fail, you hit them and deal damage. If you fail and they succeed, they block your attack and avoid damage. If you both succeed or both fail, the higher roll wins. Damage is determined by rolling dice based on the weapon and the character's Strength, and subtracting the armor of the target. Damage can cause wounds, which can impair the character's performance or even kill them.
RuneQuest has a versatile and dynamic magic system that allows characters to use various types of magic in different ways. Magic is divided into four categories: spirit magic, rune magic, sorcery, and heroquesting. Spirit magic is the most common type of magic, which involves manipulating the spirits that inhabit everything in Glorantha. Spirit magic is learned from shamans, who are experts in dealing with spirits. Spirit magic spells are simple and quick to cast, but they have limited effects and durations. Rune magic is the most powerful type of magic, which involves invoking the runes that represent the fundamental forces of the cosmos. Rune magic is learned from cults, who are organizations of worshippers who follow a specific god or goddess. Rune magic spells are complex and costly to cast, but they have lasting and potent effects. Sorcery is a rare and complex type of magic, which involves manipulating the laws of nature through logic and will. Sorcery is learned from schools, who are institutions of scholars who study the secrets of the universe. Sorcery spells are flexible and customizable, but they require a lot of preparation and concentration. Heroquesting is a special type of magic, which involves reenacting the myths of the gods and changing reality in the process. Heroquesting is learned from heroes, who are legendary figures who have achieved great deeds and fame. Heroquesting spells are unpredictable and dangerous, but they can alter the world in profound ways.
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RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha: This is the core rulebook that contains all the rules for creating characters, playing adventures, using magic, and exploring Glorantha.
The Glorantha Sourcebook: This is a supplement that provides an in-depth overview of the world of Glorantha, its history, geography, cultures, gods, myths, and magic.
The Gamemaster Screen Pack: This is a set that includes a sturdy screen with useful tables and charts for the gamemaster, a booklet with advice and tips for running RuneQuest games, a map of Glorantha, and a set of ready-to-play adventures.
The Bestiary: This is a supplement that provides a comprehensive catalog of the creatures and monsters that inhabit Glorantha, with detailed descriptions, statistics, behaviors, and illustrations.
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