24 November 2011

Steve Perrin Interview

Because of the very recent (and almost simultaneous!) news about the RuneQuest 6 and AEON cover arts, both of them very much inspired by Louise Perrin's classic RuneQuest cover art, my mind has been drifting around the Perrin name lately and, as a consequence, I have also thought about Steve Perrin (possibly my favourite game designer ever).

This spurred me to look for the Perrin Conventions online again. Wow... great stuff. I'll certainly be using them a lot for Timinits & Trolls. Googling Steve's name on the internet also brought up an interview from about one year ago, which I had completely missed at the time. Definitely an interesting read, which I recommend.

Cover Art for RuneQuest 6

Here is the accompanying text from the Design Mechanism web-site:

We're delighted to share with you the stunning cover art for RuneQuest Sixth Edition.
By Pascal Quidalt, the picture is, of course, an updated version of the iconic original RQ cover (originally painted by Luise Perrin). Pascal, who has done some outstanding covers for roleplaying games, has taken that original and created a beautiful and unique take on the imagery.
The artwork depicts Anathaym, a Meerish warrior of the Cult of Theera, under ambush by a cunning, predatory, Slargr (pronounced SLAR-guh) when she mistakenly wanders into its hunting territories. The hulking creature tears away her shield - a typical slargr tactic - leaving the shocked Anathaym to rely on her spear and its Bladesharp matrix.
Will she survive? The RuneQuest rules, using Anathaym as our example heroine, will give you the answer...

RQ6 will be setting-agnostic, hence the funny names, but the obvious Gloranthan imagery is a Lunar/a Templar lost in the Pamaltelan jungle... which is pretty evocative in light of which Gloranthan locales this blog usually likes to explore...

28 September 2011

The Jack-of-all-trades

The Jack-of-all-trades is the 'default' character class for my game. It fits in well with the Gloranthan model of an adventurer that has access to combat, magic, and a wide array of skills, depending on the player's desires in terms of character advancement/improvement, rather than on arbitrary rules-imposed limitations.

The Jack-of-all-trades corresponds to what is called a rogue in the original T&T rules. The issue I have with that term is that whilst it originally fit in well with the idea I have of the 'default' adventurer (the Grey Mouser is the seminal rogue, and he is as capable in spell-casting as in combat as in thievery), the term itself has gradually become synonymous with thief over the years in the context of fantasy rpg's.

I believe that the author of the recent fantasy rpg Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which has marvellously bridged the gap between old school and new school gaming, has hit the same problem: in LotFP, the rogue class has been renamed Specialist. Whilst I agree with the renaming of the class, and with its description, I am not overly satisfied with the term— because it reminds me too much of the Specialist Mage.

Here's the deescription of the Specialist character class from LotFP (I reproduce it because it's freely available on its web-site):

Fighters are adventurers because they are so inured to death that they cannot settle down to a normal life. Magic-Users are those that have pursued the dark arts and are no longer welcome in society. Clerics are charged by their god to go forth and perform their special duties.

Specialists? They do it because they want to. Whether inspired by greed, boredom, or idle curiosity, Specialists are professional explorers risking life and limb simply because a less active life is distasteful to them. In some ways this makes them the only sane and normal adventuring characters, but in other ways it makes them the most unusual.

The Specialist is unique because the character class has no special abilities of its own. Instead, a Specialist is better at certain activities that all characters are able to do at a basic level.

I fully endorse the above for the Jack-of-all-trades of my Umathelan campaign!

17 September 2011

My Game

As already written, I'll be using a variation of the 7th edition T&T rules for my forthcoming Second Age campaign game.

I am currently working on the rules, which are based on a set of house rules successfully used with the kids. The idea is to have a set of rules that are simple, "old school" but still Gloranthan in taste. I will be posting the first draft soon.

At the moment I can reveal the following:
  • player characters are defined by 10 characteristics
  • the game mechanics emphasise the use of Talents
  • there are nine character classes: Jack-of-all-trades (really the T&T rogue renamed), Journeyman (citizen), Soldier (warrior), Wizard, Alchemist, Herbalist, Minstrel, Sage, and Thief. The latter are based on Adapting Arduin Characters to Tunnels & Trolls, an article written by Ken St André in issue 11 of the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
  • there are 4 kinds of magic: Hedge Magic (freeform, low intensity, corresponding to Gloranthan Battle Magic), Wizardry (corresponding to standard T&T magic, and used by Malkioni Wizards), Spirit Magic (still to be developed), and Cult Magic (based on the priestly magic devised by Dorothy V. March in Mirabile Dictu! Priests as Characters in T&T, in issue 17 of the Sorcerer's Apprentice).
  • PCs can join cults and thus have access to Cult Magic irrespective of their class.

16 July 2011

Yet Another Edition of RuneQuest in the Works!

After Mongoose's recession of their contract with Issaries, and the announcement that they were discontinuing the Glorantha Second Age books and wouldn't use the name RuneQuest any longer for their d100-based publications (see my previous post), morale was pretty low amongst RuneQuest fans.

True, Moon Design are producing Gloranthan supplements of the highest quality, but they are meant to be used with the HeroQuest system, and they are set in Third Age Glorantha.

But an excellent piece of news has hit the "d100-sphere" today: renowned MRQII authors Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash are teaming up again to produce a new edition of RuneQuest and supporting supplements. This new edition of RuneQuest should hit the shelves in 2012. It will be the 6th one after two editions by the Chaosium, one by Avalon Hill, and two by Mongoose. Apparently (information is scarce at the moment), the new RuneQuest will cover both Second and Third Age Glorantha.

Loz and Pete have created an ad hoc company for their endeavour called Design Mechanism, but they will closely co-operate with Moon Design.

More information can be found at the following links:

EDIT: Loz has posted the following on the rpg.net forum boards today:
[Answer to a question re: RQ6 v MRQII] Rules and mechanics cannot be copyrighted, so our work will build on MRQII although the words will obviously be completely new. Plus, the system will got fully reviewed, revised, tweaked and the few broken-ish bits fixed.

[Answer to a question re: RQ6 v Glorantha] The RQ6 core rules won't be set in Glorantha at all. They'll support Gloranthan adventuring, but they'll not specifically use the setting. One of the beauties of our partnership with Moon Design is that we can bring RuneQuest back to Third Age Glorantha, which couldn't have happened under the Mongoose licence, so you can expect to see some Third Age RuneQuest books again in the future, as well as some Second Age. We haven't battened-down a Glorantha plan yet - there are other priorities - but rest assured that Glorantha is on the radar.

15 July 2011

Introduction to the Umathing Campaign Game

As written in the previous post, I intend to portray the Umathings as a conservative, isolated lot. I have also decided that, since they have been magically transferred to Umathela from a far-away place, and since they have little interaction with foreigners, their language has kept many archaisms from Slontos. As a consequence, I have decided to use Anglish as a source of inspiration for the Umathings' dialect. Here's a first sampler.

They call it the Imperial Age, but we call it the Forlorn Tide.

It did start well, though. The Empire was good at the time. Imperial ships† took us from the barren lands of our forefathers and brought us to our new home. Imperial settlers helped us clear the woods and drain the marshes. This also drove out the wort-men who lived here before we did.

We grew and we throve on this new land of ours with rolling hills and open fields. The Imperials lived in their great towns on the shore, we lived in our steads and townlets and kept to ourselves. But soon the Empire grew wicked and slanderous. Our elders had to bow down to their aldermen; our warriors were taken far away to fight wars which weren’t our wars. Many did not return. Worse of all, however, was the weightiness that the Imperial wizards took. They built their lore halls were they would grow in uncouth spellcraft-lore and dwimmer-lore, and whence fearsome gear-beings stepped out. They brought in bug-men from their home island. This was too much. We got together, swore oaths of help and brotherhood, and set upon the evil that the Empire had become. The strout was long and harsh but in the end we won.

Life is tough, though. Trade hasn’t borne well our newfound asideness. The great towns on the shore yold to us but kept many of their wizards who may still plot against us. Leftovers of their eerie checkouts are still there; fearsome fiends dwell in forsaken wrecks. Yet young daredevils set out to delve into those stows. This game is about their undertakings.

Note: The magical transfer from Slontos to Umathela was such a shock that the Umathings have collectively suppressed it from memory and now sincerely believe that they have come by ship.

13 July 2011


I want to portray the Umathings as a conservative, paranoid lot who live out in the sticks, and who are actually content with their situation because they want to have as little interaction with outsiders as possible.

Remember— These Slontan Orlanth worshippers didn't voluntarily come to Umathela as settlers by ship; they were magically transplanted from Slontos to Umathela by the God Learners! This is the kind of traumatic experience whose victims are bound to suffer some kind of mental relapse later on...

What is the Umathings' world view? City dwellers are sorcerous madmen. Elves and goblins are evil wort-men. Timinits are yet eviller bug-men. Anything else is just monsters. So basically far from home = danger and monsters. As a consequence, the Umathings lead simple and secluded lives. They have their steads, they practise slash-and-burn agriculture, and they raise their animals. They worship their storm and agricultural gods, which are completely unrelated to their neighbours'. I also assume that their language has kept some archaisms from Slontos; I will try to make that apparent in my posts.

However, despite this heavy conservatism and general isolationism, some Umathings are born with an urge to discover what lays past yonder hills... these people are the stuff adventurers are made of.

12 July 2011

I have chosen

OK, I have made further decisions as regards the Umathelan setting for my 2nd Age T&T game. The players will be Umathings. Time-wise, the campaign will be set after the revolt of the Umathelan Coalition in 901 (and possibly also later than 908, the canonical year of the Mongoose source books) but before the Lightbringers Quest that the Umathings are supposed to perform in the 10th century.

Some useful links/suggested resources:

25 May 2011

Bargain sale!

Logically enough, after yesterday's announcement Mongoose's RuneQuest II products are now on deep discount on DriveThruRPG.

24 May 2011

MRQII is Dead

OK... This blog has never been particularly active, but after yesterday's announcement by Mongoose that they were receding their contract with Issaries and hence discontinuing the Gloranthan 2nd Age books, I guess it's going to become even worse!

You won't see any MRQII-related news on this blog any longer. If I manage to get my Tunnels & Trolls-based Pamaltelan campaign going, however, you might see background information. Stay tuned...