This is it, the last two chapters of the RuneQuest 6 main rules and my personal thoughts on this game. Hopefully this will be the shortest one; I am trying to keep this total review under ten pages for my editor’s sake [Ed. – And he thanks you for that].
Chapter 15 – Creatures
I am finding that I like game systems that include a bestiary in the core rules. The idea that this is really the only book I need to run a game is very seductive, and RuneQuest delivers on this new found desire of mine. The section starts off with a couple of general rules for creatures and stat blocks, and then delves into abilities. These are all in one section in alphabetical order, so referencing them during play should be a snap. Under ‘creature competence’ the authors explain about how to balance creatures against PC’s. There are no challenge ratings, XP budgets or any hard mathematical formulae here. This is because of how RuneQuest is built and how it scales. There are no hard levels to measure or balance against. But they give some good insights on how to balance based off average numbers, and more importantly, off how the creatures fight. There is some great advice in this section for any game.
The next section details sixty creatures (some of which can be player characters) and thirteen spirit types, pulled more heavily from myth and legend as opposed to standard gaming lore. In addition to these seventy-three foes RuneQuest includes the rules for designing your own creatures, which I feel rounds this section out fantastically. It gives you a wide range of choices to use in your game, and then helps you expand beyond there. I feel this gives this book a complete feel; you really don’t need more than this book to run years of gaming in RuneQuest 6.
Chapter 16 – Games Mastery
This chapter covers the basics that most sections like this cover. How to prep for a game, how to run through character creation, and advice on combats, investigations, and social conflict. It is a great overview on how to run this game for the person who picks up this book for the first time. I did not feel like they covered any new ground for the experienced GM, but they did a great job of viewing existing advice through the lens of their game.
The last part of this section covers magic and cults, and if you read the last review, you can understand why. There is a lot of effort on the GM’s part to get these pieces set up before the game. This advice helps organize the questions you will want to ask yourself on how magic and cults relate to your game setting. This is the just kind of advice I would want to see after reading through the book.
These five appendices cover a number of specific and optional topics: tactical movement, chaos features (which are fantastic), non-human hit locations, the character sheet, and a combat tracking sheet. The book finishes off with a nine page index, which is a major plus for my gaming group. If a book doesn’t have a great index, it tends to taint our thoughts on it.
Wow. That was a way longer process than I thought it was going to be. But I am glad to have done it. I really enjoyed reading through RuneQuest and taking a deep look at it. After finishing it, I am thinking about running a one shot of it for one of my groups in the near future. The system is solid; the customization is phenomenal and over all I would give it:
Content: 5/5 – the book covers everything you need to get a RuneQuest game up and running.
System: 4/5 – Highly customizable with a simple core mechanic.
Aesthetic: 4/5 – The layout is clean and the art, while light, is thematic and evocative.
But how did they do with their own stated goals? If you remember their goals were:
– To recapture the spirit and feel of the earlier editions of RuneQuest.
– Provide a comprehensive fantasy roleplaying game that capitalizes on RuneQuest’s strengths.
– Streamline the system, but also introduce new mechanics and systems that reflect what is happening in 21st Century roleplaying games.
– Bring RuneQuest to a new audience, and continue to care for its old fans.
Having never played RuneQuest before, I can’t speak to the first one with any sense of authority. However, from what I know of RuneQuest, it does seem to succeed here. The second goal I feel they met completely. The system is very comprehensive, with great advice on how to grow the game to fit your game. This ties in well with the third goal, as I feel their simple core mechanic is at the heart of every sub-system in the game. However, I am unsure (having never read a previous version of the game) what “new mechanics” were added to the game to update it to 21st century gaming.
Finally, seeing as I have never played or read RuneQuest, there last goal was an outstanding success from my perspective. RuneQuest 6 brought me to the world of RuneQuest, well done Design Mechanism.
Well I hope you enjoyed this review, and I look forward to sending many more your way. Any comments or feedback would be great.
*RuneQuest 6 is available in soft cover through your FLGS for $62.00 or in PDF through driverthrurpg.com for $25