Friday, September 10, 2010

" Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Monsters" usable for Risus, too

I'm keeping my eye on D101 games. It's currently producing material for two rules systems I've been following for a long time now, in one form or another: RuneQuest and HeroQuest. Both of these games have their roots in Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha, surely one of the most complex and fascinating constructed worlds in gaming  In addition to producing products such as OpenQuest (their version of RuneQuest, produced in accordance with the Basic Roleplaying Open Gaming License), they are also producing licensed supplements for .Moon Design's HeroQuest (the current home of "present day" (Third Age) Glorantha).

D101's latest product is Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Monsters, which is an apt description. It's the first in a series of monthly books dedicated to a single topic (next one is Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Heroes). This one has 40 monsters, one or two per page, and they include monsters familiar to RuneQuest gamers (e.g., basilisks, centaurs, beastmen (broos?), ducks, gorgons, etc.). Each monster gets a paragraph of description, an illustration (simply yet attractively done), and a short list of HeroQuest traits.Since HQ doesn't have bulky stat blocks, the effect is rather clean and simple and ready to use.

I haven't played a single game of HeroQuest yet, much less run a campaign, but I instantly grabbed YLBoHQM for use in yet another game system: Risus. I have often felt that Risus and HeroQuest have much in common, since neither system relies on fixed abilities. Risus is built around cliches, whereas HQ is built around keywords and abilities; however, it would be easy to think of keywords as cliches, and abilities as examples of what the cliche can do.  For example:
  • Swift-Running Centaur (straight-shooting archer living for the freedom of the plains, moving effortlessly through the bush, stamping powerfully with hooves)
  • Ravenous, Flesh-Eating Ghoul (paralyzing howl, horrible infectious bite, tracking prey, leaping and running)
  • Oozing Slime (corrosive secretions, alien thought patterns, lashing pseudopods)
    Note that these cliches are not intended to be a complete list of the creatures' abilities from YLBoHQM; they are, in the nature of Risus cliches, open-ended, intended simply suggest the kinds of things these opponents can do. I could have worked "strong and burly" into the Centaur examples, or "Sense Prey" into the Slime, but my purpose was simply to show how this book can be used as an easy source of Risus opponents. For those occasions when you need descriptions for your own cliches, you can plunder the monster abilities for inspiration.  Since it includes a brief, useful description and good illustrations, and an inexpensive pricetag (about $5.00 for a PDF download), I thought it was a decent value for the price.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

    Well, my good intentions were derailed relatively quickly. Such is the nature of blogging, I guess. Suffice it to say that many of the real-life issues that discouraged me from blogging have been addressed. From now on, my goal is to attempt to post something game-related every day.

    While I haven't been posting here, I have been putting some of my game notes online at  the Obsidian Portal blogsite. This campaign-management site has finally inspired me to put some of my notes into a more organized form, though they are still works-in-progress.  They also have a GM-Only portion of each site that can be blocked from the players' view, and character sheet templates for a multitude of game systems (including one for Risus, by Larry Bullock). Currently, I am working on the following:

    • Encounter RISICAL: Adapting the World of Vanth from Encounter Critical to Risus: The ANYTHING Role-Playing Game
    • Hoyle's Henchmen: My part of our "Henchmen for Hire" Risus campaign. This campaign is a collaborative effort; anyone in our group who wants to can run an episode.
    • The Mighty Sons of RISUS!: Swords-and-sandals in Bronze-Age Greece. Inspired by the awesome Mazes and Minotaurs game by Olivier Legrande, as well as Italian peplum movies, the syndicated Hercules and Xena TV shows, Aaron Allston's Mythic Greece, and Gary Gygax.  
    • RisusQuest: The world of Glorantha (RuneQuest, HeroQuest) for Risus. Just a placeholder until I can get some material up.

    You can check out my current projects, in their various states of unreadiness, at

    I also play in a very long running RuneQuest campaign (using a modified Avalon Hill RQ3 system) set in third age Glorantha. We tend to stay away from the well-trodden areas, by luck or design. We don't currently use any of the Mongoose RQ materials, though I have the current core rules set and a few supplements. Our GM and we three core players have been playing for around 18 years, with another player joining about 10 years ago, and another 3 years ago.  Three of the GM's now-grown sons have played on and off over the years. Though a couple of us are interested in the new HeroQuest rules, we haven't played it yet.

    Just ran out of steam. Will post more tomorrow.