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.

    No comments: