Friday, July 13, 2012

Designing A Mythic Greece Campaign in RQ6

RuneQuest 6th Edition has come out, and it's stunning. I've been playing RQ since it came out in the 70s, and have been in a RQ3 campaign for about 20 years now. This edition is very different from that;  not only does this make no direct references to Glorantha, but it is designed to be customizable to fit your fantasy world the way you want it. The best example of this is the magic system(s). I Glorantha, everybody has access to some magic; in RQ6, this is not the default assumption. Take a look at some of the reviews in the link above if you want to know what other people think about it; I'm going to be designing a RQ6 campaign based on Greek myth. Though I'm assuming you have a copy of the rules, comments and questions are welcome even if you don;t have it. I have a thread going over at the Design Mechanism forums.

I figure that the best way to learn the rules is to jump right in and start designing some characters. OK, that's pretty straightforward, and the designers do a great job of walking you through it. After the basic character generation steps that everybody has to go through,  get a grasp of the RuneQuest rules. Any input would be very helpful, as I'm having a hard time absorbing the details of the system. I have a few campaign books from other games to assist me, as well as several shelves of books on Greek mythology and culture, but translating that into a playable setting is a Herculean labor. 

Here are a few observations just off the top of my head: 
1) Culture: Though we're accustomed to thinking of the Greeks as civilized, Homer's Achaeans act a lot more like Barbarians. The standard Barbarian cultural skills* describe the Homeric heroes much more than the standard Civilized skills (which would be more appropriate to Classical-era Greece, specifically Athens). Egypt, the Hittites, the Minoans, Colchis, and the Trojans would be better candidates for Civilized cultures. (I'm skipping over the Combat Styles for the moment).

Standard Skills: Athletics, Brawn, Endurance, First Aid, Locale, Perception; and either Boating or Ride.
   Professional Skills: Craft (any), Healing, Lore (any), Musicianship, Navigate, Seamanship, Survival, Track.

2) Careers: Most of the Barbarian Careers except for Mystic and Shaman; Priest is fairly common, and Sorcerer is rare (and is usually open to women only). Add Farmers and Alchemists to the Career list. 

2) Magic: Magic Points do not come from the Self; they must be replenished from sacrifice, magical locations, veneration of the gods, etc. Folk Magic exists, but it is not ubiquitous; it can be obtained from hedge wizards, wise women, and other types on the fringes of society. Priests of the Olympian gods may offer a few spells. No spells are associated with non-magical professions. 

3) Animism is not practiced by Greeks; it is practiced by Scythians, the proto-Celts, and other barbarian types. 

4) Mysticism is not practiced by the Greeks. Egyptians have some Mystic cults. "India" and "China" practice Mysticism, but they are on the far edges of the world. 

5) Sorcery is practiced mostly by solitary women of divine ancestry, such as Calypso, Circe, and Medea. 

6) Theism: The Olympians and their associated gods are worshiped, and provide miracles to their priests and priestesses. Many gods have subcults that provide different miracles to their priests and priestesses. Lower ranks may learn folk magic related to the gods at their basic Folk Magic percentile. The default Rune system is not used, but the gods all have one or more specialties that might perform the same function as a rune. Note: Demigods and heroes who have divine blood do not have to be priests (or even cult members!) to receive a Divine Gift. These gifts usually function automatically, and do not require magic points or other costs. (Note: I need to work out some kind of process by which a character can opt to be a demigod during character creation, how many Divine Gifts, etc.) 

That's what I've got so far. Please share your thoughts on running a Greek campaign, even if you don't know the RQ6 rules.



Guy Hoyle said...

I'd also add the Minoans to the Civilized cultures list. I'll edit the post to reflect that.

Anonymous said...

I was going to try and ignore this one. I've got Legend, BRP & MRQ2. What do I need with another version? But everyone is just raving about it.

Guy Hoyle said...

SAROE, I'm still trying to get my head around it, but it seems to be really cool. It's much better adapted to non-Gloranthan style games than most of the other games you mentioned. (And I just bought Legend a few days before I saw that RQ6 was out.)