​Ring Side Report- RPG Review of RuneQuest-Free RPG Day Product

Product– RuneQuest Roleplauing in Golantha




TL; DR-Call of DnD! 97%

Basics-Follow your passions!  In this revamp of a classic fantasy RPG from Chaosium, players take the rolls of heroes of Glorantha, a land of gods, monsters, and heros.   This world feels a bit like a more DnD’ed version of Rome.  Let’s break down the game into its pieces.

Base System- If you can play Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu system, you are ready for this.  Players have a number of skills or attributes.  When you attempt to do anything, you get to roll a 100 sided die.  If you roll under your skill or attribute, you succeed.  if you get under half, you get a special success.  If you get under one-fifth your skill, you get a critical.  It’s slick.  If you are up against somebody, then you just compare the degree of success using this progression-critical Success bets special success beat regular success beats failure with ties going to the defender.

Passions-A major change from 7th edition Call of Cthulhu is the loss of the advantage die, but this system adds passions.  Each character has a number of things they care about.  When you want to see if you can dig deep and fuel an action through your love of a thing, you try to roll under the level of your passion.  If you succeed, you add to the skill you are trying to perform.  The higher degree of success the more you add.  Failure and critical failure cause you to LOSE from your skill.  It’s another slick add-on to the Call of Cthulhu system.

Combat- Here is a major departure from the Call of Cthulhu system.  Each action you do takes time.  Each round you select what actions you want to do, then everyone tells the GM.  The GM then ranks the combatants according to their action times with slower times going last.  These actions include moving, attacking, casting a spell, reloading, and many other possible things you can do in under 12 seconds.  Actions can take longer, but they happen multiple turns later if they need to.

Magic-Spirit vs. Runes-Magic in this system is an interesting mix.  First and foremost, its TWO systems instead of one.  Spirit magic is the base magic everyone uses with a character casting spells by spending points to make the spell go off.  This is the slow magic.  The second way you cast magic is through runes.  As you almost level up in different factions and religions, you unlock new runic magic and points.  Runic magic goes earlier in combat and is slightly more powerful, but you get less rune magic points.  So knowing when to use each spell is an important part of combat.  Some skills require resistance tests like saving throws, while some do not.  Beyond that the system effortlessly uses percentile dice for all its execution.

Ok, now the review!

Mechanics or Crunch-I love everything I see here, but maybe there are two things that sticks out a bit for me.  Overall, everything is amazing.  This system uses the base percentile system Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.  That would be a cop out if they just copy/pasted the system, but this system add more  pieces, so it honestly feels like a new, better iteration of the same product.  That’s amazing.  I even don’t hate hit locations as this game does it lightning fast.  That doesn’t feel like it slogs the system as players can just roll a D20 in the pile with their percentile dice and their damage dice.  I only have two minor gripes of the system, and one seems like it’s been corrected.  First, I miss penalty/advantage dice from Call of Cthulhu.  But, the game adds passions, so consulting your feelings can provide a similar function by adding or subtracting from your likelihood to succeed.  Second is the order of combat.  Combat is this game works well, but the game uses a system to track actions each round that is a bit more complex than I’m used to.  Players plan out their actions, and those actions alter when they get to act as faster actions go first.  It’s much more realistic, but it’s also a bit slower.  It might not be my favorite way to work initiative, but It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination.  All told, this is a well put together percentile system.    4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-The book doesn’t have too much fluff, but what’s here is good.  It’s a new world of magic and gods where every character is a tiny bit a mage and cleric if they choose to be.  The world feels different and fun, but familiar enough that I get a DnD/Rome vibe.  I want more, so this book’s got me hooked.  5/5

Execution-This is a pretty meaty product for free RPG day.  I love what’s here.  It explains the system pretty well.  I have a few tiny questions like in what order to characters declare the actions?  But, this book can’t give me the whole system in a free RPG product.  The art is nice even if not color, and the story is fun.  Fantastic amount of material at this price.  5/5

Summary-This is a book I will buy when it’s out fully.  The combat is fun and new.  The world is a novel place for me to throw my players.  The characters have drives that affect the game through passions.  Players get a decent streamline view of the rules and characters in this short book.  I get the Chaosium percentile system I like, a Roman world to play in, and an amazingly well crafted book for FREE!  Even given my slight misgivings,check this one out, then look for the full book in the fall.   97%


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