Bell Digest vol01p12.txt

Subject: RQ Undigestables,  Volume 1,  Number 12

This issue:
	A new race for fantasy worlds	(Elliot Wilen)
	Jack-of-all-trades characters   (Andrew Bell)


From:    (Elliot Wilen)

Subject: A new race for fantasy worlds

Here's a race from my campaign, a low-entropy world with emphasis on
cultures and politics. Magic is relatively rare.

Copyright (C) 1988 Elliot Wilen, all rights reserved.
This material may be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial
use, provided this notice is included in all copies. References,
derivations, and fixes to this material must contain proper
attribution. Any other use, without written permission from
the author, is prohibited.

Runequest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc.
GURPS is a trademark of Steve Jackson Games.

[Sorry about that, folks, but this is near and dear to me.]

[Ed's note: the above wasn't an Ed's note.  This is,  however. :-)]

Ralgethae, also known as Fuzzies

The Ralgethae are quite a bit shorter than men. Furry hair covers them
from head to toe, even on their faces. If you want a really good idea of
what a Fuzzy (as they're sometimes called by men) looks like, find a
photo of someone with lycanthropy. (I'm not kidding. This is a real
condition.) Ralgethae wear clothes like humans.

The Ralgethae come from the marshes and and estuaries where the river
Rusorlod empties into the sea. They also may be found in small
settlements to the southwest, in the rolling meadows and woodlands of
Owyr and the hills of Obergia. A few have taken up life in the city of
Bednor, a major port of the Carian empire, which is even further to the
south. Within their homeland, the Ralgethae live in floating houses, huts
on stilts, and treehouses. (One advantage of a floating house,
incidentally, is that it's easy to move if you can't stand your
neighbors.) Elsewhere, they live more or less like humans. Each
settlement typically has a headman, a non-hereditary leader chosen by
popular acclamation. Above the clan-settlement, there is no overarching
authority among the Ralgethae; however, they're usually too busy eking
out an existence and protecting themselves against the nastier swamp
horrors to engage in much fighting among themselves.

The Ralgethae speak a language akin to Penkwari, the mannish tongue
spoken in Owyr. (In fact, no one can say whether the Ralgethae learned
speach from the Penkwari, or if it was the other way round.) Like
Penkwari, Ralgethae is not generally written, except in runes on the
occasional landmark or crafted item. The law of the Ralgethae is simple,
customary, and informal; unlike the Penkwari, they do not need to rely on
bards to memorize vast stores of esoteric legal and cultural knowledge.


Characteristics Average

STR	2d6+1	 8	Move	 3
CON	2d6+6	13	Hit Points 10
SIZ	3d3	 6	Fatigue	21
INT	2d6+6	13
POW	3d6	10-11
DEX	2d6+8	15
APP	3d6	10-11


Hit Location	Melee(D20)	Missile (D20)	Points

R Leg		01-04		01-03		0/4
L Leg		05-08		04-06		0/4
Abdomen		09-11		07-10		0/4
Chest		12		11-15		0/5
R Arm		13-15		16-17		0/3
L Arm		16-18		18-19		0/3
Head		19-20		20		0/4


Weapon 		SR 	Attack %	Damage 	Parry % 	PTS

Short sword	8	25+7		1d6+1	25+8		10
Hatchet		8	25+7		1d6+1	25+8		 6
Short spear 	8	20+7		1d8+1	20+8		10
Buckler		-	  -	  	-	25+8		 8
Sling		3	25+7		1d8	-		 -

Skills: Agility +8: Boat 25, Dodge 15, Ride 00, Swim 25; Communication
+5; Knowledge +3; Manipulation +7; Perception +6: Listen 30;
Stealth +8: Hide 15, Sneak 20.

Armor: May wear any.


Because I'm a nice guy, I give players 70+4d6 points to distribute to
characteristics if they're playing human characters. If you use this
system, a player gets 70+3d6 points to distribute among his Ralgethae
character's characteristics. No characteristic may be outside the range
possible given the above dice rolls. The Deliberate and Combined methods
(Player's Book, p. 12) can also be used, of course, if you want PC's to
be more average people. For the Deliberate method, you might want to
allow just 78 points, but it's probably not worth the trouble.


Roll d100

01-05	Crafter
06	Entertainer
07-11	Farmer
12-51	Fisher
52	Healer
53-62	Herder
63-82	Hunter
83-85	Merchant
86	Priest
87-89	Sailor
90-92	Scribe
93	Shaman
94	Soldier
95-99	Thief
00	Sorcerer

All Ralgethae occupations give the same skills as the equivalent
Civilized human, with the exceptions listed below.

Ralgethae Crafter as per human Civilized Crafter except the experience
for Spear goes to Short sword. Possesses Boat x2 and Swim x2.

Ralgethae Fisher possesses Boat x5, Climb x2, Sing x1, Swim x3, Throw x2,
Search x2, First Aid x1, Animal Lore x3, Plant Lore x1, World Lore x3,
Devise x3, Scan x3, Sneak x1, Hide x1, 1H Spear x2, Parry or Dodge x2.

Ralgethae Herder as per human Civilized Herder except also possesses Hide
x1 and Sneak x1.

Ralgethae Hunter as per human Barbarian Hunter except lacks Ride.
Possesses Hide x2, Sneak x2, Listen x1, and Swim x1.

Ralgethae Merchant as per human Civilized Merchant except also possesses
Boat x1 and Swim x1.

Ralgethae Priest as per human Civilized Priest except lacks Ride.

Ralgethae Shaman as per human Barbarian Shaman except also possesses
Boating x2 and Swim x2.

Ralgethae Soldier as per human Civilized Soldier except possesses Hide x2
and Sneak x2. Must choose Missile Weapon x4. 1H Weapon Attack is x3 and
Shield Parry is x3.


Ralgethae	5 points

A Fuzzy gets +1 on HT, +1 on DX, and -2 to ST. He is 1 foot shorter than
a human of his ST.

Advantages: Acute Hearing Level 2. Also, treat Stealth as a Physical/Easy
skill for Ralgethae.

Friends and Enemies: none. However, humans unfamiliar with the Ralgethae
will sometimes react at a -1 due to their appearance. This will generally
apply only outside of the regions which adjoin the Ralgethae homeland.

Likes and Dislikes: Due to their environment, Ralgethae are naturally
wary. They prefer to err on the side of caution--thus, Miserliness is a
more common Disadvantage among the Ralgethae than Overconfidence. (Common
Sense is often found among the Ralgethae.) Ralgethae are industrious
folk; they apply themselves seriously to their livelihood, whatever it
may be.

Miscellaneous: As a people, the Ralgethae are not accustomed to horses.
Except for those Ralgethae who have taken up residence in Bednor and
entered Carian society, few if any learn Riding. By contrast, any
Ralgethae from the marshes will certainly have at least fair ability in
Boating and Swimming.

        -Elliot Wilen


From:  (Andrew Bell)

Subject: Jack-of-all-trades characters

When the longest running RuneQuest campaign around here degenerated,  it
seemed that the main problem was that the major (most powerful) characters had
little or no reason to run together.  Lower power characters had little to
offer the higher power ones, and would get killed participating in adventures
that were (combat-wise) a challenge to the higher power ones.

The main reason for this was that the major characters were
jacks-of-all-trades.  Despite the supposed specific nature of their cults,
all were adept at healing,  at weapons,  and making themselves magic
resistant.  Each had enough spirit block that spirits generally weren't a
problem.  (The Big Three were all Runelord-Priests.)

Granted,  these three were all of widely different backgrounds,  and had
widely varying goals.  But even if they had been more closely aligned,  they
really had few unique talents to offer each other.

Have any of you folks noticed this "problem"?

For us, the causes were:

1) By far the most useful class to be is a fighter of some sort.  Sorcerors
   are not exactly encouraged to mingle with divine and spirit magic users,
   and the game really encourages people to join cults.  And the magic of a
   novice sorceror's apprentice is not much more powerful than the spells
   obtainable by cult members.  In RQ II,  the sorcery option doesn't even

2) In RQ II, and to a slightly lesser extent RQ III,  Power is such an
   important characteristic that not having offensive magic would put a
   character at a major disadvantage.  Thus characters were/are oriented
   towards offensive magic in RQ II, as opposed to any thoughts of merely
   specializing in weapons. In RQ III the cult you join determines what
   offensive magic you can get,  so characters gravitate towards those cults
   with offensive spells.

3) In RQ III,  they merged many of the thiefly skills,  so it takes even less
   training to become good at thieving-type activities.  Sneaking up behind
   someone and backstabbing them isn't that much better than their failing to
   parry,  so asassin-style attacks aren't particularly important either.

A form of this latter seems to be a problem in many game systems,  not just
RQ.  For example,  translate this situation into any RPG:

     In the feeble light of the waxing moon,  Harquin examined the lock in
front of him.  "Foolish,  foolish,"  he muttered. "The darn fool's got about
the easiest lock to pick on this door.  One would think he wanted me to steal
his precious medallion.  I'm certainly willing to oblige him,  at any rate."
     His hands worked quickly,  manipulating slivers of metal inside the
keyhole.  Within a few seconds,  his efforts were rewarded with an audible
     "Ah,  now to see what's behind here..."
     "I wouldn't move,  if I were you," came a voice from behind him.
"Otherwise,  I might have to put a bolt through your chest.  Now turn around,
slowly.  No, don't stand up; on your knees will do nicely."
     Harquin turned as instructed.  In front of him stood Colman,  the Captain
of the Guards.  His heavy crossbow was aimed quite clearly at the little
thief's chest.  Colman spoke: "My dear Harquin,  just as I expected.  I
had a feeling you couldn't resist the temptation to try again.  I'm afraid,
however,  that task will be much more difficult from his Lordship's dungeons."
     "I think my friend behind you would rather you didn't put me there."
replied Harquin,  his eyes apparently moving to something behind and to the
left of his foe's shoulder.
     "Really,  you don't expect me to fall for that old trick,  do you? I..."
     Colman never got to finish his thought,  as there was an audible thump
at which point he fell to the ground.  The figure behind him moved out of the
shadows,  still holding his heavy mace.
     "Ah,  Irvin," stated the thief."You always did have impeccable timing."
He then gave an expression of injured innocence. "I did tell him you were
there,  why didn't he believe me?  You know,  I don't think the captain likes
me very much."

In RQ,  the crossbow would have been intimidating to a leather-armored thief
with little magic because of its high damage range. A bow,  on the other hand,
would be less fearsome; it's very unlikely that the thief would have been
disabled by a single shot.  Had Colman had a chance to shoot,  he also
probably would have hit Harquin in a limb.  Likewise, it is very unlikely that
Irvin could have felled the captain in a single blow like he did.  It seems
rules like the following would help:

Movement rates:

(Man-sized) humanoid on all fours: 1/2 meter per strike rank
Humanoid prone or on knees       : 1/4 meter per strike rank

Time to do things:

Humanoid:  prone to standing     : 3 strike ranks
Humanoid:  prone to on knees     : 2 strike ranks
Humanoid:  on knees to standing  : 2 strike ranks


You can choose your hit location if the foe you are attacking is kneeling or
prone,  or defenseless with a movement rate of 1 meter/sr or less,  and if you
are fully mobile and undistracted.

Anyway,  back to the problems:

4) Allied spirits are so powerful that they significantly alter the game
   balance.  Characters without Allied Spirits are substantially less powerful
   than their rune-level friends.

Have the rest of you had problems like these in your campaigns?  Have you or
your GMs done anything about problems of this sort?



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