Subject: The RQ Digest, Volume 5, Number 7 RQDIGESTV05N07 First Distribution: January 19, 1991 This issue: Willpower (A.V. Gieskens and M.P. Claessen) InsightQuest #001 (Mike Dawson) -------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel Gieskens) and Subject: Willpower W I L L P O W E R ================================== Willpower is the power to change or manipulate various kinds of things purely by using one's mental energy, by bending one's will to it. The chance for someone to have willpower = (INT + POW - 30)% The maximum chance however is 20% (that's for humans and demihumans, there maybe ather races such as the Ki-rin which have willpower always.) To use a willpower ability, you have to succeed in a skill roll. This skill has a base value of (INT + POW) * 2%. This can only be increased by ceremony or an increase of Power or Intelligence. When nothing is mentioned at the place of the ability, use this base chance, otherwise use the modifications mentioned. The chance can also be improved by using the ceremony skill. One standard modification is used: when using multiple abilities at once (for example scrying and telekinesis) the penalty is -15% per extra ability used. This penalty aplies for all used abilities! This also counts when multiple abilities are used subsequently in one round. The time a WP-ability takes effect is at the DEX-sr., no delays. For some abilities the term xp (experience) is mentioned. This xp is the same as the profession xp in years (thus for humans: age - 15). Exceptions are ruled by the GM (for example: when a player character has 6 years thief and 8 years soldier xp. of which 3 years simultaneous, the WP (willpower) xp is 11 years). MP's used for willpower must be "your own" MP's, that is you can't use willpower with stored MP's (from power spirits for example). It is however possible to fill your current MP's up to full power for resistance. Example: you use 5 MP for WP, and then you fill it up (from your bracelet with a MP storage of 6 MP's) till your maximum 18 (you are a lucky power 18 individual). Now you resist with your full MP's (18) , but you only have 13 MP's left for use with willpower. MP's used for an WP ability count double versus defensive magic (not for overcome rolls!), this counts for boosted MP's too. For normal spell casting by WP-user, all Mp's count single. Willpower in effect can be felt by other WP-user at a range of 3 meters per MP in use. The WP-user does not have to react to this feeling. There are some abilities which every willpower using individual has. These are: - Regeneration of 1 MP. per 10 minutes. - Concentration: if succes in skill roll, offensive and defensive MP. are multiplied by 4/3 for 5 MR's. This ability cannot be used while using another ability, but can done before so you have higher overcome chance. - WP-user has a strong gaze. Ther are two version (as far is known) and it is possible to have them both. Roll D100: 01-45 gaze A 46-90 gaze B 91-00 both gaze A: The ability to bind the otherone's eyes; if overcome you will bind his eyes for one MR. (may then roll again). gaze B: The ability to make the otherone look away; if overcome target will look away for 7 sr's. both gazes hinder spellcasting and melee for the target (assign arbitrary penalties). These are the only abilities which require no skill roll. The following abilities have only a chance to be had. Willpower abilities cannot be gained, you start of with them at birth, you'll only learn how to use them more effectively. (although powerful wishes and divine interventions are always nasty rulebreakers). Roll first for the firestarter ability, if this ability is gained, all other abilities have only half chance. The standard chance per ability is 16%. W I L L P O W E R - A B I L I T I E S =============================================== 1) Firestarter range:sight duration: 1 sr. (although the effects may last longer). A) From 2 xp.: Warm, 1 MP, Effect: One object heated to 40 degrees C., difficulty: + 10% (repeatable after 1 MR) B) From 4 xp.: WP-user cannot be harmed by burning from candles or equivalent fire (GM rules each case) C) From 5 xp.: Ignite, 2 MP, Effect: one object can be ignited doing 1D10 damage to the object (each round, if it isn't put out), up to wet wood can be ignited. At 7 xp skin can be ignited, at 11 xp iron (not silver, copper, mithril etc. only iron) can be ignited, doing 1 D10 dam directed at AP. The last two (skin and iron) fires die out in one round unless supplied by fuel. difficulty: +5% D) From 7 xp.: Flamethrower, 3 MP, Effect: a flaming inferno somewhat like a dragonbreath (area = 2 meter width, POW meter lenght) damage is 3D6 (armor absorbs) just like the original RQ dragon breath. The flames are shot from both hands. difficulty: +0% E) From 8 xp.: Willpower-user cannot be harmed by natural fires. F) From 10 xp: Fire Ball, 4MP, Effect: a fire ball doing 2D(xp) damage in 1/2(xp) meter radius, or 1D(xp) damage in (xp) meter radius. difficulty: -5% G) From 11 xp: Willpower-user cannot be harmed by fire from elementals. H) From 12 xp: Firedance, 3MP + 1MP/MR (including the first round), Effect: user and non-magical gear is enveloped in flames which will deliver 2D8 damage per round to anyone in melee range. The dance will cost the user 10 FP/MR which are payed after the dance. Non-magical equipment is lost, magical equipment will be slightly warmed. In the dance, normal melee activity is possible for the user. After the dance, the user is tired but unharmed from the flames. difficulty: -10% I) From 13 xp: Willpower-user cannot be harmed by any fire. 2) Aura of fear range: extra MP's squared (MP*MP), so 2 additional Mp's would give a radius of 4 meters. duration: 1 MR. cost: 3MP + points spended for range. effect: as divine fear spell with half offensive MP's for everyone in radius. difficulty: - range (in meters)% 3) Aura of friendliness range: as aura of fear. duration: 1 MR. cost: as aura of fear. effect: make overcome roll for everyone in radius with half your offensive MP's. fumble makes enemies, succes makes friends for 1 turn (10 minutes), special makes friends for 1 day, critical makes friends as long as in neighborhood (mininmum of 1 week). difficulty: as aura of fear. 4) Bodyarmor range: self. duration: special (see below) cost: 1 MP/2 AP (max is xp in MP). effect: this ability will make the hide so though that it gets more AP's. These AP's decline. Roll after each round under your base skill , if this roll is failed, the AP's will lessen with 1D3 points. difficulty: +10% (+0% for decline rolls). 5) Bodyweaponry range: self. duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: 1 MP/MR. effect: The willpower-user has a number of points, equal to xp. Each point can be used in several ways: A) Phantom weapon: 1D2 dam and 1AP per point used for this (2D2 is D4 and 3D2 is D6, GM will rule what exact dice are. For example 7D2 can be 2D6 + D2 or 2D4 + D6. Always use a few dice as possible.) This weapon is used at the skill of the melee- weapon it resembles (this also counts for natural weapons). B) +10% Attack or parry. C) +3AP to parry object (hand or phantom weapon) D) +2 damage if upon natural weapon. E) +5% dodge. difficulty: -5% 6) Chameleon-power range: self duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: (1MP + extra enc MP's)/turn effect: The willpower-user will blend with his surroundings. Worn objects up to 10 enc. are also blended. Above 10 enc., the worn objects will cost 1 MP/6 enc. When remaining still, the willpower-user is invisible to normal sight. If he moves, he can be seen if a scan roll at -20% is made by the observer. The user will still be audible if moving. Smell and touch will detect presence normally. 7) Clairaudience range: sight (1 meter into or past solid objects), unlimited if place is well known (such as your own house. duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: 1MP/minute effect: Willpower-user can hear at the place designated. This is normal hearing. If a creature is the target (so you will hear what he hears) and he is unwilling, you must overcome him. If this roll is within 10% of failure, the creature will feel something. Defensive magic must be overcome with own MP's (not MP's used for ability). difficulty: - familiar place or sight: +10% - through rock or unresisting target: +0% - resisting target: -10% - through metal: -20% - through mithril (if you use this metal, notes on this will follow later): -75% 8) Clairvoyance all as clairaudience except that hearing is now seeing (use sight of willpower- user, so elf can use infra-vision (see later notes: new player character races)). 9) Domination range: sight duration: as long as control is not broken (see below) cost: 5MP, 10MP if unnatural actions (the target would not want this, for example a lion doesn't want to let go of it's prey) are forced, 15MP if very unnatural actions (such as suicidal action, murdering good friends etc.) effect: Willpower-user can control actions of another being. If unnatural or very unnatural actions are forced, the target has to be overcome besides the normal skill roll for willpower, otherwise only skill roll has to be made. If the overcome roll is failed, the control is broken and the target will usualy be angry (though he may not know who did it). Control can also be broken when willpoweruser wants it or when user or target is unconcious (sleep KO). When stopped willingly by user, transition must be done carefully (caster needs one round for this), because when transition is done abrubtly, target notices this and will be angry (as above). difficulty: (user-POW - (target-POW +5))*5% 10) ESP range: xp in meters or xp*5 in meters (see below) duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: 1MP/MR effect: Willpower-user can read the thoughts of other intelligent beings. The range for this is xp in meters. Only one "thought" can be read in a melee round. The chance to read the right "thought" is a INT vs INT roll (this reflects the relative complexity of the target's thoughts). after 10xp, the thoughts of animals can be read. Their power is used in stead of thier INT for the resistance roll. This ability can also be used for scanning for thoughts and thus for scanning for intelligent beings. The range for this use of ESP is xp*5 in meters, penetrating through xp in cm of solid material. The willpower-user can scan an arc of 120 degrees in one melee round. (only mindbar-like abilities can stop this scanning, for mindbar see further notes: willpower ability 16) difficulty: -10%, for scanning:+5% 11) Etherealness range: self. duration: special (see below). cost: 6MP + 1MP/4 enc. carried or touched. effect: The willpower-user becomes ethereal, which has the effect of still being visible, but hardly audible (near to not audible). You can only hit and be hit by magic. Two ethereal beings however can hit each other normally. Roll each round a skill roll, if the roll is failed, the willpower-user will become normal after 1 round (this is 12 seconds!). After 10xp, other living material can be take into etherealness as well but remember that enc costs MP's difficulty: 0% 12) Fly range: self. duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: (1 + 1/2move + 1/10enc. carried)MP's per turn. effect: Willpower user can fly (no wing flapping needed, just like a jetpack). Levitation can be done and costs only 1 MP per turn. difficulty: +10% -5% per extra MP spend (on move or enc.). 13) Knowledge of Beings range: sight (although very far is very difficult) duration: nearly instantaneous. cost: 1MP (although more may be needed to penetrate defense). effect: If the target is overcome, the willpower-user will know name, approximate age (+/- 10%) and origin (Gm's may opt to keep this vague). Special success with the overcome roll, the willpower-user will know the exact place of birth (although he may not know where the place is). Critical success will let the willpower-user know who the parents were, date of birth and general "habitat". difficulty: +0%, -5%/mtr distance, +10% if touching. 14) Knowledge of objects and places. range: sight duration: nearly instantaneous. cost: 1MP. effect: Information will be revealed dependent on the type of success of the skill roll. Success will give basic purpose, approximate age, origin and if it's magical or not. Special will give last being that touched it (image) (note that the last being who touched an arrow found in a body of a being, is the being self.), technical details and general magical powers and spelltypes. Critical will give most spells specifically and creator is seen (and named). This ability can only be used twice per item, once on a distance and once touched (by the way willpower-user doesn't count for last being that touched the item). from places similar things will be revealed (last being been there, purpose of the place, creator of the place (if any) etc.). difficulty: -10%, -5% per century of age, -5 % per meter distance, +15% if touched. 15) Mind over body range: self. duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: 1MP/MR. effect: STR CON and DEX are increased by XP and move is increased by half xp. Roll each round a skill roll. difficulty: +5%, -5% per MR used with this ability since last sleep. 16) Mindbar range: self. duration: 24 hours. cost: 6MP. effect: This ability adds 8 defensive MP's versus mind-affecting spells and abilities (such as certain willpower abilities). Furthermore, it gives the willpower user an xp*10% chance of knowing the direction of the origin of the spell or ability, and an xp*5% chance of recognizing spell and caster (if these are known by wp-user, else the respective patterns are memorized and can be recognized later). The latter effect, affects a broad range of spells (including scrying, choking etc.). difficulty: -50% +5%/xp (max = +10%). 17) Preservation range: self. duration: 1 turn. cost: variable (see below). effect: Each MP spent on this ability, will protect against 1D4 of area effect damage (for example dragon breath) or 3 points of poisonous gas. The maximum of MP's which can be used simultaneously with this ability is xp/2. 1MP suffices against drowning. (example: 5MP protects against 2D10 firebreath and less, and against 15 points of poisonous gas.) Excess damage is reduced by protection (for example: 5MP vs. 3D8 damage will become 1D4 damage, 3D10 will become 1D10 etc.) difficulty: -5%/2MP used (1 MP is +0%, 3MP's = -5% etc.) 18) Regeneration range: self. duration: as long as sustained with MP's. cost: 1MP/2HP regenerated, rounded up. effect: Willpower user can regenerate hit points at the rate of 1HP/2SR, but user must concentrate on it, so no other activities are possible during regeneration. Limbs can be regenerated, but the cost is 1MP/HP and the speed is only 1HP/turn. This ability cannot regenerate general HP lost by poison. difficulty: 0% (limbs at -20%). 19) Shapechange self range: self. duration: until altered by user. cost: 2MP + 2MP/shift +1MP/4SIZ difference. effect: Willpower user can alter his shape to become another creature (physically only, no magical or mental abilities are gained or lost.). Determine cost with the following table (change within own race cost only 2MP's + 1MP/4SIZ difference.) 1. Own race. 2. Humanoids. 3. Land based mammals. 4. Water, amphibic and avian creatures. 5. Extra shift. 6. Mythical creatures. 7. Extra shift. 8. Specials (unique creatures, objects). The maximum of MP's used in a change is equal to xp. Change's between shapes are not possible, first you have to change back to normal and then you can change to your new form. difficulty: +10% -2%/MP used over 2MP. 20) Shapechange other range: 1 creature. duration: until ended by target. cost: as shapechange self. effect: Willpower user can shapechange 1 other creature (willing!). For the total number of shifts also count the number of shifts to reach own race. Example: a human shapechanging a dwarf to some other dwarf, with same size, costs 2 + (1 + 1)*2= 6MP's. Note that own race is still race of willpower user! Otherwise it is exactly the same as shapechange self. difficulty: Own POW - Target POW - 2%/MP cost - 1%/MTR. distance. 21) Shapechange object range: 1 object. duration: 1-6 rounds (see below) cost: 2MP + 2MP/Shift + 1/MR concentration. effect: Willpower user can shapechange 1 object permanently. This ability can only be used once per 2 weeks, once per object ever. If xp > 8 then this ability can be used once per week, if xp > 12 then once every 4 days and twice per object. Magic items will resist according to their relative power (have to be overcome with POW of item being 1POW/MP of spell effect in it (master rules)) if the item is overcome, everything will be normal, but when it is failed, roll on following table. 01 - 70 nothing happens 71 - 90 item is changed but magic is lost. 91 - 00 item is not changed and magic is lost. To calculate the total number of shifts, use table below. Dead tissue (wood) | Dirt/Clay/Sand | Stone / \ Raw Metal Marble | | Iron Glass / \ | Steel Bronze Fancy Stones | | | Silver Copper Ruby & Diamond | | | Platinum Gold Unique Stones | | Mithril Dragon-scales Quantity of material decrease with 50% each step down and doubles with each step up. Maximum steps down is 1/4xp. The quality of items is increased by 1 each round of concentration. 1= very bad, 3-4= normal, 6= Top quality. difficulty: 0% - 5%/MR of concentration (roll each round! so 1st round -5% second -10% etc.) difficulty can be increased or decreased by master, for example a complex lock might have an additional -15%. 22) Shortport range: self. duration: instantaneous. cost: 1MP + 1MP/4MTR shortported. effect: Willpower user can teleport short distances on sight, this is *very* fast. Incoming missiles can be evaded this way if the missiles are seen. It also can be used to dodge a blow in combat but in both cases (missile and melee, the shortport must be stated before the attack roll is made. As the shortporting is done on sight, it only works in a straight line with no big obstacles. After 8 xp, the facing at place of arrival can be chosen (so you can shortport diagonally behind someone with your face towards him so you can attack him immediately from behind.) difficulty: +5%. 23) Telekinesis range: xp*2 mtr. duration: as long as sustained with MP's cost: 1MP + special (see below). effect: An object can be moved at a distance by the willpower user. Every 5 rounds a successful skill roll has to be made, at that point also the MP "sacrifice" has to be made. The weight that can be moved is 1 enc. + 2SIZ/MP extra spent. Move is 1 + 3/MP extra spent. The minimal move needed to make an attack is move 7, each 6 move over 7 adds 1D4 damage. A telekinesed object has 2 actions/MR, attack and parry are base willpower skill. The maximum MP's spent at once is equal to xp. Example: When you want to animate a greatsword of 3.5 enc. With 1D4 damage bonus, you'll have to spend 1+ 1(for the weight above 1 enc.) + 4 (to give it the necessary move of 13) = 6MP's. These MP's have to be paid every 5 rounds (if you want to continue animating the greatsword of course). The total damage done by the greatsword is now 2D8 + D4. difficulty: +15% -5%/extra MP (in the example above, difficulty would be +15 - 5*5 = -10%). 24) Telepathy range: special (see below) duration: as long as sustained with MP's. cost: 1MP/5MR effect: Willpower user can communicate with other beings telepathically. The range is sight is target is unknown, bordering planes is target is well known, and unlimited if target is well known and can use telepathy also (this doesn't have to be willpower). More telepathic links can be formed at the same time but additional links cost 2MP/5MR/link, and this counts as more than one ability used at the same time (so increasing difficulty). After 12 xp. the willpower user can get some response from tree-like beings and plant life. This can only be used once per 25x25 Mtr. area. difficulty: +15% if target speaks the same language. + 0% if target speaks other language. -70%+xp*5% if target has fixed INT (this is up to - 5%) -45% if with tree-like beings. 25) Teleport range: depends on MP's spent, but normally one plane. duration: instantaneous. cost: 5MP + 1MP/2SIZ carried over bodyweight + 14MP/plane travelled. effect: Willpower user can transport himself instantaneous from one place to another. This place must be known, or at least seen. Plane travelling can be done after 10xp. If an area is protected by magic, Mp's can be used to boost the teleport to pass through the protections. Note that only somebody with POW 19 or more can do plane travelling. difficulty: -40% if used instantly, +5%/MR of concentration, up to a total of +5% (reached after 9MR) GM can assign increasing difficulty if for example place is only seen once. - The Black Panther - -------------------- From: email@example.com (Mike Dawson) Subject: InsightQuest #001 InsightQuest #001 10/31/90 Encouraging a dialog on the more philosophic questions arising from RuneQuest, Glorantha and role playing in general. By Mike Dawson AGING AND EXPERIENCE --THE "DEADLY OLD FOLKS" EFFECT When the experience tables in RQ are combined with the aging tables, some very interesting effects can be extrapolated. What is the result of skill increases per year plus an average lifespan of over 60 years? Deadly Senior Citizens. There is no limit to skills learned by normal previous experience. For example, a completely ordinary 55 year old civilized peasant farmer/initiate is fully qualified to be a Priest of the Earth Goddess and/or Ernalda. He has 10 points of rune magic, a Heroic level of Plant Lore, and meets all other requirements as well. He is also very dangerous with his chosen weapon. Granted his ritual skills are low, but they meet the minimum necessary for acceptance. This class of person is the most numerous in the world! Here's a person who is frail, but very skilled and magically capable. He's not even very frail--odds are good he will live another 20 years. Peasant farmer/Earth Goddess initiates are not the most dangerous in combat terms, but they can get mean if they choose the right spells. In any case the observation holds true for other, more dangerous professions as well. Old folks may be frail, but the system defines them as very dangerous, though they are completely ordinary old people! So my question is: How much does the ref allow the game system to define the nature of the world? If you follow the system closely as a guide, then the world ends up being peculiar in ways the designers may not have anticipated or wished. If you do not use the system as a true definition of the world, what sense does it make to create anyone by those rules? Would you use the system at all, and if so, when? This question hold broader meaning for other parts of the world. If you choose to follow the profession guides literally, think what it means for places like Arolanit, where ordinary farmers can be over 400 years old. With Plant Lores over 500%, why can't those ordinary farmers manage to feed the whole world from their small farms? CAREFUL READING, DOING YOUR OWN EDITING, and ULTIMATE TRUTH RQ is an immense body of work when combined with Wyrm's Footnotes, old Different Worlds articles, scenarios, cult books, etc. A reasonably complete collection takes up several feet of a bookshelf. Is it surprising then, that the various overworked writers and editors have let mistakes and contradictions slip by? In some cases the contradictions seem to be on purpose. The unresolved differences in Gloranthan creations myths are the most vivid example here. Other mistakes are obviously the result of careless or ignorant editing. The best example I know of this is the cult %ages for the yellow elves in the Elder Secrets book. According to them, 2% of the Embyli are members of Babeester Gor. However, the Babeester Gor cult is an all female cult, and Yellow elves are all male, except for Dryads. Unless the writer/editor intended to suggest that ALL Yellow Dryads are Avenging Daughters, something is off. Unfortunately, not all problems are so obviously wrong. So, my question is: How willing are you to say, "I don't care what the sourcebook says, X just doesn't make sense when I take Y and Z into account?" Unless you pick and choose your truth, Glorantha is a place of wild contradictions. Is that necessarily a bad thing, you ask? The real world if full of contradictions. Now we head off into deep levels of game philosophy. I agree that the real world is full of APPARENT contradictions, but if I were going to try to referee the real world, I would want to know what is really true and what is just a difference of opinion. Perhaps I would decide that no one really knows the truth, and that everyone is wrong. Nevertheless, as a ref, I feel it is necessary to actually know what is REALLY true in any world I run. If I don't know, then there is no way for me to understand the world I am running. Here are just a few things I would need to decide to run "the Real World:" Who killed the Kennedys Who really runs the government (any government) Whether any religion is true If magic is real If souls exist The ref of a world contains the entire universe in his head and in his notes. No other truth exists beyond this for a game world. How could characters ever discover something else? For this reason, I believe that if a ref does not know what the Ultimate Truths for his game world are, then there are NO Ultimate Truths for that world. A coherent world cannot exist in a meaningful sense without these truths being in operation. Without them to guide and constrain the ref, the characters are just running around on a cardboard stage. Here are just a few things I need to decide to run Glorantha: Who really dismembered the Blue Moon Who really runs the government (any government) Whether any religion is true How magic is done If souls exist (dwarfs & brithini deny this) "Such things are unknowable by mortals" you say. Perhaps, if you decide so as a ref. (That in itself is near to being an Ultimate Truth.) Remember, however, that there are things in your game world that you are required to be in charge of as the GM: The Inhuman King, True Dragons, Zzabur, Demigods, Lhankor Mhy, The Great Gods. Do any of them know any of these Truths? Could any of them end up talking to characters? Perhaps this all seems a bit esoteric to you. Well, here are a few True or False examples of things that might work as Ultimate, or just important, Truths in Glorantha. Try answering all of them True, then think how it would affect the way your world works. Then reverse it, and try them all False. AN ULTIMATE TRUTHS TRUE-FALSE QUIZ----------------------------- Ultimate Truths may not be known by mortals. Dragons are the sole true creators of the Universe. Glorantha is the most important world in the Universe. Chaos is the font from which all existence springs. The four differing theories on world creation (Spiritual, Theistic, Mystical, Humanistic) are all reconcilable parts of a whole. The nature of things is in the habit of concealing itself. Conflict is inherent in any system. Perfection is not sustainable. Mortals are not capable of perfection. The humanistic view of gods as false sorcerous creations is exactly correct. Correct maintenance of ritual roles is more important than free will. Some of these are more important than others, but any of them can have far-reaching effect in a campaign, just by having the ref keep them in mind as he runs the game. RUNNING A LIVING WORLD WITHOUT GETTING BURIED IN DETAILS OK, the pcs have just killed the mayor in a brothel, and the Humakti High Sword for the town has witnessed that they did it in self defense. They hold solid evidence of the entire city council's involvement with the local Krarsht smuggling ring, and are too tough for the average local bad boys to silence easily. They go public. What happens now? Most refs, I am afraid, have a great deal of trouble trying to figure things out in a rational way. In fact, I think many refs are uninterested in figuring it out rationally--they just wing it, basing their decisions on what they think will be the most interesting twist. So what? What's wrong with making the plot twist in interesting ways? Nothing at all, if your PCs are more interested in story than free will. However, to my mind, just "winging it" for dramatic impact has some problems. When it comes to the larger effects PCs can have in the game it is EXACTLY the same as "winging it" while running hand to hand combat. If the ref is going to intervene capriciously in the fate of the PCs on the large scale, then how is that different from fudging die rolls during combat? In both cases, don't opponents succeed or fail on the whim of the ref? How can the players feel any true sense of accomplishment when the ref is juggling their fates from hand to hand in order to create "a good story?" "There is a difference," you say. "Combat has rules, but the political and social interactions involving a scandal-ridden town council are not codified. They are not part of a game system and MUST be estimated and guessed at by the ref. If he has to guess, why not guess in the direction of the best story?" In response, I say that the problem is that there is no system for the interaction of people above the small military unit in RQ (White Bear & Red Moon notwithstanding). What a ref needs, for any game, is a system that allows him to track the health, power, ability, influence and members of groups more complex than a small unit. It needs to be possible to find out what happens when the PCs discredit the town council, spread nasty rumors about the baronial guard captain, provoke a citywide fight for dominance between rival gangs, or get a clan declared anathema by the Ecclesiarch of Leplain. Any suggestions? Anyone care to outline the problem of making a system? WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD No, not the real world. Glorantha. The first really good, mainstream fantasy world, a progressive leader in the early 80's, has been in sad straits for the past several years. I am not interested in finger-pointing. I just want to know what you would do if you had full authority over everything that is RQ and Glorantha. What would you publish, how would you publish, who would you get to write, to draw, and how would you market it? Other companies, originally slow to support the world campaign concept, have jumped on the bandwagon that has Chaosium's logo on the front seat. These late-comers made big bucks with a product less interesting than Glorantha, while the high quality of the RQ stuff failed to catch the attention of the mass market. How would you change this? The only stipulations I put on your suggestions is that they be at least vaguely practical, have some hope of making money, and that they in no way compromise the high standards set by Chaosium for Gloranthan products. Here are a few topics that might affect your train of thought: Your emphasis for publication--large sourcebooks (whole countries and regions), large scenario packs (Into Uzdom), Compendiums (RQ Companion), or smaller adventures (Apple Lane & Snakepipe Hollow), or something new? Style of product release--Boxed with lots of stuff & gimmicks (Masks of Nyarlothotep), Boxed & big (Genertela, Gods of Glorantha), shrink wrapped (Apple Lane, etc.), or something else. Importance of graphics--will strong interior art sell you or your market? Will weak art keep you from buying it? How important is color on the inside? How important are color maps. How many colors? Should they be like, say, Harn with gorgeous, very expensive maps and graphics in full color? Price range--can it be more expensive than competing products, the same, or should it undercut things like Forgotten Realms? How would you change things to make RQ more competitive to a larger market? (Please, no cyberpunks in Pavis.) MARTIN CRIM ADDS: in talking to Mike about this, we discussed a number of topics large and small, but I'd just like to add two: First, add to the list of true/false questions the proposition "Nysalor illumination is a gift of ultimate truth, not a chaotic illusion designed to ensnare and destroy." What does deciding THAT do to you, the GM, in your perception of the world? Second, when Mike talks about the living world, he's really talking about a framework for dealing with problems like this: there's a mood on the street (or in Pavis, a mood in each neighborhood) and people can manipulate that mood magically. Some GM's would ignore this, leaving the players without a clue as to something their characters would know and consider important. Others would fudge it, hoping to attract player interest through an interesting story line. Mike is a "clockmaker God" GM, and wants a game system for tracking and resolving such things. -------------------- The RuneQuest(tm) mailing list is a courtesy of Andrew Bell. All opinions and material above are the responsibility of the originator, and copyrights are held by them. Unless specified in the specific article, all RQ Digest material is freely redistributable on a not-for-profit basis as long as author credit is included. RuneQuest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. Send submissions, mailing list changes, requests for old article lists, etc. to: firstname.lastname@example.org ...!mcnc!unc!bell Request old articles by volume number and issue number.