Sunday, August 19, 2012

[Q&A] Lawrence Whitaker (RuneQuest 6e)

[19:14] <~Dan> Okay, guys! I'll now be turning the floor over to
Lawrence "Loz" Whitaker, co-author of RuneQuest 6e.
[19:14] <~Dan> #rpgnet2 is open for general chat.
[19:14] <+Loz> Thank you Dan
[19:14] <+Damiar> sweet, new RQ edition!
[19:14] <~Dan> Loz, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a bit
about RQ6e?
[19:14] <+Loz> Sure.
[19:15] <+Loz> Its obviously the latest incarnation of RQ. Based on
the work Pete Nash and I did for Mongoose, but vastly expanded,
updated and revised. Its a complete, one book game, and has all the
familiar hallmarks of RQ along with some new twists and additions
[19:15] *** -to CRKrueger-: You there?
[19:16] <+Loz> Someone described it as RQ - the Director's Cut, which
is a nice analogy.
[19:16] <+Loz> For myself, I live in Ontario, but am originally
English. Been working in RPGs for best part of 25 years with a lot of
battlescars and published works under my belt.
[19:17] <+Loz> I worked for Mongoose for 3 years and prior to that
freelanced for Chaosium mostly on the Elric/Stormbringer lines.
[19:18] <~Dan> (Just give me a "(done)" when you're ready for questions, Loz.)
[19:18] <+Damiar> What part of England? Oh, and I'm not very familiar
with the recent mongoose edition, can you explain a bit in the context
of 6e?
[19:18] <+Loz> Yorkshire, Damiar.
[19:18] <+Loz> Near Leeds
[19:18] <+Damiar> oh, I know that area somewhat
[19:19] <+Loz> Context? Can you be a little more specific perhaps? Its
a wide field.
[19:19] <+Damiar> well basically tell me everything about 6e. what
differentiates it from older editions, in particular?
[19:19] <+Loz> Got a few hours? :-)
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[19:19] <+Damiar> yes, but do you? ;p
[19:20] <+Loz> Okay, RQ is still skill driven, as it always has been.
[19:20] <+Damiar> naturally.
[19:21] <+Loz> It retains the same stats as classic RQ, but brings in
some new areas, such as Healing rate, Social Class and Passions.
Otherwise characters are created through skill point choices based on
Culture, Profession and personal preference.
[19:21] <+Loz> Combat is completely different to earlier RQ versions.
Much more tactical, but faster and more satisfying. There are 5 magic
systems, all internally consistent and relatively easy to use.
[19:22] <+Loz> RQ6 is NOT attached to Glorantha, but designed as a
generic rules book to create any fantasy genre.
[19:22] <~Dan> Ah, I have a question relating to that bit.
[19:22] <+Loz> Go ahead Dan
[19:22] <+xyphoid> does the rq6 book contain glorantha content?
[19:22] <+Loz> No, it doesn't.
[19:23] <~Dan> Pete Nash indicated that the "standard" fantasy races
are no longer their Glorantha counterparts but have their own twists.
Care to comment?
[19:24] <+Loz> Sure. We've taken the European tropes of trolls,
dwarves, elves and the like, and given each slightly new psychologies
and advantages/disadvantages. Trolls, for instance, are susceptible to
sunlight, but how much depends on their linkage wityh the darkness
rune. Eleves are otherworldly and driven by inhuman passions. Far more
Faerie than the usual RPG elf.
[19:25] <~Dan> How did you balance that with the need to keep things "generic"?
[19:25] <+Loz> We didn't aim to balance. The races are familiar, but
aren't intended to be on-par with humans. Some are, simply, better
than humans.
[19:26] <+Armiger> Loz: You mention trolls. They wouldn't happen to be
a player option, would they? (I am a big fan of the old Trollpak)
[19:26] <+Loz> In stats terms, that is.
[19:26] <+Loz> Any race is a player option.
[19:26] <+Loz> Every race is statted in the same way as humans. Some
we've given more concrete guidance on, but essentially the human
chargen rules can be applied to just about any sapient race.
[19:27] <~Dan> Loz: Sorry, I wasn't clear: What I was trying to say
was, how did you handle making the races unique in a game that's
theoretically a generic fantasy game?
[19:28] <+Loz> By giving each a unique psychology and rationale behind
that psychology. A good example is the Iqari (human/eagle hybrids).
They have a very alien outlook based around raptor needs and
[19:28] <+Loz> I'll try to quote a rules example...
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[19:30] <+Loz> Playing an iqari can pose some challenges unless all
the characters are also iqari. Those iqari who seek out the company of
other races are considered insane by their own kind and, indeed, may
be in the throes of some psychosis. Iqari abhor confinement. Buildings
and rooms hold a special fear for them as they have an innate need to
see the open sky at all tim
[19:31] <~Dan> Hmm... I still don't think my question was clear.
[19:31] <+Loz> Venturing underground, even for brief periods, requires
a successful Willpower roll which must be remade every hour. Failed
rolls result in the iqari experiencing the equivalent of a panic
attack and this may result in extremely manic and possibly even
violent behaviour especially if an exit is not in evidence
[19:31] <~Dan> I'm not talking about play balance, but your point is well-taken.
[19:32] <~Dan> (This is great stuff, though!)
[19:32] <~Dan> Let me put it this way...
[19:32] <+Loz> I understand your question. Its just difficult to
answer it without reference to specific examples.
[19:32] <~Dan> You intend for RQ6e to be a generic fantasy game, correct?
[19:32] <+Loz> Yes
[19:33] <~Dan> Okay, so let's take your take on elves as an example...
[19:33] <+Loz> Sure
[19:33] <~Dan> ...It sounds like you've come up with a very cool take on them.
[19:33] <~Dan> My question would be...
[19:34] <~Dan> did you determine how... I dunno... specific to
make them, while still making them "all-purpose" elves. Does that make
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[19:34] <~Dan> As in, elves that would fit in any fantasy setting.
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[19:35] <~Dan> Or, alternately, would you say that RQ6e has something
of an implied setting, like, say AD&D1e?
[19:35] <~Dan> (done, sorry)
[19:35] <+Loz> Yes, it make sense. What we've done is take the
traditional folkore aspect of elves, rather than the somewhat diluted
Tolkien/D&D trope (where they're just woodland stewards with pointy
ears and good bone structure) and made them otherwordly and somewhat
aloof from human psychologies.
[19:35] <+Loz> No, there's no implied setting at all.
[19:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, Guest13351! You can give yourself a nick with
the "/nick" command.)
[19:36] <+Loz> But we've drawn more on folklore rather than popular
fantasy fiction to describe most races.
[19:36] <+xyphoid> so your only implied setting is the *cultures* of the races?
[19:36] <+Loz> Precisely.
[19:36] <~Dan> Yeah, I think that's what I meant.
[19:36] <+xyphoid> you mention earlier that you choose culture during chargen
[19:36] <+Loz> And to make those cultures distinct from the usual,
tired old tropes.
[19:36] <+xyphoid> what kind of cultures are you talking about there
[19:37] <+Loz> Four standard cultures: barbarian, nomad, primitive and
civilised. In this example with elves, they're civilised, although
their notion of what that means is far different to human notions of
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[19:38] <+xyphoid> what's the difference between barbarian and primitive?
[19:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, Melum! Q&A underway with Lawrence Whitaker,
co-author of RuneQuest 6e!)
[19:38] <+Loz> To quote from the Culture section on elves:
[19:38] <+Loz> Elven culture is akin to civilizsed. Great store is
placed on learning and understanding. Deeds, conduct and integrity are
important and desired qualities amongst elves and in others. Dignified
manners are expected and loutish, uncouth behaviour viewed with
disdain and suspicion. Most elven societies have a king or queen and
so loyalty to the monarch is param
[19:38] <+Loz> paramount. Elves have trouble understanding societies
that lack such structures, wondering how people can be properly
ordered without a clear, royal leader to guide and represent them.
[19:39] <~Dan> So they're a bit like the Tuatha du Danaan (sp?)?
[19:40] <+Loz> Primitives are exceedingly superstitious, fearful,
simple in approach and understanding. Barbarians shun the strictures
of civilisation, and are more warlike/territorial.
[19:40] <+Loz> @Dan: yes they are. That was the inspiration.
[19:40] <~Dan> Awesome.
[19:40] <+Loz> Celtic and Norse interpretations permeate the creatures.
[19:40] <~Dan> So "primitive" = sub-Saharan tribes, "barbarian" =
Vikings, for example?
[19:41] <+Loz> Yes and no. Sub-Saharan tribes would be Nomadic.
Primitive would be some of the remote, lost tribes of South America.
[19:42] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:42] <+CRKrueger> Primitive=Picts, Barbarian=Cimmerians frex
[19:42] <+Loz> Spot on.
[19:42] <~Dan> Cool.
[19:42] <~Dan> I have a few questions about magic in the game.
[19:42] <+Loz> Shoot.
[19:43] <~Dan> Glorantha has that "everyone uses magic" thing going.
To what extent does that carry over into RQ6e?
[19:44] <+Loz> Its possible, but its not a defining factor. We've made
the professions clearly delineated in what magic they have. So there
are distinct sorcerer and hedge wizard professions. But if you want
everyone to have some magic, you can do that too. But its not as
ingrained as it is in Glorantha.
[19:45] <+Loz> Magic has to be earned, by and large. Its not a right
or a general commodity.
[19:45] <~Dan> Is there a POW requirement, like there is in Elric!/Stormbringer?
[19:45] <+Loz> No.
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[19:46] <+Loz> POW is used to measure Magic Points, but there's no
minimum POW score needed to work magic.
[19:46] <+xyphoid> so 'primitive' as supersitutious and simple vs
'civilised' seems, er, problematic
[19:48] <+Loz> @xyphoid: it might seem that way here, where there's
limite space. What I'd suggest you do is look at the previews on our
website where you can see the different Cultural Voices. Those amply
convey the feel of each culture.
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[19:49] <+CRKrueger> I have a sentence I could use from the book if
Loz says it ok. ;)
[19:49] <+Loz> Sure
[19:49] <+CRKrueger> Of  course,  this  is  a  thin  veneer.  The
most  civilised  of  cities  can  be  more  lawless  than  any
barbarian  frontier  settlement;  and  the social codes may be cruder
than the hos- pitality  rituals  of  nomads.
[19:49] <+Loz> I'll tell the lawyers to stand down.
[19:49] <~Dan> And then there's Conan's observation about courtesy and
the civilized man. :)
[19:50] <+CRKrueger> so civilised isn't "better"
[19:50] <+Loz> Not at all. In fact, my favourite of them all is Primitive.
[19:50] <~Dan> Something to the effect that civilized men tend to be
more rude because they don't expect to be stabbed for discourtesy?
[19:50] <+CRKrueger> they do however, probably know how to make superior weapons
[19:51] <~Dan> Again speaking of magic: Can you say a bit about how
the 5 varieties of magic differ, in terms of "flavor" if nothing else?
[19:51] <+Loz> Yes.
[19:51] <+CRKrueger> Civilized men are more discourteous than savages
because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls
split, as a general thing.
[19:52] <+Loz> Folk Magic is very simple cantrips, more utilitarian
than anything else. Low level in potency and effect.
[19:52] <~Dan> That's the one, CRK. :D
[19:53] <+Loz> Mysticism is enhancing personal capabilities an
invoking the sort of superpowers you'd find with Jedi Knights (in
fact, perfect for Jedi, ninja and Cruching Tiger wuxia)
[19:53] <~Dan> (That's new to RQ6e, correct?)
[19:53] <+Loz> Animism is communing and intearcting with the spirit
world; commanding spirits and channelling their powers.
[19:53] <+Loz> (Yes, Mysticism is new)
[19:54] <+Loz> Theism: channelling the power of the gods through
miracles and blessings. More like your god you act, more like your god
you become.
[19:54] <+CRKrueger> We going to see the "uncut" and reworked Blood
Magic at some point?
[19:54] <+Loz> Sorcery: the Cheat Codes of the universe. Manipulating
reality to your bidding.
[19:55] <~Dan> Which sort of magic would you think the best fit for,
say, your stereotypically cackling hag of a witch?
[19:55] <+Loz> Its unlikely (Blood Magic). Although Pete will, no
doubt, work a lot of those ideas into some our supplements - and did,
in the core RQ6 magic systems.
[19:55] <+Loz> A combo of Sorcery and Folk Magic.
[19:55] <+Loz> Which is perfectly possible, BTW.
[19:55] <~Dan> Are there any built-in restrictions on learning multiple types?
[19:56] <~Dan> Oh, n/m. Beat me to it. :)
[19:56] <+Loz> No. Its dependent purely on YOUR campaign. If you want
a sorcery school that worships the Chaos Mother and gains miracles AND
sorcery spells, that's absolutely fine.
[19:56] <~Dan> I think you've done a great job with magic -- in
particular, with the revamp of divine magic.
[19:57] <+Loz> Thank you. It needed it.
[19:58] <+Loz> We have a lot of idlers just watching (presumably). Any
questions from the floor?
[19:59] <+Loz> Okay... a question from me to you guys.
[19:59] <+xyphoid> you say that combat's more tactical - can you give examples?
[20:01] <+Loz> Sure. If you create a success level, offensive or
defensive, better than your opponent, you generate a Special Effect.
These range from disarming your opponent, through to causing a
critical bleed out to compelling surrender. Their use can be
incredibly powerful in controlling a fight, and fights no longer need
end in death.
[20:01] <+Loz> Good use of Special Effects is far more important than
who has the weapon doing the most damage, or even who has the most
[20:01] <~Dan> Did you go with high rolls within the same success level winning?
[20:02] <~Dan> (Sorry, I'll let you get to your question after that.)
[20:02] <+Loz> Yes we did. Its the easiest way to compare opposed ranges.
[20:02] <~Dan> (*nod* I agree 100% -- pardon the semi-pun.)
[20:03] <+Loz> It can take a little time to get to used to it, but
once understood its very easy to use and becomes second nature.
[20:03] <+xyphoid> so you have a variety of special effects to choose from?
[20:04] <+Loz> Yes you do. A combination of Offensive and Defensive
(some do both), and some Effects can only be used in certain
circumstances - such as on a critical success, for instance.
[20:04] <+CRKrueger> Looks like 34 of them
[20:04] <+Loz> Sounds about right. Y'know, I've never counted them... :-)
[20:04] <~Dan> (Let's pause on the questions a sec to let Loz as his own.)
[20:05] <+Loz> Thanks Dan.
[20:05] <~Dan> (ask, rather)
[20:05] <+CRKrueger> I got the pdf up :)
[20:06] <+Loz> I was going to ask what supplementary material you'd
like to see us produce? We have a book of scenarios in the works (Book
of Quests vol 1) and Monster Island - a campaign-cum-bestiary. But
what would appeal to you guys?
[20:06] <~Dan> Hmm.
[20:06] <~Dan> Well... I'm a bit fan of black powder fantasy.
[20:06] <+Loz> Okay...
[20:06] <+Silverlion> Hrms.
[20:07] <+Silverlion> No idea. Its sans-glorantha correct?
[20:07] <~Dan> big, rather. Sheehs, I can't type tonight.
[20:07] <+Loz> Yes, sans Glorantha.
[20:07] <+xyphoid> i want a whole book of 2-page-or-so descriptions of
little kingdoms or city-states with a page of description and npcs,
and a page of interesting hooks
[20:07] <+Loz> @Xyphoid. Okay...
[20:08] <+CRKrueger> Well, things like the weapon systems, combat
skill groups, etc are vary flexible, which is good, but I wouldn't
mind a small supplement on how to realize some nailing down of
specifics of the magic system to meet specific ends.
[20:08] <+Sigmund> What would appealt to me is a Blood Magic type supp
that might contain new types of magic, and especially new ways to
use/acquire/power magic, and perhaps magic items and such. Maybe
something combining Blood Magic and Necromancy, and maybe even a touch
of Cults :D
[20:08] <+xyphoid> that's my ideal level of setting detail, especially
if they're independent so i can drop them in as required into the game
[20:09] <+Loz> Thanks guys. Anyone else?
[20:09] <+Sigmund> Can't go wrong with equipment supp either :D
[20:09] <~Dan> Loz: Well... How far afield from fantasy are you
willing to go? Or is RQ going to stick with the fantasy niche?
[20:10] <+Loz> Yes you can... I remember the MRQII Arms and Equipment
debacle only too well... ;-)
[20:10] <+CRKrueger> Oh yeah, and a treatment of all the cultures of
antiquity, so I can slap them together and call it RQ6: Conan :D
[20:10] <~Dan> Not sure how much you're wanting to compete with BRP,
for example.
[20:10] <+Sigmund> lol... I still like and use it :P
[20:10] <+CRKrueger> Didn't Pete say something about a Jedi article, Dan?
[20:11] <~Dan> Actually, he did at that.
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[20:11] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snake_Eyes! Q&A with the co-author of RuneQuest
6e in progress!)
[20:11] <+Loz> We will be expanding RQ into other areas. Pete is
working, right now, on a free supplement that will cover firearms and
how to apply RQ to Star Wars. We have a license that will take us into
Science Fantasy territory.
[20:11] <+Snake_Eyes> ^ty Dan
[20:12] <+Sigmund> A supp to adapt RQ6 with modern and future settings
would rock
[20:12] <+CRKrueger> uhoh, ready to announce or just teasing?
[20:12] <+xyphoid> so is there going to be gloranthan material?
[20:12] <+Sigmund> yay
[20:12] <+Loz> The license I'm talking about will do all of that... and more.
[20:12] <~Dan> Based on a comic, isn't it?
[20:12] <+Sigmund> <--- drooling now
[20:12] <~Dan> (I don't know any more than that.)
[20:12] <+Loz> yes, there will be Gloranthan material. We've agreed an
area of Glorantha that we'll be developing.
[20:13] <+Loz> Yes, it is a comic.
[20:13] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:13] <+Loz> With Glorantha, its a question of making the mechanics
gel with how Glorantha has developed over the past 20 years or so.
[20:13] <~Dan> Someone (I forget who) suggested that RQ was Bronze Age
by default. Do you agree?
[20:13] <+CRKrueger> Science Fantasy Comic, we're gonna be guessing
about this one all week
[20:14] <+Loz> No, I don't.
[20:14] <~Dan> Fair enough. :)
[20:14] <+Snake_Eyes> @Loz, is there an option for using non-d100 dice?
[20:14] <+Loz> Its always had that association because of RQ1 and 2,
and it does do sword and sandal very well. But no, its not generic by
default. Its whatever you want it to be.
[20:15] <+Loz> @snake_eyes: Its easy enough to divide by 5, if you
prefer a d20 to a d100, but we haven't alluded to that in the rules.
[20:15] <+Armiger> <+Loz> I was going to ask what supplementary
material you'd like to see us produce? <----- trollpak 2: return of
the trolls
[20:16] <+Loz> Guys, I'm going to have to drop-off very soon. I can
take one more question...
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[20:16] <+Snake_Eyes> thx for answering that :)
[20:16] <~Dan> No problem, Loz. I have a minor one unless someone else
would like to ask something instead...?
[20:17] <+Loz> Any takers?
[20:17] <+Loz> Guess the floor is yours Dan.
[20:17] <~Dan> Okay, minor question, then: Do you find hit locations
require a bit of bookkeeping in a battle of any size at all?
[20:18] <+Loz> Yes. Large battles can be a bastard. hence the
inclusion of Underling and Rabble rules... :-)
[20:18] <~Dan> Ah. Excellent. How do those work (if you have time)?
[20:18] <+Loz> And on that note folks, I must go. Thank you for your
questions - and please, do buy our book!
[20:19] <+Loz> No time, Dan... :-)
[20:19] <~Dan> No worries. Thanks so much, Loz! I'll email you the
chat log if you like!
[20:19] <+Snake_Eyes> i wont be getting a pirate copy, but a free
teaser might help sway some ppl
[20:19] <+Loz> Please, Dan.
[20:19] <+Loz> Thanks all. Good night!
[20:19] <~Dan> Will do. Have a great evening!
[20:19] <+CRKrueger> hmm, so Rabble...
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