Thursday, February 19, 2009


So, I've been reading Grognardia and a lot of old-school D&D blogs and publications, recently.  Fourth edition D&D is great for the table-top combat enthusiast in me, and I've actually been playing it, rather than just refereeing, but I've been having angs of nostalgia for actually roleplaying.  Y'know, playing a halfling thief that is a little punk who is just as likely to rip off his fellow party members as he is the "bad guys", a wizard obsessed with the lore of lost civilizations (not just which spells I can use during a given encounter), and so on.  All the Robert E. Howard / Fritz Leiber kind of stuff that made Dungeons & Dragons an appealing hobby to the 30-somethings and higher who still play it, when they were younger.

I spent a lot of time researching other stuff I can be playing in addition to 4E D&D, and came across a freebie PDF I'd downloaded from a year or two back.  RuneQuest.  Hrm...  Wasn't that a game I saw advertised in the pages of Dragon magazine as a kid?  Something about skalds and icelandic sagas meets Arthurian fantasy, right?  Once and Future King kind of thing?  I read through the PDF of the re-release from Mongoose Publishing and thought - "Must go!  Must buy!"  I even did the whole informed shopper thing and posted a few threads on polling their rabid readers about whether I should drop a dime on the RuneQuest stuff, or even a game called "Harp" that I'd seen, which was similar in vein but based off of the old Rolemaster stuff from back in the day.  (I remember seeing ads for things with narrow titles like "Arms Law", which apparently was a book solely of combat rules - that blew my mind - you'd spend $20 just to learn the combat rules and nothing else?)

After doing more research, I found that RuneQuest is based on the Basic Roleplaying system used by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu.  Pretty easy skill checks using percentile dice for almost everything, and it dovetailed nicely with the skill based systems my friends and I prefer to the tactics-focused systems of Fourth Edition and 3.5 D&D.  Sold!  (Yes, make all the nerd jokes you want - I just dropped some coin based on the mechanics of a roleplaying game...)

My buddies have downloaded some of the freebie rules from the Mongoose site, and I'm studying like mad to get up to speed to run this.  The first game will be on the Ides of March.  Skalds and sagas, here we come.  I'll post the results.  If anyone's been playing it at all - in any of its editions over the years - please drop me a line.

Oh, in the meantime, my seemingly defunct play-by-post game of D&D is back on track at:  Come, let's see how the heroes of Greyhawk fare...

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