Saturday, 28 January 2017

Runequest Classic notes

I had a quiet day today so I took the time to read through the Runequest Classic rules from end to end.  It is not exactly what I was expecting since I only ever players RQ3 and read recent editions.


STR - affects damage, armor worn, and the weapons that can used
CON - health, amount of damage character can take.
SIZ - mass of character. ability to do and absorb damage.
INT - modifier to ability to improve skills through experience
POW - ability to work magic.
DEX - how fast and accurate
CHA - measure of leadership. Helps obtain training cheaply
No characteristic can be increased above 21. No characteristic can voluntarily fall below 3.

  1. Attack - ability to strike foes, actually plays out like a bonus.
  2. Parry - adds and subtracts from parry skill
  3. Defense - the art of getting out of the way. Attackers subtract the defenders DEF from their attack ability. So if they have a 45% in broadsword it could become 40%. Defense increases if DEX or POW increase and DEF increases every time DEF saves him from an attack.
  4. Hit Points - obvious
  5. Damage Bonus - ability to do more damage.  It adds a die of damage to all damage rolls.
  6. Perception - ability to detect anomalies
  7. Stealth - ability to move quietly, hide in shadows, pick pockets
  8. Manipulation -  ability to work with small intricate things, Lockpicking, trap removal, and sleight of hand.
  9. Knowledge - book learning, mixing potions, speaking languages.

Increasing characteristics
Physical characteristics, STR, CON, DEX can be improved through hard training. Basically each is handled differently but it amounts to paying in cash for the training to get the increase.
There is a cost and time element to the training and the player must find the trainer.

Rough encumbrance rules, character can carry a finite number of objects. With objects being defined as something that can be easily carried in one hand. Objects that require two hands to carry them are considered two objects. The maximum he can carry is the STR stat. But he can only carry comfortably the number of things limited by the average of STR and CON.

Going over the maximum gives penalties, -1 to move class, -5% Defense, +1 to all Strike ranks.

Melee Round
  1. Statement of intent - this can be aborted.
  2. Movement of non engaged characters - move all movement allowance or if moving less than half of move allowance engage in melee
  3. Resolution of Melee, missile and spells - attack in strike rank order
  4. Bookkeeping

Melee resolution
Attacker rolls d100 to see if he succeeded an d20 for hit location. Remember to subtract opponent's DEF. If the defender chooses to parry, he rolls d100 to see if he succeeded. If the attacker succeeds and defender does not, defender takes damage. If the attacker and defender both succeed the weapon or shield of the defender is affected. If the attacker fails and the defender parries the attacker’s weapon takes damage. If both fail nothing happens.

Strike Rank
Based on SIZ, DEX and weapon length
No action can be taken whose SR is greater than 12
Characters cannot attack with magic and melee in the same round but could attack magically and defend normally

Critical hit
If the player rolls 5% or less of what he needs to successfully attack it is a critical hit. So if he has a 50% chance to hit with a weapon, a critical would be a roll of 1-2% (round down).

Critical hits ignore armor and other protections
A weapon or shield that parries a critical takes twice normal damage. If there is damage left over it passes through.

An adventurer using a weapon for which he has only 5-20% chance of success has a 5% chance of fumbling. For every additional 20% capability an adventurer has the chance of fumbling is reduced by 1%.

An attacker has a 20% greater chance of hitting an opponent who is on the ground, immobilized, or otherwise unaware of him (or running away).

Can be purchased from guilds
The lesser skills are for sale. Beginning adventurers can gain credit. This must be paid off before more training occurs in the future.
This credit can be in actual coin so that he can buy equipment rather than skills

Beginning characters can be trained up to 25%. Or if their natural skill already puts them over 25% they can go to 30% at normal training cost
If the character begins at a negative skill value that minus must be trained away.
CHA over 12 brings a bonus to the cost of paying for training.

Learning by experience
After each melee round character should keep track of whether he managed to land a blow or parried. It does not matter if the attack did damage or was parried.
It can only be recorded once for each weapon or skill. At the end of the scenario after a week’s rest he can roll to improve the skill.

A character can only increase a combat skill of any kind by 5% training and 5% experience.

Weapon characteristics
character cannot pick up a weapon in melee even if trained in it and use to full effectiveness immediately. It is a ½ effectiveness.

Weapon Damage
Weapons absorb damage when used for parrying a successful attack or are parried successfully.

Shooting at moving targets is done at ½ effectiveness

Defense - natural defense skill.  If it prevents you from being hit and can be improved. It is based on Dex and Pow.  Increases only after each adventure.

Thrown weapons use half normal damage bonus.

Armor absorbs damage and the remaining damage goes through to the body part

Two types of magic Battle and Spirit.

Battle Magic is powered by sacrificing POW.
Bladesharp 4 costs 4 POW.  The characters POW is reduced by 4.
To buy bladesharp 3 you must first buy BS1 and BS2.

Spell limits. can only keep the POW points in spells in your head at one time equal to your INT.
All battle magic spells except 2 are passive. These two active spells must be maintained with concentration.

Spell Focus
Some spells require a focus to be cast successively.
Any spell can be cast without a focus but it takes longer.
Spells affecting other people and objects require a focus.

Spirit Magic
Successfully winning spirit combat mens the spirit can be bound. The binder is in constant contact and can use the spirit’s INT for spell storage and the POW to power spells.
Binding the spirit to an animal creates a spy for the binder up to 5 km
Limit to number of bound spirits is CHA divided by 3.

Other skills
Like the fighting skills the base use chance for other skills is 5%
Skills can be improved through use or trained by purchasing the training
Bonuses from natural ability are not added to skills with a basic chance of 0% until the first 5% if training is bought.

So what is my verdict on the rules?
They are problably not my preferred version of RQ, but I am willing to give them a try.  I am interested to see how they work. I still have issues with Cults and you can see they are not parts of my notes because I skipped through them pretty quick. I am not sure they are really necessary for a short campaign but they are problaby needed for long campaigns.


  1. What is your face version of the RQ rules? RQ is one of my all-time fave systems.

    1. My favourite version at the moment is RQ3 because it is the version I played the most. But I don't think I would play RQ3 again. I would be more likely to play Legend or OpenQuest.

  2. I love OpenQuest.  RQ6 I own as well, but think it might be a bit too bogged down in rules minutiae for my tastes.