Runequest Thursday #172 - Into the Game Blender!

Clint Staples

Since we are doing a Game Blender Challenge tonight, I thought I would start by reposting some of the game blender stuff I have done previously. By Game Blender we mean sticking two or more system/genres/settings together and coming up with something cool. In this case: the Runequest rules for the weapons and  armament of the Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth, a science fiction setting heavily derived from medieval history, and with sound reasons for that to work. But that is another story.

While we are at it, I also worked out an alternate Hit Location and damage system a while back, which works well with Sci fi and its higher damage weapons like lasers, blasters, etc. It also works well with the weapons and armament for KMotC

Looking back at this, it is not unlike the system that I developed for the Ragnarok RPG that is currently in development here at Skirmisher (which is also the reason why KMotC is on the back burner). So that means that there is some Game Blending going on between Ragnarok, Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth and Runequest (well - some cross-pollination anyway). I am not adverse to that. If you want to see how Ragnarok treats Hit Locations and Wounds, take a look at our Monday Playtest sessions.


Since, as mentioned earlier, we are doing a Game Blender Challenge tonight on the show, maybe I can blend up some more runequest-y stuff from my Ragnarok RPG. 

Some of the things that helps define a character in Ragnarok are Talents. Talents don't really exist in Runequest, which has skills and spells instead.. In Ragnarok, you choose a number of Talents when you create your character. Sometimes a talent can act as a permission for something, like a Magical tradition. Other times they give you an ability not available any other way. A talent might also just make you more reliably able to accomplish a certain task, like better using your charisma and influence to seduce or convince. In some ways, the Feats of Arms that I developed are like talents, in that they allow you to do something you could not do, or not do as well, without the Feat of Arms.

So for this RQT, I will convert a few Talents from Ragnarok to Runequest, and give you some ideas on how to add Talents to your game.

Since you would be adding a new thing to your Runequest game, you have some options on how to go about it.

1. The simplest way is to grant them as rewards for certain quests or activities. Win a war for your cult? You gain a talent. That sort of thing. If you are going to do things this way, make sure that you tell the heroes how things work, and give them some time to think about the talent they want. The plus side to this is that you can work out talents to fit what they ask for and you don't have to make up a whole laundry list of talents to choose from. But you might do that anyway: because talents are cool, and because heroes will want more than one, and so will your Antagonists!!!

2. Decide on a cost for each talent, sort of the way that I assigned Hero Point cost and training time for Feats of Arms. This has the benefit that only those who want to worry about a talent need apply. The rest can hang on to their hero points. The key here then is to make a talent better than just holding on to all the hero points, but not too much better. Effectively, a character is stating in advance the kind of thing they want to be able to do with their hero points (or whatever you charge for the Talent), and that means they are giving up some flexibility in exchange for expertise. So make sure a talent is worth the expense. Another advantage of doing things this way is that you can make talents of differing potency, because you can "Charge" more or less for them.

3. As a different kind of Experience roll. Everyone likes Experience time, when you roll to see what you have learned. And if you want to gain a talent, you can trade in a number of experience checks for a particular talent. As GM, you can place some restrictions on this or not as you choose. Maybe to get a combat talent, you need to give up a given number of weapon or other combat checks. To gain a magical talent, you might need to give up a number of POW gain attempts, etc. Again, you will need to balance things to make talents appealing.


Here are a handful of talents that you can use, or use as examples, for your own:

Bane: You have a well-earned reputation for being deadly to a particular type of foe. This might be a type of creature (Giants, Trolls, Wolves, etc.), or a particular family or settlement (the Hunding clan, for example), or the followers (initiates and higher) of an enemy cult. Your Bane may not be so broad as the term “men” or "Lunars". You are probably renowned for your Bane ability, which may feature (literally or figuratively) in your name or nickname (Hroar Hellsbane has the  Bane: Zorak Zoran Trolls for his ongoing feud with them). Whenever you succeed at hitting someone affected by your Bane, you may reroll the damage of your weapon (not including strength bonus, etc). You must accept the second roll, even if it is poorer.

Fearless: You do not suffer from the effects of Fear. You are immune to spells like Demoralize or Terror, as well as to effects like them.

Ferocity: Once per session, as a free action, you may ignore the debilitating effects of any wounds you have suffered, by taking 1 temporary CON damage per debilitating Wound effect you ignore. Your immunity lasts for one round. You may do this again in subsequent turns, losing 1 CON per Wound effect you ignore. If you survive the current battle, you are fatigued for 1 hour per CON lost, and your CON remains reduced until you recover it normally. 

Lucky: Once per session, you can substitute a Luck roll (usually POWx5%, but it may be reduced in some circumstances), for a roll on another skill. Succeed or fail, narrate how your Luck affects the activity.

Quick Thinking: When rolling for Initiative, you may roll twice and take the better result. Once per session, you may give up you rnormal activation that turn to immediately take a single Action immediately, even interrupting another’s Action to do so.


Obviously there are many more possible talents, some of which could even be campaign specific. In the Savage North campaign that I co-GM, Bane: Blood Creatures would be possible, for example, OR:

Lasting Sorcery: When using sorcery or sorcery spells in a non-combat, no stress, situation, such as summoning a fire elemental to heat a hall, casting lllusion to entertain, oe creating light to illuminate a library, your Duration is considered to be 2 Magnitude higher without having to pay the additional POW cost.