The only reason anyone would go out and fight any of the monsters depicted in the previous chapter is reward. Some monsters may be terrorizing the countryside, and a desperate citizenry will pay to have a pest exterminator come in. Others may be natural enemies with whom one is feuding, and still others may have come hunting the characters! But the main reason to fight monsters is the probability that they have been gathering loot, just as you have.It's paragraphs like this that make it hard for me to credit any notion that RuneQuest is not, at its core, very similar to D&D -- but, then, given the origins of its rules system in the Perrin Conventions, is this really a surprise? I don't mean to downplay RQ's genuine differences, both mechanical and philosophical. However, I don't think they're as great as some would have it nor do I think that, at least in its original second edition, the game cannot be called "old school" by any useful definition of the term.
That said, shortly after the paragraph quoted above comes another paragraph that does, I think, highlight a real difference between the two seminal fantasy RPGs:
A hoard should reflect the relative toughness and numbers of its guardians. The following list tries to do this by giving a treasure factor for a monster, based on individual capacities.Treasure factors are tied to a table, ranging from 1 to 100, divided into groups of 10, with each higher group have a greater chance of treasure (and more of it). Monsters gain treasure factors based on their hit points, chances to hit, damage done, armor, spells, and so on. Thus, the more mechanically powerful a monster, the greater the odds of its having nice loot.
D&D, meanwhile, uses a treasure type system, which divides a table into 26 lines (one for each letter of the alphabet), with each having a different chance of treasure of varying sizes and compositions. These types are then assigned to monsters by non-mechanical criteria -- an example of Gygaxian naturalism at work. Thus, the reason any given monster has any given treasure is because it "makes sense" according to some in-game logic rather than purely mechanical considerations.
As one might expect, I actually prefer the D&D approach in this case. The notion that more powerful monsters ought to have more and better treasure, as implied by RQ's treasure factor system, doesn't hold much weight for me. Indeed, I think treasure factors cross a line in my imagination, one that divided the game mechanics from the world they're meant to simulate. There certainly are problems with the treasure type system but I think, on balance, they do a better job of creating and presenting a coherent world than do treasure factors.
Paradoxically, I'm increasingly coming to dislike D&D magic items, or at least the way they're usually presented and used. They're generally too mechanical and un-special, compared to their RuneQuest counterparts. Indeed, the RQ rulebook notes that "We feel that each treasure should be unique, a carefully crafted reward for the intrepid Adventurer who has managed to overcome monsters and avoid traps to reach the final goal." It's a viewpoint I find myself increasingly sharing, especially now that, in my Dwimmermount campaign, there are multiple examples of the same magic item among the Fortune's Fools.
In future, I plan to be a lot more circumspect, perhaps even going so far as to adopt Jeff Rients's suggestion (a link to which I can no longer find) that each magic item in the D&D rulebook is unique -- if you find a sword +1, you find the sword +1 and no one else will ever possess one unless they pry it out of your cold, dead hands. Maybe that's too strong a correction to D&D's long-standing tendency to reduce magic items to collections of game mechanics devoid of any mystery, but I don't think the approach presented in the rules works as well as I'd like it to.
In any case, more food for thought arising from my continued forays into RuneQuest.