Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Speak to Me of MRQ

I am extremely unlikely to purchase any of Mongoose's RuneQuest products these days, owing to their expense and the fact that I won't have the chance to play them anytime soon. Nevertheless, I keep hearing guardedly good reports about the line, in particular the latest version of the rulebook.

So, please offer up your opinions on the matter. Assuming I actually had the funds to buy these books, would it be worth doing so? Do they offer anything over the original RQ books that make them of interest, especially to someone with my idiosyncratic tastes?



  1. Long time reader, occasional commenter, James. I'm a big fan of the Mongoose RQII system. It takes the best parts of the (now-called) BRP that served as the backbone to the original game, and does more to make the rules consistent with the Glorantha-esque usage of those rules during the last Mongoose edition (and in turn previous editions). Adapting to the combat and skills systems, especially if you've played other BRP-fueled games before, takes some adaptation, but after a session you'll be well on your way.

    Specifically, I think the resolution of skill challenges is improved, character survival is improved, and overall play is speedier than in the previous editions. I've blogged about it over at my blog (tylerisgaming.blogspot.com) and have an RQII campaign on Obsidian portal (linked at the above blog).

    Keep up the great writing.

    -Tyler the Hobo

  2. I'm a fan of MRQ2. I think it's a very solid rendition of Runequest - polished up from the sloppy mess that was MRQ1. It reminds me a great deal of an improved version of RQ3 (Avalon Hill).

    Admittedly, though, I'm not a Glorantha-phile. My world view of Runequest (shaped by my introduction to RQ3) is more of the application of its rules set to the Swords & Sorcery genre than it is to Stafford's setting. When I read MRQ2 it inspired me, practically instantly, to start working on a campaign of my own design. RQ2 and RQ3 failed to provoke that burst of inspiration in the past.

    MRQ2 isn't perfection, though. In my opinion, it suffers from substandard art and editing that Mongoose Publishing's products often suffer from. But if you strip it down to the nuts and bolts, and ignore the physical aesthetics, I think you'll find a quality game system.

  3. Based on your sensibilities (or what I know of them from reading you), I think you may enjoy MRQ II.

    It's a very solid game. The only factor against it that I may think of is that may be a bit too rules - heavy for your tastes, but what do I know.


  4. First of all I'd like to point out that MRQ is not BRP. BRP is owned by Chaosium. MRQ is a blatant copy.
    This required a change in some of the mechanics.

    Secondly, don't bother with the first edition MRQ stuff. All the early books will be reprinted in the second edition Runequest II format, implementing a lot of the advances and changes that Lawrence wrote in the later editions. Besides the first edition had a very slap-dash feel, probably because it lacked coherent oversight. Most of the Gloranthan stuff is due for reprint (with bonus material) for the second edition (in fact Arms & Equipment is just out.

    Runequest II is a lot tighter, and has been brought mostly into line with the current Gloranthan philosophies expressed by Heroquest, albiet as a simulationist rather than narrativist game.

    Here is a review I prepared earlier.

  5. I got to look at MRQII. No question, It's a nice set of rules and really is alot polished compared to other previous editions and as I was flipping through the pages thinking" wow, finally somebody has put out a version that's strictly universal fantasy just like DnD!" when all the of sudden things like " Trollkin" and " Orlant" start popping up and I get that same old feeling of the world of Glorantha be shoved at me once again.

    Really, I just wish someone ANYONE, would put out a BRP book devoted to strictly fantasy and not be married to some particular world. GURPS , T&T , D&D all do, why can't it be done with BRP?

  6. Look at the some of the BRP offerings at the Chaosium site they have a book devoted to D&D style fantasy using BRP.

  7. I'm roughly a third of the way through the book, and am impressed so far. If nothing else, there are some mechanics worth swiping for BRP games.

  8. @ Reverence Pavane

    The RQ rule system was the basis for BRP. Remember, RQ was a Chaosium product maaany years ago. That's part of what makes it an accessible fantasy game for CoC fans.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runequest - "RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game first published in 1978 by Chaosium, created by Steve Perrin and based on the mythical world of Glorantha, devised by Greg Stafford. "

  9. Like most Mongoose products, it is a slapdash flogging of a beloved license with horrible layout and editing. And don't worry, if you don't buy the current edition, a new edition will be out next year... and the year after that, and the year after that...

    Don't waste your time JM.

  10. I have been very positively impressed by MRQII. The authors Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash did a very good job with the system (FYI: Whitaker produced some very good products for Stormbringer/Elric, and Pete Nash wrote the excellent 'Rome' supplement for BRP). There are some minor problems with editing and layout, but it certainly is not "horrible" as buzz claims. I highly recommend looking at it to anyone who likes BRP or Chaosium RQ.

    Here is my comparison of MRQII and OpenQuest:

  11. Mongoose released SRDs of their RQ stuff, just like they did with Traveller. I can't find them on the 'goose site (are they being updated to the new edition?) but you can download pdfs of them from the MRQ Wiki.


  12. Jerry, the SRD is for MRQ only, not MRQII, so anyone curious about MRQII will not be helped by the SRD.

  13. @Tyler: Yes, but Mongoose Runequest purposefully isn't BRP, which remains under the ownership of Chaosium. Doesn't matter if BRP was derived from RQ, it is a Chaosium product (and Chaosium is no longer associated with Greg).

    Mongoose got the rights to use the title (which I believe was actually similar to the arrangement that Greg had with Avalon Hill when it was licensed to them), so they had to "copy" the game system (their argument being, you can't copyright a game system and so that was legal). So officially it isn't BRP (otherwise they would require a licence from Chaosium, which they don't have).

    Similarly, Chaosium cannot use any Gloranthan stuff, such as broo, Waktapi, Orlanth, etc) in future BRP releases.

    Hope that expalins my comment in more detail.

    [Of course it still quacks like a duck and hurls sling stones like a duck...]

  14. Yup, understood - corporately different entities, but similarity in play style and rules, which makes one or the other more accessible to the...er...other.

  15. MRQII isn't as closely related to Glorantha as MRQI was. It is worth a look, though Openquest, GORE and the deluxe SRD of MRQI are good for free (albeit based on MRQI). (and then the Signs & Portents on MRQII perhaps?)

    When paperback novels can cost close to $10 these days $40 list for a leather hardbound core book isn't too expensive but in any case I would be surprised if Mongoose didn't down the road release a $20 pocket edition.

  16. It increasingly sounds to me as if it might be worth my while to pick up MRQ II if I can find it at a reasonable price. I'm unlikely to play RQ of any variety any time soon and I've already got the Chaosium RQ II boxed set, so I can't really justify spending too much money on the thing.

  17. If you search ebay for Runequest and Glorantha you'll find you can pick up brand new copies of all the MRQ1 rulebooks and sourcebooks for a couple of dollars each. They're re-offered a couple of times a week. So if you want to take a look it's not expensive. Blood of Orlanth and Dara Happa Stirs are interesting scenario books with a real mythic feel to them. The Dragonewt book is especially excellent, giving a real flavor of this uniquely Gloranthan race.

    MRQ1, though, was a false re-start. MRQ2 is what RQIII should have been in the early 80s. At last, the 3 magic systems are balanced and combat is not as long/boring as it used to be. The first supplement, Arms and Equipment, was not well edited (the editor has been fired) but I have great hopes for the next couple of releases.

    What I'm hoping is that MRQ2 will tempt back some of the Heroquest players and we'll start having scenarios and other useful stuff propagating around the web rather than essays on pig-herding in an obscure land, complete with detailed myths about the pig herding heroes of the Green Age. Sorry, but I speak as I find.

  18. Swordsman said: "rather than essays on pig-herding in an obscure land, complete with detailed myths about the pig herding heroes of the Green Age."


  19. MRQ2 (*not* BRP, *not* MRQ1, *not* the SRD you can download) is outstanding. Yes, there were some production issues but there is not need for the hate from people like buzz. And MRQ is not a "blatant copy" of BRP; BRP and MRQ are both descendants of the original RuneQuest, which neither Mongoose nor Chaosium owns at this point. (Got to love those legal issues...)

    Mongoose has taken the core of the game from the old editions of RQ and actually made it better. Character generation, skill use, combat in particular, and magic are all vastly improved. Loz Whitaker and Pete Nash have done stellar work here. I've played BRP and all of the older RQs and have to say I like this edition best. You could always pick up the pdf version if cost is an issue.