Monday, April 26, 2010

Tell Me More of MRQ

I broke down last week and, on the advice of many who kindly posted their thoughts here, bought a copy of Mongoose's RuneQuest II core rulebook (how I loathe that term). I'm overall favorably impressed with it -- I'll write up a formal review sometime this week, I imagine -- and I'm now turning my eyes toward some of the supplementary books produced for it.

In particular, I'm curious about the Second Age book, since, for the most part, my interest right now is very Glorantha-centric. Is it any good, both in terms of content and in terms of its playability as an alternate setting for the game? Deeply immersed in Third Age Glorantha as I am these days, I find it hard to imagine a better setting for a RuneQuest campaign, but I am nevertheless intrigued by the notion of playing during a time when the God Learners and Wyrms Friends were kicking around.

So, what say you?


  1. I am amazed and intimidated by the Second Age book for MRQ II. Amazed at its richness -- campaign ideas practically leap off every page -- and intimidated by its depth and complexity. It passes my main test for RPG background books, which is whether reading a page at random is interesting. It is also a bit intimidating, given the depth and complexity of the offering.

    The two main civilizations, the God Learners Empire and the Empire of Wyrm's Friends are also decidedly strange beasts, although the core motivations of the GLE are at least on their face rather Enlightenment/ Western in an odd way.

    But I suppose a "United States of America" or a "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" will be pretty foreign concepts in few hundred or thousand years as well.

  2. I remember having the board game "White Bear/Red Moon" (I think that was the name) that took place during the more ancient times of Runequest. Time of great heroism and legend and all that. Wonder if a copy of that ever comes up on Ebay?

  3. I played in a short 2nd Age game a while back. It was very mythic. I don't know if that was a function of the GM or the setting or the game. It was very "narrativist" (if I dare use that term), but there would be no reason it had to be. You could play straight fantasy hack & slash too.

  4. The Second Age book is not bad. Not bad at all. It has some insect men I don't remember seeing before and for some reason it has really good boxes of "How to play a only for a few race/culture. Apart from that it's quite good.

    Mind you, the 2nd Age books will make your eye bleed and you will cringe every time you pick them up because the terrible graphic design. Terrible case of "fontitis" and glaring colours.

    The insides are quite fine, luckily.

    Now I feel like breaking out my BRP tome and start a Gloranthan campaign!

  5. Arrgh! I forgot that my odd use of brackets wold be interpreted as bad html...

    "really good boxes of 'How to play a this-or-that-race/culture' only for a few races/cultures."

    I never dared to pick up any more 2nd age stuff. btw. I was scared of the covers...

  6. I remember having the board game "White Bear/Red Moon" (I think that was the name) that took place during the more ancient times of Runequest. Time of great heroism and legend and all that. Wonder if a copy of that ever comes up on Ebay?

    WB&RM (which was later re-released by Avalon Hill as Dragon Pass actually takes place a few years after the default RQ setting -- the various RQ adventures and setting books all indicate "the present" as somewhere between 1615-1621 S.T. whereas the WB&RM game starts in 1625 (with the "Dragonrise"). The idea seems to have been to give PCs about 5-10 years of mundane adventuring time to work their way up to Rune-level status so that they could take up their place in the Hero Wars.

  7. I too broke down this past weekend and ordered both the MRQ2 core rulebook and the Glorantha second age setting book.

    So far I'm impressed, from skimming over them several times. I'll have to go through them more closely, to say anything more.

  8. I strongly recommend picking up Blood of Orlanth and Dara Happa Stirs for a song on ebay as good examples of the sort of campaigns that could happen in the Second Age. They are both very rich in ideas and background as well as being solid adventures themselves. I run a Third Age campaign myself but am strongly tempted by a bit of time-traveling soon...

  9. It's much improved over Mongoose's original Gloranyha stuff, which I liked but did have a touch of the old Fodor's guide to it. The overall cultural organization and explanation is much easier to follow.

  10. Haven't had a chance to peruse the MRQII version of the Second Age Glorantha sourcebook yet, but various Glorantha sourcebooks for MRQ do a reasonable job of presenting the Empire of the Wyrms Friends and the God Learners.

    Although I think there is a problem that much of the work is drawn from the objects and legends that survived into the Third Age, which means that most of the things referenced in these books are at the mythic/heroic end of the scale, which are really above the normal level of Runequest play. Additionally, they tend to be a broad but shallow overview, rather than concentrating in detail on any small section. The big picture, in other words.

    [As opposed to the old Chaosium RQ2 adventures that tended to examine a small area, such as Pavis, in great detail, and from the viewpoint of the attitudes towards things that might interest an adventurer.]

    In other words, they are much more the product of a historian looking at the big picture that is the Second Age (or Uz or Mostali or...), than something that is capable of supporting adventure directly out of the box.

    Hopefully later MRQII releases will change and we'll start getting less of the big picture (of interest to the Gloranthaphiles), and more of the basics.

    Still, there are some interesting possibilities extant in the Age of Empires for play.


  11. There is now a revised version of Glorantha Second Age for MRQII. It's in black and white and has character generation plus Draconic Mysticism in it. The first version was pure fluff and in colour, so I don't know which you have seen.

    I've been running G2A for best part of 2 years now, including the Blood of Orlanth campaign and having a great time. The three way dynamic allows for great stories and very cinematic set ups.

    Plus you can have gonzo fun with God Learner explorer teams. I'm busy working up a campaign with the USS Prize Entry and its crew exploring new frontiers in the hero plane.

    Second Age seems slightly more Moorcockian to me than 3rd age. That may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences.