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Author Topic: Runequest Companion  (Read 1121 times)

Spike

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Runequest Companion
« on: November 02, 2006, 07:36:01 PM »


This is the second book I am reviewing in the Runequest lineup. Like the first it is slim, hardback, with a nice glowy rune on the cover... this time a triangle.  It should be noted for the record that this book doesn't actually have an author listed in the credits.  That's right, folks, it wasn't even written, just picked up off the editing room floor.

Notable fact: this book is only 75% the size of the previous book yet costs the same, a tidbit that was a nice 'fuck you' to the fans from Mongoose.  The REAL question is why weren't the two books released as one 200 page book?  Seriously.

Moving on to the book itself: I actually think that if you are a serious 'world builder' and intend to use the Runequest book, this one is a necessary purchase.

The book starts off with a minimalist expansion of character creation. Namely a few extra backgrounds. Like the previous set of backgrounds they aren't quite cultures. I mean you've got three types of nomads, some sailors and some cavemen more or less. Still, its nice to have options. Likewise the four new professions are appreciated, if curiously left out of the main book. Slap on some new advanced skills, a dash of stone age weapons, season with a couple of new, generic cults (rounding out the set so far at 8 between two books) and you're done.

Divine magic is up next. Now, some games tell you they've got multiple types of magic, but don't really deliver, providing only alternative 'spell lists' backed by the same core system. Not Runequest. Divine Magic not only has different spells than Rune Magic but plays completely differently.  Add a dash of godliness to the proceedings and it's actually a nice addition to the game... one that should have been included in the main book. Call be crazy, but I think 'holy magic' is a tad more generic than 'rune magic'. Besides, there is room for both.

Ah, that leads us to the very next chapter: Sorcery. talk about generic magic types!! Once again, Sorcery plays differently than Divine magic and rune magic. Sorcery, as presented, is the magic of will workers, guys ripping magic from the world around them and shaping to taste. Nice. Low power for the most part, but not at all weak.

Following that we have rules for enchanting items. Interesting.... very very interesting...... While each type of magic has it's own techniques and feel, enchanting is apparently the same for all of them.  What is cool is that this is a simple, easy to follow, yet complete concept.  

It was right after this that I get confused. You see, right off we have a chapter on the 'Spirit world'. This isn't some alternate plane of existance, just ghosts and gobblies of all sorts. Peachy. Now, where are my rules for shamanic spirit magic? Here? HA!! That's a laugh.  This eminantly short chapter is really just a part of the generic monster chapter in the main book. Of course, every time I see it I start looking for one of the missing 'magics'...

Finally we reach some truly new stuff. By that I mean stuff that doesn't have a precedent in the main book, not 'unique'. Of course, a lot of it BELONGS in the main book. What we've got is a chapter on town sizes, costs of stuff by towns, reputations and rules for crafting stuff... including superior craftsmanship items.  Now, this is good stuff, all of it. Of course, it does feel a bit disorganized, but not so much as to make it unusable.

Then we have the rules for travel. Simple, easy to follow, with a slight emphasis on sailing. I guess we can assume that land travel is mostly common sense stuff.   There is a good selection of 'boats' from canoes to triremes... but not much more advanced than that.  Some rules for combat and repairs and beaching... what more do you need? I should admit to being consistently surprised on how much they can squeeze into such small books, if I wasn't bitching that they should have released it as one...

The final chapter is on temples, with samples of each of the major listed cults and sizes, clever really, and some rules on what to expect for any given temple size. This, and really ONLY this is what I'd expect from an 'add on' sort of book. Maybe the boat stuff and town sizes, but the temples and maps are about the only thing that did not seem out of place in a 'second' book.   Curse you, Mongoose, Curse you and the camels that bore you...

The book finishes with a good index and a 'character sheet addendum' that is marginally better than the actual sheet itself. Of course, we are talking marginally better than notes scribbled on used toilet paper, so it's not much.

So, there you have it. A book that is really just a poorly laid out additional chapter or two for the main book.  Full of good stuff, no doubt, and a worthy purchase... nay a NECESSARY purchase if you want to run a campaign with the new rules.  But, despite all that I can't really say it was worth the price I paid for it.

Darn you Mongoose, darn you all to Heck!
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Zachary The First

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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2006, 07:16:34 AM »
Thanks for the review!  Any chance you could go over some of the new professions?

Spike

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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2006, 11:07:02 AM »
Er... I'll try, I seem to have taken the book out to my car.

As I recall the new professions included the Knight and Sailor, possibly a Merchant...

One of the new backgrounds that I didn't mention was 'civilized'... which is supposedly for a more reniseance era man.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

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Mcrow

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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2006, 11:29:45 AM »
well, had wanted to pick up runequest when it came out, but the page count to price ratio was pretty horrible. So I wanted to waite for reviews of it to see if was worth the high price. Turns out that most reviews I have seen say it is not worth it.

Nice reviews Spike! Thanks for posting them.

Spike

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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2006, 01:48:39 PM »
No problem... look for the Lendary Heroes part later today... I'm a machine, I tell ya... a machine.
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mattormeg

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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2006, 06:27:31 PM »
Loving these reviews, Spike! Keep it up

Spike

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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2006, 07:35:45 PM »
Coming up, maybe even this weekend...


Riddle of Steel

Jack Vance's Dying Earth
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

For the curious: Apparently, in person, I sound exactly like the Youtube Character The Nostalgia Critic.   I have no words.

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