The RQ2 Reprint Kickstarter payoff arrived last week and over the weekend I actually had enough quiet time to read the whole thing. I like it. There's a practicality to it, a very definite sense that this developed in play and was not sent out with zero playtesting. One example: You improve stats and skills by paying for training, in addition to experience. That's something we never used much in my prior RQ playing experiences, but it makes a ton of sense as far as a playable solution to character improvement. It also implies a ton about the world, way beyond Glorantha-this and Lunar Empire-that - there are fighting guilds, temples, and other organizations that provide this training, even going so far as to do it on credit to new adventurers! Yes, "adventurer" is a known and widely accepted occupation. In a world full of ruins and monsters that seems eminently reasonable - and practical.
It's also very clear the influence of the SCA experience of the primary author, Steve Perrin. Combat is all about weapon types, weapon length, the order an attacker might be able to strike vs. different weapons, how much one might reasonably carry and still be effective in a fight. Including Size as a stat is another sign of this as it plays a role in a bunch of combat elements. With Apprentice Red in a similar organization at school I'm picking up on a lot of the influences here - moreso than i did before, anyway.
The whole book is written in a conversational tone that I found incredibly appealing. It's something you just do not see in modern RPG writing. Comments like how an referee certainly could track a bunch of different elements if they wanted to overburden themselves, but in the writer's opinion it's simpler to just do X. It's very different than the contemporary (circa 1980) Gygaxian I was immersed in at the time, and it's very different form what I see in books today too It's personal without being ego-driven, which can be a tricky balance to strike. It's much more like how I think I would want to write a RPG supplement if I ever got around to doing that - that's intended as a compliment!
We've already agreed within out group to run a session of RQ and see how my mix of veterans, experienced non-RQ'ers, and millennials take to it. I'll let you know how that goes.
On a different note, while I was re-reading some of my Savage Worlds stuff last week I got to thinking about how it would make for a really strong Star Wars ruleset. I started looking up conversions online, dug out some of my d6, Saga, and even Star Frontiers stuff with an eye towards outlining how I might use it. I also came across my AoR book and reviewed our playtest of the Beginner Box and how much fun we had with it, and started thinking I should really give this set another chance. So after I finished reading RQ I sat down and read AoR.
This is the serendipitous path we all tread at times. Honestly I was really happy to find the time to read two RPG books in detail in one day.
Maybe reading RQ helped open up my mind a bit, but I think I get the FFG system's appeal now. There are some touches with Marvel Heroic in the whole "building a dice pool" thing and we love that game. I know it's a giant rulebook, much like the Pathfinder ruelbooks, but it is a very different approach from PF mechanically and I think we could have a lot of fun with it. I'll have more on it next week but I am furiously thinking up campaign options in between the rest of life and at some point it will click and we will set up a one-shot to try it out. Also, there are a lot of cool things being done for this game by players - for example:
I still think Savage Worlds would handle Star Wars really well, and I may try it too. One nice touch is that both games, SW and AoR/EotE/F&D are mechanically light enough that you can put NPC's on cards. My take on the SW ones is here, an example of FFG's is here. I really like that these exist. Going back to my RQ take, they are very practical, an approach and an item that's intended to help you actually run games and not just sit on a shelf! That's becoming more and more of a factor for me in games: Is it a good game, is it fun, will my players have any interest in playing it, and is the "work factor" in running it high or low?
More to come!