Monday, May 23, 2011

Runequest II becomes Wayfarer; and some fun RQII stuff in honor of the greatest Fantasy RPG

In a totally unexpected but not too horrifying move, Matthew Sprange announced that they have parted ways with Issaries and the core RQII rules are being rebranded as Wayfarer. Holy cow.

This is honestly better news than I was expecting. When they more or less cancelled all the near-future RQII products previously announced for release, I was expecting them to proclaim that the line was dead and lack of interest/sales killed it. Instead, we're getting a rebranding of the rules I love so much, hopefully with a better marketing push behind them; finding copies of any of the leather RQII books locally is actually pretty difficult, and some of the problem with poor RQII boils down to the stigma it had to live down from the previous iteration of MRQ, which did indeed suffer badly from design by committee.

Anyway, here's to hoping that Wayfarer gets a proper treatment!

In the meantime, I'm going to take this as a sign from the interweb godz that in answer to my whole Pathfinder/D&D conondrum in my earlier post: the answer is, I should be playing more RQII/Wayfarer and Basic Role Playing. And Call of Cthulhu. It's the only thing that makes sense to me anymore!

And in honor of some Runequest news, here's some fun Runequest stuff for people, from the realms of Chirak:

Five Grimoires of Pelegar

The Book of Black Blood
Written by the Mad Necromancer Sophistigos of Eredor in Old Inadasir
Body Jump
Raise Undead
Macabre Dance
Project (Sight)

The Hunter’s Book: Survival in the Nightwood
By Gortanius the Witch Hunter, written in an archaic form of Pelaeic
Supress Animation
Shadow Door
Detect Undeath
Damage Resistance

Solivarn’s Book of the Lost Enigmas: A Treatise on Elementalism
Allegedly written by Solivarn, but anonymously edited and expanded; translated in to Old Mythric with Pelaeic footnotes for translation
Animate (stone)
Sense (crystals)
Form/Set (stone)

Yan Kar’s Grimoire
Written long ago by Yan Kar, the serpent lord; translation in to Sabradani by the gnome Macharido
Animate (sand)
Abjure (food)
Abjure (water)
Dominate (dragons)
Neutralize Magic
Phantom (sight)
Tap (SIZ)

The Grimoire of Sanguine Sorcery
   This is an unknown tome written approximately 1,400 years ago by a sorcerer who identified himself only as “S. Tynamax.” The tome was written in Ithirian elvish, with some passages in the Inadasir language. It is inscribed on the cover with the Blood Rune. Several copies were known to have been made, though who owns them today is a mystery.

Chapter the First: On Eschewing the Ways of the Flesh
Abjure Food
Abjure Air
Sense (Blood)

Chapter the Second: On Embracing the Ways of the Sanguine Form
Form/Set (Flesh and Bone)
Animate Blood
Animate Dead Flesh
Animate Bones
Treat Wounds

Chapter the Third: On Grasping the Mind of the Enemy
Dominate (humans)
Dominate (elves)

Chapter the Fourth: On Feeding the Flesh
Diminish (Constitution)
Tap (Constitution)

Animates in Runequest

Animates are the magically animated forms of golems brought to life through an imbuement with elemental energies. With very few exceptions, most animates are relics from the pre-apocalyptic age or derived from the remains of such, and it is believed that they were used as servants by the Old Mythrics, Inadasir, and other lost cultures both during peace and war.
Animates most people hear tell of in legends are the great monstrosities that guard the Black Dome of the north near the White Desert, killing and smashing all that approaches. The lesser known forms are sometimes referred to simply as collectors, humanoid entities of clay, metal and other odd patchwork parts sent out into the world to gather knowledge. They are sometimes self described as researchers and scholars, while at other times they seek out specific objects or items, and will often trade and barter for such items if they are held in high regard. Doppelgangers who have been utterly refused have been known to leave, only to come back later with deadly reinforcements.
Animates are unusually difficult characters to play, but can be an interesting challenge for someone who would like to try out a living construct. Animates usually serve some unusual ultimate purpose, which could be a long term campaign goal. On occasion animates achieve a sense of independence, perhaps having been inactivated due to damage, or on rare occasion shutting down due to some inhibition of their elemental power source. These animates may have a sense of free will and curiosity on their own, and an urge to explore.

Playing an Animate Character in Runequest II

   Animates build their humanoid collector models to emulate living creatures, and so the nature of the magical artificing imbues them with life-like qualities, although they are clearly made of artificial materials. An animate collector appears to look like a human or elf made of stylized and decorative pieces of metal, ceramics, cloth and a strange fiber.
Average Height: Variable, usually in precise measurements of 5, 6, or 7 feet in height
Average Weight: 300-500 lbs.
Ability Scores: STR 2D6+6, DEX 2D6+3, CON 12+1D6, SIZ 3D6+3, INT 2D6+6, POW 3D6, CHA 2D6
Speed: as a human (8 meters)
Vision: Normal, but an animate may choose better vision (see below)
Languages: Old Mythric, Espanean (or one other) and Tradespeak are starting native language skills.
Cultural Background: Animates are civilized beings and start with the Civilized cultural package. It is possible for an animate that has been damaged or reactivated after a prolonged period to operate or act differently, if it is exposed to a different set of stimuli during the growth of its mental abilities. Such animates could choose a different cultural package if the GM permits it.
Living Construct: Similar to standard constructs such as golems, living constructs are imbued with an elemental anima, or animating force that gives them life-like properties and separates them from golems and other unliving animated entities. As such, animates have the following traits unique to their kind:
·         Animates are not subject to standard biological disease, viruses, toxins or poisons that require a body of flesh to function. They can be affected by magical versions of the same.
·         Animates do not need to eat, breathe or sleep, but they still require eight hours of immobile activity to replenish their elemental power cores (and magical abilities or spells) or they gain a level of fatigue.
·         Animates must choose an elemental trait that reflects their animating force; they gain 3 armor points of protection against attacks with that elemental property (ice, fire, water, earth, air and so forth); pick one
·         Animates benefit from normal healing magic as living constructs, although the Heal skill has no use to them; a craft skill must be used instead as if it were a healing skill
·         Animates that fail a resilience check against a mortal blow are deactivated; parts of animates that reach the negative of their Con score are destroyed; if the animate’s torso is destroyed in such a manner they are permanently gone. They have no souls so cannot be resurrected or raised (except by animate priests of one of the machine gods)
Unique Traits: Choose two racial traits at character creation; additional traits for the animate may be purchased later as upgrades, but they require the expenditure of the indicated number of improvement rolls to gain. The initial choices are: Night Vision, Fire Spray, Change Self, Hardened Skin, or Machine Logic.
Advanced animate traits can be chosen later on (after beginning the adventuring career) and provide additional enhancements. These include advanced fire spray, photographic recall,advanced machine logic, quickened hardened skin and mimicry.

Basic Animate Racial Traits:

Night Vision
An animate with this ability can see at night as if it were daylight, although sudden bright lights can be momentarily blinding.
Benefit: This effect is a free action to activate, and remains on until deactivated. If the animate is surprised by sudden bright light equivalent to sunlight within 10 feet of his location, he is considered dazed until the beginning of his next turn, suffering a -15% penalty to all actions affected by vision.

Fire Spray
Small holes in the ends of the animate’s fingers release a stream of burning liquid in an arc spray.
Benefit: This 1 CA attack fires a conical sprawyin front of the animate for 5 meters; it is a ranged attack against all targets in the affected area, and does 1D6 points of fire damage to 1D3 locations on each affected target. The animate must spend 1 MP to activate this ability. It is progressive, like common magic, and each additional MP spent adds +1 to the base damage. The fire spray requires a suitable ranged combat style to operate (called, of course, Fire Spray Attack).

Change Self
With a thought, the animate’s exterior appearance changes like plastic to emulate another humanoid form.
Benefit: This ability gives the animate a different outward physical form, adding +50%  to their disguise skill.  It costs 1 MP to activate and lasts for 5 minutes (per MP spent). The size of the animate does not change.

Hardened Skin
This animate can tense up, as armored plates lock together in to a solid, impenetrable mass of hardened ceramic, metal and wood.
Benefit: The animate gains 1 AP per MP spent for 5 minutes, up to a maximum of 6 AP. This takes 1 CA to activate.

Machine Logic
Some animates are particularly mechanical in their way of thinking, and perceive reality through calculated, analytical eyes.
Benefit: The animate gains 25% bonus to persistence against all illusory and mind-affecting attacks.

Advanced Animate Racial Traits:
The following feats are unique to animates, who hone their precise abilities to recall and duplicate humanoid behavior. These feats cannot be chosen at character creation unless the character is being made using the seasoned adventurer rules.

Advanced Fire Spray
Benefit: You spray a lingering, burning fluid from your fingertips instead of normal fire. The fire spray’s base MP cost is doubled when you add this trait. The fire spray does 1D6 ongoing Fire damage to all targets on the following turn, lasting for a total of 1D6 rounds.

Advanced Machine Logic
The animate has honed its machine logic to a razor’s edge.
Benefit: The animate increases its persistence bonus against mind-affecting and illusory magic to +50%, and gains total immunity to all charm effects.

Photographic Recall
Benefit: Animates can be constructed and magically programmed to record what they see and hear with stunning precision. As time goes by, this ability is nurtured and becomes truly vivid.
   Photographic recall can be a time-consuming process as the animate shifts through its memory of old data. It will take one minutes for this process to happen (results as applied may take longer, however).
An animate should roll 1D20 and add its Intelligence score to recall any information previously experienced with startling precision. The length of time which can be applied, cost in MP to generate the result, and skill bonus gained from the recall is based on the following chart:

Int. Roll                  Bonus     Length of Time     MP Cost
1-8                          0              1 week                   0
9-15                        +10%      1 month                 1
16-21                     +20%      1 year                     1
22-26                     +30%      10 years                 2
27-30                     +40%      100 years              2             
31-34                     +50%      1,000 years           3
35-38                     +60%     2,000 years          3
Per +3                    +70%      +1,000 years         +1

   Using this chart, an animate would roll for the Intelligence result first (1D20 plus Int), then cross-reference. The bonus is applied to the next lore or appropriate skill that will be used to glean past knowledge. The length of time is the furthest back the animate’s memory can  reach regarding the issue at hand. The MP cost is the amount of MP the animate must expend to gain the benefit of the skill result.
   Ex: Collector 7 makes an intelligence check and tolls 10, plus an Int of 14, for a total of 24. He gains a +30% bonus to his next craft, art, lore or any other applicable skill check, and the data he recalls can be up to 10 years old.
Note that an animate might be fairly young, but its internal memory might contain archived data going back thousands of years. Any animate with an intelligence of less than 12 does not contain an archived data bank and can’t be upgraded with one until it’s intelligence is improved to 12 or better. Conversely, some animates are ancient, but they have suffered memory loss due to hardship, injury or inactivity over the centuries.
   Once the recall is complete, the animate may photographically reconstruct an image recalled in a physical media (such as potter or painter); the animate gains a bonus (based on the above chart) to the relevant skill (usually art) for such attempts. It will be almost lifelike, depending on the quality of painting materials. An animate with the Mimicry trait may precisely duplicate voices from any period of time (like a recording, but not as voice mimicry). Minutiae down to the signature on a clay pot or the runes on a banded ring may be recalled with this ability. Finally, an animate may apply the relevant bonus to any lore skill check attempted as a result of this ability.

Prerequisites: Photographic Recall feat, Charisma 14+, Disguise skill at 50% or better
Benefit: Animates are able to study and precisely imitate the motions and voice of those they encounter. Some perfect it to an art.
   The animate can study one target for a period of time and attempt to mimic that target with a Disguise skill check Modifiers include: +10% if the target is studied for at least one minute, an additional +10% if studied for 10 minutes or more. Penalties include: -10% per day since observing the subject, an additional -20% if the subject is being mimicked through second-hand (but accurate) information.
   The animate will either precisely imitate the mannerisms or the voice of a target (or both, with two separate checks). The mimicry will be so precise that the animate could be instantly assumed to be its mimicked target. The animate that does this is actually doing a form of pantomime, and is not creating movements that are able to duplicate combat or skill-based actions of the target. Nonetheless, the result is uncanny compared to conventional thespians, a mechanically precise duplication of life.
   Photographic recall used with mimicry may allow for the disguise skill to gain an enhancement bonus (see Photographic Recall details above).

Quickened Hardened Skin
The animate can activate his hardened skin much faster than normal.
Prerequisite: Animate, hardened skin
Benefit: This animate can activate his hardened skin as a free action, and may do so in reaction to an attack, as if it were an automatic reflex.

Mardieur Mardieux in the Flesh

And last but not least, a RQII adaptation of the Big Guy himself....
Mardieur Mardieux
Huron Minotaur, Age 47; Rune Lord of Akquinarios 
Barbarian Explorer (Hero)                              1D20    Hit Location   AP/HP
STR      31        CA       3                                       1-3       Right leg          3+2/8
CON    17        DMG    +1D12                            4-6       Left leg            3+2/8
SIZ       20        MPs     7 (+20 stone)                7-10     Abdomen       3+2/9
INT      13        Move  8m                                   11-12   Chest               3+2/10
POW   17        SR        13 (10)                           13-15   Right Arm       3+2/7
DEX     12        Dedicated Pow: 10                 16-18   Left Arm          3+2/7
CHA     10                                                             19-20   Head                 5/8
Hero Points: 22          Rune Mastery: Communication, Mastery
Natural Armour: Tough Hide (3 AP, no armor penalty) plus horns on head (AP 5 total)
Armor Worn: Hard Leather jerkin (2 AP chest, Abdomen) and Hard Leather greaves and vambraces (2 AP legs and arms) (-3 SR)
Common Skills: Athletics 83%, Brawn 109%, Culture (Huron) 56%, Dance 22%, Drive 29%,  Evade 74%,  Evaluate 36%, First Aid 25%, Infl uence 40%, Insight 50%, Lore (Regional-Sea of Chirak) 76%, Perception 50%, Persistence 84%, Resilience 109%, Ride 34%, Sing 48%, Sleight 22%, Stealth 30%, Swim 88%, Unarmed 108%
Advanced Skills: Language (minotaur) 73%, Language (Espanean) 26%, Language (Mercurian) 26%, Language (Sabiri) 25%, Language (Pelegar) 26%, Culture (Espanean) 26%, Healing 30%, Lore (Ancient History) 46%, Shiphandling 50%, Survival 64%, Teaching 23%, Track 80%
Rune Lord of Akquinarios: Lore (Akquinarios) 80%, Pact (Akquinarios) 78
Divine Spells: Berserk, Consecrate, Breathe Water, Cure Disease/Poison, Elemental Summoning, Fog, Heal Body, Resurrect, Soul Sight, True (Great Axe)
Combat Styles: 2H Axe 113%, 1H Sword 83%, 1H Axe 65%, Great Bow 64%
Common Magic 78%: Bearing Witness 1, Beast Call 2, Bestial Enhancement 4, Bladesharp 6, Cauterize 3, Clear Path 1, Endurance 6, Fate 5, Heal 6, Light 3, Mobility 4, Protection 4, Thunder’s Voice 5, Vigor 4, Water Breath 2
Heroic Abilities: Awesome Smash, Battle Fury, Mighty Blow, Tireless
Great Axe of the Avatar (imbued with Akquinarios Stone) (Attack 133%; 1D12+6+1D12 damage-includes permanent bladesharp+4 enchantment; Size H; Bleed, Sunder; 8 AP, 20 HP; enchantment doubles AP/HP and adds Bladesharp 4; Stone in the blade provides +5 MP/day)
Long Bow (Attack 64%; 1D8+1D12 damage; Range 175 meters; Size H; Impale; 4 AP 7 HP)
Head Butt (Attack 80%; 1D6+1D12 dmg; AP/Hp as for head)

Akquinarios Stone (Bound); +15 MP (+20 if merged with shard in axe) per day; acts as a shrine and temple to Akquinarios for purposes of divine spell recall and acquisition.

   Mardieur Mardieux is the avatar of the Aquarius Stone, a powerful divine artifact. He is a known hero of Chirak, liberator of Espanea, slayer of the resurrected god Minhauros and a composer of fine minotaur dirges.

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