Savage Yinn wrote:Thank you for sharing the ways in which your different societies handle common magic.
I am used to gaming with a more D&D mindset than a Legend one and now I can see that I have to do some research into ancient societies so I can get the feel of the game correct.
Much as I love D&D, one of the things that has set Runequest (and Legend) apart from the very earliest days is the emphasis on the social context of the world that the characters inhabit. In the D&D tradition, adventurers usually don't have strong connections to the rest of society around them - they are wanderers who move from one trouble spot to another. Indeed, in the 1st edition DMG, Gary Gygax explicitly compares adventurers to gunfighters in the Old West. They act as a civilising influence in the frontier regions, bringing law and order to the wilderlands. But one they succeed in restoring order to regions threatened by evil forces, they tend to move on - they simply can't fit into the restrictive structure of a feudal society for any length of time.
I suspect that Gygax favoured this approach because it mirrored the kind of fantasy that he preferred - the pulp fantasy tradition of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, and Jack Vance. These authors generally produced short stories rather than novels about their protagonists and often featured lawless adventurers who were at odds with the society around them. Their adventures were recounted in a picaresque fashion, with the protagonists moving from one location to another between stories.
By contrast, the "Runequest tradition" has always insisted that adventurers are deeply integrated into the society around them. They typically have close ties to family and friends who are ordinary citizens. In addition, they must align themselves with organisations such as cults or guilds if they wish to progress beyond a certain point in their chosen profession. Sure, characters can rebel and choose to become maverick outsiders - but this means giving up some of the benefits of civilised society.