RuneQuest Companion review/synopsis


Ok... I've read pretty much all of it since it arrived yesterday!

So, I had slightly different expectations for what would be in this book, but overall, for those who read just 1 paragraph in a post this is for you. I think overall this book is worth getting - especially ifa GM or want more magic systems for your players. Having said that, magic from this book would be cool drip-fed via cults and cantankerous-sorcerers would make this work quite well too!

There are some disappointments I'm afraid to say. I had kinda hoped for some more advanced OPTIONAL rules to appear - such as (ducking for cover) rules for over 100% combat, halving, impales as well as criticals, fumkble table charts, chaos features. I suppose in a way its pleasing that the core rulebook has everything complete in it, but still I suppose I'm too dis-hard RQer wanting intracasies :roll:

So the first 50 pages, i.e. about half of the 92 pages cover the following:

There is a couple of pages covering new cultures and professions but all of about 3-4 sides and a great shame to be divorced from the main part of the rulebook IMO. Adds stone-age type PCs and weapons mostly. Oh and half a page of new cults (non-specific light god, moon god, that sorta thing)!

Then comes Divine Magic. So, apart from a skill roll for a spell, these totally made me smile and recall RQ2 "rune magic". On an earlier thread people got uppity about money and power expenditure being to D&D clericy - it seems once you cast the spell the POW comes back so its almost like a tap on available magic points. Quite cool. Personally I'd have done it the old RQ way of permenent power expenditure for initiates, but POW returning for priests. (Our house game has initiates and lower getting runespells back for initiates on cult holy days)

Then I'm at the tail end of sorcery. I'll be straight, I never used the RQ3 sorcery in anger but whilst still pretty complex, I managed on a first read to have grasped how to multispell, modify duration etc. Which is great, especially as we anticipate lots of God Learner stuff! Theres a lengthy example which I think helps explain the system although I definatey need to re-read it and ponder it as it states a skill is at 76% and not 61% (for various magic adjustments) but I'm sure I'll sort it out.

Reading the sorcery spells, they look fun and can see it being pretty usable once the examples grasped Mind you, a Mystic vision spell will make many a Lhankor Mhy's evalute magic item redundant - which is cool seeing the 2nd age has a city mass producing magic items no?! As I say, I've grasped pretty much first-read-thru how sorcery works - more than RQ3 managed!

Next up, enchantments and making magic items. This worked for me too as it covered what you need to do, how to bind a spirit, make wardings and multiple warding dynamics, enchancing spell items and stuff. Yeap, well written up and can't think what may have got left out...

The next section covers more GM'y stuff:
Spirits, spirit combat and stuff. Yeap, liked this, nice to see things like disease spirits brought in so that we now definately have diesaes and disease spirits. nice that if you die whilst possess your spirit becomes one :)
Combat is done nicely, i.e. material palyers cnat hurt spirits without magic, and indeed spirit attacks done nicely with damage done via a damage bonus even though that ghosts swinging a great axe :p Similarly, dont be scared of phantom leagionaires! :wink:

Next bit is "between adventures".. Covering players getting jobs, robbing people and general downtime. Ok I guess... We kinda gloss over this in our campaigns, but hey, everyone to their own.

New skill also: Reputation. how I liked this, a nice idea whereby the players actions cause reactions and credo to build up and indeed suggested mechanics allow for hero players getting discounts, skill modifiers.

The section we saw in the preview about hamlets, city sizes etc kinda works now I see the whole piece as the part continues to talk over vost variances and availability of equipment and whilst a very GMy subject, it is necessary in a game system to be written up. This section then goes into manufacture of weapons and this was cool in my opinion as it explains crafting Taiwanese bits of plastic through to wind swords and even mechanics to make them but also abilities that can be incorporated. Good stuff and not aware this has been covered in RQ material before!

Next up, Transport. Mostly sea stuff. i enjoyed this too, lots of boats and stats and indeed good rules for boats which arnent too heavy, cover upkeep and damage, yeah, useful stuff.

Lastly Temples.... With 3 examples of differing size temples... Hmm. I'm still out to lunch on this. Part of me would have preferred another RQ suplement, perhaps on the lines of the old Avalon Hill RQ Cities, whereby it covered encounters, city contents, and then had plans and details for typical buildings within a city. Such as town halls, barracks, temples, etc. Which could be lifted and used in a GM's own scenario. But hey, its in this book.

Very lastly, for the character sheet builders out there, theres a few differing sheets for enchantments to armour, magic weapons. It'll make you need a folder for a charcater rather than present one complex sheet, but again, char sheet builders will enjoy this challenge!

Hope I've not rambled on too long. Hope its useful to have a breakdown whats in the book as allot of people will perhaps be wondering "if its for them". Like the old AH RQ3 this is definately a grey covered supplement if that makes sense with a pink tinge if you dont want your GM hogging it all :twisted:
Thanks for your review. From what you've said it sounds very much like these are the second part of the core rules - what with spirit combat, magic item creation, divine magic, etc, it sounds like you're going to need this if you're actually planning to play a campaign game.

I'm holding off for now till I can decide whether the core rules are going to work for me (although things are brightening up on that front!).