By Jeff Richard
Good news RuneQuest fans - the manuscript for the core rules of RuneQuest has now been passed over to Jason Durall for copy editing! Jason's been informally involved with the design team from the beginning as a sounding board, but now he's taking on a very active role (including correcting any of the many mistakes and errors that may have snuck in as I finalized the draft). He'll also be writing the rules examples based on the ongoing character saga within the book.
So, what's in the final manuscript? The core rules include character creation, homelands, runes, passions, rune magic and cults (I think there are 17 short cult write ups in the core rules, plus 2 spirit cults), spirit magic, new spirit combat rules, new shamanism rules, new sorcery rules (including notes on Malkionism, Aeolianism, and Lhankor Mhy sorcery), wealth and occupation rules, and material on running seasonal campaigns. Plus plenty more.
Right behind the core rules is the Glorantha Bestiary, which has over 60 species statted up, 4 or 5 short cult write-ups (including Kyger Litor, of course), and creating adventurer information for 6+ species (and enough information to wing it with almost all the other Elder Race entries).
The third core RuneQuest book is the Gamemaster Book, which includes HeroQuesting information, rules on Heroes (with a capital H), Chaos, Illumination, more short cult writeups (including the Red Goddess, with brand new Lunar magic), magic items, loads of encounters, and 3 or 4 scenarios (by Chris Klug, Jason Durall, MOB, and myself).
That's a lot of stuff. That's why we've decided to divide the new rules into three books, because that way we could put out everything we wanted to, and keep each book a reasonable length. And for me, I always prefer having a separate Bestiary from the core rules, and although I am a huge fan of having starting scenarios immediately available, I do think they are better not in the "players book".
So I kind of snuck at two bombshells in there, didn't I? First is that the new sorcery system is written. It is NOT that of RQ3 (or even Sandy's sorcery rules). It is much easier and way more Gloranthan than the RQ3 rules. And it will be the likely subject of the next design notes.
But the other bombshell is the new rules for playing or running Heroes in RuneQuest. Heroes gain an increasing presence in the otherworld, which becomes a tremendous source of power, but also requires that the hero be worshiped to maintain it (that worship can be regular or propitiatory). A hero can return from the dead, and can gain other abilities such as unaging as a result of heroquest gifts. Heroes no longer need to be "super-skilled" - their "Hero Soul" and heroquest gifts enables them to do remarkable things, even if their actual skills are in the range of a Rune Lord or Priest.
And that too will likely be the subject of a future design note!