By Jeff Richard
I figured in this set of RuneQuest Design Notes I'd answer a key question that we get quite often -"are you using the [pick a rule] from RQ [pick an edition]?"
One of the mantras we have in writing the new edition is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In RQ2 the main things that were broken were - 5% skill increase set, one-use rune magic, lack of objective drives for characters, lack of strong community resources, spirit combat, shamanism, and the price economy.
And - significantly - tied into it was the fact that the game was called "RuneQuest" and yet the runes were little more than background color.
Those issues are what the new edition addresses. But things that weren't broken - strike ranks, melee rounds, hit points, damage, spirit magic, rune magic basic descriptions, etc - were kept.
A few things, like base value for skills and skill modifier calculations were edited for overall consistency.
RQ2’s strike rank system was initially intended to just be a more tailored and less randomized initiative system that factored in things like weapon length and SIZ. RQ3 hybridized it with the Ringworld Impulse system, which resulted in quite a few problems down the road. The new system goes back to the RQ2 approach.
One substantive change is Attack and Parry are no longer separate skills, but now use the same Weapon Skill. And you parry with a shield at the same skill as the weapon that accompanies it. If you know how to fight with a broadsword, you know how to fight with a broadsword and a shield. Tracking all of those skills read well, but were often illogical in application.
Another is using CHA instead of INT to determine how much spirit magic a character can have - was introduced to be more consistent with what we are modeling.
And of course lots of little tweaks got made as a result of playtesting and as consequences of new rules (particularly pertaining to Rune Points).
But that's been the overall editorial approach to the new edition. This is built directly off the RuneQuest 2 chassis, and is simply not a new layer atop RQ3, the MRQ variants, or TDM's edition. Think instead of it as RQ 2.5 if Greg had managed to solve the Rune Magic problem he worked on for over 20 years!