RuneQuest News

July 16, 2011: A new game company called The Design Mechanism (consisting of writers who previously worked on Mongoose Publications RuneQuest 2) announced that they would be coming out with a new edition of RuneQuest, RuneQuest 6th Edition, under agreement with Issaries. The ruleset is based on Mongoose Publication's RQ2, and will not be integrated with Glorantha. However, The Design Mechanism will be working with Moon Publications to produce Gloranthan supplements for the system. They will also publish generic supplements. The new system will not be released under an Open Gaming License, but under a custom license which will apparently be equivalent to OGL. The ETA is currently "early 2012".

June 2011: Mongoose Publishing and Issaries have "parted ways". Mongoose will cease publication of their version of RuneQuest and RuneQuest 2 (which was not the classic RuneQuest II system), but will continue to use the core RuneQuest rules under the system name "Wayfarer" - correction, they discovered that there was already an RPG called Wayfarer and are therefore publishing their non-Gloranthan RQ-based system under the name "Legend" instead. Issaries has not announced their plans for RuneQuest, if any, so the system is, presumably, once again officially out of print. But Chaosium continues to produce material for their multi-genre Basic Roleplaying system (which is an assembly of rules from many different iterations of RQ/BRP, including Call of Cthulhu), so RuneQuest is far less dead than it has been in the past.

June 24, 2008: D100 / Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System is now shipping!

April 1, 2008: The RuneQuest-Rules list has changed addresses and administrators. The new list can be found at RPGreview, along with archives from April 1st 2008 onward. Archives of the previous versions of the mailing list are also available.

August 2007: The release date for the licensed game by Seraphim Guard based on the Deadwood comic book using the new D100/BRP rules has been pushed back to 2009 from its original announced date of Summer 2008.

August 2007: Chaosium has given up the RPG rights to Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion setting (the rumor is that Moorcock was extremely difficult to deal with), and those rights have been acquired by Mongoose Publications. They are using that setting for some Mongoose RQ supplements.

RuneQuest versions currently in print:

D100 / Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System (formerly known as "Deluxe Basic RolePlaying") - a multi-genre non-Gloranthan advanced BRP system from Chaosium. It was originally announced by Chaosium for Fall 2007, but the release date was eventually pushed back to June 24, 2008. Full disclosure: I was a playtester for this system (and I was also part of the initial playtest group for MRQ, although I was not included in the later, "inner circle" group), and while I was not impressed with MRQ at all, I'm very excited about D100 - so far every design choice has been extremely well made. This may be the version of RQ that many have been waiting for (I'm waiting eagerly for my playtester's copy).

It's a modular system, allowing the duplication of any previous game based on any version of Basic RolePlaying - and that does include RQIII.

Basic RolePlaying monograph editions - These books from Chaosium are NOT the simplified RQ2 which were published in 1980 as "Basic Role-Playing". Instead, they are the Player, Gamemaster, Magic, and Creatures books of Avalon Hill's RuneQuest III, word for word with the following alterations: The name "RuneQuest" has been removed throughout and replaced with "Basic RolePlaying". This substitution was presumably done because Issaries, Inc. (which is not associated in any way with Chaosium) acquired the trademark to the RuneQuest name, although they did not acquire the copyright to the RuneQuest III books or system.

The other difference is that all references to Glorantha have been removed. But if you're looking for newly-printed copies of the RuneQuest III system, these are the ones to get. Downloadable PDF versions are available, too.

Mongoose RQ (aka "MRQ") - Published in August 2006 by Mongoose Publishing under agreement with Issaries, Inc., this system has some rules which differ from classic RuneQuest mechanics and seem to have been included only to provide compatibility with Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. The system features the second age of Glorantha, and other settings have also been published. Some of the system has been published online as "open source" system reference documents.

Fan reaction has been mixed. If you're interested, read the RuneQuest-Rules mailing list (the oldest and most active RuneQuest rules discussion forum) to see for yourself. The average grade given seems to be a C-minus; disappointing, but maybe it will bring more people in.

It should also be noted that the provenance of Mongoose RQ represents a break from the previous ownership of the RuneQuest system - MRQ was announced as being "the same system using different words". This was apparently done because the copyright to the actual text of the RuneQuest system still remained with Chaosium. Roleplaying systems and rule sets themselves apparently cannot be copyrighted or trademarked, and therefore if different specific words are used to create a copy of the original system, the creator(s) or copyright-holders of the original system have no legal recourse. The implications are a bit disturbing!

For more information about RuneQuest, see The History of RuneQuest.

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[email protected] Copyright 2006 by Peter Maranci. Revised: August 12, 2011. version 1.6