Post by Richard Hershberger Post by James Nicoll
An RPG and so a bit off topic. If there were any Glorantha novels,
I missed them.
RuneQuest, Second Edition by Steve Perrin & Ray Turney
I was an early adopter of RPGs, buying the original three booklet
edition of D&D in 1976, plus the Greyhawk supplement which was
necessary to make the damned thing playable. Also Tunnels & Trolls,
which was not actually good, but was a lot more user friendly.
Runequest 2 was quite the revelation. It was the first system I
played that was genuinely second generation, taking the RPG idea and
improving it across the board. AD&D tried to preempt this niche, but
the designers were too locked in on it as an improved version of D&D,
therefore constraining themselves to continue some bad earlier
I don't see this talked about nowadays, but in the late 1970s there
was a raging debate within the RPG community. Gary Gygax pushed hard
the idea of (A)D&D as the One True Role Playing, or at least Fantasy
Role Playing, Game. When the competition was Tunnels and Trolls
there was an argument to be made, even apart from vague intellectual
property claims. I nonetheless was pretty skeptical all along, even
in my callow youth. Then RQ2 showed me definitively that there were
For one thing, it had a combat system that seemed like something that
someone who had actually picked up a sword might come up with. Even
then, the combat system had its detractors from the "get it over with
quick" school, but I loved it. I also found that the actual time in
a typical gaming session spent on combat was about the same. It was
just that with RQ2 it was fewer fights than with AD&D. I thought
this a virtue. Combat should not be a routine event, like commuting
to work. An RQ2 session might lead up to its single fight as a
climax, where AD&D fights were more background noise.
Then there was the setting. Or rather, the idea of designing a game
around a specific setting. Part of the "One True RPG" claim of AD&D
was that it was a one-size-fits-all rule set. Except that it wasn't
really. It ripped off elements from various fantasy books and
smushed them together. This worked fine for a generic AD&D campaign,
but was a poor fit for anything else. RQ2 said "screw that" and had
a system designed for the world it was set in. This was a breath of
fresh air to me.
Oh, and AD&D alignments were a stupid idea from the start.