Episode 111: Playing With Ducks

This month, Mike and Roger look at the history and current edition of RuneQuest, then talk with Dean Engelhardt about the new Cthulhu Eternal SRDs.

We mentioned:

Fiasco 2020 at the Bundle of Holding (until 9 March), RuneQuest, and Elfquest (not “Elfworld” and certainly not “Erfworld”).

Avalon Hill’s earlier attempts at RPGs were Lords of Creation and Powers and Perils. Roughly contemporaneous with the publication of RQ3 was James Bond 007 from their Victory Games subsidiary. We were quite impressed with the last one when we reviewed it recently; the same can’t be said of Lords of Creation (which we’ve mentioned in passing as of historical interest) nor of Powers & Perils (which hasn’t got a mention at all).

We also talked about the hero’s journey, Pendragon Pass, Cthulhu Reborn, Arc Dream, Legend, Cthulhu Dark, and FHTAGN.

Here’s our tip jar. (Please email or leave a comment as well; they don’t always tell me when money’s gone in.)

Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.


Much as Mike makes a passionate case for Ducks they are the main reason I didn’t bother with Runequest for many years despite being intrigued by the fantasy bronze age background.

Not snooty about it, just found the joke rather out of place.

Lots of content in this one, multiple listens to cheer me up on the bus I think :slight_smile:

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Welcome back!

I don’t regard them as a joke – as far as worldbuilding goes, I regard them as an example of the way the gods of this world, like the Greek gods, are just as capricious and whimsical as the humans (and other things) who worship them.

(But then I don’t regard GURPS Fantasy II: The Mad Lands as a joke either. Yeah, there’s a joke in it, but knowing it doesn’t affect the grimness of the world for the poor beggars who have to live there.)

Thank you!

I was just using Mike’s frame of reference for addressing how Ducks are often perceived and distilling down my bafflement at the time I first encountered them. If I were to run the new Runequest, I have the pdf and I do like it, I would probably ignore them as much as possible since they just get on my nerves - no better reason really.

I do like GURPS Discworld so I’m not a total loss to humour. :slight_smile:

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The decision to set RQ3 in Fantasy Europe was Chaosium’s - Remember that at the time most RPG’s assumed you would be building your own world, so a more “generic” setting would be appreciated by many.

Sandy had left Chaosium before the “Mythos” CCG Failure - He had been given a small amount of stock (I think 5%) in recognition of the contribution CoC had made. The failure of Mythos led to the remaining stock being split between Greg & Charlie Krank, with Greg leaving the operation of Chaosium to Charlie and taking the Glorantha IP to Issaries.

When Sandy was getting ready to launch the Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter he became aware of the problems Chaosium was having with their Kickstarter(s), and took action to prevent any fallout with people associating “Sandy Petersen”, “Chaosium” and “Cthulhu”.

I believe the original plan was for The Design Mechanism to produce a Gloranthan supplement/version (under Licence) for RQ6 - until the result of the “RQ Classic” Kickstarter showed the support for this version of the rules, so Chaosium took RQ back in house, leading to the Mythras Rebrand

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Thanks, Tim - some of the earlier stuff I heard directly from the people involved, and I imagine you did too, so somebody wasn’t being consistent…

So many things I appreciate about RQ:

  1. High fantasy plus human fragility - a world where darkness is an element, and a hole in the sky causes eternal rain and the headwaters of a major river, but you’ll probably never have 20 hit points.

  2. Trolls - I think the Uz are the most fully-realized non-humans in tabletop roleplaying. Genuinely alien in so many ways, yet emotionally resonant in ways that make them compelling characters.

  3. Everyone is the hero of their own narrative - the Lunars are technically chaos worshipers, but also cosmopolitan, tolerant, and promoters of the common good within their empire. Trolls may eat you, but with the same respect they would eat their own honored dead.

  4. RQ3 magic systems - RQ was the first system I experienced where different magical traditions used different game mechanics from each other and felt different. So many games just show you two boxes of hand grenades and tell you these are for wizards and these are for priests. Yes some of the specific mechanics had problems, but we had a great time using all three magic systems.

Never could get into ducks though.