05 June 2012

RuneQuest 6 Core Rulebook Info

Here is a summary, taken from Lawrence Whitaker’s post at the Design Mechanism site, of what to expect in the core rulebook for RuneQuest 6:
RuneQuest will be 456 pages, soft cover, black and white interior, colour cover. 
Price is $62.00 (£40, €50). There will be a discount for pre-orders, which we hope to begin very soon. 
You will be able to order RQ directly from us via the Products page of the Design Mechanism website. 
Shipping within the US and Canada will be $10. International orders $15. 
We will be distributing to the retail trade via our fulfilment and distribution partner, Alliance. This means RQ will find its way into game stores across the world. 
RQ will be available as a bookmarked PDF close to the release date of the hard copy. If you buy the hard copy directly from us, you'll get the PDF free of charge. If you decide to order the PDF singly, it will cost $25. It will be available through DrivethruRPG and the other One Book Shelf sites. 
I cannot give a precise date for publication, but it should be no later than mid-July and, hopefully, a little earlier. We will open pre-orders the minute the production files are in the hands of the printer. It usually takes about three weeks for production, so factor-in a fourth for transit to our warehouse.
We will be releasing a free PDF, available here and on Drivethru, for Games Masters. This will contain all the major charts and tables, a two page character sheet, a combat tracking sheet and an introductory scenario called 'Meeros Falling'. This scenario uses the setting found throughout the examples found in the rules and is a mixture of investigation, intrigue and combat. It directly continues 'Anathaym's Saga' as found throughout RQ6. 
So, more information to come, but I'm pleased to say that RQ6 is nearly with us.
I’m thrilled that RQ6 is coming so soon!  This is the game – not ‘D&D Next’ or the ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG’ – about which I’m most excited.  And it’s great that the core rulebook will be ‘complete’ – all the rules, magic systems, monsters, GM info, etc., in a single grand tome.  Nobody should be able to complain that the rulebook is missing anything essential (in contrast to the MRQII core rulebook, which included a very meagre beastiary).

The length and price of the rulebook, however, very likely will discourage many people from checking out RuneQuest for the first time.  RQ6 certainly will not be an ‘impulse buy’!  Thus I wonder if it might be prudent for Design Mechanism to take a page out of Chaosium’s book and offer a free or inexpensive ‘quick start’ version of the rules.  Such a product (perhaps PDF only) would include only the bare essentials (e.g., one culture, the bare elements of a single magic system, a few creatures, a small set of combat manoeuvres, etc.).  A starter adventure also would be helpful.  Such a product would be sufficient for interested folks to give RQ6 a spin, without having to commit significant denarii.

Of course, the price and length is no disincentive to me.  I’ve pared back my RPG budget considerably over the past couple of years, but RuneQuest 6 is a ‘must-buy’ for me.  (I’m also looking forward to Magic World and OpenQuest 2 far more than ‘D&D Next’.)


  1. Yes, three BRP fantasy games each with a great pedigree, and one summer...

    1. I'm not sure when OQ2 is supposed to come out, Dr. Bargle. I'd be surprised if it was this summer.

  2. The idea of a cheap/free Quickstarter is something we've considered. But there's a complication - let me offer my favourite Winston Churchill anecdote to illustrate.

    Churchill was about to deliver a speech to Parliament. He rose and turned to the Speaker, and then apologised for the length of the speech he was about to deliver: 'Because I did not have time to write a shorter one'.

    Producing a Quickstart version take quite a lot more work than just cherry-picking the chunks from the main rules. The Quickstarter has to be internally consistent, pre-playtested, re-edited, re-proofed and re-laid out. It can be done, but its a big time investment (unless we farm-out the task), and, right now, we have other priorities.

    I'm certainly not ruling it out. I think Quickstarters are great. I just don't know when such a thing would appear.

    1. That certainly makes sense, Loz. I can see how producing a quality Quickstarter is more work that it seems.

  3. Thanks for the scoop! If I had only one game purchase to make this year, RQ6 is it. Very much looking forward to this one, it's just about the only game book I am genuinely excited about right now.

    1. Great to hear that there are others similarly excited about RQ6 out there! :)

  4. I had an IM conversation with Newt (creator of OpenQuest), and he was still sorting through the potential changes. Personally, I was most excited about the chance for an OQ2 hardback.

    Magic World looks pretty awesome, simply because it will be compiling several new magic systems together and providing the beginnings of a setting.

    RuneQuest 6, though... That's an immediate purchase!

    Thanks for the details --

    1. A hardback OQ2 would indeed be great.

      I believe that the 'new magic systems' for MW will be appearing in a separate book. Perhaps I'm mistaken?

  5. Replies
    1. I assume that "WTF" is short for "Wow, that's fabulous!"

    2. Alas no.

      It's the Bestseller Effect. If the 300 page Book#1 of a series of fantasy novels is successful, Book#2 is 400 pages, Book#3 is 800pages, and so on. As the authour becomes more successful, the editor has less and less power to make the authour toss away all the surplus crap.

      And you get series which will never end because the authour will die first (cf Robert Jordan, and George RR Martin will no doubt offer us the same result). Quantity, not quality.

      RuneQuest has been too successful, so what could be expressed in 120 pages in 1978 will take 456 pages 34 years later.

      A thing is perfect not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

    3. I don't have anything substantive to add to Lawrence's reply (below). But I would like to emphasize that RQ6 will cover a *lot* more material than RQ2 did (e.g., 5 different magic systems instead of 2; combat manoeuvres; a bestiary appropriate for a wide range of different campaign worlds, not simply Glorantha, etc.).

      Also, font sizes in RPG books have increased over the past 30 years! :P

  6. @Kyle

    I don't think your analogy is particularly fair. If you're going to present a complete game, without the need for additional supplements to cover the gaps players and GMs inevitably crave, its extremely difficult to do it in a condensed space. RQ's size isn't a case of bloat due to a lack of editorial control: its a case of providing a comprehensive game in a single volume. That's very different to the page inflation of Fantasy Doorstoppers like some of GRRM's and JK Rowling's outputs.


    Gamer tastes and requirements have evolved considerably in this 34 year period. What satisfied then simply doesn't satisfy now.

    We have no intention of releasing multiple volumes that expand magic, combat, professions, cultures, cults and so on. Its all there in one volume, explained and clarified to avoid ambiguity whilst accounting for the myriad options gamers always want. We will now be focusing on concise settings and scenario books, in the 128-256 page range, that make full use of the RQ6 core rules.

  7. I'm mostly looking forward to Magic World (and Interplanetary... someday)... but it will be cool to have a RQ back in print and out of the hands of Mongoose... where good licenses go to die.
    I'll most likely buy a copy if only to mine for BRP ideas.

    1. 'Magic World' -- a de-Moorcockized 'Elric!' -- is a game that I thought about proposing to Chaosium myself.

      I'm glad that an accomplished BRP writer did so instead!


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).