I thought for sometime on whether to invest in RuneQuest 6th Edition, before deciding to buy it. I already own Mongoose's RuneQuest II, a similar iteration of the classic game written by the same authors, Peter Nash and Lawrence "Loz" Whitaker. Even after reading several positive reviews and interviews explaining what improvements have been included in RQ6, I remained skeptical that the differences were sufficient enough to justify the purchase. What finally changed my mind was the apparent lack of interest in tabletop rpgs being demonstrated by Mongoose. That's not to say they've abandoned rpgs, but their publication frequency has dropped considerably in recent months and with so many properties to support, it seems unlikely there will be much coming out for the Legend and Elric of Melniboné product lines any time soon. The guys at The Design Mechanism, however, seem committed to enthusiastic support of RQ6.
It's a massive tome, weighing it at 456 pages. At over $60, I would have liked to see it in hardcover, but it's a small company and so, I'm a little more forgiving. I can't say I'm overjoyed with matte finish of the cover, however. It really shows fingerprints and they don't just wipe of like they would on a glossy finish. The cover art is nice. It shows a female warrior named Anathaym battling a reptilian humanoid called a slargr. Sidebars throughout the book describe the story of Anathaym in order to illustrate many game concepts. As one can deduce from the style of Anathaym's equipment, the default setting for RQ6 is more of an Ancient Greece/Rome style than the typical medieval Europe we're accustomed to. Nonetheless, the rules are flexible enough to play in any setting from ancient times to the renaissance. The interior art is sparse and without colour, but what is there is decent and appropriate. It should be noted that there is little in RQ6 that ties directly to Glorantha. There are no Ducks or Dwarfs made of metal in the bestiary. Although future Glorantha supplements for RQ6 are planned, the basic rules are intended to be generic. There is so much to discuss about this game, I will have to spread it out over several postings. Stay tuned for more thoughts in the weeks to come.