Runic Rants is an irregular series of thoughts, opinions, and experiments about RuneQuest.
This is a guest article written by Austin Conrad. You can find all of Austin’s wonderful RuneQuest content here on the Jonstown Compendium!
One reason I love RuneQuest is the experience system. For me, gaining experience through your adventurer’s actions intuitively connects player activity with the adventurer’s growth. During our time playing RuneQuest, my friends and I have experimented with a variety of experience rules. Lately, we’ve been toying with POW Gain.
In my gaming groups, the most sought experience check is POW Gain. Per the core rules, a successful POW Gain roll nets the adventurer 1D3–1 points of POW. Alternatively, you can opt to gain a single point. Favouring consistency over luck, almost everyone I’ve played with chooses the latter. POW is just too important—and difficult to obtain—to gamble.
Currently, one of my groups plays that an adventurer instead gains 1D3 points on a successful POW Gain roll. We’ve played about four adventures, plus Storm Season and Sacred Time downtime, across six sessions, and the game so far feels pretty different. We have a lot more POW to throw around for gaining Rune Points, joining spirit cults, attuning magic items, enchanting magic items, or stockpiling toward awakening a fetch or becoming a Rune Master.
With the current edition’s potential for high starting skills, POW Gain is the main limit on how quickly adventurers achieve cool new stuff to do. By increasing POW Gain to a full 1D3, it doesn’t feel a lot easier for adventurers to achieve the POW 18 necessary for Rune Priesthood—because of the D100 roll’s difficulty at high POW—but it feels a lot easier to gain POW for quick expenditures. Adventurers become able to do more cool stuff, more quickly, with less effort.
Is that good?
I don’t know yet. We’re still feeling this house rule out. So far, I do enjoy the increased “currency” in my adventurer’s POW economy. I like that I’ve gained a lot of Rune Points quickly, allowing me to juggle two cults (and have fun with both cults’ magic). But, I do wonder how this campaign will feel after a year of play. It’s hard to not find stuff to spend POW on when playing RuneQuest! Yet, I’m curious if the slower pace in the core rules would make the same advancements feel more meaningful, because they happened over an increased number of adventures.
Thus far, I would say this rule is worth trying out. Especially if you’re planning to play a shorter campaign! Gaining a lot of POW seems, to me, to fit well with campaigns aiming at the 3-6 month duration, rather than games hoping to play out the full Hero Wars saga. I doubt it’s a good fit for all groups, but if you want adventurers to get more POWerful more quickly this is a decent way to get there.
Thanks Austin for the house rule experimentation. If people are curious about power curves and character progression, I’ve written a series of Runic Rants articles on the topic: part 1, part 2, and part 3.
If you have any comment about this Runic Rant, or some ideas for a future installment, please send them to us!