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Egyptian Hero: Converting Mythic Egypt to 5th Edition plus some RuneQuest Ideas


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I've been reading quite few old posts with various ideas that are starting to gell.

Posts on spirit possession for disease, posts on ancient iron both bloom and sky metal, posts on polytheistic clerics , and few about D&Disms.

 

And it hit me something that would  tie all these together, a Bronze Age campaign with input from RQ that would be very much not anything like D&D.

 

So I plan to post some ideas here about converting Mythic Egypt (1st edition FH) to 5th Edition.

The setting shares a lot features similar to Glorantha so their ideas on handling multiple cults will be useful.

And both are very UnD&Dish.

 

Assumptions:

  1. Characters will be at least initiates of one or more cults
  2. All characters can have access to magic even if it is just simple spirit (battle) magic
  3. Divine is also a form of magic
  4. Sorcery (arcane) while limited is an option as well
  5. There will be politics between cults

Things to work out:

  1. which cults are allied and which are not and how does that affect learning of spirit and divine magic.
  2. Does Spirit magic which is learned by spirit combat with the spell spirit cost real points
  3. Whether to recreate Binding, Enchantment, and Summoning skills like RQ or use standard hero powers
  4. How does Iron being a magical metal change things
  5. hero rules to simulate spirit combat
  6. Spell conversion that take into account the differences in skill dice

An example on that last one. A lot spells added bonuses to various rolls like bladesharp which gave bonus to hit and damage (+5% to attack per level of spell i think). I think Shield added to parry and armor. But RQ uses percentile skills.

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If you're talking about the Mythic Egypt source book published by Iron Crown Enterprises as part of its Campaign Classics series, that book was written for Hero System Fourth Edition as well as for Rolemaster, with dual stats for most things; so updating that to Fifth Edition would be fairly trivial, from a game-mechanic standpoint. But it sounds like you want to bring a lot of elements into the setting that weren't originally included in the book.

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Liaden speaks truly. ME is one of the best Campaign Classics books when it comes to FH support--it has FH stats for racial packages, NPCs, critters, spell colleges, and magic items. But I know next to nothing about Glorantha, and it sounds like most of the things you're trying to convert are Gloranthan.

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I too regret having no knowledge or experience of RQ, so I probably can't help much with this project. Too bad, because ancient Egyptian magic is one of my interests. (I did a pretty extensive vampire-adapted treatment for White Wolf, way back when.) And how did I miss this Mythic Egypt supplement? Must acquire!

 

Dean Shomshak

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Liaden speaks truly. ME is one of the best Campaign Classics books when it comes to FH support--it has FH stats for racial packages, NPCs, critters, spell colleges, and magic items. But I know next to nothing about Glorantha, and it sounds like most of the things you're trying to convert are Gloranthan.

Actually no many of the ideas are similar. RQ Had a well developed handle polytheistic divine cults in the bronze age.

Only really new thing is how they handle spirits which actually should fit right in as well as provide a basic magic for fighters and similar classes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Couple of thoughts on Magic. Still haven't dug out my RQ books. But I did find a review of RQ3 that reminded me of some things.

 

While a conversion of RQ style sorcery would be interesting( it is inline with every spell is skill type system), I never played it and I'm not sure I can do it justice. So just use my default arcane system

 

Divine in RQ seemed to be the fastest not Spirit. Required a sacrifice magic points(mana stat?) to get from the temple but cost nothing to cast.

Suggest charges.

 

Spirit cost magic points. Took 1 strike rank plus level of spell to go off. A variation of extratime plus a segment? Learned by POW vs POW(EGO?) with spirits.

Used Magic points vs Magic points to resolve.  If I recall correctly Magic points were used as both mana and stun in spirit and spell combat.

Either use optional mana stat and house rule you pass out if it goes to zero or use regular stun and give everyone Arcane defense based on EGO. May up the AD say EGO/3 so not to minimize the EGO stat involved.

 

addendum:

Markdoc's original posted link redirects to a business site now.

http://www.geocities.com/markdoc.geo/Gaming_stuff/Runequest/heroquest.htm

But I think I found an archive of his archive conversion.

http://www.oocities.org/markdoc.geo/Gaming_stuff/Runequest/heroquest.htm

Need to look it over, his skill range conversion was much needed

 

PS to addendum: The link to archive that refers to his RQ grimoire is broken.

Found yet another archive that has that.

http://geocities.ws/markdoc.geo/Gaming_stuff/Runequest/grimoire_frame.htm

Oh the data lost when geocities went down!

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Assumptions:

 

  • Characters will be at least initiates of one or more cults
  • All characters can have access to magic even if it is just simple spirit (battle) magic
  • Divine is also a form of magic
  • Sorcery (arcane) while limited is an option as well
  • There will be politics between cults
Things to work out:

  • which cults are allied and which are not and how does that affect learning of spirit and divine magic.
  • Does Spirit magic which is learned by spirit combat with the spell spirit cost real points
  • Whether to recreate Binding, Enchantment, and Summoning skills like RQ or use standard hero powers
  • How does Iron being a magical metal change things
  • hero rules to simulate spirit combat
  • Spell conversion that take into account the differences in skill dice
An example on that last one. A lot spells added bonuses to various rolls like bladesharp which gave bonus to hit and damage (+5% to attack per level of spell i think). I think Shield added to parry and armor. But RQ uses percentile skills.

A lot of this stuff are just decisions for you to make as GM. I think what you need to do is pull out the stuff that is all about character building and deciding exactly what it is you want those things to feel like in play.

 

I loved the way RQ made religion relevant, your magic was distinct and the requirements of the cults and their interplay with the various races and cultures further made even simple fighters feel very different characters in-game.

 

I think you need to think clearly about what a cult is and how a player character interacts with that. There are lots of tools in the HERO toolbox to manage relationships. Then you have the three forms of magic from Runequest. Are they going to be part of the Mythic Egypt you create? Rune magic, spirit magic and sorcery all worked differently and I always thought sorcery was the least well, thought out and least well balanced. You could easily work with just spirit magic and rune magic.

 

I think you also need to think about the impact of whether you want the various cult ranks: initiate, acolyte, rune priest and rune lord. Those also helped distinguish characters from one another while tying them into the socio-political fabric of the game world. You could put limits on a variety of abilities until a character committed himself to one faction or another. That is when the politics between factions becomes an issue. :-)

 

If you want iron to be special, then it needs to written into spells and powers and character write-ups. If you want an iron sword to do double damage to all elves and trolls then you don't give the iron sword a convoluted power build, you build all elves and trolls with a vulnerability to iron weapons. :-)

 

I am up for the project and ready to help if I can. You need to decide how you want to approach it.

 

Doc

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A lot of this stuff are just decisions for you to make as GM. I think what you need to do is pull out the stuff that is all about character building and deciding exactly what it is you want those things to feel like in play.

 

I loved the way RQ made religion relevant, your magic was distinct and the requirements of the cults and their interplay with the various races and cultures further made even simple fighters feel very different characters in-game.

 

I think you need to think clearly about what a cult is and how a player character interacts with that. There are lots of tools in the HERO toolbox to manage relationships. Then you have the three forms of magic from Runequest. Are they going to be part of the Mythic Egypt you create? Rune magic, spirit magic and sorcery all worked differently and I always thought sorcery was the least well, thought out and least well balanced. You could easily work with just spirit magic and rune magic.

 

I think you also need to think about the impact of whether you want the various cult ranks: initiate, acolyte, rune priest and rune lord. Those also helped distinguish characters from one another while tying them into the socio-political fabric of the game world. You could put limits on a variety of abilities until a character committed himself to one faction or another. That is when the politics between factions becomes an issue. :-)

 

 

That's why I think RQ would be ripe for ideas. They had a system for allied cults and various ranks. They have examples how cults could be a source of training in skills that relate to the cult . Such as languages and trade skills from the trading God. Or martial Skills from the Warrior gods. Or Chirugy from the healing Goddess.

 

They had excellent examples how polytheistic cults fit into a bronze age society.

Such as the how the the Orlanth(Warrior Storm King) shrine at a small village you were more likely to learn Cloud call or Cloud Clear spells than martial spells and skills. Why? Because you are at village of farmers and more interested in his rain god aspect.  You have to go to the bigger temples at cities to find the warrior aspect.

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That's why I think RQ would be ripe for ideas. They had a system for allied cults and various ranks. They have examples how cults could be a source of training in skills that relate to the cult . Such as languages and trade skills from the trading God. Or martial Skills from the Warrior gods. Or Chirugy from the healing Goddess.

 

They had excellent examples how polytheistic cults fit into a bronze age society.

Such as the how the the Orlanth(Warrior Storm King) shrine at a small village you were more likely to learn Cloud call or Cloud Clear spells than martial spells and skills. Why? Because you are at village of farmers and more interested in his rain god aspect.  You have to go to the bigger temples at cities to find the warrior aspect.

 

So the question might be why you are trying to recreate RQ in HERO when RQ seems so perfectly suited??  :-)

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So the question might be why you are trying to recreate RQ in HERO when RQ seems so perfectly suited??  :-)

Perhaps I wasn't clear. 

I simply plan revisit Mythic Egypt and use Glorantha(another polytheistic bronze age culture) for inspiration.

How the cults interact is one idea. What will really change things is introduction of spirit magic to Egypt. But I think it fits the setting.

 

What is going to be weird is the egyptian habit of having combined gods. Even Horus and Set had a combined  god form.

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OK Wardsman.  A lot of the things you want to think through are not system specific.  If you want to do the thinking in public then pick something - chat it through then make a decision about what you want and move on. 

 

My job (and anyone else still reading) will be to prod at your ideas to see if they are solid or might cause problems or to suggest other ways you might do that.

 

for example, everyone is an initiate of a cult.  My take on that would be to set characters up with a relationship with a cult.  It would be for the character to maintain that relationship.  To become an initiate the player would buy his character a contact with Osiris.  Obviously some cults are going to be more valuable to belong to than others and so you could build each cult depending on how useful it might be to the character during play.  

 

I would list each cult with the cost of the relationship.  I would also list the necessary psych limits - such as Hates Set and his followers.  Obviously an initiate may not have this at a high level but as you invest in the cult this psych limit is going to increase until the Rune Lord will not hesitate to hunt down any local den of Set and kill those participating in those foul practices.  It is here that you will clarify what cults require of its followers.

 

I would also build my magic so that some spells are limited to particular cults and that you need to be an initiate to gain access to the spell.  That begins to make magic distinct to particular cults and possibly the way folk fight to maximise their available magical enhancements.

 

I would also build favours and contacts into the rune magic.  Every time you cast a rune spell you use need to get your God to grant that spell.  You will have to keep a track of how well the player is in with the god - essentially how high the roll is and how many favours have been built up.  Casting the spell will require either one or more favours or a successful contact roll.  Every time a contact roll is made it attracts a negative modifier until the character has sufficiently made the proper obeisances and sacrifices at the correct temple.  You can offset those negative modifiers during play when the characters act appropriately to their religion in ways the god might notice.  Some rune spells will be based on reusable charges.  You may only regain those charges when you return to the temple, regardless of your relationship.  Others will be based purely on favours bought - the charge can only be regained by purchasing a favour with the God while at an appropriate temple.

 

If you spend some decent time working up the main cults then much of your politics and interactions will be there.  You also need to think hard about the fringe benefits on offer through various cults - some decent fringe benefits will be the only reason some of the weaker cults will be attractive to the players rather than the ones offering the mainstream combat efficiencies.

 

Doc

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  • 3 weeks later...

Status in a cult should be a perk. But that Perk may require you to have certain skills.  IE an Acolyte , who can cast reusable divine, had to have 50% in cult related skills.

I guess that would 11- in Hero? Then initiates could be set at FAMs? Priests were required to reach 90%. I don't know what that would be in Hero. 

Initiates were required 1% of time and money to the Cult, Acolytes 50%., Priests and Runelords(paladins ) 90% of both. The upside for Rune Ranks though was the Cult had your back on supplies and expenses. You just didn't have freedom to do what you wanted. Hmm perhaps resource pool rules for that.  Or at least access to money and equipment is better for Priests and Cult Paladins.

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Don't get too caught up in thinking that everything has to be accounted for.

 

The supplies and expenses that the cult supplies more often than not come with strings attached. :-)

 

I would fold all of the extra stuff into the relationship and how many favours you have built up. You might burn a few favours to get stuff and you might take on a few obligations of you do not have the necessary number of favours or good relationship status. (One day I may come to you for a favour, that day may never come...)

 

:-)

 

 

Doc

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Don't get too caught up in thinking that everything has to be accounted for.

 

The supplies and expenses that the cult supplies more often than not come with strings attached. :-)

 

I would fold all of the extra stuff into the relationship and how many favours you have built up. You might burn a few favours to get stuff and you might take on a few obligations of you do not have the necessary number of favours or good relationship status. (One day I may come to you for a favour, that day may never come...)

 

:-)

 

 

Doc

Nods . It is called plot. And was feature not a bug.

 

I've been looking at some of those RQ rules.

There are lay members who do not get divine at all. Other Ranks could perks that require some level of attainment to reach.

 

Which brings us to the POW problem.

 

  1. POW was sacrificed for divine spells both non reusable and reusable.
  2. POW was the Primary stat basis for mana though they often equaled
  3. POW was you Divine intervention Stat
  4. it was kinda their ego 

 

Thoughts: Seems to be closest to EGO. And while sacrificing EGO for Divine power has a certain poetry, I think using a hero mana stat derived from EGO works better for sacrificing. I might even treat it like an LTE expenditure and let them recover with LTE rest. Kind of makes sense worshipers are directing  power to the Gods.

Or is that too cheap? Especially if they have access to reusable divine? Which  may be charge based and recover through ritual to the god.

 

At a loss on the Divine intervention.

 

Spirit or Folk magic. I don't see a point on the extra time (extra phase or segment). It should cost mana. 

May have the spirit combat to learn. It  could from a bound spirit. Hero hasn't fleshed that out.

Use traditional hero mechanics  or something novel and skilled base? Still thinking on that.

 

Will use my own native arcane system that will use extra time and delayed effect.

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Hmm. Do you find a single substitute for the POW stat, or replicate the feel in a different way.

 

One aspect of POW was that you got a free chance to increase it during play but it had a maximum limit (21 for humans). That maximum sounds like something I would pay character points for.

 

So how about an END battery with a floating maximum? You cast spirit magic using END from the battery which regenerates as quickly or slowly as you decide to design it. You then limit the usable END in some way - possibly just start it at 12. You then allow that maximum to rise when defeating others magic and decreasing when buying rune magic

 

Some Rune magic should be charge based. Some magics charges recover at the temple, others require the battery maximum to be reduced as well as going to temple.

 

As far as Devine intervention goes, it was a last gasp effort to get out of jail. Roll your POW or less on percentiles and have your POW reduced by the amount on the roll (if it was successful). Why not do the same, using the END max on the battery as the target. Same mechanic, same GM fiat.

 

Doc

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