Here’s our final session of RuneQuest (“RQ2,” 1980) which presents and invents my sketchy setting-notions through play. It’s also a personal experience for all of us in diving into the system and text of that time.
I’d love to keep developing this setting idea and enjoying the game. The coming-of-age, weird-grit fantasy has been remarkably powerful, and the rules have many more insights to reveal or quirky holes to discover. The characters are hovering on the edge of initiation, which is far from the end of the possible developments of a character. However, I need to set it aside for a bit and work up other projects.
One character stands out for me, maybe not one you’d expect: Onive. She was easy to play as a powerful village presence, with her words and deeds making perfect sense to me and needing little reflection or preparation. Surprisingly, she was just as accessible to me when the village power-network was broken and her whole carefully-maintained way of life came under threat. When she tried to talk to the avenging group of player-characters and NPCs, it wasn’t merely a skin for a GM ploy; she meant what she said.
Even more so, when things turned violent – her arm was broken by a slingstone, and although she knew the terrain better and had the advantage of nightfall, she was rapidly being overtaken – and knew full well that Vakia had marked her for Néa’s execution. I realized myself, only in that moment, what her on-sheet abilities (the rune spell Crack, not itself particularly scary compared to some) and the immediate terrain (and her familiarity) could do, and it was savagely effective. Then, given her manipulation of Karva to date, she did not dare reach directly to Oome as Vakia would later to Néa; she was forced to flee into the root-and-boulder caverns and seek to invoke the judgment of Qar, who would at least be infuriated by the invaders’ presence.
When the drowned spirit couldn’t stop them due to Alkerton’s Spirit Lore roll (at last!), she was forced to attempt the pit to get to the sacred places, rather than go around and be overtaken. Her agony and despair upon the final spells and strikes that killed her were quite poignant to me.
All this for one of the most directly evil characters I’ve played in a long time … but she had a point of view and a history of decisions that felt real to me. Much stronger than a deserved Disney villain’s comeuppance.