On Hero Wars, HeroQuest 1&2, RuneQuest and Glorantha
While impatiently waiting for the Guide to Glorantha to be finished, I need to go through all my accumulated material to satiate my hunger for more knowledge about the setting. I have decided to start reading HeroQuest – Roleplaying in Glorantha, that is HQ 1st edition (or Hero Wars 2nd ed. depending how you want to frame the issue.) HQ1 rather than HQ2 because the older edition is closely tied to the world of Glorantha and contains a lot of information about it. But I am also interested to learn more details about the system.
The rather freeform narrativism does not really appeal to me overmuch; I'm much more into more crunchy, simulationist roleplaying games such as RuneQuest and HârnMaster, (Well, you can argue that HQ is simulationist, it just attempts to simulate literary and visual fiction rather that the cold cruel facts of Real Life™) although it is always good to keep an open mind and try to expand one's horizons. Still, I am mostly interested in questions such as what games like HeroQuest can teach and have taught to GMs and designers of different games like RuneQuest, etc. I posted this in the Glorantha forum because I'm mostly interested applying said teachings for roleplaying in that particular fantasy world, but more general discussion is also appreciated.
I should point out that I have not played HeroQuest or any other game in the "Narrativist" school of roleplaying. It is not that I am against it, just haven't had an opportunity (don't go to conventions etc.) I have read quite extensively about the differences between the editions but am also interested in hearing what people think is good and what is not.
I prefer the idea that a fantasy roleplaying setting is a living world that goes on whether or not the player characters make anything significant of themselves. That is why I'm not a big fan of the central theme of HQ that the player heroes are the focus of everything, which is, I believe, shown very well e.g. in the pass-fail-cycle mechanism of HQ2. Sure, the PCs are always the focus of an adventures and campaigns, but changing the level of challenges to fit them seems a bit like D&D with levels and such, which leads to all kinds of questions about setting ecology and so on. But I do understand why many people might like something like that. To each his own.
One more thing: A question that intrigues me is why would a "freeform" (if that is the right expression) game be better for Glorantha than a more old school approach like RuneQuest. I mean, most of the societies in Glorantha are quite restrictive about how their members must behave and what they can do, so the "You can be anything you want!" -philosophy of HQ doesn't seem a perfect fit.
I'm guessing it has something to do with the concept of Heroism: the Heroes of Glorantha are considered to be kind of like cosmic level comic book superheroes who can rise above the limitations of the mortal worlds. I on the other hand prefer the kind of view that heroes are people and as such have their weaknesses and limitations that they must, willingly or not, overcome to become and achieve all they can. So I think I will always find a system geared more towards a human level than a cosmic level preferable.
Hope that wasn't too rambling and people will find some points to comment upon and share their ideas and experiences.