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As the question suggests, I'm interested in the main differences and similarities between Pathfinder and RuneQuest. I'm fairly familiar with the RuneQuest system. I've heard a bit about Pathfinder and am wondering whether I can convert some of my adventures to use either system.

Examples might include:

  • How they differ in magical/ranged/melee combat (if either system has benefits over the other in a particular area)
  • How they fare for low/high level PCs
  • If either system is better suited to a particular style of gameplay (e.g. mainly combat-oriented/mainly lore or mystery oriented/mainly stealth or infiltration oriented)

Don't worry about giving too much detail - just a basic summary of the differences / strengths / weaknesses of the two systems would be fine. Although feel free to whack a load of detail in if you have some!

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The systems have very little to do with one another. They are both trad games (as opposed to indie) and are both printed on paper. That's it. You won't be porting anything crunch-based from one game to the other (you can crib plots and characters, just not the stats).

Combat

Pathfinder has a complex D&D/d20-derived combat system with hit-avoiding armor and hit points that go up with level; everything scales sharply with level and there's huge disparity between high and low level PCs. Despite save-or-die stuff, lethality generally goes down with level because you have so many hit points.

Runequest has a BRP-derived skill-based combat system with damage-soaking armor and hit points that don't go up with level; lethality remains, especially if caught at a disadvantage, as characters progress. You never become a superhero like you do at Pathfinder level 10.

Magic

Pathfinder uses the traditional D&D "Vancian" memorize specific spells and cast them system. There's arcane/divine which don't differ all that much.

Runequest uses a spell point system and has spirit, divine, ritual, and sorcery, all of which differ.

Goals

Runequest is always going to be grittier and therefore fits investigation and low fantasy well. Too much combat will get you killed.

Pathfinder is always going to be more amped up - there are variants like E6 (never progress past 6th level!) that try to achieve the same thing but it's tuned as more of a mid-high fantasy game where heroes are low-grade superheroes. You don't have to play it as a combat focused game (I don't) but it has support for that.

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Wow, haven't played RuneQuest, but it sounds like I've been missing out. –  oldrobotsneverrust May 4 '12 at 15:00
    
There is a new version of RuneQuest comming, you can see a preview of it here thedesignmechanism.com/runequest.php –  altazu May 4 '12 at 20:55
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Let me put it this way: In one of my RQ campaigns years ago, a quite accomplished Storm Bull Rune Lord was fighting three trollkin (think kobolds), when a fourth snuck up behind him and and rolled a critical, impaling him in the lower back. Game over for the Rune Lord. There's no way anything like this would ever happen in Pathfinder. You really have to work hard to become powerful in RuneQuest, and even then you're never immune to a lucky strike from a less powerful opponent. –  Erik Schmidt May 13 '12 at 6:04
    
Excellent reply, thanks. @ErikSchmidt fortunately, our GM allows us to have a good working relationship with the Gods... ;) –  LordScree May 14 '12 at 9:33
    
@LordScree - Your GM is probably more evolved than I was in my early 20s, which is a good thing. –  Erik Schmidt May 19 '12 at 18:14
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