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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Rune  (Read 2358 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« on: June 08, 2001, 01:21:00 PM »

A lot of people had mentioned that they were going to try Rune. I rudely suggested that I felt that the game might not balance well, without even reading the actual rules. We decided to see how it played as an actual test is always a lot better than speculating.

Has anybody played it yet? That was a couple of weeks ago, somebody must have tried it by now. Did I miss a thread elsewhere that gave the details?

Does the bloody thing work?

Mike Holmes
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2001, 06:19:00 PM »

I've run one session of Rune so far, and it worked for me. I had an unusually small amount of players for the game (one other person and I), and I found that it doesn't scale well to that number, though. Really, 4 players total are needed for it, as the encounter-building system doesn't make quite as much sense below that.

Outside of that, though, what I found good about it is that the system does involve a lot of math, but most of the math is done before the encounter. After that, in actual play, the math is minimal and the combat goes extremely fast. Adding up victory points is rather quick and doesn't distract from play.

The hardest part for me in running an encounter was that you have to give up a bit more control than I'm used to. The designer of the encounter has to limit options for the players--each game is basically extremely rail-roaded. If players deviate from the pre-built plot, nothing really happens. This could be alleviated by a good plotter--the person who writes the plot the adventures follow--by making multiple endings and writing out a flowchart for player options.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Valamir
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2001, 07:08:00 PM »

I will be running it tomorrow.

I've found what I percieve might be a flaw.  Combat encounters seem WAY WAY weak.  Weak of the nature of being a total walk through with no danger and possibly no fun.

Did you notice this at all Clinton?

I guess I'll find out for myself tomorrow.  We'll only have 4 total heroes too.
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2001, 10:13:00 PM »

Well my fears were unfounded.  As long as the Roll of Valor (the tool used to scale combat to match the party's strength) is based on the party's strength while armed with their best weapons (weapons add to all major combat stats: Init, Attack, Defense, and Damage)as opposed to strength not counting weapon mods the combat was balanced.

The game also seems very well balanced point wise.  I wound up running two encounters (scenarios) in a row...no one else felt comfortable running after only 1 play through; and while the Runner wound up with more points each time that was largely an accident.

In the first Encounter everyone scored pretty close and I only won by about 20 points (out 100-150).  In the second encounter I won by a huge margin 230 points me, to 40 something for second place, however that could have easily gone the other way.

1st, we missed a few combat rules...or rather we knew them but everyone forgot to use them.  Namely the option to take a +1 attack, or a +1 defense each round (Hold Ground, or Duck and Weave); and the penelty to defense recieved from being attacked multiple times...the trolls should have died much faster.

2nd, 1 character had died and the other three were on the verge of death.  1 player decided to buy a Divine Gift boosting his Hit Points.  That made him tough enough to finish off the last enemy...but it scored me beau coup points for thoroughly trashing the party.  The party meanwhile lost so many points for taking damage, that combined with the penelty for losing a party member they scored virtually nothing.  If that player hadn't done that...the entire party (save 1) would have been wiped out.  All of the players would have scored 0 points, but as the runner, I would have scored something like -80 (you lose points for actually killing characters off).  Since the runner carries forward the negative balance, I would have started my new character 80 points in the hole.  In this case, total party death would have been a better tactical move (in terms of the overall "winner" of the game) than saving the party and allowing me to rack up many points.

Conclusion:  1) pretty well balanced (it seems from 1 session of play), 2) very fast combat handling time.  Search times would be reduced with a handy reference card/GM screen, 3) you can come up with some very unique Encounters, Events, Obstacles, Traps, Challenges using the design an encounter system.  4) Very fun to play as long as one accepts that a) it is purely hack and slash with no story, b) that its totally linear...the scenario dictates things like "The party rushes into the room, roll to see if they set off the trap", c) you absolutely can't do most common RPG actions unless the designer built doing that action into the event, and d) its based on a computer game, and plays like a table top verson of the computer game.

In other words...not the last and only game you'll ever want to play, but loads of fun for a break from hard core mind bending story telling, with alot less baggage than taking a break using d20.

On another note:  Since the game is d10 based +attribute bonus of -3 to +3 and skills of +1 to +3.  ALL of the really cool types of rolls and techniques for building traps can be totally ported into D&D which uses a d20 -5 to +5 attributes and skills of +1 to +6ish, simply by doubling the given target numbers.

Also:  Anyone running the game would do well to become familiar with as many of the rules as possible and especially memorize the book layout (which is pretty well organized) because unlike other games you absolutely CANNOT just make up a rule on the fly and use it.  Because of the competive nature of the game you HAVE to play rules as written mostly.

Finally:  There are some glareing editing problems in the game that should have been caught and corrected.  Five we found:
1) The Reckless Move Rule: makes reference to a Fatigue Check and gives a page number.  That page number not only does not reference Fatigue, but there is absolutely no reference (that we found, correct me someone if you found them) to Fatigue Checks anywhere else.  Seems like a rule that got dropped but this reference wasn't removed.

2) Healing.  The encounter section makes a huge deal out of the importance of writing into the encounter a safe place to heal, and chasing the party away with wandering monsters if they try and sit and heal up for too long.  However, the Healing skill can be used in combat.  What isn't addressed is what happens after combat when the party wants to heal.  Clearly the ability to heal exists in combat and can't simply disappear because the last enemy died.  But no where does it say how many Healing checks can be made and how long you can wait between events.  If you're too generous with healing you eliminate the value of designed Healing havens.  If you're not generous enough the party will have trouble surviving.  We hit upon each Heal capable Hero making 1 healing check (not 1 per person, just one) after each event...but thats a pure house rule.

3) Charging states you need to move 20 paces in a straight line.  But you can't attack after a Full Move, only a half move.  Even someone with Sprint Level 4 who has a base move of 35 can only 1/2 Move 18, and thus cannot charge.  The rule is not clear as to whether the Charge over rides the 1/2 move rule and allows one to make a full move AND attack (it definitely doesn't say this but I'm leaning that way myself) or is meant to require several rounds of movement to pull off.

4) Reference is made in several places to enemies running away and pursueing them, but another section specifically states all enemies always fight to the death, period.  Obviously a rule that got changed but old references weren't cleared up.

5) Reference is also made to monsters capable of using weapons haveing access to Rune Powers (the ability to cast magical effects through a weapon based on the weapon type, drawing upon primal runic forces, not any magic inherent in the weapon).  However, later the rules specifically state that the weapons a foe carries are abstracted out into his base stats, under no circumstances should a weapon be added to his base stats, and that if the body is looted for weapons the player doing the looting can just pick whatever common weapons he wanted to save the trouble of listing them out in the encounter (I'd prefer a random table for this at least).  Point being, 1) the Rune Powers are specific by type of weapon, so if the specific type of weapon a foe uses is not known how can they use a Rune Power. 2) Obviously this ability would have a major impact in the strength of the foe (some of those Rune Powers are nasty) but nowhere does it give points for how much this should cost to design into an encounter.  Another rule that got changed but wasn't cleaned up I think.

If one overlooks this sloppyness (which admittedly is hard in a game where the rules as written are golden and inviolate) and one overlooks that most of the art is goofy and does not in the least relate to the text (pictures of bizarre monsters that don't exist in the game mostly) its definitely worth getting.  Only real down side is that since everyone has to run Encounters and Encounter design is pretty complicated, EVERYONE needs a copy of the book.
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james_west
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2001, 08:13:00 AM »

Valamir -

Nicely written, tells me just about everything I'd need to know about the game. I suggest you hit up the site administrator to throw that into the "Reviews" section.

                 - James
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Levekius
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2001, 11:40:00 AM »

I'm in the same boat as Clinton.

I've got the book, it looks nicely done. But I do not expect to have *enough* players to run this one :sad:

At least not for a while. And anyway, I bought Dying Earth at the same time and must admit I like it more than Rune so far.

I gotta say that Rune looks balanced to me. I didn't buy it to play it as much as a helper in "ressource management".

There are campaigns where I, as a GM want to have less of an "advantage". Particularly funny dungeon crawl. In those games I want to have "less control" on PC's opponents. Less control on challenges.

But for a long term campaign banking on epic deeds and legendary saga, I prefer to have more of a say.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2001, 10:12:00 AM »

Thanks for the responses so far.

Given the descriptions, I think that the balance in Rune may be achieved by making the game complex enough that it would take a long time to discover any "winning strategies". I like that approach, and have more hope for the game than before.

Val- Thanks for the insights. I wonder if they'll be writing an eratta up any time soon. Sounds like it could use one to clear up some of those ambiguities.

Mike Holmes
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Levekius
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2001, 11:33:00 AM »

Mike, I think you are right.

If balance is an issue, then players *should* make sure it isn't one.

The best way to not have balance problems is to not scrutinize too much. It's hard to find an equilibrium sometimes.

I gotta say most of my roleplaying is done with "non-gamers" type these days. That is, people who wouldn't game if it wasn't for me.

They don't care much about the rules, in the sense that they don't own many rulebooks, and they rely on me most of the time.

So ingeneral, I do not care about "winning strategies" because my players aren't interested in this.

But balance problems can still happen by accident. That's what I, as a designer, focus on.

Because IMO, players who look long enough for winning strategies will find them most of the time. To prevent this would require more artificial limits that may, in the end, do more ill.

I take the POV that players want to have fun. If they want to compete against a GM it isn't my problem. (Of course that's the whole point of Rune, so it has to be different for a game like that, I suppose.)
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2001, 08:31:00 AM »

Quote


The hardest part for me in running an encounter was that you have to give up a bit more control than I'm used to. The designer of the encounter has to limit options for the players--each game is basically extremely rail-roaded. If players deviate from the pre-built plot, nothing really happens. This could be alleviated by a good plotter--the person who writes the plot the adventures follow--by making multiple endings and writing out a flowchart for player options.



(Disclaimer:  I bought Rune and am going to run it with my group.  Chargen is done but I haven't actually played....yet.)

What kind of a Viking attitude is that?  All this concern with "plot" and "multiple endings".  Bah.  A true Viking is not concerned with these things, unless they facilitate the only worthwhile goal:  hitting things and taking their stuff.

:smile:


Seriously, of course Rune is linear.  Laws goes to great pains to point this out, in fact.  The runner is expected to railroad the pillagers.  It's how the game works.

IMHO, Rune is dungeon-crawling done right.  Any plot inserted serves a similar purpose to the plot in any computer action game (e.g. Doom, Quake): it gives you a reason to explain why you're killing stuff.  Let's face it; we don't actually require all that much.  :smile:

We talk a lot about different design goals and making systems fit the goals.  As far as I can tell, Rune meets its goals well:  allowing players to construct challenges for each other and try to outthink and outfight the challenges that they set up for each other.  Branching plotlines, conditional endings, immersive roleplay, and many other elements just get in the way of this goal.

If this feels odd to you, just ask yourself a question:  does it bother you that Quake II has a linear plot?  If it doesn't, then there's really no reason to be upset that Rune has linear plots.  If so, then Rune just might not be the game for you.

Personally, I love interactive storytelling, immersive roleplay, and the whole lot, but I am really, really looking forward to hoisting a very large battle axe, bellowing a battle cry, and charging into battle.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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