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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 63 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [sic] Runic Realms - final opinions thread  (Read 2682 times)
Filip Luszczyk
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Posts: 746

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« on: July 29, 2007, 05:49:00 PM »

This is my post-challenge feedback thread for Runic Realms (a.k.a. Sesame Sigils, heh).

Name: Filip Luszczyk
Title: Runic Realms
Set: A
Abstract:
Primordial gods, once banished from Midgard, return to unleash their vengeful wrath upon the world. Only heroic Skalds can change the fate of mankind. Wielding the mystic power of Runes these brave heroes embark on a quest to collect ancient treasures and stop primordial fury. Will they bring peace back to their homelands?
Runic Realms is an instantly playable fantasy adventure game in four pages. It features conflict resolution based on manipulating words and letters in a statement.
Link: runic-realms.pdf

Opinions and feedback are welcome.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 08:33:46 AM »

Well, as usually doing the layout for the last minute wasn't the best idea. I corrected it a bit and re-organized some parts (now it's one page of prep, one page of rules, one page with character sheet and atuff that will be often referenced in play, and one page with Realms).

Here's the new version: Runic Realms v2

I don't think I'll be changing it again soon. Not until I playtest it, anyway - and this might or might not happen, as I have some more important projects. Still, any opinions will be useful Smiley
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 02:05:43 PM »

Well, working link.
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Anders Larsen
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2007, 05:23:45 AM »

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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2007, 06:47:17 AM »

Thanks for the feedback, Anders!

In short, the four page limit gave me just enough space to include all the rules, but not enough to actually tell the reader how to use them. I could have squeezed some more space, but it would still be at least one-two pages less than I'd need for all the additional explanations and examples, and I didn't want to sacrifice the presentation (at least I think I finally managed to do a layout that doesn't make the reader want to gouge his eyes out, heh).

Well, the more I look at it, the more things that are not clear enough I see.

So, I agree that I should have more guidance for creating the motivations and for interpreting the names of Realms. Some good examples for conflict resolution, however, are probably what the game needs the most.

The whole "agree on" thing that comes up in some places I've seen as "someone tosses a proposition, and unless someone else is against it, the group rolls with it". Basically, my intention was that the group works with initial impressions, without putting much effort into making very thoughtful decisions.

As for the feel and the setting, I've been aiming for something kind of like Legend of Mana, or other console games that mix motifs from various mythologies, fairy-tales and cultures in a rather loose way. This is partially why I named the Realms the way I did - the whole point is to create somewhat surreal locations that have only very vaguely Norse feel. Initially, I wanted to have one-three sentence descriptions for each Realm, but then it occurred to me that it could be better to provide a list of "ingredients" that vaguely suggest some features, and ask the players to try to spice their impressions with some random Norse motifs. Obviously, more guidance for this would be helpful, and some more concrete procedure could be a good idea. Or, maybe I'll find some completely different way to approach the setting part, if I happen to return to this game.

Motivations, or anything else in the game for that matter, certainly can be solved with one conflict. However, first the character needs to travel to the right Realm, and my assumption was that the GM, or sometimes the other players will aim to make things interesting by introducing some complications on the way. Without playtesting, I can't be sure if it works the way I'd like it to, of course.

Treasures are similar - basically, you need to travel to the right Realm and narrate how you acquire the treasure, which involves creating the whole story context for that, and providing some color. Then, I'm assuming that more often than not someone will try to complicate things. E.g. you want to find a magic necklace on a marketplace, so you invent the marketplace, and the merchant, and the necklace itself. At this point, someone could start a conflict with Fate like "The necklace is snatched by a thief." - maybe even another player wants to snatch the treasure for himself, along with the XP reward for acquiring it. Then, you an continue with follow-up conflicts until nobody feels like prolonging this part of the story.

I'm not sure what kind of mechanical consequences I could have here, hmm...

As for the songs, they are basically "feats" - if you know the song, it modifies stuff as per its description, without you actually  having to use it actively. But I can see how calling these abilities "songs" might be confusing.

Well, in the end the game was wrtitten around the idea for resolution mechanic - and conflict rules will either need only some additional fine-tuning, or they will completely break Smiley
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ja-prozac
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Posts: 41

nerd with an attitude


« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2007, 09:32:18 AM »

First reactions:
Yes. there's a lot of text packed into mere four pages. Maybe too much. It's sometimes
hard to read because of this.

Setting up the game:
Because it's hard to talk about some bigger setting here. Scenarios are just directions
and plot deliverers, I gather. I don't like the freeform name giving - it's easier to beat
Fenrir than Quetzalcoatl for example. It could be controled by some experience mechanic
or something. I wold really like to see the map of the realms(no free space, I know).
Also, all this nordic stuff is more or less unnecesary. The game could do same thing
even batter maybe, with generic approach. Keep the runes/symbols/letters and bards,
that's all you need. 

Artefacts:
I didn't get creating the new runic realm. Also I don't know will it be useful in play anyway.
Will the game last that long to make it worth all the trouble in long term.

Conflict resolution:
It's hard to say whether the mechanic is balanced - it depends a lot on words used in
a sentence and player's ability and fluency of the language. In a way it's very educational
game.

I don't know whether one have to seal the fate to end the conflict. Sometimes this can be
problematic, especially in longer sentences or words.

Moving words is too cheap in comparison to other options. The same thing in moving letter in a word.
Spending two points of water  to change from "fares" to "fears", hmm.



 



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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2007, 05:29:06 AM »

Kamil,

Quote
I don't like the freeform name giving - it's easier to beat
Fenrir than Quetzalcoatl for example. It could be controled by some experience mechanic
or something.

There is an experience reward for defeating the primordial, based on the length of its name. Other than that, the name was supposed to set the difficulty from the beginning. You pick just about any mythological name, and the system automatically maps it into the specific adventure (i.e. it determines which Realms need to be visited to collect the required treasures, and how many treasures of which type need to be sacrificed to defeat the entity).

Map would be useful, indeed.

Regarding the Nordic stuff - well, it's color as good as any other.

Quote
I don't know whether one have to seal the fate to end the conflict. Sometimes this can be
problematic, especially in longer sentences or words.

Yes, Fate needs to be sealed to end the conflict, and sometimes it can be problematic. But it's part of the strategy to manipulate the statement in a way that makes it possible to seal it. Regardless of the length, it's always possible anyway, since Aethyr EP needed to seal Fate can be slowly accumulated.

Also, the more experienced the characters, the longer and thus the more elaborate words and sentences they can handle.

As for the balance, a lot depends on the specific statement and specific words, and there's an additional impact of the Realm's weak elements. Without playtesting I won't know whether these EP costs work well, but generally I wouldn't expect the game to have any uber strategies. Too much depends on the circumstances, and it's part of the game to find and use the strategy that works better at the moment.
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