Fate of the Norns

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:58 pm 
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I'm looking forward to running my first FotN game pretty soon, and the ramifications of the RGS have been capturing my imagination lately. Obviously I'll be leaning heavily on the Crunch zero set of cinematic rules, and I'm willing to give things a shot as written in the book, but based on my personal gaming proclivities and some digging I've done in this forum I've thought of a few rules tweaks to potential rough patches. Some of these will no doubt be old news to experienced GMs, but might be interesting nonetheless:

Cinematic Rune Action
The lowest crunch set of rules is quite exciting, as it rewards creativity so well, but it feels a little too flexible for a clever Dweller looking to game his action economy. Each chosen verb must be played by a rune bearing the appropriate trait. (e.g: Jumping must be done with a physical rune.) The idea here is that if an action (especially out of combat) was easy enough that it could be accomplished by any color rune, it could probably just be handled in conversation at the table.

Skills
Valuing runes differently when using skills in or out of combat makes sense given the plurality of uses a Dweller will require out of his runes while in combat, but it feels like these two conditions can be collapsed together effectively. Use a modified version of the in combat skill rules for ALL skill checks: Non-matching traits generate 0 success, matching traits generate 1 success, runes bound to the skill being used generate 2 successes (even if it's a non-matching trait), and skill ranks also automatically generate 1 success per rank. In response to the greater variety of results and heightened average, use a larger Skill Difficulty range, like from 2-8.

Stacking Meta Tags
I’ve seen a lot of evidence to support the existence of some very wild outliers to the game’s damage and defense math when meta use is optimized. Depending on player group of course this is more or less of a problem that requires more or less of a solution. I would like to tamp down the exponentially growing nature of meta use with one of two possible variant rules:

1. An unlimited number of metas may be played onto a rune chain, however all metas are changed to only affect a single number or characteristic of the active power in question. (e.g: A single amplify meta can only double a single value of the power, be it damage, healing, etc. A single multi meta can only add an additional target or increase range/reach.)

Or

2. Only a single type of meta may be played onto a rune chain, giving most powers a maximum chain of 3 different meta tags.

Mental Damage
Since mental damage chunks 1 rune from the chosen pile per point of damage before resolving as physical, it doesn’t take much to wipe out any offensive plan from a Dweller. When resolving mental damage, take 1 rune at a time from the chosen pile and move it first to the Void pile, then proceed down to Death as normal before taking another rune from the chosen pile. If a rune ends on the Void pile after damage is resolved, then it may be placed in the Essence bag as normal. This weakens the disruptive nature of mental damage significantly, so to balance, allow the damage dealer to choose which specific runes to target, with the caveat that all meta tags must be stripped from a rune chain before the root can be targeted.

High Destiny Dwellers
At the level I intend to start around (8-10) and the wounds track we're going to use (hard coooooore), going for the high destiny creation option seems very risky with few mitigating factors. Fewer active powers and skills is a very reasonable trade off, but lacking passive powers, especially at low levels, really seems to eat into the dweller's survivability. For every 3 points in Destiny, grant the dweller a flat +1 DF and +1 PF with all damage traits. This essentially gives these characters a slowly scaling passive power to allow them to keep up in raw combat math.

It seems like this is a pretty slow forum so I don't expect a ton of replies, but I'd love to hear if these changes sound reasonable, too reactionary, or could give rise to further problems that I've missed.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:27 pm 
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I use your mental damage rule at my table. My players disliked being stunlocked pretty badly, so I make the rune go through wounds before another rune gets damage applied to it.

I’d be careful with your passive power build with high destiny dwellers. Perhaps makes it focus-like, in the that it is applied after runes. As it is now, it might stack with the extra rune they are getting from being a high destiny character.

I don’t see a serious issue with your cinematic interpretation.

The in combat rules are there to simulate being able to accomplish great deeds in combat because of an adrenaline rush (asked about this myself some time ago). No reason you can’t make them the same system (or change the system complete, as I did).

With your stacking of metas, #1 can be summed up by saying that they only affect a single source (which is the single numeric you mention). That won’t do anything for powers that are simple (power attack, backstab) rather than house that are complex. Most of the powers are balanced mathematically on the back end, so putting in this distinction actually may cause you a problem.

In your second option, that won’t be an issue until after destiny 4 (rune, meta, meta, meta, then a void rune as a meta). I suspect it won’t cause a big deal, but it will probably be less fun for the players :)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback, raleel! The more I study the intricacies of the rules, the more I see the careful balance between everything as written. It still blows my mind somewhat to consider that, as they come up in random combinations from wyrding, powers can branch off in some wildly variant directions and don't necessarily have to balance 1:1 with each other. All options are ultimately situational, which is a far cry from the crunch heavy RPGs some of these systems seem inspired by. Mental damage is still a solid include, but I'll definitely run with the RAW for a bit and consult the players before shifting things any further.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:04 pm 
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I've ruled that pulling the rune that is mapped to your skill is one level of Success (regardless if it matches the Trait). I like the idea of it giving an additional Success if the Trait matches as well. This means more careful rune selection when mapping things out.

The one thing I don't get to play around with much is mapping the runes to Passives. I know why the mapping, but I don't see a way to make the rune choice matter (if at all). Any ideas?


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