Fate of the Norns

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:33 am 
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After asking a question about egil's saga in the Norn sub-forum some helpful people pointed me to the "design Egil" competition under arch-types. So I went there and grabbed the winning Egil and printed off the write-up thinking that I would use it to further educate myself on how the game works for higher level characters.

But I came away with a few questions:
1) The author seems to advocate using the Cannibalize mets with Versatile Combat Manoeuver, however in my Core Rulebook, that active power does not have that meta. In fact paging through the active powers I don't see any power that has cannibalize as a valid meta. What am I missing?

2) Similar question for the Open meta with Apples of Idun. In my core rulecook that power has Amplify, area and maintain. Not Open and again, scanning through powers I can't find one with the Open meta. I must be thinking about metas incorrectly.

3) I can't find the power Smashing Stance which the author thinks is on the Troll board. Maybe he was using a different edition or release of the Core Rulebook.

Thanks in advance for your help

Tom Mechler
Essex Junction, Vermont, USA


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:24 am 
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Hi TMechler! This build can be a little rough for newer players due to the combination of advanced rules (the grey fylgia boxes on the archetype board) and some not-very-nice crowd control actives. That having been said, it definitely helped me to learn how to make a fun and powerful dweller. If you do run him, I'd play up the turns you plan to use Troll SMASH so that your players know they should hold onto a few of their runes for defense or to run away.

First off, I'm sure I'm using the same edition as yours (well, at the time, possibly a slightly older version of the PDF). There is however a crucial piece of rules described on page 158, right under Power Definitions - "However, in some cases the dweller archetype will list a power with slightly modified attributes. These attributes take precedence over the generic description found in the power definitions below."

Basically, archetypes (and denizens) have a few powers that use a different set of Meta tags or even have a different name. They follow the base rules, but the version in that specific space on the board occasionally has slightly modified elements.

I'll give you specifics for your 3 questions - they're all variations on the answer I gave above, so feel free to skip this part:
1) The normal version of Versatile Combat Manoeuver works as you'd find it in the description section of the book. The one I picked for Egil is found on page 161. It's in the top row, the third box from the right of the Active table. It's a "more powerful" version of Versatile Combat Manoeuver in that Egil's fylgia lets him do something that is beyond most mortals' abilities. All the 'advanced' meta tags (Cannibalize, Echo, Combo, etc.) will usually be found in the Fylgia ring of actives.

2) Open is a special 'spell song' meta tag. For that, let's take a quick trip over to the Skald archetype actives on page 173. Look around at the actives, particularly those marked as Spell Songs. Let's grab Melody of Discord as a perfect example of a basic Skald active that you'll have a hard time finding in the book:
Melody of Discord (Sunder Mind) {Spell Song} [Amplify Area Open]
This active's called Melody of Discord. The round brackets tell us that it's based off the power Sunder Mind. The curly brackets tell us it's a spell song. The square brackets tell us to use Amplify Area and Open meta tags for this specific power. I'm 99% sure all spell songs have the Open meta tag.

This part doesn't answer your question, but I'll mention it just in case you may have missed it: Page 102 has a rules breakdown for the different types of actives.

3) The Troll board is found on page 186. Let's put our "Melody of Discord"-reading skills into practice:
Smashing Stance (Aggressive Stance) [Amplify Cannibalize Amplify]
You got it! This power is described under Aggressive Stance. It's essentially the same active power, except that it has a Cannibalize meta.


I hope that clears up some of the confusion, and I hope you all have fun with this Egil!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:07 am 
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Ludologist,
Thanks, so far I've been impressed with the speed and thoughtfulness of the responses on these boards.
Let me review my 3 questions in reverse order:

3) I was looking at the Troll boards on page 222 and not the Troll-Blood boards on page 186. My bad, thx

2) I did understand that some of the Powers on the various boards where renamed powers in ()
I did not realize that some had different meta tags. That makes sense now and explains my apples question. Thx

1) My confusion on Adv Combat Man was due to the fact that you've listed that under Skald board active powers in your write up, not Galdr. Looking at the write-up, you list: Thundering Blow, Aggressive assault, rapid recovery and Cleansing Block as powers from the Galdr board. My understanding is that you need to chain these boxes together to get to one of the outer ring boxes like Versatile Combat Manoeuver. Is there an exception to this for the Egil design?

Thanks again,
I'm kinda hoping that my players end up fighting Egil so I can try this bad boy out in combat but you never know what players are going to do :)

- Tom


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:36 am 
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Ah! I see the problem: it's a transcription error from my brain to these forums; plus I should have reread my original post sooner.

Yes, you're completely 100% correct that the Versatile Combat Manoeuver (let's call it VCM for now) I listed is the basic one from the Skald board; therefore it doesn't even HAVE a Cannibalize tag. I apologize for pointing to the one on the Galdr board. Your understanding of how to build dwellers is correct - you build out from the center square, chaining powers horizontally or vertically. Legendary denizens have a slight advantage in that they get free access to multiple boards; multiclassing without needing to pass through the corner squares.

The two ideas in my original post are actually separate reasons for Egil wanting to go last in the round:
Idea 1 - If Egil NEEDS a good parry in a turn, use VCM defensively. If he doesn't need to parry with it for whatever reason, attack with VCM. Either way, the rune ends up in play, which is good for idea 2.
Idea 2 - Troll SMASH and Smashing Stance both have Cannibalize metas, so Egil should try to always hold back one of those actives along with a Mental rune. He can then toss out "Troll SMASH-Cannibalized", do his Major sacrifice +1, grab 2 runes in play to make a bigger chain, and if he Cannibalizes again... That's why his whole goal is to keep as many runes in play as he can ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:15 pm 
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OK, that makes more sense.
I see that there's a whole sub-strategy of how to manipulate your "rune economy"

Are there any good postings discussing this type of strategy?

-Tom


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:21 pm 
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There's a very big sub-strategy with runes. I'm still learning a lot of it, but I do know that it really depends on the type of character you're playing. It's not actually necessary to play the game this way, but it does help in certain key ways.

One example: It's helpful to "store" runes you'll want later in a fight, like healing spells, by using maintained chains (stances, spells, spell songs, etc.).
It protects those runes from damage, and if you release them at the right time, you're more likely to draw them in the next Wyrd phase.

Another: You can sacrifice runes you have in hand, play, contingency, instead of from your Essence bag. This lets you remove actives that you're not planning on using in this fight (e.g. my current ulfhednar tends to not want to use Blood Wolf form in most combats - I need tons of reach to hit every enemy I can, and my weapons are much better at that).

As far as I can tell, there's no central thread of tricks like this ~ maybe that would be a good one to start ~ but I do know there are tips like this in scattered throughout the archetype builds forum, the Norn forum, and the Runic Game System forum.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:27 pm 
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This may seem simple, but there's some thought that goes into assigning runes to powers as well. Some people may adopt completely different philosophies, but here are some things I think about when assigning:

I try to bind "defend" actions to physical runes, so as to receive that +1 PF against Physical damage along with the ability's defense.

I try to bind the more bread-and-butter type actions to non-physical runes, so that I am more likely to have physical runes available for Physical defense (doesn't help a lot vs. Mental or Spiritual obviously)

If my character is using larger weapons, I try to bind "attack" actions to non-physical runes as well, so that more runes are potential attacks for damage dealing characters.

I pay attention to the Meta options, trying NOT to bind a power to the same type of rune that would be the most desirable/common meta. (e.g. Gate: Seith Aberration I would always like to Maintain (Physical), and second would like to Amplify (Mental). The Range (Spiritual) meta isn't as important to me. So I would assign the power to a Spiritual rune, to increase the chances of having the other runes available be of the more suitable type...)

I would bet there's a lot of great things to keep in mind in this respect. So I thank you for openning this thread so I can learn from other people's advice here as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:24 pm 
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I have heard that there's a group in Germany running FotN as a skirmish level miniatures game.
This depth of strategy is what makes that type of play very interesting.

I've played Confrontation (Rakham) and Malifaux and this system would lent itself very nicely to that style. I'm not a big fan of meta gaming like that in an RPG but I think this system has many levels that can be explored.

Tom M


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:52 am 
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Some really good questions with some really great answers guys. I couldn't have said it better myself. KDTompos has a very strong understanding of the game within the game, but TMechler, it is entirely optional. The design principle was that if someone did some random assignments, the dweller or denizen would be 100% playable. I tend to randomly draw my denizens and live with the fate that the Norns deliver. For example if I have a few level 9 Grizzled Warrior with Destiny 3 Essence 3
- Physical traits bound to Power Attack
- Mental traits bound to Satisfying Attack
- Spiritual traits bound to Catharsis
and I draw 3 runes for each at random when I'm setting up the fight. Well it's quite likely that a few of them may have no Spiritual runes and will have a hard time healing the group. But that makes my life as a Norn interesting.

More experience players will start to optimize their dwellers, but in the design process I didn't want that to be a 2x or 3x multiplier in efficiency- maybe only a +30% on average. So nor you or your players are forced into optimizations. You can just whip up dwellers with random pulls and random assignments and still have a very playable set of dwellers and denizens. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:03 am 
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A friend that I game with often is not into RPGs but very into miniatures games.
So I may try to introduce this to him like that.

Do you know if anyone came up with any rules for running this as a competition skirmish game?

It would certainly give me some practice with the combat system.

Tom M


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