The Art of Holding Runes

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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:39 am

The Art of Holding Runes

Post by Chall »

As I playtested Vanagard I realized that one mechanic in particular was more intricate than planned, the Held Rune mechanic.

The basic purpose of Held Runes is to give Norns some control over randomly drawn difficulties. When a Van-Folk Hero draws a green rune whilst hunting a dragon the Norn can add a rune or two make the Challenge as daunting as it should be.

What I didn't realize at first, but I came to realize later, is that Held Runes give even more control over the Difficulty than is readily apparent.

Each Rune Well comes with 24 runes: 8 red, 8 blue, and 8 green. Held Runes are kept away from the Well reducing the number of that color in favor of the others.

For instance, say at the start of the 3rd Chapter and the Norn has drawn 3 red runes without spending any of them. The rune mix is now 5 red, 8 blue, and 8 green. The chance of a Hero drawing a red rune is now 23% rather than 33%. This chance will further diminish as the Norn holds onto more Red runes.

Conversely, if she draws and holds a bunch of green, the rest of the chapters will be harder since the likelihood of drawing red and blue will go up.

Furthermore, if she holds runes that match the Chapter Runes, the chances of such runes exploding are far, far less. Remeber, a Norn placing a matching rune does not cause it to explode.

All this allows for some Norn tactics. If she doesn't want a particular Story to be hard, she should spend green runes as soon as she can and hold on to the red and matching runes. She doesn't even have to spend them. Conversely, if she wants to make a Story truly daunting, she should spend Red runes as soon as she gets them, putting them back into the Well. She should also spend matching runes, sure they won't explode when she spends them but they're now back in the mix for Heros to draw.

In this way, Norns can affect better control over their game. Of course, it's not perfect, a Norn holding red runes could still have her players run into a few of them and/or matches anyways. Or a Norn holding green runes might just draw Story cards that match the Heroes' Essence, Spells, and Treasures. On the other hand, such variances are part of the game, it'd be boring if you could absolutely predict victories and losses.
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