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Runebound (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Thematic Progression of Characters? rss

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kronlin
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I'm considering buying Runebound 3e, but have a question first on how characters progress.

In the past I've owned or played Talisman, Prophecy, Runebound 2e. One aspect of these games I didn't particularly enjoy, and in fact limit their replayability, is how characters progress during a game. In these games there is no restriction on the items or skills a character can obtain and use. When the magic character is wearing heavy armor and weapons, or the big warrior is using magic granting items/skills, it ruins the theme. Additionally since any character can use anything, each character each game ends up with sameish abilities needed to win the game. This makes choosing and playing different characters somewhat meaningless.

This is in contrast to Magic Realm, where character chit strengths restrict how heavy weapons and armor can be used, or which characters may use magic, and even limited by particular schools of magic. In Magic Realm each character plays very differently, which adds a lot to theme and replayability.

I understand Runebound 3e will not have the depth of Magic Realm (few games do), but does it have any of these aspects of unique and restricted character progression discussed above? Or do all characters basically do all the same things?
 
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Jason Mack
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Hmm... While I'd say it actually has the level of flexibility you don't like, each character is restricted by having skill limits in the categories of body, mind and spirit.

For example, the character Master Thorn has body of 0, mind of 3, and spirit of 2. So, innately he can't learn any skills of the body category, but he can learn 3 mind skills and 2 spirit skills. Whereas in comparison, Corbin the dwarf has body 3, mind 2, and spirit 0.

However, most of the characters have some range of the skills so they can learn things across the board. For example, Lord Hawthorne has 3 body, 1 mind and 1 spirit. While he favors physical combat, he can learn a mind and spirit skill; those would likely be skills that you might perceive as dissonant with a traditional warrior theme.

Equipment is more a free-for-all, but it would not always make sense to equip items that don't align (e.g. getting a magic damage item which wouldn't combine well if everything else you do is physical damage, for stacking purposes within the combat mechanic).

So, while I like the flexibility and dynamic nature of the characters (especially game-to-game), if someone is looking more for rigid fantasy stereotypes, then this game veers away from that.
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kronlin
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MCKurick - thanks for the detailed reply. From your description there appears to be character differentiation based on skills. Some characters focused in one or two skill areas, others are hybrids, and that's good I think.

I'm interested in learning more about what you said "not always make sense to equip items that don't align". Why does stacking physical or magic damage matter? Isn't all damage the same when applied? (I'm guessing not, but I'd like to know why.)

What about armor? Is it best for all characters to run around in the heaviest armor possible?
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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Most of the time magical and physical damage are treated the same. Occasionally you can run into an enemy that's resistant to one of the damage types, but that's not very common.

The disadvantage to splitting your damage types is that you can only spend one type of icon at a time as a combat action. So if you have 4 physical damage on your tokens, you can spend them all at once to hit for 4. If you have 2 physical damage and 2 magical damage you'll have to spend them separately over 2 combat actions, and in between the monster will have an extra turn to mess you up.

It's not a huge disadvantage, but combat comes down to the wire often enough that the extra speed boost can be really helpful.

-----

There are no restrictions placed on wearing any kind of armor - at least, none of the armor in the base set. The different kinds of armor are differentiated by the abilities on the card and the combat token they add to your pool. You want to find the armor that fits your character's abilities the best, but while you're looking you can equip whatever you have available.

Honestly, this is the more realistic approach. In real life, nothing would stop a knight from wearing robes except they don't provide the defense he needs. And a light-footed thief could wear full plate, but would find it very heavy and cumbersome.

So you get armor like the Spiked Mail, which adds strength, health and a combat token with double defense and physical damage, making your character a tank. Or for the same price you can get Battle Robes, with a combat token that provides magical damage, energy for spellcasting, initiative, and no defense at all; along with a spell effect that doubles your magical damage.

Lord Hawthorne can spend his 9 gold to buy and equip either of these, but most of the time it will help him a lot more to grab the Spiked Mail, which better aligns with all of his physical damage and strength-based skills.

Hope that helps.
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Kristo Vaher
Estonia
Tallinn
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To be honest, why couldn't one hero use any kind of item?

Do all fantasy worlds have to be restricted in the same way as D&D?

I mean, it's a game, items that don't benefit your class are not as useful to get the most out of your class.

Also, in a more 'real' setting, you could buy from far wider range of items in any given city, so restrictions would not be as punishing.
 
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kronlin
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Slashdoctor wrote:
To be honest, why couldn't one hero use any kind of item?

Do all fantasy worlds have to be restricted in the same way as D&D?

I mean, it's a game, items that don't benefit your class are not as useful to get the most out of your class.

Also, in a more 'real' setting, you could buy from far wider range of items in any given city, so restrictions would not be as punishing.


I certainly don't think all fantasy worlds need to be bound to D&D rules - a game will determine its rules in its own way. I also am not trolling here (not that you are suggesting that I was) to say Runebound 3e doesn't follow "realism". This can be a never ending argument.

I'm merely trying to determine if Runebound 3e characters are well differentiated in ability and play style or if this is a free-for-all based on the items and skills picked up during a game. And the answer to this partly determines my decision to acquire this game.

Based on the answers so far, it sounds like this game is somewhere in between these extremes: on the surface there's little differentiation, but characters will generally play towards their strengths in selecting skills and items.
 
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JD Snider
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I feel like the characters are guided towards certain skill/item types but are definitely not railroaded. So you can pretty much pick up whatever you want. But if you want to turn Master Thorn into a melee tank, it is definitely going to take more effort than with a combat based character. The items you have available to purchase and the skills you have access to are also fairly small samples of everything potentially available each play through, I find. There also isn't any one global best approach. So i haven't found the characters feeling 'samey' at all. I've played Talisman, Prophecy, Magic Realm, Shadows of Malice and Runebound Second edition. Of these Runebound Third edition is my second favorite easily, edged out only slightly by Magic Realm.
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Ken Marley
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One key feature is that each hero has 3 tokens that are unique to them, since in general you will add at most 3 more tokens these base 3 make a big difference.



It is possible to get certain skills like duel wield which could get a hero to 7 tokens, but in practice I haven't seen this. Most heroes end with around 5 (3 base +2 more)

In general this makes each hero different.
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Rafal Areinu
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Not only tokens you start with, but also base hero abilities define their playstyle in great extend. One character has a skill that allows her to convert their movement ability into massive damage, so getting that will be good idea. Another hero can reflect damage upon enemies if he gets surges, so he will want to make sure he can trigger that ability. Actually playing as that reflect guy is like no other. Having just single tactics token can completely flip what you view as valuable.

It can happen that mage that has robes on his picture will go around using heavy armor and heavy sword. He might even get good results with that. But he won't be able to attack with both magic and physical damage types at once, which can sometimes mean difference between living and dying.

Overall you cycle very fast trough skill deck, so it's not hard to learn really useful skills, that match playstyle for the hero. It can be harder to do with equipment, as that doesn't change that quickly, and others might sweep/throw out what you need. There are cards in equipment deck from first Adventure Pack that allow you to draw 3 more assets cards when in city, which are nice way to increase changes of getting something you need.
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Brett Hudoba
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From the number of times that I've played, I'd say character progress and customization is a big part of the game; it's definitely very flexible, which I consider to be a huge plus. The heroes at their base levels all feel very different, and while they are indeed tailored toward certain strengths, you are not restricted toward those routes--so, you can play it as thematically as you like all the way down to not at all.

That being said, because all players are gearing up towards some sort of final confrontation in the end game, it's smart to tailor things to your character's advantages nonetheless. As others have commented, starting combat tokens are a major factor to consider in how they bolster and play off of each other for different combinations. Nothing is stopping your spell caster from using a melee weapon that grants axe symbols, but it won't be nearly as effective as the wand that potentially adds extra magic symbols to a bigger pool that can be released all at once. Some heroes rely more on surge symbols to activate their stronger abilities, in which case it may make more sense to invest in equipment that is complimentary to that approach rather than just raw combat power. You won't see the same equipment and items available every game, either (and there's even greater variety now with the expansions), so you have to pick and choose what will work best for you in any given situation (and assuming an opponent doesn't buy it before you).

Moreover, skills add another level of individuality and custom tailoring, and depending on the character, many times a particular skill that is useful for one game may be less so in the next. Not to mention, it's often possible to create powerful synergies between your skills and equipment if you amass the right combinations.

As a long-time Talisman fan, I understand what you mean by the feeling of characters ultimately having "same-ish" abilities by game end, and I can assure you this is absolutely not the case in Runebound. There is enough content here that I honestly can't imagine continually seeing character builds that feel repetitive.
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kronlin
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Thanks all for the comments and feedback! I bought the game, played a couple times, and love it! I might have a new favorite game.
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