Rune RPG

Apologies to all. This weekend I'd intended making a gameplay video for Space Weirdos with my updated warbands but sadly a blackout put paid to my plans. So I have this short write-up instead. (Power blackout: the culprit was a tree branch that dislodged my power cable. Sigh.)

The Rune RPG marks a departure from the norm for me as I don’t normally play RPGs. Mainly because most solo RPGs turn out to be a variation of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I’ve tried Shadowrun once, but the group disbanded once Covid hit. And I’ve also tried the actual Cyberpunk 2077 (?) RPG online via Discord but it’s not the same. All were very heavy on combat, light on role play. That being the case, I might as well play skirmish games.

Anyway, Rune was a different enough take on the Choose Your Own Adventure genre that I decided to back it on Kickstarter at the PDF level. 

Rune (not the most original of names I'm afraid) has you going up solo against several end level Bosses in different Realms (or different areas, countries etc.) 

You are an Engraved. Cursed to wander the shattered world of Obron, you seek the power to take back control of your fate. Explore Realms, kill Rune Lords, and carve the power of fate into your very being and you cannot die, because the TTRPG aims to replicate some video games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring.

There are some Quickstart rules and a sample Realm available to download and play for free on the Kickstarter page (as of this writing).

You move around the Realm map using a point system and there are several actions you can perform in each area you move to, depending on the time of day. 

The Grim Coast (the free sample Realm) is pretty simple, there's some mini quests you have to do, but there seems to be an emphasis on combat. Some mini quests can only be fulfilled if you accomplish other objectives in other areas (like killing a group of marauders in one area allows you access to a Macguffin that enables you to unlock a treasure in another area that will enable you to proceed with the final battle).

There's not many stats to level up, just your Health, Stamina (how many dice you roll in combat) and Lore (that enables you to perform certain tasks. Either you have enough Lore to do it... or you don't). And you really want to level your Lore, as I discovered on my final Boss battle.

Combat is pretty simple and there's a bit of tactical movement on the 4x4 grid. The enemy rolls 1d6 and there's a dice placement grid that tells you what the enemy will do that round. Then you roll your dice equal to your stamina and do the same on your weapons/items cards. One good aspect of this system is even if you roll low, you can usually combine the results of 2 dice to perform some action, even though it's not optimal. Just don't roll snake eyes, is all.

This TTRPG will stand or fall on the quality of the 6 Realms that are promised in the Kickstarter. Will they be more fleshed out, with a heavier storyline? Or just be more of the same, video-like combat leading towards a Big Boss battle at the end?

Hopefully the rules will also be fleshed out to enable more actions and deeper story-telling opportunities as well.

I'm OK with it because it allows me to play with 1 character and get through a small campaign in about 90 minutes (That was the starter Grim Coast Realm, others might be longer?). You can carry over the items you discover in one Realm when you move into the next. Lore is lost, though as what you learn about one Realm won't be of any use in a new Realm. However, the Rune that you engrave on yourself once you kill the level Boss will give you a bonus as you travel to the next Realm.