Honestly, I'm a little surprised that a starting character could afford to do this. It's certainly possible, but it's risky and a failed roll cripples your starting character right out of the gate. I guess he must have taken Affluent at character creation, and gotten lucky on the Tradecraft checks?
Are you sure none of the costs were missed? Each rune itself costs 50 silver in raw materials (pg 37, second-to-last paragraph). Superior items cost x10. Making the armour yourself saves you about half: you have to pay for both the raw materials and the workshop time (listed on pg 41 under "raw materials" and "tools"), each of which costs 1/4 that of a finished item. You mention smithing, so I'm assuming it's a metal armour of some sort. The cheapest metal armour starts at 50 silver, and the cheapest shield (a buckler) at 20 silver.
So that's 50s + 50s + ((10*(50+20))/2)s. That's 450 silver, aka 4.5 gold, to make the cheapest version fit for a rune. If he wanted better than mail shirt and buckler it would cost a good bit more -- scalemail and a kite shield would be over 17 gold -- but I suppose with a lucky haggle check or two, that could be reduced significantly. Boons on the Tradecraft roll could trim down a bit as well.
So with a series of good rolls you could nibble it down to 2 gold for the mail shirt and buckler, but you certainly can't count on that. Between the many Rarity checks, the optional haggling over materials, and the two actual smithing rolls, there's a lot of ways it could go wrong.
At the very least, he's got two Tradecraft checks vs at least 2 Purple each to contend with (and more if he's aiming for a better armour). The odds of neither roll getting a Chaos Star is only 58%, and a star results in (per page 42) having to start over. "All he loses is time", but that means +25% of the cost of a new item paid in additional workshop rental (so more than an extra gold if the mail shirt's roll has the chaos star).
Runesmithing is kind of a headache. There's a lot of die rolls and fiddly little rules. It's very expensive, very time-consuming, and has a high degree of luck-based variance. As GM, you'd be perfectly in your rights to waive some of the above for the sake of simplicity and getting to the action... as long as you realize that all those hoops the PC has to jump through are essentially FFG's attempt at providing playbalance. If you give the PC an easy time with the smithing part of it, you may need to house-rule the actual runes to keep runic items from getting too powerful. Here's a few ideas:
- On page 39 of the Book of Grudges, they talk about how the rule of three counts for stacking amulets. Even if you have multiple different amulets, the total number of amulet runes you can have on you is three. Any more, and they all stop working. You could reasonably interpret that to have the same restriction for each rune category.
- It would help keep armour runes in line with not just Talismans, but also Weapon runes. Using 2 weapons at once and applying both their runes to an attack requires spending some XP on specific twin-weapon attack actions. Using 3 weapons at once isn't even possible (unless you're a mutant).
- He'd be fine right now with 2 Stone runes, but when and if he goes to the Runesmith career that lets him make 2-rune items, he'll only be able to wear 1 double-armour-rune item and 1 single-armour-rune item for a maximum total of 3 runes. That would keep it from getting a lot further out of balance, but wouldn't solve the immediate problem.
- Or you could say identical runes don't stack, and only allow one instance of each to be active on any given character. The Rune of Stone's exception to the Rule of Pride would still be useful, in that they could eventually outfit the whole party with Stone armour. They just couldn't have 2 stone runes on any one character and thus it wouldn't be nearly as broken.
Edited by r_b_bergstrom, 13 February 2014 - 06:36 PM.