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stacking runes

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#1 Kire Immortal

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 09:09 PM

Hi, brand new Warhammer GM starting first campaign.  Lots of experience in D&D/PF, but myself and my players are total neophytes here.


A player in my game just started playing as an Apprentice Runesmith.  He picked up Rune of Stone as his first rune (as would befit any proper dwarf), and of the first things he did was to set about forging his own suit of superior armor, and a superior shield.  (He took Tradecraft and specialized in Smithing.)  He then struck the Stone Rune on both of them.


Now, the Rule of Pride usually forbids this, but the Stone Rune has an clear exception (and even if it didn't, once he reaches Rank 2, it will become an issue then for all runes, so long as he mixes-and-matches).


Does he really benefit from the Stone Rune twice?  It seems he does.  This is giving him a very high defense score, and it is very difficult for any enemy to hurt him.  (As a brand-new character, he's adding 5 [B] dice to most of my attacks!)  But maybe that's just the way the power of the runes are supposed to work?  (They are an expensive investment afterall, and he can't do much else.)   Since I am a new GM to the Warhammer system, I don't have a good sense of what is fair/balanced, so I'm looking for insight.


So, if you know the rules, please share it.  But even if you don't know the rules, but have an insightful gut feeling on the game system, I'll happily listen to your wisdom.


Thanks in advance!

#2 DurakBlackaxe



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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:24 AM

Perfectly within the Rune rules for the Rune Of Stone to be on two items. Once he gains rank 2, the choice he makes on the next rule for each item has to be unique though.

#3 thePREdiger



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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:53 AM

I think the effect stacks, but you have various other possibilities to make him suffer:


Use your NPC A/C/E pool to overcome his defense

Use disease rules make him rot inside his metal fortress

Use corruption 

#4 thePREdiger



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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:55 AM

on a side note: you could rule that the specialization needs to be "Armorcrafting" for body armor and "Shieldcraft" for shields.

#5 r_b_bergstrom



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Posted 12 February 2014 - 01:28 PM

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:


  1. 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.  
  2. 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.

#6 thePREdiger



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Posted 13 February 2014 - 07:52 AM

I never understood the crafting rules. The quality of the item is not determined by the materials you are usinig. As I understood it, it is based on the roll. A sucess with a comet results in a superior item, while a chaos star turns it into a weak/damaged item.


It would mean that the roll also decides how much gold the item would cost?

#7 Kire Immortal

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 12:37 PM

From what I understand there are two separate ways to get a superior item:


- pay more upfront for it (e.g. 10x), and make a standard check

- pay the normal amount, then get lucky on the roll (e.g. sigmar's comet)


If you both "pay more" and "get lucky", there is no additional benefit.

#8 r_b_bergstrom



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Posted 13 February 2014 - 06:58 PM

Kire is correct, there are two paths to crafting a Superior item: either "pay more" or "hope for a comet".


Since we're talking about a new character starting with this stuff, I assumed they had a single yellow die, and thus they had to be going the "pay more" route. It costs 3 character points (for Affluent) but has a much higher chance of succeeding.

  • "Pay more" has a slightly less than 47% chance* of creating 2 runed items in the first attempt.**
  • "Hope for a comet" has around a 2% chance*** of creating 2 runed items in the first attempt.**

If the character was higher than first rank (and thus had more yellow dice available), their odds would be much better.



Obnoxious math and explanations of where I get those numbers follows in tiny print, but unless you really like math you can just ignore it:

*: Calculated as 87.5% chance of any given purple die not being a chaos star, to the fourth power since there's two rolls of two purple and any star ruins an object, then times the square of your actual success rate on the character (which I'm assuming to be around 90% if the character was built "right") since you have to succeed at two different Tradecraft rolls. .875x.875x.875x.875x.9x.9=.4698 aka 47%    Success rates will vary a bit, and of course some of those chaos star rolls would overlap with the failed rolls, but I think this is close enough to accurate to get the point across. I couldn't get much closer to accurate without a lot more complicated math or a monte carlo simulation.

**: Assuming, in both cases, that we don't care about Availability and Haggle checks. When those are factored in, the odds drop even further.

*** Calculated as roughly 20% chance of getting a comet on 1 yellow die, squared since there's 2 rolls and both have to succeed, then multiplied by 47% derived as explained in the first asterisk's explanation. .2x.2x.875x.875x.875x.875x.9x.9=.0188 aka 2%

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#9 princeearwig



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Posted 14 February 2014 - 07:50 AM

Does he really benefit from the Stone Rune twice?  It seems he does.  This is giving him a very high defense score, and it is very difficult for any enemy to hurt him.  (As a brand-new character, he's adding 5 [B] dice to most of my attacks!)  

Take it from me that 5 [B] is no guarantee that he won't get hit.

In our weekly game my PC is a tier 4 Wardancer (Mortelis) who regularly gets to add 9 or more [B] top his defenses.

Our GM will still giggle at mention of bog standard gobbo still hitting him!

Defense dice are very fickle. Unlike soak there is no guarantee that they will impact in any way to your defense. It is likely, but not guaranteed.


Currently Mortelis "feasible" maximum defense pool is

1 additional purple (Improved Dodge) + 2 (Catlike Reflexes) + 2 (Parry with Weapon Skill trained) + 4 (shadows coil due to stance depth) + 3 (Vipers dance with a realistic maximum 3 ritual dance cards recharging on the right face) + 1 (footwork manouevre on party sheet) + 3 (Feastmaster Wardancer advanced career ability)

So that's 1 [P] and 15 [B] (12 is you discount a non-standard career ability)

and I DO still get hit.


and with the exception of 1 point of stance depth and the non standard career ability, that was the approximate amount from day one. maybe 1 or two points less [B] for not having all the ritual dance actions from the start and the purple used to be 2 [B] before Improved dodge was purchased.


just be meaner as a GM, use A C E like PreDiger said.

You'll get him!