Aren't runes overpowered?

Actually, most rpgs regrettably do that. I've found that a quick and often accurate test, when browsing through a new rpg, of whether I'll find mechanics overall well-designed or broken is to look at the fumble rules.

Viktir have the options to be extremely self-sufficient at very low effort (the Jera 5 effect of making a field prosperous is a big deal, as is the Othila 15 effect of making an object exceptional quality with -2 botch dice), and thus have little need to sell their magic, and almost no inclination to sell it cheaply. The lowliest viktir will have prosperous lands, the best equipment and a well defended home, all at far less risk than equipping a group of murder-hobos with powerful death-assisting magics that might easily turn against him (due to his Gift) once the plunder is about to be divided. That can/will happen even if he is Gentle Gifted, as greed makes murderers think about making the long division of booty easier.

Except that the above tactic appears to be what the PC is doing in the OP's game, so it needs to be addressed. (Said player should be very sure of his men's loyalty, unless he makes sure that his gear is better than his men get.)

Fehu and Jera help with having prosperous peaceful wealth, this is true, but the former requires a business model and the latter requires having some farmable land to begin with, and both make one a target for one's neighbors. (The Early Middle Ages are not really a safe time to be living in.) If one doesn't have the Gentle Gift, then one is likely to have strained relations with one's kinsmen; his wife and sons are probably used to his Gift, and his brothers may be, but anyone further out probably isn't, which means fewer hands to call on when he needs to respond to a raid (remember that while he's likely to be a powerful warrior, he is only one man). So a vitki may find it better-advised to aid someone else's fields and collect a tax, or to extort someone with curses, or to make money by the sword than to have immovable land wealth. (The calculations for this are different in 1220 and different for the Gently Gifted, of course.)


"Fine Tradition" == "regrettably"




This is the kind of thing I mean. It is not in a vitkir's interest to equip murder-hobos who totally mistrust him with weapons that are likely to be turned against him. Better to stay home, out of the way, establishing a very few close relationships, and prospering.




I think it is being addressed. Playing the social effects of the Gift (it isn't just a -3, but a baseline of greater antipathy to be overcome at -3) help with this. Playing all the NPCs as people rather than elements of a culture helps too. Enforcing stress dice, making sure that every now and then NPCs lose some of these precious items (they don't understand why it is bad to retrieve every item rather than retreat ASAP from a lost battle, and explaining why it is bad is likely to make things worse), and so on, helps too. Making sure the player understands that study materials for Runic Arts are limited and poor compared to more literate traditions, and then limiting these appropriately both keeps things under control and fits the setting. Finally, recognizing that some runes may need adjudication is especially apt. (For example, the level 10 script that makes a target immune to the effect of magic also makes the script not work!)

All of these other methods have problems too, of course. There are ways to get around them. The Gift comes with a built-in flaw and story flaw that put most of the Gifted on the margins of society, struggling to prosper. Hermetic Magi get around this by having immense power, by having a shared literature that promotes cooperation and trade, and above all by having a core group of people whom they can trust and with whom they can cooperate for individual and common good, the very stuff that makes a society possible. Parma allows magi to trust each other, sharing books gives them a reason to, and the power magi accumulate gives them the ability to say Stuff It to almost any outside threat.



Ok, I have a question: since the runes, like all arcane connections, are two-way connections, I suppose it's easy for the vitkir to destroy them. Isnt' it? I guess vitkir are paranoids that check every night before sleep if all the runes are where they're supposed to be, and destroy them if they aren't.

Most ACs are not 2-way!

Or, classically, equip one murder-hobo with whom the vitkir has a working relationship and help said hobo become chieftain. Then live off the fat of the land together until the relationship breaks down and one ends up killing the other.

That's exactly what I would expect a vitkir to do.

The chieftain becomes accustomed to the vitkir through long association. As is traditional, no one else likes the evil vizier/shaman/etc. Neither really has anything to gain from killing the other; they need and even understand each other. The chieftain not only gets magical support, but an advisor he can trust (because the vitkir has few other friends, possibly none, and many enemies.) The vitkir also gets far more than a figurehead, but a supporter and friend, and will likely advise the chieftain's son too. Maybe they fall out with each other, but that doesn't seem the most likely outcome.

This is a case where game rules work with folklore/story/legend quite nicely.



One of my hair is an AC to me, and I am an AC to said hair. Am I not?

In general, no. The Part is the Whole, but the Whole is Not the Part.

Why should you?

AFAICS, in ArM5 there is nowhere an argument for this kind of reciprocity.


Which is why no-one has ever created a "destroy all arcane connections to this thing" with range arcane. If we could it would be a must have spel for any Maga.

Could be what all the Bonisagi are working on though and, because it's impossible, might explain why no-one has made any breakthroughs in recent decades. The fashion is to do this because it gets you house acclaim for trying. And so it sucks all of the research effort away from more profitable avenues. Sort of like string theory.


Ok, it was just a common sense assumption... But I'm glad I was wrong.
So if a vitki wants to have control over one of his runes carved on a medal, for instance, he can carve a method III rune on the other side of the medal. This allows him to destroy the object at will. Of course it means two spell rolls. Does it also mean two warping points at the end of the year?

Not how it works. You carve the first rune on the medal, then you carve the Method III rune on something that's within 10 paces of the medal's rune, and you keep the second object with you in case you need to use a destructive spell on the first rune - essentially, you just created a fixed Arcane Connection in two minutes.

Each object warps separately, though I personally can't see the point of tracking warping on an object.

Ok, crystal clear. Thanks.

Unless his men are VERY loyal, this could be a very big issue for the PC; raiders infighting over the spoils is a classic trope, after all, and any Gifted person is going to be the first target for the infighting, especially if he (by virtue of being a PC and leader) would get the largest share. This is an issue for any Gifted person - Hermetics included - that chooses a criminal career path, but Hermetic magic is probably better suited to crowd control than Rune magic.

So yeah, the PC in the OP's game is living dangerously and the OP can use this as a story idea to highlight how the Gift makes your life harder.


Cursed Artifacts! :slight_smile:/4

Things that have personality traits. Things that are plagued by a supernatural entity. Things that have story flaws.

Things that Warp to a Pattern, because their creator did too, or its place of 'birth.'

You can have an entire saga about these things. WeirHaus XIII....



Actually we are just three sessions into the saga and my player hasn't exploited the runes yet. Also, my group is fortunately not made of munchkins, but story-centered players... One of them even wanted his spells nerfed after the first session because he thought they were too powerful :slight_smile:
I just foresaw a few potential problems for the future and wanted to address them now instead of fixing them later.

The idea of having the grog revolt against the magic users of the covenant (magi and vitki) over loot is interesting, although it can be done no more than once, in my opinion... The retribution will be long remembered.