Adventure Game Birthday Weekend: Runebound

I remember a time when this game tried to use a d20. It didn’t work out, due to the simplicity of bonuses for tests. The d20 system usually is combined with more complex system of bonuses, skills, combat tests, etc. It helps to balance out the wide even random distribution of a d20; Runebound had no such system. Its simplicity meant that a single d20 just didn’t work.

However, the bell-curve distribution of a 2d10 worked out much better for Runebound, filling in for the complicated function that is a D&D character while keeping Runebound streamlined. The second edition is a quaint way to spend an afternoon, in a world that’s very D&D ((i.e., Tolkien Lite)), maybe a little more lighthearted and a bit corny. Runebound was where most of the non-licensed fantasy art for less successful games was recycled, resulting in a patchwork world where all backstory is one big retcon. There’s something cute about that.

I enjoy the game most with the following tweaks (like D&D, Runebound is totally built for house rules):

  1. Threat track.

  2. Breaking up the adventure deck (which gets very tall with expansions) into five decks to choose from: weapons, armor ((So paltry, no wonder you often wouldn’t draw any with a combined market deck.)), allies, artifacts, and spells. When buying from the market, choose one deck, draw three cards. Buy some or none, and discard to the bottom of the deck.

  3. Talents from the class decks, each level buyable for 1 experience point, using the single talent track as in the original rules.

  4. Experience counters (the +2 melee, etc) cost 2 experience points (no point in stretching out game time when you need quite a few of them to survive a red encounter).

  5. Travel hazards (from the recommended variants in the original rules).

Now, if I’d just adjusted the threat track difficulty down the right notch….

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