(spoilers) Alternate Sin & Virtue mechanics in Runeforge

Rise of the Runelords

Dark Archive

Sooo I kinda felt like I wanted to make more involved Sin & Virtue mechanics to runeforge than "some penalties, some buffs, some traps affect/don't affect and if you aren't sinful, nothing happens"... Just because I felt it'd be a little let down if after tracking points in the campaign, they end up just being minor buffs/penalties.

I'm kinda wondering if my own tweak got too complicated to keep track off, so I would like feedback and to see if anyone else tweaked Runeforge's mechanics on their run

I was planning to keep the basic +1/-2 matching/opposing sin penalties, but I decided to add defensive bonuses to virtue matching with school of magic as well so they would get +1 to ac and saving throws.(+4 to saving throws against traps that ignore sinful version of virtue. With virtues on opposition school areas penalties are just -1) Neutrals to virtue/sin of the area don't get bonuses/penalties, but they do get temptation to act more sinful than usual(same way runeforged weapons make bearer act in specific way depending on weapon). On top of that, casting spells from right/wrong school depending on area gets effects:

On matching school(transmutation spell in Greed are for example), spells are +1 level higher, but with Thassilonian magic opposition school spells they have to roll concentration check and if it fails, result depends on whether they are aligned with area's virtue, sin or with neither, with unpredictable results. So continuing from greed area example:

*Generous caster casting evocation spell rolls on wild magic surge table on Greed area if they fail concentration check
*neutral caster(neither greedy nor generous) in same scenario rolls spell fumble table(1d10)
*Avaricious caster failing same evocation spell concentration thing takes fumble card.

I'm also letting players pick one virtue & sin that is their primary one if their point amount doesn't really lean to anything on assumption of because they lost chances to get points due to joining campaign later or because character's some personality aspects haven't had chance to come up on adventures. Maybe other minor things too like sin/virtue affecting which spell you are likely to cast randomly from Anathema Archive when its used and such.

So yeah, I'm not sure if that is too much or too little, but should at least make it bit more interesting imo and it would make sense that aura that strengthens sin magic would affect their opposition school spells as well .-. But yeah, did you guys do any changes to Runeforge's mechanics?

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Funny you bring this up, I've been thinking about Runeforge this week a bit - I had somewhat planned to get more info from my players about their characters thoughts

See THIS post in the Sins of the Saviors thread.

Like you I kinda wanted to have something a little richer than just a +1/-2 mechanic, and wanted to get some insight to the player's thoughts, but I had not fully decided on how to use those mechanics and what they could be - I had thought of using some ideas based upon the Sinspawn bites, but I had decided to think about it over breakfast on Saturday.

I've also been having a growing distaste for the actual ITEMS that are needed for making the runeforged weapons - I'm not really certain of the logic behind the choices, and wanted to consider if I wanted to use something different.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Been thinking about it - as lackluster as the +1/-2 mechanics are, they ARE easy to run. So in keeping things easy but memorable I have an idea

What I AM going to do is hand out some re-roll markers - allowing the players to give in to the sin, and re-roll a die.
This will allow me to give the characters some affinity for a wing, even if its not "their" wing, and differentiate between different levels of sinfulness.

It'll be easy to use because it will all be in the player's hands - literally.

As for the creation of the weapons - I think I'll play up the idea that the items being used are:
a.) from the appropriate wing, and
b.) symbolic

I'll let the player's argue it out, but any written hints will be more suggestive of ideas about what they should use rather then specific directions. And I'll go along with ideas that the players come up with as long as they are reasonably justified

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My problem was my players weren't very sinful. They had given the Hambley farm money to the mayor and paid for Vale to be raised when Jaagrath's human bane ogre hook killed him in one round but there hadn't been many distinctive sin/virtue actions. The bard had a relationship with Shayliss but it wasn't casual and ended for reasons beyond either of their control (her family, his travel.) The kind of role-playing that would generate sin points isn't much our style anyway.

So I made the sin=magic and magic=sin. I inventoried their magic items and for every item they wore that had a faint aura of the associated school, they got 1 point in the associated sin. Moderate aura's were two points and strong aura's were 3. If the item had multiple school auras, they got points in multiple sins. I looked at all items in slots, items they were getting benefit from (like bag of holding) and one shot items readily accessible in combat - potions and scrolls and wands.

This seemed to me a good way keep the mechanic (advantage in one wing/disadvantage in two wings) and sustained the whole sin opposition school theme. And further explained just how different Runeforge was from "home" which in turn explained why runeforged weapons can only be manufactured there. It also meant, that once the pc's figured the mechanic out, they could try to change out their magic items as they moved from wing to wing. None of them did but it was an option.

In the end, the bonuses and penalties didn't end up being a big deal - there were a couple deaths in Runeforge but no one died in their "opposition wings." They just failed too many "normal" saving throws. Or failed the wrong saving throw. Wrath in particular was very deadly.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Latrecis, I like that. And Wrath DOES look pretty awful.

Not having associations with sins really not by PC's problem.
And my players are willing to admit to their character's flaws and inner failings, actually picking just ONE to give some of them a bonus on is actually the problem. =)

Just finished up Scribbler tonight, and my players were like (in regards to a certain quill):
"Oooh - an endless supply of INK? Ink is expensive! We should totally open up a shop selling ink. 16 hours a day <tap tap tap on calculating device>, average expectation of color vs. black ink...."

Liberty's Edge

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One tweak I used when running this part that my players seemed to get a real buzz out of, was that opposition schools to a wing's school simply didn't work while in that wing. i.e conjuration and transmutation spells didn't work while in the the Shimmering Veils.

Even though some wings shut down an entire class (e.g. most summoner spells and even calling one's eidolon stopped functioning in the Halls of Wrath), my players loved having to rethink strategies. Suddenly the Dragon Disciple couldn't transform into a dragon any more, and the Arcanist loved the chance to try out different spells that he wouldn't otherwise gotten around to using.

At one stage an enemy teleported to a different wing, but had teleported to a wing where conjuration spells didn't work. So they didn't have the same escape options and were that bit more desperate in the second confrontation.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

BMO, I like it, just concerned about how that would challenge some of the spell-like abilities.

A Concentration check to get those spells off sounds tempting though.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I didn't track sins and virtues, so when i got to SotS, I had to figure out what to do.

I had 7 players and, when they retrived the keys, they decided to each hold a different key. I had the idea that when they entered Runeforge, the key they carried transformed into a smaller version of itself on a chain around their necks that they couldn't remove (and didn't take up an item slot).

As they entered each of the different areas of Runeforge, I described the affected keys as growing warm or cold and becoming heavier or returning to its normal, imperceptible weight. I did keep the bonuses/penalties stated in the description, I just reflavored how they came about.

My players seemed pretty satisfied with this particular implementation. It worked out due to the seven virtues/sins, seven keys, and seven players.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Skeld wrote:

I didn't track sins and virtues, so when i got to SotS, I had to figure out what to do.

I had 7 players and, when they retrieved the keys, they decided to each hold a different key. I had the idea that when they entered Runeforge, the key they carried transformed into a smaller version of itself on a chain around their necks that they couldn't remove (and didn't take up an item slot).

I liked your idea, and went with a modified version.

It seemed like an interesting story mechanic that new people could only be admitted to the Runeforge in a a group of 7 - one for each wing.

I had been tracking sins, so I decided that any character could use any key...except for their two opposition keys - when they tried to the keys became so heavy that they were unable to use them, if anyone had tried to use the key for their sin, then they would have felt a charge as they used it, (and gotten some extra minor buffs, like Fox's cunning for the duration of the Runeforge, but they didn't find that solution). They fumbled through solving the puzzle, gathering enough NPC allies to fill out the 7. I didn't give them a necklace, but gave out the buff in the appropriate wing.

I also described to each player the urges that they were experiencing - urges appropriate for their key.

While I didnt give them any mechanical incentive to explore or resist the urges, most of the players went along with letting their sin key slightly affect their actions, I suppose if one of them really just asks to Give In/Exploit their connection to a sin I may have to think something up - maybe give them a bonus trait/trait-like feature.

<shrug> Any ideas?

Dark Archive

Since my players aren't very sinful, I had planned to decide sins based on the spell they cast last or the spell that was cast on them last (for non-spellcasters) before they entered the Runeforge. I also wanted to make it so when you are in a wing, which opposes your sin, your caster level is considered to be two lower and two higher in your wing of the Runeforge. I was considering just making spells not work in the wings of their opposing schools, but that seems a little intense. Plus that would mean healing spells wouldn't work in two wings, because our healer would probably end up with conjuration/sloth as her sin. I think my players would be annoyed at me. I like the idea of making them roll checks to see if there spells work, which is above. I do worry that like half of my players will end up with sloth because healing spells were the last spells that were cast on them/ by them. I like the idea of the keys determining their sins too (suggested by Skald above).

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