Today we talk about Runecairn: Wardensaga.
It is an RPG created by Colin LeSueur and published in collaboration with Odin's Beard RPG and Exalted Funeral.
I was raised on Viking bread and culture by my brother and therefore I couldn't help but read and play a similar game!
If I had to explain it to you in a nutshell, I would say this: Runecairn is a Norse-style fantasy role-playing game designed for two players. One is the guardian (facilitator or game master), the other the Adventurer. Said like this, it immediately catches the eye that it is an excellent product for One-Shot, Dungeoncrawl.
Anyone who knows me knows how fascinated I am by the game mechanics alone or with a master and a player. Maybe because I'm antisocial and have no friends (I don't) or maybe because I find it interesting how games can be balanced even without huge groups. So as soon as I got my hands on this game I started testing and playing it and so here I am talking about it.
Before we start talking about Runecairn: Wardensaga however, I have to make a necessary premise to better understand the setting. So give me two minutes and be patient if I tell you a little about Ragnarok which is, to all intents and purposes, the origin of the game.
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Ragnarok in Norse culture
Ragnarok is a fundamental concept in Norse mythology, representing the end of the world and subsequent rebirth. In Old Norse, “Ragnarok” means “Last Fate” or “End of the Gods”.
According to Norse mythology, Ragnarok will be triggered by a series of catastrophic events that will lead to the end of the world as we know it. These events include the death of the god Baldr, the fall of Yggdrasil, the Cosmic Tree that holds up the world, and the end of the gods as they knew it.
During Ragnarok, a great battle will ensue between the gods and evil forces, including the fire giant Surt and the wolf Fenrir. In the end, the god Thor will kill the world serpent, Jormungand, but will die of the serpent's venom himself. The god Odin will also die in battle against the wolf Fenrir.
After the destruction of the old world, a new land will emerge from the waters and be populated by a new generation of gods and human beings. This stage is known as the rebirth of the world. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok represents the end of the current world and the beginning of a new cosmic cycle, a symbol of rebirth and hope.
Well, starting from this, we have the basics to understand the game Runecairn: Wardensaga.
Where does Runecairn: Wardensaga take place and what kind of adventures can we play?
When this game takes place is soon said: after Ragnarok. But where is more interesting. Imagine a world full of dangers where the Aesir and Vanir, as well as the gods, no longer exist. Mjölnir is lost and Gungnir, Odin's spear, is broken. The Nine Realms are fragmented and where previously Yggdrasil united them, now simple campfires allow passage between the realms. The mechanic reminds me a lot of Dark Souls, but it is useless to deny that, since the release of that game, many have been inspired by this mechanic for their creations.
In addition to this the worlds are oppressed by the giants of Jotunheim who rage through the lands, together with the wolves sons of Fenrir. And besides all this spirits roam the lands. Magic is a real thing which, however, when used, will bring unsolicited attention to the user. I leave you to think what it could mean and what the implications are…
It is therefore time to take on the role of the hero and go in search of mighty relics scattered among the ice, or more simply help the inhabitants of a village to defend themselves from a possible raid. The list of companies can be the most diverse, but it is essential, in all respects, to make the narrative of the story as real as possible, within the limits that a Norse-style fantasy setting can allow. Alongside the critical moments there must always be the joy of life, drinking, duels and much more.
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A few words about the game system
After choosing the name of the character you will have to randomly generate the four basic characteristics using 3d6: Strength, Dexterity, Ingenuity and Spirit. Then it will be time to roll a d6 for Vigor and one for Vitality and from there generate the last values. Now it's time to choose the class. You can choose between: Warrior, Skald, Scout, Seer.
Personally I advise you to choose the class based on the rolls you have made. Nobody wants a Warrior with little strength, do they?
As for the actions, whether they are attack or defense, or to cast spells and establish damage, you will be called to a simple roll under of a d20 on the skills generated with the 3d6s while on the others a roll on the d6.
At least these are the basic rules to understand the game a little. Inside the manual, however, there is also a section of advanced rules where you can choose new character classes, autonomously generate dungeons, villages and all other sorts of encounters, and above all how to manage a party of more than one player.
In addition to this you will find, in the last part of the manual, an adventure ready to be played and a bestiary to draw on.
Conclusions on Runecairn
Viking folklore, myths and mythology are still some of the most fascinating in European history. The stories of the Vikings, told through myths and legends, offer us a vivid and intriguing picture of their culture, their beliefs and their values.
The importance of Viking mythology is still reflected in our society today. Modern literature and media, such as science fiction, fantasy and role-playing games, have drawn inspiration from Viking stories and characters. The figure of the Viking warrior, with his strength and his courage, is still a symbolic figure in our culture. This game is the clear example of what has been said and, although the system may not be immediately intuitive, I assure you that after a couple of hours of playing you will be able to create incredible stories, but above all so epic that they would be worthy of being told in a new epic to rival the Eddas!
And tell me, would you try it Runecairn: Wardensaga?
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