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It's been awhile since we've checked in on the status of Paradox's mythology-based RPG Runemaster, and in the meantime the team has been busy penning a total of eleven different developer diaries covering everything from the game's story to its world to its classes. First, let's get them all linked to properly:
Developer Diary #1: Our Vision
Developer Diary #2: Art & Lore
Developer Diary #3: The Main Story
Developer Diary #4: Personality Traits
Developer Diary #5: The Combat Attributes
Developer Diary #6: Worldmap and Exploration
Developer Diary #7: Change vs. Stability
Developer Diary #8: Quests: Basic Mechanics
Developer Diary #9: Items and World Loot
Developer Diary #10: Skill Trees and Abilities
Developer Diary #11: The Skald
And then we'll offer up a few choice quotes:
Are you always giving others the version of the truth that is most beneficial to you or are you telling them what really happened? Are you helping people for nothing beyond their gratitude, or does your assistance always come with a price tag? Do you walk bravely headstrong into any challenge, or do you make sure that the odds are heavily in your favor before attempting something dangerous?
In Runemaster, we track your choices and map them onto a scale of different attributes, where each attribute has a personality trait at its extremes. This is an idea we've borrowed from Crusader Kings II, where characters can gain a multitude of different traits, each of which can dramatically change the entire game experience.
In Runemaster we've cut the number of traits to eight and those eight traits are based on four different attributes. Each time you decide to lie, act bravely or spend all your savings on a big feast for the whole village, we add or subtract a value from the corresponding attribute. When an attribute's score gets really high or really low, your character gets assigned a trait.
Getting an attribute back to a normal range will remove the trait and your character might very well start off as an honest do-gooder and end up as a lying sell-sword after becoming disillusioned with the world. Changing from one trait to its opposite will take time though and could be compared to changing sliders in Europa Universalis III; it is a gradual process that might not pay off for you for quite a while.
We will have at least five different item types your Hero can equip: Belts, Weapons, Rings, Runes and Amulets. Each can be used, and all of them will have a bonus. Your Hero will only be able to wear one of each of these items at a time - so no stacking amulets for extra bling and/or lightning damage
We are using a system of prefixes and suffixes for randomized items you can find. A low level weapon can be named (Feeble sword of.) while a high level weapon may be (Glorious sword of.). This will be an easy shorthand to know whether you are carrying something of great value or just another minor blade.
A random item will always give a bonus to one or two stats. The viable combinations are limited by the type of item and the item level. Firtt, the item generator chooses a major stat to modify and then a minor stat is selected depending on the major stat chose and level of the item.
The suffixes appended to an item depend on what major and minor bonuses the item has. For the moment, we have more than ten different possible bonuses and a total combination of over 150.
When you begin your saga, every class have two skill trees, one for defense and one for offense. I am more of an offensive player and tend to focus more on damaging abilities and boni when I play RPGs, but I can't argue against having more armor or an ability that gives more protection, both for my troops and for my hero. When your hero levels up, you will get a skill point that you can use to upgrade him or her. A skill point can be spent once to unlock a perk from one of the skill trees. Each perk gives your hero either a stat bonus, a new ability or upgrades an existing ability. It is possible to mod this and it is possible to make a perk give the Hero both a stat bonus and an ability.
There are several tiers in each skill tree, and you need to invest a certain amount of skill points in order to get to the next tier.
All the three classes you can choose from - Berserker, Skald and Runemaster - start with three unique abilities. As your character levels up, you get to choose whether you wish to upgrade the starting abilities or gain new ones. Therefore you will be able to customize and choose what direction you want to take your hero. You will be able to upgrade both new and old abilities should you wish to, to make sure your hero is a perfect match for your playstyle, but naturally some abilities might be better than others...