Few days ago we looked at the character creation for the upcoming Ruin Masters roleplaying game by Riotminds. This is a game that takes place in Caldarox, a setting ripe with ruins of old where brave adventurers might find riches and fools their death.
Ruin Masters offer two different modes of play, RPG-mode and Hex-mode. You can choose which mode to use or you can mix these two up, creating your very own style of playing.
Modes of play
RPG-mode is your typical modern style of play. Where the RM (which is abbreviation for Ruin Master, which is the title for the game master in Ruin Master) has already laid out a narrative, or is using a pre-made scenario.
For many RMs this is the most preferred mode of play, since it gives them a better control of the narrative and for many players, this is their preferred playing style.
You can easily mix this mode of play with Hex-mode, to enrich or give more detail to the adventurers’ exploration.
Exploration is the main focus of Ruin Master. The adventurers explore the lands of Caldarox, find ruins and riches, encounter landsknechts and battle monsters. When you are in Hex-Mode this becomes paramount.
Therefore, Hex-Mode is much more detailed than RPG-Mode. You have many two different types of Hex-Modes; Large Scale Hex-Mode and Detailed Hex-Mode.
Large Scale Hex-Mode
As the adventurers travel across the lands they move from hexagon to hexagon. Each hexagon as a type affixed to it. When adventurers enter a hexagon, the RM rolls 3-9 d10 to build the narrative, as the example below shows:
The heroes enter a forest hex. The game master rolls for terrain features and rolls 7, hazards. The game master rolls again and rolls 2, something blocks the heroes’ way, which means that moving through this hex takes twice as long. Once again, the game master rolls and scores a 5, muddy trail.
You enter the forest and find that the path is muddy, making it hard to find solid footing. [The heroes need to make a Physique roll]
The game master rolls for encounters, and rolls a 6, an almost encounter. Once more the game master rolls and scores a 10, leavings. The game master rolls again, a 9, the heroes find manticore spikes, roll as usual to investigate the spikes and discover that they are from a manticore.
As you venture deeper into the forest you come across a tree stump, with three large spikes still dripping with blood. [The heroes need to make an Intelligence roll] By the size of the spikes, you reckon that a manticore must be somewhere near.
Finally, the game master rolls for treasure. Scoring 2 means that the heroes find a small treasure. Once more the game master rolls and rolls a 4, a bent sword.
As the dusk falls you see something glitter in the undergrowth. You reach down to find a bent sword.
Thus, the heroes have explored a single hex.
Each type of hex has its own set of unique tables. The RM rolls on three tables for each hexagon and many rolls will call for rolls on other tables.
Due to the fact that there are many different tables, many of which beget more rolls, each hexagon will be most likely different from the one before. The possible combinations are in fact quite many.
Detailed hex play
When the adventurers encounter monsters or find ruins, you move from large scale hex play to detailed hex play. Combats play out in a normal manner, and need no other rules than are presented in the combat chapter.
However, in Caldarox there are many ruins; ruined castles, dungeons, town and keeps, that often hide away treasure, spell containers and items of great power.
Detailed hex play plays out in similar manner as the Large Scale Hex Mode. The RM rolls on tables for the type of ruins and describes what happens, taking into consideration how far the adventurers have ventured. Here’s an example:
The heroes have ventured deep into the ruins. They have explored ten features and are on the second level of the ruins. When the game master rolls on the table, she does so with a +5 bonus to each roll, save for when rolling for feature.
The heroes have just opened a metal door. The game master rolls for a feature and roll a 6, a chamber. The game master rolls on the chamber table, rolling a 13, and decides to also use the optional tables, and rolls for a type of chamber. She rolls 20, the heroes have found a large library, that is lit and has two other doors. Then the game master rolls for an almost encounter, scoring a 12, there’s blood on the floor. Rolling to see what type of doors these are, the game master rolls a 9 and 11. Finally the game master decides to roll for chamber state, odours and air, which results in, in the same order, 12, 23 and 7.
You open the door to find a large, lit library. The air is cold and smells stale. All the bookcases are wrecked and in ruins. You spot a puddle of blood on the floor. At either end are doors, to your left is heavy iron doors but to your right a wooden door.
If the heroes decide to investigate either door, the game master rolls to see what is behind them and keeps doing so while the heroes still wish to explore further and there are no longer any doors.
Mixing up modes of play
Perhaps the most fun mode of play is mixing these two modes of play up, i.e. where you have a set narrative and you roll to see what happens in each hexagon the adventurers explore.
Here’s a pro-tip, when you are mixing these play-modes, make sure you keep an eye out for where you can use the randomly generated results and either add them to your narrative or enrich them with your narrative.
Both of these modes and the mix-up of them are fun to play, though very different. The RPG-Mode is what most roleplayer know and feel comfortable with. The Hex-Mode will feel natural to many older players, but it has also much to offer to those who are younger.
Disclaimer: This is not a review, since I took part in developing this game.