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REVIEW: Runelord: Rise of the Runelords (by Nol Drek)

Started by hans, July 10, 2023, 11:08:00 AM

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I finished Nol Drek's conversion of RUNELORD: Rise of the Runelords a couple of nights ago, and I'm still going through withdrawal.  It was such a fun mod.  I really miss not being able to spend a half hour or an hour each night playing it.

So, this is a postitive review, and I do recommend playing it.  I should note, for the more squeamish players, that this conversion has a lot of pretty gross descriptions of the enemy monsters atrocities on elves, humans, etc.  But it's unfailingly interesting and entertaining. 

There's a ton of great, new artwork.  Fun, new monsters to fight. 

It's a big mod.  You start at level 1 and end in the high teens. 

The difficulty level is fairly easy.  You can rest anywhere without fear of violent interruption.  It could make a great mod recommendation for UA newbies, but also great fun for old hands like myself because it's so fresh feeling and well-put-together. 

Thanks, Nol!   :hello2: 


Antone Rapax

Just finished the Rise of the Runelords module and was very impressed by it. TLDR: Highly recommended. Here's a quick review:

The good:
-   Interesting story that always made it clear what I was doing, why, and where I should go next.

-   Great art – monster pics, cut scenes, etc were all of extremely high quality

-   There are changes in the world and in NPC Dialog as you progress through the story and return to places
        you've previously been. This makes it feel like a real world

-   Good usage of the overworld map that makes it very clear where you should be exploring (i.e. you don't
        have to lawnmower the entire map to find everything)

-   Great flavor text and room/monster descriptions. It really made me feel like I was there!

-   Great mix of monsters/encounters

-   I didn't run into a single bug. The overall quality level is stellar and way better than the average
        FRUA module. I often felt like I was playing a commercial quality Gold Box Release.

-   Interesting/useful NPCs that can join your party. They also will chime in from time to time to add
        something in areas where they know something. Made them more interesting than "just another character in
        my party to use in battles".

The bad/potentially bad:
-   A little too easy because you can Fix or re-memorize spells at any point and are never interrupted. If
        there were some random encounters and/or other impediments to blowing your spell load fully in every
        battle it would have made the game quite a bit more challenging and lengthened it.

-   My characters all ended in the 11-13 range. I would have liked to go a little longer and get 7th level
        mage spells and be able to get more burn out of all the cool equipment I was finding. Given the lack of
        random encounters, this wasn't possible (I probably hurt my cause here by carrying one NPC the entire
        game and another one for a bit).

-   Some people might be put off by the extensive items awarded after battles – expect to get to +5 stuff
        all over the place. I found it appropriate for the setting, but, again, it would have been better IMO if
        there were more random encounters or impediments to resting after every battle.

-   It was a little too short. Random encounters and impediments to resting extensively would have helped
        not just with the overall difficulty level of the module but also the amount of time it takes to beat it
        as well!

-   Some people might find some of the flavor text/monster descriptions a bit too gruesome. (I loved them!)

-   A vault would have been useful because I had to drop a lot of equipment that I would like to have kept.
        (Perhaps there was a vault somewhere that I missed)

-   A money sink would have been a nice touch. Perhaps somewhere to buy magical wands, +2 arrows, scrolls,
        etc. (Again, perhaps there is one somewhere that I missed)

Looking at the above, there are just as many pros and cons in the list, but the pros are super-strong and the cons are minor. I cannot recommend this module enough!! Go play it now!!!

Olivier Leroux

I can only reiterate what hans and Antone Rapax said before. I really enjoyed this collection of dungeon crawl adventures and loved all the new content, the frame, the images, the combat icons, some new walls. The writing was nice, too. All in all, very immersive and fun, and highly polished on top of it.

My only nitpicks are similar to Antone's; I would have liked a Vault and/or something cool to spend all the money on, apart from Training and Restoration. Item progression was great, but there was quite a bit of powerful excess loot and lots of treasure that had no real purpose (I think I hardly ever had to Appraise all the jewelry). Something to work for would have been nice; if not for expensive items, then at least some other kind of achievement, like funding repair work in the town or similar. I also found the combat to be very easy for the most part, though I think rather than random combats or unexpected interruptions I would have liked resting to be restricted to certain spots, so that you are encouraged to do several battles in a row without resting and have to use your cleric's healing spells from time to time.

But even without all that, it was highly enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your hard work, Nol!  :like: