Exploration in RuneScape Kingdoms: Shadow of Elvarg | Tabletop Tutorial Island P3

Hey there, ‘Scapers. Welcome to Tabletop Tutorial Island, Part 3!

In this series, we’re taking a tour of RuneScape Kingdoms: Shadow of Elvarg, the cooperative campaign board game that’s coming to Kickstarter on May 31st. Go follow the Kickstarter now so you don’t miss out!

(In case you missed it, Part 2 talked about Skills, Skill Tests, and Levelling. Check it out here.)

Today, we’ll explain how you explore the world of RuneScape Kingdoms. But first, we have two minis to reveal today: the clue hunter player avatar, and the very first threat you’ll face on the tabletop, Count Draynor!

Today’s Minis: Count Draynor & Clue Hunter!

The nightmare of Draynor Manor, this supernatural scourge is terrorising the inhabitants of Draynor Village. It’s down to you to put a stop to his bloodthirsty rampage in your first board game campaign. 

(There are four campaigns in the RuneScape Kingdoms: Shadow of Elvarg core box, each with an iconic boss waiting for you at the end. That’s four unique bosses in the core box alone!) 

Of course, there’s plenty to do in Asgarnia and Misthalin, so you may find yourself distracted from your goal. But if you spend too long ignoring the threat of Count Draynor, he’ll begin to roam further afield in search of prey, making your exploration progressively more dangerous…

When you do finally face Count Draynor, make sure you’ve been instructed in how to take down a vampyre, and armed yourself with a stake. Otherwise, you might not survive to tell the tale!

But let’s not worry about that for now. Instead, let’s say hello to the clue hunter!

What if you’re not drawn to RuneScape or Old School RuneScape by the combat, or the skills? What if it’s the rare gear, clue scrolls, and treasure trails rewards you seek? What if you heard the call of ‘fashionscape’ and thought, “I’m into it”? If any of these are true, the clue hunter player avatar is for you!

Equipped with an iconic Staff of Bob the Cat and dressed in the Sandwich Lady outfit, the clue hunter is designed to represent someone just starting out on their fashionscape journey. 

And with that, we’ve met all five player avatars! Or, the low level ones, at least. But more on that another time…

Exploration in RuneScape Kingdoms: Shadow of Elvarg

by Jamie Perkins (Product Owner)

When you hear the phrase ‘game board’, a few different images probably come to mind. After all, they come in all shapes and sizes!

Deciding on the game board for RuneScape Kingdoms was a lengthy discussion, tied directly into what kind of board game we wanted RuneScape Kingdoms to be.

When we landed on an open world, narrative adventure, with players traversing the map at will, the pieces started to fall into place (if you catch our drift). 

Rather than creating a detailed map of the streets of Falador or Varrock, we opted for a more ‘zoomed out’ world map. Think of it like a fast travel map in a video game. And don’t worry – you’ll still find plenty of places you recognise!

A quick Google brings up various maps for RuneScape and Old School RuneScape. There's a real variety out there: from the in-game world maps, to concept art, and even a mouse mat! 

When creating RuneScape Kingdoms, we wanted to craft something totally new, to be cartographers of the RuneScape universe in our own right. That’s why we brought a ‘concept art’ style to the game board, as well as hand-drawn banners in each location.

These banners represent two types of locations your miniature can be positioned on, called regions. The larger banners represent capital regions like Falador and Varrock. The smaller banners represent province regions like Draynor Village and Rimmington.

So far, so good. But how do our miniatures move from one region to another?

Exploring Provinces

During your turn, one of your options is to ‘explore’ the game board. When you explore, you move your adventurer from one region to any other region connected to it by a dotted line.

Each time you explore a province, you draw a card of the same colour as the province from an exploration deck themed to that area of the game board.

Exploration cards represent randomly occurring encounters that can happen in that area of the game board. This can include bonus tasks, rewards, encounters with foes, or unexpected conversations with non-player characters.

At the Black Knight’s Fortress, you might draw an exploration card that sees you cross paths with a midnight-clad warrior blocking your path! Will you sneak past them, or try to face them in a duel? If you explore Taverly, perhaps some druids will ask for your assistance. Can you help them?

In the image above, the knight moved from Falador to Draynor Manor. Draynor Manor has the same coloured banner as Lumbridge, meaning the Draynor Manor is part of the Lumbridge area. The knight therefore draws a Lumbridge exploration card for this action.

Exploration cards are usually separated into three sections, one for each of the provinces in a given area. When you explore a province, you’ll resolve the section of the card matching the province you’ve explored. 

Because the knight explored Draynor Manor, they resolve the Draynor Manor section of the card and ignore the other two. This means they have to take a defence skill test! If they pass, they earn three coins! But if they fail, they suffer a wound.

Once you’ve resolved the exploration card, you get to interact with the province's other icon. In the case of Draynor Manor, the knight gets to collect a vegetable token to use later in the game. (We’ll talk more about ingredients and other resources in another article.)

In some provinces, adventurers can spend their resources to skill by chopping down a tree (or 50!), shooting at some barbarians, or spending some quiet time fishing.

That just about covers province regions. So, what’s different about exploring a capital region?

Exploring Capitals

Generally, there’s more going on in a capital region than a province region. Capital regions are also less prone to random encounters, as you don’t draw an exploration card for exploring one. But fear not – there’s plenty of other things to be getting up to.

Similar to provinces, if a capital region contains resources, you can collect them by taking a token. In the above image, the knight has moved on from Draynor Manor to Falador. Falador has a thread icon, so the knight takes a thread token.

In the RuneScape or Old School RuneScape video games you might gain experience by mining ore, smelting it into metal bars, and smithing it into armour. The equivalent process in a capital region removes the resources from the equation: you just exchange your coins for a given skill.

So, in the above scenario, the knight can spend coins to do some skilling. Skills cost different amounts to train depending on which capital you’re in. In Falador, it costs one coin to gain an XP in crafting, or b coins to gain an XP in gathering or cooking. 

If they wanted to, the knight could spend more coins to train multiple different skills. They could spend three coins to gain an XP in crafting and an XP in cooking. Or they could spend five coins to gain an XP in all three skills.

The only limitation to skilling in a capital is you can’t spend coins to keep training the same skill in the same turn. To train a certain skill multiple times, you’d have to spend multiple turns in the same capital region. And you don’t necessarily want to be doing that…

Each time you explore a capital region, the escalation track increases by one. We’ll leave you to wonder what that means for now. But we can give you a hint… It’s not good.

Exploring a capital can be awesome, but it comes with a degree of risk.

Where to Go Next

That’s all from us for now, ‘Scapers! We’ll be back at the same time next week with Part 4 of the Tabletop Tutorial Island series.

Want to back the game on Kickstarter? Follow the campaign now so you’re ready for launch!

Want to get hyped with other ‘Scapers? Join the dedicated Facebook group for RuneScape Kingdoms: Shadow of Elvarg – you’ll find all new reveals here, too!

Want to hang out with us and the video game mods? We’ll be making a guest appearance on some of the upcoming RuneScape and Old School RuneScape Twitch streams to answer your questions and talk about the new minis. Keep an eye on the Facebook group and SFG socials to find out when.