Monday, August 3, 2009

Farseer Runes & You

This is yet another item I posted on Warseer around a year ago. I hadn't planned on re-posting it here, but a recent comment made me realize that certain misnomers are still floating around.

Farseer Runes, such a funny topic. Many people advocate for or against them, but rarely do you see actual numbers attached. I'm not one to accept mere anecdotal evidence and had some free time at work... so I thought to take it upon myself to show the Math-hammer* advantages and disadvantages of these basic items. Numbers are rounded to the nearest .1% for sake of ease.

First we'll take the "easy"** one: Runes of Warding.
Unmodified Ld 9: 80.6% Success, 13.9% Failure, 2.8% Perils & Success, 2.8% Perils & Failure
9 vs RoWarding: 30.1% Success, 25.0% Failure, 7.4% Perils & Success, 37.5% Perils & Failure
Unmodified Ld10: 88.9% Success, 5.6% Failure, 2.8% Perils & Success, 2.8% Perils & Failure
10 vs RoWarding: 42.6% Success, 12.5% Failure, 7.4% Perils % Success, 37.5% Perils & Failure

THE BOTTOM LINE: Enemy Failures become 4-6 times as common and Perils skyrocket to 8 times as often. Pretty simple, no? I know I won't leave home without them.

Okay, now for the one with trickier math: Runes of Witnessing
Regular Farseer: 88.9% Success, 5.6% Failure, 2.8% Perils & Success, 2.8% Perils & Failure
RoWit Farseer: 90.3% Success, 1.9% Failure, 7.8% Perils & Success, 0.04% Perils & Failure

A Runes of Witnessing Farseer is going to be slightly more reliable in casting (+6.25% or +1/16), but is going to also run a slightly higher risk of Perils (2.2% or 1/45). A Ghosthelm will help mitigate Perils a good bit. 5th edition's auto-wound and re-roll Inv save fun mean a regular Farseer will take a wound 1.4% normally or 0.9% with Fortune. A RoWit Farseer will take a wound 2.0% of the time, 1.3% with Fortune.

THE BOTTOM LINE: This upgrade might be worth it if you REALLY need that power and/or know you'll be facing something like the Tyranid "Shadows in the Warp" ability. But if the power is just nice rather than critical, there's probably better places to spend your points.

Last, let us look at Embolden:
Embolden Farseer: 96.3% Success, 0.5% Failure, 3.0% Perils and Success, 0.2% Perils & Failure

THE BOTTOM LINE: True reliability of casting comes when your Farseer is in with an Embolden Warlock. Know this, love it and use it!

Hope that's given you guys some interesting insights!

*Math-hammer does not take into account the Real World, your dice hating you, general bad luck, and other edicts of Murphy's Law!
**These are numbers updated as of 27/01/10. I'd missed a trick: you can also force the opponent to take Perils on a Success versus Runes of Warding. After all, Perils happens not just on a 12+, but also on ANY double 1...


  1. Very insightful! I often find myself thinking a piece of wargear will be beneficial without actually taking the time to see how it actually works out.

  2. I prefer Embolden since it's a cheap cost and it pays off against pinning and needing to pass a leadership test at the right time in addition to helping out the Farseer. Runes of Warding are simply a must have item for me! I like the breakdown you provided. Great stuff.

  3. Well, glad my comment sparked this post. I hadn't done the math myself, I was just going on appearances. Guess you shouldn't take anything for granted.

  4. @Shrink to Fit: I'm a computer programmer by trade and an engineer by schooling... I have this compulsion to always crunch the numbers. :-p

    @Akenseth: I prefer Embolden too, but it's good to know the numbers when your Farseer's hanging out with something other than Guardian Defenders or a Warlock Council. Glad you enjoyed the read.

    @Faolain: Glad to oblige. It's one of those prevalent myths of the current Codex, even I believed it and propagated it early on. Then one day I actually sat down and ran the numbers... the result surprised me. So I've made it a bit of penance to speak up with the numbers whenever I hear that idea brought up.
    And yeah, the Perils is MUCH less worrisome in 5th thanks to no longer having a S value. It made it safer for Eldar and nastier for Daemon Princes, so I call that one a win-win.

  5. I greatly appreciate the numbers.

    I've taken Runes of Warding on principle all the time because it's psychic defense. You won't always need a psychic defense, but when you need it, it helps.

    Runes of Witnessing had been a 'nice to have' power, but if I need 10 spare points elsewhere, it's the first thing to go.

    I'd been advised Embolden is neat, but about the only place I get access to it is in the Seer Council, so...I give a 'lock Embolden for that. Cheaper and more useful than RoWit. I did not realize Embolden beat out the Runes of Witnessing the way it did, though.

  6. There is one important time when Runes of Witnessing will save your bacon, however. If you run into another farseer with Runes of Warding.

    Relying only your normal leadership you have a 50% chance of success.
    Relying on your Ld with Embolden you have a 75% chance of success.
    Relying on your Ld with Runes of Witnessing you have a 99% chance of success.

    Now for some powers, the 25% failure chance may not be horrible. But if that is a 25% chance that you fail to fortune your seer council? That might just lose the game for you.

  7. Well, that broke out a little differently than I would have expected. Thanks for the info!