Friday, June 18, 2010

8- Playtest One

Last night was the first playtest of the system and it seemed to go fairly well. Part of it was the system but the majority of it was the attitude of the play testers. There weren't too many holes and the ones that there were, were dealt with graciously.

Some issues that arose were:
* more refinement is required in the conflict resolution system especially in a situation where direct contact is not initiated e.g. sneaking up on someone. I have ambushing fairly well defined but "sneaking up" requires a little work. Perhaps some kind of single roll similar to a conflict with an inanimate object.

* definition of what actions can be taken once you were "bested" in a conflict. Besting is an idea I'm working on to reduce the dead/alive ending to a combat. I think it's more dramatic for there to be a final decision when a character has bested someone instead of just ending with a body on the floor.

* characters were underpowered. The players felt that even as starting characters they should be able to rely on 1 or two of their primary skills. Across the board failure is no fun. I should have done more rolling myself.

* there should be a mechanism for deciding who acts first or initiative. This one was a simple fix

* there should also be a mechanism for applying a skill you don't have. Again easily fixed. All characters have a minimal aptitude in all areas.

Some positives were:
* the marker/story point system for adjusting rolls although not well defined was appreciated. Players liked being able to use them to modify a roll after they'd rolled. This is in line with some of the ways I imagined they might be earned. The players agreed that if they were awarded for something meaningful they should have meaning when they are spent not just vanish due to the vagaries of a roll.

* the fact that skills worked in both directions was appreciated

* always rolling the same dice was appreciated as compared with determining dice pools modifiers etc.

One other thing came out of the session, and I would recommend it if you are play testing: as the designer, give the first criticism in the feedback session. It gets people talking about what they liked and didn't like and also removes the stigma of casting the first stone.

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