"Oh cool... So you're STILL working on this?" -- A guy at GenCon

"If I see Drah-koo-lah, I will. kick. him. in. the eye!!!" -- My 4 (almost 5) year old daughter. She GETS it!

"Meatpie Forever!" -- A playtester at GenCon 2013

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back Into the Fray

Last Friday, we did another playtest of TA/TG. It went well but I felt it dragged in spots. Here's some notes from what went down:

The Good

  • I made a point to put the characters (all 1st level at this time) into a really tough fight that might've dropped a typical 1st level party. One did get dropped (which illuminated a couple of other issues I've noted below) and the party all rolled terribly. They made it through the encounter but just barely. I felt this was important because I didn't know how much more powerful characters in TA/TG were compared to DCC. The answer? They're roughly the same. I wouldn't say it's a 1:1 sort of thing. But a similar party of characters in DCC would've had about the same amount of difficulty with the encounter as the TA/TG group had.
  • Leveling up was a love-fest. Everyone liked it. A couple of options were identified that deserved another look-through. But everyone commented on how simple and awesome gaining a level in TA/TG was. I would say this was a light-bulb moment. After leveling up their party, all the players "got it". It was fun, made sense and had that addictive quality to it that I was hoping for.
  • TA/TG really plays like DCC with a few twists. Not all the twists will be to everyone's tastes. But none of them make it patently unrecognizable as DCC. I like that and think it helps create an enjoyable experience.
  • Guns were awesome. A little odd because the players rolled so poorly with them. But they worked very nicely.

The Bad

  • The absence of magic in the party was pretty obvious. We're going to want the Theorist sooner, rather than later. And I'm not sure how throwing a spell-slinger in there will affect the party's efficacy.
  • Getting dropped failed to pass the Awesome test. I'd also left out a couple of pertinent details about getting dropped that I was publicly kicking myself for not being able to find. Better that I find those things now.

The Ugly

  • Fear turned out to be fearful. One character nearly killed herself from fright. I tried to explain how it should (in theory) get better as the party increases in experience but I did have to go back and massage those rules a bit. I don't mind there being a lethal element. But players shouldn't get whooped too badly by one bad roll.
  • When players roll poorly and monsters follow suit, combat can really drag. I think that's true for any edition of "the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game". And it's very true here as well. This inspired me to go dust off a chart I've been using as a DM for decades to spice up dull encounters. I'll be adding this to TA/TG.

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