About Me

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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Playtest, in the key of B4 minor

I converted part of The Lost City, module B4 of OD&D, to the fledgling Phoenix RPG rules and Baby Bat ran an Elf Conquestor through it.  This was the longest playtest to date, and it went very well.  In an hour and a half of solid play, we made it through the first two tiers of the pyramid.  We were so focused on the dungeon exploration that we completely forgot we were playtesting for most of the session - a good sign!

Behold... Zargon arises yet again!

Several key elements of Phoenix have come together in this playtest better than ever before. 

Combat was super-fast paced - we fought multiple fights within an hour - and the latest iteration of the no-attack roll mechanics proved very fun.  The per-round initiative system didn't slow anything down and added pleasant unpredictability.  The exploding dice added spice at just the right time when a massive critical explosion slaughtered the killer bee queen.  Tricks (special, learnable martial abilities) proved worthwhile and added flavor without excessive complexity or time-consuming decision making - it was obvious when the right time was to use the tricks yet they still offered a trade-off.  Tactical hex maps with a 1m scale worked great - they seemed big at first, but gave ample room for movement and occupants.

Non-combat play also went well.  I'm using more of the OSR strategy where I expect players to describe what they do and then apply the right mechanic - so a player doesn't roll "find traps" for the hallway, but rather they describe what they want to do and then the GM decides if a roll of some kind is needed.  Most of the time it wasn't, although we had an interesting post-game discussion on jumping.

Baby Bat's character made creative use of beetle chitin to look for traps, she got soaked by mischievous sprites, she discovered a firework and used it to great effect in a giant beehive, and she filled an inkwell with sticky honey for frightening future potential.

Basic treasure generation provided a few stacks of coins and a couple of gems - a half-carat amethyst and a well-cut one-carat citrine.

Social interaction with the local extremists went well - although as a Conquestor, Baby Bat didn't have many social specialties, so these interactions were really just fundamental roleplaying.

I will explain more details of Phoenix in upcoming posts - for now I just want to share the excitement of a successful playtest.

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