Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fudge Playtest Report Part 1

Monday I ran another playtest of the roleplaying game I am working on that is based on Fudge and Fate.

The characters were

Olaf, a fighter played by Chris
Maximilian, a mage played by Tim
Randor, a cleric of Dannu played by Ken
Fahris Starfall, half-elf mage/archer played by Dan

The setting was the City of Tashal from Harn. I used Harn instead of City-State because in a unrelated project I am working on a urban adventure and didn't have time to do the detailed maps I wanted. Luckily over on Lythia.com, a dedicated Harn fan mapped out an entire city block of Tashal that had all the elements I had planned for the adventure. A few modifications, some uploading of files to Roll20 and I was done on the prep.

The rules are the Majestic Realms RPG I been working on. Basically at this point it has the following elements

A set of traditional attributes (Str, Int, Dex, and Con)
A traditional skill list expanded from my MW Supplement ability list.
Aspects taken from Fate
Fudge style combat where your to hit is an opposed roll. If you win the degree of success is applied to your damage.
I added combat maneuvers modified from Runequest II/Legends.

The spell system has been revised a third time. This time everything is based off either a Religious Ritual roll for Divine spells, or a Thaumautology Roll for Arcane spell. The spell level subtracts from the roll making higher level spells more difficult to cast. Arcane spells take mana to cast which based off the character's constitution. The mana for Divine spells are kept track in a mana tally. If you exceed a threshold you are deemed in violation of the divine compact and various "bad" things can result for the caster.

The results of the session was as follows

The Scenario
The scenario I felt went well. For this adventure I embraced the traditional "meeting at a tavern" trope with a vengeance. The characters for the most part either worked at the tavern or had a relationship with the tavernkeeper.

A new mechanic I was trying out was a way to simulate the ebb and flow of tavern life. I noticed that the Harn Urban Encounter rules had some interesting features. The Harn book tells you to roll every minute. That if you roll a 16 or higher you generate an encounter. When I plugged this into Inspiration Pad Pro and generated 240 encounters (two hours) the result felt like what would be happening if you were just standing there in the tavern. On average 10 to 15 minutes would go by before an encounter happened and there were the occasional burst were three or four encounters would happen in successive minutes.

I attempted to run the playtest last Monday but only Chris was able to play. So I ran a short session with him acting as a bouncer. I used the above encounter method and got good results. Like with all random encounter tables, I had to apply a little creative interpretation of the results. Afterward, Chris remarked that it felt natural and was fun to deal with.

Now back to last Monday, I tried it out on the whole group, and the results were about the same. The main difference I focused on each player in turn. Every fourth encounter focused on a particular character. But for most encounter that didn't stop the others from jumping in.

I think I need to come up with a better table geared towards tavern life but the basic idea is very workable.

After about a hour or so of dealing with the tavern, the rest of the adventure unfolded. This led to the group being hired to look for a wayward young noble lord who happened to be the grandson of the King. The party combed the back alleyways of Tashal, gambling dens, and finally confronted a vampire in a crumbling tenement. They didn't destroy the vampire but managed to rescue the young noble. And that where the session ended.

Everybody did a great job roleplaying. Tommorrow I will dig into the system.

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