Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Testing out the dungeon some more

Last week I managed to squeeze in 2 sets of playtesting, one solo and then one with my friend Fredrik.

I feel like basic mechanics for combat resolution are sound now, it's just a matter of balancing skills and items to get the desired difference between a grizzled veteran, a  peasant with a pitchfork and mosters of all sorts. As it stands now, the standard 1 kill 1 shock die makes everyone too equal, and it just doesn't fit my idea of heroic fantasy, but it does work well for more realistic games.

I have tried increasing the number of dice you get to roll and re-roll with some skills, equipment and benefits, but I don't know how many dice is too many just yet. For example: when I ran these games, the warriors equipped with 2-handed weapons were rolling 2K 1S with one re-roll, simulating the higher damage capacity of their weapons, and the one re-roll representing better training.
 This worked out quite well for the most part, but after the fact I'm not sure if one re-roll for the entire game was enough, I might need to make it once per combat, or even once per round to make it more useful..
Future testing will have to determine this. As the mod stands right now, I think that the moment when small warband skirmish is possible isn't too far off. I need to balance up the skills for the characters and heroes so that I can finish the progression charts for them, and I'm thinking of making a list of traits that can be used to define non-humans where needed. 

Enough about my thoughts, there are some photos from the testing:

A set of brave heroes, a balanced lot containing a warrior, a priest, a wizard and a ranger.

The dungeon. 

The fighting in the first room dragged on for quite a bit, the monsters just wouldn't stay down. When running dungeon scenarios like this one, I might leave the bog-standard monsters without a save, just to speed things up a bit. Then again, the extra re-rolls I'm going to try out might solve the problem in and of itself.

After some tough fightning the party moved along, into a hall of pillars. In an alcove, there were 2 skeletal guards, waiting to pounce on unwary intruders. The already wounded warrior went OOA in this fight, and the priest sustained a wound before they had dispached the sentries.

Reaching the last room, finally reveals the necromancer, the foul creature they came to slay! Fierce fighting breaks out, magic missiles streak through the air, the wizard wounds the foul necromancer, and an arrow from the skeletal archer wounds the ranger. 

 Ultimately the necromancers fate is sealed when the priest charges forth, and with a swing guided by the divine, he ends the abomination. 1 OOA and 2 wounded heroes wasn't too bad, but for my own games I think that the priest will have to receive some sort of healing skill, to make longer adventures possible. Maybe I'll introduce healing postions as an item and possible treasure as well..

From the second playtest I don't have as many photos, since I was busy teaching Fredrik the basics of Fivecore while we played.
The first real threats are spotted. 

Fighting ensues.. 

  And a pic from a small test set up to try out a few skills under controlled circumstances.

This second playtest lead to the both of us sitting down to discuss what we could do differently, to make it a better game. We are both great fans of Diablo and similar ARPG games, and while I'm happy with adapting FiveCore for my own games, my friend felt that there are some inherent limitations to the system once you start to ramp things up to dragons, trolls and other epic opponents. I too would like to be able to emulate some of Diablo's dungeon-bash feel, but with a party rather than single character forcus.
 As a result I will also start working on a separate set of rules based on an entirely different mechanic,
but I will of course endeavour to finish my mod before, so I can share both! :)

My terrain tray has started to fill up, lots of pieces for sci-fi and fantasy both, but pending paint it's still some time off before you get to see anything..

Til next time!  


  1. Replies
    1. I'll try to compile it all into a pdf for you as soon as I feel that it's ready to share :)