Yesterday’s session was interesting in terms of playtesting. Remember our setup? We had one more spellcaster this time around:
Also remember that last session did not involve any fights. This time around, Boris the fighter wanted to fight! Soon, one of the sidequests that popped up was “retrieve the sword Meteorstrike from a band of bugbears outside of town.”
As explained previously, when taking notes for a fight, I just add up all the hit dice and go from there:
That’s a lot of hits!
The players managed to sneak up to them and surprise them. How did I handle surprise? I let the initiative system carry it: whenever a player acts for the first time, they can use any +1 they get because they’re sneaking or ambushing or assassinating, depending on their skill; and as long as the players keep the initiative, the bugbears count as surprised, meaning they can’t use any of their skills effectively, thus they fight at +0 instead of +1.
Sadly for the players, I still rolled very well and two characters dropped to below zero hits. One player noticed that there was always a chance to lose four hits in every roll, so the game was super dangerous. We decided to keep using the notorious Death & Dismemberment table. It’s very forgiving when it comes to dying. And so the two characters rolled one more time:
|2||instant death: beheaded or similar; the victim may only be raised by resurrection|
|3||fatal wound and death at the end of the fight: pierced lung, cracked spine or similar; regeneration can avert death; the victim may be raised by resurrection or raise dead|
|4||loose a limb; roll 1d4: 1 – sword arm, 2 – shield arm, 3, 4 – leg; death can be averted by applying a tourniquet or cauterizing the wound with fire, you can regrow the limb using regeneration|
|5, 6||broken bone; roll 1d4: 1 – sword arm, 2 – shield arm, 3 – leg, 4 – rib; healing takes 2d4+9 weeks (sessions); regeneration can mend broken bones|
|7, 8||unconscious for the rest of the fight|
|9||stunned: at -1 for the rest of the fight|
|10||knocked down: at -1 until you spend the initiative to get up|
|11||you can take it!|
|12||adrenalin rush! Get back one ♡|
Remember we still use the names and descriptions of a lot of D&D-like spells with every spell being a special ability characters can learn.
Sadly, one of the players rolled a 2 and their character died. They announced that they are going to play a fighter, next.
Indeed, that’s one of the issues I noticed tonight. The lone fighter really dominated the game: it was very easy to nominate them for the next roll, and they interposed themselves a lot when the others got attacked (and indeed when they did not, the archer went down).
On the one hand, the player of the fighter got what they wanted. They wanted a fight, and they got a fight. They’re playing a fighter and they totally ruled. That’s cool.
The spellcasters realized that if they wanted to join a fight, they needed guards – they needed a front rank to hold back the enemies. The alternative would be a game like last session where the party decided not to fight. Sadly, they also don’t have many people versed in talking, so it’s a bit weird. They have a lot of spellcasters that want to fight.
I’m not sure: is this a problem of the rules that I need to fix, or is this a problem the players need to solve? 🤔
When I talked about it on Mastodon, @Halfjack said:
Be careful when playtesting of turning a player’s concerns into a failure to address the game. If they aren’t getting it, it’s possible the game isn’t pitching it yet.