Conan 2d20 Quickstart Playtest: To Race the Thunder

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CRKrueger

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Since Endless Flight has some questions about Conan 2d20, I'll repost a playtest.

WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST

So, I ran the Conan Quickstart adventure last night. I didn’t slow down to keep track of everything, die roll by die roll, it would have been a mechanics test, not an adventure.

We had Edric, Adelstan and Amala (the people who ran those in the Combat Example tests decided to keep those characters), the two new characters were Maeve and Othwald.

I had decided to let Lucina use her Sorcery to defend others against Anavenagar. Basically as a reaction, she could use Sorcery with a D1 test, giving any Momentum to the PC resisting the spell. The idea was since she knew some Hedge Witch tricks, it would be like throwing a Hoodoo sign against the Evil Eye (or something similar). I also decided that her being a shepherd, her minor use of magic might involve animals and let her try and interrupt the Command Mighty Beast spell (which, BTW is BRUTAL when used on the Chakan and the Panther). Possibly a little overpowered considering her background, but she was born in Conajohara and lived her whole life in a land wilder than most, a land that remembers. (Kudos if you know what that means.) As it turns out, she was needed after all.


The Drums of Doom
The characters started off South of Bramble Creek, West of the Bridge Road. Hearing the drums across the river, the PCs were deciding what to do when Othwald used Lore and Linguistics (his background states he’s experienced in the Pictish Wilderness) to determine that this was not the normal nightly drumming, but something much larger. The PCs set off toward Bramble Bridge when the first Pict attack occurred.

The First Attack
Since there are 5 PCs, they are attacked by 6 Picts. I played it according to the module and had them represented by Minions, 2 3-Minion Mobs. I did not choose to spend Doom to upgrade any to Elites. The PCs defeated the Picts, and realizing the Picts are over the river, moved quickly to the Bridge.

Since in my playtest, 3 PCs went through 8 Picts like shit through a goose, I didn’t expect 6 Picts for 5 PCs to be anything more than a speedbump, and I was right, they vaporized the Picts, not even taking any Vigor loss, despite me tossing Doom into everything the Minions did.



The Bridge on Bramble Creek
The PCs arrive at the Bridge, hearing the chopping sounds of the Picts in the river, not detecting the Pict hiding on the bank. Deciding the PCs need a challenge at this point I upgrade all three Picts (half the PCs rounded up) to Elites and throw full 3 Doom into the ambush shot of the Elite. Othwald, who is in front, takes 8 Vigor and a Wound. The PCs charge, the Picts come up out of the river to surprise the PCs on their flanks, and it’s a tough fight due to surprise and me spending more Doom then the players buy. Adelstan takes a Wound.
I also decided to give the Picts a War Whoop, similar to Steely Glare, but 3* (* is Combat Dice) since it is nighttime and the "Picts Are Over the River". So a couple of players lose some Resolve but no Trauma.

The PCs bind their Wounds successfully (meaning they still have them but will take no penalties from them until they are Wounded again, opening the Wounds up) and rest a few minutes to decide what to do (recovering all Vigor and Resolve). Othwald uses Lore to find out that the Picts cutting the Bridge are of a different clan then the ones from Gwawela (the main Pictish village closest to Fort Tuscelan). With the Picts over the Black River, more than one clan involved and apparently having a strategic plan, the PCs decide the Fort already knows there’s an attack occurring, and decide to tell the settlers and see if the Picts have gotten as far as Scalp Creek (not on the adventure map for some reason, Scalp Creek marks the western border of the settlements in Conajohara.)

Worse than Water Moccasins
This encounter was supposed to occur if the PCs didn’t save the bridge or at some point they decide to ford a river at a deep point. Instead, I placed the encounter at Scalp Creek as the PCs head into the settlements. There are 4 Picts (PCs minus one) and I upgrade one to an Elite, so we have an Elite and a 3-Minion Mob. The PCs detect the Picts this time and lay into them. Adelstan goes after the leader, spending a Fortune Point (which guarantees him 2 successes) and giving me 3 Doom to get a total of 5d20 to roll. The urgency of the players is apparent at this point, they really want to get to the settlers. Adelstan doesn’t have the best melee skill, but his Aquilonian Knight’s Broadsword he inherited from his father is a deadly weapon, and he cleaves the Pict leader with one mighty blow (at this point I give him a free Steely Glare attack representing a Morale attack on the Mob) one breaks and runs, getting an arrow through the back from Maeve, and Amala and Edric cleave down the other Picts. No PC injury, I didn’t spend Doom to have the Picts go first.

The Last Stand of Balthus and Slasher(my addition, not in the module)
As the PCs hurry east along the Settler’s Road, they see dead Picts in the road and one laying across a tangle of fallen logs beside the trail. As they carefully circle the scene, they see the results of a great battle, as a man and warhound, with their backs to the logs, killed several Picts with arrows before the savages charged over the breastworks. Checking quickly over the tangled corpses of man, dog, and 6 Picts, the PCs recognize Balthus and Slasher (even the newest PCs have been there a week or three). All of the PCs took Resolve loss, from the shocking event (I beefed it with Doom), but Adelstan actually took a point of Trauma (a mental Wound, enough of those and you go insane, or something similar). Amala attempted to Counsel young Adelstan, but he denied the attempt and set off down the road. (I gave him a Fortune Point for roleplaying his character, even though not accepting the Counsel meant he was now taking a 1 Difficulty penalty from the Trauma, his Wound was bandaged, so not penalizing him)

The First House
The PCs, running full out now, despite the danger of ambush, arrive at the first house along the Settler’s Road. A horrific scene awaits them, as all the settler’s animals have been slaughtered and inside the house, Canaeus, Iphisa and their four children lie strewn about the cabin cut to pieces. The PCs realize their eldest daughter Rowena is missing. Taking a minute to gather their Resolve (they all took Resolve damage from that shock since I spent Doom to amp the effect) while they do a quick search for Rowena outside, Maeve fires the hut “so the filthy Picts won’t decorate themselves with these people’s scalps and hides”. (I gave her a Fortune for that one) The PCs run on down the Settler’s road. (Ok now my players are pissed.)

The Second House
A quarter-mile later, the families come to the house of Ulgram, son of Eald and his wife Friede, Bossonian settlers originally from the Marches across Thunder River. Edric and Adelstan were in the lead (due to them having the highest Athletics scores, I didn’t bother rolling), and I had them make a D3 Observation test (due to them running). They both spent a Fortune Point to make it count and bought dice through Doom. (I used those Doom unbeknownst to them to boost the encounter.) They hear a battle ahead, and slow down a bit so they can assess the situation. They see 8 Picts (2 Elites with a 3-minion Mob each) trying to break in the cabin.

Since they weren’t running headlong, they surprise the Picts and get the first attack. Edric, who generated a Cromload of Momentum in the Observation and Exploit Tests, cuts the head right off an Elite Pict, while Adelstan cleaves into one Mob, killing two Picts, losing his sword in the melee and finishing off the third with a massive shield bash. (The PCs are throwing everything in, the Momentum is flowing.) I throw the Doom right back at them (interrupting PC initiative so the Picts can respond before the rest of the PCs get there) Wounding Edric with the last Elite and taking off a bunch of Adelstan’s Vigor with the second Mob. For the PCs coming up I have them attack in order of arrival, again based on Athletics score. Othwald drops his spear and charges the Elite with his Battleaxe, showing the brutality of the weapon. (It doesn’t have Reach compared to the spear, and doesn’t have the Parrying Quality like Swords do, but it has Vicious 1, and Intense as Qualities. Vicious 1 means an Effect on the Combat die lets you add a point of damage per effect, and Intense means that if you cause one Wound, an effect used through Intense makes it two Wounds which kills Elites.) Othwald makes use of those effects by invoking Vicious to score a Wound, and invoking Intense to make it two Wounds, coming into the Pict with a midline sideways chop that cuts the Elite through to the spine, spilling entrails onto the ground. Amala and Maeve both fire their War Bows into the unengaged Mob of Picts, using Volley to kill all three in a hail of arrows, although in her Cimmerian Fury, Maeve snaps the string on her War Bow. (Double Complication)

Edric tosses Maeve his War Bow, knowing she’s the better archer by far. The Bossonians come out of the house, and help the PCs recover their Vigor and Resolve (Adelstan finally lets himself be Counseled, removing the penalty from his Trauma.) The PCs get the settler’s horses quickly hitched up to their wagon, and the Bossonians head east along the road, going to warn everyone, while the PCs guard the rear and see if they can hold off the Picts and possibly find traces of Rowena, the missing daughter..
 

CRKrueger

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Part Two...
Death’s Dark Messenger
Time for the PCs to know why they are afraid of the dark, time for them to learn why they fear the night, time for them to know what it truly means to be a child of civilization in the Pictish Wilderness (yeah one of the PCs is Cimmerian, but work with me here). Time to be brutal. (I will include more rules stuff here because I was focused on this and remember better what I rolled) The PCs encounter a black forest panther. I spend a Doom to give it the symbols and signs (meaning the PCs will realize it is commanded by a Shaman) and I also spend 3 Doom to have Anavenagar, the Pictish shaman here (the 3 Doom spend to add a new opponent was something in the Cinematic Combat Example). Anavenagar chose to have the Panther attack Othwald, one because he is wounded, and two, being a veteran of Conajohara, his reputation is known.

The Panther is a Mighty Foe, so is basically a PC. The Panther stealths in, I roll very well, the PCs don’t, and the Panther generates 2 Momentum, and achieves complete Surprise. Because the Panther has Surprise, it gets a free Exploit action (which allows you to size up your foe before an attack). The Panther generates 2 Momentum in it’s Observation test for Exploit. It can use those Momentum to add dice or to increase damage. So with 4 Momentum, I have the Panther buy two Attack Dice with Momentum, I throw in one Doom which gives the Panther 5 dice on the attack with 2 Exploit Momentum remaining. The Panther attacks and since it’s complete surprise there is no Reaction. The Panther scores 6 Successes (I hit with 4 dice and one of them was a 1, so counts as 2 successes), which generates 5 more Momentum. Now here is a question I have to ask Jason. I know PCs can only have 6 Momentum saved up, but 1. I’m the DM (DoomMaster is what my PCs named me) and 2. Some of that Momentum was generated by the free Exploit which has it’s own rules. Anyway, I kept it.
biggrin.gif


The 2 points of Exploit Momentum let me do more than normal Momentum. Instead of adding points of damage, I get to add damage dice. So with the Panther’s Bite of 6* I add two from the Exploit Momentum to get 8*. Othwald has no shield, and isn’t in cover, only armor, but an Exploit attack also has Piercing 2, which means I can spend an Effect to go through 2 points of Armor. This is not going to be good.

8 Dice - 3 1’s (1 point of damage) and 5 5’s or 6’s (Effect Dice, 1 pt plus Effect.) We all just looked at the dice, not believing I didn’t roll a 3 or 4. So 8 Damage right off the bat, plus 5 Effects, which I throw into the Panther’s Bite which has Vicious 2 (so each effect gives me 2 damage.) 17 Damage (18 minus Othwald’s Armor of 1), that’s three Wounds right off the bat, plus a 4th because Othwald’s 10 Vigor was reduced past zero. Added to 1 Wound already, Othwald is dead as the Panther leaps from the trees, tearing his throat out with it’s mighty jaws.

Now, the Coup de Grace. Anavenagar spends my final 3 pts of Doom I was saving to wield Pictish magic. Hearing on the wind the whispering of words old when Man was young, the Panther gains an additional Standard Action and an extra die to roll when it does. It’s target - the Cimmerian, Maeve. The Panther leaps at Maeve, using it’s Raking Claws to match the Reach of her Sword. 3d20 for the attack, plus 2 Momentum give it 5 dice. Maeve spends a Fortune Point and buys 2 Dice, giving me some Doom back. Since she has a Sword, with the Parrying Quality she Parries for free on her first reaction of the round. The Panther again rolls a 1, and beats Maeve’s Momentum by 1 success, winning and having 4 Momentum left.

Rolling 5* for the Raking Claws, the Panther Scores 6 damage and three effects. The three effects invoke Vicious 1 of the Panthers claws to make 9 damage, and the Panther spends 3 Momentum to make it 12 Total, minus Maeve’s Armor two, for 10pts. Ten points is two Wounds, plus a third, because Maeve’s Vigor was reduced past zero. Maeve is one Wound away from being down and dying and the Panther still has one Momentum. It’s turn now ended, that Momentum gives me a Doom for 3 total Doom. (Looking back, if I had gone for the Bite again, it’s possible I would have dropped her to dying, but with a reach disadvantage, I probably wouldn’t have done so well.)

The rest of the PCs now attack, I choose not to spend Doom for the Panther to react. They all spend a Fortune, but none of them buy dice for Doom. The Panther is tough, with 5 Wounds like a PC has, and 12 Vigor, but the 4 remaining PCs kill it. Anavenagar, who the PCs never saw, melts into the forest.

Having a PC dead, and seeing the sigils on the Panther is a double Morale attack. They all suffer Resolve loss, but Edric is stricken by the loss of Othwald and takes a Trauma. The PCs bandage Maeve and Counsel Edric. Filled with new resolve he takes Othwald’s battleaxe and swears he’ll wash it in the blood of the Picts he sends to hell so Othwald will know he’s avenged. (Yep, there’s a Fortune Point)

Now knowing not only are the Picts over the river, but there is a shaman turning the very animals against them, they decide to catch up to the settlers to protect them.



Enter the Shepherdess
We take a quick break and I ask the guy who was playing Othwald who he wanted to play from who’s left. He said Lucina. So I take him aside and tell him that Lucina, alerted to something odd going on by her flock, is roused and sees the glow of distant fires, and heads to the Settler’s Road. There she sees the Bossonians at the House of another settler family. Lucina, who’s lived her whole life on the frontier, and Ulgram son of Eald, an old man wise to Pict raids, know how important it is to spread the message fast, so while the rest of the fleeing settlers help get the families up and moving, Lucina and Ulgram fire the haystacks and barns to get the signal out. They keep on down the road.

A Scream in the Distance
The PCs are mirroring the characters in that they are becoming more grim and determined. While they’re talking and catching up the settlers, Amala, the Hyperborean puts this into words - “The settlers are on their way to Velitrium, and we’re going to be their shield. We’re already dead, all that matters is how many we take with us.” (Boom! Fortune Point)

At that point, the PCs hear a woman’s scream, north of the road. Maeve points out it could be a trick, Edric thinks if it is a trick, then that means they found the shaman they need to kill. Adelstan thinks it’s Rowena and runs north, with the others following.

They indeed find Rowena, her clothes dirty and torn from being led through the woods, her hands tied in front of her, her feet hobbled, and leather thong around her neck held by her captors. Her captors are a tribe of Pict the PCs have never seen before, completely naked in their savage state, covered in black and grey paint with faces painted white like leering demon skulls, the Picts almost look like disembodied skulls floating in the night rather than men. Utterly quiet, the Picts move to attack. (The Picts are supposed to be the number of PCs, half Elites, but since there are only 4 of them now, I decide to spend 2 Doom to make the 2 Minions into Elites, which fits this group of Picts more than any other they’ve met. I spend one point of Doom to have the lead Pict attack first, going after Adelstan (and I’m out of Doom again). Adelstan’s a Knight, defending a woman against dishonor and worse from the most evil, savage people he’s ever seen, so he goes all out, spending a Fortune and paying Doom to get 5 dice for his defense. I throw the 2 Doom right back at him. The Pict wins, with one Momentum. The combination of Adelstan’s Large Shield and Mail Armor though is too great for the Pict to overcome, even with his spear, and the spear shivers against Aquilonian steel.

The rest of the fight is fierce, Adelstan’s shield, armor and broadsword, and the player’s decision to have the young warrior throw everything into the fight, damn the consequences, means the Knight really kicked some serious ass here.

Edric and Amala picked up Wounds, but they killed the Picts, and saved Rowena. After bandaging up as best they can, they move on. Each PC only has one Fortune left. Adelstan was out, but got one due to his fury and determination in rescuing the girl. But thanks to that Fury, I had 5 Doom as we moved to the EndGame.
 

CRKrueger

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Part Three...

Hopelessly Outnumbered
The PCs and Rowena catch up to the settlers along the road and they hurry to the Thunder River, and safety. As they get to within hearing distance of the river, the screams of approaching warriors echoes from behind. The PCs know there’s no way the settlers are going to get across the river unless they help. They turn and make their stand. (One of my players who got off work early had showed up while the PCs were saving Rowena. The player who was playing Lucina filled him in about everything while that fight was going on.) At this point I asked him if he wanted to play Petrus, the Aquilonian Noble and he said “Fuck that, I want to play the Old Bossonian.” I had statted up old Ulgram, Son of Eald just in case, using Maeve the Archer as a rough guide, so he got to play Ulgram. The other players urged him to help his family, but he replied “I’ve spent my son’s whole lives showing them how to live like men, now I’m going to show them how to die like one.” Fucker gets a Fortune Point before he even rolls a die.

Well, there being 6 PCs now, 12 Picts come charging out of the night, 4 Mobs of 3. The PCs spend what Fortune they have left firing into the fray, but none spend Doom, waiting for the melee. Maeve and Ulgram, the best archers use Volley to good effect, and only one Mob makes it in, but with 3d20 I roll two 1’s. The PCs curse all Picts to hell, and Edric takes his third Wound, opening up the other two, so he has a 3 Penalty now, and no Fortune to spend to ignore it. The PCs response kills the final mob in melee.

As the settlers are crossing the river and support from Velitrium is starting to approach the opposite bank, the PCs start to bind Edric’s wounds, but the danger isn’t over…



The Horror From the Trees
As the PCs are bandaging Edric, a harsh, guttural Pict voice mocks them from the treeline, and from the river mists, a knife shape is formed that hurls itself at Edric. Lucina, paying Doom to use a Countersign, wards Edric and the knife turns back into smoke as it hits him and the PCs hear a Pict scream in rage. Adelstan, Amala, and Edric rush the trees, to kill the Shaman, while Maeve, Lucina, and Ulgram hold the bank with bow and sling at the ready to cover them and shoot anything they see.

Unfortunately, what they don’t see is the most horrific thing this night holds, a Chakan, an ape-thing from the depths of the Pictish Wilderness, a cunning and cruel beast that most Conajoharans think is only a legend. Swinging from the trees above, with a mighty leap it jumps into the middle of the group on the bank. If the PCs had detected the Chakan, they could have done well, but Surprise in this game is frigging nasty with that Exploit and the Momentum it allows. The Chakan lands and wraps it’s great limbs around Maeve, the injured Cimmerian and snaps her neck like a twig and throws her corpse into the Thunder River. Anavenagar can’t boost the Chakan (he’s busy and I need the Doom for him), but the Chakan generated enough Momentum that it gives itself an extra attack and sends Ulgram flying with two wounds and Knockdown effect, despite his spending a Fortune (coming in late, he had more than the other players).

Meanwhile, the other group finds Anavenagar as a thrown knife from ambush hits Adelstan, giving him his second Wound and opening up the old one. Once the Ambush round is over, the Shaman again spends Doom to go first, he uses more Doom to cast Face of Fear, again at Adelstan, a mental attack giving him a second Trauma. He now is plus 4 difficulty to everything (2 from 2 Wounds, 2 from 2 Trauma) and is out of Fortune to ignore the penalties. Amala buys full Doom to attack the Shaman, inflicting one Wound, and Adelstan buys full Doom as well, rolling like Conan himself (3 goddamn focus successes) and hitting the Shaman for one Wound despite the penalties. Edric now attacks, using Doom as well as Momentum generated from the first two and fulfills his vow to Othwald, burying his Axe in the shaman’s chest, cleaving his heart in two. He spends the Fortune I give him for fulfilling his vow to grit through his pain and ignore his penalties.

Back at the bank, Lucina attacks the Chakan with her Battle Axe, but to no avail. The next round, the Chakan spends Doom and throws everything into a Brutal Slam at Lucina, inflicting 2 Wounds, knocking her down and stunning her. Using Momentum, the Chakan uses a second attack to Brutal Slam Ulgram, who is just getting up and inflicts 2 more wounds on the old man, knocking him down and stunning him as well.

The other PCs come out of the treeline to see the Chakan standing over Lucina and Ulgram with no Maeve in sight. They run towards the Ape and see an arrow from the river hit the Ape with complete surprise. (I let Maeve’s player take over Petrus, who was coming from Velitrium and she made a D3 bowshot from a canoe. Surprise and Exploit is friggin nasty).

The next round, the other PCs arrive and the Chakan, driven mad by bloodlust and pain and no longer under control of the Shaman, charges the 3 PCs. While wounding the beast severely, Adelstan and Amala get knocked aside, each picking up another Wound, while Edric, free of his penalties, kills the beast with a mighty blow from his battleaxe.

Seeing a large fire to the West, which could only be the destruction of Fort Tuscelan, and fearing more Picts flooding into Conajohara, the PCs gather their wounded and make their way across the river to Velitrium. There will be time later to mourn and recover the dead, for now it is enough to be alive and back in the land of civilized men.

Aftermath
Well the players universally thought it was an awesome scenario, and they tell me I ran it great, and they all had fun. But, they kind of wished we’d done it in a different system.

Player Remarks on the system
First of all, my players are pretty hardcore IC roleplayers, but only a few of them share my Narrative Allergy, and one of them, not having forged his roleplaying iron in the Gygaxian Fires of the 80s (he wasn’t born yet) likes systems like SIFRP (Chronicles).

Adversarial Aspect - Yeah, I admit, this really wasn’t one of my criticisms, but it was pretty adversarial, but, my players are the type that actually took that as a challenge. They trust me not to cheat them. As I said in another thread. Pull no Punches is how I roll, so they’re used to Evil NPCs being Evil, and Brutal threats being Brutal.

Doom, Momentum and Fortune - This didn’t bother them as much as they would have expected, but they did admit they were thinking about the metagame, the “should I buy dice or not, knowing it’s going to be used against me later”. Since the metagame thinking is kind of the point of the system, I would say working as intended. They just didn’t like that aspect as much, they thought it made them more actors in a Conan movie then as actual people in the Hyborian World. Again, probably working as intended. One of my players hates with a passion any form of quantified roleplaying award. "I'm not a fucking puppy, I don't need a biscuit." He's not typical though.

Zones - They weren’t big fans. I kind of ignored mapping zones, just laying things out like I usually do, but with movement and ranged fire, the zones were apparent. More on zones below.

Minions - 3 different opinions on the Minions.
  • Some thought they were a complete waste of time gamewise since they were so weak.
  • Others saw the use, but thought they were too weak to be Picts
  • The third I hadn’t anticipated. With the abstraction of the Zones and the abstraction of the Minions, it wasn’t that it felt like a story, on the contrary, the guy who likes Narrative stuff like SIFRP said it made the combats feel like a boardgame. “Too gamey to be a good narrative tool.”
Huh, ok. Hadn’t thought of that, but guess I can see it. Maybe Skywalker can chime in on that one.

Combat - They tend to be a crunchy bunch on average, so they really like the Reach, Guard, Shield Cover, Weapon Effects, etc… That, by far, was their favorite part of the system, they said it made the combat suitably Conanish. So, working as intended there. But, they’re players in my Conan RQ6 game and like the combat there better, even though they did say this combat system was cool.

So the big question of course, would they play it again?

Well, they trust the people who wrote that adventure to write good adventures, and they trust me to run challenging, scary and “crazyass” encounters. So, if I wanted to run more with it, they wouldn’t really mind even though a couple of them really aren’t into the whole Pool-Economy aspect. But they would prefer I do it more as one-shots or limited stuff, not as a replacement for the RQ6 campaign. “You drop that campaign we’re gonna put your head on a fucking pike” was how they phrased it.

So, overall, considering the predilections of my table, it went about as good as it could have. For one thing, they pretty much demanded I do a followup adventure for them to recover Othwald and Maeve’s bodies, so we’re gonna play at least one more time
 

CRKrueger

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My Reactions Overall
I liked it more than I thought I would to tell you the truth, but I would follow the advice of my players and probably reduce the amount of Minions and Mobs as they served no real purpose until the final charge into Bowfire at the banks of the Thunder River.

For all the fury of spending Doom, the game isn't all that deadly really. I mean even Elites go down quick, the only things that actually killed PCs were PC-Level tough beasts attacking from Stealth who managed to both get Surprise. If I didn't get Surprise TWICE, I doubt I would have killed anyone. Then again, if Lucina hadn't thwarted the attack, pissing off the Pict shaman and the Ape jumped in with the Shaman silently controlling him, I may have killed more, that ape is tough.

Like my players, I think the nuts and bolts of the weapons, armor, effects are cool, but again, I agree they don't beat RQ6/Mythras.

So, in the end, I think I probably will do the all-PDF option for this thing, simply for the adventures, and the setting info. I don't know if after more rules come out, the combat will be cool enough to get over the annoying aspects, but it could be a casual game every once in a while, but I don't see it filling the niche of our regular roleplaying sessions, it's not that type of game.
 

Endless Flight

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Thank you for this playtest review. I'll read through it during the day.
 

TristramEvans

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Its very thorough will take me some time to parse. Wondering if you can explain this "Doom" mechanism further? Or at least, what is it based upon? Is it generated by the actions of PCs or is it just a pool the GM has at their disposal?
 

CRKrueger

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Characters normally roll 2d20. If they want, they can buy up to three additional dice to roll. Each die, you can get one success if you roll under your skill, or two successes if you roll really low. Each additional success gives you Momentum, which you can use to do various critical effects/stunts/etc. So if you really want to ramp up on the heroic action, you freely choose to buy extra dice.

The kicker is, every time you buy a die, you give the GM one point into his Doom Pool. Also when NPCs generate Momentum themselves, the GM can use it, or bank it in the Doom Pool for later. The game, by design, is structured to limit the power of the GM (this is a conscious design choice) by having certain activities/powers/normally fiat decisions cost Doom.

So, this sets up metagame competitive play between the players and GM as the player has to ask himself "Do I buy dice and be awesome even though I know it's going to let the GM drop the hammer by giving him more Doom?" and the GM has to ask "Should I let the players destroy these guards by not using any Momentum, and instead save it up so my End Boss Shaman can actually cast spells/use his special abilities freely."

You're roleplaying Robert E. Howard from different sides as much as you're roleplaying the characters. It's an extremely "genre-aware" system.

there are also Fortune Points, which are essentially Luck Points/Fate Points/Bennies which can be used for more things than Momentum. At the start of the game, every PC gets 3 Fortune Points, and the GM gets 3 Doom for every player.

Some iterations of the system have another game currency. In Mutant Chronicles, it's called Dark Symmetry. it was originally going to be called Threat in Conan, but they dumped it.
 

Endless Flight

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I enjoyed reading your adventure write-up but the metagame aspects of the system as they played out during the playtest give me pause.
 

TristramEvans

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I have to concur, its a great write-up, but I'm a bit hinky on the metagame approach, and I have to admit the whole time I was reading it, I just kept thinking "I could do all this much easier with Mythras"
 

CRKrueger

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I enjoyed reading your adventure write-up but the metagame aspects of the system as they played out during the playtest give me pause.
Well, maybe this will start the first epic flame war here, but I'm sorry, a game with mechanics that constantly have you bouncing between IC and OOC decisions is not the same as a game with mechanics that have you only making IC decisions. It's a different mental process. Whether you think that deserves a different title of type of game, or a sub-category under roleplaying or adjective tacked on isn't the point. It doesn't scratch the exact same itch, which was the universal response from me and my players. It's fun to play for what it is...in addition to traditional roleplaying.
 

CRKrueger

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I have to concur, its a great write-up, but I'm a bit hinky on the metagame approach, and I have to admit the whole time I was reading it, I just kept thinking "I could do all this much easier with Mythras"
Since those players also are in my Mythras Conan game, that was pretty much their universal opinion.
One player, however, did mention that in a game like Mythras, there was probably no way as archers they could have cut down that many Picts with arrows when they were making the stand at the river. This was due to the use of Mobs, which none of my players liked really. The use of Mobs always is a narrative genre convention meant to elevate the PCs to literary protagonist. In this game it works as intended, if you like that sort of thing.
 

CRKrueger

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I must say, if you like this kind of game, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Like Cortex+ itself, 2d20 is a very clever, flexible and fun system, if you like games that bring in non-traditional narrative mechanics.
 

Endless Flight

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It definitely has a place in the RPG world, no doubt about it. I can see how someone would really enjoy it.
 

The Butcher

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I must say, if you like this kind of game, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Like Cortex+ itself, 2d20 is a very clever, flexible and fun system, if you like games that bring in non-traditional narrative mechanics.
Normally I'd be iffy, but hey, I enjoyed the hell out of a couple of PbtA games, so who knows?
 

Skywalker

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So, in the end, I think I probably will do the all-PDF option for this thing, simply for the adventures, and the setting info.

The setting info and adventures have so far been pretty good quality in the first few releases.
 
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