Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sertorius Playtest and Update

We playtested Sertorius this month, running a full scenario. Things went well. The changes we made to the system work for what we are trying to achieve. Sertorius are more durable than standard Network system characters and this allowed the players to take on multiple combats without too muh risk. In the adventure we ran, the party was trying to track down and destroy a Monstra, a kind of magical beast driven to the brink by its powers. This led them through perilous forests where they encountered undead and hostile humanoids similar to goblins. It was interesting to see our spell system in action for an extended period. Every spell can be cast endlessly, so characters never run out of juice. But casting a spell at a high level of power comes with some risk. In one instance a player character was able to summon an avalanche of flame against their foes, and in another one character went mad from channeling too much magical energy.

The adventure culimnated in an ancient ogre temple dedicated to a dead lion god. There they fought a Monstra inhabiting a giant lion, with all kinds of magical abilities (its roar unleashed a tide a thorns that ripped the party's flesh for example). In the end, the characters were victorious but wounded.

So far we are pleased with the game. It has 20 spells so far, and that list is going to grow considerably (we want to playtest in small batches though). Character creation works great.

Most characters are assumed to be powerful people called Sertorius. In the ancient history of the setting (called Gamandria) a powerful god named Senga (the lion god from our playtest scenario) was killed by his Ogre worshippers. This resulted (after some other developments) with the scattering of his soul which was then reborn into living creatures as fragments (rebirth plays an important role in the Gamandrian cosmology).

So a Sertorius is simply the reincarnated fragment of a shattered god. This sets them apart from other characters, giving them more health and access to magic. However players have the option of playing mundane people or creatures as well. In most cases this means an inferior character, which we clearly state to the readers of the book. But in the case of Ogres, things are a bit different. They are a cursed race because their ancestors killed a god. As a result Sertori are never born among them. Ogres have no access to magic. While they were the first to establish civilization, inventing agriculture, writing and engineering, they no longer excel at these things (due to the curse) and live mostly on the outskirts of other societies (this is expressed mechanically as a penalty to related Trade skills). However they have one small benefit from their curse: resistance to magic. As an Ogre grows in power, his ability to withstand spells (and therefore fight Sertori) goes up. Ogres also have a large amount of health.

We are quite excited by the game so far and looking forward to developing it over the next year.

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