Saturday, January 5, 2013

Playtest Report Friday, January 4, 2013

This was a short session with three players. All were Sertori. They were engaged in a diplomatic mission with Queen Sabeen of Besra trying to negotiate favorable terms with Ronia for her upcoming invasion of Khata.

In an attempt to learn more about Khata, player C attempted to use Thekla’s Secret Pathway to travel there. He failed and the failure resulted in two ghouls attacking him and player B. By the book these should have been spirits, but we do not have a spirit entry in the monster section. The combat was challenging. If they were not in the palace, where the guards were able to save them, at least one of them would have died.

Before the invasion they traveled to Chun, a key trade city that was to be the first step in the invasion. Everything went smoothly until they were attacked by Hasri. One of the Hasri was a Sertorius. This combat proved easy for the players. Again it was player B and C, as player A was back at the inn.

The party returned to Queen Sabeen’s army. They had learned that Khata was ruled by a council of 13 Sertori, so they secured 20 Sertori from the Fellowship of Promestus to aid the Queen on the condition that she give them exclusive access to the Khatan tea fields.

Chun fell without blood. The Khatan army advanced but Queen Sabeen destroyed it with the Rain of Fire Thauma (a miracle), leaving the 13 Khatan Sertori. We left off as the two groups of Sertori were about to fight (13 for Khata, 25---including Sabeen and the PCs---for the Marites).

Open Skills and Spells: We need to specify for spells that use open skills, what happens when there isn’t an exact match. For instance, if a Spell calls for Talent, what talents can be used and what happens if the player has the wrong talent. In the case of Thekla’s Secret Pathway this was an issue. I am inclined to require the correct skill, otherwise 2d10 take the lowest.

Heal: Emotions don’t really impact the non-cathartic casting. We should remedy that. Also there should be some ability to overflow the healing onto other characters.

Emotion ranks and spells: We have been a touch sloppy with some of our spells. They do not all factor in emotion ranks thoroughly. So we need to make sure we do this.

Spell Clarity: We should go over our spells and examine them for clarity.

Powerful Sertori NPCs: Thauma are powerful. Very, very powerful. This is good. It works as intended. But when you have a strong Sertori NPC (Queen Sabeen became Divninity rank 4 this session) it can result in the PCs being observers and the character becoming something of a Mary Sue. Nothing mechanically need be done about this, but it will be important to address in the GM section. In this case the players chose to ally themselves with Queen Sabeen, so it wasn’t forced on them. But running it I was a aware that her being so powerful meant they could just sit back at times and let her take care of things. On the other hand, this did serve as good incentive for the players to attract followers and grow in power.

Spirits: We need spirit entries in the monster section.

New Ideas: Players proposed some new ideas. The first was to include a way for Sertori to change existing spells. While I understand the desire for this, and see nothing wrong with an optional rule for it, I feel it would be highly disruptive to the setting concept to allow in the core rules. So if we do include this sort of thing, we should carefully look at how we explain Sertori. 

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