Given that the apartment is next door to the Tenement Manager’s
Looking at the map on page 38 it isn't. There are two hallways in between.
Players who [...] enter via the window
Given that apartment 103 has "bars have been crudely cut away." it seems questionable, why 104, sitting just beside 104, does not have bars. If 104 bars also are supposed to have been cut away, why is the gang bothering to enter via 103 instead of just directly enter into 104? I don't know, sounds implausible.
I do not see the relevance of the "Malignant" for the players and I feel this part of the story will not be visible to the players, so seems to me overcomplicated: they see the "the twisted body of Konrad von Saar" which immediately transforms "into the Castigator". Neither Twisted Marionette nor Malignant appear to the players?!
I downloaded the Open Beta from DriveThruRPG a while ago and have been running through the test scenario in a variety of ways and there are a few things that seem a little off at least from my runs, so I decided to wait for my Beta 5.0 to arrive and see if there was any differences that effected my play results. Here're my concerns:
Damage Dice- Damage dice seem very unreliable in most situations whether they be weapon, mental, cover, or corruption attempts. Only getting damage on a 1 or 2, results in loads of empty dice on many of the actions I've seen. At first it seemed okay with weapons that had a fixed damage bonus as well, but with the shotgun and corruption rolls I consistently had very low, although occasionally good rolls, causing a large waste of DSPs that I could have used to alter the environment hindering/hurting the party more effectively than the corrupt equipment. I realize the mechanics are meant to create a low range of damages quickly but a more consistent result occurred when using the D6 like this 1= 0 Damage, 2-5 = 1 Damage, and 6 = 2 Damage. Although I also realize that this could slow down some players during damage calculations, thus taking away from the fast paced combat. BTW, I do realize that shotguns (with shot not slugs) can be very inconsistent weapons, but a hit is a hit and the (low) chances of 0 damage before soak seems off. Also with the rule for damaging cover in the full beta it seems inconsistent to have cover offer dice of soak instead of just a fixed value based on silhouette/material that can then be chipped away at. However, if there are going to be more talents like No Mercy for ranged characters then that at least makes some sense in helping make damage more consistent.
Character creation - Looking at the changes I noticed that the number of focus that is received at character generation was changed from Mental Strength and Personality to just Personality, which I noticed in an earlier beta version this was mentioned, but no mention as to why Personality was chosen. Thematically it seems that focus (your dedication to your training) is more a matter of Mental Strength, not your Personality, especially since Personality will be effecting your Lifepath results.
Just my initial thoughts, only got my full beta packet this morning so I'll have more later.
Successes and Critical Failures and Dark Symmetry Points ???
1. Success. OK, you succeed at a test but also roll a natural 20 on the test.
So you succeed but with a negative consequence.
2. Critical Failure. You fail the test but also roll one or more natural 20s.
Each 20 rolled adds a consequence or adds 2 DSP to the GMs pool.
My problem is is also goes on to talk about adding 2 DSP even when you succeed, specifically in "Teamwork and Assistance", but roll a natural 20.
So my question is a simple one, does the GM have the option of adding 2 DSP whenever a player rolls a natural 20 or only when a Critical Failure is rolled ??
Gaining & Spending Momentum
Carrying Momentum Over
I think this is an unnecessary rule complication that would, possibly, only be used outside combat. So is the marginal use actually worth the extra complication ??
If you wish to keep the rule I would place it in a sidebar and list it as an optional rule.
Starting Chronicle Points
1. I am having difficulty understanding why you add the extra complication of saying a new character beings with 5 CP when, if not spent during character creation, anything over 3 are lost after the first session ??
Would it not be much simpler just to say that a character starts a session with 3 CP and, during character creation, just give everyone 2 "Freebie" points to influence life paths etc.. ?? This avoids the confusion of the 5/3 split which is only used during character creation/first session.
2. I would strongly advise against awarding 1 xp for ending a session with "excess" CP. There are players out there, and most of us have run into them, that will hoard CP just to get that extra 1 xp for their character, no matter what the consequences ;-) Having played in several games, like early editions of Savage Worlds, where "saving" Bennies gave you extra xp I would advise against it. If there is no benefit in hoarding CP then players are much more likely to spend them.
If you are really wedded to the idea of awarding xp for left over cp then please list it in a sidebar as an optional rule.
I know, as a GM, I could put in a house rule preventing any benefit from cp hoarding but making it an optional rule is a much easier solution to deal with rule lawyers ;-)
Why not ease the GMs burden and allow a player to nominate another player, but not themselves, for a CP roleplaying award. From my experience as a long term GM, with everything else you are doing running the game it can be very difficult to remember to award roleplaying CP. If you shift the majority of awarding roleplaying CP to your players, it shares the "burden" as well as including the players. Of course, the GM can still award roleplaying CP of his own and would have final say on a player nominated award but does take some of the pressure off the GM :)
Nothing wrong with the rule in principle but I would add a proviso.
Firstly, that minimum D3 difficulty is required to take a Voluntary Failure, otherwise I can see players taking a Voluntary Failure on a minor skill test just to get a CP. Yes, I know the GM has to agree to the Voluntary Failure but this puts more pressure on a GM and is a distraction from story telling. The minimum D3 limits these occurrences, easing the GMs burden :)
JoshuaKlug said Mar 22, 2014 17:23:05
A few weeks ago I said that I would wait until after I actually playtested to comment further, and then decided to try and get both of my groups to test it to corroborate any issues and successes that came up. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to get my second group together. I am running the open beta adventure to test.
The first group comprised of two veteran first edition players, a novice first edition player and two people new to the whole genre and setting. Overall, the enjoyment level was very high, with only a few issues and attempts to get me to house rule some things on the fly, which I refused to do for the playtest.
I used to run my first edition campaigns focused more around a traditional film noir vein and not so much of a horror theme. That said, the writing allowed me to convey a story that was engaging and creepy. We definitely could feel a background in Cthulhu in the gameplay. This group is known for going off on tangents. Our sessions are normally 9-10 hours long but we might only get 4-5 hours of actual gaming done. The Dark Symmetry Pool kept everyone engaged and on task, which is a HUGE win for this group.
The biggest issue, and it was seen only in one combat as they skipped the Croaks. For lightly/unarmored characters, the damage:location box ratio was slanted too far in favor of the damage. The castigator hit Nix once in the arm and did enough damage to cross off every box of his serious and critical wounds. As the characters are supposed to be heroes, and the game lend itself to cinematic play, that’s just too squishy. A few suggestions came up to remedy this. First, use the first edition table (modified for new attribute ranges) for the PC’s. Second, allow PC’s to add in their Mental Strength to determine their body points. Third, allow PC’s to double either their Physique or Strength when determining their starting wounds. These suggestions were only for PC’s to set them apart from the rest of humanity, and each suggestion was to be considered individually.
That also led me to wonder what happens when the last Critical Wound box was crossed off? I could not find this addressed in the rules so I treated Critical Wounds as an endless supply of boxes, but each hit caused another test on the critical wounds table, and damage in excess of boxes simply accumulated.
During the explanation of the rules, Burst Fire confused everyone. With the change in Beta 5, its cost of ammo loads in exchange for an additional D20 felt so expensive, Nix never felt like it was worth it since it was cheaper to add a DSP to the pool for the die, especially since crit fails result in an extra ammo load loss each. Then the description itself seems contradictory. “A weapon with burstfire can shoot several bullets in a short, controlled burst with each pull of the trigger,” and yet by costing ammo loads, a character is sacrificing multiple magazines instead of just a few extra bullets. Then it also refers to clips: “If this empties the weapon’s clip, the weapon also jams.” If by clip, you meant last ammo load, there’s no point to having the weapon jam as you’re out of ammo anyway. Retitled and described as a Full Auto Burst would help explain the hefty cost, but an additional D20 per ammo load is still not worth the cost except in the most dire of circumstances. The omitted 2D6 damage per momentum spent would have evened out the cost a bit, but then we’re back to dealing with the damage:location box ratio problem again.
Called shots. Before the game started I wrote down on a piece of paper that every time momentum was available during combat, the first would be spent on a called shot, folded the paper over and handed it to one of my players with instructions not to open it until after the adventure. During the fight with the castigator, again, the only fight they had, every first momentum was spent to target the head. The players loved it, but the combat lasted all of two rounds because of it. For a final encounter, it was very anti-climactic. I would recommend one of the following changes, either make it cost 2 momentum or for 1 momentum, the player can choose the facing he rolled or any adjacent facing on the D20. The reason I didn’t suggest adding a range as in the first edition was because that would be incompatible with the Hit Location Die. I could also see both suggestions being used. 1 momentum gets you closer to where you wanted to hit, 2 momentum lets you hit your target.
Gear and Corruption: In beta 5, corrupting equipment references doing damage against an equipment’s reliability rating. Problem is, equipment doesn’t have reliability ratings as of yet, so we used the open beta rules.
Encumbrance: We felt that the DR penalty stacked up too quickly especially if we considered mundane/non-combat equipment to have encumbrance ratings. Might consider DR penalty increasing for each full encumbrance limit instead of each encumbrance point.
The next suggestion is partly to satisfy the simulationist in me, and partly to address the damage/armor value balancing. I would like to consider adding a second set of damage boxes to each location for bruising damage. For each hit which does not penetrate armor, or which is non-lethal in an unarmored location, damage would be done to the bruise boxes. 1 point for each hit that doesn’t penetrate armor, and the damage rolled for non-lethal. Every 2 bruise boxes damaged in a location increases the DR by 1 when using that location to do something (arms), reduces AGI by 1 for movement (legs), increases crit fail range by 1 (head), increases damage received to any location by 1 (torso). If all bruise boxes in head or torso are crossed off, the character falls unconscious. Further bruise damage to an arm/leg renders it unusable. Bruises heal at the rate of 1/location each day, and a post combat test against Willpower can immediately recover 1 bruise for each success unless unconscious. DR1 Treatment tests reduce healing rate to 1/location for every 8 hours and momentum can heal bruises at a rate of 1:1. The stun weapon trait could then be modified to do 2 bruise damage when armor is not defeated and add 2 momentum for successful hits against unarmored locations.
I have a question for the ones who had the opportunity to truly test the game: Is aiming before an attack worth it? I mean, you trade an increased difficulty for a +1 boost to Expertise and Focus. In my mathematician mind that means gaining 1/5 success, but needing a whole one more. Or does this Chained Action not increase the difficulty? It would totally make sense, but it's not written there, or did I miss it?
JoshuaKlug said Mar 24, 2014 19:00:59
Because of the increased DR, my players never bothered to aim. Thanks for bringing that up, forgot to include it in my write-up.
I think a better cost for aiming would be to lose your Response action for the round, and if you've already used it, you cannot Aim this round. Theory behind this is that you're spending the time and probably exposing yourself more in order to concentrate on maintaining line of sight on your target.
A more complex way to handle this would be to leave the increased DR cost as is, but when you take the aim chained action, roll 1D6. Then place one of your allotted D20's with the number rolled on the D6 face-up. So aiming results in a D20 roll of 1-6, greatly increasing the chance for a focus success and nearly guaranteeing 1 success. There is no precedence for this type of mechanic though.
And finally two things that caught my eye on page 40:
Sprint: A character who sprints as his Standard Action might also move as his Chained Action, if he wants to flee quickly. This could lead to the weird situation that he runs from cover, gets shot at as simply walking and then Ranged Attacks against him get more difficult. You could include a sentence that a character counts as sprinting the whole turn.
Covering Fire: Some words about the type of weapon might be appropriate. I just had the mental image of giving covering fire with a crossbow which might not be as effective as blazing away with an assault rifle.
Edit: oh, and @JoshuaKlug: Nice idea with the d6...
I have some thoughts on the aim issue and the called shot use of momentum.
Aim- Keep the +1 DR for the chained action penalty but make an aim the only way to call a shot to a specific location. While keeping the +1 Expertise and +1 Focus.
Momentum- Instead of 1 momentum making a "called shot" to any location have each point of momentum move the location rolled one "step" up or down the hit locations (based on the d20 numbers) players choice. Allowing momentum to improve the hit but not change left leg into head with one momentum for example.