Saturday, December 06, 2014

Had a great playtesting session with @gamesteratlarge & @simoncarryer last week.

+Simon Carryer has been developing a game which he pitches as "What if D&D has been designed by David Cronenberg?" Over the last couple of years we've worked through what the biologically-invasive monsters would look like and tried out a few versions of brutal combat. But there's always been this tension:

  • the communities in this game are traditional and suspicious of outsiders and monsters
  • the adventurers are outcasts from society being gradually transformed by their exposure to the dungeons they enter
  • the communities need the adventurers but are primed to reject them.

We discussed how the adventurers could fit into the setting, and that prompted Simon to share some very cool ideas that had been implicit in his rules for a long time.


+Michael Sands has been designing a Napoleonic naval combat RPG for a while. Recently he switched it over to a science-fiction setting in order to explore crew creation without having to bring players up to speed with lots of historical information.

It worked great: crew design is a bit free-form, and we argued for a while about whether our stolen and experimental racing ship needed a User Experience Consultant in addition to our Pilot and Engineer. Plus we have a teenage stowaway and an uplifted (and kleptomanic) octopus who just wanted to fit in, on board.

Really looking forward to giving this more of a test next month.


We finished off with a playtest of my game, Soth. I think this is close: it's a game about cultists trying to summon a dark god. After the last round of playtesting, I've simplified the rules for how a community grows suspicious about what the cultists are up to, and introduced some Mountain Witch-esque not-so-secret agendas to complicate the cultists' attempts to maintain the appearance of normality while performing four ugly rituals to summon Soth.

One more playtest and then I think I'm ready to whip this up from a beta draft that I can use into something publishable.

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