Monday, July 11, 2011

More HoD Playtesting

Or not, actually. I know the last playtest report posted just a few days ago, but truth be told that happened months ago. As in many month. And since then, we've had no end of hitches in getting together for additional play sessions. One player is a father of young children, another is getting married in the fall. In addition, two of the three are avid fishermen, and it's fishing season in a big way here. Facing your destiny in the supernaturally tinted American west has been losing to a lot of competition.

However, I still run a regular Wednesday game, and my hope, once I wrap up the campaign that's been chugging along since we began mid-week play, is to turn that into a playtesting meet. It's a different group, and the scheduling changes the way we play, since we've only got a couple of hours instead of a whole afternoon, but to my mind that's a plus, not a negative. Having only 2-3 hours means that we don't have time for elaborate and complicated resolution mechanics, and seeing as how I'm looking to keep dice simple and fast in this game, the constraints of play time serve as further impetus to get that right.

So, once 7th Sea/Swashbuckler/Vice and Steel/Poison'd (all merged thanks to The Flux) wraps up, I'll see if I can't convince the Wednesday night guys to give Heroes of Destiny a roll. This time I'm not offering it up as a blank slate on which we'll scrawl any campaign of any genre though; I'm making it easier on myself. It was written originally to be fantasy, so we'll play it fantasy. For starters. Let's get that worked out before having to deal with all the complications modern technology can bring to the table (I'm content to ignore most of it, but my players tend to give birth to live cattle if I do that too much, and while I like burgers as much as the next guy, there's only so much room here).

Here's the thing: I've actually got a few fantasy adventures I've been dying to try out for a while. There's the old 2e Illithiad, which pits the party against a secret mind flayer invasion of a coastal region and eventually has them racing to save the sun from death. It's got a techno-horror bent to it, and since much of the initial action occurs in a city, it's opening arc is set in a place with ample opportunity to have lots of recurring characters, i.e. Dream characters.

Then there's the Drow War. I'd like to provide a link to this, but Mongoose doesn't seem to have a page for it anymore. It's a series of 30 individual adventures written for D&D 3e which takes you from scrub to epic hero, and I've tried to run it twice. We never made it all the way through, either time. Now, this campaign is much more classic D&D, with each adventure sending you to a new place with lots of combat, but I have a strong suspicion (without doing any of the work) that it could be made into a good campaign for Heroes of Destiny too. Each player in the campaign is supposed to select a star sign which grants him a small mechanical bonus throughout the campaign. Turning star signs into Ideals and forcing the players to choose between their earthly lives and heavenly power seems like it could be very much in line with the campaign's themes, and works quite well for HoD as well.

Thinking about translating this campaign has me riffing on the idea of redefining Dreams, or providing another way of defining them at least, to make the game more compatible with fantasy that includes a lot of questing. Let's face it, questing is a mainstay of the genre. Listen to Kevin Smith talk about the Rings movies sometime. Questing, however, introduces an element of difficulty in keeping NPCs present, which is important if the nature of their relationship with the PCs is to change and matter. So I'm thinking about ways to expand Dreams to larger things like nations and kingdoms. The relationship with these dreams wouldn't seem to be quite as personal at first, but if a partisan must sacrifice his standing in his country in order to pursue his ideals, it could still have great personal impact.

We'll see how it goes, and naturally I'll keep you posted.

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