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  • Playtest - Week 2!

    A Fine Solution – Playtest Report!

    We’re back for round 2. First thing’s first – we decided to level up our characters in order to test different tiers of play. So for the A Fine Solution, every character was given 8 Advances and moved to Veteran rank (or in Dodger’s case, Heroic!). We talked together about what they’d take based on the last playtest session. We also let everyone but Bane have some new gear – we excluded Bane for reasons relating to the Burn playtest, which I’ll detail separately.

    Charles: Mostly just going for more “psychic might,” he expanded his roster of abilities as well as increasing Power Points and his Smarts score for better range on many abilities. Three notes about Edge choices: Concentration is awesome for a party-buffer type that’s using Boost Trait, Smite, Warrior’s Gift, etc. on team mates, because it can get expensive to extend their durations (since it’s 1 PP per target). But Charles is mostly a single-target debuff/effect guy, so we looked at Concentration but passed over it. The second note is we’re interested to see how Channeling plays out; seems pretty great with a free Reroll every time. And the third note is a question – we didn’t take Power Points at Novice because it was his Human Edge, and the Human Edge doesn’t say it evades the once-per-Rank restriction on Power Points, so we assumed he couldn’t take it again until Seasoned.

    Novice: New Powers (Mind Link/Conceal Arcana), New Powers (Stun/Blind), Improving Smarts (now d12).
    Seasoned: Power Points (now 50), New Powers (Barrier and Slumber), Channeling, Level Headed.
    Veteran: Power Points (now 60)
    New Gear: TW Communications Band. No one has Speak Language and the bonuses help him with his Face duties.
    (PLAYTEST NOTE: Not a balance issue, but the players playing IFs that don’t have Iconic Edges always seem a little bummed about it. Noticed it with the Mystic in my last game, too.)

    Harry: Harry didn’t really feel any PPE crunch last time, but since the Death Drain PPE is being removed, we didn’t play with it tonight, so he took some extra power points as well. His advances were:
    Novice: New Powers (Blast, Disguise and Deflection – woot Arcane Academic!), New Powers (Summon Ally, Sloth/Speed, Growth/Shrink), Power Points (40 total).
    Seasoned: Improve Smarts (now a d12+1, go D’Norr), Improved Healing & Occult (now both d8s), Improved Spellcasting and Notice (now Spellcasting d12+1, Notice d8), Ley Line Observation Sphere
    Veteran: Improve Spirit (now d12).
    New Gear: TW Jammer Pistol. We liked that since this can use Spellcasting to shoot, he doesn’t need to be good at Shooting to use it. It’s a neat extra trick for him to have in his pocket, too.

    Murphy: The biggest weakness of the ‘Borgs is how hard they are to heal, so we went with things that minimize getting hurt, like improved Vigor and defensive Edges. He still also suffers pretty badly if cornered or ganged up on, but improving his melee capabilities would have taken away too much from other things, so we’re leaving melee to Bane.
    Novice: Iron Jaw (great pun, but also very relevant since they’re so hard to heal), Nerves of Steel, improved Vigor to d12+1.
    Seasoned: Improve Vigor to d12+2 (toughness now up to 25 (9), awesome), Rapid Fire, Improved Nerves of Steel (combined with the ‘Borg bonus, Murphy now just no longer takes Wound penalties at all, plus now he rolls d12+4 to soak!), Improve Notice and Survival (now both d8).
    Veteran: Improved Rapid Fire
    New Gear: Murphy fills out his last 2 Strain with a Targeting Eye and a Signal Booster. Both relatively inexpensive but very helpful enhancements that fit his role as the “Rail-gun Ranger.”

    Bane: Since Murphy is staying focused on ranged combat, we’re making sure Bane stays a melee killing machine. All the combined Edges give her a Parry of 10 (and everyone is now -3 to attack her!), making her nearly untouchable in melee combat. Deals d12+d8+3d6+4 damage with a swing, +3d6 on a raise!
    Novice: Sweep, Trademark Weapon (Mjolnir), Improving Strength (now d12+3)
    Seasoned: Acrobat, Combat Acrobat, Improved Trademark Weapon (Mjolnir), Improving Strength (now d12+4)
    Veteran: Improved Sweep
    (PLAYTEST NOTE: The Thunderer hammer is unique in that it’s a melee weapon that has ammunition. The Sweep Edge allows you to make “a single” attack, but against a large number of foes. How the heck do you determine ammo use in that situation?!)
    New Gear: None. See separate post about playtesting Burn.

    Dodger: Pretty simple, mostly improved skills. He had been relying on Jack of all Trades to learn how to Shoot from Murphy, but now he’s picked it up himself. As a side note, Dodger really turned more into a Rogue Scholar/Operator than a City Rat, but he’s really enjoying it so no worries. There’s a lot of flexibility in the MARS options, and that’s definitely cool.
    Novice: Improved Smarts (now d12). Improved Electronics and Science (now d10s), Improved Repair and Research (d12/d8, respectively).
    Seasoned: Scholar (Science), Improved Shooting and Science (now d4/d12 respectively), Improved Piloting and Shooting (d12 and d6, respectively), Luck
    Veteran: Scavenger
    New Gear: Dodger goes full Shadowrun and treats himself to a sweet sweet Rank IV Field Computer.

    (Just to keep Dodger straight since he has the most complicated sheet, here's all his Edges, Stats and Skills:
    Edges: Scavenger, Scholar, Luck, Mr. Fix It, McGyver, Ace, Jack-of-all-Trades, Strong Willed, Scrounger, Streetwise, Thief, Reliable, Combat Ace.
    Stats: d6 Strength, d8 Agility, d6 Vigor, d12 Smarts, d8 Spirit.
    Skills: Notice d6, Common Knowledge d8, Persuasion d6, Athletics d4, Stealth d4, Intimidation d4, Electronics d10, Thievery d4, Piloting d10, Repair d12, Academics d8, Battle d6, Hacking d8, Healing d8, Research d8, Science d12(+2), Shooting d6 )

    On to the playtest!

  • #2
    For tonight’s playtest, we started the Fine Solution series. Since A Fine Solution is designed for Novice characters, I increased the difficulty in a few ways as we went along. Each time I increased the difficulty, I noted how/why.

    For Bane: We randomly rolled how much Burn she’d have, since we didn’t think it was realistic to start at maximum and we wanted to get as real as we could. Random rolling gets her 3 Burn at the start of the night, so she’s got to be relatively conservative (unlike last time, lol). But at Veteran rank, her Burn Die is now a sweet d8.

    Starting with Welcome to the World!

    While on a standard Tomorrow Legion patrol somewhere near Coalition Territory, Murphy’s sensors pick up the commotion of D-Bees being chased by Dead Boys and Skelebots. They witness one of the D-Bees get hit with a Neural Mace and go down, and Dodger’s Common Knowledge tells the party that this is unusual behavior for Dead Boys; normally they just shoot to kill when it comes to D-Bees. Naturally the party intervenes.

    I made one of the Dead Boys a Wild Card (officer) to make things a little harder. There’s also some complication because the Faelerin are in the crossfire, making it dangerous for Murphy to go full bore.
    With no time to formulate a more complex plan, they rush in. The CS has everyone beat on range except Murphy who doesn’t want to risk shooting with innocents in the mix, so the first round is spent racing in while being fired upon. Knowing that the CS has Mega-Damage potential, Harry wants to cast Protection. Interesting strategic discussion comes up: Is it worth casting on Bane? Harry, Charles and Dodger all get a boost from the spell – Harry/Charles go from 10(5) to 12(4) MDC, and Dodger goes from 12(5) to 13(4) MDC. Bane would actually go DOWN under Protection due to it not stacking with her normal armor. She’d go from 18(7) to 16(4), trading total damage resistance for MDC. At least, that’s how we’re reading it, since the Greater Protection modifier seems explicit about it not stacking with any armor, we’re assuming that includes the Toughness bonuses from armor. If we have that wrong, and Armor doesn’t stack but Toughness does, then the power might be a bit on the confusing side and need an adjustment or at least a clarification. Ultimately they decide it’s not that critical – casting an MDC protection actually adds a lot more value when you’re facing opponents who CAN’T easily access Mega-Damage, because then you become mostly invincible. Against opponents that do have Mega-Damage, all Greater Protection really does is prevent a few cool injuries but doesn’t make you much harder to hurt for the point cost. So Harry casts Deflection instead, and then gets into some underbrush and uses his Shadow Cloak’s Invisibility power to hide; he’s not about to charge a squad of Skelebots like an idiot. Charles gets on Dodger’s bike and they go skyward. Murphy starts to flank while Bane charges in the front.

    As a GM, I always give my CS forces reasonably smart tactics. They fight smart, they’re trained military, and they’re ruthless. So the first round they take as much advantage of range as they can and focus their fire where it will do something. Knowing Juicers are hard to hit on the best days, the commander orders 8 of the Skelebots to fire on her. He orders the other two to fire grenades at Harry’s last known location. He orders the other four grunts to fire full-auto at Dodger’s bike in an attempt to bring it down, and he himself pulls up the stunned D-Bee and holds him in front of himself as a human shield, facing Murphy and moving towards cover. He knows Murphy is going to be damned hard to hurt so he wants to make things complicated for him.

    The Skelebots have a total of minus SEVEN to hit Bane (three from her natural abilities, and 4 more from Harry’s greater Deflection), but they’re also taking a total of 24 shots since their weapons are RoF 3 with no recoil. (Side note: I love how easily Savage Worlds handles this. I just roll 24 d6, which is so fun, and look for the numbers I need. No math.) In 24 shots, only 5 of them pop, and out of those 5, only one gets high enough on the ace to actually hit. I roll a little below average on the damage and Bane isn’t even Shaken. Bad ***. I rule that the D-Bees hit the deck and aren’t hit by the flurry of laser blasts from the Skelebots.

    Two fire Grenades at Harry’s last known location. He’s nowhere near Agile enough to evade the blasts, but fortunately he already had tree cover, which absorbs enough of the damage that he isn’t hurt by the blasts. The Skelebots are ordered to keep firing until they confirm him dead, because the last thing they want is a mage running around. I tell Harry that the tree absorbed the impact of the first two grenades, but now it’s mostly blown apart and won’t protect him from another volley.

    The Grunts shooting at Dodger’s bike do much better with some very lucky rolls. He ends up having to spend 2 Bennies just to use Combat Ace to soak from two attacks and he still ends up with 1 Wound on the hovercycle, but he gets to where the D-Bees are. Charles uses his new Barrier power to put a “Telekinetic Force Field” around the D-Bees and themselves, isolating them from the fight. He shapes the Mega-Damage barrier into a dome as well as making it larger; the total cost would have been 8 but a raise on the power makes it 7.

    After that first round the PCs cover it well. Bane quickly dispatches the two Skelebots that were aiming at Harry, who turns into a snake under the cover of the grenade’s smoke and thus evades further notice as he moves within range of spells. With all the other D-Bees under the TK Shield, Murphy doesn’t risk hitting Innocent Bystanders unless he fires at the Commander, so he focuses on everyone else and starts mowing them down. Murphy excels against large numbers of mooks like this, and he’s mobile enough that the Skelebots can’t close on him to force him into melee (go Booster Boots). Bane is nearly impossible to hit in melee combat so the Skelebots keep trying to fall back and shoot her, but she’s faster than they are and is able to keep close with many, with Murphy killing the ones she doesn’t close with.
    They get down to just the commander, now terrified and holding his hostage. He has a held action to shoot the D-Bee if the PCs do anything aggressive, but here’s where the ability of the Mind Melter to use powers without showing off is really helpful – all it takes is an intense stare and the commander falls victim to a Lower Trait: Vigor followed by a Greater Stun (I used both his Wild Card Bennies to reroll the Vigor check, but Charles got a raise on the effect, meaning his d4 Vigor was -6). One moment he’s holding a hostage, the next he’s drooling on the ground with a broken brain.

    Fight’s over, but they take the commander hostage. Fun little interrogation scene – Charles explains to the commander that he’s perfectly capable of just reading his mind to find out everything he wants to know, but that the commander “isn’t worth the ISP” so he’s just going to let Bane and Murphy play tug-of-war with his arms instead. The commander tells him everything, and in exchange he gets a quick mercy kill. Dodger fixes his bike while Charles then speaks with the Faelerin. His new Communication Band is already coming in handy! The D-Bees are grateful for the rescue and explain about their history as well as their fellow Faelerin trapped about a half-mile away. Upon discovering their enormous PPE potential, Harry starts to drool. They gladly give him enough to refill him. (PLAYTEST NOTE: More and more, we’re realizing that Arcane Academic just doesn’t need to include the PPE bonuses. PPE users already get so many bonus ways to refill. Even getting rid of Death Drain, they just always have random Ley Lines, other NPCs they meet, and even their own allies as extra PPE batteries. Arcane Academic RULES just as the spell knowledge bonus.)

    Dodger collects quick samples, but they all agree that they have to move quickly to rescue the others before the CS does whatever they’re planning to do.

    Comment


    • PEGRoberson
      PEGRoberson commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow, they killed a prisoner? I assume nobody has Code of Honor...maybe Bloodthirsty?

    • FponkDamn
      FponkDamn commented
      Editing a comment
      During normal campaigns, they're a good bit more honorable. During playtests they tend to be a tad more video-gamey since they know we're not going to really deal with any long-term consequences.

  • #3
    They follow the directions back to the Coalition forces that have the larger number of D-Bees captured. In order to make this fight harder, I added a UAR-1 Enforcer robot with crew. The PCs approach carefully, leaving Dodger’s bike way back (he still has the recall switch from last time) and creeping up on a ridge where they can spy from. Murphy, Dodger and Harry all have some form of advanced sight, so they scope out what’s happening from the ridge.

    My players decide they want to hatch a scheme here. They don’t like the odds in the fight, especially against the heavy gear. But they notice that there are no Psi-Stalkers or Dog Boys in the group, so they can use magic or psionics and potentially get away with it. Here’s what they do:

    Harry casts Disguise on the team. He makes himself and Charles look like Faelerin. He makes Bane look like a Dead Boy and Murphy look like a Skelebot. He makes Dodger look like the leader of the squad they just killed, since Dodger knows the most about Coalition military protocol. Total cost of 9, and it will cost 5 every 10 minutes to maintain. Harry is at full, but that’s still a decent chunk so they’re counting the clock. Before casting the spell, Dodger spoofs the CS military frequency so he can radio in. With the Disguise in place, Dodger radios in as “Sergeant O’Brien” and says “We caught two more of those things; the rest fled. I’ve got the squad tracking them into the woods; I’m bringing the two we caught back with a small escort.” They get back, “Good work, O’Brien. As soon as your team has those other ones caught, that’ll be enough to take back to El Dorado. Hamilton out.”

    The PCs walk down into the camp and turn Charles and Harry in; they’re quickly put into handcuffs and thrown in the back of the APC with the others. Lt. Hamilton orders “O’Brien” to get back to his patrol, but he successfully makes some excuses like needing to grab more ammunition so they can stall a little. Meanwhile, Charles uses Mind Link on what he figures is an “elder” among the Faelerin captives and lets him know that they’re not Faelerin, they’re in disguise, and they’re here to rescue them, sent by their companions. Since the CS can’t understand their language yet, he asks the elder to tell the other captives what’s going on, and to be ready to run if they give a signal, but otherwise to keep quiet. Then he lays down, pretending to be weak from the capture, while Harry keeps watch. He then Possesses Lt. Hamilton!

    Charles ends up getting a raise on the roll after spending both his reroll AND a Benny (as well as using Major Psionics) to make sure he gets really high. As soon as he’s in Hamilton’s body, he calls over “O’Brien” and then the two of them relieve the two pilots of the APC, ordering them to do some mindless military busywork before they get rolling. Charles isn’t as well-versed in military protocol and speech as Dodger is, so there are numerous Persuasion rolls with Dodger supporting with things like, “Well you heard the Lieutenant!” and so on. It’s a nerve-wracking experience but they have a ton of fun. Once they’re alone in the pilot’s compartment, Dodger gets to work sabotaging the controls of the APC so it won’t function; he has fun playing Hacker with his new Deck. After that, they call in Bane and Murphy (still disguised as a Grunt and a Skelebot), and order them to “guard” the control room until they get back. Then Charles and Dodger go to the UAR-1 to try the same thing.

    This one goes less smoothly. UAR-1 pilots are elite guys, and Hamilton isn’t well-liked by his men to begin with. Dodger knows plenty about the tech, but he’s disguised as a Sergeant who shouldn’t, so he can’t “talk the talk” without arousing suspicion. And there’s no good reason for Hamilton to order the two UAR pilots out of the vehicle for any sort of “inspection” while they’re in the field; the real Hamilton wouldn’t know what he was inspecting anyway, and the pilots know it. So Dodger and Charles are at the top of the landing outside the pilot’s compartment, and the two pilots are looking at them about to get real suspicious, when Dodger just goes for it. He invokes his Jack-of-all-Trades Edge to learn Fighting, having been observing it for a while now, and gets a raise so he has a d6. He then also invokes Scavenger to “remember” that he grabbed a Neural Mace when he was rooting around in the ammunition locker earlier, and just cracks one of the pilots over the head with it. Boom, pilot is out cold! The other pilot is so shocked by this that I give Charles the drop on him, and since Hamilton is actually an okay fighter (unlike Charles), Charles is able to use Hamilton’s embedded vibro-knife to slit the other pilot’s throat before he can react.

    With the UAR-1 now also taken care of, they come down to the main crew and gather up the Skelebots. They order them to do “one last” sweep of the area, at a mile radius, and not to come back until recalled. Once they’re out of sight, Charles orders all the remaining Dead Boys to fall in for inspection, at which point Harry drops their Disguise and they ambush the poor bastards. It was so one-sided that if we weren’t playtesting I just would have handled the fight narratively, but as it was we played it out. It lasted one round; the Dead Boys never got to act, but Harry DID get to try out his new Blast power on the neatly-grouped-for-Inspection grunts. With the Faelerin rescued, they escort them back to Castle Refuge.

    Comment


    • #4
      Next up - Circle of Death!

      The Faelerin give their backstory to the PCs back at Castle Refuge, including how they came through the Rift. The PCs consult their maps of that area and cross-reference them with known Nexus Points, and figure the closest town to where they could have come from is Paragould, so they head that way.

      The PCs for the most part just talk with the city populace and get the low-down on how the town operates. They find out that most local “law” is enforced by a goon named Hollis. Hollis seems to be the most likely person to know more about the Faelerin, so they decide to have a talk with him.

      Except Hollis isn’t too friendly, and takes an immediate disliking to the smarmy Charles. Since Hollis is a low-down dirty snake, he pretends to be a nice good ol’ boy, but as soon as he’s close he revs up and tries to hack Charles in half. Murphy’s Danger Sense goes off first, but he can’t risk hitting Murphy so instead he charges, drawing his sword. He fails to hit Hollis but does at least put himself between Hollis and Charles, but now the Commandos open fire and start to spread out, and suddenly it’s the OK Corral. Murphy is really hamstrung by the fact that they’re in a town full of innocent people so there’s no good shot that doesn’t put innocent people in danger. Hollis also swings like a beast and comes close to injuring Murphy once or twice, but doesn’t quite get there. The fight is dirty and the PCs get quite a few injuries, but combinations of Selective Mass Stun from Charles and Selective Blast (selective modifier is SO good) from Harry whittle down the masses while Bane finishes off Hollis. Dodger does a lot of Supporting in this fight. Harry is able to heal everyone that got hurt, and the citizens of Paragould that actually like what happened let him leech a little PPE (they’re happy just not being sacrificed for it) so he gets back a chunk of what he spent, putting him almost back to full. Charles spent about 20, which is a third of his total.

      Given that the full moon (and thus, the likely ritual) isn’t until the next night and they’re thus under no particular time crunch, they agree to spend an hour to let Charles get back 10 ISP. He feels much more confident at 50 than he did at 40, so he’s fine moving after that to not open up the possibility of ambush any more than they have to. They head to the old mine.

      Comment


      • #5
        At the mine, Harry is eager to test out Ley Line Observation Sphere, and in so doing he spots the demon squad. Going with the new Horror Factor element, I only give glimpses and horrific descriptions of monstrous shadows – enough to let Harry know that supernatural evil forces are guarding the cave, but not really more information than that. Since they’re on a Ley Line, Harry charges up to his full PPE might of 120 (!!!) before they go into the caves.

        The fight with the demons starts out rough. Murphy fails the initial Fear check (poor, poor d4 Spirit ‘Borgs…) and gains a Minor Phobia of Demons! So now he’s at -1 for as long as he’s fighting them. On top of that, the Lesser Demons take half damage from non-magical attacks, so he really can’t hurt them. And on top of THAT, it’s a close-quarters fight with a lot of melee guys, so all in all Murphy just has a bad fight.
        Harry passes his Occult roll to know that Silver hurts demons, and since he’s a Wizard, he’s able to change the trapping of his Blast power to a rain of silver shards. So while Bane charges in and tangles with the Thornhead demon, Harry eviscerates the lesser demons. All seems to be going so well!

        …and then the Thornhead Demon successfully uses Mind Control (Mega Puppet) on Bane. In a miracle roll, I Ace TWICE for the casting check, which means Bane decides not to even waste Bennies trying to beat a nearly impossible check. The Demon then immediately metamorphoses into a gross centipede and crawls inside Bane’s armor where it can’t be easily attacked or targeted, and Bane goes to WORK.
        This happened at the end of a round, so action cards get dealt again and Bane is Quick, so the odds are already against the PCs. Even with Level Headed Charles doesn’t beat her, and Bane is first up in the round. The demon pulling her strings orders her to kill Harry first, and since she has a -4 to resist commands, she fails to do so and obliterates Harry in a single hit. He has a Parry of 2; she hits with a raise and deals so much damage over his paltry toughness that he’s immediately incapacitated. He tries to soak but he has a d4 Vigor and it doesn’t happen. So he’s incapacitated but not dead yet. Bane has plenty of movement and swings left, so the demon orders her to kill Charles next. Predictably a very similar thing happens; Charles is down in one swing. She then rushes into melee range with Murphy and ends her turn.

        Dodger goes for the dramatic “No! Don’t do it! I know you’re in there!” and he’s a big ham about it and we love him. He uses that as Support for her next Spirit check, and he rerolls into a raise, giving her a +2. On Murphy’s turn, he purposely moves out of melee range, stepping back and opening himself up for the swing. The demon yells “Now! Kill him!” and she takes her Spirit roll to resist, now with only a -2 thanks to Dodger. She still fails, but now she’s close enough for it to be worth a Benny, and she uses it and breaks free. Murphy goes on Hold since he doesn’t have a lot left to do. Demon’s turn it slithers out of Bane’s armor and becomes its mighty self again, but when it tries to cast Puppet on Bane again Murphy comes off Hold and empties his rail gun into it, killing it.

        Thankfully Dodger is a good enough medic to get Harry and Charles breathing again, and once he is Harry has plenty of energy to heal everyone the rest of the way magically. But everyone tells Bane they’re terrified of her, and she’s like, “Bah, I went easy on you. I didn’t even Burn.”

        Comment


        • PEGRoberson
          PEGRoberson commented
          Editing a comment
          Awesome, glad to hear that Horror Factor is influencing the tone of games positively! Sounds like a truly gritty encounter.

        • FponkDamn
          FponkDamn commented
          Editing a comment
          Horror Factor is excellent. I've always liked keeping a bit of "creepy" in Rifts, and there's enough weird stuff that even high knowledge rolls shouldn't give you *everything.* HF sets the tone for that well.

      • #6
        By this point the PCs hear the sounds of screams for help from within the cave, so they rush in to fight. They see the scene with the platform and the opening Rift, as well as the captured Faelerin and the bad guys. Kaazak has Intangibility, Protection, Arcane Protection and Deflect already cast on himself, and has Dispel on Hold.

        The PCs make their Fear checks against Big Ugly. Murphy fails again and gains the Hesitant Hindrance, on top of his Phobia against demons. Everyone else passes.

        This ends up being a really difficult but awesome fight. The lesser demons are handled in much the same way as before, with Harry sending hails of Silver upon them to destroy them. Dodger does a lot of supporting and Murphy frees as many Faelerin as he can since he can’t hurt much else. But easily the highlight of the fight was Harry finally getting the opportunity to use Growth! He cast it on Bane so she could go toe-to-toe with Big Ugly, and it was EPIC. At size +6 she deals d12+d8+3d6+10, with an additional 3d6 on a raise. The problem is that due to Big Ugly’s resistance to non-magical damage, she still just isn’t dealing enough to get through. So in the most awesome move ever, she instead attacks his Sword for a Disarm, successfully does so much damage that he can’t pass the Strength check to hold onto it, and then scoops it up and swings back! Since the flaming demon sword is definitely a Magic Weapon, he’s no longer immune. Now she’s dealing 2d12+13 damage, but that’s still not quite enough to get over the edge.

        So it’s Burn Time! (Note: We’re doing everything else by the book, but we’re testing a different set of Burn rules because we want to. I made a separate post about them.) She activates Burn on the swing and now is adding an extra d8 to all her physical rolls, including damage. That’s an extra d8 on damage, plus usually an extra d6 since she’s hitting with raises, so now she’s actually doing a Wound or so per hit.
        There are a lot of attempts to Dispel, both from Big Ugly and from Kaazak, in order to get Bane back down to a size where she couldn’t wield his sword. Lots of Bennies get spent by Harry in order to not have his magic Dispelled. He’s also contributing a few Bolts (by maxing the damage, AP modifier, and using Wizard to make them silver spears he’s sometimes just lucky enough to Shake Big Ugly, which helps). But Big Ugly is healing almost as fast as they damage him, and it’s starting to get rough.

        The whole time Charles has been trying to break through Kazaak’s mental defenses. He’s been Intangible the whole time so physical stuff couldn’t touch him and his Arcane Protection has made it nearly impossible for Charles to get through with psionic attacks. Since he’s the only caster in the room without unlimited power points, he’s been careful not to try big 10-point powers on every attack, especially with Kazaak (and me as the GM) still having Bennies.

        Dodger finally saves the day not with any particular in-game ability, but by reading the freakin’ book. In between his turns he’s been looking through his PDF of SWADE and finally reading Intangibility he sees that Intangible characters can affect and be affected by OTHER INTANGIBLE CHARACTERS. So he tells Harry to just turn Murphy Intangible. He does, and we have a very funny comic moment where Kazaak has been laughing maniacally and Murphy takes a single spare bolt out of his pocket and just gently tosses it at Kazaak, and instead of passing through him it bounces off his forehead. Kazaak stops laughing and looks confused, and then looks up in terror as Murphy laughs hysterically and empties his freaking rail gun into him, blowing him to intangible pieces.

        Finally without constant risk of Dispelling, Harry uses the other side of Growth/Shrink and Shrinks Big Ugly. There are many jokes made regarding “Little Ugly” and “PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER… itty bitty living space” and the demon is summarily dispatched.

        Comment


        • #7
          Next: Triangle Trade!

          The PCs meet with Gilbert and learn about what’s going on with the “Triangle Trade.” Charles uses various powers to determine he’s not lying and get the full story, and then they’re sent by the TL to the area to follow Gilbert’s leads.

          I ran this as a Dramatic Task, mostly using Dodger’s skills but a little of Charles’ and Harry’s help as well. They do a great job here and they manage to find the slavers’ route, but they pull off an ambush.
          Not really much to tell about that fight; when the PCs are able to plan the battle to their strengths and all do what they’re great at, it’s pretty easy. Charles sets up an Illusionary distraction that leads almost all the enemies into a trap where Harry and Murphy mow them down while Bane handles the few that remained guarding the prisoners and Dodger blocks SOS signals. Dodger then gets to have fun decoding the digital device they had and finds the location of the slaver camp.

          Then they get to the Slaver camp, and this is indeed a massive, massive fight. From a distance they can see the sheer number of troops as well as huge mechs; they also know there will be at least some mages present. The biggest problem with Mages is they’ll almost certainly be scanning with Detect Arcana, making a lot of Harry and Charles’ spy games not viable. And since there’s a Ley Line running through the area, enemy mages have a lot of power, even if so does Harry.

          Since this fight looked MASSIVE and it was already getting late, we decided to quit here for the night and resume next week. So next week we’ll look for the thrilling conclusion of A Fine Solution!

          Comment


          • #8
            Big Playtest Notes:
            1. Mind Melters: Rerolling and Shorting is a no-go: If you fail a short, it’s a critical failure – and you can’t reroll those. L So Shorting isn’t a viable answer to Mind Melter’s ISP concerns. Ultimately he wasn’t that constrained – he was about as constrained as you would expect a caster in a balanced game to be. He was able to use powers, but he had to think about how he used them. He went the lowest when he was fighting Kaazak, because so many of his powers were failing. Usually he only needs one big success. But if you are looking for a way for Mind Melters to economize on ISP, Shorting isn’t it. Channeling was pretty good, though – not amazing, but not bad.
            2. Arcane Academic shouldn’t include PPE bonuses. It just ultimately isn’t necessary. Ley Line Walkers not only have tons of other advantages, but low PPE just isn’t one of their weaknesses given that there are so many just random ways to get more.
            3. Blood & Gore is still a blast.
            4. Related: Being able to use Protection to become MDC ended up being used in weird ways. It was virtually never worth it against MDC opponents, ironically. Since the actual numerical boost isn’t that big, the only thing the spell really does is make you not take injuries, and that wasn’t really worth it. Meanwhile, if you’re facing enemies that DON’T have Mega-Damage weapons, being an MDC creature means you’re invincible. So the best use of Greater Protection was actually to use it when you were facing weaker opponents! I don’t really have an opinion on that one way or another, but take that information as you will.
            5. Can you use psionic powers while possessing someone?
            6. Everything else ran pretty smoothly!
            And once again – we absolutely love this. Thanks for taking the time to read this junk and for all your responses, it’s been great getting to be a part of it.

            Comment


            • PEGRoberson
              PEGRoberson commented
              Editing a comment
              Great writeup, thanks again!

              Regarding #2 - Arcane Academic doesn't double base PPE or that gained from abilities (including racial ones), it *only* doubles PPE from the *Power Points Edge*. I think this is your issue. Also, upcoming language is updated for clarity.

              #4 - This is getting clarified, thanks for the feedback.

              #5 - yes, details coming in update

            • FponkDamn
              FponkDamn commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you!

              #2 - That would only reduce Harry's PPE by 5 points. His total off 40 was from 20 (starting LLW points) + 10 (Power Points Edge taken at Novice) and 10 (D'Norr extra which we incorrectly doubled). So he'd have 35 instead of 40. My thinking was that they didn't really need to start with 20 instead of 15 either. Honestly with the various ways they can refill, it's actually cooler if they have a smaller base, because then there's more motivation and opportunity to actually seek out those other ways.

              #4 - Cool, excited to see!

              #5 - Awesome. It makes sense, flavor-wise, that you could. We just didn't want to make an assumption that would have been a big deal if we were wrong.

          • #9
            Thanks for the breakdown of your experience. Cool to read, have not noticed the MDC not being worth it. We tend to go 100% for defense in every battle. But we are only doing showdowns, not actual RPG games.

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by FponkDamn View Post
              And the third note is a question – we didn’t take Power Points at Novice because it was his Human Edge, and the Human Edge doesn’t say it evades the once-per-Rank restriction on Power Points, so we assumed he couldn’t take it again until Seasoned.
              Correct. The restriction stems from the Power Points Edge itself, irrespective of the human's Adaptable ability.

              I'm not sure, but I think the Born A Hero setting rule allows you to take Power Points multiple times during character creation (once for each Rank). Its just that each time you take it counts as the next Rank in line, pushing its availability further away.

              So at chargen, if you take Power Points twice (Novice, Seasoned), you can't take it again during play until you reach Veteran. If that makes sense...
              ___________

              Why was Charles avoiding big-PP powers? If he failed to cast, it only costs 1 PP, not the full cost of the power like it did in Deluxe.
              ___________

              If Bane Crit Failed her Spirit roll to fight the Mind-Fudge, would she have used Burn?

              Thanks! This was a fun read.

              Comment


              • FponkDamn
                FponkDamn commented
                Editing a comment
                Holy crap!! We missed that change in SWADE. That's a big deal! Would definitely change how Charles played. Good catch, thanks!!

              • PEGRoberson
                PEGRoberson commented
                Editing a comment
                Per Shane Hensley, ignoring "Rank requirements" is different than "Once per rank", so you could only take the Power Points Edge once at character creation for Novice IFs, or twice for a Seasoned MARS character.

              • Deskepticon
                Deskepticon commented
                Editing a comment
                PEGRoberson That makes sense. Thanks!

            • #11
              A great read!!

              Comment


              • #12
                Your damage appears to be way off on the juicer. The Thunderer got nerfed in the update document and only does the +3d6 from the shells on a raise; it's 1d12 otherwise, so you'd be at 2d12+4, with the extra damage only on a raise. You're probably better off with the new chainsaw, which is better on regular hits, and equal-ish on a raise, with less chance of acing damage.

                Comment


                • FponkDamn
                  FponkDamn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank GOD. We actually ended up talking a LOT last night about whether or not the Thunderer was overpowered, and while we didn't reach a firm conclusion ultimately I think it was. I think the nerf is appropriate. Though yeah, that does mean she's probably going to swap to the chainsaw.

                • PEGRoberson
                  PEGRoberson commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks!
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