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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Recorded Playtest of The Beats of Willow Lake

Hey all!

We did a live play last night of the first part of The Beast of Willow Lake.  It was a ton of fun, if you missed watching it live it's now uploaded to YouTube: https://youtu.be/AKaBP_6OqEY

Jowzam

- Matt - Jowzam's Den Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/jowzam YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKQGLB7W_C0Om3G4QtPNA1A

That was really cool and very fun to listen to. I'm glad you liked the adventure so far!

About the name of the woods, we didn't really think of a name for them, to make it more easy to drop the scenario in any fantasy setting.

My guess would  be that it really depends on who you're asking to. Locals would probably just call them "The Woods", since there's not much else around. People coming from the City of the White Walls, like Athelstane and Mornien, would know the area as "Northern Woods", because that's probably how it's called on their maps, but Elves would still identify the area as part of "their" forest, so they would call them Dryv Covert.

Anyway, that's just how I handled it at my table, your call is as good as mine!

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Thanks! It was lots of fun.

That works fr the name of the woods. I was going to make something up but then thought it would be fun to have the audience participate but sadly they were gone at that point.

Looking forward to the next part of our adventure this week!

- Matt - Jowzam's Den Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/jowzam YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKQGLB7W_C0Om3G4QtPNA1A

Thanks for running! It was an enjoyable listen.

Some design thoughts came to me while I listened to you play. Two things:

1. I know this is dependent on individual table preferences, but I wonder if PCs should roll (and be able to see results of) checks such as Perception. I’m sure you all know what I mean. A low roll obviously is a failure and will telegraph to that player that there still might be something that he did not notice. This often leads to what I’m going to touch on in my next point. I think GM secret rolls sometimes should be used for many Lore skills such as Songs & Tales, maybe even Nature. In other words, if it’s ever interesting that a PC not know if he knows or has noticed something, perhaps the test should be rolled by the GM.

2. The QS has rules for PCs Aiding other PCs, which the recorded playtest made use of. I wonder if Aiding should be used more often, first for a reason given above. When someone fails a Perception roll, the other players tend to “pile on”: e.g., “I also want to see if he’s lying.” Something more interesting for the fiction, I believe, would be if the other players only get to Aid the primary skill-user. If the PCs have time to deliberate, the character most skilled in the Skill should make the roll. In other situations, I think the first player to decide to do something should make the roll. If the other gamers after this roll decide to help, at most they can Aid.

This isn’t so clean when it comes to something like Stealth. In this case, a group of people only is going to be as sneaky as its least-skilled party member. In these cases, I don’t know if it’s best for everyone to roll his or her individual Skills, for the best to roll for everybody with no chance of being Aided, or for the least skilled to roll, while being Aided by his or her better-skilled friends. Probably in most cases I would have everybody roll individually, and, with preparation and when the entire group MUST move as a whole, the third option.

As you said, I think this really fall under the realm of personal preferences and best practices than actual hard rules.

Personally, I like all rolls to be made "in the open". I know it robs the players of part of the uncertainty typical of some situations, but it also creates some really interesting roleplaying situations (like when you know that you rolled really low, so the piece of lore your character just remember is probably wrong, but you have to act as if you didn't know it) and makes immediately clear what are the consequences of the characters actions.
Plus, players could opt to re-roll a failed roll using a Drive Point, so there's also that.
But yes, I see no problem in making some of the rolls hidden, and I can see the advantages that it could have.

On your second point yes, the characters are doing something together or are all doing the same action the Helping rules should be used most of the times (unless they're doing something that can only be accomplished individually).

For stealth rolls, it really depends on the situation, but a group trying to move silently should use the Helping rules, too. I usually give the characters two difficulties: one for moving alone, one for moving as a group.
So, say the heroes spotted some orc guards and want to sneak past them. For a lone character that would be a Standard (+0) Difficulty roll, Conflicting with the orcs' Perception. For the whole group this would instead be a Very Hard (-30) action (always Conflicting), since is much harder to sneak a group of people than to do it alone. This would mean that only one of the characters (usually the stealthier) will actually roll against the orcs, while the others will help (incidentally, the orcs would help one another in the same way, since they're all doing the same action).
This also lets less stealthy, creative characters, to come up with other ways of helping their companion, using Skills in which they have a higher bonus. For example, one could use Deceive to create a temporary distraction, while another could use Nature and her knowledge of the surrounding natural enviroment to find the best path to sneak through.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

I had forgotten that Drive points might (and should) come into play. (I expect that Drive points are going to be easily overlooked by both my players and me—until a character is about to die, that is!) Therefore I’m going to run with my players making all rolls. Thanks!

Your observations cause me to consider the implications of roleplaying (pretending that your character is unaware of failure), gaming (recognizing your failure and using that for your next tactical choice) and immersion (not knowing—because in the fiction you simply cannot know—if your character failed or succeeded). Hmmm.