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Author Topic: More Thorough Playtest  (Read 6996 times)
Brennan Taylor
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« on: June 21, 2004, 10:07:29 AM »

OK. I actually got together a thorough playtest from character creation through a "something's wrong" scenario (I just used one from the draft rules for this, actually). This game creates a great quick session that is really intense.

To start off, I had two players, both female. They each created female Dogs. One, Sister Hannah, came from a hardscrabble desert Branch with few resources and where every year was a fight to grow crops. The other, Sister Amy, was a female gunslinger from outside the community who had been rescued and nursed back to health by a Faithful family. She converted in gratitude, and the local elder sent her to the Dogs as a way to integrate her with the Faith.

After chargen, I ran the initial scenario you proposed as a good entre into the system: the Dog training test. In this case, putting a demon back in a box. That went quite well and everyone got a handle on the system. They both emerged shaken and with a bit of fallout.

Then they got their coats. This was super cool. Each panel in Sister Hannah's coat was embroidered with words of scripture, with appropriate quotes along various body parts (a passage about "the strength of My arm" on her bicep, etc.) with a passage relating to the Dogs on the collar: "Send forth My Watchdogs into the Vineyard". Sister Amy's coat was pieced together with flowers, roses, and lace: all the most feminine cloth that could be found, an obvious comment from her host family. :)

They rode out and went to Boxelder Canyon Branch (in the draft rules). Once there, they dealt with the census taker, very quickly figuring out his boggle. They were very gentle with this guy, but still quite firm. I had expected them to take a heavier hand. Sister Hannah went and spoke to his wife as this was going on, and a really tense conflict brought out the secret of the whiskey as the wife broke down. Leaving this wreckage, they talked to Brother Benjamin and quickly decided he was just a bigot, then went and spoke to the local bishop. Here they felt he was a basically good guy but just hadn't taken a strong enough hand with the census man, and they gave him some advice on that subject. That's where we ended up having to leave off because it was late. All in all, some really satisfying play.

For feedback, there is some editing still to be done on the document. When you made the pdf at least, the definitions of the stats was excised, so I had to guess a bit on what each one meant. Also, Demonic Influence isn't well defined. How many dice does it provide? What size?

Otherwise, this is looking pretty good. The players both said the hardest part was getting into the minds of their characters, since a lot of what is considered proper in the game setting is very, very different from the player's own mindset. Gender roles and the prohibitions against coffee, tea, and tobacco were the wierdest for them to deal with. Sister Hannah's player said that the character reacted in a way that was so very different from herself, especially in the scene at the bishop's house (I had given him a burly teenage son, and Sister Hannah was very interested :D ).

The system itself really encourages very tense and emotionally draining situations, and everybody got really wrapped up in the resolution. I felt I was giving my NPCs too few dice (apart from the initial demon--that was spot-on). The couple of times there was a test the PC really outclassed the NPC challengee. I would just bump those up next time, but it might be nice to put some guidelines in for making up these characters.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2004, 11:38:57 AM »

Brennan!

Did Librisia play Sister Amy?

You're gonna dig the final text, I think.  It's got you covered.

There's a curious thing, though.  I've noticed it every single time I've played.  It's that the GM thinks he or she isn't rolling enough dice, but the players still find the conflicts challenging and tight.  I can only imagine how rough the game would be on the poor players if the GM were to roll "enough" dice.

How far did you all escalate a conflict?  To violence ever, or was it all talking?

YOU ROCK!

-Vincent
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Brennan Taylor
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Posts: 499


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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2004, 12:05:22 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
Did Librisia play Sister Amy?


Yep. Actually, a pretty typical kind of character for her. It was interesting to have a sort of "outsider" Dog, who didn't always buy in to every prohibition in the culture. She was actually more pragmatic than the Sister Hannah, who was raised in the Faith.

Quote from: lumpley
You're gonna dig the final text, I think.  It's got you covered.


Great. I was only mentioning some thing I missed in the pdf. I know that file's pretty old. Since you've been working hard since then, I'm sure it's changed a lot.

Quote from: lumpley
There's a curious thing, though.  I've noticed it every single time I've played.  It's that the GM thinks he or she isn't rolling enough dice, but the players still find the conflicts challenging and tight.  I can only imagine how rough the game would be on the poor players if the GM were to roll "enough" dice.

How far did you all escalate a conflict?  To violence ever, or was it all talking?


Yeah, you could be right, there. The demon was actually pretty tough. Nothing escalated to violence, because they hadn't figured out Brother Benjamin's heresy yet, so it was all just talking. The way I ran the demon was purely incorporeal. It could create visions and illusions and it could read minds, but it couldn't physically harm them. Because it played on their fears, though, both of them were shaken after they put it back in the box.

The main conflict was with the census taker's wife, and that one was totally dominated by Sister Hannah. I would have liked for the wife to put up a bit more of a defense, but she was outclassed in every raise and then ran out of dice after two Sees.
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