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Author Topic: Stregoneria RPG Feedback.  (Read 1372 times)
Stregheria
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« on: September 06, 2011, 07:48:33 AM »

Hello fellow Forgers, :)

I see from my game's website statistics that approximately 400 people have visited the download page and I'm presuming that a reasonable amount of those visitors have downloaded it (www.stregoneriarpg.com)

I'm looking for any sort of discourse on the rules, or any suggestions or feedback concerning the game. I'm also interested in making contact with any playtesters or potential reviewers.

I realise Ron that you have just shut down a 'reviwers wanted' thread but I won't be 'bumping' in this one and I genuinely do need to try and get some independant info out there about the game. Reviewers please note that because the game is available for free download from its site, if you would like to to review it, you can just go ahead and do it wherever and whenever you please, you don't have to consult me first. Please include the information in your review that the game is a beta release and is subject to change depending on customer feedback though. Thanks.
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Stregoneria RPG
Callan S.
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 03:10:53 PM »

Hi,

What were your goals for the game, in terms of actual mechanics? Like "This rule combines with this set of stats to give you a sense of personal moral decline" or something. So describe what you've designed - both the mechanic and what it's fictional counterpart is and how you intended the mechanics to influence the fictional counterpart. Then I could look at the rules and atleast give my subjective poison well* evaluation (* sorry, just toying with a concept from another thread) of whether that is occuring. Otherwise with these documents I tend not to know where the heck to start. Have you ever evaluated someone elses 50+ page game? Only Ron seems to have the varacious reading desire/capacity to do that. Anyway, hit me up with one or two mechanics/fictional counterpart things and I'll have a look.
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K.Hoffren
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Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 04:47:39 AM »

Hey,

I spent a little time browsing through the rule book last night and here are a few things I noticed while browsing through the pdf:

First of all, although realistic systems are not exactly my cup of tea, the rules for combat are very thorough and I applaud you for thinking up many different situations and scenarios that are rare, but possible for the characters to encounter. There are a lot of modifiers and special rules, so I would suggest creating some quick reference sheets to make the Scribes' jobs easier when they can't remember the exact modifiers or rules in the middle of a combat scene and need a way to refresh their memory.

It's great that you cross-reference different rules and aspects of the game throughout the book, but referring to the section numbers instead of page numbers can make finding the referred sections a little slow. Maybe you could put the section numbers to (for example) the top corner of the page to make searching sections easier?

Speaking of finding things, actual core rule system (i.e. how tests are performed) is not very easy to find. It appears to be hidden in the Skills –section and at first I just skimmed right over the section without even noticing the rules hidden there. I would suggest that you devote a section, however short, to the actual core rules of the game to make it as easy to find as possible, since some people (myself included) use the core rules as an "entry point" when they start to learn a new system.

If you want to discourage people from simply stacking one combat scene after another when playing your game, you might want to provide Scribes with alternative ideas for their sessions. I would suggest making a short section with possible scenarios for groups to play. Another way could be to add "story seeds" throughout the rule book, whenever appropriate. For example: you could add some story seeds into the Bestiary –section by providing some scenarios where the beasts could realistically be encountered (a powerful priest is hounded by Gabriel Hounds because he is trying to extend his life with magic). In my opinion, the World section should be riddled with tiny story seeds that the Scribe can use to flesh out the campaign.

Finally, some tiny notes:

I noticed that you suggest your reader to first read the Combat and Spells –sections before creating characters. Why not just put these sections before the character creation rules? Just a thought.

According to the character sheet, the players need to choose their dominant hand, but there seem to be no rules that take the dominant hand into account (I tried using text search to find references to the dominant hand of the character, but couldn't find any)
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Stregheria
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 07:22:40 AM »

Hi,

What were your goals for the game, in terms of actual mechanics? Like "This rule combines with this set of stats to give you a sense of personal moral decline" or something. So describe what you've designed - both the mechanic and what it's fictional counterpart is and how you intended the mechanics to influence the fictional counterpart. Then I could look at the rules and atleast give my subjective poison well* evaluation (* sorry, just toying with a concept from another thread) of whether that is occuring. Otherwise with these documents I tend not to know where the heck to start. Have you ever evaluated someone elses 50+ page game? Only Ron seems to have the varacious reading desire/capacity to do that. Anyway, hit me up with one or two mechanics/fictional counterpart things and I'll have a look.

The mechanics were supposed to be flexible. The game is perfectly playable without any complicated rules for parrying, critical hits, impales wound infection etc. The mechanics were supposed to allow for a simple story-driven game where number crunching was secondary, or a fairly realistic simulation of combat on a medieval battlefield; that isn't to say that you could have a more narrativist game and use all the cruncyh rules as well.
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Stregoneria RPG
Stregheria
Member

Posts: 80


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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 07:47:52 AM »

Hey,

I spent a little time browsing through the rule book last night and here are a few things I noticed while browsing through the pdf:

First of all, although realistic systems are not exactly my cup of tea, the rules for combat are very thorough and I applaud you for thinking up many different situations and scenarios that are rare, but possible for the characters to encounter. There are a lot of modifiers and special rules, so I would suggest creating some quick reference sheets to make the Scribes' jobs easier when they can't remember the exact modifiers or rules in the middle of a combat scene and need a way to refresh their memory.

It's great that you cross-reference different rules and aspects of the game throughout the book, but referring to the section numbers instead of page numbers can make finding the referred sections a little slow. Maybe you could put the section numbers to (for example) the top corner of the page to make searching sections easier?

Speaking of finding things, actual core rule system (i.e. how tests are performed) is not very easy to find. It appears to be hidden in the Skills –section and at first I just skimmed right over the section without even noticing the rules hidden there. I would suggest that you devote a section, however short, to the actual core rules of the game to make it as easy to find as possible, since some people (myself included) use the core rules as an "entry point" when they start to learn a new system.

If you want to discourage people from simply stacking one combat scene after another when playing your game, you might want to provide Scribes with alternative ideas for their sessions. I would suggest making a short section with possible scenarios for groups to play. Another way could be to add "story seeds" throughout the rule book, whenever appropriate. For example: you could add some story seeds into the Bestiary –section by providing some scenarios where the beasts could realistically be encountered (a powerful priest is hounded by Gabriel Hounds because he is trying to extend his life with magic). In my opinion, the World section should be riddled with tiny story seeds that the Scribe can use to flesh out the campaign.

Finally, some tiny notes:

I noticed that you suggest your reader to first read the Combat and Spells –sections before creating characters. Why not just put these sections before the character creation rules? Just a thought.

According to the character sheet, the players need to choose their dominant hand, but there seem to be no rules that take the dominant hand into account (I tried using text search to find references to the dominant hand of the character, but couldn't find any)


Combat can be played very simply without any of the complicated rules if so desired. The idea is that all rules for parrying, critical hits, wound infection, impaling etc can easily be ignored without causing any problems to the running of the game. It is true that if the Scribe is using the full-on combat rules tables will have to be consulted. That is why in the back of the book is a seperate tables section that has all the charts and tables in the game re-listed, the idea being for these to be printed out and kept as handy reference material.

Page numbers would have been better for cross referencing and I'm considering looking into changing that. The reason I used numerical section references was that when I started, I hadn't finalised the page numbers yet. :D Section numbers in the top corner is a good idea, I'll just have to see if word can do it, and if so, how.

How to perform tests is in the skills section because skill tests are the most common in the game. On reflection however, stat tests maybe shouldn't come under that criteria and a seperate section may have been better. I'll look into that one.

I'd forgotten all about saying about reading the combat and spells section first. Perhaps the character creation section would be better later on in the book. Again, I'll lhave a think about that.

The dominant hand issue is interesting. I do have a section on fighting with two weapons that gives the penalties for using our off-hand, but it can be a factor in other situations as well, so I might insert a little section somewher clarifying that. Well spotted. :)

As for adventure seeds, well, I needed to draw the line somewhere and actually release the book otherwise I could have let it drag on whgile I added all sorts of other bits and pieces but now its essentially finished, I might include some ideas for Scribe's to use. I'm actually proofreading an adventure for my game at the moment that a freelancer has written for it as it happens which should be available soon.

Thank you very much for all those comments, it has certainly given me food for thought.
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Stregoneria RPG
Callan S.
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 03:37:46 PM »

The mechanics were supposed to be flexible. The game is perfectly playable without any complicated rules for parrying, critical hits, impales wound infection etc. The mechanics were supposed to allow for a simple story-driven game where number crunching was secondary, or a fairly realistic simulation of combat on a medieval battlefield; that isn't to say that you could have a more narrativist game and use all the cruncyh rules as well.
But how would you play it? What's important to you, in the game/in playing it?

You seem to be trying to cater to the crowd, which I've seen often enough on forums, who say they are all about the story (and sometimes they don't touch a die all session, apparently), or for a crowd who want to run an 'authentic' battle.

But there's a third crowd, one who wants to experience the authors own idiosyncratic construct, a crowd who actually enjoys when a game grates against their day to day expectations (a crowd who has an expectation of having their status quo expectations not met). With that crowd, you basically do what you want (though I think forwarning text is required *thinks of a certain ronnies RPG*).

Do you need to cater to that third crowd? Not at all. But I think I'm part of it, and I wonder, since catering to the third crowd is essentially catering to yourself, I'd like to know how you'd play the game? What would you play it for? Specifically I'd like to know the rules you use, or even just the habits you have in gaming, codified into a sort of rules shadow of those habits?

But if it's just aimed at the first and second crowd, fair enough. I'm not really part of either demographic, I think, so I'm not sure my reading would be worth much to you.
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Stregheria
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 03:52:21 AM »


But how would you play it? What's important to you, in the game/in playing it?

You seem to be trying to cater to the crowd, which I've seen often enough on forums, who say they are all about the story (and sometimes they don't touch a die all session, apparently), or for a crowd who want to run an 'authentic' battle.

But there's a third crowd, one who wants to experience the authors own idiosyncratic construct, a crowd who actually enjoys when a game grates against their day to day expectations (a crowd who has an expectation of having their status quo expectations not met). With that crowd, you basically do what you want (though I think forwarning text is required *thinks of a certain ronnies RPG*).

Do you need to cater to that third crowd? Not at all. But I think I'm part of it, and I wonder, since catering to the third crowd is essentially catering to yourself, I'd like to know how you'd play the game? What would you play it for? Specifically I'd like to know the rules you use, or even just the habits you have in gaming, codified into a sort of rules shadow of those habits?

But if it's just aimed at the first and second crowd, fair enough. I'm not really part of either demographic, I think, so I'm not sure my reading would be worth much to you.
[/quote]

I would play it as a game that leant towards gritty realism with interweaving storylines. NPC development and their importance in the minds of the players is important to me. I would play the game with a lot of the complicated rules excluded. I would use my critical hit tables, impaling rules and wound infection rules however.

I think the fact that the game has its own mechanic and has its own idiosyncratic approach to many areas of the rules such as magic, enchanted items, demons etc will bring out the personality of the rules and their creator no matter how people choose to play it.

I wrote the game that I would most like to play, a game that I had not come across in all my years of buying rpgs. I then took that idea and expanded it into a modular system that had extended options for allowing players other than myself to customise the game to their liking. None of these extra options alters the game's basic premise though, that of being a low fantasy rpg with a dark, gritty edge.
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Stregoneria RPG
Callan S.
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 04:29:24 PM »

Quote
I think the fact that the game has its own mechanic and has its own idiosyncratic approach to many areas of the rules such as magic, enchanted items, demons etc will bring out the personality of the rules and their creator no matter how people choose to play it.
*snip*
None of these extra options alters the game's basic premise though, that of being a low fantasy rpg with a dark, gritty edge.
I think with any RPG which has alot in common with traditional RPG design, I, atleast, can pretty much turn the mechanics into an echo chamber of myself, simply by selectively ignoring rules or applying them in certain ways (which a traditional RPG permits in the rules it gives).

Indeed, I think when it's 'flexible', I can do nothing BUT talk over the games basic premise, instead saying my own premise. When it's really flexible, what's to stop me just doing whatever comes to my own mind? And so I'm left in an echo chamber with myself and like minded friends. It's in restriction that I can hear someone elses premise, not in freedom. Not that large number of gamers out there don't get excited about such a situation - generally they confuse doing what comes to their mind as actually playing someone elses game, and they don't percieve an echo chamber because they are playing 'the game' and don't recognise that they are following their own footprints, rather than someone elses. They never click as to the reason why "This game is exactly what I want!".

Or maybe that never occurs. But it seems that way to me.

Well, anyway, I'm looking for 'firmer' rules, myself, not more 'flexible' rules. But I might be a minor demographic, I totally admit.

I would play it as a game that leant towards gritty realism with interweaving storylines. NPC development and their importance in the minds of the players is important to me. I would play the game with a lot of the complicated rules excluded. I would use my critical hit tables, impaling rules and wound infection rules however.
I'll line myself up to give it a read over with this in mind, soonish.
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Stregheria
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 03:10:25 AM »

I'm pushing the game once again and have people looking at the gae on another forum as well and am starting to get some useful feedback and have already made some minor changes: clearer character sheet, fixed some typos and made some minor formatting changes. Ron doesn't like people making announcements here at the Forge but hopefully he won't mind me saying that the 1.03 Beta release version is available for free download from my site: www.stregoneriarpg.com as I am engaging in active discussion about the game in this thread.

It would be great Callan if you could look at it, by the sounds of your posts I should be able to get some worthwhile feedback from you.

As a general note that relates to something you said in your post, I think that you can only bend a system to your whims so far before it breaks, or changes so much that you may as well be playing something else.
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Stregoneria RPG
Stregheria
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2011, 01:26:51 PM »

If you're still interested having a look at my game Callan, I'd suggest getting the latest version (1.05) from my site: www.stregoneriarpg.com

I've been getting feedback from around the web (and some very positive feedback too :) ) and some fixes had to be made such as page numbers and other little clarifiacations here and there.

All feedback and comments are also welcome from anybody else, but please also get the latest version of the document first.

Thanks Forgers. :)
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Stregoneria RPG
Callan S.
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2011, 05:13:57 PM »

I'm trying!

I'll tell you what, I'll give a hypothesis about how some other gamers will read this text: They will read it in a way where they 'know' what they are supposed to read. It'll in real fact be a cherry picking process, where they just pick out what they want to read and other parts wont be seen at all. This is how early D&D was read as well, check out the forge article. Look for the emphasis they make when they give feedback, and how those emphasises don't actually correlate between each gamers feedback, yet each gamer will write their emphasis like it IS the emphasis of the text.

Or at the very least, if I were to attempt to not cherry pick, I really don't know where to start. I had a look at criticals - I'm not sure it said anything that seemed to grab the games theme. I couldn't find the infection rules or impaling rules.

The way the game reads to me, it fits the classic D&D mould of putting forward a huge amount of material, which people are excited to get into, so they cherry pick their way through and then say with whatever they clung onto (and as a result, what they dropped) IS playing the game. Except do people get excited about these texts anymore?

I really don't know what to, at a procedural level, do to give your game a good shot. And as said, I'm not interested in creating an echo chamber for myself - heck, I did this even with the riddle of steel RPG. I completely forgot, in play as GM, to include its main feature (spiritual attributes), because of the games design it is easy to look past them. So I ended up doing D&D with dicepools. And with your game, I'd end up doing D&D yet again. A flexible system just lets me fall into my ingrained habits all the easier.

I'd like to see a quickstart version, with small adventure (either a GM and one player, or completely solo adventure) and a step by step on what rules to use at any point within it (please, no general advice - that's yet another opportunity for my ingrained habits to kick in).

The fact is, I am interested in the theme of the game (or atleast what I think is the theme - see my notes on gamer emphasis above), but I honestly don't know how to get at it. Indeed, I could also lay this charge at older versions of D&D, rifts, underground, cyberpunk, warhammer. So your amongst prestigous company, even if the prognosis isn't flattery from me. I can't get at the good bit of your game - I can't get at the interesting tree of your game, for the forest you've made.
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Stregheria
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2011, 06:29:04 PM »

An interesting reply as always. :)

I'll try and respond to what I think is the gist of what you're saying: I haven't played a single rpg in my entire life where I didn't have to cherry-pick material. In fact, it's something I've just accepted that I'll have to do no matter what system I play. My game is probably no different, and more than that, it has actually been designed to be cherry-picked. The game attempts to present its own take on the fantasy rpg genre, that while not reinventing the wheel, tries to present what have become standard rpg mechanics in an interesting way and also add its own ideas alongside.

I know that there are games out there that have attempted to create new and exciting mechanics and incorporate different approaches, and I applaud such enterprise and forwardness of thinking. I believe however that my game is not without its own original concepts, but rather than start with a radical new idea and try and make it workable, my game starts with a fairly standard approach and then tries to expand upon it.

I've learnt a heck of a lot since I started writing Stregoneria, and in some ways that game has been a cathartic experience. Completing it has made me now want to tackle something else more leftfield, that investigates different approaches to rpg design. Stregoneria is not a reinvention of the wheel, but it is about as original a game as you are going to get as far as standard frpgs go.
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Stregoneria RPG
Callan S.
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 02:58:06 PM »

Well, in that case I must have given it a good look over after all!

Quote
I've learnt a heck of a lot since I started writing Stregoneria, and in some ways that game has been a cathartic experience. Completing it has made me now want to tackle something else more leftfield, that investigates different approaches to rpg design.
Well, it has been completed (and quite a large document to have built, at that!) so congrats on that and yeah, now you know it's done and dusted you can feel free in whatever other horizon you might wish to look toward. :) Good luck!
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Stregheria
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2011, 01:56:55 AM »

I can barely keep up with the feedback and suggestions that i'm receiving from around the web for my game. I'm on holiday from work and have spent virtually the whole of the last 5 days implementing suggested revisions/minor corrections.

As always I need as much feedback as possible and the latest version of the document (1.07) is completely reformatted and even has a new cover. A graphic designer who looked at the game suggested I clean it up; a lot! I won't bore you with the list of changes he suggested but many hours later, here they are...

www.stregoneriarpg.com
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