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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 108 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: [Storming] The Temple of Nine Bells  (Read 3839 times)

Posts: 30

« on: September 02, 2009, 02:08:02 PM »

I've started a Storming the Wizard's Tower game, which I think is turning into a genuine campaign. We're two sessions in, and everyone really likes it.

An AP of the first session is online here:

The lists and character types are online here:

(Neither is necessary to read, though, for purposes of this thread.)

The group in question is a large group (4-5 core players, plus 1-2 occasional visitors) that prefers mostly traditional games like D&D 3E and Savage Worlds. Because of the large number of people, some of whom are fairly new to role-playing, and the preference for games I don't enjoy as much, I don't always game with this group. But I like everyone involved, and it includes some good friends, so I'm pleased to find a game that pushes everyone's buttons in a good way.

I know Vince has said on his blog that the game has serious mechanical problems (and I look forward to the revision and published version), but the game in its current form worked well for us, so we plan to keep playing.

I do have some questions, however.


John's character (Imperial Magistrate Li) has childhood memory as a map. It came up in last night's game as the PCs were tracking a pair of hopping vampires over the sacred mountain. John asked if he could use his map, I asked how it fit, and he said that his uncle, the ex-pirate smuggler, took him to the haunted forest as a boy (which played into an earlier piece of color/backstory, so it was cool). I let him make a perception roll (plus one die for the map), and gave him some useful background info.

1. Is that childhood memory now "set" as being about the sacred mountain? Or can he use it again, and have a childhood memory about the something else in the future? This seems to make that particular map more limited than the others, which have more versatile uses.

2. Should he have gotten a bonus die for the map? Or was the map's benefit simply the thing letting him make the roll on the first place? (This came up again when another player used his legends & lore map to learn more about the monster they were chasing).

Using Tactical Features

In another scene, Colin's character (Yang Bang the elderly geomancer), decided to use a "tactical feature" of the terrain. I had described the hopping vampire as leaping down from a giant pile of rocks and boulders, so he wanted to jump up there and throw a boulder down.

This didn't quite seem to fit the rules for using tactical features, but I didn't want to rain on the parade, so I had him roll a Strength set-up roll, and gave him a red die for each hit. Which worked smoothly, but he ended up getting more red dice than anyone else in the scene (ie – a thrown boulder was more effective than all the kung-fu and spirit weapons the other players had carefully selected). I probably should have handled that differently.

Healing Combat Damage

One of the characters had a healing spell, which he used quite a bit, to good effect. (The players were all quite explicit about how much they liked the way magic works in the game).

I had also added some healing items to the gear list (healing herbs and dragonbone powder). I didn't think much about how they would work, but two players picked them and tried to use them, so I let them count themselves as healers (per the 'Healing During Adventures' rules), and gave them a bonus die for the effort.

Which resulted in really powerful healing, even more so than the spell. So that wasn't so good. Clearly the bonus die was overkill; I had a hard time distinguishing between "This thing gives you extra dice" and "This thing lets your character do something they couldn't do otherwise".

But should characters even be able to heal themselves up? I'm not sure.

Initiative in Fights

The lack of initiative or combat order mechanics makes combat less exciting for me. It seems to flatten the pacing, or something like that.

The relevant text reads "Don’t consider everybody’s actions to be simultaneous. Instead, order them as makes best sense of the rolls’ results." Which makes sense. But in practice, we ended up going around the table, mostly, with the monsters going last.

During one fight, John came up with an awesome plan. Rather than fighting the vampire on the bamboo bridge, they'd just cut it and let the monster fall to its death. The plan was awesome because Anton's character was on the bridge at the time, so that gave rise to both hilarity and more action.

But I let the monster go first, before the bridge-cutting. Which seemed to be in keeping with the spirit of the rules, but to justify it (since the monsters had always gone last before that), I said that I wanted the monster to get a good hit in before he died. Part of me wants a mechanic to fall back on for things like that.

* * *

It may not be kosher to ask questions about a game that has retreated from the playtesting stage, but we plan to keep playing, so if anyone can help out with this stuff, that would rule.

Brian Minter
Bears Will Attack
Paul T

Posts: 383

« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2009, 05:51:05 PM »

But I let the monster go first, before the bridge-cutting. Which seemed to be in keeping with the spirit of the rules, but to justify it (since the monsters had always gone last before that), I said that I wanted the monster to get a good hit in before he died. Part of me wants a mechanic to fall back on for things like that.

I'm not going to comment on the other stuff, because I'd like to hear the "real" answers myself.

However, here I'm pretty certain you did the right thing. If the monster's attack hits were higher than the PC's defense, then that establishes what happened: the monster DID get a hit in on the hero before he fell with the bridge. So, the dice do effectively decide in what order things happened in a case like that.

Another way to look at it is that "fighting while..." actions take effect after all other actions, at the end of the "round". So, fight-fight-fight -> outcomes, then the bridge wobbles and falls into the canyon.
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