My combat playtest review

#1
Shattered RPG

Playtest Review

GM ЦMarcus W.

04/04/2015

а

Four players engaged in a playtest, to evaluate the character creation and then the combat function of Shattered. The party consisted of a Human Psy, a Drone melee, a Vampire melee, and a Shade Primaltheurgist. The players engaged in three progressively difficult encounters: three grunts, one Horrortank, and a Hangel. The players were granted experience between each round and given the opportunity to upgrade and heal between each encounter. We encountered some issues/question during combat. Most of the issues were the need for clarification on mechanics and in-game functionality. Below is a list of the issues and questions, as well as some ideas we discussed, as players and the GM, that the issues might be resolved. We understand that this is the alpha playtest and that many of our concerns may have already been addressed.

  • The first issue is the functionality of the character sheet. Several players remarked that the Journal section of the character sheet would be better utilized as a Quick Reference area for Action Point usage. The Quick Reference section would list the name of the action, the number of AP required to perform that action, and a brief description of the action. Players also remarked that while most of the other RPG systems have a УjournalФ or УNotesФ area on character sheets, it is hardly ever used for long term characters; players generally opt for recording events and information on notebook paper or dedicated notebooks.
  • There are a few minor errors in the playtest packet.
    • The character sheet Non-Combat Skill reads УMechanicsФ, which is a different spelling than is contained in the packet; the packet refers to the skill as УmechaniksФ.
    • The weapon and equipment tables didnТt include the weights for each item.
  • Combat mechanics with PSY users and the talent abilities needs some clarification. When getting talents such as Snap and Mess With the Bull as a PSY user, is the PSY user allowed to substitute his PSY ability for the requirements? After acquiring the Talents and while using the Talents in battle, can the PSY user substitute his PSY ability rates for the normal ability rates called for with sunder and bull rush combat actions?
  • When a PSY user uses Bull Rush from range does this mean he/she is able to bull rush from any direction or attack two targets on opposite sides from a range. This seems extremely powerful, perhaps too much so.
  • Clarification is needed on the PSY ability Subtle Subterfuge. Does the player have to declare what thought level they are trying to determine or do they roll and take the difference between the resolve check made by the target.
  • Clarification is needed on spell and condition damage. Specifically, when a primaltheurgist casts a spell that has both damage and the Сset on fireТ condition, is that damage totaled then the enemy DR applied, or is it two instances of damage with the enemy DR applied to both separately?
  • Further clarification on the duration for the Сset on fireТ condition is needed. If the condition is applied from primaltheurgy, it lasts 2 rounds (per point spent). But if the Сset on fireТ condition is applied from a non-magical source, the condition keeps going until put out. Can a magical fire be put out by using a number of action points, thus cutting short its duration, or does it last for 2 rounds, regardless of any attempt by the person on fire to dose the flames?
  • It was suggested by multiple players that the ongoing fire damage bypass either armor or toughness.
  • When casting magical effects, can the primalthurgist stack multiple effects on one spell? For example, can one spell contain Blind, Set on Fire, and Acid?
  • What are the rules for casting Arkana in melee range? For the purposes of the play test, this was treated like using a Ballistics in melee range, but clarification would be appreciated.
  • The GM found that for player casting Arkana with spell points, the price of a spell at 2AP was overpowered and would recommend that this be changed to 2AP for a regular spell and 4AP for overcasting spells.
  • The Blind condition is extremely powerful and may require an additional mechanic that allows the afflicted person to remove it. Similar to the Сset on fireТ condition, which allows the afflicted person to remove the flames with a Stop, Drop, and Roll for 3 AP. Ideas discussed were a resolve check at the start of each turn or spending 2 or 3 AP to shake it off. When players encountered small numbers of monsters or singular monsters, the Blind condition gave the players an extreme advantage, especially if the players went first in initiative and applied Blind in the first round. For example, the group of four players with 310XP fought a Hangel. The players went first and the Hangel was blinded as the first action. As a group, they players sustained only 1 point of damage and 4 points of fatigue for the entire fight!
  • For the Snap talent, do bone fractures stack and cause progressive losses of AP? For example, in the fight against the Hangel, the players used Snap to fracture the HangelТs arm and both its wings. Would these three fractures have reduced the Hangels actions from 6 to 3, or from 6 to 3 to 1 to .5 (or 0)? The GM ruled that the reduced AP effect of fractures does not stack, but would like clarification.
  • With critical effects like a bone fracture, once a medicine check is passed, does the afflicted person get all their actions back or does action regained require a separate medicine check?
  • The GM felt that a big boss monster, like the Hangel, needs immunities or resistances to some conditions and effects.
  • Clarification is needed on the Stun condition applied by the Horrortank. The condition of Stun indicates that the number of actions lost for the duration of Stun is based on the item or ability that caused Stun. The Stun ability used by the Horrortank does not state the specific number of actions lost, it only states the duration.
  • Clarification is needed on the range and diameter of AOE abilities on the Horrortank, specifically, its Shelling ability.
  • Clarification is needed on how damage reduction and resistances interact or stack. For the Horrortank, its damage reduction was 7 and its physical resistance was 10 (2x Toughness Rating). Does this mean that if the Horrortank is hit with a melee or physical ballistic (gun, etc.) weapon, the damage would be reduced by 17 (7+10=17). Is that correct?
  • Clarification needed on damage types for spells. When a primaltheurgist spell attack has elemental damage, is that damage considered physical or magical (such as burn damage from a Set on Fire condition)? This came into discussion because of the Horrortanks physical resistance, so in that instance, would the damage from a spell be subject to the physical resistance damage reduction?
  • The last issue (promise), that came up was around tying. The playtest book specified that all ties go to the player(s) and against the GM. This gives the players an extra advantage. Perhaps ties should go to the acting player/creature, the one that initiated the action sequence in question. If the monster is attacking and ties with players dodging or blocking, they should still hit and vise versa.
Sorry for such a long post. I hope that it helps the dev team. We all had a blast playing it.

аThanks for such an awesome opportunity.

-Marcus
 

NKdotzip

Administrator
Staff member
INDE Staff
#2
Thanks for all of the awesome notes Marcus! We're working through everyone's notes and suggestions as quickly as we can, so apologies in advance if we don't get back to you right away. Hang in there and thanks again!

-zip
 

dreamerofdays

New Member
Shattered Core Backer
#5
On the subject of blind...

Baconavenger and I discussed this and came up with a potential solution. Basically, any temporary blindness lasts only until the end of the affected party's next turn, essentially de-buffing them for 1 defensive round and 1 offensive round. The strength of the de-buff effects the magnitude, not the duration. In the case of primaltheurgy, spending SP on blind grants -1 per point spent. So if the primaltheurgist really wants to debuff something, they can overcast the hell out of blind. The same could go for other effects that imbue blindness, such as alchemy. The success of the toxin effects the magnitude of the blindness.

TL;DR change blind from a flat -5 to -1 per SP, and change the duration of temporary blindness to 1 turn.
 

Konrad

Administrator
Staff member
INDE Staff
#6
Dreamer-of-Days said
On the subject of blind...

Baconavenger and I discussed this and came up with a potential solution. Basically, any temporary blindness lasts only until the end of the affected party's next turn, essentially de-buffing them for 1 defensive round and 1 offensive round. The strength of the de-buff effects the magnitude, not the duration. In the case of primaltheurgy, spending SP on blind grants -1 per point spent. So if the primaltheurgist really wants to debuff something, they can overcast the hell out of blind. The same could go for other effects that imbue blindness, such as alchemy. The success of the toxin effects the magnitude of the blindness.

TL;DR change blind from a flat -5 to -1 per SP, and change the duration of temporary blindness to 1 turn.
We have already altered blind, so that you must now roll twice and take the lesser result, but I'll see if they like this more.
 
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