Tuesday, October 22, 2013

R&D Update: Elementalism Part 2

This playtest was particularly useful because it allowed a chance to try out a key battlefield provision that would keep yonder geomancers from planting roots.  In this system they were encouraged to move to the last place they made use of an elemental effect to allow them access to more powerful arts.  This playtest is hot on the heels of a proof test tiered requirements which supersedes communal mana which in turn displaced personal pools a long long time ago.  The problems with communal mana came into effect where geomancers of the same element tried to use an ability which would steal mana out of the communal pool, thus screwing over whoever went second.  Not to mention high level arts wouldn't get used which runs counter to the idea that two elementalists surging forth with mana would cause a destabilization rather than a neutralized zone; think hurricane vs eye of the storm.  Unintentional hurricanes add mental limits to players who are not keen on destroying the surrounding countryside (or themselves.)

In this test the players were tasked with hunting down a corrupted shambling mound.  Terra's terraforming was particularly ineffective at slowing down this camouflaged predator.  Instead he covered his arms in giant-sized mud gauntlets and went about a titanic brawl with the shifty shambler.  The playtest brought about an important paradigm in the player's mind.  Each round they would have to decide whether they would channel enough mana in the hopes of reaching a higher tier or make use of the current art available at that tier.  Either way it behooved them to move to the node created by the last elemental effect to bolster their efforts.  Without that node they could not access higher level arts thus preventing them from planting roots and hiding behind their burly armored counterparts.

An important question was raised as to whether or not anyone (including enemies) could see the nodes being created, if they had to be sensitive, or if only the user could make use of them.  It was decided it would be more exciting if both channelers could see it, leading to a dash to the point; and that anyone of that element could see that particular node, but not any others.  At the end of the playtest it was decided that the follow-up would test out just how strong it would be to allow channeling and calling to be part of the same action.  So that instead of deciding between channeling to a higher level or using an effect, both would trigger on the same option.  While strictly better this is being tested because combats are averaging between 3-6 rounds which can leave the Geomancer unable to make use of any fun abilities.  Time will decide.

Notable uses:
Aforementioned mud gauntlets
Stoneshape to raise ally so he can hop on the shambling mounds backside
Part muddy marsh to remove the penalty to disengage from the giant creatures vine-arms
Create a mud wall to corral the creature