Saturday, November 2, 2013

Playtest Update: Tammeraut's Fate 1.1

Taking a break from the parties Wizfest debaucheries while hunting down a way to break the Elfwhisper Curse I'm running a special Halloween game this week. The adventure in question is Tammeraut's Fate appearing in this issue of Dungeon.  I wanted to run a zombie themed adventure to test out mob tactics, two-weapon fighting, wound recovery, missile combat and a few classes that haven't been playtested since they went through a major revision in February of this year. Tammeraut's fate just so happens to involve my favorite zombie scenario.  A hapless group of adventurers stranded on an island who must survive the night. This time though instead of mindless zombies the adventure provides Drowned Dead, intelligent former Scarlett Brotherhood with a hivemind and life sense. You can run my friends but you can't hide. The finale has the zombies attack in waves but since my system makes the characters a little more robust encounter-to-encounter due to some Hit Dice Witchcraft I've decided to change it up a bit.

In the original adventure after the Scarlett Brotherhood ship sank (creating the Drowned dead) the defenders of Firewatch Keep mysteriously disappeared. This will be my zombie horde clawing up from their graves. They will spring up at the most inopportune time and harass the PC's as they make preparations for the falling sun and the approach of the Drowned Dead. In addition to the hivemind, the Drowned Dead they will also be bringing with them Drowners, mindless undead of overboard sailors who never made the trip home. The Drowners will be used as fodder as the Drowned Dead will be treated as Classed undead, a force to be reckoned with.

Report so far:
Costumed? PC's
  • Streetshark, armed with a Halberd, Morningstar and Crossbow that fires Sharkteeth.
    • Playtesting: Codename Landshark with an Elemental Focus
  • Quickman, dressed in black and maroon spandex and armed with razor sharp boomerangs.
    •  Playtesting: Codename Zephyranthes with an Init & Surprise Focus.
  • Brock Sampson, armed to the teeth, with his teeth.  Prefers to walk into combat unclad and tear things apart with his bear hands. 
    • Playtesting: Codename Ms.Emma with an Ogre and Unarmed Focus.
Harpy by Natasherz

 The PC's did poorly in the initial encounter when they spotted a pair of Harpies arguing over a corpse on the beach, someone who fled Firewatch keep but died from exhaustion.  The opening round went fantastically for them as Streetsharks Sharktooth Crossbow unleashed a consuming flame decimating the Harpies HP while Quickman swooped in for the kill.  The remaining Harpy cursed them giving them a penalty to hit flying characters for the rest of the scenario (DM Note: The Peryton just got more dangerous).  The following rounds they moved into melee and lost their advantage.  The mobile Harpy proved too much for them on offense and defense and they were not able to land a clean hit while the Harpy was full of reprisals.  Quickman tried to break off to return to Ranged combat but Streetshark later refused and their lack of coordination cost them dearly.  Firing into a melee made Ranged that much harder while Streetshark was left on his own with an opponent that was more than a match for him.
Results: Flanking is great but its only beneficial if someone hits the target.  The Harpy was too damn agile of an opponent.  Good test to show that Flanking is not all-purpose.
Ranged Combat: Good but the mechanic is not unified with attack rolls.  Considering revision.
Landshark Elemental Abilities: Great so far.  

Clawed to ribbons the party hauled the not-drowned swimmer to the nearby town hoping to meet up with Morley who they owed a great debt too.  They learned of the Swimmer's Origin and that Morley had hightailed it to Firewatch keep to avoid his own debt collectors.  The PC's had to heal up before his debt collectors decided to break their thumbs.
Results: Recovery worked fine but it was based on recording the damage the player had taken for Wounds.  Both the DM and the player's completely forgot about this which makes it pretty useless after the fact.  Will nix that and institute a general healing rule while reserving "The harder you're hit the harder it is to heal" as an optional rule.
SeaHag by BryanBaugh

Heading to the docks they caught up with their old pal Brock Sampson and caught a ferry to Firewatch.  On the way there the bell in the watchtower began ringing before a large winged creature swooped down and silenced it.  The ferryman charged them an exorbitant fee to return 24 hours later.  Already horribly in debt the PC's didn't mind.  Investigating the surf they found plenty of signs of blood and bodies dragged into the surf.  Quickman's excellent survival skills identified the Assassin Vines and he decided to play gardener with boomerangs while Brock tried to break through the northern barricaded entrance and Streetshark investigated the shallow water.  Separated a Seahag tried to get the drop on Quickman as he went about his missile machete work but he proved to be too perceptive.  The Hag made use of the Evil Eye ability (Using the Pathfinder entry, <Yay compatibility!> three failed saves on an Evil Eye and you are comatose for months!  Good grief!)  Quickman unfortunately did not make his initial save and was staggered, fortunately Streetshark heard the commotion and sent a Sharktooth into the hags side.  Using her Evil Eye on the apex predator gave Quickman the window he needed to finish off the witch, critically decapitating her.
Results: I like skills as a Boolean value.  Surprise on my side failed but thanks to Quickman's poor initiative roll I was able to stun him and cancel his surprise action. 
Ranged combat is still quite effective at long range.  Aiming and leaving yourself helpless doesn't matter when you're only facing one foe.
Critical Hit: I like this revision but not as much as previous incarnations.  Major hamstring is that against a target with no HP the bonus damage has no effect against unarmored targets.  To make it more lethal we have decided to allow any damage 6+ to deal two wounds.

Hitting our old man curfew we retired for the night and picked back up again the next evening.