My brave adventurers visited a goblin lair in today’s playtest, and (3 players and 7 henchmen) got snuck up on and pincered into oblivion in the very first room. What did we learn?
1. I’m not wasting much effort keeping them alive. 🙂
2. My goblin hordes are too dangerous to throw at 1st level characters, because:
3. Toughness saves favor the side that can obligate more of them: hordes are super-deadly.
4. Dungeon-crawling is really dangerous in a fantasy world where things like goblins are basically on par with normal humans.
We also tried out two new game options:
1. Point-based level progression (10 points per level, with various class features broken up to cost 1 each)
2. “Skill-based” magic system where each spell has a casting DC, with success meaning the spell is cast and a bruise is received, and failure meaning the spell fails, spell level +1 bruises are received, and an accumulating -1 casting penalty is received.
The point-buy system seemed to work well to achieve everyone’s character concept, and the spell system is interesting enough to keep trying. I introduced it after being disappointed with how Basic d20 handled spellcasting with its point-buy system (5 pts for a level of wizard/sorcerer, etc), so I decided to try turning each spell school into a “skill”.
So far, it’s an interesting take on spell casting, with a baked-in chance of failure and a cumulative “exhaustion” effect. It allowed our mage to cast Sleep a total of 4 times on the same outing, with a couple failures to do the same.
I don’t think I’ll nerf goblins (I like having cunning slimy green cannibal humanoids underfoot), but I think today shows that 1st level characters should be hunting solitary monsters or small groups, cashing in bounties on thieves and bandits, and doing other menial stuff before taking on anything like, oh, 50 goblins.