Dungeons & Delvers: Into the Serpent's Coils

The last playtest went smashingly well, but we weren't sure if characters had enough Wounds to see them through a "normal" crawl, so this time we cut out the bullshit and just started at the foot of a crumbling lizardfolk ziggurat.

As before it was a trio of 1st-level characters, with Angus making another appearance, along with Finella (fae fighter) and Mae (fae wizard). After about a half-dozen encounters and two traps, the game ended with Angus down and out at zero Wounds, Finella at two, and Mae limping along with one.

The next step is a much lengthier crawl, something that might force them to leave the dungeon and get some rest. I got the first part of The Forgotten King kickstarter yesterday, so I'll probably do something plant related (and add plant-monsters to the bestiary).

Maybe this is a good time to dust off my 4th Edition campaign, Songs of Erui?

One thing I want to know is how fans of dungeon crawlers would like to see running out of Wounds handled (keeping in mind that this is somewhat intended for kids):

  • The current rule is that you're dropped at 0 Wounds, and outside of combat other characters can always revive you with 1 Wound. This essentially means that the only way you can "lose" the game is if everyone gets dropped in the same fight. Having grown up on 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, this seems a bit too "easy" for me, but editions 3rd and up effectively run this way.
  • You're dropped at 0 Wounds, and need a period of rest to get back on your feet. An Intellect + Medicine check could reduce recovery time.
  • You're dead at 0 Wounds. No check to avoid your fate, you're just dead: grab a new sheet.
  • When you're reduced to 0 Wounds, once combat is over other characters can attempt an Intellect + Medicine check to revive you. If they succeed, you get back up with 1 Wound. Otherwise you're dead. Tweak: Each time you're dropped before you have time to rest, the Difficulty increases by 1 or 2 points.
  • Something else entirely (lemme know in the comments).

I'm asking for feedback on this now, because whatever the majority wants I can just tweak starting Wounds to accommodate. Currently characters start with a base of 2-4, and can only gain more with race and class talents: levels don't inherently make you tougher, unless you opt to boost your Might stat.

Something else that's been kicked about is a kind of Reserve-Wounds mechanic, similar to 4th Edition's healing surges, which puts a cap on how much characters can heal in a given day. They were largely used outside of combat, but helped alleviate the necessity of a healing-class (whether magical or mundane).

How it would work in this game is that you'd have a set of Wounds and Reserves. When you're out of combat you can move Reserves to your Wounds, up to your maximum (and maybe in combat you can use an action, similar to 4th Edition's second wind, to move a Reserve to your Wounds).

For example, lets say a fighter has 4 Wounds and 4 Reserves. She gets into a fight and loses 2 Wounds. When the dust settles she moves she takes a few minutes to rest and bandage herself up, moving two of her Reserves to her Wounds, topping them off at 4 and reducing the Reserves to 2.

Not sure how quickly I want characters to heal, but for now I'm saying that when you rest you get all of your Wounds back. If we went with Reserves, you'd get all them back, too.

One thing to keep in mind, is that there is not going to be easy access, if any, to magical healing (including *gasp* potions). This is something I really dislike from Dungeons & Dragons, as I can't think of any stories where a priest runs around and constantly pokes the other characters to keep them propped up, and/or the characters are constantly knocking back healing potions.

So, rather than just tow the line and do what every dungeon crawler out there is doing, I'm trying to develop the game so that it's not needed, to better represent the stories I grew up on. There is a cleric class, but the closest thing it gets to a healing ability, assuming you choose a specific talent, is the ability to negate one Wound in a fight.

Otherwise the game's still running as expected (even the random treasure table, the results of which I largely pulled out of my ass), though I think I need to bump up some of the monster's Defenses by a point or two. One of the players from the previous playtest mentioned changing the skills (not how they work, but the skill list).

Anywho, here's a preview for some of the lizardfolk stat blocks (and some art that I don't think I've posted, yet):

We've got a bunch of awesome stuff going on this month:

Finally, you can now sign up for this month's Mythoard (up until the 16th), which features a Dungeon World adventure written by me.

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