Posted by : David Guyll May 09, 2016

We ran Into Yig's Coils (sans the hexcrawl portion), the Dungeons & Delvers alpha playtest adventure, using a two-pregen party: Melissa went with the dwarf fighter, while our daughter chose the elf wizard. They succeeded in cleaning the place out and living to tell the tale, albeit barely: Melissa's fighter got dropped during the final encounter with Yig's avatar, right before our daughter and her shadow snake pet took it down.

It went as well as could be expected for such a small party: they had to take a long rest after destroying a skeletal lizardman chieftain, and again after taking out the lizardman mummy. Partially this is because they were both pretty tough (skeletal chieftain makes multiple attacks, while the mummy has its frightful presence aura and a cursed touch), partially because without a rogue they basically triggered every trap in the dungeon.

Note that long rests don't fully top you off: you regain an amount based on your Might score, which is penalized while camping in a dungeon environment (but this can be offset using healing supplies, which they fortunately had). So, it's to their credit that they only took a total of two long rests throughout the entire session: Melissa ended up touring the dungeon one or two Wounds down most of the time.

Even so, there are a few things that need changing, namely the Frightened and Poisoned conditions. Previously, when you were Frightened or Poisoned, you discarded your highest dice result when performing certain actions. For Frightened, it's when trying to deal with the source of your fear (most commonly a monster), while Poisoned penalizes you on pretty much everything, making it much worse.

In actual play, just having one condition was exceedingly punishing, especially for 1st-level characters. Whenever Melissa's character got Poisoned by one of several poisonous traps found throughout the pyramid, she was essentially useless until it wore off since her Attack, Defense, and Skill Pools only had two or three dice in them; it's hard to succeed even against Difficulty 5 tasks when you only get to keep one of your dice.

It's because of that that we're changing them—as well as other conditions that force you to discard dice—as follows: Frightened and Poisoned now have ratings, like Poisoned (-1). This means that whenever you attempt a task and the condition could hinder you, whatever you roll is reduced by that amount. So, if you try to hit a lizardman warrior (Difficulty 7) while Poisoned (-1), you actually need to roll an 8 or higher.

Frightened is also getting tweaked so that when you try to approach the source of your fear, it counts as moving through Difficult Terrain (each space counts as 2).

This allows things to be more granular: for example, weak poisons are just -1, while stronger ones would be -2 or more, medium-sized monsters with a Restrain ability might only impose a -1 penalty, while Large monsters would impose -2, and so on.

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{ 4 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. What are those beautiful minis and dungeons?

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    1. @Jay: Minis are a mixture of Reaper, some pre-painted D&D minis, and a serpentman from Cthulhu Wars (which we have yet to paint).

      Terrain is almost all DwarvenForge, which we painted ourselves to shave like $20+ off each set (the sarcophagus and altar are also Reaper).

      Our kids LOOOVE them.

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    2. No prob. If you're thinking of getting into dwarvenforge, check this out:

      http://daegames.blogspot.com/search/label/dwarven%20forge

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