Considering how horribly, horribly behind I was on where I wantedto be, things came off pretty well overall. Everyone seemed to take to the system just fine and seemed to enjoy pitching the coins. (Who could blame them? ) But I did come away from the playtest with a pretty good list of lessons learned and items that need to be addressed.
- Early playtests should focus on the mechanics, not on the role playing. I went ahead and found a full-fledged adventure to run for the playtest. The adventure was fine, but we lost playtest time because it took a while to get into combat. I think for the next few tests I would be better served by just having a couple characters whack away at each other in a sort of cage match.
- Simplify. The combat system isn’t difficult, but I can provide tools and/or shortcuts to eliminate steps and reduce calculations involved. The damage system, on the other hand, needs attention. It seemed like a good idea to have different types of damage, but each type added increases the complexity. I need to pare that back.
- The system does not teach itself. I need a spiel; a basic outline of the best way to describe the system to newbies. This also save me time in playtests since I wouldn’t be stumbling and bumbling my way through it so much.
- Create a rule of thumb for difficulties. I had what were supposed to be four first level characters and they were kicking the crap out of an ettin. This is in large part because I allowed some things to happen that a character at that level shouldn’t have been able to do. While I want the players to be free to create and explore, I need to create a scale for GMs to reference concerning what characters are truly able to accomplish.
Once I address these issues I think I may troll a game store or two to re-test.