Thursday, December 19, 2013

Playtesting: Silent Nightfall ~ 11.10.13

We diverted from the campaign setting for a smidgen of playtesting.  After reading through it, I thought it best to assign one-shot, pre-generated PCs for this one.  It would've sucked if one of the hard-earned PCs bit the big one because of a yet-undiscovered unbalanced feature.  That's why we playtest these things, after all -- to find the bugs features!

We also scored three new suckers recruits today!

I've been holding off on this one because of spoilers, but now the adventure is out!  {CAVEAT:  If you have not yet seen this module, you may want to hold off on reading this review: I'm deviating from the normal recap format to review this session, paraphrasing from my official report to the author, vs. telling you a story about the gameplay.}


8 players/characters:
2nd level Thief, Dwarf, Cleric
3rd level Cleric, Dwarf, Wizard, Thief, Halfling
Tried to get an elf/more wizards into the mix, but to no avail.

Open table.  3 players new to DCC RPG.  Spent ~6 hrs in nonstop play.  

There are a lot of potential plot hooks, but I figured the easiest way to get them into the adventure for this one-shot was to lure them in with the grallistrix.  Took ~45 mins of RP to give them the closed-up town, feed them the nursery rhyme (by way of a little girl skipping down the stairs of the pub they broke into -- damn dwarves), throw them a brief encounter in town, and give them kids singing the other rhyme the next morning, leading to their brave "we'll get to the bottom of this" storming into the forest.

Saw weird animal behavior in the forest but they were intent on finding the owl-things.  Even after the makeshift molotov cocktail was dropped down into the shaft to gauge depth, the resident crawler was so far down that he didn't make it up before we had to stop for the night.  The other shaft-dweller...well, with 8 players, things were already going pretty "Albuquerque" so I skipped it in favor of trying to get to the story's climax.  

Ulibex, the fungus deity, was totally and utterly defeated.  The first person to approach the altar was a lawful cleric, who played it straight during the telepathy and said "NO" to the neutral demi-god (and netted himself a huge stat damage as a result of the link severing).  The cleric then warned everyone away and called upon his deity to eradicate this abominable creature posing as a god.  His roll was spectacular, so a column of light appeared, and the altar disappeared (having moved Ulibex to a different plane).  He later tried to heal someone, failed with his newfound +10 disapproval range (after Divine Aid), and immediately spent the time to burn down gold and pray/repent.

Way too many people seemed focused on collecting the molds for components throughout this place.  I started implementing spore damage as a basic penalty to try to get them to focus on the rest of the surroundings.

One character tried to communicate with the first grallistrix they saw, but then he brandished his weapon, which set everything off.  

The timing for the appearance of the backup gallistrix trios can be tricky.  This group dispatched the first sets so quickly, there was actually a round of nothing but the screeching younglings before the next wave approached.  Food of the Gods was cast to try to shut the owlings up (drowning one). 

Force Manipulation and Color Spray were used with great success, as were shield bashes coupled with mighty deeds.  The weather patterns of the forest above were irrevocably changed -- the resulting drought, hurricane winds, and an eclipse over the town would've been fun to play out in extended sessions.

One of the dwarves found the levers.  And pulled every single one.  At least once.  The grallistrix were torn about which direction to defend, with portcullises scraping on every level.

Further down, a dwarf hit the violet fungus with a blunt weapon, one of the thieves flipped the mattress off the brass bed, then Food of the Gods was cast upon this fungus which has evolved from a spoiled food.  The thief's urge to attack himself was not quelled until its demise, causing a lot of confusion.  Another cleric used a high result on Detect Magic to find the scrolls & journals before furniture was destroyed.

They hit the next "family room", never shut the kids up, and had to deal with 6 waves of backup trios -- who then had to deal with a dwarf 3x his normal size, and AC 20.  Even with a molotov thrown in, that took forever.  At least the party started tracking them to see which were the psychic hunters, and targeting them first.  There was a LOT of healing going on, between the two clerics.  One also used Lotus Stare to get one of the hunters to protect him, which worked until the other hunters turned on it.  This room alone took close to 1.5 hrs with the unending waves and psychic blasts every time a new trio came in...and tracking every 3rd round for each of those hunters.  Would recommend scaling back the reinforcements during future play, as it prevented us from getting to the primary goal: discovering why the gallistrix were here in the first place.

Sadly, we didn't get any wrap-up time due to the FLGS closing for the night...and there were "aww"s when we had to go.  That said, this has HUGE potential to be the central point for a campaign.  


"Silent Nightfall", Daniel J. Bishop/Purple Duck Games

Again, definitely one-shot characters. No post-adventure math here.

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