2008-10-09 : Storming the Wizard's Tower playtest rules

They're done! They're ready for your perusal. They're here:

Read, consider, play if you want. I want to answer your questions, so please ask them. You can ask them over at /storming/ in the appropriate sections or, if you have more general thoughts, here in this thread.

I hope you like them. I think they're pretty cool.

1. On 2008-10-10, Jay Loomis said:

First: Totally loving it! Can't wait to play it with my group!

Second: I had a hard time navigating the rules first time through because there are some concepts that it's pretty important to know before diving in. I'm sure you already have planned it for the real thing, but a section up front that talks about the basics would go a long way toward helping here.

Third: For those of us trying it out at home, is there any forecast about when the subsequent level rules will be available? Or is there no plan to do so until the real thing is available? (I'll tell you right now, I'll send you money for my copy as soon as you let me)

Fourth: I'm just curious, did this start out as "I want to do the old-school D&D thing right" or as "Hey, I bet these fun rules for Mechaton might translate into a groovy RPG" or something else altogether?



2. On 2008-10-10, Larry L said:

I got as far as point 1 before I decided that YOU WIN AT GAME DESIGN.

I'll have to get back to you on the rest.


3. On 2008-10-11, Vincent said:

You're both kind.

Jay: Well, yes, this is a full rewrite with many drafts away from the final text. But I'm too close to it to see. If you feel like it, drop me a note about which basics would've helped you?

I will put playtest rules up for level 2 when I have 'em. If, like, 6 weeks from now, a bunch of people are clamoring for them, I'll be thrilled and I'll expedite!

About this time last year I was playing Moldvoy Basic D&D, and enjoying it quite a bit. After several sessions, and in full accordance with tradition, I started to say to myself, "self, I kind of wish these combat rules worked a little differently, don't you?" And I answered, "self, I do." So I started fiddling with them, and then before I really knew it I was designing a whole new game.

I made a solemn oath to myself and my heathen gods that, from now on, whenever I design a game that calls for pools of dice where the colors matter, they have to be d6s in (at most) white, blue, red, green and yellow. Otherwise I'm just a plain jerk.


4. On 2008-10-14, David said:

I don't have anything playtestingly useful to say over on /storming, so I'll put my comments here:

This game looks awesome, and I am going to buy it. So.


5. On 2008-10-14, Vincent said:

David, that's very sweet. Thank you!


6. On 2008-10-14, Ludanto said:

Likewise.  My players hate me so they'll probably never play it, but I'm just counting the days until I can trade you money for it. :)


7. On 2008-10-14, Weeks said:

Vincent, can you do something with the CSS at /storming so that the vlink color (or style) is different than the link?  It would help to track comments to the various sections.


8. On 2008-10-14, Vincent said:



9. On 2008-10-15, Jay Loomis said:

The specifics are spread out all over the rules pages so I'll ask here:

Can you consolidate the rules about wounds and healing so that they're in one place (even if you still talk about bits and pieces where appropriate)? As it stands they are a a bit vague and even a little confusing.

What we have so far:

  1. If your character has taken [or is it ends the adventure with?] damage over Endurance, she has to sit the next adventure out.
  2. If you take hits up to your Endurance and you know a healer, you can spend a treasure on healing everyone who took Endurance or less in hits before the next adventure. If you don't know a healer it costs one treasure per hit healed.
  3. You can presumably buy an Art, Craft, or Trade power to count as a healer. In which case it isn't clear whether it still costs 1 treasure for you to heal the whole party up to Endurance.
  4. You can choose a Healer's Kit as a gear item. It's not clear what good it does for you since there are no rules for healing people outside of paying a healer to do it for you.
  5. You can have healing spells. It isn't clear whether the distinction between regular hits and hits over Endurance has any effect here.
  6. And finally: 1 treasure is sacrificed automatically to feasting and celebration which includes being healed of all damage less than Endurance. Which makes point #2 above seem redundant.



10. On 2008-10-16, Vincent said:

#1: Yes. Also remember the endurance roll to stay in the fight.

#2 & #6: When you come back from an adventure, you must spend 1 treasure on your glorious return. If your town includes food, you get feasting; if it includes musicians and people and children and priests with prayers of thanksgiving, you get celebration; if it includes a healer, you get healing; if it includes other fun, you get other fun. All for 1 treasure, substitute freely, but no discounts if any of those aren't available.

If a healer's healing you but not celebrating your glorious return, she ought to charge you 1 treasure per damage healed, so that's what you should fully expect to have to pay. If she's your friend, she ought to give you a substantial friend discount, so you can fully expect to have to pay 1 treasure for all your damage healed.

#3: Best to leave arts, crafts and trades out for now. They don't have rules yet.

#4: No specific rules, but that doesn't mean there are no rules for it. Healing follows the general rules for rolls.

Thus, a healing kit (a) allows you to do things you couldn't otherwise (heal), and (b) gives you bonus dice to your skill roll when you use it. GM, when a PC uses her healing kit, do what the general rules say: Require 1 or 2 hits, or very rarely 3. If you like, let the player spend her hits, as in conversations; give the player her hits in things you owe her, as in giving orders; or else let her carry her hits forward as bonus dice.

Here's a suggestion. It's not how healing works, it's just a suggestion for how you might sometimes adjudicate skill rolls using a healing kit. It combines "require 1, 2 or rarely 3" with "let the player spend them": the first hit heals 1 damage, the next 2 hits heal a second damage, the next 3 hits heal a third:
_ heal 1 hit _ _ heal 1 hit _ _ _ heal 1 hit

That's a nice, pretty healing-weak, kind of color-neutral way to handle after-battle first aid, for instance. It won't serve every circumstance. Mostly you should take the details of the fiction into account and use the rules to their full flexibility.

#5: Nope. (I'm not sure why it would, or what the effect would be.)


11. On 2008-10-16, Vincent said:

I've edited those answers into their appropriate places at /storming/.

Thanks, Jay!


12. On 2008-10-16, Vincent said:

Come to think of it, the business about buying healing from a healer should best be understood as an example of what knowing a person allows you to do, not a given rule. Knowing a merchant allows you to change treasure for other kinds of treasure. Knowing a weaponsmith allows you to change a monster's carcass into arms. Knowing a healer allows you to change treasure into restored hit points.


13. On 2008-10-16, Jay Loomis said:

Thanks for the clarification. One more thing about healing:

Perhaps I am reading too much into what seems like emphasis on damage over Endurance.

It sounds like you can't have a healer heal your wounds above Endurance, is that right? (Or rather,  you can't have them heal them before the next adventure—you sit out an adventure and most likely you are being attended to by the healer.)

That's why I asked about whether there was a distinction for magic healing. The tone of how you've written about damage over Endurance makes it sound like the only way to heal it is to sit out an adventure (which would be a fine rule).


14. On 2008-10-16, Vincent said:

Ah! No, that was a sloppy way for me to try to communicate it. What's really going on is that if you take damage over your endurance, you have to sit out the next adventure, period, whether you heal that damage in play or not. Healing those hits, by a spell or by using a healer's kit or paying a healer, changes your current state - now you're at 3 damage instead of 6 or whatever - but that doesn't mean you get to be in the next adventure after all.

Here's some in-fiction: when you take damage over your endurance, that's long-term problems. First aid and healing magic can bring you temporarily back into fighting form, like, but it can't take care of the underlying long-term harm. Only sitting an adventure out can do that.


15. On 2008-11-06, akooser said:


I don't know if your interested but I created a PocketMod version of a spellbook for the StWT game I am running. I can send you the PDF if you want to take a looksy.



16. On 2008-11-10, Vincent said:

Yes! You can send it to me at lumpley at gmail.


17. On 2009-07-17, Carsten said:

Still interested in a comment?

And ... are the other parts coming, because this looks nice...


18. On 2009-07-17, Vincent said:

Still interested, yes.

Playtesting has revealed a serious problem in the game, and I haven't solved it yet. The other parts are coming only after the game really works!


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