Feedback on feedback

Immergleich players may remember being asked for feedback some time ago. They may remember a form with the headings below. They may remember having views. Two months is long enough to wait — I respond!

Name

This varies too much for meaningful analysis, except that there were five names, all unique. Some were plausible, some were not.

Roughly how many sessions have you played (of the 16 I’ve run at the time of writing)?

Between 4 and 12, with a mean of 8.

How much does Immergleich rock your world?

(compared to other multi-session-game-type-events you have been involved in)

(1=It is the worst thing possible, 5=It is the best I’ve ever experienced)

Three 4s, two 5s.

I take my strokes where I can get them.

What is something you like about the game or the world?

If I cut up the individual answers, two themes emerge.

Creative energy:

  • “The variety, the narrative progression”
  • “The weirdness”

Versimilitude, or a least an internal logic, of the setting:

  • “the splendidly thought out world… “
  • “It feels very solid and real”
  • “The consistent setting lets us get to feel like we’re learning our way around”
  • “The feeling that actions cast tiny ripples through the setting”

Both of those themes are by design — they are what I am trying to do. I plan to maintain them.

What is something you don’t like about the game or the world?

I don’t see natural categories, so I will respond individually.

  • I get scared I will die pretty much every game. That’s not really a fault though.

That’s mostly by design. There is meant to be risk to characters, hence my frequent suggestion “why don’t you try making a new character for this session?”. You’re allowed to have a character stable so that you still have an iron in the fire after your main PC is eaten by a dog.

Of course, dropping back from 4th to 1st level is a long way to go, even with the extra hp they get versus LotFP RAW. One of my longer-term goals is to strengthen 1st level characters while leaving higher levels (perhaps 4th and up) unchanged. The extreme weakness of 1st-level old-school PCs is not part of my design vision.

  • It’s hard to know how to develop my character.

Mechanically, that’s a design decision of LotFP — characters are meant to be simple, so players aren’t distracted with character optimisation (contrast 3e). Is that what I want from Immergleich? Not exactly — I want players to have more mechanical options. Indeed, I’d quite like to do away with classes entirely. But that’s some way down my to-do list.

In terms of personality and story — the open table format makes it harder. My desire to keep character sheets simple, and for me not to have to think about who’s playing until they physically arrive, makes it harder for the game to support that.

I am open to written character goals, a la Burning Wheel or Torchbearer, or to players choosing what they get XP for, a la The Shadow of Yesterday (you can also see a small version of this in Dungeon World, with the alignment XP award). This will need rules, however. It’s on my list, but not at the top right now.

  • The alchemy was too expensive to do

This is fixed in the Alchemist revision. Making things in downtime now costs no money, although for maximum output you need to spend your downtime action. More powerful items still require special ingredients or components —  acquiring these costs money or requires peril.

  • Combat is very swingy. Not sure if that is a bug or feature, I like the feeling of not having to fight everything but can be frustrating to fail to hit anything!

I checked with this respondent – by “swingy” they mean that the PC groups seems to either win straight away or be ripped to pieces. I’m not sure what’s causing that. I suspect a major factor is the diversity of enemies you can fight, and the fact that encounters aren’t matched to party strength – if there is a dragon there, there is a dragon there. You should probably avoid it.

There is potential for characters to have more medium-term reserves (e.g. potions bought with money or found through peril) that they can draw on to e.g. win this fight at the risk of losing one later. I will look into this.

  • Sometimes hard to reconcile character attitudes to one another. Roleplaying made harder by false circumstances.

This is a function of the open table model (you don’t know who you’re going to get each session), the party-based play structure (at the start of each session, I push you all to meet up somehow), and the the no-PvP rule. It’s a tough one to crack, as those three features are by design.

If I change other aspects of the rules and play model, we could be less party-based. (e.g. if I reduced the number of crossing-the-city encounters, and if I had better rules for abstract action and combat a la Burning Wheel or The Shadow of Yesterday). That would reduce the need for you to work together all the time. Long-term, I’ll think about this.

Perceived Danger

Subtitle —

“Imagine a friend had just started to play, and asks you to tell them what areas of the city are most dangerous. Specifically, they ask for an ordering from least to most dangerous, using whatever “areas” come immediately to your mind”

I don’t want to comment on this much, as I intend discovering what areas are dangerous (indeed, what cues are general signify danger) to be part of playing the game. So here I will just show what everybody said, in a standardised form.

Least dangerous
Centralmost areas — High Towers and Mount Pleasant  Red Brick Twelve temples
Steel  Undercliffe
Market  Change Hill
Foreign Quarter Everywhere else  Narrows
Inner districts The Hospital  Market
Outer districts e.g. Brokenwall  High Towers High Towers (“for us!”) Furnace Mound
Nightmare tower.

Pretty much everywhere on Null Day

Anywhere underground The Nightmare Tower  Sewers
Most dangerous

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