Feedback on Feedback — Round 2

I ran a feedback survey last month (September 2017). By the time most responses arrived, we’d had 31 sessions in total. Here’s an anonymised analysis. For the free text questions, I’ve tried to identify themes that appear in at least two responses.

Name

7 of them.

What’s one thing you like about the game? Ideally, the thing you like most, or the thing that makes it stand out most from other games you’ve played.

Persistence of the world — “We’ve got to know the areas and the city very well. I like being able to imagine the settings because I know them so well.”

The wide potential for exploration and events — “You almost feel like anything could happen and it would be totally in keeping with the world as is”; “The feeling that there is a vast amount to explore and that possibilities are endless.”

Impact of player actions on the setting  — “… the feel that our actions have subtle impacts on the setting”; “… that what we do does in fact shape events …”

Almost everything in the answers was about the setting or about game events. There was no mention of the game mechanics or of other players directly. This doesn’t mean they’re not contributing, just that they’re not noticeable. WRT other players, it may be that there aren’t many opportunities to for players to e.g. build on each other’s stories or otherwise support each other’s interests, because players-vs-environment is ever-present.

What’s one thing you don’t like about the game — perhaps something that frustrates you, or something that you just find a waste of time.

These were markedly more diverse than the “thing you like” answers. Only two themes were apparent:

Problems with mixed-level parties — “You can sometimes feel like dead weight as a player”

Struggling to survive, and that not always being good  — “the first few sessions [are] a real challenge as you’re often more focussed on surviving than playing your character”; “fear of death”

Other (single-mention issues) —

  • Wizards seem particularly weak at low levels
    • This perhaps isn’t as bad as in many other old-school D&D systems, since they have no weapon or armour restrictions. But with very few direct attack spells in LotFP (something I hadn’t realised until someone actually played one), they don’t contribute much to most combats.
  • Immergleich’s size and the openness of player options can seem overwhelming
    • This is partly by design, but I think I’ve over-egged the pudding. There are something like thirty districts, each of which contains many people, organisations and buildings. And there are dungeons beneath the whole think, bigger in volume than the surface city. There’s also no overall “faction view”, even for me (contrast Scum & Villainy).
  • Downtime actions (at the start of the session) feel like they take a lot of time and tend to focus on only one player at a time.
    • This is a tricky one. I think being able to do downtime actions is a big addition to the “depth” of the game, i.e. of the sense that the characters are real and live in a real place. But I appreciate this problem. I’ll try to keep an eye on the detail we’re getting into, and abstract more aggressively.
      • In extremis, we could ban roleplaying actions and dialogue from downtime actions, and conduct them wholly in the abstract.
  • Combat mechanics (and the way I GM them) are simplistic — “Not a lot to do apart from roll to hit and damage.” I suspect that causes include:
    • Simple combat rules in LotFP, which I have not expanded on
    • Although we’re not using miniatures, I’m holding us fairly tighly to fixed movement rates and take-your-turn timing. Contrast more freeform models like that of Dungeon World
    • Non-spellcasters rarely have good consumables (potions, X-per-day abilities, etc), so they don’t have those resource-management decisions to make
    • I think I use a lot of homogenous enemy groups (e.g. “three rat people”, “six mutant dogs”). This means there’s little choice about who or what to target.

Is there something that you feel is specifically _missing_?

4 of 7 answered this optional question, with 3 of those saying specifically “No” i.e. nothing feels like it’s missing.

There was one request for some skill options (like the Thief has) for other classes. This is certainly possible, although the powers they give would need to be weighed up carefully. The Thief gets skills largely because they have little else.

What do you think of the soundtrack?

I made this, and the others below, using the Google Sheets histogram tool. It insists that the x-axis be weird. For clarity, the below has one vote at “3” and two votes at “5”. There are no votes at 5.5 or any other silly number.

soundtrack

People broadly dig the Immergleich Sound.

How able to do you feel to judge the challenge of jobs from the job list?

challenge_of_jobs

The ideal for this would be everyone at 4 — it’s good for players to have some confidence, but never be quite sure. That way they can (learn to) make generally sensible decisions and yet still have to re-evaluate on the fly sometimes.

How exciting do you find the fights?

exciting_fights

That’s ok, but there’s room for improvement — I’d like to see everyone at 4 and 5.

How do you feel about sessions that are mostly above ground versus sessions that are mostly underground (or similar)?

underground_overground

The ideal for this is all players on one number, preferably in the middle (since Immergleich is very much “a city on a rock wormed with tunnels”). This result suggests things are viable as-is.

How many players (not counting the GM) feels best to you?

players

So 3 players is preferred. This supports my decision to cap each session at 4.

Is there anything else you want to add?

No new themes, but all of these were very positive. People like Immergleich. It makes them feel good on the inside.

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