Steamfitters updates

Hey y’all. Game Mechanic of the Week is getting pushed back to tomorrow, because I want to talk about my own game, and I’m not QUITE self-absorbed enough to make something from there my GMotW.

Last night was the final playtest of the Guild of Steamfitters for the next, oh, month or so. I haven’t talked about it much, but it has been an ongoing project (much thanks to Sterling and Irene for being my initial guinea pigs in this endeavor). Once a week we’d play, I’d collect a few opinions, tweak things a little, and then try again. Of course, the problem with tweaking is that there’s only so much you can do with a campaign when its ongoing; it’s one thing to adjust your heading and shift gears a little, it’s another to try and change the tires while the car is in motion.

And there are some tires that need to be changed, indeed. Crafting is operating really, really well in theory but, uh, less well in reality. Likewise, the system for taking injury needs some alteration, though much of that may be based on the fact that I would just sort of steal another game’s HP-analogue every week and see how it felt… I need a bit more dedicated time thinking about how I want it to work and how I can reach that goal. There are other issues as well, some small, some large, but all told sufficiently numerous that I want to spend some dedicated time in alterations, so that I can hit a fresh playtesting experience with new characters (even if they’re just old characters made with new rules).

Still, plenty is working right. That’s exciting. Both involved parties have had fun, enough that they kept coming back even though I had nothing to offer but dice and tea. In  day or so I’m gonna send them out a questionairre and ask them to grade me, but for the moment I’m still riding high on the off-the-cuff post-game comments (paraphrased to the best of my recollection):

  • “You have have a knock-out brawl with someone, or you can try to ninja your way past them, and both are about equally workable in terms of effectiveness.” Which is to say, there’s a lot of freedom in what one can do in a combat situation, although punching someone until he stops fighting back remains a valid option if that’s where your mind goes.
  • “I felt like I could make a character it was easy to get into.” Which is to say, there’s a lot of freedom in the character creation process. Which is especially exciting because that was tent-peg #1 in this process: let dudes play whats in their heads. It’s possible to lose that by getting too far into mechanics and balance and things like that.
  • “It feels like we were winning more often these last few sessions than the first few.” Which is to say… I’m not sure. I haven’t tweaked the basic mechanic over-much; it could be their taking advantage of advantages, or greater comfort with the system, but I’m thinking it might be something I’ve been doing: making failed rolls not mean “you don’t accomplish the task” but rather “you accomplish this and something bad happens”. If it made the heroes feel more heroic, then it’s worth codifying and putting in the rules for real.

A few other nice things were said, and a few other comments about items worth paying attention to, but this is what’s on my mind right now. Alright then; to editing. Time to polish this thing.



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