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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:49 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Keep up the good work Smathis :D

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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:38 pm 
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^ Agreed ^

I look forward to tossing you a handful of digital money when this bad-boy is available. Maybe you can sell three dozen copies...!

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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:57 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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I wanted everyone to know that there will be an Open Playtest of the TA/TG 0-Level adventure at Dragon's Lair here in Austin, TX on September 16th from 3pm to 7pm. It was surprisingly difficult to book a table. The staff was super-helpful and all. But there weren't any spots available. All booked up. So there ya go. I'm hoping to set up another Open Playtest in the area in October.

There are 6 seats total. 2 are already taken. PM me if you want a spot reserved.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:00 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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Diving deeper into the monsters section. I've noticed that its about 60% done. And it's already around 20,000 words. Granted one of the monsters (Olde Things) will find a home in the Adversaries section. And another (Astral Parasite) will be better served in the Grimoire.

What are thoughts does the community have on a three book split? And what division would be most natural or preferable?


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:58 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Posts: 27
I think it really depends on the page counts, and what's in them.

Three books would be good with me. It would keep the price for each down.

If monsters are the issue, we could have a 3rd book of just monsters, with only a handful in Adventures (call 'em "example monsters" - the most classic stuff, a single type of vampire, single type of golem or werewolf or whatever), with possibly some in Grimoire as well (particularly if they have spell abilities).

If that would make the last book too small, we could put a sample adventure or two (or three, or six) with the monsters. That would make it a collection of GM resources (with GM advice also in the first two books, more general advice).

Just some ideas, smathis. If you need some editing help, I've done that in several previous jobs and can help. If you can get your page count down, you might be able to keep it down to two.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 7:31 pm
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Location: Austin, TX
smathis wrote:
I wanted everyone to know that there will be an Open Playtest of the TA/TG 0-Level adventure at Dragon's Lair here in Austin, TX on September 16th from 3pm to 7pm. It was surprisingly difficult to book a table. The staff was super-helpful and all. But there weren't any spots available. All booked up. So there ya go. I'm hoping to set up another Open Playtest in the area in October.

There are 6 seats total. 2 are already taken. PM me if you want a spot reserved.

Thanks.



I'm really looking forward to this. :)


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:11 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
grald_the_hunter wrote:
I think it really depends on the page counts, and what's in them.

Three books would be good with me. It would keep the price for each down.

If monsters are the issue, we could have a 3rd book of just monsters, with only a handful in Adventures (call 'em "example monsters" - the most classic stuff, a single type of vampire, single type of golem or werewolf or whatever), with possibly some in Grimoire as well (particularly if they have spell abilities).

If that would make the last book too small, we could put a sample adventure or two (or three, or six) with the monsters. That would make it a collection of GM resources (with GM advice also in the first two books, more general advice).

Just some ideas, smathis. If you need some editing help, I've done that in several previous jobs and can help. If you can get your page count down, you might be able to keep it down to two.


I haven't given the 3 book split much thought. But it seems like the books are both going to be very big.

Once I get everything drafted, I'll have a better idea of page count and such.

Thanks for the feedback.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
SavageRobby wrote:
smathis wrote:
I wanted everyone to know that there will be an Open Playtest of the TA/TG 0-Level adventure at Dragon's Lair here in Austin, TX on September 16th from 3pm to 7pm. It was surprisingly difficult to book a table. The staff was super-helpful and all. But there weren't any spots available. All booked up. So there ya go. I'm hoping to set up another Open Playtest in the area in October.

There are 6 seats total. 2 are already taken. PM me if you want a spot reserved.

Thanks.



I'm really looking forward to this. :)


Cool. I hope it meets expectations.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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Also wanted to note... 10,000 views! :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Location: Left Coast, USA
smathis wrote:
Also wanted to note... 10,000 views! :shock:

Half of those are probably me and this dead cat. Don't worry -- it died in a noun-related incident, not fright.

*maintains curiosity about project*

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:35 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
I wanted to give a big thanks to thogard and SavageRobby for coming out to Dragon's Lair for a playtest of the 0-Level adventure that will appear in TATG.

Arthur the Drug-Addled Burglar exhibited amazing restraint in being the first Drug-Addled character in a game to not have fallen off the wagon. Condolences to old Douglas the Teetotaler (eaten by a Frankendog) and Algernon the Traveling Priest (stabbed in the back by a Hunchback). We'll also miss Ilya the Worldly Vacationer who bought it first in true B-horror movie style.

We had 6 out of 10 characters survive, which is really, really good. They were helped by the Hunchback busting a crossbow string at a point where usually one or two characters die outright. And the party was exceptionally effective at ganging up on and beating the Frankendogs -- who aren't nearly as yummy as their name suggests.

Thanks again to the crew at Dragon's Lair. I'll keep everyone posted on future playtests in the Austin area.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:09 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 7
Not to distract you from writing the actual product or anything, but a new blog post would be awesome. I believe you had hinted at chapter previews, or going back and describing some of the earlier classes in the longer format you later adopted....


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:36 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
Deadstop wrote:
Not to distract you from writing the actual product or anything, but a new blog post would be awesome. I believe you had hinted at chapter previews, or going back and describing some of the earlier classes in the longer format you later adopted....


I'd love to do all of that. Unfortunately, the impediment at this point isn't the writing but my job. I'm working (on average) 14-15 hours a day at the moment and have been all month.

I think I've written, maybe, 3 paragraphs in September.

I got enough runway to prep and run a playtest last weekend. But all of my waking hours have been swallowed whole by my means of paying the bills.

Hopefully, this gets rectified soon.


Last edited by smathis on Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
Few things I wanted to note...

  • Things are still mega-crazy for me. Yesterday was another 16 hour day. Preceded by 10-14 hour days the whole week. Hard to come home and write when that's the day schedule everyday.
  • For the first time in a while, I have a little bit of breathing room this weekend. That's what the 16 hours yesterday bought me. Previously either work or familial commitments that had been sidelined due to work have made it impossible for me to write on the weekends. So I'm hoping to get some writing in this weekend.
  • Unfortunately, some writing will not include blogging. Just no time for that at the moment. If I get some free keypresses, it's going to be towards the book(s). I'm hoping the marketing blitz will pick back up again soon. I encourage anyone who has played TA/TG or has access to the alpha to pick up the banner and wave it high.
  • I believe the books will be split up into three at this point. A player's book. A GM book. And a book of spells. I'm open to discussions on this matter.
  • If worklife balance allows, this means I'll get the player's book out before the end of the year. Prior to the current challenges I'm facing, I'd planned to try to get TA out for Halloween. That's not happening. So maybe the Player's book sometime before the Mayan Apocalypse?
  • The player's book will include the Intro, Classes, Rules Addenda and charts needed to play TA/TG. In summary, it will contain everything that's in the alpha, minus a few charts and an appendix or two.
  • The GM's book will contain Adversaries, Monsters, the Hexmap, Setting Info, Details on Transylvania and the info that is in the alpha but won't be in the player's book.
  • The book of spells will contain the Theorist class and, well, spells, spells and more spells. Not sure if Patrons will go in here or the GM's book. That's a decision for later once those books get more fleshed out.
  • At this time, the Theorist class is going in the Spellbook. All other classes will live in the Player's book. This is a good thing, I think.
  • This separation will allow me to release the books more quickly and offer them at a lower price (page count). The monster chapter is about 2/3 done and is already about 18,000 words. It's almost a book on its own. The alpha (which doesn't include the monster chapter) is roughly a 200 pg PDF. Granted after layout the Player's book will be between 120-150 pages, I think it's easy to see how the chapters that are now becoming the GM book could push TA into 400+ pages easy. Maybe this will also give me time to put a higher level sample adventure in the GM book now too. To go along with the 0-level funnel in the Player's book.

First off, I want to apologize for the delay. I know there are a number of people who are really looking forward to this book coming out. The circumstances that have delayed publication could not have been forecast. And everyday is pretty much a marathon right now.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Speaking for myself, I'm much more interested in a product of which you the writer love every word to bits, than something you had to throw together to meet a deadline...

I'm pretty sure I'll be here when(ever) the books are ready. :)

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:34 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
Speaking for myself, I'm much more interested in a product of which you the writer love every word to bits, than something you had to throw together to meet a deadline...

I'm pretty sure I'll be here when(ever) the books are ready. :)


+1d24.

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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:09 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock
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GnomeBoy wrote:
Speaking for myself, I'm much more interested in a product of which you the writer love every word to bits, than something you had to throw together to meet a deadline...

I'm pretty sure I'll be here when(ever) the books are ready. :)


As always, Gnomie is spot on.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer
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Thank you for the update. I have been admiring the forum from the shadows, and decided to add my voice. I was beginning to lose heart, thinking that this project may never see the light of day. (But then I thought that vampires and daylight do not really mix, so perhaps that is a good thing.) Regardless, I am very eager to run this setting for my group.

Oh, also, I am really, really happy to hear that there will be and adventure included. Hopefully you can push out a series of adventures after that on a semi-regular basis. But first things first... Christmas, you say? I can't wait!

Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1086
Just posted the new plan for TA/TG release as well as a preview of the DEMON from Volume 2.

The preview is in celebration of this thread jumping over 10K views, Halloween and my situation changing. Hopefully the new digs will allow me a little more time on nights and weekends for TA/TG and writing.

I'd also like to thank everyone for their patience, support and understanding. This has been an extremely challenging year for me and my family.

I hope you all like TA/TG's take on the demon. It's about the sixth scariest monster in book two thus far. Admittedly, I find the Demonopath creepier. And there are a couple of items in the Demon's write-up I had to pull out because they wouldn't make much sense without the rest of the rules. In short, possession is nasty. And the Demon has some interesting spectral abilities at its disposal beyond those listed in the writeup.

As you can see, the monster writeups are fairly meaty. There's over 50 monsters easy. Some write-ups are longer, others are shorter. But the Demon falls right in line with the rest of them.

Enjoy. And happy (and safe) trick-or-treating to you all.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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Posts: 1086
As of today, Charger has been officially changed to "Reaver". And "Redeemable" has officially been changed to "Scoundrel". Thanks for all the help in sorting out those names.

I've also changed the way "Fear" works in the game. It resulted in a mildly extensive re-write that ripped out a decent amount of word count. That's always a good thing, IMO, because it means I'm making the game easier to explain and -- hopefully -- easier to play.

Characters now have a "Fear Save". It's based off of the Intelligence modifier and otherwise works exactly like every other saving throw in DCC. This makes converting DCC classes to TA/TG challenging. But the classes weren't translating well in any case.

There are set conditions that -- when met -- cause a character to roll a Fear save. The DC is dead simple to figure out and, honestly, you all could probably guess it right out.

The reason for the change came from playtests. The existing Fear mechanics were coming up at weird times and felt too debilitating. The new ones are less debilitating but can also lead to a downward spiral of sorts -- such that a character that was really spooked would be more likely to get frightened in a subsequent encounter. The new mechanics also mitigate Fear for higher level characters. The save DC is lower and some conditions are negated for higher level characters.

Van Helsing is far less likely to be scared by a poltergeist than Scooby and Shaggy.

Any thoughts on what to call the books?

Keep "Transylvanian Adventures" and then do "Transylvanian Grimoire: Volume 1 and Volume 2".

Or just do them all as "Transylvanian Grimoire: Volume 1, 2 and 3"?


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Transylvanian Adventures
Hanging Judge's Guide to Transylvania
Transylvanian Grimoire.

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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:46 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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Posts: 1086
Raven_Crowking wrote:
Transylvanian Adventures
Hanging Judge's Guide to Transylvania
Transylvanian Grimoire.


That's brilliant. Love the titles.


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Yes, good titles :D

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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer
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smathis wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:
Transylvanian Adventures
Hanging Judge's Guide to Transylvania
Transylvanian Grimoire.


That's brilliant. Love the titles.


Great but passionately Hackmaster-ish...
(Not that this is a bad thing, btw.)


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 Post subject: Re: 2012: Transylvanian Adventures & The Transylvanian Grimo
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:08 pm 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

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Posts: 1086
Finished up the first part of a 2-3 session TATG playtest in the original Castle Ravenloft D&D adventure. Things went well. The playtests are manifesting in such a way that very little is surprising me about them. That's a good thing, IMO.

Highlights
  • As a group we had a romping good laugh at some of the railroadish aspects of making it to Barovia. The "impenetrable" forest and the choking fog being just two examples.
  • The Polymath came up with a great name. He was a sleuth and his name was H. Milleneaus Collins. At first I thought Tony had said "Cullen", which led toward a jovial evisceration of the Twilight series.
  • "Dr." Collins being sent to retrieve the village's lone "bucket of lard" was pretty epic. As was Bildrath, the general store owner, making an offer to give Collins "gingham or a small bottle of sherry" for treating the fungus on his toe.

Observations
  • The new Fear save mechanic is quite nice. It worked more predictably. Seemed less intrusive. It's also nice that it gives something for the Intelligence stat to do besides give an extra language for the non-spellcasters out there. Dump stat no more.
  • The Turn Unholy Mishaps table works better. But there's still a bit of disconnect between it and the standard DC's in the DCC RPG table. I'll need to fix that by giving those classes that can turn the unholy better options to do so.
  • The way multiple action dice are treated in TATG kept play running more smoothly and made the characters overall more effective. I do need to bump up the secondary dice, however. Even though the Level 8 characters were generally competent in their abilities. I felt they should be moreso.
  • This time around the camp dial was turned all the way up. So I've seen games where TATG was a light-hearted romp with lots of jocular japes at the vampire genre -- like Ghostbusters meets Fearless Vampire Killers. And I've seen games where it's been more serious and grim. I'll check that off as a good thing.
  • The Ritual the Polymath used worked very well. At a high level, it was very effective but not world-destroying. Rituals work differently from the spells listed in DCC. But the difference is going to be very cool. It's minor but makes rituals fundamentally different. The magic flavor in TATG is also less gonzo. More like you'd see in a TV show or movie.
  • "Multiclassing" is going to be so freaking easy in this game.
  • We began the session mucking about with the Research & Investigation mini-game. I felt it went very, very well. We could have played that for the entire session with never having gotten to Barovia. Beyond the triple amputee on the cart who evaded the Exotic... the coven of black magic practitioners that the party could've located and infiltrated to discover more secrets of Castle Ravenloft... I mean, this could've been an entire session or two on its own. These tables are "emergent play" gold.
  • In playtests, no one ever spends an upgrade on weapon training or wealth. I think that would be different in a long-term campaign. But it is what it is.

Things to change
  • Ritual spellcasting for classes outside the Polymath and Theorist are seriously gimped. Same with Turn Unholy. I think turning and spellcasting need to be the purview of just a few classes. With the rest of the classes utilizing some other special feature that allows them to hold Vampires at bay with a cross.
  • DCs at high levels are still very, very challenging. I need to lower some of the DCs on the Investigation charts and go back through the class abilities to move those back into line as well.
  • High-level characters aren't crazy powerful. Very competent, yes. Superheroes, no. All in all, I felt like the 8th level characters were in line with what I'd expect from a 3rd level 4th edition character or a 5th level normal D&D character. This kind of cements my growing concern that mixing classes from DCC and TATG is not a good idea. So I have a few bits of the draft to pull out.
  • I need to think about recovery of temporary ability score damage just a bit. I have some ideas around that. But might just need to go back to DCC's default. Those ability scores take a pounding.
  • After a generally drunken discussion of the power levels of the characters, I made a decision (with hearty guffaws and encouragement) to extend the class levels in TATG. Instead of 10, TATG characters will be able to advance to 11th level. If for no other reason than for me to be able to say, "It plays just like DCC... except it goes up to ELEVEN!" Anyone who can't appreciate that reference... well... go watch Spinal Tap. Now if I could just make the cover BLACK.


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