Thursday, July 25, 2013

High level play - Success!

Earlier I was musing about high level play in Heroes By Trade.  I had a lot of good testing at level one but I definitely needed to make sure my numbers were right for higher level play.  This past weekend I built a new adventure for higher level folks and ran a level thirteen group through it.  I had intended for it to take three to four hours but we ended up playing all day and definitely logged more than nine hours start to finish.  It was awesome!  I have a lot of conclusions about how things worked out but mostly I am very happy with how the system stood up.  A meteor landed!  Someone was going to use it to summon a volcano and destroy the town!  Monsters were slain!  Character plans went terrible awry and a random cook got killed for no good reason!  Monsters are no problem but totally regular walls you could buy at the store are highly dangerous when you fall off them!

Combat felt better at level thirteen than at level one because characters had more choice.  Generally at level one characters have two Powers and at level thirteen they have six Powers.  This difference is immense because it means that a character can have a gap closer, a self heal, a single target damage attack, a debuff remover, an AOE attack, and a debuff.  This is a very diverse toolbox that allows for all kinds of reactions to events and having that really makes characters more effective.  At level one you have to pick just two of the categories above (there are other categories but these encompass the bulk of the Powers) and it is easy to see that you will have serious problems with many situations.  It feels like level one characters are limited and need to learn new things which seems just fine to me.

Rituals didn't get as full a test as I would have liked.  One character chose to know zero Rituals and the other only three although I would normally expect five Rituals per character at this level.  There just wasn't enough space to really give them a full test but at least we did get to test the single Epic Ritual a character took... she used Time Lord and it was AWESOME.  Time Lord!

Time Lord
Difficulty: Epic
Materials: An ornate clock crafted from platinum by a master clockmaker - (Which has Encumbrance 2).
Cast: 1 minute
Cost: 2d6
Duration: Instant
Effect: When this Ritual is completed the world continues on for 1 hour during which you can do whatever you like and everyone else acts as normal.  After the hour is up everything rewinds to the exact moment the Ritual was completed but you retain your memories of what occurred during that hour.  No one else recalls the event, nor can they tell the difference between the time during the Ritual vs. normal time.  Although you can attempt to do things exactly the same way a second time around there are no guarantees everything will go exactly as planned because minor differences can change the course of events.  If you are knocked out during the hour your memories will obviously be less than useful and if you die you will remember everything up to (but not beyond!) the point of your death after the reset.

The one thing that became very clear is that throwing a horde of dorks against a high level group isn't functional.  The characters were attacked by fifteen mooks who by the numbers should have presented some kind of reasonable challenge but the characters Augmented their brutal AOE attacks and absolutely annihilated the enemies.  I kind of figured that might happen but it was clear that I have to note in the document that the system breaks down when there are that many enemies.  I think things work best when there are two to four enemies but the only real possibilities for degenerate combats are the ones with a single opponent or huge numbers of opponents.  These open up chances to (ab)use debuffs and AOE respectively and can sometimes not work well.  That said I think my system for determining enemy strength is robust but it does need the GM to use their brain a bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment