Thursday, August 19, 2010

Solo D&D Playtesting

Most of my D&D time of late has been taken up with designing and playtesting my abstract solo game. (Fear not, Ultimate Sandbox enthusiasts, that project keeps chugging along.) I've played through a few sessions that I want to write up here just to get a feel for how it might fit together.

My unnamed fighter had a very easy time of it on his initial dungeon foray. Early on he found a pile of copper coins in a locked chest, and the very next turn found an even larger pile of copper lying completely unguarded. Laden with copper, he left the dungeon and earned the princely sum of 17 experience points.

(The 'chest' noted above was an 'Obstacle and Treasure' result on the table. I haven't yet made up a chart for obstacles, so for this game I just had my character take a turn bypassing it, with the Wandering Monster check this entailed. Otherwise, he found a fair bit of easy treasure, but with very little reward to show for it. This seems about right so far, and will be even better when the obstacles get more difficult to get through.)

The second foray was a bit more interesting. Coming again to the same locked chest, he found it this time full of silver. Later he came to a stuck door. While battering it down he was attacked by a bandit and made short work of the fellow. Behind the door was a pit trap, but he managed to pass by without triggering it. Past that was a series of unguarded treasures, treasures behind obstacles, and one treasure guarded by a spear trap that was successfuly bypassed. Loaded with coins my fighter decided to leave the dungeon, and had to fight another Bandit and an Orc on the way out. Success, and a grand total of 168 XP.

(With yet another early 'Obstacle and Trap' result, I figure it was probably the very same one with noew treasure added. The stuck door was an Obstacle, with a wandering monster check coming up positive while trying to batter it down. A couple of traps popped up, but going with the 2-in-6 chance for triggering them meant they did not come into play at all; I might tweak this a bit. And yet again there's a lot of easy treasure lying about the place. It's still minor stuff, but I'll probably adjust those numbers down as well. The wandering monster checks as I was leaving the dungeon worked a treat, giving me a pretty desperate battle against that final Bandit.)

The third foray was really quick. I bumped into a Caveman almost instantly, cut off his head in the surprise round, and hauled out a couple thousand silver pieces. There was only 96 xp to be had, but it was a pretty good haul for a single turn.

The fourth foray was really short, and super profitable. After bypassing a few obstacles, I was surprised by a giant rat that took me down to 2 hit points. I killed it on the next round, and found a sparkling haul of 4 pieces of jewelry in its nest. Each of these was worth over 1,000 gold pieces! So after a couple of meagre outings, I finally got the big score and rocketed up to second level, just 1 xp shy of 3rd.

(This was a much bigger haul than I ever expected. I'm currently using the Mentzer treasure tables, and in those the value of all jewelry is 3d6 x 1000 gold pieces. This definitely bears some alteration!)

So the game seems to be working at the moment. The spine of it is solid, I think, and I spent a good fun hour plugging away at it. One rule I completely forgot about was fatigue. In the rules I was following the standard D&D rule in which characters must rest for one turn every hour, but during gameplay I kept forgetting to apply it. So you know what, it's gone. I don't need fiddly rules complicating this thing.

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