Actual Play – Dresden Files (11/19/2008)

System: Dresden Files

We got together for the final Dresden Playtest on Wednesday. I only had two players but luckly they represented two of the three combat monkeys. That was important because I wanted to test out the combat mechanics… with an Ogre!

Cast: Seth Jordan and Reginald Hastely

What rocked:

Ogre’s hurt! With only a minor success the ogre was landing 6 stress blows, enough to take out anyone not willing to eat a consequence.

Ogres are tough! With 6 health boxes, an additional physical consequence, one point of armor, being bulletproof and magic resistant, Ogres are one tough nut to crack.

Ogres are dumb! When beat the hell out of it wasn’t doing the trick, the players resorted to intimidation and rapport, and took him out with a social attack. Nice! This is as it should be. They basically talked sense into this raging beast who mistook them for his enemy.

Maneuvers and declarations. Anything which created aspects absolutely improved the game. Ranging from the declaration “Ogres are bullet proof, but only on the outside” to the maneuver “mashed into the sheet rock wall”. They absolutely made the game more fun, as usual.

Fights in a casino laundry room. Who knew industrial strength washing machines could be used as weapons?

Compels. How to get this fight started? Compel an aspect “Sometimes being a target to make allies” and kick that target in the head!

What could have been improved.

This was only the second time the Wizard was played and the player felt he was one trick pony, pretty helpless unless he used magic.

Location Aspects, Maneuvers, Consequences, Declarations, and Character aspects make such a large list, it kept loosing track of all of them.

I didn’t know the difficulty for declarations. This made things slow down. I couldn’t find it easily so I made it up, which is something I didn’t want to be doing during a play test.

Other comments for the play test feedback

Spells doing have the cumulative exhaustion effect they do in the books. Unless someone takes a consequence spell fatigue wears off after a scene. A suggestion was using a separate stress bar (magic stress) or using mental stress to track exhaustion and have that stress only fade after the story or after they character has rested.

Character templates. The players would have liked more advice on how to play some of the templates. For example: Pure mortals need to use mortal stunts to stack things in their favor, adding trappings to skills they are good in.

There was concern that mortal stunts would be abused and allow a character to do everything they want to do with only a handful of skills.

The Wizard (who had not mortal stunts) felt he had to spread his points pretty thin and couldn’t be as athletic, scholastic, convicted, good with a gun, and good at investigation as Harry. In short, Harry is more than an 8 refresh, 25 skill point, Great skill capped character, but I think we already knew that.