Let’s make a game: Tabletop Playtest Recap!

Got around to getting in a second playtest session with the spire setting this Wednesday, and I’m pretty happy with the results. If you haven’t been following along too closely, with the progress of the tabletop booklet, then you may want to check out the previous entire here before you get too deep into the recap. Things definitely are still in the early, early stages and the holes are much easier to see when the setting is in actual motion but I feel like some of that just comes from my side of the table. We played with a party of three, each player using one of the three existing classes. We decided to scrap the progress from the last playtest and start anew, meaning that they began back at the spire. I was able to paint a little better picture in what exactly the spire is, how it looks, and what goes on there for them. I think they enjoyed it well enough, although locations and loot are the facets that I ended up feeling were the most lacking out of the material I currently have written. They met with the Chief Mason in order to get their pilgrimage sanctified (as well as a little bit of direction in the form of an architect mandated order for three pieces of lesser tech) and heard a few rumors here and there around town before deciding to make their way into the ruins.

The merry three consisted of Lowl Dren, a skybreaker from the prime skylight, YT, a young mathematician caught up in some black market dealings, and Kai, a scavenger savant sporting cybernetic legs. After dealing with Chief Mason Glarp, and getting looked down at by a few rival pilgrimages, they made ready to depart. Discovering that they would require higher tower standing in order to get access to a vehicle (another thing I need to flesh out in an actual passage or chart), Lowl suggested they head to the garages anyway to see if there was someone he may have seen in the builder’s bars. After a moment of searching, Lowl recognized a scraggly mechanic working on a not-too-shabby ground vehicle and proceeded to butter him up in the hopes of convincing him to bend the rules a bit. While he wasn’t unwilling to help, the mechanic required some sort of insurance that they would be able to bring the vehicle back in one piece, lest he have to explain to the architects how an entire car went missing along with it’s unauthorized occupants. He agreed to lend them the vehicle if they were able to bring back an equivalently intricate or useful piece of technology from the lower ruins, and pointed them in the direction of an ancient, downed starship to the southeast. While the negotiations proceeded, Kai swiped the mechanic’s spanner. After sealing the deal for the vehicle, the three headed down to the lower ruins.

Outside the tower at last, the three made their way towards the southeast and the rumored starship husk. The lower ruins once served as the residential area for an old-world supercity, and as such is composed mostly of platforms of metal and stone connected by gangways. Nature has long since reclaimed this area however, and strange, towering, evergreens have sprouted and spread from parks turned rampant. Guided only by a compass, the three moved along the gangways between the ancient dwellings of the old world. After about six hours of travelling, as the afternoon was just starting to wane, they cam across three skyway gangers attempting to extract one of their vehicles that had fallen from the skyway above. Kai made himself known in an attempt to draw the skegs closer for an ambush but in the process of setting it up, YT was also spotted. Seeing that their plan was mostly discovered, Lowl charged the three skegs. As he sprinted across the gangway, he was hit by two harpoons fired from pneumatic cannons the gangers carry, one of which took off his left arm at the elbow. Unfazed by his newfound lightness, Lowl was able to take down one of the gangers, while Kai engaged a second in a tug of war between the gangways. With YT drawing the fire of the third skeg with the sensetrajectory proof, Lowl was able to close distance and take down a second ganger with a mighty, one-handed swing. With both his comrades down, the third skeg attempted to flee back up a winch cable to his vehicle on the skyway above but was shaken loose by the three and dispatched by the fall.

Barely stabilizing Lowl and staunching his wound the three split up the loot from the fallen vehicle, including an old-world lantern that looked to have once shone with brilliant sunfire. After a few attempts to shimmy up the sheer winch cable, the party decided to make camp for the night. It wasn’t long after they had settled in that a rival skyway gang came looking for the three skegs they had just taken out. They spent the rest of the evening huddled up in a nearby building as the gangers searched the area and burnt the remaining vehicles of their enemies.

Thats where we stopped for the night. For the most part, I was happy with how everything ended up going, although as was evidenced by player feedback and from my own observations while running it, I definitely need to get a better handle on locations and loot. Using a basic trinkets chart worked out alright, and I was able to flavor a lot of it to make sense in the setting but a dedicated loot chart for trinkets, lesser tech, greater tech, and gadgets would do wonders to help get everything tied together a bit more in terms of lore and world. That along with a better understanding of the discrete locations within every part of the world, as well as specifically where they fall and what is in them will make for a better running narrative and even more richness to the world. A lot of work, basically. I’m liking the lethality of Lamentations a lot, and definitely think that the old-school format meshes well with what I’m visualizing the setting to feel like. Once again, plenty of work to be done and ideas to flesh out. Quite happy with how it went for the second time ever running it, though. More to come soon!

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