Themadviolinist
Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat 10 Jul 2021, 16:01

FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Sat 31 Jul 2021, 00:21

As a reminder, my fellowship is hobbit messenger, ranger scholar, dwarf captain. Upon a request from the Thain of the Shire, they were investigating rumors of trouble in the Southfarthing, as well as a shortage of pipe weed, which made the Thain sad. AFter a disgustingly uneventful journey, (the hobbit messenger has travel 3 favored, and heart 7, plus prowess that she used on heart) they arrived at local pipe weed magnate Rosemary Longbottom, widow and business owner of the Longbottom Leaf plantation. After some initial skepticism, she was convinced, (persuasion by the messenger, helped out by the dwarf captain, using the -2TN but needing 3 successes way that one of you geniuses suggested to me last week as much more thematic than spending hope) she was explaining how the market had changed, due to a new and very rich customer from somewhere down south, when in comes a little girl in tears, telling how her brother got beaten up by some big folk, and she had been sent to tell Rosemary who functions as the sort of country squire in this part of the Shire. OUr noble heroes at once jumped up, drained their good brown ales, and, leaving all that could be spared, headed with little Dandelion back to her family house, where they were nearly set upon by the angry teenager, who tried to make a dint in the dwarf with a pitchfork, (brawling 2/12) Willie has reckless as a distinctive feature, but I rolled serious crap, so it was the comedic event it was intended to be.
After some negotiations and who are you's, which the party navigated with eplomb, the three set out with the four Bankses to see what might be seen. Oddly, in our fellowship, it's the dwarf who's good at scan, which I was using for tracking; the Ranger is the lore whore of the group. The dwarf obtained *four* successes, so I was able to allow him to note the little hobbit prints among the big people tracks, and find a shortcut and a stealthy approach to the camp of the ruffians. Oh, did I forget to mention that Willie the teenager had been beaten up and his little sister hobbit-napped?
I had planned a wonderfully multi-level combat, with our fellowship plus 4 semi-competent hobbitses vs two highway robbers and two footpads, with the strategic introduction of a goblin chief, two goblin guard and three goblin archers when things were going well for the fellowship, with three Dunlendings who had been tracking the orcs available if needed to bail everyone out. This was going to be a mess, because I wanted to push combat hard to see how it flowed, and just how much trouble the players were in. I figured that the hobbitses would help the company to an initial advantage, that would take a little time to manifest, because of the commentary I'd been seeing about combat, and about the time the ruffians were being bested, the goblins would show up (late as usual) to turn the tide, and then the Dunlendings could save any bacon what needed saved. (In our game, Dunlendings are more like the captain from the Treason of Isengard who reacts to the orcs shooting at Aragorn over the gate of the Hornburg by beheading the orc captain who ordered it, honorable, with a just grievance, (DAmn you post-colonial history) and working for Saruman, who is hiding his corruption. For people who've played the LotR Living Card GAme, there was a whole bunch of scenarios that fit this, and I rather liked the idea.
Well, nothing went as I expected. First of all, any fear that combat for beginning characters is going to be a whiff fest, well, that didn't match my experience. With all my adversaries having a might of 1, they were going to die quickly on 1/6 of the rolls, since a Gandalf or a 10 made for wounds, which as I read the rules immediately take out Might 1 critters. The ruffian chief went down with three quick endurance hits, two of which were from the long-hafted axe of our dwarfcaptain. One of the hobbitses was a mediocre shot, but pegged a footpad in the initial volley. By the end of round 1, I had two dead ruffians, one unconscious, one in a comical spear battle with the RAnger. I accelerated my time table, and arrows began coming in from nowhere as the orc chief and two guards walked into the fight. The dwarf triple-successed with a GAndalf on his first swing, "nice yead you've got there mr. orc chief, it'll go well on my mantel. The Ranger wore down his ruffian, then turned to skewer one of the guards in one go. (I never made a successful protection roll all night, and that wasn't fudging.) Various gore ensued, and within three total rounds, 8 of ten adversaries were either messily dead, or incapacitated on the ground. The lone surviving ruffian surrendered, and through a cool bit of RP, the Company discovered that he had gone to criming because of desperation, a lost farm and dead family due to a bad winter, so they let him go on his word that he would crime no more, even sending him with a letter to the messenger's "da" to try and help him out to get started.
Conclusions: Combat is really a lot more deadly than we all expected. Of course, the rolls could have gone the other way, resulting in a TPK, which I did have a way to mitigate planned. I had been expecting a much longer and more drawn out fight, based on what y'all had been posting. I made the mistake of not using the orc chief's snake-like spped on the first hit, because I was concerned about his deadliness in a straight-up fight. He never got a second chance, so I'll not be holding back in future. All in all, the affray was sharp, but the orcs were dismayed by the sharpness of the defense, for a very short time before they were no longer dismayed about anything.
The long-hafted axe is a truly nasty weapon when wielded two-handed. Even an endurance hit is quite effective, and that injury rating (my dwarf chose keen I think) was brutal.
Distinctive features are quite powerful. Hope was getting spent fairly freely, and with forward stance, the dwarf was rolling 5 success dice, inspired by his "fierce" distinctive feature and a hope point. The fight was short enough that he only used two points of hope as other opponents were not worth the cost.
All in all, I think the feeling of combat is pretty close. I didn't have the enemies act particularly stupidly, and the rolls were pretty good, but all in all, it felt a bit like the fight in the chamber of Marzabul, smaller in scale, but deadly and quickly over. Things I have learned, don't hold back on the villains fell abilities at all, you may never get a second chance.
 
Dorjcal
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun 11 Jul 2021, 10:22

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Sat 31 Jul 2021, 10:21

Yes, I have also had the same experience. After all in the rules they state that you are really encouraged to spend all Resolve/Hate for your enemies, even if it makes them miserables.

However, I would strongly recommend against "the help" mechanic, as it was reported to you. Beside the fact that there was no Help mechanic in 1E, It completely destroys Hope economy.
Your Hobbit player is "free" to use 7-8 points of Hope per adventure (remember you have Fellowship point as well), which is already a lot without needing to making it easier.

We played by the rules and by the end of the first adventure phase (6h of game) everyone got back their full Hope, except for the Elf that has 3 Heart score and spent 5 Hope points (so now he is at -1).

Coming back to what was reported to you as "help" mechanic, here is is the actual test (Which now is replaced by Skill Endeavours page 131).

The Loremaster may determine that an action requires more than one roll to be completed. This usually happens when a challenge is more aptly represented as a series of rolls, with each successful roll representing a step towards its final achievement. For example, digging a tunnel or persuading a council of elders could be a prolonged effort, with each successful attempt bringing the company of heroes closer to the accomplishment of the overall task.

The number of successful rolls required should be set by the Loremaster before players start to roll their dice, and should be between 3 (a moderately complicated test) and 9 successful rolls (a difficult and time-consuming affair).


Prolonged actions are particularly suited to evoke an atmosphere of tension, but may also be employed when the acting characters want to tackle a difficult task with caution, and have time to do it.

TN reduced by one level: the action now requires 3 successful rolls.
TN reduced by two levels: the action now requires 4 or 5 successful rolls.
TN reduced by three levels: the action now requires 6 or more successful rolls.

A prolonged action may also be called upon to present a challenge that would be otherwise translated only by choosing an excessive target number. A high TN, especially with a group of relatively inexperienced characters, may produce a series of failed rolls quickly leading to frustration or, on the contrary, could see the characters winning too easily, thanks to a single and anticlimactic lucky roll.

Cooperation:
By their very nature, prolonged actions allow for multiple attempts, whether they are been resolved by the same character, or by more than one character acting together or in succession. The precise details of a prolonged action might allow a group of heroes to use different skills toward the same goal, for example heroes trying to impress an audience (use of different personality skills), or entertaining a guest (use of different custom skills). The TN for different skill rolls could be the same, mirroring the general difficulty of the situation, or be adjusted to reflect the relative appropriateness of the chosen skills to the goal of the action.
 
Dunkelbrink
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu 10 Jul 2014, 22:29

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Mon 02 Aug 2021, 17:30

“With all my adversaries having a might of 1, they were going to die quickly on 1/6 of the rolls, since a Gandalf or a 10 made for wounds, which as I read the rules immediately take out Might 1 critters”

That is true, but only if the adversary fails their Protection roll. (You state later that you failed every protection roll so I guess you rolled for every piercing hit).

“Distinctive features are quite powerful. Hope was getting spent fairly freely, and with forward stance, the dwarf was rolling 5 success dice, inspired by his "fierce" distinctive feature and a hope point.“

But distinctive features only work for Skill rolls - not for attacks with a combat proficiency. So the Fierce feature won’t make the dwarf inspired in combat on attacks.
 
Themadviolinist
Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat 10 Jul 2021, 16:01

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Tue 03 Aug 2021, 17:08

Does it say somewhere that distinctive features should not be applied for combat proficiencies? On the one hand, that might be good for balance, but it seems pretty thematic, especially if the baddies get to use theirs as well.
 
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Michele
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 16:58

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Tue 03 Aug 2021, 17:19

Does it say somewhere that distinctive features should not be applied for combat proficiencies? On the one hand, that might be good for balance, but it seems pretty thematic, especially if the baddies get to use theirs as well.
On page 67, it says that "Additionally, players can invoke a Distinctive Feature to improve their chances to succeed at a roll using a Skill. When this happens, the Player-hero is considered to be Inspired."

Note that Distinctive Features cannot be invoked for Valour, Wisdom and Protection rolls either, making Virtues that let you become Inspired on all rolls the main source of Inspiration for any roll that is not a Skill roll. ;)
 
Themadviolinist
Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat 10 Jul 2021, 16:01

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 02:05

FAir enough, and thanks for the citation. I'm going to have give this a think, I sort of liked the effect that inspiration was having on heroic combat, but I see the potential for abuse.
 
gull2112
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu 26 Aug 2021, 19:11

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Thu 09 Sep 2021, 18:37

Hope only gets restored in the fellowship phase.
 
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eternalsage
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue 31 Aug 2021, 19:41
Location: Bree

Re: FEllowship of the Pipe weed, playtest #2, now we're getting somewhere.

Fri 10 Sep 2021, 09:13

Thanks for the play info! Sounds like a fun little scenario.

The help mechanism being referred to from 1e is the pool of Battle dice, I believe. It was being referenced in another gameplay thread. While I did enjoy the Battle dice (and the related cooperation pool mechanics for Encounters and Journeys) I think the new method streamlines everything. I was initially skeptical of playing Hope to help another its growing on me the longer I think on it.

Either way, good stuff. Hopefully have some of my own to report soon.
“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.” - Frodo Baggins, Return of the King

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