13 thoughts on “I have a new class, The Living Star, that could use some feedback and suggestions.”

  1. Living Star is not the movie name sorry, but the movie stardust which is a Neil Gainmen novel. Great movie – book was good but I prefer the movie version. There is a living star and a fairy land.

  2. Hi Melissa! I recently left a review on the Living Star’s product page, for which I received a publisher response. I’d like to follow up with you on that, but I suspect the back-and-forth would look like a prolonged conflict given the footing we started out on, so I’d rather have that exchange on a different venue than the product’s discussion page so it doesn’t create any unintended negativity for potential customers of yours. I’m also not especially keen on fostering any bad blood with a fellow member of a community which I value highly, as an aside.

    Is that follow-up something you would be interested in? And if so, would this thread be an acceptable place for feedback or would you prefer a private thread, google docs or something of the like? If you’d rather just leave the conversation and review/response as-is, that’s fine, too; I just figured I’d ask.

  3. Yes, I think it would be best to converse here rather than on DTRPG. Go ahead with your follow-up.

    Also going to tag David Guyll here since he also helped create the Living Star.

    Also, also going to link my youtube channel since there’s someone playing the Living Star in David’s Ravenloft game and you might find it useful to see how someone would play the class or how the mechanics work. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxdt-LA5Lkr8aVrnx4QfvLQ

  4. All righty, then, here’s my response–with a friendly reminder that tone doesn’t come across in text. No ill will or sour emotions are involved here, but I do favor candor over tact, so forgive me if I come across as harsh.

    Your first response, that the class was playtested and your tables haven’t had problems, doesn’t strike me as a particularly good defense of the faults I see (or any other faults; I’ve heard this defense raised before in other situations and it was equally frankly-invalid there). Playtesting is a good faith measure to try and find problems, yes, and I appreciate that you went to the trouble, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any problems there. I can’t speak to your table, but I’ve playtested with people who wouldn’t comment on anything aside from typos and the like even when there were glaring mechanical faults, and even the most rigorous people can miss things. As to the second, that there haven’t been problems at the table outside of playtesting, my thoughts on the matter are that “it works in play” is not an ideal stopping point. Anything can work in play, with the right group, and it’s great that the players have fun with it, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement from a development standpoint. To draw a (somewhat extreme, perhaps) comparison, DnD 3.5 was playtested, and plenty of people play it at high level with mixed parties, but that doesn’t change the fact that high-level spellcasters make most fiction irrelevant unless the player deliberately chooses not to.

    I’ll get back to point systems in general shortly, but the next point about starting moves, which I didn’t touch on in detail before, actually highlights a couple of major problems: the Living Star move, which as you point out states that it allows you to subsist entirely on metal, is contradicted by the information on iron in the accompanying book. There, it is stated that iron (i.e., the most common metal that you’re likely to run across aside from arguably coins, and the metal that is included as what would appear to be a stand-in for rations) will damage you when eaten. Much like Radiance moves in general, it’s another case of your class’s core competencies causing you harm every time you try and use them–and furthermore, the lack of information on iron is the most glaring example of the playbook not having all the required information. Again, if I hadn’t read the guidebook I wouldn’t know how iron worked, but reading the starting moves and gear I would have assumed that “Iron, 3 uses” was equivalent to “Rations, 3 uses” and that was that.

    As to the Thief comparison, I feel you missed the point of my complaint. For one, Dexterity and Radiance are not comparable, because Dexterity is not a finite resource that you have to damage yourself to replenish. For another, the Thief does at least have one move that relies on something other than Dexterity (Connections keys off of Charisma), so if you want to play a grifter-type the class rewards you with a move to back it up. That’s what I’m getting at; you can pick a character style via attribute choices, and the class rewards you with a unique trick that you can leverage to your advantage. The Living Star only keys off of Constitution, and the Radiance stat which is built off of Constitution, so you don’t get any unique tricks to show off any of your other attributes and have to rely on Universal Moves. Point I missed before: you can’t even pick up unique tricks from other classes, because the playbook has no Multiclass options.

    And I think that brings us back to your initial remark about power points and their place as a game mechanic. Again, I feel you missed my point. I don’t have a problem with power points; I’ve never played with a class that used them, but as a concept I think they’re fine. What I do have a problem with is a class that relies on a limited resource and has no safe, or even possibly-safe, way to recover that resource. To draw another comparison, the Wizard has a limited daily allotment of spells, and whenever they attempt to cast a spell there’s a chance that they could lose a spell (they always have the option not to on a 7-9, but the GM might push for it on a miss). Regardless, even if they lose all their spells, they’ll get recovered next time they get a good night’s sleep. Meanwhile, for the Living Star, every time you roll +RAD you’re going to have to pay hit points to recover Radiance later, period. That’s not risk-reward, it’s just being punished for using your class’s abilities. If you recovered Radiance when you made camp, or say, if Solar Powered was a starting move, or if there was any way at all to recover Radiance that didn’t automatically involve damaging yourself (aside from the mentioned Solar Powered, as it comes on too late to be of use to most characters), I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    Which brings us to your closing remarks, which weirdly assert that I have a problem with the class thematically. I don’t. I was actually really excited to play a Living Star, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought a playbook with that name. Assuming otherwise, when I made no mention of disliking the class concept and actually said that it had “some very cool ideas” in my first post-disclaimer sentence, is missing the point at best. At worst, it’s the sort of deliberate dishonesty which you accused me of.

    I don’t have a problem with the concept of the class. I love the idea, and the cover art, and much of the mechanics. But the core mechanic, along with the other things I’ve touched on, even non-mechanical things like the information being scattered and the playbook itself not having copyable text, are enough to bring the class down into below-average territory for me. If the problems (which as I see them are problems) were fixed, the score would be higher, but as-is, two stars and personally unplayable is my honest opinion.

    I hope that response helps to clarify things a bit, and thanks for engaging with me on it.

  5. Thank you for being more detailed in your response. I have a better idea of your problems with it.

    I think we just have a difference in opinion on these matters and not much will come of it. No need to restate the same stuff over and over.

    I took a lot of time and joy in making this class, and it is stated in my introduction. It’s too bad that it did not appeal to you once you saw what it did. The core moves were something that can be seen in the preview before buying. I would recommend that if you want to purchase something from us again, to look at the previews or just contact us as well for any questions/concerns. 🙂

  6. Fair enough; I’m okay with agreeing to disagree, and wish you luck in future publications. Also, I did actually miss the preview before, and will remember to look for them in the future. When I’ve seen previews on other occasions, they’ve been linked in the description; I did not realize that there was a preview button to be found below product thumbnails on the DTRPG site. So thanks for that information!

    That said, I just looked at the preview, and it’s stated there that you regain all Radiance when you Make Camp, which I assume is from an earlier version of the playbook. If I’d looked at the preview version beforehand, I would have made a purchasing decision based on an inaccurate presentation of the class rules, so I would request that the preview be amended to reflect what’s actually there for the benefit of future purchasers.

Comments are closed.