Had our second game of Hot Springs Island using the latest freebooters beta.

Had our second game of Hot Springs Island using the latest freebooters beta.

Had our second game of Hot Springs Island using the latest freebooters beta.

I was dubious about marking abilities on failure, but I’m sold now. As soon as I explained how it worked, all the players eyes lit up and they began to talk excitedly about how “We better start doing more stuff and taking bigger risks!”

It was awesome.

I still think HP is too low. I gave all players +4 starting hp, but that might be because HSI is super dangerous.

The new magic table is way easier to understand, and the mages still had the most fun of any classes. It’s a shame that the other classes don’t get as much flexibility as the mages do, but they make up for it with HP and damage.

I have started to let the players develop bonds during long journeys (3-4 hours) in addition to making camp.

The new knowledge roll works really well, it’s a solid change.

How do Containers work? Do backpacks increase carry weight? I know some games have systems where you can carry a sack instead of a shield, or that some bags hold more but weigh more, etc. Just curious if there’s any kind of extra rules about wearable containers.

My group continues to enjoy the trait tags, especially the combinations of Vices and Virtues. “Hmmm, I’m virtuous but a liar? How can I play that?”

I wish some of the reference sheets were organized a bit differently. Eventually I’ll try my hand at making a ref sheet of my own, but that’s just nitpicky.

I really like the perceive move, and I plan to lean on it more next time.

I haven’t touched any of the follower, downtime, settle, or exploration moves (HSI has it’s own system for that stuff).

My only request is that the other classes get more ways to customize their options. The mage is such a standout compared to the rest. I REALLY like how you can buy custom poisons, giving something like that to the thief could be really neat (randomly generated poisons? Traps?)

Maybe the fighter can customize several tags and make their own weapon/fighting style? (DW has something kinda like this).

The cleric can pick their god’s weakenesses and domains? spend points on how they channel stuff?

I know each class needs to feel special, but the randomly generate mage spells + power combinations are SO good. SO SO good. I want more.

Anyway, thanks again Jason! We’re having a blast with Freebooters!

8 thoughts on “Had our second game of Hot Springs Island using the latest freebooters beta.”

  1. Thanks for the feedback, David!

    Containers have no special additional mechanics, they just allow you to carry stuff as logic dictates. The basic inventory rule (which will be overtly explained in the final version) is to follow common sense and be prepared to explain how you’re carrying everything.

  2. Makes sense. That’s what I figured, I was just curious if there was more to it.

    oh! one small opinion: Lower ability mark requirements. If each player fails two rolls a session, it still take 2-3 sessions to increase an ability by 1. Maybe that’s the intended pace, but I might house-rule it to 4 dots instead of 5.

  3. Outside observation: there are conflicting messages in:

    A) “you’ve gotta roll misses to improve your ability scores, so take risks!”


    B) “be careful, you’ve got like 3HP”

    I’m not sure that conflict is a bad thing. At first glance, I think it’s super interesting. But it’s worth thinking about.

    Like, my initial thought would be to play conservative for a couple levels and build up my HP. Then start taking risks to build up my stats.

    (Or I’d just say “phh, whatevs” and play and not worry about either.)

  4. Jeremy Strandberg, that first option is what I would consider a desired outcome, in that it describes my own experiences when I first started playing in the late 70s/early 80s. Figuring out how to survive was an intense and enjoyable aspect of play.

    David Schirduan, does Hot Springs Island require violent confrontation in order to progress? In my own experience of playing Freebooters, a lot of the fun comes from figuring out how to avoid combat or anything else potentially injurious. Low starting HP is a very intentional design choice for that reason.

  5. Regarding customization of other classes, I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but I was at one point messing around with the idea of making the other classes special abilities work mostly the same as the magic user’s spells. I liked the idea of mechanics that emerge from a list of short fictional phrases, interpreted by the player, but limited in scope by the fiction and a few tags. So where the magic user has a list of spell names, a fighter’s list might be special techniques or strategies. Some examples:

    Zaya’s Stroke of Windmill Fury (weapon damage / instant / 3 targets)

    This is a pretty straight forward windmill attack.

    Mordekai’s Pledge of Skyward Unity (+1 / 1 duration / 1 target)

    This would be some sort of rallying cry.

    Indigo’s Transfer of Bear Blood (minor effect / 1 duration / 1 target)

    Hmmm, maybe this could come into effect when covered in your enemy’s blood or something.

    Orresta’s Strategem of Parallel Death (weapon damage / 1 duration / 2 targets)

    A technique for attacking two enemies at the same time.

    They don’t need the range tags since that comes from the weapons or the fiction.

    Just a thought!

  6. One of the conceits of old-school style play is that 1st level characters are disposable. Or if not disposable, so fragile as to discourage you from getting attached.

    Each bit of customization = more attachment that the player has.

    Wizards are meant to be pretty rare and unique and over-the-top, right? And if you get lucky enough to roll up a good one, then you nurse that weirdo hard.

    But fighters and thieves are a dime a dozen, and only the luckiest/smartest/cleverest climb to the top. I think giving them a lot of customization options at first level is very contrary to that philosophy.

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