So we had another playtest of Freebooters this week. Mathieu Mazzoni ran a short dungeon for 3rd level characters, and we have a few observations. Warning: braindump ahead.
It’s nice to have a few more hit points and an extra move: my fighter felt more capable, but far from invincible. The magic-user did a few impressive things with his spells, and everyone felt like they contributed to the delve. It really felt like low level B/X.
Mathieu felt the duration tags weren’t really intuitive, and he kept giving estimates of how long a spell or a torch would last (in minutes). Reading the rule again myself afterwards, I think I could handle it as a Judge with a bit of practice. Thinking about duration as a resource takes some getting used to. Maybe this could be stressed in the book.
About the Cast Spell move
On a miss, choosing -1 ongoing for the duration of the spell’s effect shouldn’t be available when the spell is instantaneous. It’s probably obvious, but we had to stop and talk about it a couple of times during the game. This may warrant a mention somewhere.
In the Spellbook move
Maybe it’s just me (I played a magic-user in our first game), but listing the aspects and their costs like is a bit confusing when you’re in the middle of a battle. Layout permitting, I would suggest a table like the one I made here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nrCmm529H4gT5lwNts2hHlpYliSP4x_QVWKK-UDk6N0/edit?usp=sharing
A fleeing move?
There was a moment in the game when Tom Z’s dwarf used Not Guts, No Glory to dive at a giant spider-god emerging from a bottomless pit. The monster was clearly too powerful for us and the only reason we survived is our nice Judge. Mat decided the spider didn’t like that stingy axe. It retreated and let us live.
After the fact, Tom remarked that maybe the game needed a move to retreat or flee. Having it front of your eyes would be a good way to remind players that Freebooters shouldn’t fight to the death. Here’s a thing I drafted. We will test drive next time.
When you lead the retreat burn 1 Charisma and roll +CHA. On a 10+, choose 3 from the list below; on a 7-9, choose 2; on a 6-, burn 1 Charisma and choose 1.
– You don’t leave anyone behind
– No one is injured in the process
– You don’t lose anything precious
– The monsters give up the chase
That said, I’m really enjoying freebooting on the frontier. This game is the dream child of old school survival and DW that I always wanted.