Black Flag Playtest 1: results

The Lab Rats Escaped!

The theme of the one-shot I ran revolved around an alchemist who “generously” agreed to build a sewer system for the city where he had his workshop. Soon pollution is starting to seep out and strange creatures started attacking. Our newly created Black Flag heroes had to work together to stop the mutated lab rats from eating humans.

This involved some diplomatic interventions with the mutant rats and a battle in the sewers.

Players’ Thoughts

All the players liked the new Lineage / Heritage system in Blag Flag and being able to mix and match Lineages with different heritages. Player “”Lea’ short for ‘Leaf'” in particular was able to call upon her character’s heritage when negotiating with the mutating rats which made for a fun scene.

A common theme I heard was the hope that Black Flag would become a midway point between 5e, which is very streamlined, and Pathfinder, which is more complicated but that comes with more choice in customizing characters.

Let’s be honest – in 5e if you make a Human Rogue, and another Human Rogue shows up at table, how truly different will the two rogues be? Especially if they picked the same or similar subclasses?

Player “Shinji” and I are both hoping to see Gearforged Lineage in an upcoming playtest.

What will a Gearforged Heritage be? The Gas guzzler Heritage? The Scrapyard Heritage? The rare-earth alloy Heritage? I think many fun options could be there.

The players, more so than me, were excited about the Talent system with different classes having different talent trees. I guess I worry that many players are used to being able to pick any Feat they want. If there are separate trees, I see many GMs being asked by players if they can take a talent from a different class-type’s tree.

I think having separate talent trees can work well, but the game designers are going to have to implement it well and explain to new players what is gained game-balance wise by having these restrictions.

I asked the group what they thought of Talents/Feats competing with ability score increase. One solution, proposed by Player “Dagolar”, is a wider implementation of “half-feats”, feats that come with a +1 to an ability score allowing the player to have a bit of both worlds.

Player “Gozzal” (or “Gonzo” as the character name reminded us of the beloved Muppet) and I both had concerns about level 1 characters potentially having an ability score of 18 (+4). This will either be too powerful, or an unnecessary escalation in meaningless math.

All in all

All in all, a fun start for Project Black Flag, though we are hoping to see some class options soon so that we can get a better sense of how the Talent system will work and see the whole system working together.

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