Recently I was (finally) able to run a playtest of the second packet of Project Black Flag. For an adventure I ran the heist in the Little Lockford from Keys from the Golden Vault.
Which means, yes, I have (partially) forgiven Hasbro for the OGL debacle.
The adventure we ran was very well written and permitted numerous character choices. Characters can choose where in the town they visit first, how they deal with the problem of the bridges, how many buildings they want to explore (each building comes at risk for random encounters).
As for breaking into the safe (the target of this particular adventure) there are numerous ways to go about it, which can lead to different outcomes from the villain.
All in all, it did feel like a Heist. One of my chief complaints about Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is that it did not have enough heisting of dragons. (I did LOVE the group I played it with though)
Each Heist in the book has a different vibe in terms of adventure structure, mechanics and narrative. All in all, a very high-quality book.
Black Flag Playtest
Feedback from players
- Luck system requires more book keeping, but once it is gotten used to the players think it is a good mechanic to have.
- Many players are wishing for more Heritages and Lineages to be released. Most of what made one of my players “excited” for the new system is tied to those Heritage/Lineage mechanics. I will agree that nothing in Packet 2 felt as new as the mixing and matching of Heritages and Lineages.
- That being said, one of the players did complement the writing of the class abilities and noted that the system seems to be leaning into “half-feats” that allow players a +1 to an ability score in addition to the ability provided by their talent.
I do think the Luck System is a great idea – inspiration in 5e is so often forgotten. The ability to gain luck on misses in addition to GM rewards and the variety of ways to spend it helps tie it into the flow of the game more.
I also like that Wizards have “Detect Magic” not as a spell, but as a class ability. That narratively makes more sense to me – wizards should have a “feel” for magic, more so than casting a specific spell. Afterall how would one spell detect all magic from all schools.
In D&D magic is traditionally divided into Arcane and Divine. Black Flag has four divisions – Arcane, Divine, Wyrd and Primordial. Excited to see how these extra types of magic impact play.
I noticed that on the Feedback form for this playtest packet, one of the questions was about how much difference we want between 5e and Black Flag. I think additional difference will help the system show its innovativeness and draw discussion. Afterall, if players already know 5e, why playtest black flag? I also think the additional differences may provide a legal barrier, as it increases the distinctiveness from 5e.
Doing so though does cause it to be harder to keep it “Backwards Compatible”
An ORC Commeth?
There are some rumblings that we will see the first draft of Paizo’s Open RPG Creative License (ORC License) this upcoming week. This is sure to be a historic moment for the hobby – a Creative Commons for RPG mechanics, that ensures a thriving 3rd-Party and Indie RPG industry. Be sure to look out for that!
Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash
Under a Hostile Sun Playtest
Hostile Sun video playtest #4 was delayed, but will be happening this weekend (and it may take me a week to get the video on youtube.
In the meantime, here is Playtest #3 on YouTube, and be sure to check the game out for free on itch.io.