Under a Hostile Sun – Playtest IV

Who We Choose to Bee!

The IV playtest for Under a Hostile Sun went very well. It features exploration of a giant beehive that I think is the best Environmental Encounter I’ve written yet.

The players also had a good grasp of the system that made things go very efficiently. Will be getting the video up later this week.

What Players Liked

Players reiterated their love for how the system rewards creativity and teamwork. Each encounter feels very different, avoids repetition that D&D combat could fall into.

They really enjoyed the Bee Hive encounter, how the map was set up, the variety of goals and how player Pets were critical in that scene.

One player appreciated how the Stats/Resists while different, were still similarly close to classic RPG mechanics that they could be learned. He said he saw how the system was flexible enough to handle radically different stories / planets / ideas. Lots of room for GM innovation and creativity.

Adjustments to make

  • One player has a Smuggler with a Dominance of 10. Not a particularly wise build – I plan to include in the rulebook some guidance on what stats are most critical for different characters. Not a change to the rules as such, but something that will help players learn the system
  • Some players feel that the Opportunity system still needs to be made more risky, so I will be doing some math and adjusting the Opportunity table
  • My players briefly touched on the Elite Resourcs mechanic. I would recommend only using the Elite Resources in a longer campaign, and specify early on what areas of your Open World are “gated” by a need for Elite Resources. In a shorter campaign, it won’t be clear what, for example, what a Mithril suit is for. These resources, as they are written now, primarily serve to render parts of an open world inaccessible until the party can produce them. This gives the players choice in how they achieve access to that part of the open world. I may try to find a way for Elite Resources to have more use in shorter story arcs.
  • One player felt that it was too easy to get the Basic Resources. Another player liked the drop rates / ease of access as it currently stands. I think this could be fixed more with adjustments to my maps, more so than adjustments to the core rules as such.
  • Players suggested potentially having creatures, such as the bees be more hostile. While I still want combat to be secondry to exploration, some rules for hostile creatures and hunting may be added.

Good Mapping

For GMs who want to use this system, one thing that came through today is that an Environmental Encounter should

  • Have multiple goals
  • Have an asymetric map

An asymmetric map ensures that no mechanic/set of tasks becomes repeated and around each corner there are surprises to explore.

Having multiple goals ensures good teamwork potential and allows all characters to be utilized.

During hte game session the exploration of the Bee Hive went really well. The final Environmental Encounter was fun, but suffered from a symetrical map, that required the same type of roll to be done repeatedly.

So Whats coming in the next upload?

  • Finalized Opportunity Table
  • Possible tweaks to Elite Resources
  • Guidence to help players know what stats each Archetype benefits the most from
  • Guidance on good map making
  • Rules for Hostile Creatures
  • Revised “Scandal on Demeter VI” story arc, featuring three chapters – “Scandal on Demeter VI”, “Abandoned!” and “Who We Choose to Bee”complete with creature cards.

Experimentation with this system is still on going. I won’t, for the immediate future, be posting videos of playtest games. I hope to have a formal “First Edition” of the system out by May. (If not sooner)

In the meantime, any feedback from YOU is valued as well.

The Open RPG Creative License is available for Comment!

This weekend is a historic time in the history of our hobby. A new, trully irrevokable license for sharing RPG mechanics had been made, and its designed to be system agnostic and not be controlled by any organization.

I look foward to releasing Under a Hostile Sun under the Orc when it is finalized. In the mean time, support this important work by reading it and providing feedback. 

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