Saturday, May 11, 2013

Old School Hack Test Run

Today I printed out my cards and ran a test run dungeon delve using Old School Hack. Yes, a solo dungeon delve, using OSH! I think it worked pretty well, but I did learn some lessons from this test.

I first created a party of 4, 1 fighter, 1 magic user, 1 thief, and 1 dwarf. I won't bore anyone with the character details, as this was a playtest and those details are not very important in the grand scheme.

The procedure I used was to select a rooms/hallways (or tunnels) card, which have various geomorphs as posted previously. I drew a map as I went, placing the rooms and tunnels in whatever way made sense to me at the time, connecting with known openings and fitting into spaces that didn't already have a room or hallway. If the card I drew was a room I rolled for the door the party would be entering through. On 1D6 a 1 = Open Doorway (no door), 2 = Open Door, 3-4 = Closed Door, 5-6 = Locked Door. I may amend that so 3-6 = Closed, and then only test for locked/not locked when the party tries to open the door, where maybe 1-3 = Not Locked, 5-6 = Locked.

After I drew a hallway or after the party opened the door into a room I rolled 1D12 for OSH "arena" type for each 5-square block.
1         tight
2-3     dense
4-8     neutral
9-10   hazardous
11-12 open

1-5      tight
6-7      dense
8-10    neutral
11-12  hazardous

Next I rolled for any room openings the party could see from the first space of a room., 1-3 = No Opening (solid wall), 4-6 = Doorway. Then rolled as above for whether the door was open, locked, etc.

When the party entered a room I pulled an encounter card (monsters, stuff like debris or hazards or traps, etc.). At first I tried not pulling an encounter when entering a hallway, but later changed it to pull cards each and every time the party entered a room or a hallway, even when backtracking through previously explored rooms and hallways. I also gave the party or the DM (played by me in both cases) the option to pull "extras" cards (these could modify encounters, adding reinforcements, enhancements, other special effects, etc.). 2 "awesome points" went into the "bowl" any time extras cards were drawn.

Then I played out the encounter. And finally, if the encounter took place in a room I drew a treasure card. I made some judgement calls as I played. For example, giving some monsters a chance to flee if outnumbered.

Here is the map that arose during this playtest. The numbers are the sequence the delve followed. The lowercase letters are the arena types, t = tight, d = dense, h = hazardous, o = open (or would've done if I had had any), and n = neutral. Doors are represented by the colors; no color = no door, green = open, yellow = closed, red = locked.

1. The party enters the dungeon through a restricted tunnelway, branching off east and west.
2. The party goes right. The tunnel goes on straight with a side branch heading northwards.
3. The party follows the side tunnel, which takes a turn to the left. So far I wasn't pulling encounter cards for tunnels/hallways, so I gave the party the option to pull one and gain 2 awesome points (hereafter referred to as AP). They got 2 goblin minions with melee weapons. The terrified goblins tried to flee, but the thief took one out with a dagger and the magic user took the other out with a quick bolt from his staff. (hmmm, might need to beef up the encounters)
4. The party comes to a locked door. The thief quickly picks the lock and the party enters a room that extends a bit and turns right. At the far end are 5 goblins with bows. The party draws an "extras" card, but nothing happens.
The magic user sends off a bolt from his staff and kills 2 goblins (rolled 10 on both dice!)
The thief throws a dagger, killing another goblin.
5. The fighter and dwarf move to the far end of the room, but the remaining 2 goblins escape through the open door to the south.
6. Searching the room the party finds "1 weapon, player's choice" (I would choose what weapon type this is and it could be used by one of the members of the party or possibly sold back in town.)
7. The party goes through the open door on the north side of the room section with the number 4.
In the 4-way tunnel they encounter 2 orc minions.
The thief kills one in the first round of combat. The dwarf kills the other in the second round of combat.
8. The party moves forward into another 4-way intersection. Going right they find a set of stairs heading down.
9. Not ready to go that way yet they turn back and follow the northward branch of the 4-way intersection. They enter another hallway that turns left ahead. There they encounter 5 orc minions.
The thief kills 1. 2 of the orcs attack the thief back, but miss. The other 2 orcs attack the magic user and cause one hit. The magic user spends 2 SP and heals/avoids the damage. The fighter and the dwarf each kill 2 orcs.
10. The party continues down the tunnel, only to find it dead ends. They encounter 4 gnome warriors. The dwarf talks to them and the party and gnomes go their separate ways.
11. The party backtracks into the tunnel with the bend. Nothing happens.
12. Backtracking farther, to the 4-way intersection. nothing happens.
13. The party goes through the closed door and encounters 3 orcs ("DM" pays 2 AP to the "bowl" to double the number to 6 orcs).
The thief kills one with a thrown dagger. The magic user kills 2 with a bolt from his staff. The dwarf kills 2 more, but the fighter misses. The last orc fails to flee, so he strikes out at the magic user for 1 hit. The magic user heals/avoids the hit (for a cost of 2 AP)
The party finds a "reach" weapon in the room.
14. The party continues through the open door to the west into a hallway that turns northwards. They encounter a single orc guard in the dimly lit tunnel. The orc flees (he will be added to the next encounter).
15. The party enters a straight, but hazardous tunnel. there are footprints in the dust on the floor. I pull cards from the unused encounter deck until I get one with monsters, some kobolds. These will be added to the next encounter.
16. The party comes to a locked door. The thief picks the lock and they enter into a room the extends to the north and then turns right. They encounter a large spider, the orc guard and 2 kobold minion slingers. The thief quickly tosses some daggers, killing the 2 kobolds. The spider attacks the thief, and hits, but the thief spends 2 AP to avoid the wound. The fighter attacks the spider, but misses. The dwarf kills the orc. In the second round of combat the thief does 1 point of damage to the spider, and then the magic user finishes it off.
The party searches the room and finds a healing potion (heals 1 point of damage).
17. The party goes around the corner of the room and finds an open door into the room to the south. The room is strewn with large stone blocks and rubble, making it a tight arena. As the party moves into the room they spring a trap, a trapdoor opens in the floor. Thief and the magic user manage to avoid the trap, but the fighter and the dwarf fall into a 10 foot deep pit. No damage, but they can't fight from there. Before anything else can be done 3 skeletons with melee weapons come into the room. The thief kills one and the magic user kills another. The last skeleton tries to attack the magic user, but misses. The thief kills the skeleton.
The thief and magic user help the fighter and dwarf out of the pit. They find 1 gold piece in the room (1 lousy gold piece! ha ha)
18. The thief attempts to pick the lock in the locked door to the east, but fails. 2 wolves enter the room (DM doubles that to 4, for a cost of 2 AP).
The magic user kills 1 wolf. (I ruled the thief was busy with the lock so I didn't give him an attack this round) The other 3 attack the thief, getting 1 hit, which the thief avoids for a cost of 2 AP. The fighter kills 2 wolves and the dwarf kills the last one.
19. The thief tries to pick the lock again and this time he succeeds.
20. The door opens into a dead-end tunnel, with lots of loose dirt and hazards.
21. The party returns to the last room and finds it empty (aside from the pit and rocks and broken skeletons and wolf carcasses. This uses up the last of the encounter cards I dealt out at the start, so the "day" ends.

Not too bad for a first playtest. I think the cards are working well, although I need to make some adjustments to their content, especially to the encounters and to the treasures. Clearly the encounters need to be beefed up, with shields issued to those who can use them, more guards and larger numbers of minions, and more higher HP monsters. Either that or a smaller party. Because ranged weapons go first and can hit into adjacent arenas the thief (with the "skill" of "unlimited daggers", which can be thrown as ranged weapons), and the magic user (with a staff rated as a ranged weapon, firing off bolts of magic) were very effective. But being more lightly armored (or not armored at all in the case of the magic user) they were also more susceptible to receiving damage.

I'm still getting a feel for the rules, and probably made some mistakes, but still had fun. I think this can work out. More playtests to come...

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