So our gaming table finally met again. This time we went through a second iteration of the "Stormdragon" ruleset. Stormdragon is our home-brewed gaming ruleset that mixes Strombringer 1e magic and setting with Pendragon combat rules and Runequest skill rules. It worked fairly well. Here are some thoughts:
- Referee Swapping - One player and I switched back and forth in the referee role, with me dominating about 90% of the time. It worked fairly well and I felt we allowed each other plenty of free scope for improvisation. We each had our character as well, which made it easy to ebb and flow the role of narrator. No need to change anything here.
- Player vs Player - The first half of the session focused on the new player characters to the campaign world. They got involved in a subplot, which eventually brought them in contact with the elder player characters. When they finally met, they were on opposite sides of the battlefield. It was a grand battle, ending in the new player character's fleeing the battle and later joining forces with the victorious elder player characters. I had a PC in the mix as well and he escaped with his life. Another one of these player vs player battle royales needs to be orchestrated some time.
- Character Generation - It was a little slow still. We went with character builds instead of random rolls. I prefer random rolls as it really puts players in unexpected places and makes them think on their feet. One of the new characters was a priest of the second circle, meaning he could summon elementals and demons. Magic using characters take a long time to finish; but, I think its worth it in the end given how rich the magic system can be. The number of skills was too high and slowed down the process too much.
- Skills - I think there's too many skills. I'll probably shrink the number of skills significantly. Perception skills and poison lore gotta go. Maybe up-level some skill descriptions to be more broad in scope and reduce the overall number.
- Experience - If we reduce the number of skills and broaden each skill in scope, then I think experience is working out just fine.
- Passions - Nobody used passions!!! That sucks, people! Get 'em out there.
- Combat - Seemed to work pretty well. Everybody is playing a different character than they have in a long while, with the whole party being swordsmen knights in our previous Pendragon campaign. The stumbling we experienced during combat was probably more about learning curve in the new roles and lower power levels than we're used to.
- Magic Use - So casting magic slowed down the game significantly. At this point I attribute it to lack of familiarity with the rules and will forge ahead. I like the creativity of this magic system very much.
The story also worked pretty well. It got off to a slow start; but, I expect it to pick up once we gain familiarity with the magic rules. Demons are important personalities in the milieu of this world and our stumbling with the rules definitely hurts the storyline. Also, the party wasn't really together until the last 1/3rd of the session - so there were some slow intervals for one character or another.