Sunday, July 09, 2023

First Double Trouble Play Test

I just completed my first play test of Double Trouble. There are some things that I really liked, and a few things that I felt needed to be improved. Overall the session was good and it seemed like everyone was having fun.

The Helped and Hindered mechanism and how it interacted with the Double Trouble Action roll seemed really confusing to my players. In an attempt to clarify things, I made a chart to show how different levels of the Helped or Hindered conditions would effect roll results.

This was the initial table:

Everyone said it made sense and we were good moving forward.  And, we played. I ran a the pre-written adventure, Dragon Town.

It was my desire to run this adventure using my own home brew game system that prompted me to begin work on Double Trouble to start with. 

I wanted to tie certain aspects of the system to OSR based parallels so that the adventure would be easy to run. - That worked.

I wanted to use Mike Pondsmith's brilliant RPG Dream Park as a template for character creation and development. - That worked. (I think that everyone really enjoyed the character creation process and options available.)

I wanted to retain the multiplied dice roll under system created for my own RPG Five By Five. - Uhm ... this was where I fear I may have some problems.

Referencing the table to figure out when rolls failed or succeeded seemed to really bog down the game play. Five By Five dice interpretation has always been quick and intuitive, but not here.

I like the added complexity of the Helped and Hindered conditions. They are the primary hooks on which all player powers are hung. When I mentioned changing them, my players revolted a little. But, I have no intention of getting rid of these. I just need to make them work a bit more smoothly.

To that end, I have decided to focus on "the exceptions." The irregular rolls that aren't compared to ability scores. That's the roll of a zero, and a roll of doubles. These special rolls are the exceptions. They are already special. I will make Helped and Hindered conditions effect only these rolls.

That should make interpreting rolls on the fly much easier, and I think is probably how I should have handled all of this to begin with.

Here's a new dice roll table:

Now, rolling over your trait is always a fail and rolling under your trait is always a success. Nothing else to check. The only time a roll needs to be verified is when you roll doubles or zero. The hope is that this will speed things up without causing the players to feel like they've lost some utility.

If this doesn't work, then I may scrap the Five By Five Mechanics completely for something else. Because the other elements of the game work and I like them.

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