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Alpha Feedback -Zack


Share your thoughts and opinions on the Pure Steam Alpha Playtest.

DMZ

Posts: 2

Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:56 pm

Post Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:19 am

Alpha Feedback -Zack

Keep in mind that the whole module was not run before this feedback was written.

1) What about playing Pure Steam made it feel unique or distinctive? Was it the steampunk setting? The gadgetry? A particular class or game mechanic? Explain.

The world was compelling and the role playing was smooth and believable for the setting.

2) What more could be done to make Pure Steam feel even more distinctive?

More Urban areas will need to be seen before this answer can be addressed properly. A section that guides players into the setting might be helpful.


3) Name three things you were anticipating before sitting down at the table?

Saloon, Immersion into a steampunk world, unique classes to help flesh out a players role, a unique urban environment, less magic than conventional settings, tech-driven airships, abundant steam powered gadgets.

4) Of those three things, which one(s) were lacking in terms of payoff? Why or why not?

This is difficult to answer within the limits of the module and based on the fact that during this first session we did not get all the way through it.

5) Which base class or archetype did you play? How did you feel about the way the characters meshed (i.e. party chemistry)?
6) What about the base class or archetype that you played made it enjoyable?

The party meshed very well. Each had strengths and each of the classes relied on the others to overcome the challenges.

Chaplain: Still trying to understand the Gravitas ability and how the Chaplain can “tap into” magic or if there is some other way it can be explained.

Grease Rat: At level one felt rather close to a rogue. As a foresight it will be imperative to include many vehicle type battles where the “demolishing blow” ability will come into play.

Moonshiner: Loved the idea of playing a hillbilly alchemist.

Ructioner: This archetype fit very well into the setting depicting that larger-than-life type of attitude.


7) If there was something you could have changed about a certain class feature or core mechanic, what would it have been and why?
The standard rules for combat and cover did not complement the duck and cover style that is expected in a steampunk setting. Perhaps adding some feats or other small changes or suggestions on how to deal with these rules.

I think trying to come up with a way to eradicate the “intoxication points” might be nice. I am not a fan of point systems; this is just a personal opinion

8) The adventure module was designed to showcase Pure Steam’s strengths: colorful characters, firefights and fisticuffs, themed skill challenges, vehicle combat, high tech/low magic, etc. Which of these aspects stood out at the most to you, and why?

The bar-fight was good and the style of the firefights was good. Magic took a place in the background which made the module more believable. **The module was not completed so this question will be better answered after I run the whole thing.


9) How grounded in our own world’s history did you feel the adventure was? More or less than you expected? Explain.

More material will be needed before this question can be well answered. There was a same-but-different feel to the setting.

10) How much, to any extent, did the soundtrack enhance your Pure Steam gaming experience?

The soundtrack left a lot to be desired. It was far too modern with blatant dubstep; felt more cyberpunk than steampunk. More blugrass/folk. The music should be an industrialized-wildwest style of music. There should be a banjo heavy bar fight track.

11) Any further comments or suggestions? If not, please give us a one sentence summation of your Pure Steam gaming experience (i.e. something memorable)

Suggestion:
some very simple close range shotgun type defense weapon would enhance non-melee types

The appalachian feel of the countryside was very enjoyable to roleplay. The realization that we were roleplaying steampunk was awesome!

**I heard you were completely re-working the module so I will not post any feedback on the layout.

Posts: 134

Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:10 pm

Post Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Alpha Feedback -Zack

Hello Zack,

Thank you for your feedback! It was very insightful. Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the playtest and module thus far. Let us know what you think when you finish it.

If you'd please, can you expand on your "shotgun-style item" suggestion?

Also, the changes we plan to make to the module are rather quite minor, so we'd still love to hear your feedback on the module's layout.

Thank you again!
Brennan Ashby
Pure Steam™ Lead Game Designer
User avatar

Posts: 43

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:43 pm

Location: Northern California

Post Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:04 pm

Re: Alpha Feedback -Zack

As I was requested to join them for this session, I figure I can provide some corroborating evidence. My comments are in a turning shade of green, to honor the season. He'we go!

DMZ wrote:Keep in mind that the whole module was not run before this feedback was written.

1) What about playing Pure Steam made it feel unique or distinctive? Was it the steampunk setting? The gadgetry? A particular class or game mechanic? Explain.

The world was compelling and the role playing was smooth and believable for the setting.

Not sure that I could say it was any one thing, but it seemed very easy for us to slide into slurring accents and a "just under over the top" kind of sensibility as we played. It was certainly more the expectation of the setting than anything else. In other words, we knew what it was we were aiming for before we sat down at the table, and it was that forethought that guided us. Players who have little or no experience with steampunk tropes may have to find other ways to familiarize themselves, or have a very knowledgeable GM. ;)

2) What more could be done to make Pure Steam feel even more distinctive?

More Urban areas will need to be seen before this answer can be addressed properly. A section that guides players into the setting might be helpful.

A section that guides players into the setting!? Egads, what a segue! I'm happy to say that we should be releasing a few glances at more setting-specific material (i.e. regional info) in the Beta, so keep it right here!

3) Name three things you were anticipating before sitting down at the table?

Saloon, Immersion into a steampunk world, unique classes to help flesh out a players role, a unique urban environment, less magic than conventional settings, tech-driven airships, abundant steam powered gadgets.

Adding to the above: weird-science and old west pulp-inspired characters, blending of the familiar with the practically insane (namely something that is at once practical but also kind of jarring), endings to stories/adventures that always make you shake your head in awful wonder.

4) Of those three things, which one(s) were lacking in terms of payoff? Why or why not?

This is difficult to answer within the limits of the module and based on the fact that during this first session we did not get all the way through it.

I'd say we could do a lot better in all areas so far as the module goes….

5) Which base class or archetype did you play? How did you feel about the way the characters meshed (i.e. party chemistry)?

I played the ructioneer, an original class idea of mine which became an archetype in its current form. I may be a little biased—and fighter classes have always been good introductions to role-play—but I don't see how anyone could not have fun playing the ructioneer their first time through, rural environment or not!

6) What about the base class or archetype that you played made it enjoyable?

The party meshed very well. Each had strengths and each of the classes relied on the others to overcome the challenges.

Chaplain: Still trying to understand the Gravitas ability and how the Chaplain can “tap into” magic or if there is some other way it can be explained.


This is always on my mind when considering the Gravitas ability. Let me show you a snippet from my original write-up:

Whether it be by shared life experiences, ethnic similarity, or begrudging respect, each chaplain commands a certain force of personality that can be exerted over his subordinate kind. Chaplains, through use of specific words and/or gestures, may whelm a single living subject’s physical or mental resolve heaping upon it 1d6 points of nonlethal damage as a standard action. This ability may be used at will, however only targets within 30 feet of the chaplain and of equal or lesser character level than the chaplain’s class level can be affected by it. Subjects may resist the effect with either a Fortitude or a Will save, their choice, taking half damage if successful, and only as much damage as would bring their nonlethal to 1 point below their current hit points.

First off, keep in mind, Gravitas was always written as a supernatural ability. The chaplain isn't just talking her foes to sleep. Here, hopefully, you can see where I was going with it. It's not necessarily something the chaplain uses to incapacitate foes, but something which can "leave them without the hunger to fight." To a certain extent, that's part of what hit points represent. This class ability forces the players and GM alike to recognize this fact. Hit points are not merely a representation of how many times the character can be slammed in the face. Again, this is nonlethal damage we're talking about, but it's certainly a mechanical consideration on our part to add in some clarifying text to state something like: "The subject of the chaplain's gravitas can never gain the unconscious condition through suffering nonlethal damage."


Grease Rat: At level one felt rather close to a rogue. As a foresight it will be imperative to include many vehicle type battles where the “demolishing blow” ability will come into play.

Moonshiner: Loved the idea of playing a hillbilly alchemist.

Ructioner: This archetype fit very well into the setting depicting that larger-than-life type of attitude. [/i]

Playing the ructioneer is really about attitude. Certainly, the class features described add up to make the ructioneer unlike any other archetype, but no single one of them does this better than simply looking at his proficiencies. It's the ructioneer's limited choices of weapon preference that best describe how to handle the class at low levels, and players would be wise to play every part of that to the hilt if they want the ructioneer to "feel" distinctive or enjoyable.

7) If there was something you could have changed about a certain class feature or core mechanic, what would it have been and why?

The standard rules for combat and cover did not complement the duck and cover style that is expected in a steampunk setting. Perhaps adding some feats or other small changes or suggestions on how to deal with these rules.

I think trying to come up with a way to eradicate the “intoxication points” might be nice. I am not a fan of point systems; this is just a personal opinion


You know this already, but I had plans for implementing a "duck-and-cover style" ranged combat mechanic which was deemed a little too rewarding for ranged attackers since our game still offers many options for melee attackers. Ultimately, I think this may be a question of set dressing and describing movement and an attack. For instance, no one buys that a 1st level character can only swing a weapon once in a 6-second round, but rather that the character's 1 attack represents his potential for dealing meaningful damage in that same period of time. Thus, the GM could describe how the character swings several times, but only connects "meaningfully" on one those swings (i.e. including parries, blocks, setup strokes, etc.) The same methods of description should be used when discussing how gunplay works in Pure Steam, given the cover options available and how the character moves during the round (as opposed to enforcing a rule).

8) The adventure module was designed to showcase Pure Steam’s strengths: colorful characters, firefights and fisticuffs, themed skill challenges, vehicle combat, high tech/low magic, etc. Which of these aspects stood out at the most to you, and why?

The bar-fight was good and the style of the firefights was good. Magic took a place in the background which made the module more believable. **The module was not completed so this question will be better answered after I run the whole thing.

For me, it was definitely the firefights and fisticuffs. I went 2-0 in our early throw-downs. Bang bang! Pow pow!

9) How grounded in our own world’s history did you feel the adventure was? More or less than you expected? Explain.

More material will be needed before this question can be well answered. There was a same-but-different feel to the setting.

10) How much, to any extent, did the soundtrack enhance your Pure Steam gaming experience?

The soundtrack left a lot to be desired. It was far too modern with blatant dubstep; felt more cyberpunk than steampunk. More blugrass/folk. The music should be an industrialized-wildwest style of music. There should be a banjo heavy bar fight track.

Granted, the soundtrack we were sampling came from a work in progress version of the track set, so it's still too early to say. I'd definitely agree that we need more string-heavy bar fight tracks (maybe 2), another good traveling piece, and a really moody creep track to highlight those weird-science, "just under over the top" moments.

11) Any further comments or suggestions? If not, please give us a one sentence summation of your Pure Steam gaming experience (i.e. something memorable)

Suggestion:
some very simple close range shotgun type defense weapon would enhance non-melee types

The appalachian feel of the countryside was very enjoyable to roleplay. The realization that we were roleplaying steampunk was awesome!

**I heard you were completely re-working the module so I will not post any feedback on the layout.


Layout is a major concern of mine, but much of what needs to be done there is still on the list. Worry not, if I'm still on the project come full release time, it will all look and read a lot better! If not, you'll no why. :ugeek:
"With a clank-fist grip…," L. James Wright
Pure Steam™ Contributor, Writer/Co-editor

DMZ

Posts: 2

Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:56 pm

Post Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:49 am

Re: Alpha Feedback -Zack

Brennan Ashby wrote:Hello Zack,

Thank you for your feedback! It was very insightful. Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the playtest and module thus far. Let us know what you think when you finish it.

If you'd please, can you expand on your "shotgun-style item" suggestion?

Also, the changes we plan to make to the module are rather quite minor, so we'd still love to hear your feedback on the module's layout.

Thank you again!


For the layout of the first part module the numbered entries should be in the order they will be encountered and all information about a particular area and all relevant information to the adventure should be in a single place. For example the first entry in the module should be the old mill. The second should be the Abbot homestead with all relevant information. Then Kinny's house with all relevant information etc. Page 35 is unnecessary. I also felt like in act one of the adventure there was little steam punk flavor. It should be ramped up a bit more--more gadgets, more items, more colorful NPCs. An example might be as simple as calling the anarchist gunmans "club" a "billy club," "straightstick," or "truncheon." Maybe a pneumatic crossbow?

In the second part of the module the layout was good. I think that there should be a clearer picture of how far Hearthsburg is from the bridge. The archway obstacle is too powerful. I think a better way to deal with it would be to call it a tunnel and make the train go into darkness. hitting their head could do 1d6 damage and stagger the characters rather than 3d6 damage and knocking back. Another thing is how many cars are on the train? Which car is the bomb on? Which cars are the passengers in? What if the characters throw the brakes on the top of each car? What if they try to unhook the cars? After all there is a grease rat involved and her would probably know quite a bit about trains. Some details on how to deal with these factors would be helpful. My brother used to work for Railserve and he knows a lot about how trains work if you need a reference.

I am not sure if this is possible but I would like to contact whoever is making the soundtrack I have some ideas for some tracks that have a unique feel and would be interesting. I just do not have the equipment to produce it. I might be able to do some short inspirational tracks. I don't, however, want to step on any toes so please remember I am just trying to help. I know the soundtrack is still in progress so I will have to wait until I hear the completed version.

The Chaplain's "Gravitas" ability seems under-powered. It should be AOE temp hit points and you should be able to deal non-lethal damage to one person at 1d8 + charisma modifier. It could read:

With one use of this ability, a chaplain can bestow 1d8 temporary hit points to all allies (including herself) within 30 feet that can hear her. The amount of temporary hit points bestowed by gravitas increase by 1d8 at every odd numbered level after 1st. These temporary hit points last for 1 minute and do not stack with temporary hit points from any source. Alternatively, a chaplain can use gravitas to inflict nonlethal damage equal to 1d8 + her charisma modifier to one enemy within 30 feet that can hear her. The amount of nonlethal damage dealt by gravitas increases by 1d8 at every odd numbered level after 1st. Creatures that take nonlethal damage from gravitas receive a Will saving throw to halve the damage (minimum of 1 **why zero? nothing is zero.**). The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the chaplain’s level + the chaplain’s Charisma modifier. **This would give a better balance to the game.

Elocutionary talents should start at level two. It does not follow usual pathfinder class progression to start at level one. I also do not like the "dice pool" system that is used for those which have an effect on the chaplains gravitas; please look at the alchemist's discover class feature. You should allow one talent to be used on a gravitas at a time instead of taking away d8's.

Posts: 134

Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:10 pm

Post Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: Alpha Feedback -Zack

Thank you again for your feedback, Zack.

Lance is currently making a pass at editing the module's layout, and I will make sure some of your ideas were taken into consideration. I will also consider much of your feedback on my next pass of the Chaplain.

We did recently up the dice of Gravitas to 1d8 instead of 1d6, so that's already taken care off. If we don't already have it, a feat or elocutionary talent that adds a chaplain's Charisma modifier to gravitas would a great addition. The AoE gravitas was considered at one point, but looked clunky in the rules at the time. The main reason I removed AoE gravitas was because of the way elocutionary talents currently function. I think I can come up with something to better blend the abilities.

The elocutionary talents progression were designed after the Witch's Hex class feature. We gave chaplain a elocutionary talent at level 1 to ensure that they had enough options, both during gameplay and character customization. With the addition of more chaplain associations, it might be possible to remove this talent at first level.

The gravitas dice pool mechanic was designed to allow chaplain to essentially create their own buffs/debuffs, and to try to differentiate gravitas from something like Bardic Performance or Cleric's Variant Channeling. If you feel the current mechanic is too complicated or unnecessary, I can look into changing it.
Brennan Ashby
Pure Steam™ Lead Game Designer

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