With the Maze Rats campaign winding down (AKA coming screaming to a climax), I’ve begun looking ahead to the next open-table endeavor. I’m looking at a fantasy version of Gold Rescue Team from my Open Table Campaign Pitches. We’ll see how it goes from there.
Maze Rats has been awesome. That game is probably the closest I’ve been to actually running the game to RAW (rules-as-written), which says a lot about how much I agree with the design of the game. That said, it’s funny how opinions of something change when actually putting it into practice. For example, I thought side-based initiative was silly, especially the bit about re-rolling every turn. In practical terms that makes very little sense. How is it that someone could act twice before I get to act again? Then I saw how practical it was. Players would work together on their turns, with people who KNEW what they wanted to do going first and then helping the other players who weren’t as sure. Players could also coordinate much better, with Player A moving, then Player B moving, Player A tossing a torch to Player B and then Player B stabbing that torch into a zombie’s eye. All great stuff.
But there were also things I read that I thought would be better than they were. Shields, for example. In Maze Rats, you can shatter your shield to negate all damage from an attack. In a vacuum, this is actually pretty neat and kind of a classic fantasy thing. I’m thinking of Eowyn vs. the Witch King of Angmar. BUT, the huge logistical error is that players can just get more shields. They start in-town with the capacity to buy quite a few shields and store them. Of course you could limit the number of shields someone can carry, say there’s a shortage of what are essentially wooden planks, or raise the prices of shields in general, but all those solutions to me seem rather weaksauce. There is the psychological factor of losing your shield, as I had a player point out to me. You’re a lot more terrified after that sucker shatters and your armor is down by 1. But IMO, you should always feel that level of danger regardless of whether or not you have a shield. The biggest use of shields in my campaign has simply been to ignore the damage of critical hits (me rolling boxcars). That’s lame. A crit is a crit is a crit.
So I worked on a KNAVE HACK this weekend, complete with name tables, an updated spells list (to include more “classics”), Fortune to offset lower starting HP, Spellbooks as a part of starting gear, and changing saving throws to danger rolls. Oh, and adding art from HeroQuest!
Sally forth, young tabletop adventure gamers!