I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who was involved in the game for DFWLARP Season 2. This was easily the shortest Season I’ve ever run, barely getting past 2 years. Obviously, the impact of the pandemic on our ability to maintain the game environment was large portion of that. Fortunately, with the ending of Season 2, we can now begin focusing in on some of the hits and misses of that Season and bring some more changes for streamlining the game into Season 3. Here are my thoughts on things I discovered from the activities in Season 2.
- Influences – Sadly, the Influences system (my answer to Social PvP) never really materialized during the game. While a few people were able to use Influences in order to resolve some plot threads, they mostly sat around underutilized. Worse still, because the system was effectively designed for people to steal Influences from each other, the game quickly devolved into a Block/Hide standoff, until the Influences were finally all horded together into the hands of a privileged few. Sure, it’s a great representation of capitalism, but not exactly the kind of mechanic that goes a long way towards fostering a healthy play environment.
- Downtimes – Even with the introduction of the MultiTask Merit, there were effectively two types of players in the game: Players who would send me volumes of text regarding their downtimes, and players who rarely if ever did downtimes. I’ve come to the realization that Downtimes is just another limit added to the game with very little benefit. Since experience points ultimately limits character growth, there’s very little reason to make it even harder for players to add dots to their characters.
- Feeding and Burn – So, the idea behind Burn was to ensure that people with more Supernatural Trait struggled harder to get to Fuel. While that may be clever in theory, in principle, players were just incentivized to use as little fuel as possible, meaning they were less involved in game. Feeding should be a straightforward process, since the majority of players aren’t even using up all their Fuel, and those that are were invariably combat centric characters who were trying to maintain multiple powers and healing.
- Custom Powers – Here’s the truth of it: For all the custom powers that I saw last Season, almost all of them were designed to add more numbers into die rolls, instead of adding more thematic elements into the game. For the time being, I’m putting Custom Powers on hold, while we try to find a way to make what players can already get to worth having.
- Die Pool Challenges – Super happy with how this worked out. The simplification and streamlining of die challenges ended the constant book lookup in order to find out how well players could do what they wanted to do. Additionally, it meant that every player had a chance against every other player and npc. While you can make a valid argument that some genres do not keep up as well as others, I don’t think anyone would argue that the system wasn’t vastly easier to explain to players how to work.
- Morality – I didn’t miss it once, and I don’t think anyone else did either. People were as “good” or “evil” as they chose to be, and the consequences for their actions were enforced by the players and secondarily through npc reactions. This is how I always would have hoped the matter would be resolved. Yes, it does make some abilities and systems obsolete, but that’s putting fewer rules between the player and the game, something I’m always in favor of.
- Spell Casting – It’s good, but it needs to be better. Spells should feel mechanically like other Powers, and should take the same amount of effort to get going. So, that’s my goal for this Season.
Overall, I’m very happy with how everything turned out; and I hope you all enjoyed yourself. For those of you who are new to the game, I hope that this Season proves to be the best one yet; and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.