Sunday, May 27, 2012

Playtesting DnDNext Part 3: The Legend of Cary Cycax

Part Three of my family's continuing adventures in playtesting DnDNext. Read Part One and Part Two if you haven't. Both good.

Day One of playtesting, about 45 minutes total, brought Bob and Lily into wily combat with wandering Bugbears and guardians of a nasty Kobold nest. There was little role-playing, but plenty of improvisational battle moves.

Day Two of playtesting brought a different flavor, with the arrival of Television's Ryan Callahan, who joined our playtest group for the weekend, playing the righteous Cleric of Pelor, named Cary Cycax.

Television's Ryan Callahan played Cary Cycax as a declarative huckster of the sun god, proselytizing with nearly every sentence he uttered.

Bob and Lily joined forces with Cary Cycax to journey back into the CAVES OF CHAOS, but first they headed to the town of Mort, which they made up, because they said they could rest there and get some supplies.

On the way to Mort, only a few miles hike through the deforested landscape -- Mort was built using a primitive clear-cutting strategy -- they were attacked by a pair of Goblin brigands who were easily dispatched by the ray of light from Cary Cycax's staff and the vicious cleaver of Bob the Dwarf. Television's Ryan Callahan, unprompted, eloquently described the soul of a dead Goblin leaving his body, as his corpse withered under the eye of Pelor. Playing off this kind of make-up-the-details-as-you-go roleplaying, my son described the gushing blood from his Goblin victim washing over his Dwarven body, healing all his wounds with magical power.

I vetoed that one.

For everyone on the D&D forums whining about how DnDNext relies too much on DM fiat, I will say as I have always said, "any decent DM will say yes to anything, unless it is completely out of the realm of even fake-medieval-super-magical reality." So no magical healing blood spewing from Goblin bodies all of a sudden.

When they arrived at Mort, I had each player name one famous town landmark. My daughter said, "The Great Window," my son said, "The Casino," and Television's Ryan Callahan said, "The Bottomless Trough." "Is that the name of an all-you-can eat restaurant?" "No, it's just a trough, that's bottomless."

The Great Window turned out to be a platform looking out in the distance toward a simmering volcano. The Bottomless Trough turned out to be less interesting than it sounds, and it didn't even sound interesting. And the Casino -- renamed The Gaming House of Mort -- led to a rousing game of Three Dragon Ante, where Lily the Halfling used her "Luck" to win a handful of gold pieces and a Dwarven heavy shield for Bob's use -- assuming he could find a one-handed weapon to use instead of relying on his greataxe. Didn't those dead Goblins have maces? They did. Bob could run back outside of town and pick his choice of bloody Goblin mace for no money down and no easy payments of 0 gps per day.

The party slept at The Inn. Tomorrow, THE RETURN TO THE CAVES OF CHAOS, healed-up and now with a heavy shield. Of justice.

Speaking of justice, friend, have you let the divine light of Pelor into your heart?


1 comment:

mordicai said...

Haha I made up a town & an inn for just that reason, actually. Town is Stonebridge, but I'm still naming the Inn.