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  • Playtesting proccess.

    Hello all, I posted it in the dev thread but I am also curious as to others proccess.

    When you have made a large addition to the system what proccess do you use to playtest it? What white room scenarios do you run them through?

  • #2
    I prefer to avoid white room scenarios as they are unrealistic, and an incredibly unproductive way of running a game. Instead I prefer to have my players stress test rules by creating highly specialized character packages, and see how they pan out in many different kinds of scenarios.
    Last edited by Keichiokami; 05-15-2018, 04:29 AM.


    May you live in interesting times

    Storyteller of Sun Forged Oath and The Hakura Chronicle.

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    • #3
      No white-room for me, either; the other day we playtested my new sorcerer character while we waited for the others to build their PCs, by running a scenario in which Spider was sneaking into the fĂȘte of a Fair Folk noble, only to be caught by a hobgoblin guard and have him sic the dogs on him.

      Context makes everything: if it was just a blank white simulator, he wouldn't have been worried about messing up his formal evening wear by fighting a pack of dogs. He wouldn't have been worried about the noise of combat or the flare of his anima drawing undue attention from the party guests. He wouldn't have been anxious at the prospect of hurting living things.
      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-15-2018, 09:53 AM.

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      • #4
        So I am nearing the first draft of a new exalt type and I would like to put it through commonly encountered scenarios to see how it balances with other exalts. What would you say are common scenarios?

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        • #5
          I ran my playtest a little bit like a video game where the PCs weren't necessarily locked into a single sequence of action and consequence.

          For example we tested social influence by meeting with 3 Calanese nobles as part of the ongoing plot to find out about a smuggling operation going on at the dock. Mechanically it was set up so one of them knew the other two could help with applying pressure on them if spoken to the right way or form a united front if they felt a foreigner was mistreating them. Everyone took it in turns to be the party face for a possible sequence of events with me randomising the specific nobles each time so they were going into it blind.

          Approaches varied, most notably for the Dawn Caste who ended up pulling a flamepiece on someone. Something nobody would've let him do if they only had one chance at this, but here they got to be stupid just to see what would happen.


          Simple Exigent Guidelines, a work in progress

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          • #6
            Some stuff, where it's purely a numbers game, I test via simulation. (This was absolutely the case for tuning crafting, and also what convinced me around the Sidereal QC Excellency being too good)

            Some stuff, where it's primarily engaging in a specific subsystem, I whitebox but with variable environments. I'm generally looking for specific breakpoints then, like an endless kiting situation or passive invulnerability. These tests are often run solo.

            The remainder, I run short scenarios for folks that I know well, more focused on the 'feel' of things than neccesarily mechanical perfection.


            A tinkering effort at bringing Raksha into Ex3: Fair Folk: The Beautiful Thieves

            A tinkering effort at bringing fate ninjas into Ex3: Sidereals: Where Fate Has Led - Album of the Charm Trees thereof.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by korekore View Post
              So I am nearing the first draft of a new exalt type and I would like to put it through commonly encountered scenarios to see how it balances with other exalts. What would you say are common scenarios?

              I'd say there are three broad classes of potential combat situations to consider. First is what I'd call "open combat". In these situations, the characters are free to cut loose - flare anima, use their charms freely, that sort of thing.

              The second category is "combat stealth". In these scenarios, the characters know they're opponents, but don't necessarily know where each other are. Avoiding big flares of essence and breaking stealth will be helpful, but once battle is joined, charms can generally be used, as long as they don't create too much of a scene.

              Finally, there's "social stealth", which involves the characters wanting to conceal, not their position, but their nature - preventing those Dragonbloods from realizing you're a Solar, that sort of thing. In these cases, characters should be concerned both about flaring anima, and using charms that distinctively identify them.

              Note, all of these types of situations shouldn't be completely "white room", even the open combat ones. Make sure that you include things like scenery and NPCs (besides the opponents) to interact with, and be sure to vary the starting conditions - an open combat that starts with both sides at close range to one another will play differently than one where they all start at Extreme range, and even the latter can vary a lot between "nothing exists between us but a vast open plain" and "every angle of attack is blocked by vast treetrunks".

              Another important thing for playtesting is to give all the people involved motivations, beyond "win this battle". Characters in actual games will rarely have "I must be victorious at all costs" as their sole focus, so combat balance can be affected by not giving people other reasons to do stuff. For example, a character with no motivation besides "winning" might be willing to end up a combat with only their -4 health level left, as long as the enemy had less, whereas a "real" character, who expected to go on and do other things, would be much less willing to go down to the wire like that.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by korekore View Post
                So I am nearing the first draft of a new exalt type and I would like to put it through commonly encountered scenarios to see how it balances with other exalts. What would you say are common scenarios?
                Kelly Pedersen mentions 2 combat scenarios and one social stealth scenario, and those are very important, but you might want to see also how this kind of exalted's charms interact with the crafting system and whether they're at the desired power level, plus also other subsystems like poison, natural hazards, battle group command and strategy, ship battles, actual social interaction with a variety of npcs - from friendly peasants to hostile Dragon-Blooded Shikari - essentially, try to playtest everything you can, and yes, as everyone is saying, try to avoid blank featureless rooms - come up with a scene and a location, they don't need to be detailed, but don't leave the characters in a vacuum.

                Also if you can playtest with friends, if you can't, playtest on your own - the results are not as good because you only have your own point of view and, well, you're... roleplaying on your own - it's pretty weird - but you can invent a brief storyline and see what happens to the characters when they need to use the relevant skills, charms, artifacts and spells combo.

                You don't have to use the scientific method - playtest the new exalted type and get a good gut feeling for how you like it and what you want to change (it's very very rare that you'll get everything the way you want it right from the start, you'll probably have to correct stuff and try again a variable number of times).

                Try as many different situations as you can, as detailed as you can - that way you'll hone the new exalt type to a really good level, enough that you'll always know what its strengths are and how it compares with other kinds of exalts on the whole range of skills and commonly encountered situations. Edge cases are not necessary - you can take care of potential imbalances in rare circumstances if and when they'll actually happen while playing.

                The best way to playtest a new exalt type would be for a good friend to create a character of that type and run a normal story for them and other people playing Solars and Dragon Blooded, with the caveat that the group needs to help you finetune the new exalt. It would give you the best feedback possible, but it really depends on your kind of group - some will jump at the chance, others will unceremoniously turn it down.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roswynn View Post
                  Kelly Pedersen mentions 2 combat scenarios and one social stealth scenario,
                  Just as a clarification, I meant all three of these as combat scenarios. The "social stealth" one still involves fighting, it's just fighting where you have to conceal who you are (as opposed to where you are, as in the "combat stealth" scenario.

                  That said, all of your suggestions are very good ones as well, and should certainly be tested against as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post

                    Just as a clarification, I meant all three of these as combat scenarios. The "social stealth" one still involves fighting, it's just fighting where you have to conceal who you are (as opposed to where you are, as in the "combat stealth" scenario.

                    That said, all of your suggestions are very good ones as well, and should certainly be tested against as well.
                    Ah! I understood differently, sorry! Combat stealth - that didn't absolutely occur to me, but I can see its usefulness when you need to fight and DBs are in the same city, of course... still new to the game, whoops

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                    • #11
                      It's hard to do a full campaign for playtest due to time constraints but I'll probably post up the first draft on here for input when it's done in a month or so. It's 2.5 though so not sure how much response I'll get.

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