Friday, March 25, 2011

Playing a Playtest For Once

I played in a playtest of Tim Kirk's Derelict Delvers last night, and had a great time! DD is a sort of SF play on dungeon crawling, pretending to be an old SF game with several edition - thie is Edition Delta, BTW - and a magazine called the Delver. Kind of an Encouter Critical thing, without actually attempting to really convince you. The system is not old school though. Tim tried that, and stalled for a long time on it. Then he chucked that approach entirely and went with a much more modern approach, and the results will speak for themselves - it was definitely the way to go!

Chargen was by layered templates, like Tools of Ignorance. Select a species, and that gives you a stat template. Select a profession for a skill template. Then grab a gear package, and you are good to go. Then you select Traits - kind of midway between SC 3's Personality Traits and FATE's Aspects. They are worded like Aspects - "Shot a Gnat Through a Keyhole" or "Sermon From Heaven, Haymaker From Hell" were two of mine - but they work more like Personality Traits, giving you a bonus die to roll when invoked, and only invokable if they fit the situation. There was some confusion over how many you get, but that is the kind of thing you catch in playtesting. You can put Traits on yourself or on your Gear, as you choose. We all spent more time on Traits than the rest of Chargen put together.

You are all agents of ARCHIVE, which is an acronym for a commercial organization that trains and preps you to explore artifacts of the Ancients, those various species that conquered the galaxy long ago, but are now gone. Now you explore strange structures and bizarre spacehips, kill things, and take their stuff back to ARCHIVE to earn rewards.

Resolution was by rolling d210+Stat+Skill, roll over TN. If you invoke a Trait, you can roll an extra die, but only the top 2 count. You drop the lowest die roll. Very very simple, very straightforward. The game feel was pulpy but serious, without that over the top feel some pulp games have. DD plays it's pulp straight, and I really prefer that.

In the game we ended up on a huge spaceship - about 5km by 5 km - which had burst at high speed into the system, heading directly for an orbital habitat with hundreds of thousands of sapients. When I say "on a spaceship", I mean literally on it, standing on the skin, and cutting into it with a mining tool. We are trying to wrest control of the thing from whatever is piloting it now, so that we will miss the habitat. So, next week we will see what we will see!



  1. I'm glad you had fun. I hope it continues. Now, what kind of traps would be aboard a Machine Empire infested City-Ship, vying for control of its massive power?

  2. Depends. Are the inhabitants fighting back? If so, there will be lots of traps set up. If not, they will be much more lax. The traps would be automatic, being the Machine Empire - robotically controlled and thus able to discriminate between threat and non-threat. If the city ship is a bio-mechanics construct, as seems likely, they may be able to co-opt the ship itself, harnessing the tools the ship uses to maintain itself to more violent ends. The difference between a tool and a weapon is intent.