Tuesday, March 17, 2015

John Update and Playtesting

Hey everyone!
Wanted to start with some quick updates and then Im gonna talk about the playtest that is two weeks in.

First, its that time of year again! Time to play a mythology game based around college basketball. Like many of you, I dont really know much or care about sports, but its been pretty fun. Brackets and rules will be up tomorrow night. All the winners from last year and this year will get their prizes when she ship everything out with the game.

Second, As you probably know from Cam's weekly posts, we're back into the swing of things, "blessing-wise." We're at a difficult point that we get to as things are nearing completion. There are always a couple powers per talent whose system/rules are harder to nail down. Where we know what we want it to do, but not quite how to get there. Or we both have a different idea how to do it that we're quite passionate about, but we arent sure how to figure out which of our versions is best.
Its incredibly frustrating because sometimes you cant quite power through it. We find ourselves digging through things for inspiration and spending far longer than before getting each one done. We're also making small tweeks and adjustments as we find things in playtesting. Know that we're working incredibly hard to get this to you as soon as possible.

Last and most stupid, My stalling for doing our first year of business taxes is up. Im gonna have to take probably 2 days off this week and do them....not happy, and I apologize that Im not working on the game while Im doing them...I hate it.


The game features 5 players of differing experience with both rpgs and the heros journey system.

Anne - co-creator and avid gamer
Thomas and Amy - Long time players of rpgs who have been paying attention throughout Hero's Journey's creation.
Stewart and Katie - Brand new to Hero's Journey, and have some Dungeons and Dragons experience

Character Creation:
Went very smoothly, but they benefited from having me guide them through. I was able to see some possible problems for players that are common in games but might be worse then normal in heros journey.

1. There are a lot of powers you can start with. For an experienced player that adds fun and variety, but for a new player that can be daunting. We recommend statting your character based on who they are and what talents they should have(etc, etc), but I was definitely seeing as stewart was deciding which blessings to take, that with so many options, there could definitely be some analysis paralysis when it comes to picking which talents you start with to get the blessings you want. Its normal thing in games, but something Im keeping my eye on.

2. Archetypes. Players seemed to grasp the archetype system quickly and pick which they liked for their characters without problem. However we did end up with 4 explorers, 2 rebels and 2 scholars. So Im keeping my eye on that to see if the archetypes turn out to be what they thought.

3. Divine Favor: Apparently people like starting with prophecies about themselves. That would scare me, but it was a generally popular option.

4. Domains, If a patron didnt give free domains labors, people stayed away from domains at character creation(sometimes even if they did get free labors from their patron). We took a long hard look at this, and found that taking a domain at character creation was fairly crippling for a starting character. They had neat powers, but they had far fewer rolls they could make actually doing stuff. After several long talks about it, we decided to have domains not be a character creation option. Characters can still definitely buy it with renown as soon as they like, and a play-group could of course let their players start with a domain instead of an aspect, but we think for the base character, its best if they dont.

5. Back to divine favor. Players seemed to REALLY enjoy these while character creating. They're a part of the game I'm very proud of and I was glad they were met with so much excitement.

I might go into a play by play next time of what happened in the game next time. For now I just want to jot down some things that stuck out at me and things I've been thinking about re: the playtesting.

1. Really happy with how quickly Stewart and Katie adapted to the roll system and character sheet layout. Coming from a dungeons and dragons only background, I knew their ability to pick it up would be most telling about possible flaws. But they were on it almost immediately. The number of dice vs automatic successes they were getting took a bit longer, but by the end of the first chapter they were perfect.

2. Sometimes(especially with very well rounded patrons) a starting character might not have all the aspects and domains yet that they have free labors from their patrons for. Some players werent worried about this at all, but it became a focus of other players. They were frustrated that they didnt have powers that could use those free labors and decided to spend renown(xp) on those as fast as possible so they didnt have useless labors.
We already have a system for still being able to use "useless" labors, and although Stewart would use his "useless" labors for striving for glory, he still wanted to buy celestial as quickly as possible to use his free labors.

3. Saga labors. Very few blessings cost saga labors and these are usually the flashiest, coolest, story changing type powers that you are expected to only use a couple times per saga. They're balanced around that, but they're also the coolest. So players are having a tough time not using them....cause they're awesome. Im not yet sure how to fix that, or even if its really a problem, but its in the back of my head.

4. Healing powers in energy needed a tweek, we fixed them already.

5. We're about to hit a travel episode/the party is split up combo. Its something I have worried might be a strain on the system, but I wont know til next week. Ill tell ya how it goes :)

Im sure for some of you I've raised more questions than I've answered, feel free to bother me about questions :)


  1. Well, this answers my Domain question from two posts below. Count me in as one of those people who'll be rushing to buy, if nothing else, the Devotional Domain.

    Also count me as among those people who's not too worried about Patron skillsets matching up with my own...my most common Patron (in my many made up Heroes) is Kali and my most used Aspects are Creator and Sage, so yeah, probably not going to get much help from her on those. I do appreciate your foresight in creating a system to not let them be useless since I know that this is an issue many feel strongly about.

    Divine Favours sound neat...could we have a blog post on them someday...pretty please with cherries on top?

    Also, what on earth is Renown?

    All in all, it's nice to some John action on the blog again...I loved your insights into the Aspects, and I love this :)

    1. Renown is like XP in other games. We didnt like xp because you arent really accumulating a lot of it. At most you're gonna have 4 renown at a time before you spend it. Its much more like a currency for spending on powers :)

      Getting together with cam and anne tomorrow to talk about your other questions and get back to you :)

      Great questions.

    2. Plus, the more famous and renowned you become, the more things you can do... or so the theory goes. :)