Shedding Light

I had some post name come to mind, then forgot it.

Anyway, ran first session of Against the Dark Yogi last night.

Takeaways?

The book is a pain in the ass to follow.  Put all of the mechanics in one place – have clear fonts, have clear sideboards, put in examples of character creation.  Without the index, it would have just been a nightmare, as I had to constantly bounce back and forth.  Then, mechanics often have either limited or nonexistent descriptions for how they actually work.  When does my Mag matter?  Why is initiative so weird and how come I find it harder to find it explained than to find the comment about how it can be abused?

Really needs a GM screen.  Way too much wasted ink and space in the POD book.  I could use a big map of the world or just do a big India map, I guess.

The resolution system is a lot flatter than I thought.  I was thinking more extremes and that Good Karma plays would be much stronger.  In reality, with the adders, a lot of results are 4+.  Pushing beyond your max “roll” is really hard as Luck doesn’t actually add, just give the possibility of higher.

Enlightenment is way, way more important than I thought.  E-1 opponents are just kind of awful.

I’m not excited by the idea of managing legend NPCs as the karma stuff just seems fiddly for how much it actually matters.

Speaking of karma, it’s rather gamey how easily you can keep increasing your lifetime Good Karma and not ever accumulate Bad Karma.  On the other hand, I want people to have more options, so maybe I’m just worrying too much about arbitrary numbers.  It just seems like it should be a big deal to go from 2/1 to 3/1 to 4/1, as opposed to just playing two sessions where you hung on to at least one Good Karma (it might have sucked, anyway).

Speaking of advancement, I don’t get starting characters at all.  Starting characters are inferior to nameless NPCs in rather important areas.  Starting characters are way too cookiecutter – should have like 30 points to buy up traits.

I’ve already houseruled initiative to use SPD rather than be the “we decide what order things happen” system that I just don’t get.  Actually, I could use a Savage Worlds style system, since decks are already being used.  Except that will accelerate jokers.

I don’t get critical failures or jokers.  Is a critical failure mostly a narrative thing?  Do you slam the PC with consequences?  Do jokers allow you to draw up to your Good Karma or only replace existing Good Karma?  The latter makes no sense to me because, then, if you spent all of your karma, there’s no upside to a joker.

The background on the world should really be explained much more extensively.  I can research India for stuff, but I have the sense that a GURPS India book would provide more background info on things besides locations and the Dark Yogi’s story.  In many ways, things are too simplistic.

The adventures in the book are weird, especially with the vassal combats.  Really?  That many animals are just hanging out waiting to beat down the party?  Vassal math may not make much sense, but it feels more plausible with human mooks.

I was worried about the accounting of prana.  If there were numerous other things to not worry about, I guess it’s okay, though you have to know what you can use prana for, and we don’t, yet.  With all of the other things going on, though, it’s just too many subsystems.  It’s also weird how much effort is devoted to excess prana and abilities based on excess prana, when I wouldn’t expect most characters to ever have excess prana.

We don’t dislike it.  I think the system is clunky and horribly explained.  The world info is underdeveloped.  Too many mechanics are not common mechanics, where the common mechanics are not easy to follow.

As for my adventure, pretty weak.  Would it have been better with more to work with?  I don’t know. I still put way too much burden on players to be natively interested in wanting certain things to happen.

Learning any system takes time.  I change my views on systems as I learn more about them.

Then, epic fantasy is not something people I play with seem to get.  I suppose I should take more time to frame adventures to give them the high fantasy elements, which might eventually rub off.

Stay tuned.  Next week is part two.

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