|Two players from a demo of Alter Arms at KatsuCon|
"I never thought that being an edgy super hero (WHO COULD TRANSFORM!) would be so cool! This was an amazing experience." -JD (@rise_medica on Instagram: https://t.co/XGNd6slH15).Thanks to all of the players from @Katsucon this weekend! #KatsuCon #tokusatsu #ttrpg pic.twitter.com/2iN8tsqXB1
— Alter Arms (@AlterArms) February 18, 2019
I had one return player who played a demo last year, who also expressed enjoyment at how the game is turning out.
One takeaway I found was that the Defender archetype needed to be tempered to make it so that it didn't make it too easy for players to earn experience compared to the others.
Archetypes are classes that characters have that represent their role on the team, kind of like how sentai teams have "the supportive one," or "the tough one." These classes give players special move they can perform that allow them to A) Heal a characters, and B) Earn experience that can be used to advance their characters, earning them higher stats and new forms.
As it stood during the demo, when an ally was attacked, the Defender character could jump in to try to prevent them from taking damage. The player could mechanically make an attack against their ally to neutralize a portion or all of that damage (thematically this was them jumping in the way of the attack). Any damage they didn't neutralize instead was transferred to the Defender character. In the instance of success, they earned experience.
What happened was they were aiding an ally who was very weak in the vector they were being attacked in, allowing both the opponent and the Defender character to easily rack up successes. Working with the players, we decided that this made it much to easy for the player to gain experience, and had no real drawbacks. Other archetypes required the player to at least spend their turn using their move to earn experience. The Defender could instead earn experience on the opponent's turn.
The player suggested a possible solution was to switch the experience trigger around: instead of earning experience for the damage neutralized, they instead earned experience for damage taken. This gave consequence to the earning of experience, as if they took too much damage, the Defender would lose the experience they earned.
I am going to use this mechanic going forward, and intend to apply it to the blind playtest rules I'm writing.
Another takeaway was that players like the idea of creating advantages they can use during the game. One example from the convention was creating a distraction to make a follow up attack more effective. I've decided to implement this into the blind playtest rules as well.
At this point, I have written the core mechanics, and have begun a game master's guide to help players run games. I have a move coming up and hope to be able to finish the rules afterwards.
Stay tuned for more updates, and follow the @AlterArms account on twitter for the most up-to-date info.