- PAX Unplugged 2021 as part of Games on Demand: Dec. 10 - 11, 2021 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
- MAGFest 2022 as part of Indie Tabletop Showcase: Jan. 6 - 9, 2022 at the Gaylord Convention Center
- Katsucon 2022: Feb. 18 - 20, 2022 at the Gaylord Convention Center
I've been continuing regular playtests of Alter Arms through the discord I set up late last year. By this point, I've run through one full campaign with a group of players, observing how they advanced their characters and the impact that had on things like enjoyment and the increase in their effectiveness in handling problems.
The big things I've noticed include:
- I am able to increase player agency against stronger foes by giving them the default ability to create "assets," narrative objects they put into the game world based on actions they take using the core mechanic of making a move using the three core stats (MIGHT=physicality, WIT=Intelligence, SOUL=personal willpower). Think of it as taking a turn to punch the ground so hard (a MIGHT move) that a pillar of earth rises up that can be used to hide from enemy attacks and as a prop for your own.
- Synergy of Special Abilities is a great avenue for player creativity. Players have special abilities tied to each of their transformations, and can gain even more as they advance their characters. A lot of fun has been seeing how players have been able to combine them for different effects. One player, for example, has collected defensive abilities that allow them to avoid taking hits. They would come under attack and first attempt to use the ability that allows them to redirect attacks that would otherwise be successful. If this failed, they still had the chance to use another ability that could allow them to dodge the attack altogether. This is aside from other combinations of special abilities, like using the ability to increase defense alongside the ability that allows a character to use their defensive value as an attack.
|Old Character Sheet|
|New Character Sheet|
I've updated the character sheet to a vertical format, with the space for forms minimized and the space for ability rules increased slightly. The space for forms doesn't need to be as large since all that's going to be written there will be either a single word for gimmicks (summarizing the general theme of a form) and numbers for things like defense.
The other change made was in regards to "drama." Drama is a stand-in for traditional hit points in other TTRPGs; when a character takes damage or must push themselves, they gain a point of drama. Drama can be managed by using certain abilities, or by transforming into a more powerful form.
On the initial character sheet, the stat of "drama" wasn't recorded on the page as the character sheet was designed for in-person games where I would hand out tokens to represent how much drama a character had, with the maximum number a character can take associated with their most powerful form. Virtual playtests required I change it so that players could record this on the page. I also added space to write out a character's maximum amount of drama they can take.
|Example of a Skrap Packs card. The symbol at the bottom signifies that it is an item that is likely to become exhausted or used up. These things are determined by the game master based on how the player wants to make use of the item.|
|Another example of a Skrap Packs card. The symbol at the bottom of the page represents that this item can both be worn (the shirt symbol) and also provide the wearer some degree of defense in certain situations (the shield symbol).|