Actual Play: 2D10 at Camp

Last week, I worked at a youth camp with an amazing group of middle school kids who were excited to play Dungeons & Dragons. One of them had received the Stranger Things box set and was eager to play. It was fun to help them learn basic rules, encourage them to try out stuff, and join in the excitement. About halfway through, I told them I’d run my own game – a quick round of 2D10.

Notes from the Session

Character creation was fast and easy. The players mastered the process quickly and went a little wild with their heroes. When playing a free form game, it is always a challenge to develop boundaries on special abilities (feats) as well as occupations. One player wanted to play a Necromancer, so we had to fine tune it. What can a Necromancer do and not do? Some of them wanted to be able to summon a giant eagle as their hero’s power. While I was resistant, I went for it. Would summoning a giant eagle work in the sewers? Does it take time for the eagle to arrive? This highlighted both the speed and flexibility of 2D10 but also some challenges. Can a less experienced GM know how to sort out boundaries?

With heroes in hand, I drafted a quick but messy adventure that challenged the players with moral choices over and over. The Golden King in his Golden City was besieged, so the King’s captain summoned the heroes from across time and space to aid or rescue their liege. Obviously, it was a one shot, so I didn’t have time for a deep origin story. The catch was that the heroes had 30 minutes before the castle’s defenses would be obliterated by winged demons. The heroes had to figure out how to enter the city to reach the castle, whether to save time by rescuing an abandoned child and her mother, barter with old colleagues and mysterious strangers, and then make an ultimate choice once they met the King and learned what was actually going on.

I’m being vague because I may write it up as a short 2D10 download.

While the adventure didn’t completely work since we ran out of time, the players did gain extra time throughout by promising to do things for their colleagues or for rescuing certain people. This allowed them to stretch their options for making choices. Battle wasn’t the only route to get to the interior castle and confront the King, but the lack of time also hampered the ability a bit to make the final moral choice really hit home. One of the players noted that the story didn’t completely fit. I’ll definitely tweak this when I write it up for others to have fun with.

Mechanical Stuff

I was really pleased by the dice rolling. Success was possible, but the players also rolled low enough to add some natural tension. It made things challenging. I am going to think about a passive type option, like 5E’s passive perception, since I don’t really like heroes rolling to find secret doors and stuff too often. Tedious rolling is lame!

We utilized the optional Magic Points rule, since most of their characters wanted to cast spells. We didn’t use it religiously. I’d really prefer for players to spend the magic points to add to rolls for success, making those resources finite. For this game, I asked them to subtract one for each spell they cast. It was simple, but magic points have potential for other uses.

However, if I plan to modify 2D10, I will change the Occupations modifier. The players forgot about the +5 modifier. Was it confusing? I can improve that with a simple character sheet or make it easier like doubling your attribute if you use the Occupation for a relevant action. Stay tuned.

My Conclusion?

All in all, though, it was fun to game with some youngsters! 2D10 was a blast to play!

The Basic Hack Gets an Update

I’ve collected feedback, and I do want to say thanks to the 1000+ people who have downloaded or bought the game. Thank you for your generosity, your love of gaming, and your support of the Basic Hack.

The July update is now available at RPGNow.

It’s a small update, but it corrects some typos, missing periods, and slight layout issues. I definitely have a few more things to work on along those lines, so look for a future update which makes the layout a little cleaner (or more interesting).

The rule fix is that wizards and clerics now can only cast a number of spells each day equal to their maximum hit points. In addition, I cleaned up and simplified the Rest section which added confusion to the spell casting rules. Now, a rest can either provide full HP back, half HP, or no HP, depending on the difficulty and unpredictability of a party’s evening.

I also added a sentence or two.

Long term, I am still working on the teachable character sheet, but I am also thinking about completely changing the defense roll aspect when it is the monster’s turn to attack. In this route, your Defense roll would not go against Dexterity, making it the most important stat of the game, but a new stat that is a combination of armor + hit points + any other bonuses. This would make things both more difficult for heroes and interesting for everyone else. A Warrior would still have a clear edge, but spells and special abilities could really help other classes too. We’ll see how it shakes out.

How about a teachable character sheet?

One of the ideas I am kicking around for Basic Hack 2nd Edition is a “teachable/user-friendy” character sheet. AKA – it’s game night, and you have some young’uns or new gamers to get into the game. You hand them a character sheet which both has rules to create your character but tells you how to play right from the start. Roll under this. This stat is what you use for these actions. Here are your hit points or armor or whatever.

I’ve got some draft ideas going, but it is tricky to do it without being incomprehensible.

Stay tuned.

— Nathan

Edge Hack Preview

Edge Hack

Hey, you…

Yes, the vague advantage/disadvantage thing I punched out in my last update is now a rough draft manuscript. It needs work, but it takes this advantage/disadvantage thing to an extreme with Black Hack as its base. Please check it out below, and let me know what you think.

Read the EDGE HACK PDF

BTW, I will be getting comments going on this website soon.

— Nathan