Playtesting in Progress [New Update]
This past Friday I was able to update Cross Into Oblivion after a four hour long session of roleplaying. Granted, the first hour was dedicated to character creation and I still fully believe this could be run as a one-shot. However, I’m learning that the third act with the campfire scene creates a great cliffhanger (everyone had a crazy dream, what does it mean???)
From what I learned, I added the following:
Various language cleanup to make things a bit more smooth.
During the dream, we’ll ask the players which ‘other’ player is committing the betrayal, to start sewing the seeds of doubt. This scene is also no longer done in secret with each player individually. It was fun for the players to talk about each other in their dreams like this. As the GM, do your best to punctuate this finger pointing by making the offending PC seem like they’re motivated by their sins (desire, fear, regret). For instance, in our playthrough, a player was sacrificing themselves for the good of the party in their dream, so I asked “who closes the door on you in your final moments?” they replied who the other PC was, and so I said “you see them smirking at you in contempt as they close the door.” which turns this altruistic moment the player came up with into a nightmare of “what if I do this for nothing? Or for someone who hates me?” Beautiful.
Changed the Nemuranai question in the rules to replace Q17. In the Path of Waves book, Q17 assumes that the PCs know each other. We don’t want that, we want a party of strangers who don’t trust each other. So instead I made the nemuranai creation step replace Q17 instead of the heritage question (since Path of Waves doesn’t actually do heritage anyway, woops!)
Made a change where you will actually talk to your players about the Lying Darkness. How it’s not actually a thing, like a “boogeyman”, it’s actually a trap. A consequence for those who delving into the Void with the wrong intentions. Also added how the GM should talk about their role in this adventure and to discuss how Script Change works.
Removed verbiage in the Void-Touched section that mentions the Lying Darkness and its agents. I don’t want the Lying Darkness to seem like a being, at all. In this Rokugan, there’s no “puppet master” as the Lying Darkness. The Lying Darkness might appear to lead to the unmaking of the world if the consequences were taken to its conclusion across Rokugan, and I make no mention of the Nothing, so the origin story being true is left up to ambiguity, but the Lying Darkness is just a primordial fact of the world. The Shadowspawn might serve to convince more people to take a plunge into the Void like they did because the Shadowspawn are only left with those primal feelings of Fear, Desire, and Regret.
I also removed the listed benefit for being Void-Touched and put stipulations on how the condition is removed. You now have to wait until your identity is void touched before you’re able to get the ability to remove instances of the condition. However, once identity is touched, it will be stained forever! That’s just a flavor thing, I do not expect for a PC to reduce the condition so much. Before, when it was written that the Players could start reducing their Void Touched right away, it seemed too early, even at Act 3 when the question of doing something “regretful” is brought up. I say too soon because, it was like the PCs barely had time with the conditions they were gaining and suddenly they were cured, y’know? Maybe it would have been less of a concern if I were to have lingered on the scene where I describe the condition, given it a bit more love. Worth play-testing more, but I don’t see myself changing the Void-touched mechanics any further.
Tip: In person, it will be fun watching your players mark their character sheets as they gain more Void Touch, then suddenly as it seems like they will lose their identity they are given a chance to relieve their condition with a bit of betrayal. Of course, do let your players know about these mechanics prior to play, some players are uncomfortable with losing their characters or betraying the party unless everyone is in on it.
Added a missing +1 to the Meditation check to avoid gaining Void Touched during a disturbing scene, otherwise it would have been TN0 to gain the condition through disturbing moments. Tip: The PCs will also keep using their opportunities to sense a disturbance when performing this meditation check. This is great, you can use the “moments” or conditions, or just alluding to them, to narrate that “spiritual disturbance”.
Tip for moments: When considering Moments, also consider what terrain qualities may be present there. The “Sharp crystals” moment was kind of boring, but I think if the terrain was “dangerous” and “confining” (I think that’s a new thing from Fields of Victory?) then it would have made the stakes higher.
Will try to find places for the Tips somewhere in the document, but I still want to keep it a one-pager. My second playtest, Acts 4-Epilogue, will be this coming week so look forward to another (and final!) update to this adventure. Let me know what you think about it if you end up running this adventure!
Get Cross Into Oblivion [Trophy Dark Hack, L5R RPG]
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