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Author Topic: [Mortal Coil] Initial Playtest  (Read 1510 times)
Brennan Taylor
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« on: February 25, 2004, 12:18:00 PM »

I had a first, very successful playtest of the Mortal Coil rules last week. For background, Mortal Coil is a supernatural role-playing game I have been working on for some time. I was originally using a percentile-based house system, but I had grown dissatisfied with the results. The game was all about supernatural creatures using their amazing powers, but constant failed rolls were frustrating both me and the players. I went radical. I ditched the dice altogether and, in a frenzy of creativity, built a system based on tokens which are used to perform actions and magic in the game. The full rules can be found here (minus the powers and spells).

Anyway, I had only worked the system out in my mind, and gotten a little feedback on the Forge, before I delved into the actual playtest. One of the players was interested in doing a Harry Potter game, and the Mortal Coil system was settled on for use with this game. This did necessitate a bit of tweaking, since the spells in the Harry Potter universe are a bit different than those originally conceived for the system. Once I had decided on how to handle this, we jumped in to character creation.

This turned out to be a breeze. Characters can be made in less than half an hour, which is pretty good in my book. We ended with a solid group of characters and jumped into play. The system worked beyond my best expectations. It was a draft, so I expected lots of tweaking. Instead, the players grasped it quickly, learned to use it, and we had a really satisfying game that ended before everyone was ready to quit playing.

As soon as we were done, one of the players asked to use the system to run a game of her own. The group made up another set of characters, this time for a fantasy game set in an Arabian Desert-like area. The port to the new game world was simple, and character creation worked just as smoothly there. We played for a few hours in the new game world, and tested the combat system (something that didn't get a workout in the Harry Potter game). This worked really well, with a good desperate feeling of character life at risk, and a very quick resolution time (one of my goals with the system). The second GM has since told me that she is going to tweak the magic system again, this time to make big, epic magic easier (as that is more appropriate for her world), but that she loves the system. She explained that in the past, system seemed to get in the way of her GMing. This one she found easy to use and adopt for her purposes.

I have to say that I am super pleased with how this turned out. I didn't anticipate such a positive response, especially since I had ditched a cherished gamer possession: the dice.

I hope all this doesn't seem like a shameless plug. I am just giddy over how well everything went. I still can't quite believe it.
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