Friday, July 22, 2016

Playtesting The Stack Hack

Or, Introducing...the Adventures of Sir Mulligan

I was able to take a few minutes recently to get in some quick playtesting of the card-based dungeoneering idea that I mentioned I'd like to try for The Black Hack...the adventure card game type thing that I've codenamed The Stack Hack.

It was really just a little proof-of-concept exercise, to start things at a very basic level and see how I can build them.

I rolled up a quick character and advanced him to Level 3 (seemed like a good level for the enemies I had in mind)...

The Defender is just a Warrior variant that I'm using...simplified from the TBH version (which may not be necessary, but I'm trying to do this as simply as possible...).  Basically, the Warrior loses the healing surge and drops to a d8 hit die in exchange for frontloading some HP.

To make the rooms of the dungeon, I grabbed a handful of the "vanilla" (nothing special to them other than maybe being a save point) location cards from the Tomb Raider CCG:

Then, I pulled some monsters from the one Magic: The Gathering challenge deck that I got from the Theros block.  The challenge decks are complete decks that essentially "play themselves" according to a set of rules, allowing you to play solo against them or team up with friends.  I have the Battle the Horde deck, which pits you against an army of minotaurs, like this guy:

The challenge decks are really a play on the casual MTG variant known as Horde Magic; this group of minotaurs seemed like a great place to get some ready-made, standardized enemies.  To fit TBH, I decided that I would treat the minotaurs' Power values (3 for the Goreseeker) as their HD when they attack Sir Mulligan, and their Toughness (2 for the Goreseeker) as HD when Mulligan attacks them.  (Just about any MTG creature ought to be useable this way.)  I decided that the Haste ability (which in MTG means a creature can act a turn earlier) would give Sir Mulligan disadvantage when rolling initiative vs. them.

Ten total minotaurs, in five varieties (with a majority being the very basic Minotaur Younghorn) sounded like a good place to start.

There were a couple of other alterations made to streamline for the card game.  I'd like to deal with damage to monsters in terms of d8's only.  That is, rather than rolling for damage, I'll just treat a monster with 2 HD of toughness as going down after two hits from my character (a reason to have variant classes that only deal damage in multiples of d8, by the way...).  I would ignore armor values for monsters and simplify the mental math of damage dice by just doubling the value of their power HD and using a die of that many sides.  So, for example, the 3-power Goreseeker above will deal d6 damage.  I won't have any monsters over 6 HD in power for this adventure, anyway, so it'll max out at a d12 for now.

So...what else should be in the dungeon?  This card from the Battle the Horde deck seemed like a good target:

The quest would be for Sir Mulligan to invade the lair of the minotaurs and retrieve the Vitality Salve in order to revive a fallen comrade.  I decided that if the Salve came up in the first two rooms, it would get shuffled back into the dungeon deck to find later.

I filled out the dungeon with a few health boosts, including this one from the MTG deck...

...and added in a "magic item" that might be fun to come across (this one's a number booster from the Tomb Raider CCG):

Finally, I grabbed two "event" type card from Battle the Horde to be a extra surprises that MIGHT occur.  Here's one of them:

(That "3 damage" from Keranos, God of Storms, would actually be 3d8...easy to track for the minotaurs and something that would have a pretty big impact on Sir Mulligan.)

So, with everything gathered, I sleeved all the cards and shuffled them together to form the dungeon deck.  This first run would have 31 total cards...14 rooms, 10 monsters, 2 events, and 5 items (including the target of the scenario).  A few practice shuffles demonstrated that the proportions might be decent.  The plan was, when moving into a new dungeon room, to turn over cards from the top of the deck until a new room card was hit.  This room would be placed in position, and everything turned over before reaching it would be what was found in the room. how did it work out?  This is already running kind of long, isn't it...?  I'll get the results posted soon...

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