Thursday, November 14, 2013

[Thrilling Fate!] First Thrilling Playtest (and News)

I got my first chance to playtest Thrilling Fate with a Sparks Nevada scenario last weekend in San Diego. The PCs were Sparks, Croach, the Red Plains Rider, and Cactoid Jim, and though they were played by four players who had zero familiarity with the source material, there were nonetheless some moments that felt like they could've come right out of a Thrilling Adventure Hour show.

So yeah, I'm making some changes, but on the whole I'd say it went quite well! Of course, the players were all friends who were already well-acquainted with Fate, and had played various hacks of mine before, so I may have had a best-case player group there, but whatever. The fact that I'm making changes is at least indicative of a productive playtest.

One kinda weird thing that came up while playing was how liberating it is to just roll dice. Y'know, without worrying about what skill to use. Because Thrilling Fate doesn't have skills. So after the roll, if you didn't like your result, you might do something about it, but until then there's literally nothing else to think about other than "Let's see who wins." It just felt great to say, "This thing is happening, everyone roll dice."

Now, I realize that when I say that, your reaction is probably something along the lines of, "Hey, that doesn't sound like a great or innovative thing you're talking about there, and also I really do like to make interesting choices about my character when I roll dice for a thing," and I understand that. What's neat is how the exhaust-an-aspect mechanic puts that choice entirely in the realm of the fiction, without anything as abstract as even a broadly defined skill, like Athletics, getting in the way. I dunno. I'm probably not explaining it well. But the difference between "I dodge because I have +3 Athletics" and "I dodge because I'm a Quick-Thinking Man of Action" was definitely felt at the table.

As for news, I've been given the go-ahead to post about this: Next month, I'll be running a Sparks Nevada game for TAH co-creators/writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker and whatever Workjuice Players they can muster, mostly likely including Sparks stars Marc Evan Jackson and Mark Gagliardi -- and, if I'm very lucky, Hal Lublin will be there to narrate (I don't know what that'd mean in this context, but whatever, there's no way I'd pass that up). Plus, I believe it'll be audio and/or video recorded for your online listening and/or viewing pleasure at some point. No pressure, right?

I am super-psyched about this, as you might guess, and also probably more nervous than is required. But then again, I'm kind of in awe of everyone who makes TAH happen, I love it so damn much, and the prospect of getting to run a game for them, any game, is awesome, let alone a thing I've made for a thing they've made. They're pretty excited for it too, though, so maybe we can all just be giddy about it together.

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