Monday, April 30, 2012

Chronicles test run

Well, now.

Since the main developer of Chronicles actually had the time and interest to dig up my little blog thingy here, it inspired me to give a solo test run of the introductory adventure. It's actually rather easy with the aid of Vassal and the Warmachine & Hordes module I already had.

So, I created a three member party with following details:

Human Flame Wizard (with Improved Fireball) & Performer
Elf Hunter (with Sword Fighter)
Human Swordsman (with Defensive Stance)

Points: 16

Oh, and here was the first "judgement call" I had to make. Defensive Stance reads "You gain +2 to your FS value when defending", but the problem is that "defending" is also a game term meaning that you make no attack and gain defense bonuses. The other choice, offensive stance, on the other hand gives +2 FS when attacking. What you should always be doing anyway. I'm quite sure that for balance reasons Defensive Stance should give +2 FS when being attacked by an enemy in melee.

Also, a word about my adventuring party. Since I dislike "autoincludes" very highly regardless of a gaming system I wanted to test out a party without a healer. If game cannot be reasonably played without a dedicated healer, something's wrong.

That's why I chose defensive stance and sword fighter with elf hunter, to give them better survivability.


First scenario in "A New Start" was a piece of cake.

Only Swordsman took damage (8 - and even that was a result of nasty critical hit) and flame wizard had to use 7 skill points and elf hunter 5. Treasure rolled from d6 table was 10 gold pieces.

I did this "AI" to goblins that archers always shot the nearest target and as many goblins ganged up in melee as possible against one single target, because they seemed to me like things cliché fantasy goblins would do.

I was re-reading the rules for skill points now, and noticed that even damage rolls could be modified with skill points. I don't like that at all, so I decided to skip it in this test run entirely. Modifying dice rolls is heck of a powerful ability, and at least after the first scenario modifying damage rolls seemed too big of a help for players.

Story continues to village of Alden Crossing, where flame wizard rolls 25 gold coins for him with Performer defining trait. I guess the small community hadn't seen much magic lately.

Well, then the party entered second scenario with the Goblin Shaman as a boss.

This one was actually entertaining match!

I used same AI for goblin warriors and archers, but for shaman I decided that if it could see a model with no magic defense, it would shoot at it. Otherwise just the closest target.

This time swordsman had to use healing potion (well, the goblin shaman scored a critical against him...) and still took 10 points of damage. Hunter had to spend 5 skill points and took 6 damage. Flame wizard used a whopping 11 skill points, as he needed to shoot the goblin shaman with improved fireball a lot.

Treasure rolled was a red potion, which was allocated to swordsman.

Gem that was goblin shaman's treasure was 30 coins worth. I split gold so that I randomised the one who got the gem and divided other loot with rest two party members.

The search for copper necklace I handled so that everyone rolled search & detection and the item was randomised between all who succeeded. Flame wizard got the thing, and frankly he needed it the most.

The reason why I'm randomising some of these things is that I'm not playing a role playing game here - I'm playing a tabletop game that has heavy RPG influences. Randomising acts for me as some sort of simulated selfishness and character for player characters.

Now, when I continued storyline, next scenario looked like fun as my adventuring party had used most of their resources during last fight. There was no chance to rest, it looked like.

However, it was a fast and not-so-exciting battle. Captain is way too powerful ally, since he hits goblins on 4+ and kills them if he rolls at least 2+ on 1d6. And even if he rolls 1 for damage, the goblin survives with 1 hit point only if it rolls a 3 for defense on 1d3. There was no challenge whatsoever in this battle scene. Maybe that was because Captain is actually a 13 point character, but was listed as a 5 point ally. That would have meant 4 goblin warriors more.

My suggestion here would be that this scenario has a third type of enemy and maybe a little harsher penalty for losing running/jumping check. Maybe not being able to make attacks during first turn.

Anyway, after scenario ended Elf Hunter had taken 3 damage (used one potion) and used 5 skill points. Captain had taken two damage points. Swordsman had taken six damage (used one potion) and flame wizard had used 10 skill points (had drunk the blue potion he got from last scenario's shaman boss)

After getting back to town two characters had enough gold to take advantage of Captains generous offer. Swordsman took Shield Block and Flame Wizard trained Wall of Fire.

Then adventures got a free night and feast for saving up the village. Swordsman didn't have a good nights sleep I guess, because he rolled only 3 for healing.

Next adventures would be made with a 19 point party, then.

Now, what can I say.

At least that much that the rule system has a lot of potential. There seems to be a little bit too much "kiddie gloves" built into the system, which is good enough if you aim for a survival of the characters and getting immersed in their personality and, well, playing their "role". But when you look into that with the eyes of a tabletop gamer, being able to modify damage roll after rolling the dice and being able to save yourself from a critical fail by just spending skill points does seem "too easy".


  1. Nice work. Good to see interest in the Chronicles system.

    I'll be converting an existing adventure from the first edition of Chronicles to the new version eventually. I'll look you up in case you'd like to test it out.

    1. Sure thing! It'd be good to have some other stuff around than just these three scenarios to get a feeling on the overall balance other than in just these three scenarios.