Welcome to the fourth Lasting Tales designer diary! I’m Mark Latham, lead designer on Lasting Tales.
Brains over Brawn (Mostly)
This week, the Lasting Tales Design Diary delves into non-combat gameplay resolution. Which is a fancy way of saying ‘all the stuff that your Heroes get up to when they aren’t stabbing Kobolds.’
The Party will spend a typical game – and a large chunk of time between games – getting into all sorts of mischief that they can’t simply fight their way out of. Let’s take a look at some of the most common situations.
At the start of each Adversary phase, one of the players rolls a D6. On the result of a 1, an Unexpected Event takes place*. These can also be triggered by other means – typically when a Wizard’s spellcasting attempt goes horribly wrong.
An Unexpected event is often bad, but sometimes good. Perhaps the enemy sound their warhorns, calling to battle all Adversaries in reserve. Maybe a sudden storm whips up, reducing Line of Sight for the rest of the round. Or perhaps one of the Heroes stumbles upon a lost treasure horde, meaning you must place some extra Treasure Chests in play. You could even find a secret passage that lets you slip between previously inaccessible points. The exact Event is dictated by the game’s Environment (either Dungeon, Settlement or Wilderness), and can be further modified by the adventure, granting considerable variety during repeat play.
If the Lurker rules are in play for the adventure, then the first time an Unexpected Event is rolled, the usual events are ignored and the Lurker enters play instead – this is a wandering monster, usually of a higher level than most of the other Adversaries in play.
(*– during playtesting, such was the frequency that an Unexpected Event was triggered that this became known as the ‘Roll-a-1 Phase’)
Like Unexpected Events, Traps are dependent on the environment of the game you’re playing. A Dungeon is likely to contain poison darts, pits, or even voracious Mimics, for example; whereas in a Settlement you’re more likely to get attacked by a lurking assassin, or find yourself covered in nightsoil slops from an upper-story window (such is life). Wilderness Traps include such delights as spiked pits, bear-traps and rockslides.
There are many ways to trigger a Trap – you might be unlucky when searching a Treasure Chest, or stumble into a Trap when Running carelessly in a Dungeon.
Traps range from inconvenient to pretty brutal. Many simply result in a nasty Condition (ongoing status effects) such as Bleeding or Stunned, but some also deal physical damage. Luckily, at higher levels, Heroes can gain skills that help them avoid the worst effects of Traps, or even disable them altogether in the case of Rogues.
One of the most fun staples of the dungeon crawl-style games that Lasting Tales draws inspiration from is the array of cool objectives: push-pull levers, ancient puzzles, blasphemous altars, magical standing stones, etc. These can be activated or resolved in various ways, depending on their type.
Interact: This type of objective represents fiendish puzzles, levers, pressure plates or even treasure hordes. An unengaged Hero may perform the Interact action using a specified characteristic while in contact with this Special Objective. The adventure rules will explain what happens upon success or failure.
Control: Any point of strategic importance or magical power may need to be controlled by the Party. The Party Controls the Special Objective at the end of a round if it has more models within 3” than Adversaries.
Claim: Used for relics, wounded civilians, magical items, or any other objective that can be picked up and moved. A Special Objective is claimed when an unengaged Hero in contact spends an Action – the Objective marker is then carried by that Hero, although it can be dropped if the Hero becomes a casualty. These Objectives give the Party a bonus if they’re in the Possession of a Hero when the game ends.
The last non-combat activities worth covering here are those found during Tales. If you’re retaining your Heroes from adventure-to-adventure, you’ll need to work out what happens to them after the game ends.
Travel: If the Party is in a Settlement, they can opt to stay there and resolve a Settlement Event. If not, they must travel to the next Settlement, which means braving the untamed wilds of Noveth! The further a Party wishes to Travel, the more times they must roll on the (rather enormous) Journey Events table. This will result in one or more events befalling the party. These can be good things, such as encountering a group of wandering minstrels who play you a fortifying song (for a fee); bad things, such as getting lost in a cursed forest; or opportunities for further interaction – for example, you might encounter an escaped prisoner in the wilds, and it’s up to you whether you believe his tale and set him free, or capture him to claim the bounty. The repercussions are yours to live with…
Trading and Recruitment: In a Settlement, Heroes can trade for common items, or visit special locations such as the Tavern or Apothecary. Some Races and Classes have access to rare locations (for example, Rogues can visit the Thieves’ Guild, while Dwarves can visit the Dwarven Quarter of the more cosmopolitan cities). Heroes also have the opportunity to recruit a new follower, from hired mercenaries to apprentice Bards.
Level Up!: A Hero’s level progression occurs during the down-time between adventures. Heroes who have accumulated enough Experience points can now spend them to level up in preparation for the next adventure.
There are many situations that require similar interactions in Lasting Tales – too many to cover here – but hopefully we’ve given you a taste of what to expect.
Sadly, there’s only one Design Diary left in this series (sniff), so join me next time for a look at the many and varied Adversaries you’ll encounter on your adventures!
Until then, remember you can sign up to be notified when Lasting Tales launches on Kickstarter on March 30! Also, make sure to sign up for more Lasting Tales updates and previews!
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