So I think it might still be a little bit until I write up the post I’ve been meaning to write up (having a toddler takes up a lot of time, idk if y’all knew that lol) so this is a little bit more of a grab bag of stuff, I guess?
I feel like I only recently really grokked Bonds in Freebooters, in part because of baggage from DW. A conversation on the sadly taken-from-us-far-too-soon L&B G+ page was incredibly helpful, but even after that conversation we were still writing out Bonds (DW style) which made everything pretty confusing since there wasn’t that narrative impact that they have in DW. We finally realized, hey, we don’t have to do that, so now Bonds are just PC names with little circles by them, and it’s far less confusing. That all said, it seems Bonds are still one of the more confusing things for some folks. See in particular this thread on reddit, where I did my best to explain them to someone who wasn’t really getting them at all. So that might be a place where some clarification could be useful when you do your next draft of the rules. (FWIW, I have come to absolutely love how Bonds work in Freebooters, and my table loves Keeping Company.
Another area that my own table has struggled with a bit is natural healing/gaining back HP. I personally love how squishy the PCs are and how difficult it can be to gain back HP, but one of my players in particular, who started with 1 HP and has a -1 CON (meaning she only ever gains back 1 HP after Passing the Night) felt like her squishiness was getting in the way of enjoying the game. We’ve since hacked in a rough approximation of the DW rest rules, which are way too powerful. I wonder if there’s something in-between that would make things feel a little more fair for people with negative CON modifiers, but not be OP (compared to the rest of the game at least)?
I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, but I really like @Atlictoatl’s approach to Tricks of the Trade and Favored Weapon, since so far neither of my thieves or my fighter have felt like it was worthwhile to take on another thing from those lists when they can choose a new move instead. It makes sense to me that they would naturally improve over time, and it doesn’t seem like it’d be terribly out of balance with the rest of the game. The only drawback I can think of is that the cleric and magic-user ought to be getting a similar benefit.
Other than the HP hack, which I’m not very satisfied with, my two other big house rules are that I’ve added in the Discern Realities questions back in to Perceive, since I want it to be a “put the pieces together” sort of move, rather than being used like a Perception check in D&D which can be super, super boring. They don’t have to ask one of the questions, but I find it does offer a guideline as to what kinds of things are covered by Perceive, rather than just “do I find any loot?” Rolls a miss. “Nope.”
So here’s our version, based on @Jeremy_Strandberg’s version of DR that puts the question as part of the trigger:
When you closely study a situation or a person, ask the Judge one of the following questions (or one of your own):
- What happened here recently?
- What is about to happen?
- What (else) should I be on the lookout for?
- What here is (most) useful or valuable to me?
- Who or what is really in control here?
- What here is not as it appears to be?
If the answer isn’t obvious, roll +WIS: on a 7+, the Judge will answer honestly; on a 10+, you can ask an additional question and get an honest answer; on a 6-, mark Wisdom, and the Judge makes a move. Remember to ask carefully; if there’s no way you could reasonably perceive the answer, the Judge will just say you don’t notice anything unusual.
The other, maybe bigger change, is to Negotiate. Two of my players in particular have characters who do not particularly like one another and tend to bicker a lot. I personally cannot stand it (in-character or out) for longer than like ten seconds, so I added in a PvP element to the move, based on AW and MOTW:
When you want something from someone that they don’t want to give up, make your case and roll…
… +STR to intimidate them
… +INT to appeal to their sense of reason
… +CHA to convince or charm them
For NPCs: on a 10+, they name their absolute minimum price; on a 7-9, they name a price they could live with; on a 6-, mark the ability used, and they’ll have none of it–time to try another approach.
For PCs: on a 10+, both; on a 7-9, choose 1:
- If they do it, they mark XP and take +1 forward
- If they refuse, they must erase any bonds with you and then tell you what it would take to convince them, if anything
On a 6-, mark the ability used; they decide how badly you offended them and choose 1:
- If they refuse to do it, they mark XP
- They’ll do it, but they’re going to hold it against you; erase any bonds you have with them
Unsure if erasing all bonds is too powerful, maybe they should just be marked? Or erase one bond? We’re still playtesting that one.
Just thought of this: maybe for using it on a fellow PC, you should roll +bonds instead of +stat?
Be glad to hear any feedback folks have on any of it.
We also toyed with adding Defend back into the game, but no one ever really uses it. If we did end up re-adding it, it’d probably be closer to @Jeremy_Strandberg’s version. We’ve also been using Advantage/Disadvantage instead of +/- 1 Forward, which feels like it’s maybe not quite in the old school spirit of the game, but it’s just more fun.
I’d still like to talk specifically about my campaign at some point because checking in after a session was one of my favorite things to do on the G+ community. Hopefully soon! In the meantime I’d love to hear other people’s stories about what kinds of things happened to your party during play.