I mentioned previously that I would be working at The Wayfinder Experience, and just last week I finished up my first time working there as Story staff, running the game Adventurer’s Rest. I had a marvelous time, though I was frazzled for the first half of the week and teetered between mild euphoria and continued anxiety for the other half. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I think I’d be far better prepared for the incipient chaos and drain on my personal energy the second time around.
Now that the game has actually finished, I’ve got some good stories to share with you. I’ll even spill the beans and let you know how the game worked and came into being, though I do hope that you won’t read it all if you want to be able to play it at some point in the future. It turns out that, despite my certainty that game would be a mess, the players had a great time both getting into character and running around with swords. After the fact, I could see several obvious mistakes that Thom and I had made when it came to balancing the game, but I think that things both went well and still have a great deal of potential for future sessions.
First, an introduction: the game of Adventurer’s Rest was designed to offer several things that I remember being rare in many other adventure games. Most obviously, I wanted to make it possible for nearly every single player to use magic items and magical artifacts with special abilities. Second, I intended it to show off just how completely overpowered specific class options are, in a tremendously underplayed class. You see, Artisans at WFE rarely get much attention, since most people would rather be almost anything else (i.e. Warriors, Wizards, Rogues, or Clerics). Artisans create talismans that are able to empower people, but they generally require very careful forethought and good situational awareness in order to be effective. With those things, an Artisan can take on just about anyone… but without those things, an Artisan is likely to be steamrolled by nearly anyone else in the system. I hoped that Adventurer’s Rest would encourage players to respect the class a bit more.
Finally, I wanted to give people an opportunity to play a newer version of something like the Techna game that I remembered playing for my first intro game at Omega in 1999. There’s something very special about introducing the option of joining the villain’s team and working against the people that you had thought were your allies. On further reflection, it seems clear that the Techna game that I played had been better balanced than Adventurer’s Rest (possibly because it had been run more times). It’s also now clear to me that I’d like to have a chance to play Adventurer’s Rest at a camp where I can tell the villains to go wild without fear of ruining the players’ experience. There are certain things that are difficult to allow when you’re running an intro camp and you need to design the game around introductory expectations rather than simply allowing the fiction to run its course.
Here’s a much overdue page break. After this, I’ll start telling you more about the game’s inner workings.