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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Declan [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2024 16:22:40

For a game in early beta this is superb. And Darrington are clearly taking player feedback onboard. Significant changes have already been made - most of which have improved the game. The current action economy works brilliantly, ancestries have been improved, the economy is better… it’s all coming together.

There are some areas which need a lot of attention - armour as it stands is an issue, especially at higher levels, and the dice pools at levels 8-10 are just too big, but having said that I’m really enjoying the games I’ve played and I’m already sure I’ll buy the finished product when it comes out.

For reference I’m not a CR fan - I’ve seen a few episodes of Critical role (all in early season 2).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Elizabeth [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2024 05:47:33

The Good: The pages look nice. I appreciate that unlike White Wolf's game books the pages are much more concise. I am comparing to White Wolf as its a Story-first system like this is promising to be and I have experience with those games. The pages use most of their space for something other than pretty aesthetic. I am not sure if this will persist in the final product but as of right now, I appreciate that most of the pages are actually game info.

My complaints: Overall I feel it makes big promises and doesn't follow through. I wanted to like this. The idea of a functional and flexible storytelling system is extremely appealing but much like White Wolf's games fails to actually give that fantasy feel. Its crunchy in all the wrong ways, ways that make it look like a desperate attempt to convince the readers that no no just like 5e you can do it all, but all the crunch is much like White Wolf games in places that control what your character in a roleplay sense can and can't do. There's very very little flexibility in going off-archetype which I find deeply unsatisfying and frequently brittle enough it breaks under any serious amount of pressure. It is a major part of why I switched from Vampire the Masquerade (VtM), Changeling the Dreaming (CtD) and Changeling the Lost (CtL) into 5e.

I find that I do not appreciate as a DM/ST the extra work it gives me in determining things. I have had to spend significantly more time desperately trying to find the balance between reasonable risk and reasonable reward in a way that is semi-handled for me in 5e or easy enough hand-waved when its unsatisfying narratively.

Much like White Wolf's system, I find the measure of success mess, creates the same problem I had in VtM. Being good at something is just not something supported by this system. Even if your character sheet says you can do it, the way dice rolls are handled results in more frequent failure than success, Failure makes interesting games but without being able to follow through on the promise of success in anything except the most lucky of circumstances I find that it punishes players for trying things. Something that is particularly detrimental to new players and unsatisfying when we want to have fun and take a break from the dark heavy stuff. Overall it seems to be having an identity crisis. Like it wants to be what people use 5e for but doesn't understand why 5e is working for the players that use it that way.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Andrew [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2024 16:17:10

Slapped together and slipshod game design, which the developers pass off on players and GMs expecting them to come up with fixes.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Daniel [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2024 04:11:19

Needs some polish, but excellent Beta test for a game that straddles the narrative and tactical, the crunch with the fluff, so perfectly. It's seamlessly pulled so many modern RPG elements into a surprisingly good little mid-crunch narrative RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Levi [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2024 20:37:52

I feel like this game shows promise, and I am excited by the developers offering a free open beta. For anyone interested, the playtest is definitely fun, and my review is from the perspective of providing feedback for a finished ttrpg experience. To me, the positive is a strong foundation, and the negative can be fixed with some minor numeric tweaking.

The Positive: The game does a great job establishing itself as a collaborative story telling experience. It encourages players to add to the setting and engage with the narrative rather than focusing on combat mechanics. While these elements could probably be added to most tables or game systems, the fact that DH puts them front and center does a lot to set the tone of the game.

The Negative: The low level experience is too cluttered with odd resources, mechanically punishes players for risk taking, and does not have balanced monster design. Of these, as the GM, I felt the worst was watching my players burn up their armor resource against tier 0 monsters doing x3 the PCs damage.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Yves [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2024 00:49:56

Frankly disappointing. The whole thing seems like a horrible hodgepodge of bad ideas. It's almost as if the whole thing was made specifically to disgust me in every way. …except for the inclusion of catgirls. Now the GM can’t stop me from playing the catgirl of my dreams BECAUSE IT’S IN THE BOOK. IT’S IN THE CORE BOOK, SO IT’S OFFICIAL, SO YOU CAN’T SAY NO! SHE’S GOING TO BE CUTE AS A BUTTON AND JUST AS DEADLY, AND MAKE CONSTANT MEOW-BASED PUNS!

cough cough

R-Right, let’s get back on track… well, I’d be able to play my catgirl waifu, if I had even the slightest interest left in playing this mess. Here are some issues:

  1. Too many resources to track constantly. You have HP, Stress, Armor, Hope (for players), Fear (for the GM), and whatever even more you might get from your features. Hope and Fear are the worst of the bunch, going up and down constantly. Half your actions will give you one hope and the other half the GM one fear, and both must constantly spend them or lose them. This is especially egregious for the GM, who now must constantly stonewall the PCs’ efforts by giving them penalties or by boosting enemies.
  2. It relies on ridiculous amounts of improvisation by everyone. You can’t just swing your sword; you’re going to have to describe how you do it. Healing yourself while resting? You must describe how you do it (I’m not kidding, it explicitly says that). On the GM’s side? PCs can’t just fail; something must happen (except in like half the examples in the book where it doesn’t). You’re going to have to, once again, improvise what special thing happens this time according to whether the PC rolled with Hope or Fear. Let’s face it: fatigue is going to set in and you’ll start doing it less and less. You know, some people (like yours truly), really prefers to just focus on what we are doing, and imagining it in my head, rather than constantly mouthing off flowery descriptions for mundane task; like every freaking sword swing. Keep those for when something truly special happens. Funny, it’s as if the people who wrote this are really good at improv or something. I pity the newcomer to TTRPGs who picks this up because they are a fan, only to suffer from impostor syndrome because they can’t keep up having to find new ways to describe how they can swing their sword around.
  3. Doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be a rules-light or rules-heavy system. Most of what happens is pretty much improvised, but your character also has this large build made out of a (hundreds of pages long) list of features or skills they can get. …Except for things they are proficient in, which is a hulking 2 very VERY vague (and thus endlessly exploitable) freeform “things”, like (example from the document): “I won’t let you down”. So… basically I can get a +2 bonus on everything I do as long as it could even vaguely impact someone in a negative way? Sign me up! Now I have +2 on all my attack rolls, right?
  4. And now for something no one will want to call out (but I will): the almost strangely fetishistic obsession with the disabled. While it hasn’t been written yet, there is a very clear section left for the specific purpose of playing disabled characters. But, despite it not being there yet, we can get a glimpse of the content by looking at the many examples found in the concept art, and various mentions in the rules. We have people with prosthetics, magical sight orbs, and everyone apparently knows sign language. So, how is this bad? Well, if you’re approaching this from the angle of giving your character some… character, then playing someone who has a prosthetic hand can be quite interesting! That’s why honestly this should have been better left for a whole section on how to roleplay characters with special traits which could technically impact gameplay. But there are two issues. First, I have to draw the line at mobility issues. It doesn’t matter if your character is in a wheelchair or is a centaur, in both cases it’s a bad idea for all the same reasons. Secondly, let’s be honest here, that was not put there to simply give players ideas. It is a misguided, ham-fisted, and frankly condescending, attempt at awareness raising. The problem is to make it work you need to do at least one of three things: erase the challenges people who are disabled face (“Funny how the rogue in a wheelchair can fight just as effectively as everyone else in this thick, bumpy, vine-choked forest. It was also awfully nice for those ancient people to leave a wheelchair-accessible elevator in the sealed dungeon protecting the idol.”), trivialize them (magical prosthetics of all kinds, magical flying chairs, or flying horseshoes, etc.), or finally, making it a burden for everyone. Now, if all you want is some special trait for your character, trivializing some issues isn’t much of a problem. But if you’re trying to raise awareness, none of these are good in any kind of way. To raise awareness for the disabled, you have to make others empathise with they issues, not just parade them around as mere tokens who are there for visibility, while simultaneously erasing their issues.

Now, having said all this, we have to remember this is a very early draft of the rules. So there is still a lot of opportunity for improvement, and it’s going to need it. My recommendations:

  1. Restructure the book so that we get an overview of the terminology and a basic overview of the rules before going into details. So many times I had burning questions that were left unanswered for hundreds of pages, like “Why would I not just always pick the best armor? Is there a trade-off?”, “What can I do with Hope points?”, etc.
  2. Ease off on all the resources to manage. Especially those one would have to manage during other people’s turns. Don’t force players to always be paying close attention to other players’ dice rolls (like with the bard feature that requires them to raise a counter whenever someone rolls with Fear). That’s just idealistic garbage. Players are going to be distracted, and it might not even be for a bad reason; like they could be looking at their skills to plan their next move.
  3. Refine the open initiative rules in a way that prevents players from actings too many times before the GM. Players, if given half the chance, will optimize the fun out of the game. If they are fighting a dragon, and one of them is wielding the Sword of Dragon Slaying, guess who’s going next? …And then after that who’s going next? …And after that? You can talk about letting other participate all day, if the players think they are in legitimate danger, they’ll take the boring, but least risky, option every time. Else, you might use some Fear, or the consequence of rolling with Fear, to make something happen to prevent that player from acting, but then it just becomes frustrating to players as it feels like you’re arbitrarily nullifying their advantage.
  4. Ease off on the forced improv. Allow people to just do thing without having to go into detail on how they do it. Sometimes, when a player fails, they fail and nothing special happens. Forcing something to happen remove their agency by forcing them to react to that instead of trying out what they wanted to do next. Replace language like “You describe how you do X and then Y happens” with “You do X and Y happens. If you think the conditions are right or it’ll enhance the mood, consider describing in more detail how you do it!”
  5. Refine how proficiencies work to make it less exploitable.
  6. Consider creating pre-made builds for each class. A huge pitfall of highly customizable systems is that it can lead to analysis paralysis for people who are not very experienced with the rules, or even worse, creating a character which seems cool, but ends up being pretty ineffective. Having a pre-made path to follow can give them the confidence that they will have a character that is at least effective.
  7. Leave silly proselyting for your cause at the door. I am no more interested in having disability issues shoved in my game than I am in politics, environmental issues, religious values, or moral values of any sort to be. And I’m quite sure you wouldn’t want the issues which are dear to my heart to be shoved in something you’d be interested in. If you want to keep it as interesting player options, then make a section for that, include more broad ideas, and discuss the potential pitfalls honestly.

And finally, some things I like about the book:

  1. Catgirls.
  2. Some very imaginative art! Putting many various interpretations of what a member of each race could look like is a great idea! It’s not much, but I did say I disliked almost everything about it.


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Sean [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2024 12:37:51

Ignore the haters. They're wrong. Yes, it does take cues from other RPG's, but they're exceptionally well executed and they all have specific useful purposes in the design.

This is a system that has a MUCH better ease-of-use than DnD 5e, and it's a much tidier system, without all the baggage the 5e system carries from previous editions. Combat is pretty quick and gratifying, at least at the low levels I've played. The Action Tracker system they use for initiative is a wonderful combination of more traditional initiative systems and the reactive-gm style of Powered by the Apocalypse games.

Overall, this is a brilliant synthesis of narrative systems and the campaign-oriented graded complexity of DnD and similar systems.

If you have any doubt, TRY PLAYING IT. Seriously, it's great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Tommy [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2024 02:11:14

I’ve played it in person and it was really fun. Might need some tweaks here and there but I can see myself playing and running a few campaigns with this system



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Richard [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2024 06:03:43

Really is a hot mess of different elements of systems dragged from different RPGs without, seemingly, any real understanding or direction of what they want to do with them. It's like someone's asked ChatGPT for a list of cool system things in the RPG world and then told it to stick 'em all together.

There's just too much system for what little it really does and its needlessly complex for what it states its trying to be and do. It feels like a Frakenstein's Monster of a system of all different parts thrown in there - different elements from lots of other systems all whipped together. It feels messy and badly conceived. If I were the designer I'd go back to the core mechanic and challenge myself, beginning with that, as to why I want and need each mechanic even starting with the 2d12 Hope/Fear mechanic. Why is it there? What is it trying to do? What does it support in the game? Does it add needless complexity? I'd then only add in what passed those kind of questions. There's too much currently in there that feels like a gimmick at the moment - in fact the whole system does for me. I really didn't get a feel as to what its trying to do or what it wants a game of DH to be about - you seem to be able to play a game of it, based on their descriptions/examples of play, without any real need of all the DH systems within the Beta. It doesn't really do anything that really supports it in the same way that, for example, The One Ring does with its Hope/Shadow mechanic or other RPGs that have really well designed systems that support themes etc in play. In fact, currently I think D&D 5e would work much better running a game in the DH world than the DH system would.

It may/will get refined in Beta but the gap for me is too big to bridge; its too far away from a good game to be of any further interest to me.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Candela Obscura Core Rulebook
by Arley [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2024 12:17:25

First, a disclaimer: As this game hasn't been published in PT-BR, I had no means to run it at my table, as none of my players can speak English at all. Nonetheless, I've had this book for a few days already, and I've read most of it. These are my thoughts. /p The amount of work put into worldbuilding is outstanding. This is a setting that feels alive. There's so much in terms of places of interest, organizations, social structures, NPCs, just so much lore. I could prepare a whole session in no time with such resources. As for the game mechanics, having also watched some actual play videos, I really like them. Almost all actions bringing some sort of consequence highlights that this is indeed a horror game. As for some of the criticism I've seen so far, I don't quite get it. Seems like many people want it to be something else. It's not dnd and won't play like dnd, and also it's not Call of Cthulhu. A lot of the design choices behind it make me think of FATE, and I could probably run it in FATE using a bunch of the tools found in the FATE Horror Toolkit. Actually, this is my gripe with this one, as well as every other game out there: it could've been a FATE supplement/book. I'll add that just like in FATE, this is collaborative fiction. Everyone should be working together to tell a good story. No amount of game mechanics would be enough to "tame" a GM who only wants to kill the players, for example. This isn't a problem with the game, but with the table itself, to be solved with some talking, or perhaps by playing with better people, frankly. As a disabled person myself, I appreciate their efforts to make a unique game that doesn't lean into stigmatizing and othering people who are different. That's all to say, I do recommend this game to anyone interested in: a horror game; living world; streamlined, fast paced, easy to pick up system; tons of GM resources to minimize preparation time; a rich narrative experience. I don't recommend this game to anyone looking forward to a dice focused game, as this is narrative first. Mechanics focused games are also great, but this wasn't intended to be that. I hope you found this review useful, so thanks for reading this much!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Candela Obscura Core Rulebook
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Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
by Charlotte [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2024 09:52:49

In its current form, this reads like a haphazard agglomeration of mechanics borrowed from more focused games for a project whose only coherent pillars are D&D-theming and vague orientation towards storytelling. Degrees of failure and "Yes, but..." task roll outcomes seem to be used simply because Dungeon World uses them, without any consideration for the way it uses them to tell a particular kind of story about loss. Hope and fear are metagame concepts that seem to exist without any accompanying thematic goal: they're the kind of mechanics that should support some moral or genre structure, but simply aren't connected to anything. They sit, passively, alongside a class list that seems to exist for no other reason than to be like D&D, and an incongruously video-gamey system of equipment scaling.

We're repeatedly told that the story in this game is paramount, and yet what in the game actually supports storytelling? The examples of actual play which we see are essentially free-form roleplaying interspersed with uncomfortably frequent skill checks to determine success or failure. This is the kind of thing which could be done in any other system, and it speaks to the game's role in the constellation of actual-play podcasts, in which games with no narrativist qualities are used in conjunction with stories they do nothing to enhance. There's almost nothing positive to distinguish this from any other fantasy heartbreaker, and I can't help but suspect that its branding is the only reason it'll be played. If it can't find its own identity before release, I can't imagine it being much more than a trap for podcast-listeners whose limited expose to the medium will keep them from realizing its mediocrity.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Daggerheart Open Beta Playtest
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Candela Obscura Core Rulebook
by Brandon [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2024 00:54:42

I had our first session of this game tonight with me as the GM and Ive been preparing with some trepidation from the moment I read the book. I really like the setting of Candela Obscura as it allows for a large variety of character and setting backgrounds to play in which all make sense in the world. The entire setting has a sense of, for lack of a better word, whimsy which makes the setting seem like it has some real character. However the setting is ultimately burdened by the incomplete mechanics of the game.

What I dont like is the nuts and bolts of the game and how it all works because ultimately it doesnt. I really dislike that the GM who normally plays the world and NPCs is instead handicapped as the mechanics of the game take away the ability for a GM to do anything without player input whether they do a thing, succeed at a thing, or fail at a thing. For a veteran GM like myself these obstacles are not insurmountable once you learn the trick (call for more rolls so you can in turn do more stuff) but relying on that trick constantly IMO breaks down the trust between GM and player. I can see new and inexperienced GMs struggling without adding a healthy amount of GM fiat

From a player perspective my players disliked that after incurring to much damage there was no way to recover from it and the book suggests they retire their character as a lightwarden. That seems counterproductive when other RPG mechanics are often made to make a character more powerful through their triumphs and tribulations. To quote one of my players "it feels bad". Now I could make a story about healing a PC but then Im doing extra work for CO which couldnt be bothered to put in a mechanic to fix a common issue most players will have with it

The game has a very bizarre set of choices for its mechanics and I dont really like it. Neither did my players really like it. I want to finish the campaign I wrote for them but I also dont want to play anymore of this game as written. So I think Im going to take the setting and convert it over to 7th ed Call of Cthulhu till we can finish out the campaign.

If this was just a setting book for $20 I would have been fine with it but its a full blown core book at $40 and it just doesnt feel like money well spent. Especially when there are other complete games that work fine. I wont call it a bad game because I did like the setting but I will call it below average because its main competitors are so much better



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Candela Obscura Core Rulebook
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Candela Obscura Core Rulebook
by Ginger F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/15/2024 18:06:06

This game is unfortunately an incomplete mess that lacks basic and vital mechanics that are required for any RPG to function properly. Not only is the combat system focused fully on the actions of the player characters (there is no system for enemies acting on their own) the system for handling damage (here called marks and scars) has no guide for how to calculate the damage in any objective way. This means the GM has to arbitrarily dole out damage during combat encounters or other dangerous supernatural phenomena through total fiat. The gm simply "decides" with no reference to any neutral mechanic how much harm comes to the player characters. This fundamentally destroys the trust between player and GM as you never know if your success or failure in a dangerous situation had any objective criteria or whether the GM was tipping the scales for or against you. It robs the players of any meaningful victory in their actions.

In addition to certain rules just being fully omitted, the mechanics are firmly rooted in fiction first narrative/story gaming principles which are fundamentally the incorrect starting point in RPG design. This focus on "story telling" robs characters of agency and ends up producing reddit tier fan fiction instead of a compelling emergent narrative.

The setting is also incredibly boring and Darrington Press goes out of their way to lecture the players about problematic play styles and consistently nags them as if the player cannot be trusted on their own to play a game with any social decorum whatsoever. It is both boring and annoying at the same time.

I was hoping for a DP/CR to knock their first game out of the park, but it is unfortunately a poorly designed mess that does a terrible job of living up to other games with the genre. If you are looking for investigative occult horror, you would do better to stick with Call of Cthulhu or Wretched Epoque.

Don't waste your money, there are better games out there.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide
by Kushagra S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2023 04:32:38

Very well ritten and the layout is fantastic! The system itself is not very elaborate, as it mentions it is more RP drivven and less mechanic driven. But it is a good contemprary to it's direct rival, Call of Cthulhu. But all of this isn't important, the best part of the book is the book itself. It is Gorgeous!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide
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