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Playtesting and Feedback: Blackout

Alyx Whitlow

First Post
Good Day, my name is Alyx, I am a creative writer and am working on a pen and paper game: Blackout: A hardcore survival horror, post-apocalyptic, future in which the world ended well over 30 years prior to the players being in game, most of the super soldiers of the old world are dead and seldom spoken of. I am asking for playtesting the mechanics and providing feedback as well as the tie ins to the various groups in the world of Blackout.

Story Overview:
During the apocalypse chunks of the earth were torn and cast to the skies above, this include lakes and other large bodies of water, certain parts of the world have areas known as Gloom Regions, places were the laws of reality falter and shift making these areas incredibly dangerous, people go there for mutagenic artifacts that they can use to improve their abilities. The people that operate here are often affiliated with the COC, Church of the Cascade. The COC are at odds with the IRA, International Republic of Ahmirah, a militaristic society that holds territories within the haunted wastes, separate areas from the Gloom Regions. Blackout's main themes are: survival horror, post-apocalyptic future, overgrown wastelands and various other places that don't follow the laws of nature in which the world was plunged into darkness for many years after a war. Infected people, known as Novites, roam the land, feasting on any unfortunate souls who get to close.

You play as humans, there are no good/bad alignments, there are 4 main stats with 3 sub stats each and are more based in context depending on what the stat is used for. The damage is high with a hybrid AC and Damage Resistance system, players can be wounded with the potential for permanent injuries and scars, sicknesses can ravage your body, and the creatures of both the Gloom and the Haunted wastes are dangerous and are meant to be dealt with using various strategies. Such as the Shrike, they can scream, turning your lights and electronics off, so you would need non electronic weapons to effectively beat them.

I'm currently developing this from raw text with the help of an AI for suggestions and my goal, is to create an AI to gm this game as well when I ship it, er, rather finish it, as its been a project with multiple iterations across 13 years and this is the first time I'm reaching out to a community and using an ai language model to see what my system can really do. Its hardcore, low health with high damage, the game can be very unforgiving given specific circumstances involving instant death kills after failing rolls against certain enemies/NPCs. I'm placing some of my prior content, its a couple of versions behind, but the rules are the same more or less.
Any feedback related to game mechanics, character cohesion, the world, what makes sense and what doesn't, and any suggestions would be much appreciated!
 

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  • Creaturs, Factions, Locations AI Promt data set.docx
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Last edited:

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Alyx Whitlow

First Post
Please feel free to ask ANY questions. The contents of my books get pretty strange and really out there in terms of themes and I am still working on making everything make total sense. And to add: I am attempting to compile a comprehensive dataset to train this A.I., if anyone has suggestions it would be so appreciated. I hope you enjoy the loosely connected content. It mostly works but has some kinks.
 


Inglorin

Explorer
I think my English isn't up to this. For example: this is what the Equipment section has to say about Damage:

Damage: How much damage can be rolled per Round of combat, Dexterity > Weapon Handling for Ranged Weapons and Strength > Fighting for Melee Weapons, this must be rolled to hit your target.

I don't get it. At all. Am I dealing Damage automatically every round? I roll Damage to hit my target? I'd have guessed this would be something like a Fighting check?
 

Alyx Whitlow

First Post
I think my English isn't up to this. For example: this is what the Equipment section has to say about Damage:

Damage: How much damage can be rolled per Round of combat, Dexterity > Weapon Handling for Ranged Weapons and Strength > Fighting for Melee Weapons, this must be rolled to hit your target.

I don't get it. At all. Am I dealing Damage automatically every round? I roll Damage to hit my target? I'd have guessed this would be something like a Fighting check?
You are absolutely right, I think I deleted a piece of it by mistake: Here is the new ruling so far, let me know if it makes sense?
Damage: How much damage can be dealt per Round of Combat: I.e. if a Pistol has 1D6+1 Piercing damage and you roll, for example, 5, that 5 Piercing damage may only be applied after rolling the appropriate check against your opponent’s Armor Class while applying your bonus for that stat to hit your opponent, but your stat bonus does not apply to increased damage while using ranged weapons. The two stats are: Dexterity > Weapon Handling for Ranged Weapons and Strength > Fighting for Melee Weapons.
 
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Inglorin

Explorer
The Full Action "Attack" just mentions a 1D20 roll, which has to match or exceed the target's AC, now you are telling me, that the Strength bonus and the Dexterity bonus (why not Agility?) are added to this roll? Please mention it when describing how to attack and not inside a different rule.

  • Is there a difference between experience points and skill points? They are both mentioned in the same paragraph "Skills".
  • Adding skills is the only way to improve a character mechanically? I am not able to improve my Strength or Dexterity to get better at hitting (for example), never any more HP or Stamina?
  • You should stick to one name. It is either Quick Rest or Half Rest.
  • Under "Resting and Healing" you explain the length of a Quick Rest (to be about 1 hour). You don't mention the length of a Full Rest there. You don't mention regaining any HP there.
  • How do I make a Healing Check (as referenced in the Field Medic Skill)? If I am to believe the "Stats" page under "Wits" I will have to roll higher than my Wits score as this is the DC? Can't be right, it would get harder the wittier I am. What is the DC for a Healing check that the Field Medic Skill removes 2 from? Or does it add 2? What does "make a Healing check at -2" mean?
  • Why is this Healing check never mentioned under "Resting and Healing"?
 

Alyx Whitlow

First Post
The Full Action "Attack" just mentions a 1D20 roll, which has to match or exceed the target's AC, now you are telling me, that the Strength bonus and the Dexterity bonus (why not Agility?) are added to this roll? Please mention it when describing how to attack and not inside a different rule.

  • Is there a difference between experience points and skill points? They are both mentioned in the same paragraph "Skills".
  • Adding skills is the only way to improve a character mechanically? I am not able to improve my Strength or Dexterity to get better at hitting (for example), never any more HP or Stamina?
  • You should stick to one name. It is either Quick Rest or Half Rest.
  • Under "Resting and Healing" you explain the length of a Quick Rest (to be about 1 hour). You don't mention the length of a Full Rest there. You don't mention regaining any HP there.
  • How do I make a Healing Check (as referenced in the Field Medic Skill)? If I am to believe the "Stats" page under "Wits" I will have to roll higher than my Wits score as this is the DC? Can't be right, it would get harder the wittier I am. What is the DC for a Healing check that the Field Medic Skill removes 2 from? Or does it add 2? What does "make a Healing check at -2" mean?
  • Why is this Healing check never mentioned under "Resting and Healing"?
Thanks for the feedback, Inglorin:
Skills points have been removed in lieu of XP points instead, which are spent on Skills.
Mechanically, there are ways to improve you character, there are some Skills you can purchase that increase your AC, Health, stats, and boost your abilities. Practiced Expert=Bonus to a given stat, Experienced Fighter= bonus AC, Conditioned Body=more stamina, and Ive added:
  • 3 XP: Combatants Prose: You gain and additional 1D6+1 Maximum Hit Points.
  • 5 XP: Combatants Resilience: You gain an additional 1D6+1 Maximum Hit Points. May need tweaking. Its from the "Other Skills" list
As for Healing and resting:
  • Quick Rest: 1 to 2 Hours: A Quick Rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, making repairs, crafting, and healing wounds. While resting you can make a Heal Check to heal hit points equal to your Healing modifier. When healing injuries this way while resting you may only heal Severity 1 injuries at DC14 with a Heal check.
    • Health Regeneration: During a Quick Rest you may regain Hit Points Equal to half of your Stamina Bonus, this is done through patching up wounds, eating, napping, etc.
  • Full Rest: 8 Hours: While taking a Quick Rest is a nice break from the action, while out on expeditions you do still need to sleep to regain lost stamina and heal major injuries with a Severity of up to 2. You cannot heal a Severity 3 injury unless you have Field Medic.
    • There are times when you are not able to take a Full Rest due to several factors, including but not limited to, being too hot or cold, out in the elements, in a dangerous area, and or, something making too much noise, fear of being attacked. This usually means that you are not Sheltered.
    • Health Regeneration: During a Long rest you gain (1D4 + Stamina bonus) Hit Points.
Rewrote the rules a bit for clarity in how healing works for both a healer and the person who needs healing done:
  • 3 XP: Field Medic: When out in the haunted wastes and you don’t have access a medical kit or substantial medical supplies, you may treat up to a Severity 2 wound by using 5 Natural Materials, Chemical Materials, Binding Materials, and 15 Salvage to make a rudimentary first aid kit with 2 uses. You may attempt to heal a player this way with a Healing check at -2: Severity 1: DC 14, Severity 2: DC 16, and Severity 3: DC 19, you must be Sheltered to do so.
  • 4 XP: Combat Medic: Required: Field Medic: The same as above, only you don’t need to be Sheltered and may heal Severity 3 wounds during combat, if healed during combat, it is a quick fix that won’t last long, if this wound is not healed before the end of the day after combat, the afflicted player will count as Exhausted and must make a Stamina Check at DC 16 to not faint or otherwise fall unconscious. Should you fail this check, it counts as a short rest that restores a single stamina point for 1 hour, after this the Stamina check must be made again, if failed a second time your wound reopens and must be healed again. After the second heal, the afflicted player counts as Exhausted and receives no benefits from short rest.
If anything doesn't make sense, let me know, thank you so much for the feedback!
 

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