JP On Gaming

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Playtesters saved my A##

For those who did not know, yesterday I spent my day at Enchanted Grounds in Highlands ranch playing Pathfinder. Not just *ANY* Pathfinder... but NeoExodus! Hurray! Before I tell you how it went and give you all kinds of crunchy bits about what worked, what worked less, what I need to add/change/tweak, I want to give a big heartfelt thanks to my play testers: Corwin, Jason, Jeff, Ken, Linda, and Matt.

Thanks guys for volunteering your time to NeoExodus and provide such clear, concise and really helpful feedback on the world, the game, the characters and especially, the adventure.

As I was writing Encounter at Ramat Bridge I had a few goals the adventure needed to address. In no particular order

  • The adventure must present the situation in Exodus (particularly along the Abaddon River) clearly,in a way the players could understand.
  • The adventure must introduce some of the major villains/typical monsters of Exodus.
  • The adventure has to provide the players with a sense of "something more is going on."
  • What the players do must be simple, clear and exciting.
  • The adventure must include a number of role-playing elements.
  • The adventure must feature a display that is visually attractive and really unque. (This is something I did tack on to it later as the adventure took form. Since it was to be the PaizoCon adventure, I wanted something to draw attention to the game.)
  • The adventure must have a natural flow, one the players can follow and even see or think they know what will is coming. (That can only be achieved by play test)

With those goals in mind, I wrote, tweaked, added, changed, expanded all part of the adventure until it reached its final, play-testable form. That was many, many, many hours of work, but work I have to say I enjoyed a lot. Being back in the adventure-writing business after a long time working on source books and setting books felt really great.

Before sending players into this, I had to make sure that all of my above-mentioned goals were reached, or I would have to keep working.

The adventure does not assume any Knowledge of the setting on the part of the players. CHECK.

The mission is clear, simple and direct. Very much so. CHECK.

The adventure uses iconic villains from NeoExodus. CHECK.

The adventure includes some role-playing scenes that can influence the adventure. CHECK.

The WIP of the 3d map can be seen in this previous post. Also, CHECK.

Iconics: (all of them are links to php character sheets)


The adventure SEEMS fine. So I was ready to play test.

Fast forward to Memorial Day Monday. Early morning. Travel. McD's breakfast. Bottomless Coffee (EG's awesome idea).

Not ot divulge much about the adventure itself. The biggest worry I had was the flow of the adventure. And that was right. The players followed the path set before them without resisting it too much, they moved the plot along, made the conclusions I wanted them to make without have to pull them through the force railroading I hate (to do and endure).

End of the adventure, conclusion, epilogue.

Okay, now the guys really began to provide me with valuable feedback and where this post's title comes from. In addition to a few rule items to tweak, some typos to correct in the adventure. But two big things.

First: Run time. Nearly six hours! OUCH! Must cut back. I have already identified a few encounters I will cut from the "PaizoCon version" Those encountered, while fun really do not further my above-mentioned aims. In the comfort of your own home, these encounters add to the feel and flavor of the world, but do not really add to the adventure itself. So they won't be added to the con-version.

Second: Intro The front-loading background of NeoExodus seemed overwhelming. The guys asked for a handout. This is such a great idea that it HAS to be done. After the fixes in the adventure itself, that is the next thing I'll work on.

So there it is... How I got my butt saved this past Monday! Still a few more things to work on but now I have a plan and I can focus on specific issues and have PaizoCon be a total blast.

Thanks again to Corwin, Jason, Jeff, Ken, Linda, and Matt.



  1. Thank you JP for all the hard work you but in with this product.

  2. Good to get the positive feedback and act upon it, makes for a better experience for everyone including yourself.

  3. Could you post the source of some of those minis? I particularly like Dema-Ma and Karissa.

  4. I will post the makers of all the Minis used after Paizocon. (hopefully with pictures if my wife doesn't hide the camera).