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Author Topic: Just Played Theatrix... Whoa!  (Read 29 times)

Offline Shiftkitty

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Just Played Theatrix... Whoa!
« on: April 10, 2018, 01:58:28 PM »
Theatrix, by Backstage Press, is a game you have to meet halfway. As Director (DM) you're going to have to improvise a lot. Yes, it's one of those "diceless" games that I never really quite got. Basically, what? You sit around chatting and telling a mutual story over your cappuccinos? There is an option for using dice, but they don't get much into it. We gave it a shot anyway, making up the dice rules as we went, sort of. We mostly based it on a d6 system.

After describing our characters (two of us had the nerve to actually make characters while the others decided to watch a short vignette), we assigned numbers ranging from 1 to 6, with the odd decimal point to give a little edge. The scale runs from 1 to 10, but anything above 6 is really super-duper heroic, and we were just starting.

This was sort of Indiana Jones in Gamma World Meets D&D. My "Actor" was a junkman and explorer of ancient ruins. He found old pre-war tech and either fixed it up for resale or used the parts to make new stuff to sell. He and a friend, a guy with mutant abilities akin to magic, were out in the wastelands scavenging parts off an old air conditioner when they found evidence of a courier who had been attacked and killed, his parcel missing from his pouch. Reporting it to the village council when we returned, we were sent out to get clues as to who did this. We stumbled across a hidden opening in the canyon wall with signs of recent passage of hobnail boots.

All that was pretty much just narrated, but the Director is a pretty good storyteller. When we entered the cave, he actually brought out Thunderspire Labyrinth, a 4e module, It was to serve as the ruins. To attack he had us roll a number of d6 equal to our base ability score (such as Coordination from ranged attacks) and add 1 per point we had in a relevant skill (you pretty much make up your own skills in this game, so I used Pistol at 4.0, added to my Coordination of 3.5, or 3d6+.5+4). To get the monsters' scores he divided their ability scores by 3 rounded down. Every attack could be potentially dodged with a Coordination roll, or withstood by a Stamina roll.

We had to wing it with magic, so the Director told us that any Actor capable of magic had to pick which stat the individual spell was based on, as long as it made sense. For example, shooting a ball of fire from your hands might be based on Intelligence as you bring the right words and gestures to mind, while clairvoyance might be based on your Intuition and charm effects or illusions might work off of your Presence. You roll as you would for an attack and the enemy can choose how they intend (or would be likely) to resist or defend against it.

By the book, the results of combat or any encounter are dictated by the needs of the "Script". For the sake of our game, however, hit points for monsters were 1d6 per monster level; the Cast gets hit points equaling the sum of their stats. While this may prove flawed at higher levels, right now it seems to be working cinematically fine. We've had one combat with a Hobgoblin and four Goblins that actually did flow like a movie scene.

When my Actor realized that we had bitten off more than we could chew, the Director made up a small rule based on what my Actor said. Yes, we decided you could get extra perks for quoting a movie at the right moment. We realized that just two of us was not going to be enough to deal with this bunch. My Actor was about to get killed by two Goblins when the wizard, having finished off the Hobgoblin, made a heroic dive off of the balcony, blasting fireballs from his hands and taking down one of the Goblins. Then I was able to take out the other one. We got out of the dungeon. I mimed slamming a door shut and blocking it, then turned around panting and leaning against the door and said "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

Yes, I got points for quoting "Jaws" at an appropriate time!

We'll likely adjust things as we go, but meanwhile this is actually a pretty fun game for experienced gamers.
"Attack now! We can level up in Hell!"
~ My nephew getting carried away at his first D&D game

Offline Shiftkitty

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Re: Just Played Theatrix... Whoa!
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 02:09:24 PM »
For the record, the Director decided to make the gaming environment a little more cinematic by providing sodas, popcorn, and other theater-like snacks. While we played the sample game, the other guys actually looked like they were watching it as a movie in their heads. Kudos to the Director, and yes, my partner got extra points for his cinematic leap off the balcony!
"Attack now! We can level up in Hell!"
~ My nephew getting carried away at his first D&D game

Offline Loma

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Re: Just Played Theatrix... Whoa!
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 10:03:33 PM »
The sodas and popcorn sound like a nice touch, but still, no dice...
Jesus saves and takes half damage.