So I've recently had the chance to DM/Ref a lot of games ... not an overwhelming amount, nor the total amount I've ever ran at once but a good deal. The best part is that 2 of them are my playtest games "Spectres of Usarm" and Chromatic Commandos.
Chromatic Commandos - In its second session the CC game has seen the Commandos fill out and we now have a full color roster. Not surprising no Pink Commandos but I'm hoping that changes as others come in or other group pick up the play test version of the game.
Character creation for 7 players took approx. 2 hours over the two game periods and a lot of that had to do with learning new and unfamiliar rules with stat generation and picking archetypes and flaws. Despite the fact that we've moved over to actual game play and combat, ability, skill use the majority of feedback was still focused on character generation.
I have no allusions, in the end Chromatic Commandos book will be heavily focused on character creation and combat and leave the rest up to the Referee to build and create. The tools will be there but assembly will be required.
I'm finding the free form nature of the game with its d20 fences are causing some issues with figuring things out. Skills and abilities seem to be taking the heaviest hit on this both are purposely defined in a vague manner ... and that bothers me, its a question of moving from a vague openness of my original idea (OSR Rangers) and this new complete form. For now I've decided to level those alone and see how they continue to play out in the coming weeks ...
Character generation has seen some changes, though, Ability modifiers have been changed from a 1d4 roll for increase every 4 levels to half level rounded up every level and a move from the Commando dice being a d4 to being a d6 to make the Commandos appropriately powerful feeling.
Enemy generation and basic combat are up next. Order of combat needs to be revised I think as everyone seems to attempt action and then special calls (abilities or transforming).
Spectres of Usarm - My PbP game for my last 2-page-adventure. Nothing brought out into the light just yet outside of Gar'Ak the leader of the Orc bandits is a tad OP compared to other Orcs (2hd and +2 to hit and dmg). The players seem to be enjoying themselves or at the very least haven't told me otherwise.
Like most of the 2PA games, Spectres is made with Swords and Wizardry in mind so the combat flow is going rather nice and the players are starting to ask questions as to what the hell is going on.
On a personal note I will say it is starting to become hard not to just say "ORC" in the story/in-game posts and I'm beginning to think making Orcs a mysterious, unknown race of viking-like raiders may have made using them a bit tedious.
(PbPs and VTT games are really making me appreciate the use of maps)
The last is the 5th Edition starter being played with "Code Name: The Wife" my eldest daughter and our transplant from Japan whose never seen or heard of a tabletop RPG before (see bought her own dice yesterday and has been texting me hourly about when we play next ... which is strange since she is living in my attic)
Being my family the party has utterly devastated the adventure as written, ignoring the goblin tracks, infiltrating the Redbrands instead of attacking and routing them from the town and our Human Noble Fighter was sent alone to "guard" the old watch tower for the miners and discovered the necromancer by herself and offered fealty to in return for not being eaten alive by his zombies.
This all in 2 and 1/2 hours. The players now have the tasks of finding the Dwarven Cleric's uncle Rockseeker, discovering the name of the builder of the watch tower and freeing the mines of undead threats within a week or be run out of town by the miners.
This is what happens when I don't get a chance to read through a published adventure before running it!