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Subject: First Playtest: Get the vaccine! rss

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I am Owlbear!
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We sat down for a trial run of Agents of Five. I knew going in that the skill rules were troublesome, but we played with them as is.

The players made characters and we set to work.

Nathan played Schmuck whose dominant element was water.
Tim played Inferno whose dominant element was fire.
Mike played Ricky Lee whose dominant element was metal
Mick Played Larry Chan whose dominant element was earth.
Keith played Mai Lee whose dominant element was earth
Joe played David Lo Pan whose dominant element was water.

Character Generation
Character generation went pretty well except about half the players had trouble with understanding how to determine their dominance and their health. I'm not really sure that was a problem with the game. They'd all been given printed copies of the rules (one advantage of creating the game yourself) and honestly I could have predicted which ones had trouble before we started playing.

We didn't really have any other problems during character creation.

The Session
I'm pretty off the cuff so I let them pick our setting and, despite the presence of four suggested settings, they wanted a fifth one with a mashup of modern China and a Zombie outbreak.

The adventure found them ordered to go to a lab which was besieged by zombies but which allegedly had a vaccine against the disease. Several of them immediately decided the company must be responsible since they had a vaccine for a disease that had only been in existence for about a week.

They made plans to get there using a police car (Lo Pan was a high ranking policeman). They got to the building and found it pretty much swarmed with zombies. They decided to go up in an adjacent building which wasn't quite as tall. They used the produce power and the tool power to create a grapple gun and then some steel cable so they could zip line into the 7th floor of the building.

They split up then, with Schmuck and Inferno going upstairs to find the executives and the other four heading downstairs hoping to find labs. The upstairs group took the stairs and found them barred from the inside. After a few minutes, they managed to spread it open enough to see inside and they realized there were tow men with guns. Inferno lobbed in a fireball and then Schmuck followed up with a water spout which knocked both of them away from the door. Another pair of fireballs and they entered the room.

They opened an oak door into the execs office and he hit them with some kind of power drain. They were hurt but not down and quickly retaliated. He decided there was nothing to gain by staying and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

Meanwhile, the other crew made their way down to the labs where they encountered a handful of guards trying to keep some zombies at bay. After a brief fight and some smooth-talking by Lo Pan and Larry, the guards decided the players were an authorized rescue party. The players told them to meet them on the 7th floor for an escape and sent them up the stairs. They "repaired" the elevator and went to the roof where they met Inferno and Schmuck, then made good their escape.

Playtesting Notes and Suggestions
As I suspected, the 5d vs skill system meant that the players pretty much never failed at anything.

Some of the powers could have used more and better descriptions and the use of Tools vs. Produce seemed odd since tools made something effectively permanent while Produce only lasted minutes.

The character sheet should probably show all the skills associated with that element and then let the players check them off. In some cases there were issues with not knowing which skill applied for an action or not knowing if there was a skill.

Overall the session went well and the players felt the game was worth trying to fix, always a good feeling.

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Benj Davis
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David Lo Pan? Really?
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I am Owlbear!
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Allen Park
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Yeah. He can be counted on to pick some odd name. At least this one I recognized and it wasn't a bad pun.
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