Monday, April 11, 2016

Netherstorm Advanced: Initial Impressions

Just finished up with the first playtest for the new Netherstorm Advanced system.  I discussed the previous edition before and laid out it's various merits.  The new system is trying out some novel and innovative ideas.  The first of which is a standard health rating system, which is that everyone has exactly 100 health levels which does not include the derived statistics to avoid damage.  For example the traditional HP in Dungeons & Dragons is just not a measure of how much physical punishment you can take but includes a number of derived factors including experience, mental toughness in shrugging off damage, and the learned ability to take/deflect blows.  That is why as you level up you gain more HP, not because the characters body becomes more durable, which may be a minor factor, but that by experience you are better able to handle/mitigate damage done to you.  Netherstorm Advanced separates these into the ability to sustain punishment (Health Levels), the bodies ability to shrug off damage (Endurance), and a characters ability to deflect damage (Block, Dodge).  This seems overly complicated but in practice with how the rolls work at the table it works well.  The Health Levels also have corresponding penalties when they decrease, which I like in theory but have yet to see it in practice, as I unable to sufficiently hurt the characters enough in the last run-through.  They either were doing fine or getting brutally killed (as per Mike does).

They also have split the game into three separate levels of complexity: simple, basic, and full mode.  Each is tailored to a specific type of game play.  Simple is a rules light version that can be picked up and played quickly and focuses on a more narrative style of play.  Basic and Full are more in line with the previous version of the game with the Full version containing all the advanced rules such as backstories and skill specialization.  There are also some more minor structural changes and I'm sure there will be more changes big and small to come soon.

The playtest is still ongoing and open to the public.  All you have to do is head over to the Netherstorm Forums and sign up to the playtest packets.


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