Hexingtide Playtest 3 Now Available

(This post is also available on Hexingtide’s Itch page as a devlog: https://willphillips.itch.io/hexingtide/devlog/476705/hexingtide-playtest-3-now-available-for-download.)

After several months, lots of playtest sessions (with my home group, one-offs in person and online, and feedback from other GMs), and community input, I’m very excited to share the next big playtest release of Hexingtide, my TTRPG of Minimalist Monstrous Roleplaying!

An Overview

If you had a chance to check out Playtest 2, you’ll see that the overwhelming majority of the core systems and parts of the player character remain in place: Powers, Portents, & Pacts, the system of Chymoi, Power & Portent Checks with consistent target numbers, etc.

What’s Changed?

New guidance for players and GMs: Page count has gone from 32 to 40 to add a much-requested example of play. The sections on running scenes and building enemies has doubled in page count from two to four, and I’ve doubled the number of example enemies, dangers, and investigative challenges for GMs to reference.

Revised dice attribute – Danger, Hardship, & Isolation Dice simplified to a single Inhumanity Die: Playtest 1 had no dice-based attributes and used variable target numbers; PC differentiation was entirely on the basis of Powers, Portents, and Pacts.

Playtest 2 fixed the roll over / roll under target number and introduced “Peril Dice” of “Danger, Hardship, and Isolation.” While these were highly-thematic, they were just too confusing for most players and GMs to grok – and added overhead that really wasn’t necessary for a game that’s supposed to be minimalist.

Playtest 3 keeps the fixed target numbers and reduces the number of dice attributes from the three Peril Dice to just one: the Inhumanity Die. This keeps player choices tied to the game’s themes, while reducing complexity at the table.

Status Effects Update – Six Passions Become Two Fugues: Along with the Peril Dice, Playtest 2 introduced a status effect mechanic called “Passions” that would modify the results of die rolls. With the reduction in number of dice, the status effect needed to be changed to match.

These status effects are now called Fugues. In addition to mechanically matching the new dice mechanic, I personally feel they are easier to understand and more narratively impactful.

Increased Chymoi from Five to Six: See the addition of Excrata to the list.

Social Reactions: Questions that repeatedly came up during playtest games was “how do these monstrous characters get along in the world” and “how do normal people react to our PCs?”

I’ve introduced a lightweight system that codifies social reactions using the already-existing mechanic of Scene-based Portents that codifies exactly those sorts of questions.

Each PC has a noticeably non-human Tell (some more obvious than others, of course) which can result in a Portent related to Disgust & Terror (the classic angry mob with pitchforks and torches), Incredulity & Insanity (roughly analogous with the Lovecraftian motif of strange beings whose appearance is so against the laws of nature that it breaks the minds of mundane humans), or even Curiosity & Awe (sometimes, the appearance of these monstrous PCs in public engenders an opposite – but equally problematic – reaction).

Zone Based Scenes and Encounters: This is vehemently not a tactical combat simulator. But, the addition of very loose, very flexible-to-define Zones to encounters and scenes adds a modicum of decision making that’s more interesting for players to engage with.

What’s Available for Download

Hexingtide_v03.2.pdf – the forty page zine itself, sized to 5.5″ x 8.5″ US half letter pages.

Three versions of the character sheet – a full color, highly textured version great for online play (or when you want to feel particularly fancy at the table), a printer-friendly full color version, and a black & white character sheet. All three available as .JPGs and .PDFs.

Eight pregen characters – the same cast of weirdos, scoundrels, and monsters from Playtest 2, updated to the new character sheet and rules.

Enjoy and please let me know what you think!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *