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Thoughts on Taming the Dragon

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I ran Taming the Dragon tonight. It went alright, but I found it to be a bit clunky and slow to run. A lot of the rules don't really seem to make much sense.

First, let me set the scene. The race consisted of Sunny, 3 Seraph racers, and 2 PC racers. I handled Sunny and my players who weren't racing took control of the Seraph racers. We rolled initiative and started the race.

At the beginning of each round, we'd do a pile of dice rolling for each racer, count successes and apply advantage/threat/etc. A failure drops their speed by 1. Then we compare the number of successes to see the racer placing in each speed group. This was the first point of friction. What's the point here? Who cares who is in first place or second place at this point? Being ahead or behind gives no mechanical advantage and since your placing is purely based on speed, it's constantly in flux.

Moving on, the next step of each round is to move through the initiative order taking structured turns. This leads to sticking point number 2. What is even the point of the turn? You use your maneuver to increase your speed. Maybe take some strain to increase it twice. Other options include damage control... so you have more strain to increase speed. The thing is, once you're at max speed, there's not really anything to do on your turn (unless you want to cheat by shooting at your opponent or something similar).

Which brings us full circle. Once you're at max speed, failure is almost meaningless. You drop a speed and then use your maneuver to immediately get back to max speed. Yes, threat from that failure could compound into more upgrades which could eventually spiral into some minor collisions, but I can tell you from experience tonight that that did not happen. In almost all cases, once a racer was at max speed, they remained at max speed for the remainder of the race.

Finally, that brings me to the last bit, which is that the winner of the race is the one with the fastest max speed. End of story. The rest of the race doesn't matter. Did you finish the race at speed 5 and everyone else was at speed 4? You win, even if you spent the entire rest of the race at speed 3.


Anyway, those are my thoughts on it. I'd be happy to hear others thoughts on it, particularly if you've actually run the race. I'd also like to hear any suggestions on streamlining the experience and/or ways to make the race feel more dynamic and interesting than just rolling piloting checks and accelerating.

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Posted (edited)

Racing in this system isn't great and I ran it similar to above and you are right, turn by turn make little difference. What I did instead was use a grid system, mapped out the course. Your speed is how many grids you travel in a turn. A roll is made each turn to maintain/increase/decrease speed. Rolls that are made are half-silhouette and speed as per standard piloting checks.

Where's the challenge? 

If two characters are near each other they make opposed rolls to inflict setbacks on each other. Terrain on the track add setbacks. Corners add set backs. Aswell as any other actions other players may think of such as ramming, getting in front and slowing down etc...

I know using a grid goes against the systems abstract nature but for me it was the best way to handle it.

Edited by MrTInce

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