Sunday, 20 February 2022


 The deadly “soulsborne” inspired game of duelling sad and ancient knights has a new name:

Welcome to ONSLAUGHT

You can download a playtest document here. It’s free, but if you want to support the project or my work in general, please consider making a donation.

As this is a playtest I will be accepting feedback! You can leave a comment here, or email me (graverobbersguide at gmail dot com), or get at me on twitter.

The kind of feedback I’m not looking for: “I found a typo”, “this is good”, “this is bad”, “i don’t get it”

The kind of feedback I am looking for: “the most interesting thing that happened while playing was…”

For more info on development, check back at posts tagged “The Green Knight”.


Picador said...

Awesome! Downloaded and about to play. But first: exactly the feedback you asked us not to send. Sorry :(

1. Quick = Light, I assume? Not a typo per se but it looks like you changed the terminology in one place and it didn’t propagate through.

2. Did you mean for overkill to be generated even on a Light action that passes (skull)? That’s how the rules read now. And if so Kalidor is going to kill everyone I think.

Picador said...

(Sorry, I see it now - Light action advances to skull or beyond = no damage from opponent this round. Seems a bit forgiving, even with the sun token retreating, but play is in progress and I will let you know my results.)

Picador said...

First playtest:

H: Heart Die location
S: Sun Token location
HD: Heart Die value
OK: Overkill

Inventory: 1 Sword
Inventory: 2 Shield

Sword: 1,2 --> S1,H2
Sword: 1,1 --> S2,H3
Sword: 1,3 --> S3,H6
Sword: 1,3 --> S4,H9
Inventory: 3 Caged Fairy

--Bridgekeeper Kalidor--
Sword: 1,4 --> S1,H4
Sword: 3,6 --> S2,H10
Shield: 2,3 --> S2,H1 (oops - should be H0 - same result)
Sword: 5,6 --> S3,H7
Sword: 1,6 --> S3,H1 --> OK 1
Kalidor: HD5
Sword: 1,4 --> S4,H5
Sword: 2,6 --> S5,H11
Shield: 2,6 --> S5,H1
Kalidor --> n/a
Sword: 3,4 --> S6,H5
Sword: 1,6 --> S7,H11
Inventory: 1 Sword discarded
Inventory: 1 Bastard, 4 Trap, 5 Soma

--Lord of Chains--
Bastard: 2,2 --> S2,H2
Bastard: 4,5 --> S4,H7
Fairy: 2,3 --> S8,H10
Shield: 4,5 --> S8,H3
Lord of Chains: no damage, chain item 3 (Fairy)
Bastard: 3,3 --> S10,H6
Claim: 1,3 --> Soul claimed (3<=10)
Inventory: Skeleton Key --> 3 Fairy discarded
Inventory: 3 Soul Coin


Surprising: I blew through the skeletons in one turn due to amazing rolls.

Surprising: The Bastard Sword --> Fairy combo really smoked that Lord of Chains.

Surprising: The non-damage effects of the Lord of Chains' attack (i.e. chaining items) can't be mitigated in the RAW. I liked this -- it means you're going to potentially lose an item every turn. Urgency!

Surprising: The Bridge Trap Mechanism seems a bit high-risk, low-reward. You net MAYBE one Sun Token advance in exchange for a Heavy action, just like the sword, but it's single-use. Last-ditch option if your sword gets chained by the Lord of Chains? I'd maybe give out 3-4 advances instead of 2. I suppose if you use it first thing on round 1 the retreat doesn't happen... hmm. Maybe I'm not appreciating its value properly.

Surprising: Trapped Fairy still does its damage even if advancing Heart Die past (skull) in RAW. Is that intentional? Does it mean that you can deploy your Fairy at Heart 11 and be guaranteed to wipe out your opponent before they can counterattack? If so maybe it's a bit overpowered?

Good: Overall, LOTS of fun. Tense but not harrowing (but maybe I just got lucky). Would love to see more chapters. Or hell, why not make my own.

Good: Structure of the book is perfect. Present new rules as they occur. Gradually introduce new items that add complexity. Rules and scenario are both presented as they unfold. Really clever.

Picador said...

One last comment: Sun Token is placed "heads up" during setup, but this never comes up. Perhaps relevant to later encounters still in the works?

D. G. Chapman said...

Thanks so much for the thorough feedback! And no worries haha, the “don’t tell me it’s good” was mostly about wanting more than just first impressions. I will attempt to address everything:

- yeah quick should be light, or light should be quick. Will amend in the next update
- wow that was good luck on the skeletons! The “point” of that fight is really just a dry run of the roll > advance loop so hopefully it still did its job.
- bastard sword + fairy is one of those “should have seen that coming” combos… I added the sword last minute without thinking of the implications. something will be adjusted
- I was already thinking that the trap needed changing - good to know
- Yes the Fairy works when passing 12. This should feel powerful - but it won’t be a finishing blow because you still have a soul to claim. This means the opponent will get in their turn effect. Glass cannon kind of thing. Not to say it won’t be adjusted somewhat though.

Thanks again! Would be interested to see people’s homebrew chapters. And yes re: the Sun Token - more to come. Eventually.

Picador said...

== PLAYTEST 2 ==

H: Heart Die location
S: Sun Token location
HD: Heart Die value
OK: Overkill

Inventory: 1 Sword
Inventory: 2 Shield

Sword: 1,2 --> S1,H2
Sword: 1,2 --> S2,H4
Sword: 3,4 --> S3,H8
Shield: 1,6 --> S2,H9
Shield: 5,6 --> S2,H2
Skeletons: n/a
Sword: 3,5 --> S3,H7
Sword: 6,6 --> S3,H1
Skeletons: HD 5
Sword: 4,5 --> S4,H6
Inventory: 3 Fairy

--Bridgekeeper Kalidor--
Sword: 2,4 --> S1,H4
Sword: 3,6 --> S2,H10
Shield: 1,4 --> S1,H11
Shield: 3,5 --> S1,H2
Kalidor: n/a
Sword: 5,6 --> S2,H8
Sword: 2,5 --> S2,H1
OK 1 (Spring)
Kalidor: HD 4
Sword: 4,6 --> S3,H7
Sword: 2,6 --> S3,H1
OK 1 (Spring)
Kalidor: HD 3
Sword: 1,6 --> S4,H7
Sword: 2,6 --> S4, H1
OK 1 (Summer)
Kalidor: HD 1
Sword: 3,4 --> S5,H5
Sword: 1,1 --> S6,H6
Fairy: 3,5 --> S8,H11
Inventory: 4 Bastard, 5 Trap
Action: Soma consumed --> HD 6

--Lord of Chains--
Bastard: 2,2 --> S2,H2
Bastard: 3,5 --> S4,H7
Fairy: 2,6 --> S8,H1
OK 1 (Autumn)
Lord of Chains: HD 4, chain 6 (n/a)
Bastard: 1,3 --> S10,H4
Claim soul: 3,4 --> claimed (7<=10)
Inventory: Skeleton key --> discard 3 Fairy
Inventory: 3 Soul Coin

Surprising: Much worse dice rolling this time! Nearly got got by Kalidor. And dropped to HD4 by the Lord of Chains even after using the Soma. Yikes.

Bastard Sword: Still feels really OP, especially with the Fairy riding along. Maybe the Bastard Sword only deals 2 damage if the action advances Heart Die to a specific season, e.g. only Autumn and Winter? Only Winter? Only Spring and Summer? Only Summer and Autumn? The "empty inventory slot" requirement doesn't feel like much of a downside because the item is introduced so early -- even if you don't use the Soma you can easily discard the Old Sword or Bridge Mechanism Trap without too much heartache.

Skeleton's Key: I recognize that there are still future encounters to come, but is there possibly an advantage to freeing the Fairy during combat (it's listed as a Light action)? Is it just flavour? Does the freed Fairy figure in to later encounters?

Soul Coin: Upon re-reading, it's not clear how this item works. Does it automatically activate when you die in combat, prompting a Heavy action roll? Do you activate it ahead of time and then you carry around the enchantment (which would mean everyone should activate it immediately upon pickup)? Barring effects from unforeseen future opponents or items, I guess you'll only die when you OK, which means the Heart Die will be at 0-5 when you die, so a Heavy action (i.e. resurrection by the Soul Coin) can only advance you to 1-11. But you maybe need to think about how this will function if there's some weird new ability where an opponent can kill you at H10, because how do you handle rollover/OK resulting from activation of the Soul Coin? "You're resurrected! And you immediately take 5 damage." At minimum the item description needs to be more clear: e.g., "This item activates automatically when you die ..." sort of thing.

Picador said...

General comment on this project: I'm envious that you've gotten off your butt to actually make this game. I've futzed around with the idea of writing a board-game-like ruleset to try to capture the essence of a certain RPG playstyle. Tile-placing dungeon exploration, that sort of thing. There are some good solo RPGs out there along these lines, but I thought I would try my hand at it and never got anything ready for public consumption. So: congratulations. This is pretty great.

I think there's a HUGE value to making these kinds of games, even if just as an exercise for aspiring RPG designers. I sometimes hang around the RPG-Design subreddit, and the number of fantasy heartbreakers advertised there every single day is... well, it's fine, I guess, but I always try to steer these people (mostly young people I assume) toward what I think would be a more productive exercise, namely trying to whittle their game down to its core gameplay loop and see if they can build something compelling out of that before bolting all sorts of off-the-shelf boilerplate components on the side. Focus on your themes/tone/genre emulation; focus on your core gameplay loop; think about how the second supports the first. I feel like 100% of these young designers would benefit tremendously from taking that exercise seriously.

D. G. Chapman said...

Thanks again for the play reports! All feedback is good info to work from -

Bastard Sword - Think I’ve fixed this, testing now. Next update will change it up.

Skeleton’s Key - I just wanted to see if people would do it! But it would play into an overall story later on

Soul Coin - will be reworded. Seeing as how it’s only at the end of the playtest that you get it, I didn’t have to worry about it being used yet haha

And thank you for the kind words :) it’s all just practice and time!