The Joy of Playtesting
Last night we finished the third session of our current playtest for our upcoming Kickstarter project: a Dungeon Crawl Classics-compatible 0-2nd level adventure, The Exodus of Wolfbane.
It was a blast. In fact, playtesting has been one of best parts of producing modules. Who’d have thought that running the same adventure multiple times could be such a ball?
Playtesting highlights what makes roleplaying so much fun in the first place: the creativity and ingenuity, the improvisation, the unpredictability. We test our modules with as many people as we can: veteran players (including the Gen Con 2018 DCC-Champion Hammertoes!), kids and teenagers, college students, and even total newcomers to roleplaying. Every time we do a playtest, a player does something completely unexpected, or makes a choice we never even considered. As one of our players mentioned last night as he left Gaming Honors HQ (having successfully survived his third session of gaming, ever), “Even if you did the exact same thing every time, a roll of the dice could lead to a completely different outcome. You never know what's going to happen!”
He may be new, but he already gets it.
And we get to watch that play out, see how different players handle the same challenge in a new way, and then tweak the module to make sure that judges and players have the best experience possible.
Does that mean we plan for everything? Of course not—where’s the fun in that? But our goal is to make modules that help people tell great stories, that give players the chance to have wild adventures, and, if they’re clever and lucky, beat the longest of odds along the way. Playtesting helps make that possible.
The fact that it’s a ridiculously awesome time is just a bonus.