I’ve had some useful feedback on “The Secrets of Cats” but I forgot to put an e-mail field in the response spreadsheet so that I could respond, oops. So I thought I’d list some of the feedback here with my responses, for what that’s worth.
“Shadow form and astral projection seemed like they should have more similar mechanics, since their utility is somewhat similar.”
I noticed that too, and the fact that only characters with astral projection could directly fight spirits, and changed things around so that Shadow Form also allows you to interact with spirits.
“There were too many skills and they felt too humanistic. I ended up feeling like my cat was incompetent in thing all cats are competent at.”
I feel you, but were you taking into account the fact that cats get their ‘cat-like’ abilities for free just for being a cat? You shouldn’t generally have to roll to have good balance, not be hurt by a fall and so on. You can also invoke your high concept to help with cat-related things if need be. Were there any particular ‘cat skills’ you noticed were missing?
“Would have liked a few more “non-exclusive” magical powers.”
I’d like that too! Unfortunately the word constraints meant that I didn’t have as much time to expand on the feline magic as I would have liked. However, I’m thinking about producing some extra content from the game (which wouldn’t be published by Evil Hat) including more on antagonists, extra powers, and lots of other useful stuff. I also have some ideas on combination powers that use multiple of the schools to achieve more intricate effects. Would you be interested in this? Would you pay for it? I’m thinking about setting up a Patreon campaign with modest goals to fund the creation of extra content for the game.
“I didn’t like that dogs are not sentient. I would like to think that this is what cat ‘believe’ rather than what ‘is’.”
Perhaps it is! You’ll notice that the section of the text that mentions that is in character from Jezzabella the cat’s perspective… In any case, certainly some dogs are sapient and you can tweak the numbers to your satisfaction. I did have a reason for stating that dogs tend to be non-sapient above and beyond my cat-centric preferences, though.
If you introduce sapient dogs as a common feature of the game it changes the dynamic of what the cats are doing considerably. Instead of struggling together against powerful supernatural threats it would be logical that they should work together with the dogs who often share their homes, leading to a situation where they’re physically outgunned and end up taking something of a back seat in their own adventures.
“There needs to be more magic within a category. For example, the Shaping magic could have stuff like ‘shape others’ and ‘size object’. More ‘resource info’ such as reprints or references to the source material… maybe a collection of sample cat characters for inspiration or to use for the first adventure.”
I would love to write some supplements containing all of this stuff. If there’s enough demand for it when the finished article is launched by Evil Hat I will do my best to satisfy the appetite that’s out there.
“I found it difficult to generate some of the aspects. For example, the one that pertained to my human family. I wasn’t sure how to make that something that was advantageous (and descriptive) of me yet also compellable. Examples and setting into would have helped guide me here so perhaps this is more solved than my experience suggests.”
Hopefully the examples given do give some ideas on that. In general you can invoke your Burden whenever you’re directly striving to protect or help them, or in a situation where someone is trying to turn you away from the purpose of protecting them. You can also use it to invoke or declare story details when your dealings with your Burdens logically mean that you know or think certain things. For example if your Burden is a teenaged boy you’re probably going to know quite a bit about electronic equipment. It can be compelled to put your Burden in danger or to force you to take a certain course of action to protect them, or to have a skewed view of the world based on your association with them.
“I played a Warden. I really enjoyed all of the stunts and the sort of abilities the offered me. The actual skill itself seems largely involved with very passive activities, i.e., setting wards, and I rolled it not at all outside of deploying my stunts. This seems to necessitate a lot of bookeeping and knowledge of details. Where did I put ward X again? What was it’s strength? Perhaps it could be cool over an extended campaign, we played only one session. I would like to see some mechanism (perhaps stunt driven?) to skip some of that preparation: Ever vigilant – once per session declare that you have already set up a ward in your current location. Or some such things. I felt it was fairly inert during play.”
It’s true that being a Warden is a more passive role than some of the others, but I also know that can appeal to some players. The Warding skill itself gets used more actively if one of your wards actually comes under attack, as you get to use it to defend people within the boundaries of the ward. If used cunningly that can include yourself. After all, a paving slab is an area with a natural boundary, so you could theoretically create a ward around yourself to protect against attack while you use your Naming or other skills or act in a support role.
Thanks very much for all of your feedback, and I hope you have fun playing the game in future!