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Desertfall - Possible spoilers

Now that Desertfall is updated and released as part of the Pre-order what did people think of it?

The addition of the second agent made for a more complex scenario I feel. Having just the one was too simple and I know several of us in the play test created additional agents to add to the challenge when we ran it. (A guard at the landing field in my case, but upping the water merchant seems the more popular)

I expanded on the gambling den as one of my stronger players was the criminal so a chunk of their investigation focused on the underworld and the conflict caused by the Caladan gangs muscling in.

The finale of my game was in the residency basement at the players trapped and subdued the sleeper agent within the residency before she could manually trigger the bomb. My players had already found and partially disarmed it so this was essentially a suicide mission by her.

I’m interested in seeing how others handled the new version of the scenario and what you thought of it.

Tangential to your questions, but I was really stoked to play Desertfall, but I find myself deeply confused as to how to run it and how the mechanics work by the time I got to the adventure. Combat, assets, etc…I’m just not sure I’m capable of running this thing, or driving it out to a place where it’s runnable.
I’m not sure how combat works, when to use intrigue/espionage, etc.
Overwhelmed would be the word for it. I assumed I’d roll into this after feeling fairly comfortable with Star Trek Adventures, but the opposite is true.
I’ve got the Atreides GM bundle on order, but I have a sinking feeling I’ll never be able to run this thing.

They did stream a game (Harvesters of Dune) during Modcon, which hopefully will be up on their Youtube channel at some point.

Trying to read all the rules in one go will cause your brain to spin. :crazy_face: If you break out the base mechanic (pgs 32-38) it is similar to STA, but the combat is simplified to a contested roll with damage = 2 + asset used.
Minors are defeated and Majors have hit points equal to their skill.
Once you have gamed a couple of scenarios with that section the rest makes more sense as it is all just a variant on that with optional rules or examples.

What about duelling/etc - regions for attacks, things like that?
I need a tutorial/video, as it’s just too much to grok. Way too confusing.

Once the game is out and in the stores we’ll be doing some tutorials no doubt.
We did have Jason Durrall running the game on our twitch stream as part of ModCon but that looks to be down at the moment. I suspect we’ll have that up again soon and possibly on our youtube channel.

As to running Desertfall, I’m happy to answer more specific questions so I can see where you are having trouble. We should also have a thread for conflict related questions as thats the big rules section.

From my experience there seem to be two main sticking points in Desertfall so I’ll take a look at those and see if that helps.

The first is the opening conflict with the water bandits. Not because its a complex combat but simply because its the first one.
The first things to remember are that making a successful attack will drop one of the bandits. They lose a test, they are out. They are mooks after all. The same goes for PCs but they have the option to ‘resist defeat’ to get a second chance if things go to quickly. So you don’t need to worry about hit points or the like. Lose a test, you are out. But out need not mean dead, just out of the conflict.

So the trick is, when do you make that test? That comes down to moving assets, and in this case as its a skirmish moving the weapon a character is holding, usually moves the character too for the most part.
For the bandit fight, break the area up into zones depending on how much tactical combat you like. You might have just 2 zones for each half of the alley or as many as ten zones detailing different areas and environments (by a bin that provides cover, near the stairs to a roof etc). You can even do it as one zone and just have any assets either in play or not.

Each turn you have two options effectively - move an asset or use an asset. If an asset is in the same zone as a target, you can use it and try to take them down. If not, move it by one zone until it is. Different options to move will give you a few other possibilities.

The other sticking point seems to be interviewing the servants. I’ve noticed people seem to make this a lot more complex than it needs to be.
What your characters can do is take each servant into a room and grill them police style, but thats not the best plan. The idea is that they tell the GM who they might be following or focusing on and engage them in conversation as they go about their day in a non-confrontational manner.

If you really want to go crazy you might treat each interview as a separate conflict, but that requires stats for each servant and a lot of dice rolling.
The adventure offers a much simpler solution, just make a test for the whole interview and use momentum gained to ‘obtain information’. The test will usually be communicate but depending how players engage the servants they might find a way to use another skill.
The difficulty of the roll would be a 0 if they are non-confrontational about it, and each momentum gained lets the players ask the GM a question about what they learn from the interview. If they are more confrontational the difficulty should be higher as the servant clams up under duress.

Depending on what they learn the PCs can then focus on other servants or maybe come back to give the same one a grilling later if they think they know more. Eventually they will uncover the various misdoings of the servants and get led to the agents. The agents themselves will be tougher opposition, but much the same applies.

Hopefully thats useful, happy to answer more.


This is amazing! Thanks for the help - I’ll take a read through this and ask more questions when I get a chance!

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In playtest we used the Check followed by OI spend method Andy describes for the interviews. One variation was that the difficulty increase resulting from the PC’s “grilling” any of the staff applied to other staff members that were yet to be interviewed. This reflecting the “clamming up” effect as word got around how harsh/unfair etc. the Atreides were being.

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