Feedback from Serpents Fall and Tweaking Magic Stunt

Please note: This post mainly concerns my Serpents Fall game run using the Fate Accelerated system.
In October I posted a video to my YouTube channel (available here) where I encouraged GMs not to neglect the most useful method they had for improving their games, by asking their players for feedback and using it to improve and direct their games; in the spirit of this and as an attempt to improve my own Serpents Fall game (second session ran on 11/11/13, video available here) I recently send a message to the four players in my game. The jist of that message was to provide a series of (fairly) general questions that hopefully would spur them to provide some constructive criticism of the game; my list of questions was as follows.
1) Combat
– Was it too lethal?
– Do you feel that it was dramatic/action packed enough?
– Were the combats too long, too short or about right in terms of the time that they took to resolve?
– How do you think the idea of allowing people who’ve taken out an enemy to narrate the manner of their dispatch worked?
2) Plot
– Overall opinion on the plot of the game so far?
– Do you feel that your characters aspects/backgrounds are being used enough?
– What are your characters plans for next session?
I’m currently waiting for the players to get back to me on some of this; however one thing that did arise from the discussion surrounding my message was the fact that the sorcery Stunt used by one of the players (the Bind Spirits Stunt, details here) felt decidedly under-powered since it effectively just allowed the player to replicate the benefits of “creating an advantage” (something any character can do) but it cost him a FP each time it was used and he could take damage if he failed the roll (whereas normally there aren’t really any consequences to having failed to create an advantage (besides not having the advantage).
After some discussion with the player in question we arrived at the following amended definition for the Stunt:
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Bind Spirits
By spending a fate point the sorceror may summon the spirits of the area to aid him in his tasks; most natural spirits are normally dormant but the sorceror rouses them to action.
The sorceror’s player must decide on the power of the spirit he is attempting to summon and then make a roll with the difficulty based on the power of the spirit as below; if the sorceror succeeds then he gains a number of ‘floating’ +2 bonuses that can be added to either his or an allies rolls to represent spirit aid, alternatively they can be used as a -2 to another persons rolls to represent the spirits hindering their efforts.
Lesser spirit – difficulty 2 roll – success gives you two +2 floating bonus
Normal spirit – difficulty 4 roll – success gives you three +2 floating bonuses
Greater spirit – difficulty 8 roll – success gives you four +2 floating bonuses
There is no penalty for failing the roll save that the sorceror receives no aid from the spirits.
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This seems more balanced and takes into account that the player has had to devote both a Stunt and an Aspect towards getting this ability and that they stunt have to make a roll in order to receive the bonuses; we removed the idea of a failed roll resulting in damage since it seemed a little harsh given that the player was having to spend a Fate Point (which would normally get you a single +2 to a roll if invoking an Aspect) and make a roll to acquire any bonuses at all.
My players seemed to respond well to the fact that we were continuing to evolve the game and attempt to tweak it in order to get a more interesting and fun game from it and enjoyed the fact that I was getting them involved in making these rules alterations rather than just turning up to a session as the GM and telling them that the rules have changed. I’m looking forward to seeing how our next session goes and how our new sorcery Stunt works in play šŸ™‚

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