Not quite a year after I wrote the game I've run the first playtest session, using some of the new modifications I've made during the past couple of weeks.
I'm happy to say the game played pretty much like I had planned and it worked much better than I had feared.
We started by creating a bare-bones setting - a city with a strong Thieves' Guild, a fertile plain and a mountain range with a pass to the powerful Emirate on the other side. Our first characters were the elven lord of the city, a human inn-keeper and a dwarven theif.
The first adventure centered around a cult trying to destroy the city by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. The dwarf died during his attempts to destroy the cult, the inn-keeper managed to find the Book of Heroes which described the ritual the cult was using and was transported to another dimension where she killed a hydra and retrieved its treasures, while the elven lord calmed the city (and made some good deals by buying up land from panicked tradesmen on the side).
We didn't feel this had solved the crisis so the dwarven theif was replaced by a dwarven warrior, Vahn the Undefeated, who managed to smash the cult while the elven lord stopped their ritual and the inn-keeper returned to the other dimension to gather more knowledge and lost her sight but gained prophetic abilities during her journeys. The elven lord became grotesquely deformed and lost his control of the city, but the ritual was stopped and the destruction of the city was prevented.
Creating the world and characters and creating and playing through these adventures took about an hour and a half. We played a few more adventures before we had to break for our regular D&D game.
I'm very happy with the pace of the game, and three players seems close to ideal. I'd like to try it with other numbers as well, but two is probably too few to get the critical mass of ideas and when you get to five the down-time between turns might start to get noticeable. We'll see.
We did come up with a couple of improvements during play: Men will now get their re-roll ability on every challenge and not just one per adventure (preliminarily, at least), and adventures will be created collaboratively by passing them around between the players, with each player adding one challenge and then passing the adventure on to the next player. (Having each player create an adventure by themselves will still be in there, but probably as an optional rule rather than the default.)
One thing I've wanted to add since the beginning is aspects for the various regions that can be used during play and ways for the characters and/or adventures to interact during play and this session brought up some ideas on how to do that.