I playtested Illeria for the first time in forever last night, with my new roommate Matt. The game went decently well. I decided to use the new rules for orders (namely, that you don't need to decide what each character will do until the action phase), however I did not have group actions, and the spirit world characters were still weak. He seemed to like it, and had a number of good comments.
One of his biggest comments was that there was not enough of a link between the worlds. This is not the first time I've heard this, but he made some really good suggestions that I am hoping to try to run with. Basically, he said that there should be some way to send powers between characters, and that there needs to be some kind of reason to keep fighting in the spirit world (in that game, most of the spirit world fight occurred during the first 4 turns, then I realized that I had suffered too much damage and pulled back and hid, and the spirit world became kind of pointless).
Here are my thoughts:
Whenever a character's specter (their spirit world character) is incapacitated, they are not removed from the board, but just laid down. That character's vessel (their real world character) becomes shaken as normal. However, there is a new twist: every turn, the character's vessel makes a "shaken" check. On a 1-3, the vessel falls into a state of unconciousness for the turn. On a 4-5, they can act normally. On a 6, they immediately take d6 damage, but then their specter stands up, heals twice that many hit points, and begins fighting again. This will make it that the spirit world battle never really ends, but doing well sets you up to continue doing well. Also, it makes it that if a wizard's or general's specter is incapacitated, they are not permanently useless. I also might make it that the character can spend an action to reroll their shaken check.
I also might make a rule that at any time, a vessel may spend an action and lose d6 hit points to heal their specter d6 hit points. This would be less efficient than having them get knocked-out, but much faster.
Also, there should be a way for characters to send powers between the worlds. I think I'll create a new stat called "energy points." Basically, each turn, characters can spend an action and an energy point to perform a "Infuse Power" action (I'll come up with a better name eventually). This grants their doppelganger a temporary or small advantage, such as bonus hit points, a temporary luck point, or temporary stat bonuses. The exact bonus will depend on the character's class. And, I think I might make a way for characters to get more luck points. For example, I might make it that there are places in the spirit world that allow characters to gain more. Or, possibly that there are three of them, and the party that controls at least two gets the energy points.
Anyways, much to do. These are exciting times...
“Precision is not truth.” – Henri Matisse (impressionist painter)