at tara

FAE gaming musing...

So I've been poking around with this whole FateCORE/FateAccelerated thing for a while now.  As is my fickle nature I ponder/half create games based on whims of what enters my consciousness (Star wars! Mass Effect! Deadlands! Mistborn!)... which leads me to Atomic Robot.  I've been circling this enough that I think I actually have a concept for an adventure, as opposed to just a general interest... at least strong enough to actually work out a FAE game.

Here in follows a concept (based on the Atomic Robo comic, but not necessarily 100% canon to the comics)

The world of "Action Science!(tm)" is one you would find very familiar.  It's basically the real world, except that Pulp Science is real.  What is Pulp Science?  Giant ants, giant mutated lizard monsters, an intelligent (time traveling?) raptor, an atomic powered sentient robot from the 1920s, steam powered metal men, alternate dimensions, nazi brain in a jar plotting from it's hidden Argentinian base...

In this world Tesla invented the singular atomic powered automatic intelligence known as Atomic Robo in the 1920s.  Robo thwarted secret nazi scientist plots, battle communist atomic threats, went to mars, and helped repel attacks from alternate dimensions... but these events are hidden from the general public, and thus history as we know it is not much different.

This brings us to the modern day.  Tesladyne Industries is a privately held "think tank" supported primarily by the various patents it holds based on Tesla's theories and inventions.  Generally recognized as a benevolent institution it is involved in cutting edge scientific investigations... as well as being troubleshooters for things outside the realm of "normal".  Teams of elite field agents dubbed "Action Scientists" tasked to investigate abnormal situations around the globe.

Like a 1950's sci-fi movie hero, AS's are people willing to yell out "Damn the radiation!" before running in to save someone.  Or strap an untested proton accelerator on their back and go hunting monsters. Or put on their favorite hat and chase down the nazi who just stole that golden idol.  They're smart, and knowledgeable, but don't just sit back in a lab experimenting.  They are scientists of action.

This adventure will deal with Action Team Zeta, a rapid response team based in Chicago. (because that's where it's convenient for me to have people start out) In my mind, it will be flexible enough to handle various people swapping in and out... a fill in game for when we're missing people or the primary Gm needs a rest.  On a night Earthdawn isn't being run (or we stop early) we can talk out some characters and have it on standby to play. 
at tara

Random FAE character musing

Mike was a character I made for an Alternity Dark Matter game.  He was basically a 20 something "extreme" sports athlete (not a professional one) / driver.  Over the course of the game his driving branched out into flying helicopters (and even an alien hover van at one point when he went through a dimensional portal) so it sot of became the "any sort of vehicle" guy.  The game itself is an x-filesish take on the world, with Hoffman Institute being a secret group dealing with the crazy stuff going on in the word.

"Action Mike" as a concept is something of an in joke with the group, being how he was described by one of the other players.  hence the sub-concept.
"It's the landing that's hard..." is obviously related to piloting, but honestly can extend into many activities like athletics, driving, and even combat.  Bad landings/endings/etc.

Mike Firenic
High concept: "Action Mike (Former X-sports wheel man)" - as a concept is something of an in joke with the group, being how he was described by one of the other players.  hence the sub-concept.
Trouble: "It's the landing that's hard..." - is obviously related to piloting, but honestly can extend into many activities like athletics, driving, and even combat.  Bad landings/endings/etc.
Aspects: 1. "The vehicle whisper" -a preternatural familiarity with vehicles.  used for piloting, fixing, figuring out things about them
2. "No one sees past the dye-job"- being a 20something extreme sports guy with ever-changng hair color, can apply to bluffing (I'm harmless!) blending in (dyed to a normal color he blends in) or even         beign underestimated by "professional" types (sneak attacks, )
3. Hoffman agent - This is sort of a later in the game aspect, where he comes to accept the agency more.  It's used here to represent all the stuff you learn beign an agent, like stuff about moster lore/weakness, or the ability to call up for help traveling or finding gear.
• Careful              +0
• Clever               +1
• Flashy               +3
• Forceful             +1
• Quick                +2
• Sneaky               +2
1. As the "vehicle whisper" once per session Mike can spend a fate point to declare his ability to drive/pilot something he shouldn't be able to (Alien hover van? No problem.)
2. As a Hoffman agent Mike can "Call the home office" once per session to gain a +2 bonus to any roll regarding research, funds, or backup that the agency could logically provide.
at tara

FATELands magic thoughts...

So, thinking about it.. .I'm not looking to publish rules for the world, all i really have to do is deal with my group here.  So it's probably just easiest to hand wave some things in a way that just wouldn't work in a general rule sense...

Extra: Huckster
Permissions: Your high concept aspect should reflect your Hucksterness.
Costs: Skill Ranks (Hexslinging, Gambling)

Effects: Gain a 2 point "Magic" stress track that is used up when casting spells, this track gains boxes based on the Gambling skill of the player.  Use this track to pay the magic cost of "sling hexes", representing your own magic.  You can bypass this and "Deal with the Devil" much the way you do in Deadlands proper. Hexes will be classified as low cost, med cost, high cost which will correspond to the magic costs (and thus poker hand) needed in a hand wavy sort of fashion.
For what Hexes you know, just adopt them from your Deadlands character.  Any magic outside of these hexes (rituals, untried hexes, whatever) require a Deal with the Devil, generally with a higher than standard difficulty.

Extra: True Believer
Permissions: Your high concept should reflect your belief.
Costs: Skill Ranks (Preachn', Religion)

Effects: Basically the true believer can pray for any effect that is within reason.  There will be a list of sample effects to draw on, adapted from the Deadlands spells.  The downside to this flexibility is that all prayers are one step more difficult. Additionally, if your opponent defends with style (gets 3 or more shifts above your roll) you gain an aspect of "Shaken Faith", that the opponent can tag for free in the next magical confrontation they have with you.
at tara

Fatelands: Hucksters

Extra: Huckster
Permissions: One aspect reflecting your induction into the Huckster fold.
Costs: Skill Ranks (Hexslinging, Occult), One Refresh Point

Those who knew the secrets of Hoyle’s Book of Games benefited greatly from the Reckoning. The number of spirits in the world before 1863 was low, and they were weak. Afterward, a flood of spirits with links to a much stronger supernatural plane made it much easier to make use of Hoyle’s formulas.
The wizards of the Weird West call themselves “hucksters” after the snake-oil salesmen who so successfully pull the wool over the collective public’s eyes. Other terms were borrowed from the American Indians, who had a different view of the way things worked. Jokers became “manitous,” and the supernatural plane in which they lived became known as the “Hunting Grounds.”

Being a Huckster allow you to spend your stunts to gain "Hexes" that represent spells you know.

And.... I'll have to come back to this...
at tara


So, got to thinking (as I do now and again)... I was thinking about a post Earthdawn (and perhaps pathfinder) interlude game to cleanse the fantasy from our gaming pallet, and thinking that with Fate around the corner I'd like to use it for something Sci-Fi-y.  Then, I thought about Deadlands, and felt a twinge about abandoning the game entirely.  Then, a bolt...  Deadlands using FATE!  But what would that take?

When looking at adapting in to FATE you ahve to decide what, if any, subsystems are important enough to require a special rules based handling.  Looking at DL the important subsystems I come up with are magic (Arcane, Faith, Weird Science), duels, and the card based Initiative.  Everything else is handled in a more generic rulesy way, or as fluff with doesn't need translating.

After that, you need to decide how in depth you want to make these subsystems.  Does magic need an entire Dresden style system, or can it be handled with an aspect some fluff and a handwave?  I lean more towards the second, as for me part of FATE's appeal is its loose rules...

Now to sit down with the PDF and try to put together some real notes on this...
at tara

EarthDawn gm sent update 2

Session 2 Recap:
We began our Session with Jik'Harra regaining consciousness with the help of Alric and Sid binding his wounds and calling his name. His body aching and head pounding he manages to stagger to his feet. Alric examines the newly motionless corpses and finds them to be  toughly disgusting and a mish mash of different bodies stitched together. One detail that does stand out (that the GM forgot to mention, cough cough) is that the skull of both cadaver men have the same groove/hole, cut into the back that you saw in the dwarf skeleton you found earlier.
The Entrance to the Cave that you believe leads to Kaer Kanor is blocked by a strange Spider's web of unusual size. Given Jik'Harra's wounds and the creep factor the group decided to retreat. On the way back the group on more examined the bones that they now believed belonged to Tullo Blackmine. But found no further evidence of interest.
Setting a path for the old Village they came across an overlook with a very old tree and a patch of grass. Alric took some time to speak to the ancient spirit within the tree and learned that another dwarven Elementalist used to come and speak to the tree often, or at least to himself out loud next to the tree, while he examined root systems and elemental magic. Later he cast some great spell that cost him his life. The spirit apparently was fond of the dwarf and in some exchange with the Passion of Jasparee arranged for the patch of grass to grow where the dwarf now lay beneath in the earth.
Very little was to be found at the site of the old village, but Jik'harra got to splash in the water and fish along with Sid, much fun was had,..... by him... and dinner was quite excellant. Alric did notice that there was a tower on the other side of the river on the top of a cliff. The nite nite sky was beautiful and peaceful unlike their dreams, filled with fear and bones.
The next day the group returned to the kaer to rest and report. They were once more sent out on  the 3rd of Rua to seek out the residents of the tower for information. With the Help of Master Broghan, they were able to cross the river and ascend the long ramp. From the top of the cliff they were able to make out the green of Glennwood Deep to the west.  They were unhappy to fund the creepy puppet within, almost as unhappy as the puppet was to meet them. Within the tower was a cantankerous old master of Magic named Casiadorus Rex, whose Puppet listed numerous titles that the group had no reference for. (the puppet was no less cantankerous, and maybe a bit more pompous) It seemed the Old Coot built his tower there to be alone after a long and prosperous life of adventuring and horror killing and just wanted to retire in peace. He reveled that the Key to Kanor had been found by and Ork named Yorak, and that he had been paid in lumber to examine the item to learn of it's pattern. He told the Ork that he must learn the Name of it's creator and where it was made. The Ork seemed disappointed and left. He does not know where he went but mentioned Kratas as a place "people sometimes try and sell baubles".
legend points:200
at tara

EarthDawn gm sent update 1

Quick summary:
The kaer was formed of the people of the village of Belvarden.
The group learned that they had been working together for a year to prepare for the opening of the kaer. You learned that the protection magic for the kaer was provided by the rulers of Iopos (a nearby city ruled by a clan of casters) The Kaer itself is a series of unnatural caverns that were created by unknown person/persons, of much speculation. The Key to the kaer was created by Tullo Blackmine a dwarf wizard from the village of Kanor (a friendly nearby village before the scourge) He also brought the Kaer your copy of the Book of Tomorrow. (the Key to the Kaer was a sapphire in a Copper setting hung on a copper chain. The Kaer was broken into by a Giant Iron scaled horror over 100 years ago that killed many people and led to the cave in (created by the villagers) that operated your section from the rest, saving the survivors. At great cost. (6 adepts volunteered to hold the line to buy time for villagers to escape and close the tunnel with the cave in. Their names are remembered in etched stone near the cave in, and are read each year during the earth Celebration)
(I would list the names of villager NPCs at this point but my USB key with that info got dropped in the washer and is now drying in a bag of rice :P )
You learned that Belvarden was located on the Serpent river east of Glennwood deep, south east of the Scol mtns. The river was under the influence of House Ishkarat. The Mtns controlled by the fearsome Firescale Trolls, said to ride great beasts of fire. Thera rules Barsaive and provided the rites of Protection to Iopos, who shared it with Belvarden. The village however was far to remote to really notice or be affected by who claimed rulership of the area.
On the 1st of Rua, in the Throalic year 1452 The kaer was opened  and the Party ventured forth to explore the remains of the rest of the Kaer, and to see what the wolrd was like. (was the scourge over) (some villagers thought it was too soon to open the door, but they were a small minority, and were outvoted. That morning Thaddeus fell ill and was taken to the Questor of Garlen for healing. It appears he suffers from a disease called Lungrot. The others were told to look for Rianna's fan and herb that would help cure him.
The kaer was devoid of live except for a number of rats. It appeared at some point a great deal of water got in, and there are puddles everwhere and one could hear the dripping of water from the roof. Gone was anything of real value. Including building supplies that were stored with the intention of use for rebuilding the village, if needed. The Entrance to the Kaer was broken open and several traps were intact. 1 had taken the life of some unfortunate soul. The ladders and scaffolding used to climb up and out of the kaer were intact, and the crane had been repaired but someone unknown (the looters perhaps?) (it is poorly jury rigged, it will require some reinforcing if it is going to be used to help get all the people and their belongings out in a timely manner.)
The View of the river valley was breathtaking as you stood on the hill blinking the bright light of the Sun. The light being far brighter than the Illuisionary sun that rose and set each morning in the main room of the kaer. The Serpant river was a short walk to the North, A large gnarled but living tree grows on a rise to the west, and the only other signs of live are a few bits of grass tufts and scub here and there. (it looks like the closer to the water the more plant life might be there)
The group set out tot he west to look for the village or Kaer of Kanor. On the way Alric spots a shiney in the dirt and stops to investigate. He finds a copper chain tangled up in the remains of a dwarf skeleton. The back of the skull has been.... sliced?...away and has a small hole opening in the back. It appears to have been there a very very long time.
About 50 yards away from the Cave, that the group spotted upon entering the valley, a body is seen up ahead. Upon closer inspection the body took offense at the intrusion and attacked the Group. After a deep would from Sid the scout, the Corpse began to scream a hideous scream and began to fail and claw like mad. Alric felt something grasp at his ankle and realized another corpse was rising out of the dirt and clay. While the first corpse went down rather quickly without being able to do more than give Sid a scratch. the 2nd become enraged as well after a mighty blow from Jik'Harra the Swordmaster. In it's flurry of attacks Jik'Harra was severely injured and lost consciousness. After seeing it's victim fall the corpse, oddly, seemed to calm down a bit but did pounce on Jik'Harra and perhaps began to try and gnaw on his ear? Alric finishes off the corpse with a blast of earth that rips through it's back. After rousing JIk'Harra, and binding his wounds, the scene faded to black and ....
                         To Be Continued

Legend Point award: 300 each (including Thaddeus)
at tara

Down in Coffin Rock, a wrap up...

Two months pass surprisingly quickly once things get going.  You've broken the spirit of evil that held the town in it's grasp, freeing it to grow again.  Your continued efforts quickly begin to bear fruit...

Mayor Hambley seems to do reasonably well, for a slightly incompetent recovering alcoholic.  His first few weeks of sobriety are spent dealing with sorting out the various deeds that the dead marshal had taken.  He holds public hearings for townsfolk to come forward with (sometimes scant) evidence to their houses, businesses, or plots of land.  Many buildings still go unclaimed and the mayor basically annexes them for resell by the town to folk coming into town. As for the roles you've taken an interest in he pretty much leaves you to your own devices.

The assayer confirms that (to the best of his ability) the mine appears to indeed be viable for mining.  The mayor pays him to travel to Denver and work out a deal with a company to come and work the mine. By the end of April the Merrimac Consolidated Mines Company sends it's own assayers out, and by mid May the town population has started swelling with miners and workers supporting them.

Jeff, good ol' Jeff, takes up residence at the Crystal River hotel.  After a couple of weeks of freedom he comes to Seamus to ask about being a deputy again.  He says his main skill is shooting a gun, and that their ain't much in the way of legitimate call for that around town aside being a lawman.  If you turn him down, he accepts it without an argument but you find he leaves town within a couple of days.

The dry goods store reopens a week or so after we wrapped up, receiving a delivery of fresh goods from Rusty Bend.

Tom Blackfeather, the livery owner, offers to put up your horses for the cost of feed since he feels you kept his wagon from getting stolen (in addition to the other stuff you've done to help the town).

Along with the mining company a new doctor arrives.  He seems a decent enough fellow, no strange obsessions that you notice.  If you haven’t cleaned out the doc's place by the time he arrives he has... questions about the last one.  Either way, soon after taking up residence he hires the carpenter to put a window in the surgery, to get some real light in there.

The church is nearly repaired. Out of town workers were brought in to replace the windows, and the glasswork proceeds apace.  The bell is still cracked but rings true in the wind.

Amberlee finds that while it was closed down the library wasn't entirely bare.  It may not rival anything back east but there were some boxes of books (most even in readable condition).  Her efforts there, and getting the school house operating again, endear her to the womenfolk of the town a few of whom offer their assistance in running the school and library now that they aren’t (as)fearful for their lives.  There is a small apartment above the library that you can take possession of, should you wish.  The pay of a school marm isn’t much, but it supports you and you get some tips and donations from parents and some townsfolk who seek out your religious learnings.  You’ve managed to pocket $75.

Seamus finds that being a sheriff in a dead town and one in a boom town are two very different things.  As miners and other folk come to town things get more rowdy.  Fights and such mostly, but drunkenness and other petty crimes as well.  Hiring more deputies becomes, if not a necessity, a really good idea.  You obviously can take up residence in the jail, should you desire too, but it’s not strictly necessary.  With pay yo come out ahead $150.

Gentleman Jim settles in at the Jewel Theater.  The mayor gives a deal on the rent to help you get started.   Your girls (Mary, Ann, Elizabeth, Emily and Ellen) don't take to much advantage of your protective nature.  Business is slow, generally, until the mine company hits town.  After all is said you come out ahead to the tune of $500.  The claim you manage to sell for another $200, split that however you were going to.

Sunday June 1 1879
Fierce winds usher in the month of June carrying the peal of thunder through the valley, the wind fueled peal of the church bell nearly covered by the sound.  As dawn's light cracks the horizon the mine works are already going, and the church is stirring with workers checking for damage from the night’s storm.  The town’s streets are already busier than high noon just a few months ago.  A town on the verge of collapse has become a bustling small town, barely recognizable as the dawn’s sun dries up the night’s rain.
(And this is where the game will pick up, should the game pick up after Earthdawn and Pathfinder and such…  assuming there isn’t a new shiny, like Fate..)
at tara

Deadlands session recap... kinda...

No posting recaps... bad GM
*fudges around some dates to make this line up... cough...*

The party has been cleaning up the town of Coffin Rock, little place in the Colorado Rockies.

Thur May 8th 1979
The party arrives in Coffin Rock on the trail of Gentleman Jim's mine claim.  The town is... not what they expect.  It's a boom town gone bust... building stand empty and boarded up, no one walks the streets, and the entire place reeks of desperation and fear. Seamus takes in the sites at the Jewel Theater (brothel) while Jim and Miss Annabelle head for the Crystal River Inn.
The Inn keep is withdrawn, but not really.. rude. Seamus gets a lady named Lucy and takes a bath and a bottle of (drugged) whiskey.  He manages to not pass out, hard as that may be for a drunk irishman, and stops Lucy from rolling him.  The madam of the house gives him a nasty look as he leaves.
The party gets rooms and retires.
In the middle of the night they are all awoken by the ringing of the church bell.... and something feels wrong.  Out the window in the street they observe a group of men carrying what looks to be a dead body.  They investigate, following them to the graveyard where they find 2 men digging a shallow grave for the body of Lucy.  Rough and tumble it up, some dead, one unconscious and stuffed in a mausoleum.  Flickering lights in the church draw their attention and the party heads over.
Queue weirdness and the parishioners trying to keep the party out.  A fight, many deadfolk... in the back room they find the Revered trying to complete a ritual of some sort.  Seamus tries to take him alive, but blows off his leg instead... a cursory search and the party backs out and heads to their rooms.

Fri May 9th 1879
Confrontation with the sheriff in the morning.  Seamus taunts him, implying he's in on the demon worshiping and such, and the sheriff takes the bait and drops into a  duel with him. The sheriff goes for his gun, but Seamus beats him to the shot and lays him flat.  The deputies take the better part of valor and carry the sheriff off to the doc, instead of trying to throw down with Seamus and Gentleman Jim.  After dropping off the sheriff at the docs the deputies hole up in the jail...
The party does some exploring around town....
Amberlee uses the power of faith to de-drunk the mayor...
The deputies are dealt with, the mayor makes the group deputies in their place.
They head out to the mine to check it out.  Odd red mineral veins, glowing, golems, rattlers, skeletons resting in crates of red ore, the walking dead, a large construct of bone and an the spirit of the mountain freed.

Sat May 10th 1879
Amberlee begins the process of re sanctifying the graveyard.
Jim and Seamus head over to the Jewel to get some answers.  The madam turns out to be a ghoul (or, well, technically on her way towards it but details) so they kill her, her body gaurd, and three ghoul like thralls.  The girls of the Jewel don't seem to knwo much abotu what is goign on, having been kept in the dark about the most extreme parts.  Satisfied with this, the party leaves them to thier own devices, and heads out to get the doc to take a look at madam belle's corpse.
at tara

Yay randoms

So of course by watching the Fate kick-starter it gets me pondering what I'd do with it.  There are a few things I always thought would work well in Fate... Star Wars, Exalted, and now to that I can add Earthdawn having seen some preliminary work done by this fellow

Star Wars has that whole Jedi issue... the reality of them is that they are just better all around.  Acrobatics, lightsabers, deflecting blaster bolts, force choke... how do you balance a PC with those options vs a smuggler?  You don't.  Or in Fate's case, you don't make them balanced so much as give them parity.  Combat is much more open, cinematic, so Jedi can use force based stunts, but that doesn't lessen others abilities to use stunts based  on their blaster skills, or their fast talking or whatever.  So I tihnk it would be an interesting mix

Exalted.  What to say about Exalted... I love the whole anime-wusha-70's kung fu-all mythologies-asian themed culture smoothie that the setting is.  But the rules... well, the general die mechanic and such are find but the charm (powers) system.... guh.  Way to many, and while the flowery names are cool and all, it doesn't make it easier to learn.  And not learning large swaths of the charm trees means you won't build a character correctly... but in Fate those charms just become stunts or aspects... there no building it wrong because your entire concept is your build. 

Earthdawn's system is quirky... it's not bad, but quirky.  But the high fantasy post-magical apocalypse rebuilding setting is a solid one.  Lots of adventure possibilities built right in... dungeons with logical reasons to exist... airships... oh, and cthuluesque horrors wandering the countryside.  What's not to love? 

Perhaps other random game musings to follow...