Storm & Sail: Amended scale rules

Recently I’ve been thinking about a simple way to represent scale/differently sized vessels in my Storm & Sail game; I didn’t want to make it too complex, you can see the rules I arrived at in full in the rules google doc:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g-LA9GQUJUZm4JqGlb7cioOd4erEcs_QvmlIDwEXIHE/edit?usp=sharing

For ease of viewing they’re also reproduced below:

 

Ships have a size rating, the sizes are as follows (if it is necessary in a game then human-sized creatures count as size 0), the default group ship begins at size 2:

 

  • Size 1: Small vessels – Pinnace, sloops and barques.
  • Size 2: Medium sized vessels – Barques, Fluyts, Brigs and Merchantman.
  • Size 3: Large vessels – Galleons and Frigates.

 

In any vessel attacking a smaller vessel than itself adds +2 damage on a successful hit per point of difference in size (so a frigate successfully hitting a pinnace would add +4 damage); however larger vessels are less maneuverable, a smaller ship trying to flee or out-maneuvre a larger vessel gains +2 to the attempt for every point of difference in size (so if the pinnace attempted to use it’s maneuverability to dodge the incoming frigate attack it would gain +4 to do so).

The Rebel Strike Trilogy

We’ve recently wrapped up the Rebel Strike Trilogy, a linked series of three sessions using the FFG Age of Rebellion Star Wars rules set in my Adventures on the Outer Rim version of the Star Wars universe, I’m going to gather all of the material about it in this post.

Cast

  • Kaid-Sen: A dour sharpshooter working for the Rebellion.
  • Inigo Stazzi: A happy go lucky hothead who somehow manages to get the job done.
  • T7-01: A sharp-witted astromech with a talent for penetrating enemy computer systems.

Episode I

The Rebellion has rescued a Quarren known as Sekas Proko from Tattooine, the Quarren has access to experimental stealth technology but will only turn it over if the rebels free his ally Berek Nur from the clutches of the Empire. Kaid, Inigo and T7 board the prison ship Leviathan and attempt to free him.

Intro crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQs1woDHuEM
Commander Sheb Gergran’s briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6lu8yUr-I8

Episode II

With the stealth-tech in the hands of the Rebellion it is fitted to the cruiser Constantine and sent out for a test, however, when activated the ship vanishes, it re-appears later in the Draconis sector inside the Imperial blockade around the frozen moon of Ga-Ri V. The fleet intends to distract the Imperials whilst Kaid, T7 and Inigo sneak aboard to investigate.

Intro crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOwD9MoM5k

After the Strike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZuu2cYiddk

Episode III

With Inigo away on an important mission, Kaid calls in a favour from a Sullustan contact of his and manages to arrange for some much needed R&R for himself and T7 on the peaceful ocean world of Spira. However an old enemy pursues them there, learning of this Tyber Zann, wishing to clear his debt sends the bounty hunter Remo Williams to aid them.

Intro Crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGle8l9DoX4

I had a great time running this trilogy and was lucky enough to have four excellent players involved in it, there were the usual scheduling problems and such like that tend to plague this sort of game but we stuck with and created a fun story that I certainly enjoyed GM-ing and the players seemed to enjoy getting involved in 🙂

 

Matters of Fate: Shortest skill list?

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about skill lists, Approaches and Professions in the Fate system, in preparing my Storm & Sail game (starting next weekend) I’ve decided to go with a Profession based system, but it has got me thinking about just how many skills are actually needed in a Fate game; if you love the current amount of skills that’s grand, I’ve no problems with that, but this post probably isn’t really aimed at you.

Recently my wife Hannah has been running a game using Aspect only fate, essentially the skill rating you add to your dice rolls comes from the number of aspects you have that are applicable.

For example: If you had “Best gunslinger in the county” and “Quick on the draw” as aspects and found yourself in a shoot-out then you could claim +2 as your skill level, one rank per applicable aspect.

This system seems to be working really well at the moment although it does involve a bit of adjudication as to what aspects are applicable in certain situations, and having players who aren’t going to attempt to manipulate the system to get the best rolls in any and all situations; very similar to some of the potential issues that Fate Accelerated can face depending on the level of player buy-in to the spirit of the system.

It also got me thinking about the World of Darkness series of games where attributes are organised into three categories, physical, mental and social, I started thinking about whether or not these three “stats” could be used to replace the existing skill list, and I believe that they could be. Those three labels cover pretty much all situations that I can think of, trying to be diplomatic with somone, roll social, trying to recall ancient lore, roll mental, fighting a pirate, roll physical.

Now I can hear some people complaining and saying that there wouldn’t be much variety using this system, however I think this is where the stunt system can more than adequately pick up that slack, you want to play a character who is more dexterous then brawny, then take a stunt or two that benefit you in those sort of situations, and vice-versa if you want to be the brutal but clumsy barbarian. Although it might be worth the GM being a being more lenient with the situations that stunts can apply to.

Final Xsplit Layout for Storm and Sail Game

As you may know I’m preparing to run a pirate-style fantasy game using a version of the Fate rules that I have compiled, taking inspiration from several different sources. I’ve also been experimenting with the free version of Xsplit in an attempt to make the game more visual for those watching it and as a helpful aid to my players, I’m pretty happy with the layout I’ve now got and have uploaded a small video test of it (you can see this by clicking on the video link below).

Features I intend to use via Xsplit for this game:

  • Changeable backdrop images.
  • Gold coins as fate tokens that can be moved.
  • Screen capture of the players with their fate points below them and their characters name and aspects above them.
  • Overlay-able map of the New World.
  • I also have a second screen set up that can function as a whiteboard.

Cheats guide to making simple outline maps in Photoshop

Please note: There are some excellent and very professional cartographers out there producing great maps for games, this article is not designed to create a map to compete with them, it is for someone who wants to quickly put together a simple map that they can use during a RP campaign with minimal struggle.

Producing professional looking campaign maps can be very tricky, takes a lot of practice and time, however, if you’re just looking for a quick map that will enable you to get playing your game quickly then this guide should help you.

This article assumes you have access to Photoshop and basic ability to use it (although the principles should be transferable to other graphic programs like GIMP).

  1. Open a new screen
    Start up your graphics program and open a new image.1
  2. Colour in the water on your map
    Choose a colour to represent the water on you map and then fill the whole screen in that colour (you can switch to the fill option by pressing G on your keyboard in Photoshop). It’s generally best if you go for a mid-range blue colour.2
  3. Download some landmass brushes
    This is where you’ll really save a lot of time, instead of drawing your landmasses by hand or laboriously creating them using the Photoshop freehand tool, look online for a set of brushes that are ready made landmasses.I recommend land brushes by Bonvanello: http://bonvanello.deviantart.com/art/Land-Brushes-307837333

    Download the brush file to your computer, then select the brush tool (or press B in Photoshop).

    Click on the option to change your brush size and then on the small arrow at the side (as shown on the screenshot below).

    3
    Select load brushes and then navigate to where you saved the landmass brush file.
    If you scroll down the brushes available to you, you should now see the various island shapes available.

    5

  4. Create a new layer for the land
    You can do this by clicking on the add new layer button in Photoshop.6
  5. On the new layer put down landmasses in a different colour (I’m going to use white), re-sizing and rotating brushes until you’re happy with them7
  6. Making sure you still have your land layer selected, double click to the right of the layer name (as shown in the image below)8
  7. You will see the following menu appear9
  8. Select Outer Glow, this will create an area of colour around your landmasses, you can change the colour to a lighter blue than your sea and mess around with the different settingsThe settings I’ve used are shown below.

    10
    This creates the area of shallow water around the coasts of your landmasses.

    11

  9. So there you are a simple map ready for you to sketch on and fill in as your campaign progresses. If you want to give your landmasses a little more definition then you can use the Stroke effect to add an outline and the Inner Glow effect to give them a bit more of a 3D look.12
    13

    14
    So there you are, using this method it’s possible to create a basic outline map for an RPG in about ten minutes or so (quicker once you’ve had a bit of practice).

     

Star Wars Adventures on the Outer Rim: Rebel Strike

It’s been a while since I’ve run any FFG Star Wars games (although I have played in some great one-shots and campaign run by such great GMs as Andre Martinez, Michael Lashambe and Ian Christiansen) so I’ve decided that it’s about time saddle, all the FFG Star Wars games are run are set in the same version of the Star Wars universe, loosely grouped together under the label Adventures on the Outer Rim. Reading through my old notes it occurred to me that we’d never really concluded the story of Sekas Proko, Berek Nur and the hidden Alderaanian stealth technology.

Confused? Let me explain.

In one of the first of these games that I ran the players recovered some lost Alderaanian stealth technology from the post-Death Star ruins of the once great planet, betrayed by one of his friends Sekas Proko the Quarren was able to smuggle the stealth-tech aboard a stolen Tie-Interceptor and use it to escape, unfortunately his ally the mercenary Berek Nur was captured by Imperial authorities and taken away.

In a later game I had Seka Proko turn up as a NPC, he was rescue by a group of Rebels hoping to bring the stealth-tech into the fight on the side of the Rebel Alliance.

Since then we’ve heard nothing of this storyline, I’ve been wanting to run another trilogy so I thought it’d be nice to resolve that storyline one way or the other, so I decided that Sekas would set the Rebels an ultimatum, rescue my friend from the Empire and I’ll give you the stealth technology.

You can find the trilogy outline by clicking on the link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CnZj5f-Ij44oxIiDfvTD5Ku0f9pXEbBvlxGhIcLBbB0/edit?usp=sharing

If you have any interest in Star Wars RPGs (particularly the FFG system) then check out the Tides of Change community on Facebook, a great group of players and GMs who run games set in various versions of the Star Wars universe, I’ve met some great people through the group and had some great games:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StarWarsTheTidesofChange/

Storm and Sail: Profession-based rules re-write

As those of you who read my blog will be aware I am currently preparing for a fantasy-Fate I am planning to start in a couple of weeks that will take place in a setting (very) loosely inspired by the Carribean in the 18th Century.

Up until recently I was writing the rules for the game and merrily looking at subsystems for scale, vehicles and all manner of things and slapping them into the Google Doc that I was writing, then it occurred to me that the more I was adding the less and less the game was resembling the elegant simplicity of the base Fate system and was turning into something far crunchier. Now that’s fine if you like crunchier rules (and if you do version 1 of the rules I wrote is here), but it’s not really my bag, one of the things I love about Fate is how versatile the basic rules system is and I generally prefer to stick closely to it. This left me with something of a dilemna, I wanted to have vehicles of different sizes and two magic systems, so how could I include them and keep the game simple.

It was at this point I turned to a game that has rapidly become my Fate crisis-bible, and that is Jadepunk by Re-Roll Productions; I ran a campaign of this game a short while ago (you can see the videos here) and thoroughly enjoyed it, I remain impressed by how thoroughly the designers managed to get across their vision of their gameworld whilst at the same time avoiding the trap of just adding a buttload of new rules to the Fate system. One of the things I loved about this system was that instead of skills the characters had ratings in six professions that they used for their various rolls, so I decided to use this as inspiration for my campaign.

I also decided to keep the names of the two magic systems but trim down the mechanics in the extreme, concentrating more on what they bought to the game fiction.

You can check out the documents I’m working on by clicking the links below:

I plan to continue updating them as necessary until the beginning of the game, the rules are mostly done but the background will be reworked and expanded at a later date.

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