Blogging Update 29/04/2016

notepadI’m sure those of you who read my blog or keep up with my Youtube channel have noticed that my output has fallen off drastically in the past few weeks, well don’t worry, I’m not abandoning the blog or making RPG related videos or anything like that.

Recently I’ve started up a new job which involves me working later and driving further, as I’ve been trying to learn new systems I’ve also had less spare time in dinner hours, etc to write blog posts. The time that I have been able to spare (when I’m not spending time with my wife) has mostly been taken up with preparing for or running games.

At the moment I have a number of games that I’m involved in:

  • Shadow of the Century playtest games that I run every Friday.
    My own 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign that runs bi-weekly on Sunday.
  • A series of Star Wars one-shots (currently using the FFG rules although I might be trying some using my FAE Hack soon) that normally run on Saturdays.
  • Thashif Muran’s Dresden Files campaign that alternates on Sunday’s with my D&D campaign, in which I play Murdoch a detective who has been overtaken by the spirit of the fallen angel Arioch.
  • Jenny Green’s Dresden Files campaign on alternate Monday nights where I play Syd, a crotchety aged punk who happens to be a lycanthrope and is determined to fight against the man.

So as you can see a lot of my time is actually taken up with gaming and the other free time that I used to write blog posts/make videos has gradually become trimmed down to almost nothing; I’m confident that once things have settled down a bit that I’ll manage to re-organise my time to begin creating vids and making blog posts again, it might not be the same volume as before though.

I’m also considering using more stuff recorded in audio format, since I can record these when I am driving (I wouldn’t want to record video whilst driving but I can talk without getting massively distracted) or when I have a spare moment. I think the audio format whould also cut down the amount of time I spend messing around with cameras or editing afterwards, I would never have believed how much time (even relatively simple) editing takes up.

So to sum up, I might be quiet for a bit (aside from my actual play vids) whilst things settle down and I re-organise, but I’ve not forgotten you all, once I’ve worked out how best to fit my creative output into my current schedule I will be back.

3Brothers D&D 5E Campaign Episode 5: Paper Faces on Parade

In Episode 5 of our Three Brother D&D 5E campaign, three of our heroes travel to the noble estate of House Laskaris where a lavish masked ball is being held.

All about Aspects: Troubles

angry-man-29453_960_720This is the first post of this series dealing with the Trouble aspect in the Fate RPG. The Fate System Reference Document website defines Trouble as:

In addition to a high concept, every character has some sort of trouble aspect that’s a part of his life and story. If your high concept is what or who your character is, your trouble is the answer to a simple question: what complicates your character’s existence?

Most aspects in Fate generally work best if they are a double-edged sword, they have a positive side that you use to justify invokes and a negative side that is used to add complications to a PCs life in the form of compels, although an enterprising player can find ways to invoke their Trouble this aspect should largely be focussed on bringing complications and mischief into the character’s life. Continue reading

All About Aspects: Star Wars Fate II – Force-wielding Boogaloo

After my first post about running Star Wars games using Fate Accelerated Edition I got a great response and it compelled me (see what I did there?) to try and write some of it down as a cohesive document.

I got some great feedback from Sam Dimercurio after showing him the rough version of the document and Wayne Peters was good enough to point out that Scott Wegener, one of the artists on the excellent Atomic Robo had already done some great work with regard to running Star Wars in FAE (you can find his document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12C27OiWxnBz5_DanJX6UQceGKHUbPMdBLLin91q5bYk/edit)

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I have unashamedly borrowed some of the excellent ideas from Scott’s article and incorporated them into my own version of a FAE Star Wars hack, many thanks go to Scott for making his document available to people on Google+.

In-case it needs to be said, this is a fan hack only, no challenge is intended to any copyrights and nor should it be sold for profit in any way, it’s solely designed to allow people who love FAE to add Star Wars to their Fate games.

You can find my version here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuQWVLWUhNNy1DV1E/view?usp=sharing

 

3Brothers Recap Video: Episodes 1-4

It can be difficult sometimes with actual plays, even if you’re really interested in them to find the time to listen to a bunch of 3/4 hour long videos, and with a long running campaign once you fall behind it can be difficult to catch up.

To try and make it a bit easier for people who might be interested in my 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign I’ve created a short 20 minute video that summarises the first four sessions of our game.

Player Tips: Orc or Orog?

orcPlayer tips articles offer a short series of tips to help you brush up your skills in certain areas, the lists aren’t exhaustive but keeping them in mind should help you develop your playing style.

In this player tips article we are looking at the benefits and downsides of playing an average member of a particular species/race as opposed to playing an atypical member of the species.

Please note: These tips are not intending to be exhaustive or provide a “one true way of roleplaying” (since TBH I don’t believe such things exist), they instead offer suggestions that have work for me and that you might like to try in your own games. Continue reading

All About Aspects: Star Wars Fate

I’ve had the idea knocking around in my head for a while to combine my love of Star Wars with my love of the Fate RPG, those of you who’ve gamed with me know that I’m a big fan of the FFG Star Wars games, I’ve played in a lot of games and ran some, all of them have been very enjoyable and I love the narrative dice mechanic used in the game.

So why bother using Fate then?

That’s a good question, and for me it stems entirely from a couple of little niggles I have, my first is that character creation in FFG Star Wars is great if you have the books and all the material in-front of you, there’s plenty of options there to keep the crunch-meisters happy but it’s easy enough so that those of us who don’t find looking things up in rule books all the time quite so compelling, can still get along with it. However, if you are a player who doesn’t have the rulebook then things become a little more difficult, it’s a lot more involved to coach people through creating a character, especially if they don’t have the facility of using some of the excellent character generation programs available for the system.

Whereas creating a Fate character is fairly simple (especially if you’re going to use Fate Accelerated like I’m planning to), the rules are available for free online and, for my money, it is a lot more easily accessible and easy on the pocket, although I appreciate that not everyone finds the Fate rules as easy to understand as I did.

Plus I think the high-fantasy, heroic, action vibe of Star Wars would work well with Fate and I’m interested to see how it would work.

Uber Simple Fate Hack

Okay, I’ve looked at a few Star Wars Fate hack and most of them pretty much started laying on additional details and systems to deal with stuff, which is understandable in a sci-fi system with extra tech and cybernetics etc, but it’s not really the simple one-shot vibe that I’m going for so here are my suggestions for a very simple Fate hack.

Aspects

You have 5 aspects as normal, they are as follows:

  • High Concept: as per Fate Accelerated Rulebook
  • Trouble: as per Fate Accelerated Rulebook
  • Species: the characters race, pick one thing the race is good at and something they are bad at, make it clear in the aspect so invokes/compels are clear.

    For example: Wookie – immensely strong and powerful but prone to berserker rages.

  • Planet/System of Origin: Where your character grew up, again pick one thing that people from that place are good at and one thing they are bad at.

    For example: Citizens of the Imperial are excellent at politicking but not used to surviving in primitive environments.

  • Signature equipment: Pick one piece of equipment that is signature gear for your character and again give it one thing it’s good at and one shortcoming.

    For example: My souped up blaster does a lot of damage but it’s prone to over-heating.

Approaches

These are chosen as per the Fate Accelerated Rulebook.

Stunts

Chosen as per the Fate Accelerated Rulebook, if someone wants to be Force-sensitive, then in addition to having their high concept mention it, they must also take a Force-sensitive stunt, this costs the same as a normal stunt and does nothing on its own but gives narrative permission to do things that otherwise would be impossible using the Force, if a character wants to be good at specific applications of Force-powers then they can take other stunts to reflect this.

Player: I want to leap over the gap between the platforms, is that possible?

GM: Normally no, but you do have the Force-sensitive stunt so I’ll allow you to make a roll to jump it.

Player: Can I persuade the storm-trooper that I’m not the person he’s looking for?

GM: Well since you’ve just strutted up to him in a rebel uniform normally no, but you are a Force-user so I’ll let you make a difficult roll to use the Jedi mind trick on him.

What about spaceships and vehicles though?

Spaceships would be genned in a way similar to mooks, they would have a couple of things they’re good at:

My tramp-freighter is a very fast ship with good manoeuvrability.

And a couple of things they’re bad at:

However its weapons aren’t so great and the sensors have only short-range.

When a person in the ship is using systems in an area the ship is good at then get +2 to their rolls, when it’s a system the ship is bad at they get -2 to their rolls.

Ships would have a stress track and consequences similar to characters but would only be affected by weapons on a similar scale to them.

Conclusion

I think this is a fairly simple way to use Fate Accelerated to run a Star Wars game, it looks okay but I’d have to see it in play to test how it really works, I might have a go at running a game with these rules in a few weeks time.


 

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here.

The Mercy of Ming: Fate Accelerated Game

Despite all my worries about starting a new job on Monday I’m very much looking forward to running a Flash Gordon themed Fate Accelerated game on Saturday evening, the inspiration for this came from the fate that Fate (in particular IMO Accelerated) is really great for one-shots, quick pick-up games that you want to run.

It’s been a little while since I’ve run any Fate, mostly I’ve been running FFG Star Wars and D&D 5th Edition ATM and I wanted to get back to running a bit more Fate, I don’t really have time to pick up another campaign at the moment (since I’m playing in three campaign games and running one) but I’d love to get a few cheeky one-shots in here and there. Having recently watched the 1980’s film of Flash with the excellent Queen soundtrack I loved the lurid and cheesey science-fantasy vibe it gave off and thought that it would be brilliant for a Fate game. Since then I’ve done some reading up on the subject at http://flashgordon.wikia.com/wiki/Flash_Gordon_Wiki but the game is going to be drawing a lot of it’s inspiration from the 80’s film.

Emperor Barin has vanished and distraught his wife Aura has retreated from public life; a new threat has risen to attack the systems of Mongo, General Vultan has engaged them on the eastern front but is vastly outgunned.

Flash Gordon and Hans Zarkov have returned to earth and are currently unreachable, panic grips the population of the settled systems as rumours surface of Emperor Ming’s resurrection.

It is down to a group of previously unknown heroes, piloting an ancient salvaged vessel to penetrate to the heart of Ming’s abandoned stronghold and learn the truth of his resurrection.

Character generation uses a slightly modified form of the Fate Accelerated system: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QMbcFAoIneFUqBnLHBVLA0tdqsd2QqVUQNFFNe3DH6w/edit?usp=sharing

I gave the players a little more guidance than is standard for aspects, in addition to the High Concept and Trouble I also asked for:

  • Kingdom of Origin: This is where the character comes from, it is assumed that your character will be of the prevailing native species of the kingdom.
  • What did Ming do to you?: This aspect should briefly describe what ex-Emperor Ming did to you and why you are involved in this mission.
  • What cool power of piece of equipment do you have?: In addition to any abilities gained from your kingdom of origin (ie. you don’t have to take flight if you come from the City of the Hawkmen since it’s assumed you can do that anyway) name a cool piece of kit or an ability you have and roughly what benefits it gives you, the ability/equipment should also have a downside.

I hoped this would make it more easy for the players to quickly create their characters.

We ended up with some great characters from all of the players:

prince amra

Prince Amra, who was kidnapped by Ming as a bargaining tool to hold over his father King Jurgrid, unfortunately Ian won’t be able to make the game, but since he did such a great job of creating this character I may still have Prince Amra appear as an NPC at the start of the game.

Finkleberry Tosh III

Finkleberry Tosh III, a hammy stage-performer kidnapped from earth and forced to serve as Ming’s master of ceremonies, having been freed from the rebellion he has welcomed the opportunity to perform on a wider stage.

major briggs

Taken hostage to train Ming’s soldiers, Major Briggs saw his entire battalion slaughtered when he defied Ming and was then thrown in prison to rot, he was freed by Barin and Flash after they deposed Ming and has dedicated himself to ensuring the the tyrant cannot return in any form.

prince hoan

An outcast from the forest of Mongo due to his hairless, albino skin, Prince Hoan has been able to rise above the brutallity of the fierce ape-men people and has found a new family fighting to keep Mongo a free and just world.

shiera

A fierce a proud hawk-person warrior, Shiera carries the mace of General Vultan, bestowed on her as a sign of his favour, with her idol being occupied on the eastern front against the rumoured return of Ming’s forces, she seeks to emulate her idol and help restore peace to Mongo.

Anyone interesting in looking at the character sheets can find them here:

I’m very much looking forward to running a scien-fantasy game full of cheesey over-the-top action that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is one of the things that I think the Fate RPG excels at, the simple rules allowing me to create the actual stat-side of the game extremelty quickly.

When the game runs the actual play video will be broadcast here:

All about Aspects: Vampires and a common frame of reference

Little-vampire.svgI recently put up an All About Aspects post concerning representing monstrous nature as an aspect where I suggested that monsters could (in part) be represented using aspects, invokes and compels. Markus suggested in the comments section that there are lots of different types of monsters and that, to make it work, the GM and players would need a common frame of reference.

This is a very good point, and it doesn’t just apply for monsters, Continue reading

GM Tips: Use the Map

GM Tips articles offer advice and ideas for gamesmasters to help hone their techniques and run their games, these lists are not exhaustive but provide some tips to point a GM in the right direction. Continue reading