Shadows of the Century Beta Playtest – Pitch Session

I was luckily enough to picked to take part in the Shadows of the Century Beta playtest by Evil Hat Productions, looks like a real cool game, I’ve just run the Pitch Session (or session zero) for my face-to-face group; obviously I can’t give anything away about the mechanics at this stage but thought I’d let you know about some of the crazy PCs and NPCs we’ve ended up with.

Please note: The version of the game that I’m currently using is a beta playtest version and may change before the final version is released.


Player Characters

A sorceror for hire who was once part of a cult dedicated to safely harnessing portals to another dimension in search of otherworldly wisdom, the sorceror eventually came to believe that the cult hierarchy were using the portals for evil ends and joined our band of heroes, wanting to put right the damage she had caused.

One-man army. An ex-special forces soldier, scarred and injured in the line of duty, he got out of the military and now spends his time as a soldier of fortune trying to help those who can’t help themselves.

The science experiment gone wrong. Originally worked for Hank Scorpio’s organisation but left after a science experiment left her changed and with an almost superhuman ability to communicate with machines, she took the pay-off she received from Scorpio and hopes to use it and her new abilities to help save the world from itself.

Non-player Characters

Joey the Snitch always sniffs all the time as though he has a permanent cold and is very twitchy, often jumping at his own shadow.

The Finger-smith. A legendary thief wanted in 6 countries whose real identity is unknown.

The Dandy. A rich man who sponsors various hero groups, he is willing to pay extravagant amounts of money to have personalised maids and butlers, but insists on washing his own socks.

Granite got his nickname as a child whilst living with his formidable grandmother, he now works as a leg-breaker for the cult.

General Payne is a semi-retired military man who has not seen action for several years and is rumoured to have a glass jaw.

Elizabeth Shadow is an opium runner who is noted for her outré fashion sense, although she refuses to wear furs.

Ed “bro” James the man-mountain enjoys listening to Culture Club and watching the Wizard of Oz.

Daniel Farloe is an alien replicant with is obsessed with new technology.

“Cheese” is the codename of a top undercover government spy who can often be found drinking shakes at a particular diner if you need to contact him.

Helen Richardson. A preppy inventor who seems quite unable to stop babbling.

Mikhail Strebov. A huge man who works at an inn, Mikhails family originally comes from Ireland, however he’s never been able to hold his drink.

Rathma’Gog is a vegan curiosities dealer.

Villains

Hank Scorpio wants to rule the world, he is the owner of a multi-national corporation funded by various shady overseas governments and dictatorships. He sincerely believes he is making the world better, but before you can make a new world, you have to clear out the old one.

The Giant Robot originates on Mars and had travelled to earth to help stop a much greater threat.

There is also a Scientist Studying Portal Technology, he believes it could serve as a source of unlimited energy and even propel mankind to the stars and beyond.


Character generation during the game was fairly simply and didn’t take long, we had great fun following the instructions to create our crazy cast of characters. Looking forward to the first session next week 🙂

Oggdude’s Star Wars Character Generator

For anyone playing FFG’s Star Wars RPGs, the following program (written by Oggdude) is a great time-saver when it comes to creating characters, it also allows you to create sheets in a couple of different formats, add custom information and provides some excellent GM-ing tools.

The link below is to the web installation that auto-updates itself:
http://bitly.com/1kjPjSk

 

Clarence J. Murdock – Dresden Files Character

Dresden-Files-RPG-V1-V2As you’ll probably be aware if you’ve read my recent posts, we wrapped up my Jadepunk Campaign a short time ago, Thashif has stepped up to fill the timeslot and is going to be running a Dresden Files game, alternating with my FFG Star Wars campaign. I’ve played a little bit of DF but not a great deal and have only just actually acquired the books and am avidly reading my way through them, it uses a version of Fate that is a pre-cursor to the Fate Core rulebooks. It is easy to see places where the game was streamlined and tweaked between this version of Fate and Fate Core.

Continue reading

Terror on the Outer Rim [Edge of Empire]: Session 0

Character and Setting Generation

Well we held our character generation and campaign creation session (christened session 0) for our Edge of the Empire game that we’re going to be running soon (now named Terror on the Outer Rim): you can see the intro crawl I made for session 0 here:

This was the first actual session we’ve hosted on Twitch and it wasn’t without technical problems, including:

  • The footage uploaded to Twitch seemed to be quite laggy and I was constantly receiving messages about it ‘dropping frames’ during the broadcast, not sure what I can do about that (being at best an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to IT) but I’ll have a look into it.
  • Not being able to use the layouts that had been created since one of the players was fairly late and adding an extra person would’ve changed the screen capture areas.
  • The sound quality varying considerably on Skype depending on how many people were online.
  • For some reason people seemed to talk over each other more, I’m not sure whether or not this is just a consequence of having more players.
  • Skype restricting video calls to four hours.

Despite those problems along with myself and several of the players not being 100% up on the FFG EotE rules yet we were able to get through character creation and also come up with several potential future conflicts for the area where the game is going to be set. There were a couple of additional issues:

  • Generating characters for people without the rulebook is a bit of chore; this is no fault of the people involved (since I certainly wouldn’t expect all players to have to purchase a copy of the book) but compared to games I’ve used with more streamlined character creation I did find the process a bit lengthy and I must say was longingly eyeing the Fate Star Wars hack by Ryan M. Danks at one point (you can find that here for anyone interested).That said I’m determined to persevere with the FFG system and hopefully it’ll get easier as we all become more familiar with the rules.
  • It’s obvious that one or two of the players are more familiar with the EU of Star Wars than I am (having not played any of the related video games) and I can see people quoting obscure “facts” about the setting potentially being a nigglesome issue; I’ve decided to deal with that by assuming that only the current cannon (as established by the films) is guaranteed to be accurate, I may introduce EU elements as the game goes on but it should not be assumed this is the case.

You can see the videos of session 0 below:

Part 1

Part 2

Our next session is a couple of weeks; anyone interested in watching it live can do so on our Twitch channel:

https://www.twitch.tv/reddicediaries/

 

Fate Core Character – Sebastian Crow

Playing in a Mad Max inspired Fate Core one-shot this evening hosted by Ian F. White, very much looking forward to it.

We were given the following background info (please note I didn’t write the background info it was provided to us by Ian F. White the host of the game):

Relevant points in my interpretation of the world of Mad Max:

(Some of the following points do not hold up to detailed scrutiny, but we’re going to gloss over that fact in the name of entertainment and playability.)

• There was a limited nuclear war a few years ago, amongst the nations of the Northern Hemisphere.
• Nuclear radiation fallout, famine, drought, and civil war combined to decimate the world-wide population, and the global civilization as a whole, collapsed.
• The world quickly ran out of stored processed fuel and munitions. Therefore, fuel is scarce, guns are scarcer.
• Most major cities still operate to some degree. Enclaves were formed by groups of survivors around strategic resources.
• The land in between these Cities and Enclaves descended into lawlessness, occasionally punctuated by a lone farmstead or trading post.
• Anyone travelling through these lawless areas would have a vehicle (personal or shared), and be constantly on the lookout for more gasoline…

Character background and lead-in to the scenario:

• What type of vehicle do you (and your ‘partner’ if applicable) drive?
• What weaponry do you favour?
• Why the hell are you trying to make a living in the Australian Outback?
• How do you know the entrepreneur Donny “Spider” Webster?
• In what form is the message “Met me at Fifi’s on the 23rd. Spider” delivered to you?

Here is a link to the character that I have created Sebastian Crow.ron perlman

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByVpAo4rxDGuVUJSampJTGMtb0k&authuser=0

And the extra background info:

• What type of vehicle do you (and your ‘partner’ if applicable) drive?
A rusty looking (but well maintained) motorbike covered with religious symbols.

• What weaponry do you favour?
A shotgun that Crow refers to as the Sword of Azrael.

• Why the hell are you trying to make a living in the Australian Outback?
Crow believes that (as he lost his faith & then found it) this harsh new world is a test, a new flood or crucible designed to forge man into something better than he was, but to do that people need to be show the way. He travels the outback looking for signs from the Lord.

• How do you know the entrepreneur Donny “Spider” Webster?
Crow has a monetary arrangement with Spider, given Spiders contacts he keeps an eye out for anything weird that might be a sign and lets Crow know in return for regular payments.

• In what form is the message “Met me at Fifi’s on the 23rd. Spider” delivered to you?
Spider knows that Sebastian has a soft spot for youngsters (believing them to be innocent and undeserving of the harsh world created by their parents), so he sends a youth with the message.

sebastian crow

[RPG] Kaiyu Yuuto

When I originally published my post showing the characters for our Jadepunk, we hadn’t yet received the background for Kaiyu Yuuto (played by theRogueDM) since Jenny was feverishly working away on the background, well it’s now arrived and it was definitely worth the wait; I thought it was worth putting in a quick post to show the work that has gone into the background, so without further ado, I present Kaiyu Yuuto…


Kaiyu Yuuto




Please note: All of the text below was written by theRogueDM.

Aspect: Portrayal – “Aristo-Rat”

Yuudai: 雄大 juːdæɪː Great, manly; hero
Yuuto: 優翔 juːtɔː Gentle, superior; [to] soar, fly

It’s all in the name.

Aspect: Background – “Black Sheep”
The Kaiyu estate upheld family and honour, and every new addition to the household was given a name that reflected the reputation of the Kaiyu. Kaiyu Yuudai, the eldest son, was no exception; a boy of seventeen, with the entire estate as his inheritance. He was born into the privileged, and the privileged are established for life.

Yuudai was in the middle of his weekly orienteering class with his father. Their route took them through the nearby forest and would last at least another hour. Yuudai was already bored; he knew this forest well and could easily navigate it without a map. He cringed to himself when he remembered what else was to come that day: mathematics lessons until dinner, and then another high-profile soiree. His whole life encompassed elements to prepare him for his role in the Kaiyu household, once he came of age. Yuudai was not yet sure, however, if it was worth it.

Suddenly he broke out of his train of thought when he heard what sounded like shouting coming from off the main path, near the base of a steep hillock. Yuudai insisted that he and his father investigate.

“You’re hearing things,” his father replied. “It is probably just a bird.”

“It sounded more like a person.” Kaiyu Akihiro shrugged indifferently.

“Then it must be a child playing in the pauper huts.” Yuudai hated the term ‘pauper huts’. Kaiyu Akihiro started his horse off again along the main path, but Yuudai had already decided he was going to come back for another look around.

The next morning, Yuudai headed to the forest alone very early. After a more thorough search, he heard someone coming. Thinking it was his father, he hid from sight. However, it was in fact a young girl around his own age. He watched her enter a seemingly invisible opening in the rock which no one could possibly notice unless they knew where it was beforehand.

He followed shortly afterwards through the concealed entrance, which opened up into a large cavern. Torchlight danced off the red sandstone walls in glorious harmony with the silhouette of the girl Yuudai had seen just a moment ago. Gazing at her once again, she was positioned on a raised platform in the centre of the cavern, performing seemingly flawless acrobatics for someone of her age and build. Yuudai, feeling cocky, attempted to sneak up on her. Unfortunately a small piece of driftwood crackled underfoot and immediately he felt a curled fist whack him between the ribs. Yuudai’s knees buckled and he fell to the floor.

“What are you doing here?” the girl barked. “This is top secret! None of you Kaiyu are welcome here!” Yuudai moaned and squirmed on the floor, attempting to get up again.

“Not bad for a girl. Do you always greet a gentleman this way?”

“HA! Gentleman?” she laughed. “Bit small for a gentleman aren’t we! Here, catch!”

Yuudai looked up to see a blade heading straight for between his eyes. Without even having the time to think, he vaulted himself off the floor and clumsily landed a foot away from where the knife now lay in the soft soil.

“Are you crazy?!” Yuudai screamed. “That could have killed me!”

“That was the idea,” the girl replied coldly, before drawing a short wakizashi.

“Do you even know how to use that thing?” Yuudai asked her, still dumbfounded by the situation.

“If you are a gentleman, then fight me like a gentleman. We Jianghu are merciful, after all.” She tossed Yuudai another sheathed wakizashi. Reluctantly he drew it, keeping a close eye on her.

“You are one of the Jianghu?”

She launched herself forward and he barely managed to block her strike, once again landing on the soft floor. His fencing training suddenly engaged in his brain and he nimbly rolled away and stood up in a ready stance – his left hand behind his back and his right hand pointing the wakizashi in front of him. It felt light and balanced in his hand; his hand-me-down fencing swords were nothing like the craftsmanship of this new blade. Now Yuudai’s confidence was growing, he tried to address his attacker once again.

“If you are one of the Jianghu then we are not so different. I may be one of the Kaiyu but I don’t exactly enjoy it.”

The girl performed an uppercut with her blade, and once again the torchlight danced on the red sandstone. This time Yuudai was ready for it and he swept an arc through the air with his own sword. A clang sounded in the cavern and echoed off the walls.

“How could you not enjoy it?” the girl replied angrily. “You have everything. Food, shelter, servants, soft beds… We have none of those things and all thanks to his Most Benevolent Excellency!” Her wakizashi did a quick swipe towards Yuudai’s shoulders, but just in time he veered himself backwards. He backed away even further, intending to put an end to the fight. The girl, however, had no such intention.

“You Kaiyu will not stand in our way while we take what is rightfully ours!”

“I have no intention of standing in your way!” Yuuto shouted. “And stop calling me Kaiyu! My name is Yuudai!” His adversary stopped in her tracks with a puzzled look on her face.
“Yuuto sounds better to me,” she replied with an apathetic look.

As if that’s so important right now! Yuudai thought, but he played along.

“But that’s not my name! My name is Yuudai!”

“Really? So did you name yourself, or did one of your family members decide that name would be fitting for you?” Yuudai was speechless. “If you are a Jianghu, you name yourself. If you have no intention of standing in our way, you are not a true Kaiyu.” The girl sheathed her wakizashi while Yuudai looked at her further.

“What did you name yourself, then?”

“Shizu.” Yuudai laughed.

“But you’re not silent, or else I wouldn’t have heard you.”

“Your father didn’t hear me,” Shizu replied. Yuudai once again said nothing. “You are not like the other Kaiyu. You don’t go running to your mother at the first sign of danger. You seek to know the truth.” Shizu outstretched her hand. “I can show you the truth, Yuuto.” This time, the way she addressed him was poetic and soothing, even if it was not his name. For a split second two silhouettes on the red sandstone were joined and at a standstill as he inhaled deeply, and took her hand.

Aspect: Inciting Incident – “Careless Talk Costs Lives”
Five months passed.

Once again the silhouettes danced on the red sandstone, but they were always joined in some mystical fashion. Yuuto and Shizu were practising their weekly sparring, although this was a much more passionate art than fencing. It spoke to Yuuto much more, and he had improved greatly since the first time he had entered the Jianghu cavern.

Yuuto’s mindset had changed as well. No longer was he caught up in the frivolity of the Kaiyu life as much as his family intended him to be, which concerned them. It was only until he returned home that evening when it became apparent where his father was waiting for him.

Yuuto’s father Kaiyu Akihiro was sitting in his evening armchair, smoking one of his favourite brands of cigar, but once he heard Yuuto enter the house, he drew a breath so harshly that the butt of the cigar resembled a hot poker.

“Been out again, have we Yuudai?” Kaiyu Akihiro questioned while still seated in his evening armchair. Yuuto entered the room, and the heat of the fireplace hit his cold skin. “You look cold, son. Come, sit by the fire for a while and tell me what you have done today.” Yuuto could hear something strange in his father’s tone of voice, and didn’t like it.

“I was practising my fencing again. You know how passionate I am about fighting,” Yuuto claimed.

“Ah yes, you seem to do a lot of that nowadays which is all well and good, but I fear that you are lagging behind in your studies.” Yuuto suddenly tensed up and thought he should make amends.

“Yes, father, I will go and study now,” he said, getting up to leave. But Kaiyu Akihiro stopped him.

“Wait! Hold on, boy!” he replied with a laugh that cut through Yuuto’s heart. “Let me see this sword of yours. It will be interesting to see which one you have shined to the most.” Yuuto’s heart felt split in two, and a hot bead of sweat trailed past his temple.

“I will show you later, father… after my studying.” Kaiyu Akihiro was not convinced, and his mask of sincerity was suddenly removed to reveal a much darker underside.

“Kaiyu Yuudai – you would not disobey your father now, would you?” Slowly, Yuuto opened his bag where he kept his weapon, and revealed his trusted wakizashi. Kaiyu Akihiro took it and studied it for a moment.

“This is not a family weapon. Where did you get this blade?” Yuuto quickly stuttered an answer.

“I bought it myself. From the market.” Kaiyu Akihiro gave Yuuto an unsettling leer.

“If you bought it at the market, how much did it cost?” Again, Yuuto had to think on his feet.

“1200.” Kaiyu Akihiro’s leer did not change.

“Don’t lie to me, Yuudai. Such a blade is far superior to that price. I have never seen you with this sword. If you bought this from a market you would not hesitate to show us all. You are hiding something from me.”

“No…”

“Someone gave this to you. Who?”

“No one!”

“Really…” Kaiyu Akihiro pulled the blade out of its sheath and examined the underside of the guard. Strange writing was inscribed there, and Yuuto’s father widened. “This is a Jianghu sword. You have been associating with the Jianghu!”

At that, Kaiyu Akihiro called two of his male servants.

“Take Kaiyu Yuudai to the cellar and make sure he doesn’t leave,” he stated as he pulled on his coat.

“Sir?” one of the servants questioned.

“Do as I say!” Yuuto’s father cried. “Or do you want to be kept down there as well?” His voice calmed again to a soothing voice, like the soothing voice of an assassin before the blade enters your heart. “When you’re done with that, get my horse.” He turned to his son once again. “Then we’ll really see whether you got this sword from a market.”

Aspect: Belief – “Nobility is a Virtue, Not a Privilege.”
Night had fallen, and the cellar was even darker than by day. Yuuto was shivering on the cold stone floor as he pulled his knees up to his chest. The last words his father spoke were playing over and over in his mind. Initially he was frightened for himself, as to what his father would do to him when he had absolute proof of his association with the Jianghu. However, he was suddenly reminded of that fateful day in the forest – what if his father also remembered, and had gone to investigate? Yuuto’s thoughts turned to Shizu, and suddenly he was scared for her. Up until now, he had always thought of her as a great warrior, but while she possessed speed and finesse, Kaiyu Akihiro possessed rage and strength in numbers. He was also a renowned marksman.

Flashbacks of his confrontation with Shizu were playing through in his head, but then it stopped at that split second Shizu had uttered his new name – “Yuuto”, gentleness and soaring in flight. It suited him far more than the name given to him at birth, “Yuudai” meaning “great hero”. He did not intend to be great, nor be a hero, and Shizu had uncovered this true feeling Yuuto possessed.

He had to do something.

Yuuto glanced behind him into the other side of the cellar where an iron gate stood. Originally it was to transport wine up to the cellar without using the rest of the house as a thoroughfare, but it had not been used for at least several months. A rusty padlock bolted to the bars, however, prevented him from leaving. Yuuto acted quickly, jumping to his feet and then kneeling down next to the gate. He outstretched his hand through the bars and picked up the nearest stone. Yuuto pondered for a moment if there was a quiet way to bust the padlock open, but concluded there was none. With all his might he pounded the shackle, and the noise echoed round the cellar. The servants were bound to hear, and he was right. After a few more hits Yuuto heard footsteps coming from the door up to the basement. Not wanting to waste any more time, he smashed the padlock once more with the stone, and the shackle split in two. The door to the basement was now being unlocked, but Yuuto had already grabbed an oil lamp hanging on the wall.

Without looking back, he pulled open the gate and disappeared down the passageway.

The lantern shook in his hand as Yuuto sprinted through the darkness. The tunnel carried on in a near straight-line for about a mile, until a blast of cold sea air hit him in the face. Yuuto had come out near the edge of the farmland, adjacent to the end of the main estate driveway. He bounded across the open fields to the forest, hoping with all his heart that he was not too late.

Upon reaching the cave, Yuuto realised that Shizu had gone, but a clumsy disturbance in the sand confirmed that Kaiyu Akihiro had also been there. Footprints led towards the back, and sure enough was another entrance. Once again Yuuto was back outside, but his surroundings were no longer familiar to him. Rolling hills were stretched out before him as the forest snaked across the landscape further away to the north. The stars were now strewn across the never-ending sky, with the pale moon hanging among them. Yuuto’s lamp gave out a much warmer light in contrast, but in the distance at the bottom of the slope something glowed warmer still.

As he moved closer, the sounds of voices danced around him on the air. He could not quite make them out, but he sensed fear and dread. But soon as he got closer still, his senses engulfed him like the flames that engulfed the houses ahead. He dashed down the hill and he could now make out figures dancing in the flame. Some were on foot; others were on horseback. The voices – no, screams – were getting much louder, piercing the bellowing frequencies of the spreading fires. Hooves thundered on the ash-strewn soil causing dust to fly everywhere, while their riders bore blue satin garments that imitated waves in the wind – garments that looked extremely familiar to Yuuto. He looked at his own silk tunic in complete disdain before sprinting forward once again.

He had to find Shizu.

Yuuto saw a horse rear up with a loud whinny as a blade flashed past its vision. It came from someone on the ground, but the horse’s owner retaliated by drawing a pistol and firing a warning shot in the air. The horse seemed more used to the sound of a gunshot but the villagers certainly were not, and a unison scream erupted in fright. Yuuto, however, was too frightened to scream. His eyes were now fixed on the figure who fired the gun, and was now addressing the people he had so senselessly attacked. For just a split second, Yuuto was able to see the man’s facial features as the sparks from the pistol illuminated it, but it was long enough to reveal that the one leading the attack on this village was his own father.

“Now listen to me you Jianghu scum, I am Kaiyu Akihiro and you are treading far too close to my estate. I will give you one chance to leave this place, as long as you surrender the wielder of this wakishizu to me.” As Akihiro’s speech pierced the hearts of the weary throng, he presented Yuuto’s sword and held it above him like his own trophy. Yuuto scowled at the thought of his father using his own weapon as an ultimatum, but before he could react, a familiar face emerged out of the crowd.

Her hair was dishevelled and her eyes weary as the warm light lured her into view. Akihiro did not react, but merely lowered his gaze towards her. Shizu remained silent and submissive as Akihiro slowly drew Yuuto’s blade out of its sheath, but worst of all, Shizu was unarmed. An incoherent cry erupted from the crowd in protest, but Shizu did not flinch.

“Look around, my dear, for this rather impressive blade of yours has caused all of this destruction upon your people. And you have tainted my eldest son, Kaiyu Yuudai, the rightful heir to my estate. But I am the one to seal your fate, Jianghu.”

Shizu smiled weakly and muttered, “His name is Yuuto.”

Akihiro swung the wakizashi in a seamless arc, slicing into Shizu’s neck. Drops of blood escaped the now gaping fleshwound, but her eyes did not leave Akihiro’s gaze. The blood began to cascade down her neck and she dropped to the floor.

Her silhouette had ended its final dance.

Yuuto released an agonising scream, turning Akihiro’s attention from the Jianghu. His followers also turned, and Yuuto’s father smiled.

“Now Yuudai, you see what happens when you disobey your father,” he stated as the wakizashi glinted red. “Turn around and go home, and I will deal with you when I return.”

Yuuto clenched his teeth so hard his jawbone ached; he had no intention of backing down.

“Nobility is a virtue – not a privilege.” The words spat out through his teeth like spitting embers. Yuuto’s father lazily tossed the blade away and it landed in the nearby grass.

“Virtue gets you nowhere in a society run by the privileged!” On his final word Akihiro fired his pistol in the air once again, and two of his followers jolted their horses into action, causing them to gallop towards Yuuto. Yuuto proceeded to run straight towards them, intending to get to Shizu. He headed round so he was in line with the left rider, but as it came up to meet him a burly arm from atop the horse wrapped round his torso. Yuuto instinctively sunk his teeth into the satin garment and the rider cried out in pain, his weight shifting to one side in response. Without being able to balance himself again and Yuuto still ripping into the man’s arm, he finally lost grip on his horse and Yuuto, hitting the ground below with a thud. Yuuto had caught one leg in the nearest stirrup while desperately clinging onto the horse’s main. The animal was still galloping but was now out of control, wild and unpredictable. Yuuto attempted to get a better grip on the reigns, and with all his might pulled himself up. Once he was level, he reared the horse to a halt and turned it around to face his father.

Kaiyu Akihiro had also pivoted round to face his son. A glint of rage could be seen in his eyes as he readied his pistol once again. Akihiro charged but this time Yuuto remained stationary, waiting until his father was close enough. Then without warning he stood up on the saddle and leapt towards his father, throwing him off his horse. The gun also flew through the air, landing several feet away from them both. The grass felt cool compared to the searing heat from the burning houses, but Yuuto could feel his father’s hot breath in his ear. Akihiro wrestled Yuuto off him in order to retrieve his pistol, but Yuuto spotted his blade first and darted towards it like a magnet. Quickly he readied it as Akihiro, united with his weapon once again, marched back towards his son.

“How does it feel to know that dealt your friend the killing blow? That is her blood upon your sword. I doubt you would have the guts to use it against your own father.” Yuuto desperately tried not to focus on his father’s words, and instead kept eye contact.

“I doubted you would have the guts to kill your own son, but now I am not so sure.” Akihiro snarled.

“You are no son of mine.”

As Akihiro drew his pistol up to meet his son’s eyes, he let out a bellow of pain, dropping his gun. He gripped his ankle where a throwing dagger was now deeply embedded in his flesh and toppled to the floor. Yuuto looked at him briefly before running over to where Shizu lay.

Upon seeing her body, Yuuto nearly retched, but he mustered himself to cradle her head in his hands.

“You will die like the rest of them!” Akihiro shouted, and two more of his bodyguards rushed towards the Jianghu. Someone grabbed Yuuto’s wrist, tearing him away from Shizu.

“Take one of the horses and go. We will take the rest of them.” Yuuto gazed in horror at the Jianghu.

“But you’ll die!”

“There is nothing left for us now, but you belong with the rest of our clan. Look to Kausau City. There you will be welcomed by our brothers and sisters.” As Akihiro’s men closed the gap, Yuuto realised he was running out of options. Without another word, he bounded off towards the first horse as his protector rallied whomever was left to his side. Yuuto clambered onto the horse, tucked his wakizashi into his belt and rode off into the night, not once looking back.

Aspect: Trouble – ‘Not Everything Can Be Undone’

As the cries faded into silence behind him and the fires dimmed, Yuuto pressed on. So many emotions flooded through him and so many memories flashed before him: his father’s words, the blazing fires, but most of all, the sound of Shizu’s head leaving her body. Yuuto winced and his vision blurred as tears welled in his eyes. He turned to look at the sea on his left; the wind had settled to a gentle breeze. A strange calmness then flooded Yuuto’s mind. The coolness of the night air created a state of complete emotionless. He could think incredibly clearly and all his senses seemed amplified. While his heart wanted to bring back Shiza, he knew now that not everything could be undone. But the undoing would not redeem Yuuto’s predicament – it would be his actions from then on that would determine his fate. He thought back to his family, to his father, and the rest of the Jianghu who saved his life. He could never go back home. Kausao City would become his home.

Character Generation for Mythos Themed Numenera game (video/live hangout)

I plan to be running Mythos Numenera game soon for a small group of friends, character generation is scheduled to take place on 07/09/14 at 7PM (GMT).

Below is a link to the live event where the character gen will be taking place.

Character generation: starting at the other end

I don’t know how you guys out there in internet-land prefer to generate characters for the various different RPGs that you play in, I suspect everyone has their preferred methods and ways of approaching this, whether it is banging all your stats down first or coming up with a personality and building the stats around; it only really occurred to me recently how easy it is to slip into one method of character creation because it is familiar and comfortable, but that trying something a bit different can be an interesting experiment.
So what made me think about this?

Well recently I had the good fortune to be invited to participate in a Demon the Fallen game being run by a friend of mine (anyone interesting in the gameline can find more here), the game is taking place in Seattle and we will be playing the roles of demonic essences freed from the abyss where they have been consigned (with some possible brief intermissions) since the Fall; now freed to return to earth, these monstrous demons protect themselves against the spiritual gravity of the abyss by anchoring their spirits into a vacated human body. Some of the demons find that remnants of the humans memories and personality remain, acting as a bulwark against all the years of hatred, giving them a second chance for redemption.
When it comes to character generation in the World of Darkness I generally start with a broad idea of the character’s personality, then I start working out the stats and refining the idea as I go, starting with their attributes, skills and finally moving onto the supernatural elements of the character (ie. what they have become) before rounding the character off with a few merits and flaws if I think that they are warranted. This is pretty much the standard order of things in the World of Darkness rulebooks and it’s how i’ve done most of my WoD characters in the past.
However this time, I still had an idea of what sort of character I wanted to play, since i’d played a physical character in the last Demon game that my friend Simon had run I wanted to do something different and had set my mind on a more social character; I had a vague idea that he’d be some sort of radio or talk-show presenter, possibly a cunning Devil or Defiler. Instead of starting with attributes and working my way through the sheet, this time it occurred to me that as someone with skills in networking and contacts throughout the business, I would instead start on my characters backgrounds (ie. resources, contacts, influence, etc) and build my character from the outside-in. I found that doing this still resulted in a very playable character at the end, but the mere act of approaching it slightly differently caused me to consider my choices more carefully rather than just banging a load of dots down.
So what did I end up with?

Before he became host to an infernal spirit Max Price was a struggling radio DJ, trying (and failing) to balance the demands of his career as he fought to keep his ailing show on the air and his wife and child. Things came to head when one night he was out with a friend, the friend was nervous because he had to give a best man speech and help organise the wedding and lacked the confidence to do the job justice; trying to be helpful Max had taken his friend out for a drink, they’d done some light recreational drugs (nothing too heavy), when Max received a phone call from his wife saying that she couldn’t take it any more, she had moved out and taken their daughter.
Despairing Max threw himself into the evening, consuming alcohol and drugs without thought or care for the toxic mixture brewing in his stomach; only an hour later as, shuddering, he vomited profusely into the latrine of a sleazy club did Max have time to regret his choices, and then only briefly as a darkness fell over his vision and his heart began to spasm. A few minutes later, She who draws shadows on men’s heart looked out from behind the now burnished red eyes of Max Price at the concerned face of his friend, willing the heart to beat anew; with a new confidence in his honeyed voiceMax said, “I think I know how to help you with your speech.”

How complex is Fate Core character generation?

This blog post could have alternatively been titled “how long does it take an 11 year old to generate a character in Fate Core?”

Following the recent running of my skytrain scenario (details here) for my face-to-face group, one of the members of the group expressed their dissatisfaction with the 3 stages character generation system for determining character Aspects.
What is the 3 stage character generation?

For those who aren’t aware, in Fate you have 5 Aspects, these are little story tags (“best gunslinger in the west”, “MI5 superspy”, or whatever) that you can invoke (call upon by spending a fate point) to either get a +2 bonus on a dice roll or a complete re-roll, they can also be invoked against you by the storyteller, they essentially offer you a fate point to accept a narrative complication based on the Aspect, for example: “Since you’re known as the best gunslinger in the west a young up and coming gunslinger wants to make a name for himself by taking you down and calls you out in the town square.”

If you accept the complication then you receive a fate point and the scene plays out as any other scene in the game, if you don’t except it then not only do you not get a fate point but you actually have to pay one to avoid it. Aspects are a great way of building a narrative around a character and of steering plot towards what you (as a player) find interesting, since, as a storyteller if one of my players has “best gunslinger in the west” then I know they’re interested in high-action gunfights and it’s in my best interest to include some in the game.

Okay, but what about the 3 stage creation?

Well in the game one of your Aspects is called your high concept and in a summarisation of your core concept whilst the second is your Trouble, the main source of complication in your live; in Fate Core it suggests that you determine the other three using this 3 stage creation. Essentially, in stage one you come up with a first adventure or scenario involving your character and jot down what occurred in that adventure and then pick an Aspect related to it; in the next stage you pass the notes on your adventure to the player sitting on your left (and in return receive the adventure notes from the person sitting on your right) and come up with an idea of how you had a guest spot in their adventure and pick an Aspect based on that. This repeats for stage three, the idea being to build up a web of connections between player characters before the game even starts.
I like to liken this process to superhero films, with the actual session being the Avengers film, where all the heroes come together and the three stages being the solo-hero films (with odd guest spots from other heroes) that came before.
So what does this have to do with an 11 year old generating a character?

I have to admit to being taken by surprise when one of my players expressed dissatisfaction with the 3 stage process (a part of the character generation that I had always thought to be fairly straight-forward and useful to avoid that often stilted ‘meeting up’ scene in RPGs), since i’ve used it in a number of Fate Core games and it’s never been a problem. Of course, this part of character generation, is easily jettisoned, characters can simply invent their Aspects with no real harm to the game; however, my more pro-active player also seemed a little taken aback by the idea that the character generation was in any way difficult (having being unable to make the character generation session, but still managing to create his character in about fifteen minutes at the start of the session).
He proposed an experiment, his 11 year old son had recently expressed an interest in roleplaying, so he bought the lad over and both him and myself went through creating a couple of characters using the Fate Core system. Wanting to stick to something that the boy was familiar with (since he’s never really done any RP before), we created military characters in a Call of Duty style. Timing the character generation we took half an hour to create the two characters using the 3 stage method, and this included time to explain a few things about Aspects, Stunts and Skill. Granted the characters we ended up with (a ghost-like stealth operative who had been sequestered for this mission after successfully blowing up an enemy submarine and a mercenary pilot who had been bounced from the regular army following an incident with collateral damage) weren’t the most nuanced characters, nor were they the most detailed, however they were both perfectly playable and already had links and a reason for working together.
Think about it, I believe that the Fate system in general seems to work better for people who think more about the story/narrative of a game (although granted it isn’t a great fit for every type of setting, since no game can do everything perfectly) whereas those who prefer to jump into the stats of a character and then fit a background of this seem to not enjoy it so much. That is just my own experience though; when I next run Fate Core, if it’s a one-off then i’m going to have pre-generated characters created (with some limited customisation options) and if it’s a campaign I may adopt something similar to how background and character connections work in Dungeon World to help determine Aspects.

Numenera style Fate Accelerated character generation

Just before this Christmas I spotted a copy of Monte Cook’s Numenera RPG in my FLGS (Spirit Games) and, having read some interesting reviews on the book (and being quite a fan of Monte Cook’s variant D20 supplements) thought i’d treat myself to a copy as an early Christmas present. The setting is an intriguing blend of science-fiction and fantasy sent in a future version of our own world, but many million years in advance of present day; the inhabitants of this world call it the ninth-world since eight great civilisations have risen and fallen back into the dust before the beginning of the game, each leaving their mark upon the game world. A large part of the game involves the inhabitants of the ninth-world digging in the ruins of the past, discovering oddments and technology that can help them survive in their own world.
So how does this relate to character generation in Fate?

I hope to do a full video review on Numenera for my Red Dice Diaries Youtube channel, I wasn’t massively sold on the rules system, but the background and the blending of sci-fi and fantasy (along with the theme of exploration and discovery) is a great one and extremely compelling.

One of the mechanics that I did like was that a short sentence is used as a character descriptor that takes this form: “I am adjective noun who verbs.”


For example, a suitable description might be “I am a tough warrior who carries a sword forged from dragons scales” or “I am wise shaman who speaks with the spirits of the dead.
In the Numenera rules the adjective helps to determine your character stats, the noun determines character class and the verb determines your characters focus (the various cool abilities that you can call on during the game).
It will come as no surprise to those who know me that, as soon as I starting reading this, my mind turned to how this could possibly be used in a Fate game; although I plan to give this more thought after the Christmas period, my current idea is that it could be used to aid character generation in a streamlined version of Fate.

So how would that work?


Well the player would start with the sentence and would pick one of the Fate Accelerated approaches as the adjective, the noun would be the high concept of the character and the verb would be a stunt.

For example: “I am a quick pirate who is captain of the ship, the Crimson Dagger.

The player would get a default skill roll of +0 for all approaches and a +2 for the approach chosen in their adjective, the noun would represent the high concept and could be invoked/compelled in a normal way; the verb would be a stunt using the normal Fate Accelerated rules for stunts (either a +2 bonus in specific circumstances or a 1/game rules exception).
For example: If I created a character with the sentence “I am a sneaky thief who is deadly when striking from the shadows.

This character would get +0 on all approaches besides sneaky (one which he would receive a +2), could invoke/have compelled the concept of thief as per the normal rules and would have a stunt that allowed them to gain a +2 when striking from the shadows.

This isn’t a 100% foolproof or completely defined method at present, but I certainly think that it has potential.