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

All About Aspects: Magic Powers as Aspects

Magic Powers as Aspects

We’ve explained the basic formatting for our high concept aspects in one of our previous post, in this post I provide a single descriptions table (that can be used instead of the ones in previous articles) to add aspects concerned with psychic or magic powers.

Please note: This article does not actually provide the rules for the powers, that will be down to whatever system you decide to use (although you can do a surprising amount with skill rolls and invoking/compelling aspects in Fate).

Continue reading

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 🙂

Matters of Fate: Representing the Rules Fairly

Video Version

Audio Version

In this episode we talk a little about the importance of being fair and maintaining consistency when it comes to the rules.
Check out this episode!

All about Aspects: Guest Post – The Power of Fate Points Compel You

We have a guest blog post from Lloyd Gyan today, I’ve been in a couple of Fate games with Lloyd and have very much enjoyed his character portrayals, in this article he discusses the power of compels and how to get the most out of them.


 

The Power of Fate Points COMPEL you!hammer-308489_960_720

Written by Lloyd Gyan

Aspects are, and always will be, the driving force of any Fate game. Concepts, ideas, locations, acts, all boil down to people and places acting upon their aspects. Now, most of the time, to act on aspects in any shape or form, you need to have Fate points. Sweet sweet Fate points. Sure you start with a decent number of them, usually three, but when you’re knee deep in black oil and the Count of Steampunk Monte Cristo is standing above you with a match and a grin, you’re going to want to hedge your bets a little.

So, with that in mind, you’re always going to want more chances to earn fate points, more opportunities to suck at the beginning of the game, so you’re basically awesome later on in the game (unless you’re playing Spirit of the Century, where you start with 10 fate points, and should really just go full steam all the time because screw it you’re awesome). This is what compels are for – a way of turning your character’s aspects against them for the juicy payoff of a Fate point. But compels can be difficult to get; in a game of three or more players, the GM is looking at 15 Aspects and trying to give everyone a chance to do something, so you’ve got to make his life easier for him.

THE STATES OF FATE

A good aspect for Compelling must be applicable to all three States of Fate – social, mental, and physical. For example, say you have ‘Body of Pure Iron’ as an aspect – looks pretty good, but it’s clearly a physical aspect. You’d compel it to make characters just stand there and take hits like video game tank, or you compel it to say they’re slow and cannot get around as fast. Now, let’s change that aspect with a simple addition: ‘Mind and Body of Pure Iron’. Right there, you’ve got someone who is head-strong, unrelenting, an actual Wall. And just like that, you’ve got two States of fate that can be compelled to bring you down.

I’m not saying that all aspects must have two or more compel possibilities (if I had my way, most aspects would have at least six), but it’s always good to think of the States of Fate that it would apply to. When building your aspects, try to find at least Two States of Fate to fall under. Playing a supernatural Game and want to be a badass demon? Give him something like ‘Insatiable Harvester of Souls’ and he’s already fallen under two States he can be compelled in – Mental because he can’t stop himself, and Social because, seriously, who wants to be friends with someone who literally harvests souls?

Your aspects are yours to play with, it will help you if you put them into a form that the GM can understand and work with. By simply thinking of the States of Fate, you can improve your aspect creation just as easily

THEME OVERLAP

Another good way to grab the DM’s attention when writing your aspect is by taking advantage of the rules. You know how you have your hardcore fighter guy in Fate, who has aspects like ‘Badass kicks are my game’ followed by ‘never met a man who’s face I couldn’t kick’. Well there’s an overlapping theme there. Most of his aspects relate to pure hardcore, butt kicking, and can be applied with each other. So what’s stopping you from having the same idea with your compel possibilities? Take the fairly common problem of being Headstrong and stubborn. If you want this to be the main driving force of your character, have all your aspects refer to it in some way: “Giving up is the same as quitting!”, Unswayed by the masses, I am the leader until I say otherwise. By giving your aspects a similar theme when it comes to compels, the GM knows what works for you. It may seem like you’re limiting your compel options to simply ‘GRR ARRR I HATE INDECISION I HIT THE THING’ but with a theme to your compels, the GM can already pre-empt your actions and thoughts. In Fate, the quicker a GM can get a handle on your character, the better. I will be talking further about themes in another post.

TROUBLE

When it comes to your Compels, your Trouble aspect should always be priority number one,  after all it’s literally called the trouble aspect. It should call your GM to it like a moth to a flame. The first thing most GMs do when trying to think up a good compel for a scene is to quickly look at your Trouble to see what ideas they can get out of it, so give him some. Make sure your Trouble covers ALL THREE states of Fate, it’s an easy, catchy phrase. Saying ‘Constantly craving war” is a good aspect, but is it as good as “Always hungry… FOR BLOOD?”

THE SELF COMPEL

Now here comes the tricky part, when you have all these in place – a good theme, well worded aspects, an idea of the States of Fate, you’ll realise just how absolutely easy it is to make a Self-Compel. The Self-Compel is one of the hardest things to pull off without making it look like you are just fishing for Fate points. A good self-compel should be seen coming a mile away; you have the aspect of ‘Can never turn down a meal’ and the DM describes the smell of fantastic food across a dangerous body of water ahead of you, maybe the smell was an afterthought he brought in, but he’s said it, and it’s calling to you. You know it’s going to be a compel, he knows it’s going to be a Compel, why waste time? Simply give an evil giggle, and say ‘I begin wade across the water, that food smells so good and I can never turn down a meal’.

The GM might not always know that he’s presented a good case for a self-compel, so bring it up at the right moment, and do the action. No need to dilly-dally and ask if it is one or not, simply just take the action, and if he feels it’s appropriate he will toss you a Fate point and you will be A-OK.

A good piece of advice though, don’t try to go for the Self-Compel in every scene, even you will tire of it. Try to look at maybe one or two each session unless the game is practically begging you to fall headfirst into danger. The Self-Compel is more powerful and has more impact on the story the less you you use it, just keep that in mind, and you should have a good grasp at how to make your Fate games better.

Coming Next for All about Aspects: Magic Powers as Aspects


Gavel picture is taken from Pixabay vector images labelled for re-use.

All About Aspects: Monstrous Nature as an aspect

Monstrous Nature as an Aspect

There are a number of famous tabletop RPGs where playing a monster struggling with their humanity is a central focus, as a variant of character race (discussed previously), this could (in part) be handled using the high concept aspect.

We’ve explained the basic formatting for our high concept aspects in one of our previous post, in this post I provide a single descriptions table (that can be used instead of the ones in previous articles) to add an alignment descriptor.

Continue reading

All About Aspects: Modern Day High Concepts

Modern Day High Concepts

Okay, now we’ve explained the basic formatting in our previous post, we’re going to provide a series of ideas for creating the description, job and twist sections of the high concept for a modern day character. Continue reading

All About Aspects: D&D Alignments as an Aspect

D&D Alignments as Aspects

Someone on Google+ I think (I’m sorry I can’t remember who or find the original post) suggested in response to one of my previous All About Aspects articles that the concept of D&D alignments could be used for aspects.

Whether you love or hate them alignments have been part of the world’s most popular RPG since the year dot.

We’ve explained the basic formatting for our high concept aspects in one of our previous post, in this post I provide a single descriptions table (that can be used instead of the ones in previous articles) to add an alignment descriptor.

Continue reading