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

 

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: 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

All About Aspects: Redux

I wrote back in June 2015 about planning to create a Fate PWYW PDF called All About Aspects, you can find the original post by clicking here; however due to doing more freelance work and things being a bit crazy in RL (plus actually trying to find time to plan and run games) I’ve not actually found the time to sit down and smash out a load of words at the keyboard. I’ve noticed a few companies who have been releasing snippets of material on written blogs, getting people to playtest it/offer their opinions and then compiled refined and editted versions into the final publication.

This is the new route I’m thinking of taking with All About Aspects, since I very much want to get this publication created, in part due to the amount of people who have expressed issues with what, to my view, seemed like a very intuitive mechanic; I’d hate to see that prove an obstacle to some great roleplayers getting into Fate when a little assistance and additional explanation might help out in that regard. Continue reading

RPG Review: Baroque Space Opera

Reviewing Mark Kowaliszyn’s Baroque Space Opera, a sci-fi setting using the Fate Core rules system.

DBJ’s Ultra Rules Lite System

Davae Breon Jaxon posted his ultra rules lite RPG system to the RPG Tabletop 1-shot Group the other day, it reminded me of a mix of Dungeon World, Numenera and Aspect Only Fate (which is no bad thing), I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with other people.

Please note: I had no input into creating this, full credit goes to DBJ, I’m simply boosting the signal 🙂

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pOltnTXaiiDdzGKvSiF2nqKFbeKFYH97hoqdgo_d7l0/edit?usp=sharing

 

Starting the session already injured

We’ve got the next exciting instalment of Thashif’s Dresden Files game coming up this evening, I haven’t got around to doing a session write-up yet but basically we had to clear a nest of ghouls out of a warehouse as a favour we owed to someone, now my character Murdoch wields the powers of hellfire thanks to having a demon inhabiting his body and this power is great for licking out the damage, however it also puts a terrible mental strain on the character meaning that I can only use the power for so long before I’m pretty much useless. During the last session I used the power about as much as I could to take down these ghouls and promptly passed out at the end, not realising one of them was still going, the ghoul then through itself on me and did some serious injuries and well as pulling one of my characters eyes out.

My character has some increased healing abilities, but I’ll be starting this session still on some pretty heavy damage, this got me thinking about the way lasting damage is handled in Fate and some other games. I really love the way Fate handles healing, essentially you are at a disadvantage during the game until you reach your next milestone at which point (assuming you have IC justification) the wound (or consequence as it is called in Fate) is healed. That milestone might come at the end of your next session or even in a few sessions time depending on how the plot of your game develops.

This is a great way of doing it IMO and helps get rid of one of something I’ve often seen in other games, players rushing their characters in recklessly heedless of the vast amounts of damage they’re taking because they know that they can rest up for a day or two, heal up and then get back to doing what they are doing best. I’ve always thought that if you take damage it should have some actual lasting effect during the sessions, when it does people in my experience tend to be less willing to fling themselves heedlessly into danger or, if they do, they are at least aware of the potential cost.

So in tonights session I’ll be starting off pretty beaten up, but that’s fine, it’s the price I pay for taking down the ghouls last session, it gives the characters who are healthy more time to be in the spotlight, adds some interesting complications for the session and also, above all else, gives me something a bit different and interesting to roleplay. How does my character react to being injured? How is his mood affected? Does he still behave in the same way? Will this have affected how he views situations in the future?

All these questions and more both help you to play the character during the session whilst injured and even considering them means that you’re adding extra depth and richness to your character portrayal.

Whatever happened to the Fate guy?

Chatting with Rob Davis last night, helping him sort out a character for a forth-coming Star Wars one-shot that I’m running and generally shooting about roleplaying games, past campaigns and the normal sort of stuff that RP enthusiasts tend to do when they get together (or chat via the medium of the internet as we were doing), Rob bought up a very interesting point.  Continue reading

Session 1 Sumary: I Gave Vengeance a Dirty Look

Last Sunday I played in the first session of Thashif’s Dresden files game, I play a character named Clarence Murdoch, a demonically possessed PI, the following is a brief IC report of what occurred.

It was New Years Eve and Murdoch I was drinking, I hate this time of year, there are are more murders and somehow the damn ghosts always manage to sniff me out, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when I lowered the whiskey bottle to see three ghosts in-front of me, two standing, the third in a wheelchair.

“Now I don’t hold with any of this haunting sh*t, if you want help, tell me what you need and we’ll see what I can do, otherwise you can turn and get out.”

The wheelchair figure relayed how he and his two fellows had been killed by a huge figure and that they had all served together in the same regiment during WWII, the ghosts wanted some kind of closure so, after a bit of a talk I decided that I’d help. As usual the voice of a certain someone wasn’t happy about it.
“What do we gain out of this Murdoch?” moaned the gravelly voice

I was that busy talking to the voice in my head that I didn’t notice some lunatic with a sword running at me screaming about holiness (or something) and that I had to die, I didn’t have time for that sh*t, sick of evil people trying to use me and good people trying to kill me so I warned him to stay back drawing my gun, when he didn’t I fired. I was surprised he went down so quality.

Of course, wouldn’t you know it, detective Connelly was there, damn IA agent has been dogging me every since that business a few years ago with Golubov, although he’d never been able to make anything stick, he’d made damn sure that I was ‘politely’ asked to leave the force. He’d seen everything and insisted on dragging me downtown, although I knew he couldn’t make it stick, I’d warned the madman and he’d kept coming it was an open and shut case of self-defence.

I was let out of my cell by Danny, a young cop I remember from my time on the force, he was one of the good ones.

Eventually they had to let me go and I was able to make contact with Tobias, he’s some kind of vampire, but he doesn’t feed on blood, he can sniff out his particular type of food, fear; I hoped he’d be able to help me find the murderer, it seems there’d been another killing while I’d been locked up. After a while of driving around the district where the other unit members lived we’d got nothing, zip, nada, and we needed to find some information before anyone else got killed by this thing, so I did what I had to do. I made a deal with Arioch, the demon that’s normally rattling around inside my head, the location of the killer in return for him being behind the driving seat of our body for 24 hours, I’m sure I’ll regret it later but we had no time and no options.

Arioch was as good as his word and we were soon driving to an apartment where a little guy called Tony leaved, we talked our way in and were looking around when Tony swelled up into this huge troll creature. Summoning fire I set to bringing the monster down, with Tobias providing firearms support, we were starting to bring him down (although the hellfire magic I learnt from Arioch was taking its toll on me) when he started screaming about the victims deserving it and them betraying him. Well it turns out that Tony was part of the military unit in WWII and had been the one holding secret information about a code used by the Allies, when captured, his friends had handing him over for interrogation by the Nazis in order to save their own skin, and now he was seeking revenge. Tell you the truth I can’t blame him.

I told Tony a bit about my own past and how my father had a hand in making me like this, we eventually able to convince him to confess to his crimes on the understanding that the still-living members of the unit would be investigated and bought to task for their betrayal. When he’d shrunk down, I left Tony at the precinct with Danny, although I had to bring the kid into our world, something I was hoping to avoid, once you’ve seen the supernatural the damn stuff seeks you out and you can’t go back.

Then I returned to my apartment, leaving Tobias to go about his business, after all I had a deal to keep.

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