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: 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

[RPG] Quick & dirty Accelerated vampire rules – 2nd edition

I’ve got a friend coming to stay with myself and my wife Hannah for a week soon, Dave was one of the players in my short original test game for the quick & dirty vampire rules so it’ll be interesting to see what he makes of the revised version.
These rules are based heavily on the super powered stunt rules, you can find them here in the excellent Fate SRD website.
Essentially the way the super-powered stunts will work is that players will purchase a stunt that allows them to automatically succeed at a certain task unless they are opposed by another person with an applicable stunt; if this happens then effectively whoever is willing to bid the most fate points triumphs.
As an additional wrinkle the successful use of a vampire stunt will give the GM (or the players if it is an NPC vampire) a free compel to use (ie. the compel does not award the person a fate point if accepted), that must be used to throw up some weakness of vampiric nature.
For example: If the player uses their potence vampire stunt to smash through a door, in the next scene the GM may use the free compel to suggest that the character is hungry due to the expenditure of vampiric force and that there just happens to be someone ripe for the taking in the scene.
A player can still choose to ignore this compel by paying a fate point as normal.
Please note: In the previous iteration of these rules, red fate chips were used to represent special uses of blood; in this version of the rules they are not strictly required, although using red fate chips in general looks cool for a vampire themed game 🙂

Vampire Stunts

These are the current vampire stunts that I have in mind:
  • Animalism – Automatically succeed at checks to calm/communicate intent to animals and tests to ride or guide animals.
  • Auspex – Automatically notice anything out of the ordinary or sense the presence of the supernatural, allows a player to ask questions about the recent past of a scene or object and have them answered truthfully.
  • Celerity – Automatically escape from a scene or act first in a test of speed.
  • Fortitude – Automatically ignore damage taken in a single turn.
  • Obfuscate – Automatically hide themselves from scrutiny even if standing in plain sight or automatically conceal an object no larger than themselves.
  • Potence – Automatically smash an inanimate object or take a foe out of action.
  • Presence – Automatically succeed on social and persuasion challenge.
I’m sure those who are familiar with the World of Darkness will recognise that my stunts are very influenced by the list of disciplines available in the WoD, this is no coincidence, i’m most familiar with those abilities and think they give a good gamut of powers for a prospective vampire game, I may expand the list of vampire stunts once I have tested them out a bit more.

[RPG] So how did my quick & dirty fate vampire rules work?

Incase you’ve not seen my quick and dirty Fate Accelerated rules for vampires you can find them here: http://reddicediaries.com.gridhosted.co.uk/uncategorized/rpg-quick-dirty-fate-accelerated-rules/
How did the game go?
Unfortunately because of other RL factors we didn’t get to actually finish the session, however the three or four hours that we did do were quite entertaining and everyone (including the couple of less experienced tabletoppers seemed to enjoy themselves).
Generated characters with Fate Accelerated was extremely easy although it took the newcomers a little while to get their heads around Aspects, once they had though the rest didn’t take long at all; to keep things simple whilst also maximising the potential for plot hijinks I told the players that their characters would not be vampires at the start and that they were all on a cruise ship heading to Hawaii, I then asked them to think of reasons they were there. We ended up with a fairly eclectic mix of characters:

  • Aurelia – Cello player with a goth rock band who were on the cruise relaxing and doing some promo work after a big tour.
  • Stevie Steel – Lead vocallist of said rock group, a vain main who traded on looks more than talent and had spent most of the cruise in various dalliances.
  • Katherine – A waitress on the cruise who was later turned into a vampire by a strange fellow she encountered in the café on the night shift.
  • Orsten Thomas – A medical researcher whose outré views and outlandish experiments had lead to unwelcome press attention that he was seeking to flee.
I ran the characters through a fairly simple sequence of events that lead to them being turned and the various complications arising from that; the aim of the game eventually would have been for them to discover that they had all be turned for a reason by the same vampire, however unfortunately we didn’t have time for that.
So how did the rules work?
I threw lots of complications and obstacles at the players (probably more than I would have done normally) both to give them the option to use their vampiric side (and the demonic red fate chips) and to get used to the idea of the fate economy; it seemed to work quite well and none of the players seemed to be overly concerned that they were losing control of their characters by not being able to buy off the effects of the red fate chips.
This lead to all sorts of incidents such as when one of the band roadies witnessed the PCs covered in blood and attempted to flee to summon security, Orsten ran after him determined to stop him reporting the incident by any means necessary (especially given that he’d woke up next to the blood drained corpse of his wife shortly after his first awakening as a vampire); Aurelia, the only vampire who had not yet fed, decided that she couldn’t allow this innocent roadie to be harmed and gave into her vampiric side, tackling Orsten against the wall, I then instantly used the red fate chip garnered to say that she tackled him so hard that the two of them went through a wall into an adjoining cabin.
What would I change?

I think that going forward that rather than having the players usage of their vampiric side give the GM a red fate chip that can be used for an unblockable compel, I would give the players a seperate number of red fate chips in addition to their normal ones (based on the strength of their vampiric blood) and say that they can be spent as normal fate chips for double the benefit, however, when they are a player must feed in the following scene or some other vampiric complication will occur.
I definitely think that the rules worked fine for a quick pick-up game, having a group of new tabletoppers with only one that has any experience of the Fate system we were able to get up and running in around 5 minutes (inc. character generation) and were soon enjoying a fun vampire game, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t the most serious nor angst filled vampire game ever and was a bit more tongue in cheek, but compared to some other horror/vampire systems it was certainly a lot more accessible and captured some of the essentials of vampire settings. I think that if I was going to run it for a campaign then I would seek to refine the rules a little, perhaps characters having stunts to determine what they can spend their red fate chips on our to expand their utility?
(picture is use for non-profit use only, no challenge to copyright intended, you can find this picture and more at http://thewondrous.com/40-disturbing-celebrity-vampires/)

[RPG] Quick & Dirty Fate Accelerated rules for Vampire

A friend of ours is coming down for the weekend and is now arriving a bit earlier that planned, quick randomly she mentioned to me that although she’s done a bit of fantasy and superhero tabletop RPGing that she’d actually like to try something a little bit darker than that; having noticed a picture of a recent vampire book sent to me by a friend she fancied giving something similar a go. Now I’m currently on a bit of a hiatus from WOD (although most of games tend towards the dark in tone), love the background, however the number of sub-systems and varying mechanics in the rules don’t really light my fire, I’m more a fan of having systems with a strong core mechanic that everything else hangs off.
Given that this is liable to be a short game and that my friend isn’t very experienced with TT RPGs I don’t want to get bogged down in lengthy character generation and explaining loads of different rules, what I want is an exciting game where character gen time is minimal and we can jump straight into telling an interesting story. So, as I find myself doing an awful lot these days, I’m planning to try and keep the background feel of the NWOD whilst jettisoning the mechanics and going for a simpler system; I’m sure it will come as no surprise to those who know me that I’ve decided to go with the Fate Accelerated system. Accelerated is very easy to create characters for, has a fairly easy learning curve and is one of my go to systems these days when it comes to running a quick game or something on the fly.
So without further ado below are the quick and dirty vampire rules that I intend to be trialling:
* * *
Aspects
  • High concept (as per the book, must mention that character is a vampire)
  • Trouble (as per the book)
  • Occupation (what job the character held prior to their embrace)
  • First Victim (who was the first person they killed following their embrace)
  • Friend/contact (the name of one friend or contact that has stood by them or that they have managed to keep from their mortal days)

Stunts

  • As per the book.

Vampire Edge

  • At any time (where it makes sense within the game fiction) the player can choose to increase the bonus they would normally receive from a stunt/invoking an aspect from +2 to +4 by using their vampiric powers. When this is done the GM takes a red fate chip that may only be used for that character.
  • Characters can also call on their vampiric nature to perform tasks that might otherwise seem impossible (not appearing on a CCTV camera or automatically escaping from a scene by either becoming invisible, transforming to mist or using supernatural speed) but doing so also results in the GM drawing a red fate chip.

Red Fate Chips

  • A GM may spend a red fate chip to issue a compel to a character, this compel may not be bought off with fate points as per a standard compel since it represents the vampires own innate nature overcoming their human side and reason.

* * *
I’m under no illusion that these rules are anywhere near perfect, in fact I’m pretty sure that they’re not, but it should hopefully allow us to jump into a game fairly quickly without worrying about a lot of rules and (I hope) will manage to capture that feeling that a character sacrifices a bit of themselves every time they give into their beast.
I’ll do a report for the blog on how it went after the weekend 🙂
(picture by Sam Briggs – used for non-profit purposes only, no challenge intended to copyright)

Have I been getting it all wrong? (Supernaturals in the Fate system)

A lot has been made of the fact that Fate is great when you first visualise an end result and then set about creating something using the rules to match your initial vision, rather than jumping straight into the rules and attempting to build something from the ground up, and rightly so, one of the strengths of the system is that the rules set is extremely versatile even without the various hacks and add-ons that are available either for free or online at a low cost.
Previously when i’ve thought about supernaturals (and in this case i’m talking specifically about supernaturals as player characters rather than as monsters or NPCs which is an entirely different subject) i’ve most often looked at an existing game (in my case generally the World of Darkness series since they’re some of the games i’m most familiar with) and how Fate could be adapted or “hacked” to create a facsimile of the game in question; however there have recently been a spate of posts on the various Fate G+ communities where people have attempting to create versions of their favourite comic/fiction characters (and others) using the basic Fate rules. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how close a lot of these attempts have come to matching their inspiration, and all mostly using the rules as presented in either the Fate Accelerated or Fate Core rulebooks. I ran a one-off game of ‘Mummy: the Curse’ recently since i’ve been dying to test it out and love the concept behind it (my review of Mummy can be found here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrPzZ9ClGyc), now i’ve been away from the World of Darkness rules-set for quite some time, aside from a brief read-through of the updated rules booklet that formed part of the ‘God Machine Chronicles’, since i’ve been moving towards less crunchy and more narrative based systems; whilst the game was very enjoyable and we all had a good time (the background of the game being one of the best i’ve read in a WoD game for a long time) I found going back to the nWoD rules extremely strange and wasn’t completely sold on them.
This isn’t a post to knock crunchier games, because I think that different systems suit different people and it really bugs me when people damn a system just because it happens to not be ideal for them, simply to say that my thoughts upon running the game were (as they so often are when games have a great background but a rules system that doesn’t suit my style of gaming) “there’s some great stuff in this book but I don’t suit the rules, what system can I use to keep the background but make it more suitable for my style of play?” I’m sure it will be no surprise to any who knows me or reads my posts/watches my videos that Fate Core and Fate Accelerated are my go-to systems when this sort of question comes up; previously I would probably have dived straight into the system and started working out how I could hack it to make a workable version of the ‘Mummy: the Curse’ rules, and i’ve done this previously to produce some workable hacks (my WH40K hack and my (still not completed) Fate of Cthulhu hack amongst them). Recently though i’ve been playing in a Dresden Files game run by a friend of mine and, although we’ve only played a single actual session (the first being taken up by setting/character generation and discussion), one of the things that has really impressed me is how a list of Stunts and Aspect suggestions can be used to construct virtually any type of supernatural within the DFRPG universe, this, together with the recent G+ posts has got me thinking that perhaps i’m taking the wrong approach when it comes to playable supernaturals in Fate.
For example, here is an example of a vampire “package” that I threw together in about 30 seconds (using Fate Accelerated rules and some ideas from the Fate Toolkit):
Aspect: Must have one aspect that included the word vampire
Stunts:
– (must have, +1 refresh) Blood-addicted: Gives the character an additional hunger stress track of 3 boxes; at the end of any scene where the vampire has used its power it is ‘attacked’ with a strength equal to the refresh cost of the power used, stress inflicted by this is added first to the hunger stress track.
– (optional, -2 refresh) Vampiric strength: The character gets +4 when Forcefully attacking.
– (optional, -2 refresh) Vampiric speed: The character gets +2 when Quickly overcoming obstacles that involve movement, the character automatically goes first in combats unless there are other combatants with vampiric speed.
The blood-addicted Stunt is based heavily on the DFRPG games use of a hunger stress track to track vampiric hunger, and the combined package would costs 3 refresh to purchase (the standard starting amount for a Fate Accelerated character); obviously there is a lot more work that could be done and i’ve not really covered feeding or standard vampiric weaknessed (sunlight, etc) at all in the rules above, but still it’s a workable framework that could be played, created in relatively little time without a vast amount of rules hacking being required.
Looking at the Fate system in this light it has lead me to wonder whether or not, for my next game featuring supernatural protagonists, it might be an idea to present either a list of Stunts (or some amended Stunt rubrics) to my players and have them create the supernatural characters that they want rather than worrying overly much about whether the rules particularly mirror those present in some other existing game?
For example:
One of the main themes of the game “Mummy: the Curse” is that the Arisen start off very powerful but with little memory or context within which to use that power, as time progresses their magical energy (Sekhem) drains away (bringing them ever closer to a return to their death-like sleep) their memory improves, paradoxically, as they gain the memories that might allow them to use their powers more wisely, those very powers ebb away.
I might create such a creature in Fate Accelerated like this.
Aspects: 
– High Concept: Must have mention the word ‘arisen’
– Trouble: Must mention the word ‘memory’
– Must have one Aspect that mentions the purpose for which they have arisen.
I’m not sure at the moment how i’d handle something like the gradual decrease of power, but i’m pretty sure that, given enough though, the Fate system could handle it; if anyone out there has any suggestions please feel free to add them in the comments section.
Near the start of the year I ran a God Machine Chronicle using the Fate Accelerated rules and that seemed to work really well, although the player characters were only mortals in that game, the GMC game was a tester for when the “Demon: the Descent” game is released (probably in 2014); I think that when this is released, rather than attempt to mirror the rules i’m going to create some demonic powers/Stunts that are thematically similar to the ones listed in the book and then just lift the background from it. I’m also really looking forward to the Dresden Accelerated that is going to released in 2014 (further details here – http://www.evilhat.com/home/fate-core-dresden-files-accelerated/), but until that comes out there’s a lot of potential ideas for supernatural powers as Stunts in the existing DFRPG that can be tapped and the Fate Toolkit offers a lot of advice on making different types of Stunts.

Self-Compels in Fate

After finishing running the third session of our swords & sorcery Fate Accelerated campaign Serpents Fall last night using Google+ hangouts (video link here) I was having a little feedback chat with the players, which is something I like to do (if possible) at the end of every session (and I encourage my players to message me if they think of additional feedback or constructive criticism) since I believe that only by soliciting feedback from your players and others can your game grow and be fine-tuned into the optimum gaming experience for both GM and players. It occurred to me during this chat that there was one aspect of Fate Accelerated that the players hadn’t used a great deal during our three sessions thus far, and that was the use of Self-compels.

What are Self-compels?

For those who are not aware the following is what Fate Accelerated has to say about Compels:
If you’re in a situation where having or being around a certain aspect means your character’s life is more dramatic or complicated, anyone can compel the aspect. You can even compel it on yourself—that’s called a self-compel.
Basically, if one of your Aspects affects your characters decision making/results in an event occurring that make your character’s life more complicated then the person who has suggested the complication (the Compel) offers you a fate point for accepting the additional RP arising from the complications.
If a players makes a suggestion for a complication arising from their own Aspects and the GM agrees then, although not explicitly stated in the Fate Accelerated rulebook, I have always assumed that the GM would be the one to award them with a fate point (since giving yourself a fate point out of your own pool makes no sense); this is something I have been using a great deal already in the first session of a Dresden Files RPG game run by a friend of mine (using a pre-cursor to the Fate Core system).
For example: In the DFRPG session I play a person who has been infected by a red-court vampire but has not killed by blood drinking yet and so he has not fully turned, he has the ability to call on some vampiric powers at the risk of his hunger overwhelming him. My character “Lucky” is an ex-gangster on the run from his family (most of which have now been converted into vampires), he began the game standing on the docks waiting for a boat laden with drugs to come in.
Since one of the other players was playing a law enforcement officer I compelled one of my own Aspects to say that, because i’d been keeping my head down, there’s things out there my character had been forced not to use the normal channels to recruit his hirelings and had ended up with sub-par criminals, one of whom had (unknowingly) tipped off the police and they were about to turn up and bust the operation. This gained me a fate point and bought me into proximity of another player character; Lucky was able to hide himself in the shadows as the police detained and bought in the boat, at this point I made another Self-compel to say that because my character would not stand to see innocent’s suffer that perhaps as the police boat bumped into the dock one of the policemen would fall overboard and bang his head.
The GM accepted this Self-compel and my character was forced to reveal himself, diving into the water to save the unconscious policeman (after all the guy was just doing his job). This small scene got me two fate points and was made far more personal (IMO) due to my use of Self-compels.
However, I have noticed (and mentioned to my players in our feedback session) that Self-compels aren’t particularly used a lot in our Serpents Fall game; now this may be because it is only our third session and some of the players are still very much getting used to the rules, but Self-compels are one of the great things about Fate Core and Fate Accelerated as far as I am concerned so I plan to think about ways to encourage my players to consider Self-compels.
Why are Self-compels so great?

Well for a number of reasons, but personally, I enjoy them because they give a degree of narrative control over to the players; rather than just having the GM hand you down the details of a scene, if you have suggested it as a Compel then you gain the ability to negotiate the details of the complicating scene or decision with the GM, it also personalises whatever occurs and you know that it is plot based specifically around your character
Self-compels also let your GM know what sort of stories and complications you’re looking for when it comes to your character, and most GMs are more than happy to oblige by providing additional scenes tailored to your character since they want everyone to enjoy the game, they are also useful for moving a session along when perhaps the pre-planned plot has stalled or you’ve reached a natural pause.

Plus it also gains you a fate point allowing your character to really shine when it counts 🙂

I’ve been toying around with the idea of a Fate Accelerated game involving vampires for a few days; thought i’d post up what i’ve jotted down so far.
Please note: The notes below are in no way complete and will probably change considerably before I consider them finished.

*** Aspects ***
5 in total
1) High concept – May be whatever the player wishes.
2) Trouble – Is determined by the player.
3) Vampire – character must have a vampire aspect to be considered a kindred.
4) Clan – Pick one Aspect which determines a vampires clan.
5) May be whatever the player wishes.
*** Approaches ***
Vampire characters have the normal approaches (with the standard levels).
* Careful
* Clever
* Flashy
* Forceful
* Quick
* Sneaky
In addition they have the following approach (rated at Average (+1))
* Vampire
The vampire approach represents a vampire using it’s innate powers of undeath and the raw power in it’s blood to overcome an obstacle; as a vampire ages this Approach increases thusly:
+1 Average Neonate/recent embracee
+2 Fair
+3 Good
+4 Great Ancilla
+5 Superb
+6 Fantastic Elder
+7 Epic
+8 Legendary Methuselah
*** Disciplines ***
Disciplines are special type of Stunt purchasable only by vampire characters; a vampire may have a maximum number of discipline Stunts equal to 2 + their vampire Approach (3 at character gen).
I have not detailed vampire powers yet, however my current thoughts are that by spending blood points a vampire will be able to either add their Vampire Aspect to a roll or activate some other sort of Stunt-like effect.

*** Blood ***
In addition to Fate Points (which are used as normal), vampires also have a pool of Blood Points (recommend using red tokens to differentiate these); this blood tokens are used to power disciplines.
A character begins play each session with a number of blood points equal to their Vampire Approach +2 (three for starting vampires), the number can be raised above this level by feeding.
Blood tokens can also be used with the characters Vampire Aspect on almost any roll to gain a +2 or a re-roll (as with a fate point), however, when a player character does this they are calling on the innate power of their blood and exposing their vampiric nature; they gain the Aspect “Inhuman Creature of the Night” for the rest of the scene and the one following (this can be compelled as normal). PLEASE NOTE: Using a blood point to power a Discipline Stunt does not cause this effect, although using a discipline infront of mortals may cause its own problems.
When a vampire feeds on an individual during a scene they gain 1 Blood Point.
If a vampire is ever reduced to 0 blood points then he automatically gains the Aspects “Inhuman Creature of the Night” and “Frenzied Bloodlust” and is reduced to the level of an animal that just seeks to sate its bloodlust, these Aspects are lost only once the vampires BPs are raised through feeding.
*** Vampire Weaknesses ***
All vampires begin with the Aspect “Vulnerable to Sunlight” and they are actually attacked by Sunlight (using the normal attack roll method) whenever exposed; the modifier to the Sunlight’s attack roll is the defending vampires Vampire Approach (representing that as vampires become more divorced from their humanity their curse affects them to a greater extent.
Each time a vampire raises their Vampire Approach they must take an additional vampiric weakness Aspect, a few examples are listed below:
  • Compulsive counter
  • Repelled by crosses
  • Unable to cross running water
  • Unable to enter holy ground

Morality as Consequences in FAE

Last night and during my lunch hour today i’ve been thinking about the best way to represent morality within my NWOD hack; since all of the games feature some sort of morality (generally represented by a Hierarchy of Sins that causes moral degeneration of the character when it is transgressed against) and a struggle to prevent it from sliding down to a point where the character becomes a monstrous NPC that dances at the whims of the GM, it doesn’t seem inappropriate to say that the descent of morality is a major theme within the entire gameline. The various Morality systems within the different game lines have been given different names, whether it’s the Humanity of Vampire: the Requiem, Wisdom in Mage: the Awakening or Clarity in Changeling: the Lost but broadly they function in the same way, building on the mortal system of morality provided in the core NWOD rulebook to track a characters decline or fall.

I originally considered added an additional Stress Tracker where a character would sustain Stress when committing “sins” as a method of tracking a character’s degeneration, however this wasn’t particularly interesting as far a the story goes and didn’t really take into account the individual tweaks on the morality system that were applied to each supernatural.
Currently my favourite alternative to the Stress Tracker system is the addition of a set of Morality Consequence boxes that function in most ways like the normal set of Consequence boxes as detailed in FAE, however when a character commits a sin from the reduced Hierarchy of Sins (as shown below) they automatically acquire a Morality Consequence, the strength of which is related to the “sin” committed.
Hierarchy of Sins

  • Injury to another, theft – mild morality consequence.
  • Arson, manslaughter – moderate morality consequence.
  • Murder or other heinous acts – severe morality consequence.
Morality consequence boxes and normal consequence boxes can be used for this purpose and, if all the boxes of the listed level are full then the damage bumps up to the next level. For example: If a vampire steals from someone and both his Mild Consequence boxes are full then the consequence becomes a Moderate Consequence (and if they are both full then it gets bumped up to Severe).
Anyone who gains a morality consequence when their list is already full has fallen to such a state of degeneration that they are no longer suitable for play as an player character and become a particularly monstrous NPC. After thinking of this idea I wondered whether or not this was a little harsh considering that there are only three Morality Consequence boxes on the tweaked sheet that I have been working on, and I toyed with the idea of adding additional boxes; however some re-reading of the FAE rulebook lead me to realise that the recovery rate of Consequences is fairly rapid:
  • Mild consequences – clear at the end of the scene.
  • Moderate consequences – clear at the end of the next session.
  • Severe consequences – clear at the end of the scenario.
Looking at the recovery times I think that it is not unreasonable that a creature who goes around committing “sins” willy-nilly will quickly burn through their consequences; although I did decide that allowing the normal consequence tracker to also ‘soak’ Morality Consequences was probably a wise move (although Morality Consequence tracker can only be used to ‘soak’ consequences from Morality.
I’m eventually planning to tie blood hunger and other such concepts into the two Consequence trackers.
A link to my WIP character sheet for the hack can be found here.
 

Thoughts on my FAE World of Darkness hack thus far

This is the first in a short series of blog posts detailing the thought processes behind the creation of my FAE World of Darkness hack.

  • Establishing the Basics

First thing I needed to do when I began work on the FAE nWoD hack was to detail how much the hack rules were going to adhere to and deviate from the basic rules of the Fate Accelerate Edition.

  • Aspects
I definitely wanted to keep the High Concept and Trouble Aspects discussed in the FAE rulebook, however I also decide to implement a Type Aspect that would either be the appropriate type of supernatural (vampire, werewolf, etc) or simply ‘human’ if the character was playing a mortal; the idea behind this was that it could be invoked when appropriate and also it could compelled by opponents when the characters type was a disadvantage. For example, if a werewolf was wrestling against a human, it wouldn’t prove unreasonable IMO to compel them based on the fact that a human is physically weaker than a werewolf.
Typically in WoD games the various supernaturals are divided into social groupings that impact on the powers and abilities that the character may possess; variously know as clans, tribes, etc the different types have been nicknamed Splats by many different people in the RP community. I decided that there should be a Splat Aspect that would be based on the characters clan, tribe or whatever.
For example: The Mekhet clan are shadowy occultists who take additional damage from sunlight due to their affinity with the night, therefore their Splat Aspect is Master of the Shadows.
Obviously humans don’t have a Splat Aspect as such and therefore they effectively have more freedom with assigning this Aspect, I quite like the fact that humanity is more versatile and free to choose its own destiny whereas the various supernaturals are, to a certain extent, defined and limited by their curses/blessings. 
  • Approaches

I decided early on that I didn’t want to alter the existing Approaches listed in the FAE rulebook, since they cover a broad range of approaches and would be easy for a group to understand; however the loss of morality and the struggle against the darkness within is (for me) a fundamental aspect of the World of Darkness and therefore I needed to find some way to represent this.
Condensing the Hierarchy of Sins table from the nWoD corebook I needed and assigning difficulties to the various sins was fairly straight forward, however I needed something that could be used to test against the difficulty and none of the existing Approaches really seemed to cover it, so I added in a Humane Aspect. Whilst tinkering around with this mechanic, I decided that I would also need some measure of how inhumane a character was so that things such as Predators Taint could be judged.
Predators Taint in the Requiem corebook is when two vampires meet their beasts react to each other, the vampire with the highest blood potency feeling violent/angry and the vampire with the lower blood potency feeling fear and the desire to flee; i’ve chosen not to focus so drastically on blood potency in my WoD hack, but still wanted to keep the Predators Taint (as a cool mechanic), so I needed something else to measure it by. I eventually settled on adding a Bestial Approach, but it seemed ludicrous that one could have a character who was very humane and yet also very bestial, therefore I decided that the player would be able to give Humane and Bestial Aspects any score from +1 to +8 that they wished as long as the two of them did not add up to more than +8; any additions to one score would subtracts from the other, meaning that a character could try to achieve a balance or could focus on one to the exclusion of the other.
  • Stunts

I left the Stunts pretty much as written in FAE although I did decide that a number of the various supernatural powers would be represented by Stunts.
However, I did decide that some Stunts in the game would be activated without spending fate points, for instance, vampires would replenish their Physical Stress boxes by feeding, and would gain physical stress by activating their discipline powers (representing them burning through the stolen blood in their bodies).
  • Stress Tracks

Looking at FATE core I borrowed the idea of having multiple Stress Tracks, the original Stress Track (that I renamed the Physical Stress Track) and then a second one that I named the Mental Stress Track; since I wanted to keep track of a characters dwindling morality it was necessary to have some sort of stat that could be depleted and “healed” as morality increased and decreased, stress tracks seemed the natural fit for this.
Near the end of my first draft it seemed obvious to me that I could borrow another idea from FATE Core, that of tying Stress Tracks into certain abilities, in this case the Bestial and Humane Approaches tying into Physical and Mental Stress Tracks; meaning that more Humane characters would have a greater resistance to mental stress whereas those given more to their bestial natures were less focused on the mind but more likely to master their own physicality.
  • Crumbling Integrity
As i’ve said earlier, one of the main parts of the WoD that has always appealed to me is the struggle against the crumbling of morality in the face of the cruel gameworld; i’d already worked out that I wanted to model the loss of integrity/humanity using the Mental Stress Track and had composed a Hierarchy of Sins with difficulty ratings on it, it was easy to assign rules that a player must test only when the difficulty rating of the sin was lower than their Humane Approach and that, if they failed, the character would take Mental Stress equal to the degrees of failure. The Stress could be dealt with as normal by filling in stress boxes or by accepting Mental Consequences.
Originally, in my first draft I accidentally wrote that an Integrity test was only required if the sin was ‘higher’ than the characters Humane Aspect, however Julius Müller was kind enough to point out the error after reading the initial draft so that I could correct it.
  • Vampires

Vampires seemed like a natural first supernatural to tackle since, love them or hate them, Vampire was always the flagship of the World of Darkness gamelines (in both its iterations).
  • Spending Blood and Feeding

One of the first things I decided was that I didn’t want to introduce an additional Stress Track or measure to track the amount of blood in the vampires system, that seemed to introduce more complexity that was necessary; eventually I settled on using the Physical Stress Track to measure blood, with vampires incurring physical stress as they activated their disciplines and when they woke in the evening (to represent blood spent) and ‘healing’ physical stress when they fed.
  • Diablerie

In the core game Diablerie allows you to drink the soul of another vamprie when you have them at your mercy, drinking some of their power in return for consuming their soul and damaging your own humanity in the process. Given that most powers are going to be based on Stunts I decided to allow the diablerist to steal a Stunt from the (now)deceased victim at the cost of taking mental stress (since devouring someone’s soul takes a heavy toll on you).
  • Predators Taint

The mechanics of Predators Taint have already been discussed above, the actual effect was largely left to the players and GM as a narrative device.
  • Blood Bonding
In the World of Darkness a vampire can feed someone their blood three times in order to bend the victims will to their own, gaining an additional Aspect called In the Thrall of [name of vampire whose blood you drank] quickly took care of that.
  • Sunlight
Sunlight is one of the major banes of the vampiric race, it beats down relentlessly on the kindred like a punishment from God, burning the unclean flesh of the kindred. I thought that the best way for me to represent this would be to have the sun launch an attack on a vampire for every turn they remained in the sunlight, with the strength of the attack varying depending on the strength of the sunlight that they were exposed to.
  • In Conclusion

I’m pretty happy with the WIP hack up to now, there’s still a fair bit of work to be done on it, Stunts to be created and (potentially) other supernaturals to add into the mix. The very active G+ fate community has also provided some interesting suggestions:
  • Drew Hamblin suggested using Humane and Bestial as the only two Approaches; I personally love this idea, but I think it would be a bit too vague for some.
  • Todd Grotenhuis suggested using Conditions to represent the hunger of an ill-fed vampire, unfortunately Conditions are part of the FATE toolkit and I don’t have that yet; i’m definitely planning to have a look at it when the toolkit becomes available to the public.
  • Paul Vencill mentioned that the Humane and Bestial Approaches may only really be suitable for Vampires and Werewolves and may not work as well for other supernaturals – this is definitely something that i’ll be putting more consideration into as I expand the hack to include other supernaturals. Paul also raised a very good point that perhaps I was cleaving a bit too closely to the rules of the World of Darkness when perhaps I should be looking less at the rules and more at keeping the themes of the games, this will definitely be kept in mind as I rework the hack.
The current WIP hack is available here.