We’re halfway through the week, myself and Hannah have been watching some fantasy films and are chatting about our top ten fantasy movie clichés that can be used in RPG sessions.
Given my recent love affair with James M Spahn’s White Star–you can see my video review of it here–I’m thinking of running some OSR style sci-fi when when Dungeon World campaign wraps up in a few weeks or so; I’ve been looking at the concept of hex crawls and have even taken a few ideas from them to use in my ongoing FFG Star Wars campaign and the methodology seems to work well in a sci-fi genre. Given that so many sci-fi franchises have effectively been reskinning fantasy races to use as aliens for a long time, I thought it might be interesting to do the reverse and run a science-fiction setting where the fantasy analogues were embraced openly.
I’m not talking about a Spelljammer-esque fantasy in space style game but a science-fantasy game (ala Star Wars) that takes direct inspiration from fantasy races and ideas to use in the setting.
Okay, so I’ve started the planning for my forthcoming Storm & Sails campaign, I’m currently working on a gazetteer style Google Doc that will contain setting information and character creation for the campaign so that my players can peruse it. Although it is not complete the document can be viewed here:
I’ll be updating the document over the next couple of weeks, once it’s complete I’ll be turning it over to my players to get some feedback before we start getting into the serious business of making characters.
As you may have read in my previous GM Tips: Campaign Fatigue post, I’m taking a break from running my 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign for a short while; during that break I’m going to be running a finite fantasy mini-campaign (probably about 10 sessions in length). To give me something different to get my teeth into whilst I’m having a break from my 3Brothers game I decided that this game should be more high-fantasy, and having always had a soft-spot for pirate stories and the like decided to make a nautically based campaign.
I plan to be posting updates over the next few weeks as the campaign ideas are fleshed out and then make as much of the setting as possible available as a PDF on this blog, so if you like Fate fantasy or the idea of swashing a buckle on the high seas stay tuned 🙂
In the meantime I’m adding images that are inspiring me for this campaign to my Pinterest account, you can check that out by clicking on the link below:
Spent this evening updating the handout for my Serpents Fall, Fate Accelerated game; it can be downloaded here.
Please note: I do not own the copyright to the art used in the booklet, this is produced purely for non-profit purposes and no challenge to any intellectual property is intended.
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.”
So how would that work?
For example: “I am a quick pirate who is captain of the ship, the Crimson Dagger.“
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.
I’m always looking for ways to improve our online Serpents Fall game (and indeed any game that I run), it occurred to me recently that part of the reason that players might not be as on the ball with Self-compels and using Aspects may be (in part or in full) due to them being unaware of the Aspects that are actually available for them to use.
It’s my intention, starting from next session to have a document (probably in the same Google Drive where the character sheets are stored) that lists all of the player Aspects and also any scene/NPC Aspects that the player characters are aware of available so that they can simply flick to the document in order to see what Aspects are available for use.
At the moment the document will look something like this:
- Ozuchi Komodo
- Last of the Komodo Tribe
- Those Stygian Shaman will stop at nothing
- Medicine man
- Easily assimilates local culture
- One day I will return to Stygia and unite my people as the prophecy foretold
- Horesh Komani
- Initiate sorceror death-priest
- Uncomfortable with living energies
- Destined for sorcerous greatness
- Skilled with ceremonial obsidian death knives
- It is my destiny to become the most powerful death-priest in Khemria
- Gunnar Kron
- Raiding party warrior
- Murderous reputation
- Experience raider
- Warriors instincts
- I will redeem my past
- Captain Benito
- Cursed pirate captain
- Cursed to never again sail the seas
- Lemurian Heritage
- Stick to the code
- Member of the Scarlet Brotherhood
- One day I will take back my rightful place as the Pirate King
It is also my intent to discuss with the players re-wording their Aspects slightly to make them into phrases that could more comfortably form part of a normal sentence, some of them already fulfil this criteria but I think there’s room to make them a little bit more descriptive now that we’re all a little more comfortable with how Aspects work.
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.
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.