Fate of Cthulhu – FAe hack – rules

Having finished creating the various templates for the different professions in my FAE Cthulhu hack it was fairly easy to create some guidelines for accumulating stress when traumatic/insanity inducing effects are encountered and to note down some suggestions for derangements. The vast majority of rules can be used as per the Fate Accelerated rulebook.
My plan next is to write up some guidelines for creating a horror atmosphere using FATE (based on information from the toolkit) and jot down some possible FAE stats for the more prominent mythos entities.
The current version of the hack can be found here.

Fate of Cthulhu – FAE Cthulhu hack – Character generation

So I sat down last night with my trusty copy of Trail of Cthulhu (my preferred choice of the many, many different Cthulhu mythos flavoured games that I own) and decided that I was finally going to start banging down some of the ideas i’ve had floating around in my head for a FAE conversion/hack.

Why use FAE and not FATE core?

I’m running two games at the moment, my Rogue Trader game House of Black (run using FATE core rules) and my Secret of Specto Vale nWoD God Machine game (run using the Fate Accelerated rules); whilst I enjoy running both games, it has slowly dawned on me that there is a distinct difference in focus between the two games and, after some consideration, I believe it all boils down to how much attention the game pays to “stuff.”
By “stuff” I mean equipment and possessions specifically, in my Rogue Trader game i’ve fielded all manner of questions regarding equipment, weapons, space ships, etc that are possessed either by the individual player characters or by the Rogue Trader dynasty that they work for (the eponymous House of Black); however in my nWod God Machine game I think the only question I have been asked regarding possessions or items is whether or not someone can have an item on them to pick a lock. Obviously not all of this is to do with the different iterations of the system being used, they are certain items and objects that you are assumed to possess in a Rogue Trader game (a space ship for instance) and the setting focuses a lot more on things (unlike nWoD and some other games); however I do feel that the Fate Accelerated (FAE) system has encouraged the players to leave the equipment list checking in the background, they know what sort of stuff their player characters have access to and that I will usually allow them to have something if it appropriate. For example: Smokey Thomson is an old school criminal in the God Machine game, the player doesn’t have to ask if he has a gun or not or check his sheet, of course he had a gun; the players also seem a lot less concerned with the specific bonuses that their kit gives to them.
Another major advantage of the FAE system is that it is very easy to learn and pick up; I have only run two sessions of my God Machine game and all of the players have a very good grasp of the basic rules.
Fate of Cthulhu

I have always been a massive fan of H. P. Lovecraft’s writing and have read the majority of mythos material written by him, along with some of the later mythos themed writings, I also have a number of Lovecraftian RPGs and supplements such as Call of Cthulhu, Realms of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu (to name but a few). Recently when we started up a one-off game night a friend of mine ran an investigative/horror based Hunter: the Vigil game that sprawled over the normal one session limit (in-fact we’re still playing it); it occurred to me that, although the story was good, I didn’t find the system particularly conducive to quickly creating a character and getting a decent one-off session of RP done. Wanted to address this and show how I would do it when the GMing duties eventually swung back my way I turned to the FATE system as my go-to roleplay system at the moment; i’ve already gone on loads about how I think that the FATE system places story over accurate rule mechanics in previous blog entries and so I won’t take up space doing it again, however, I thought back to how easy it had been to pick up FAE for my God Machine game and decided that this would be the game system for my horror one-off.
Having always been a big fan of the mythos, most horror games run by myself have a Cthulhu-esque flavour to them; not really wanting to create a complete Cthulhu FATE game from scratch though I turned to one of my favourite Cthulhu RPGs Trail of Cthulhu (you can see some of my thoughts on this game here) and began looking at it with a view to creating a FAE hack/version of the game.
Character generation & Occupations

Looking through Trail of Cthulhu a bit part of the character generation process is picking an Occupation, this sets your starting skills and a few other bits and pieces, you then (with most occupations) get to add one of two additional skills and tweak some little bits. Since FAE doesn’t involve skills and I was determined to maintain the basic 6 Aspect approach of FAE (to make it easier on the players and myself) I decided that I would have each player pick a template for their character based on profession.
One example of this is shown below:
Archaeologist: A person who travels to strange and exotic places in search of the past.
Starting Stunts – Archaeology, Athletics, Evidence Collection, First Aid, History, Ancient Languages, Library Use, Riding.
“Well known in academic circles” – Once per session the character may gain access to the restricted area of a museum or library by using their academic credentials.
Starting Refresh – 1.
Instead of skills the template would define a number of Stunts where the character received a +2 bonus when dealing with a particular subject; also any other miscellaneous benefits could be represented by an additional Stunt (the “well known in academic circles” listed above for example).
Once this had been done the Starting Refresh for fate points of the character would be defined by their Occupation Template (those templates with less Stunts would leave the player with more refresh points remaining); this refresh could be spent to acquire additional Stunts or saved as per the rules in the FAE rulebook.
Overall I was pretty happy with the start i’d made on the character generation session and posted a draft on the FATE G+ community to get some feedback; my next aim is to produce a series of small/compact character sheets (one for each Occupation Template) so that the players just have to pick one, jot in a few details and they’re good to go, making character gen really speedy.
The initial draft section is available here, any constructive feedback is welcome (I am aware the Scientist Occupation is missing it’s Starting Refresh rate, it should be 3).

God Machine Chronicle – So what is it with these cats?

“Smokey” Thomson stood on the threshold of the Specto Vale apartment block, the winter storm lashing down outside and coating the world beyond the block with white, contemplating the events of the day before he lit a cigar; at least that fruitloop Shepherd had promised them some answers today. Meanwhile Brian Best had just woken up in his room where he’d fallen asleep re-watching his extensive collection of Star Trek DVDs, there was a faint meowing outside the door of the apartment  he opened it to see a single feline watching him. At first Brian attempted to feed the cat some milk but it didn’t seem very interested in it, remaining watching him, so eventually he gave and went back inside.
There was a banging on the door of Maggy Pike’s apartment, she opened it to find Sue-Linn the 16 year old daughter of Mr Lung standing there, frantically trying to explain something in chinese (much to the bewilderment of Maggy who didn’t speak chinese), the young girl thrust a pile of money at Maggy and eventually communicated that she wanted Maggy to follow her. Following Sue-Linn down the hallway, her loud talking lead to Brian sticking his head out of his appartment and investigating; through his mangled knowledge of the chinese language Brian was able to establish that the man who had left a bag in their freezer had paid them £500 to look after another parcel because he thought “people were after [him].”
Making their way across the ‘lobby’ of the apartment block the small party spotted Joe smoking his cigar and beckoned him over; travelling to Lungs Chinese takeaway Sue-Linn fetched her older sister who spoke english, she confirmed that, whilst she had been in the back room caring for her father, Mr Shepherd had turned up and paid her sister £500 to hide some papers. Looking in the freezer Brian discovered the blueprints that had decorated Shepherd’s flat walls, with the red dots showing where cats congregated in the block, red lines joining these points to a 13th floor flat and a line joining that flat to one on the top floor; since the last time they had seen the blueprints, three large asterisks had been drawn on it, two in 13th floor flats (one being the flat with the red lines travelling to it), one in a 1st floor flat and the other in a bus stop just outside the apartment block.
Deciding that it was about time they got some answers from Shepherd, the group visited his apartment, finding it oddly clean and with a much saner, apologetic Shepherd in attendance; Shepherd apologised and claimed that he suffered from psychotic episodes and had been off his meds, he claimed to have little memory of his paranoid ramblings. Brian noticed that the apartment seemed to have been freshly painted but that there was no smell of paint, his continual attempt to quiz Shepherd about this resulted in nothing other than a confused silence from the man, although Maggy noticed that every time he paused to consider his answer, there was a strange metallic whirring sound (like an old pocket watch her father had once possessed) from somewhere in the room. Joe had begun to suspect there was something not right about Shepherd and shook his hand, applying as much pressure as possible, but it was like trying to squeeze a breeze-block, Shepherd didn’t even seem to notice.
“That isn’t Shepherd” – Joe “Smokey” Thomson
After leaving Shepherd’s apartment, Brian speculates that perhaps the people who were after him actually managed to get hold of Shepherd and that they had somehow brainwashed him, whereas Joe doubts that the person in the apartment is infact Shepherd. Brian wants to visit the places marked with asterisks on the map, so him and Joe had to the first floor whilst Maggy plans to visit the bus stop just outside the apartment.
Arriving at Flat 113 on the first floor they find it seemingly empty, Brian begins to attempt picking the lock when Joe, tired of waiting, kicks the door with such force that it is smashed off its hinges, the noise of the destruction echoing down the corridor. Moving inside they find a dusty, abandoned apartment with sparse furniture covered by dust sheets, at one end of the room is a large oval mirror also covered by a sheet; unveiling it the two men notice that, although the room is reflected, they do not seem to have reflections in the mirror.
Outside Maggy has waded through the waste high snow and is shocked to find that at the Route 13 bus stop and for about a metre around it there is no snow (despite flurries still falling from the sky) and the temperature is far more mild than elsewhere. Snapping some photographs on her smartphone, Maggy retraces her steps to the apartment block and goes in search of Joe and Brian, following the sound of a door smashing she eventually locates them in flat 113.
Brian hesitantly put his arm out towards the mirror; the surface of the mirror ripples like liquid and his hand passes through, Thomson grabs hold of him, worried that his driver might be pulled through. Brian puts his phone through and blindly snaps some photos, when he removes his arm and looks at the phones gallery he sees simply photographs of a reflected apartment room. Convinced there is no immediate danger Brian pokes his head through the mirror and sees a reflection of the apartment, however, something seems not right, but he can’t put his finger on what; using a fire hose as a life line and tying it around his waist Brian dives through the mirror whilst Maggy checks the refrigerator.
“Nope, no Zuul” – Maggy Pike
The sound of metallic wheels alerts Maggy to the approach of one of the apartment janitors, a surly eastern european man pushes a wheeled metal water container along with a mop. Meanwhile Brian explores the mirror world, finally realising what is wrong with everything, it all looks fake like a movie-set or cardboard cutouts of real things; he verifies this by picking up an almost weightless sofa, he tries to take it back through the mirror with him but it does not make the transition with him, falling on its side when he exits the mirror world. Maggy and Joe turn to talk to Brian and there is a loud crash from behind them, whirling round they see that the real world sofa is lying on its side.
Re-entering the mirror Brian moves over towards the window, he can see no snow outside but just a flat field of white with a round black giant object that resembles a colossal button floating in mid-air; exploring the reflection of the corridor outside the room, Brian sees the janitor shuffling away from him, although he can’t see the man’s face at all, the janitor is the first person he has seen since entering the mirror. Returning to the real world, Brian discusses what he has seen with the others, but they are interrupted by the janitor who keeps repeating that they should not be in the flat; spooked by what he has seen and unsure what is going on with the janitor Brian advises that the group leaves, they take his suggestion and follow him out of the flat.
Heading up to one of the 13th floor flats marked with an asterisk they meet the occupant, a polish man named Bartek Prusee, he has tattoos that Joe recognises as old school criminal gang markers; using the excuse of a potential drugs deal (brokered by Joe and supplied by Maggy) they are able to have a look around the flat. During his search Brian discovers that the underside of Bartek’s dining table is mirrored and he establishes that it seems to work like the other mirror he entered, however he is unable to test it further as Bartek concludes his deal with Joe (a very good deal for Joe, although as a sweetener he promises to supply some muscle if Bartek needs it in the near future).
Continuing to the other thirteenth floor flat (the one marked with red lines connected to it on the blueprint) they find the corridor outside full of numerous cats, all appearing to watch their approach; knocking on the door and pretending to be Resident’s Association members gains them access, the smell of cat urine and feces hitting them like a wall. The occupant appears to be an old woman with cataract clouded eyes who claims to care for the cats that the management bought in to deal with the vermin problem; searching the flat, Brian locates a round mirror on a dresser in the bedroom and finds himself able to pass through it into the reflected flat beyond. Poking around he finds that the cats are reflected here, although they look like small burlap sacks with fake cat masks tied around them (they remind Brian of some canopic jars he saw on a program about ancient Egypt , something wriggles inside the sacks, creating an unsettling undulating movement; Brian picks one up and is shocked when two metal, insect-like antenna tipped with sharp fangs emerge through the eyes of the cat mask and stab into his hand drawing blood. Dropping the thing onto the floor, he dives through the mirror back into the normal world as metallic legs begin emerging from the sacking.
In the normal world Brian sees that every single cat in the room is staring at him; he staggers back into the living room, showing the others his bloody hand, he gestures for them to leave. As they head out the voice of the crazy old cat lady follows them, “It was nice to have company, I do hope your friend is alright.”   

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 14: Fear Itself

Enginseer Pak & Admiral Black take four engineers with them across to the renegade vessel; stood in the chaos of the frantic engine room of the renegade vessel, Enginseer Pak realises there is heavy damage, pipes hang down everywhere with steam coming from them and there is an air of frenetic activity. Pak sees that the vessel isn’t off Imperial Manufacture (and doesn’t follow standard layout templates) but his trained eye can see that there are parts of the ship reminiscent of older Imperial technology as though their tech had the same starting point. The people running around are wearing little more than combat trousers and oil splattered aprons, Pak calls for the chief engineer and a huge man up to his elbows in mechanical parts with a huge chainaxe strapped to his back is indicated.

Pak can see that the engineer is trying to bodge the damage together, his skill is impressive but nothing like the Mechanicus, it reminds Pak of himself before he was inducted into the Adpetus Mechanicus. Admiral Black notices a statue in the corridor leading to the engine room that resembles a crudely carved member of the Adeptus Astartes; underneath he sees the legend in Low Gothic “In Death and Glory we Honour the Sky Warrior.” He also notices that the figure depicted has pronounced canine tusks and an animal skull on his shoulder pad.

On the Venerus Cornelius is chasing the Eldar ambassador, the Eldar ducks round a corner or the corridor leading to his quarters and disappears, he must have gone inside but the two guards still stationed on his door report that they have not seen him; on the floor of the corridor Cornelius finds a piece of the strange xenos metal and a power cell from the ship as though dropped haphazardly on the floor. Cornelius mentally speculates that perhaps the creature is trying to get power, he uses the shipwide vox system to contact Engineering and request one of the isolation containers built by Enginseer Pak, some engineers show up after a few minutes in response to his call and take the metal away.

Cornelius kicks the power cell away into the shadows at the side of the corridor, when the engineers take the metal he goes to retrieve the cell but cannot locate it.

On the renegade vessel the two teams of engineers bring the systems back under minimial power although more thorough maintenance at a proper facility will be needed in the long term; Pak goes to inform Admiral Black of his progress and sees the statue, he recognises the heraldry depicted as belonging to the Space Wolves chapter. Admiral Black demands that the primitives take him to the captain of the vessel and the engineer (who identifies himself as Jurgen) takes the two of them to the bridge. The ship is slightly smaller than the Lunatic Pandora, it has sacrificed armour and cargo space for speed and has forward facing weapons, it is obviously an attack vessel. Enginseer Pak tells Admiral Black that he thinks the ship could be adapted to their needs should he so wish, at this point the Admiral suddenly remembers that they still have a problem on the Venerus to deal with.

“Oh God, the entity!” – Admiral Fortunus Black

Pak realises the primitive ship is warp capable but he has seen no analogue to the Navigator’s sensorium chamber that they have on the Venerus; he realises that this civilisation must have only just started using warp technology. On the bridge, the captain is dead, pierced through the chest by a fallen roof beam; Admiral Black orders navigation to maneuvre the ship towards the Venerus. There is a bit of language issue since the renegades don’t appear to use the word ‘warp’ but eventually they are able to confirm that the ship can enter the warp under the direction of someone they call the Sjdomann, the language they use seems to be a pigeon-language adapted from Low Gothic.

Pak uses his tech implants to interface with the primitive spirit of the ship; he confirms that it is an attack/escort ship, looking at a schematic he finds a spherical chamber at the centre of the ship linked to the warp engine room. Psk establishes a remote link to the Venerus and begins transmitting the information on the renegade ship across.

On the Venerus York Benetec is in his sensorium when he becomes aware of a bright flare of psychic activity nearby; if the souls of normal people are flickering candles in the dark, the new activity is like a firework or brief explosion of psychic energy that flares up then dissipates; as the soundproof doors of his chamber opens he hears a female voice screaming in high-pitched agony from a few corridors away, York moves towards the sound. To his warp-born perception he can see a flickering green light shining from the corridor, in it lies Dana convulsing, green light shining from her nose, eyes and mouth. Benetec thinks either they’ve moved into an area where the warp and the real world are close together, or some sort of warp entity is attempting to possess her.

The Navigator unveils his warp eye, using the force of his formidable will to hold Dana in place, but he can feel a will acting against his own, trying to undo what he has wrought. Benetec attempts to pull the demonic energy from Dana and nullify it with his own Navigator training, surprisingly the woman fades away leaving York stood on his own in the corridor and the resistance to his will ceases, to his psychic senses it appears as low some sort of log hanging psychic fog occupies the corridors of the ship.

Cornelius is contacted on his personal vox by the haggard voice of Tullius Black who asks the Confessor to meet him in the medical bay, 
Tullius is lying in a bed with the left side of his face bandaged, he struggles to breathe but explains that him and his men were heading down to the engineering section when he claims to have been attacked by a particularly nasty hive vermin called a Gloomhaunt that has haunted his dreams since an unpleasant incident during his youthful Spyrer rite of passage on his homeworld. The creature wrapped around his head and the next thing he knew he was in the medical bay, his men claim not to have seen the gloomgaunt and that Tullius attempted to shoot himself in the head with his pistol, if they had not wrestled his gun of him and knocked him out he would’ve succeeded; as it was the shot destroyed the left hand side of his face.

Tullius lays his gambling and falling out of favour at the feet of a philosophy of life being entirely random, he blames the original experience in his youth with the Gloomhaunt; he then shows Cornelius a data-slate containing the camera footage from the corridor where the encounter occurred, it backs up the version of the story portrayed by his men. Apothecarians ask the Confessor to leave, saying that they need to sedate Tullius (who insisted on speaking to the Confessor before he allowed them to operate).

Cornelius tells Tullius to come and see him once he has recovered.

On the primitive ship, Admiral Black asks who is next in line for command, Jurgen tells him there would be a challenge to decide who would lead now Erling is dead; the greatest amongst them would become the new captain.

“This may not be a good time, but it is the way of our clan.” – Jurgen

The challenges would be overseen by the Sjomann, she is seen as a neutral party; since they have defeated the clan ship both Pak and Admiral Black have a right to enter the challenge, only the new captain can authorise complete surrender. As they move to the Sjomanns chamber they are joined by other people who plan to watch or participate in the challenge/trials.

A white haired woman with strange swirling tattoos and a bandana with an eye emblem on her forehead greets them as they arrive at the chamber, she introduces herself as Sjomann Amelie. Amelie listens to Jurgens explanation and agrees that a challenge must be held, she sits on a chair at the head of the chamber that has wires running from it; Pak recognises the device as a primitive form of the equipment that they use to help York Benetec interface with the Venerus.

“We honour the traditions laid down by the Sky Warrior and to prove ourselves worthy our leaders are chosen by a test of arms, in this way do we strengthen our people” – Sjomann Amelie

Jurgen, engineer for eight years, steps forward and Pak challenges him for command of the ship on behalf of Admiral Black.

“I am Jurgen, chief engineer of this ship, I killed the Nactar with my bare hands!” – Engineer Jurgen

Pak strikes Jurgen’s chainaxe with his power sword, sending an electrical charge down the axe and causing the bearded engineer to drop the weapon. Jurgen continues to try and fight with his fists, winding the Enginseer but getting close enough for the half-mechanical Enginseer to grapple him.

Staggered by a brutal headbutt from Jurgen, Enginseer Pak’s mind flashes back to the many vicious fights for survive he had to survive in the underhive, crawling his way up from the muck of the hive bottom. His face darkens with an unaccustomed look of rage and he crushes the life out of the burly engineer, finally snapping his neck with a brutal metallic headbutt and dropping the limp body to the floor.

Over the course of the next hour Pak sees off a number of challengers, narrowly scraping through to victory and is pronounced Captain of the ship by the Sjomann Amelie Klok; lost in the depths of his rage the Enginseer has slain at least five of his opponents, although oddly the crew seem to respect this more.

Cornelius contacts York Benetec and explains that he believes that is some sort of warp-entity onboard the ship and hopes that the Navigator can help deal with it; he believes that it is showing people things they fear. Benetec explains he has recently become aware of the entity and that he isn’t sure its an actual entity, possibly being more a form of event or warp-spawned phenomenon. Cornelius suggests informing Lady Decusis-Black but Benetec dismisses the idea.

“She may think that she is in command of the vessel!” – Navigator York Benetec

Exploring the ship with Cornelius he sees that the psychic mist seems to have spread throughout the ship, they meet a crewman who is terrified and believes they have been boarded; realising that this is undoubtably more evidence of the phenomenon but feeling slightly irked, York Benetec recommends that the man go to the bridge and inform the Captain’s wife. The two of them visit engineering where they talk to acting Enginseer Doric Cattilo; they find out that there have been no strange incidents occurring in the engineering system.

“There is no panic in the engine room Navigator, everything is nominal.” – Acting Enginseer Cattilo

Cornelius and Benetec go to the cathedral, the mist actually appears to be thicker there; Junior Priest/Acolyte Didius Julianus Fiscal reports an unusual amount of people at services, Benetec theorises that the increased amount of fear here may have caused the mist thickening. Confessor Cornelius has his priests begin clearing the cathedral and preparing to conduct a ship-wide blessing.

Enginseer Prime Pak continues to interrogate the machine spirit of the clan ship Rod Hant, the records are fragmentary and the clansmen don’t appear to record a lot about society. He continues to  establish himself on the Rod Hant clanship as Captain, they appear to follow a martial tradition and, now the challenge has determined that Pak is their leader the clansmen follow his order quite willingly.

Admiral Black talks to the Sjomann and finds out she is one of two Sjomann clans (hers being Clan Klok) who remain neutral in the warfare between the other five clans since their services are so valuable, together the two of them travel back to the Venerus.

Pak works out that the clansmen come from the Endeavour System, they were lead here by the Sky Warrior to claim spoils, the clansmen appear to be referring to some sort of embodiment of their god or a messianic figure when they mention the Sky Warrior. 

On the Venerus the Sjomann shudders saying that there is an ill-feeling to the ship, she removes the scrap of fabric to reveal a green glowing warp eye that she looks through, telling Admiral Black that she detects some evil magic at work onboard. Admiral Black gets on the shipwide vox system and asks to meet with both the Astropath and the Navigator.

Buoyed by the faith and chanting of his priests Cornelius begins to  move through the ship, blessing the chambers on his route, the crew seem comforted.

“No-one who truly holds the Emperor in their heart need show fear.” – Chief Confessor Cornelius

Benetec notices a slight lessening of the warp mist density in the chamber and, as Cornelius begins to intone a chant of exorcism and cleansing, the mist almost completely clears from the chamber although their are still traces of it onboard.

York Benetec and Cornelius receive a vox message asking them to meet Admiral Black on the bridge; heading there after completing the blessing they are met by a confused Lady Decusis-Black who demands to know what they’re doing on the bridge.

“The Admiral is onboard.” – York Benetec
“Yes I know, I have already spoken to him! I believe he is in C&C waiting for you!” – Lady Dominique Decusis-Black

Cornelius attempts to exorcise the presence using the central point of the bridge (the command chair), however it does little to remove the warp mist, lending credence to Navigator Benetec’s theory that it may be more of a phenomenon than an entity. As they turn to leave Lady Decusis-Black and three of the bridge security guards point autopistols at Navigator Benetec; Confessor Cornelius steps in the way of the potential barrage and orders them to stand down, explaining that whatever they are seeing isn’t real.

Lady Decusis-Black explains that the entity appears to have possessed York Benetec, as Cornelius turns he can indeed see York Benetec hovering in midair with green light spilling from his mouth and the cried of damned souls echoing round the bridge. Lady Decusis-Black uses the vox to call for security, sending out a general alert that Navigator Benetec has been possessed and must be restrained; Cornelius begins to announce a blessing and the false-vision of the possessed York Benetec fades away.

Admiral Black arrives, having heard the alert, and is greeted by his greatful (and now quite sheepish) wife; Benetec attempts to explain that the ship and people onboard are being affected by some sort of warp event that feeds on fear and is capable of creating illusions to further panic people. Upon seeing Sjomann Amelie, Navigator Benetec is able to identify some of the tattooed markings she has as being of the Belisarius Navigator family.

On the Rod Hant, Captain Pak is discovering that, rather than keeping a log the crew have a storyteller whose job it is to memorise their sagas and tales; Pak begins setting up the primitive computer system to record these tales. The clansmen on the ship belong to one of the seven clans called Clan Mord, along with the other clans they believe in the Sky Warrior who founded their civilisation and who recently, as prophesised, returned and united three of the clans and took them on a glorious quest. The other two clans were Clan Klok (a Sjomann clan) who follow a mythical figure called the Byggmeister (a god of secrets and mysteries) and Clan Blod follow a patron god they call Slaktin (god of warriors and fighting). Pak bundles up the information on deities and sends it to Chief Confessor Cornelius on the Venerus.

Cornelius theorises that the Space Wolves chapter of Adeptus Astartes must have passed through here during the mythical crusades in ages past and must have influenced this civilisation; Benetec recalls that the Belisarius family of Navigators provide a lot of their members to the Space Wolves battlefleet.

Sjomann Amelie offers to perform a cleansing to rid the ship of the presence, but that it will involve an animal as a blood sacrifice; Admiral Black has the ship Twistcatcher (mutant catcher) bring up a mutated animal from the lower decks, Amelie stabs it and begins daubing crimson runes on the doors and bulkheads. Cornelius is horrified and angered as he recognises the runes as being similar to those used to call upon the ruinous powers; he attempts to warn the Admiral but, keen to see his ship rid of the presence, Admiral Black dismisses these fears. Realising that there is little he can do to change the Admiral’s mind the Confessor leaves the area and begins whipping the first people he sees into a mutinous frenzy using his formidable oratory skills and the crews fear of the chaos gods; quickly a pipe wielding group of ten angry men join him and begin storming towards the Admiral’s position.

Ever wary of mutiny the Admiral seals the door and calls for a red alert.

“This is a shipwide alert, a mutiny has occurred, by order of Lord Admiral Black you will return to your stations – all mutineers will be shot.” – Shipboard vox system

Admiral Black contacts the Rod Hant and arranges for Captain Pak to send some of his warriors across to the Venerus to reinforce his positions whilst Benetec tries to explain to the Admiral that this action will only feed the warp phenomenon.

Confessor Cornelius accesses the shipwide vox system in an attempt to stir up the rest of the crew, preaching that the Admiral has been influenced by evil forces, however he is quickly cut off by Lord Admiral Black; whilst this is going on and everyone is distracted, Sjomann Amelie finishes daubing her runes on the corridor.

Admiral Black contacts Da’Duith Iath in his quarters warning the Eldar about the mutiny, however the Eldar is quite dismissive of the danger posed by some primitive humans.

The vox systems across the system crackle and a deep rumbling laughter that sends a shiver through the hearts of all onboard echoes through the corridors of the ship.

“We’ve done exactly what it wanted!” – Navigator York Benetec

As the laughter continues the Sjomann staggers, her nose pouring blood as she clasps her hands to her head; York Benetec is also staggered but manages to remain on her feet. 

Confessor Cornelius leads his fired up possé of men towards the Edlar’s quarters, the guards refuse to let him enter, however, with one swift swing of his thunder hammer the Confessor floors the two guards and smashes open the door to the chamber. A surprised Eldar fires a slim shuriken pistol into the mob that surges through his door, tearing flesh and bone apart, however the rest of the mob reach the alien and tear it to pieces; not desiring the corruption to spread any further Cornelius orders them back and torches the remains using his flamer.

Admiral Black is joined by Captain Pak and they begin discussing a way to use the teleportarium to capture the mutinous confessor; Navigator Benetec quietly slips away during the conversation, he notes that the mist level (that has been growing steadily thicker over the last few hours) disappears and the laughter from the vox ceases.

Realising that his cause is lost, Cornelius records a last message, hoping to mitigate the recriminations against those who helped him and dispatches it to Admiral Black via the vox system.

“Captain, i’ve done what I felt was necessary, I acting alone and without the aid of the rest of the crew. The Emperor go with you.” – Last testament of Chief Confessor Cornelius

Using the ships sensors to track Cornelius to the Eldars quarters, he also picks up a lot of gunfire coming from the central section of the ship; York Benetec locates the Confessor using his psychic powers and, concentrating greatly, creates a small warp tear that allows him to disappear and step out into the Eldars quarters.

Confused Pak, now picking up two signatures, turns to inform Admiral Black and they notice that Benetec is missing; meanwhile, Cornelius hands his thunder hammer to Benetec and with solemnity commends his soul to the Emperor before drawing a gun and discharging it into his own skull. Benetec contacts the Admiral on the vox to inform him what has happened.

“Captain his soul is the Emperor’s to deal with now” – Navigator York Benetec 
“You almost joined him, don’t pull any of that bullshit on me again!” – Admiral Black

The centre of the ship still echoes with gunfire, Pak locks on to half a dozen of the firing crewmen and teleports them into the glasscrete tube of the teleportarium chamber; they appear terrified and one of them appears to have been almost sliced in half with a large bladed object.

“We’re under attack in the crews quarters, we need help! It’s killing people down here…” – Junior Chef Forcius

The Admiral leads a party of men towards the sound of gunfire (ordering his wife to take control of the Venerus and seal the bridge), when Benetec receives a vox message that there is a problem with Dana; when he asks what a bellowing demonic voice like a sound from the depths of hell reverberates with painful force through the ship

“BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! 
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE OF KHORNE!”

Planning a FATE Rogue Trader session

So, it’s nearly time for my monthly FATE Rogue Trader game again and, whilst i’ve been batting a few ideas round in my head since the last session, lack of time and free weekends has meant that i’ve yet to get anything conclusive down on paper; one of the main strengths of the FATE game in my opinion is that it supports (and to some extent even encourages) and somewhat ‘seat-of-the-pants’ style of games mastering, where a lot of the plot evolves organically from player actions, Aspects and such like. Despite this I am of the school of games mastering where I like to have some notes at the very least and preferably one or two sketched out encounters ready in reserve to minimise on the amount of time that I have to spend flipping through notes or looking stuff up on the computer during play.

Given that i’ve been reading a lot of posts on Google+ recently about session planning and people asking about it I thought that, as I planned out my next session, that i’d write a blog post about it to detail my thought processes as I went along.
IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY PLAYERS PLEASE STOP READING NOW UNTIL AFTER THE GAME
Where to start?
There are a lot of places where you can start when planning a session/adventure for a roleplaying game and lots more articles regarding crafting an adventure are available on the internet via a simple search; however, the way I prefer to start planning is to have a glance over my notes from the previous session and see if anything jumps out at me that requires resolution in the next session. Looking at my notes from last session (described here) I can see that the player party had just disabled two of the enemy vessels responsible for the recent destruction of an imperial supply train; Lord Admiral Black and Enginseer Prime Pak had used their teleportarium to transport aboard one of the vessels. Although the dice roll had been done at the time to determine that Pak had repaired the engines and stopped vessel tumbling into a gravity well, the details of what transpired on board had still to be discussed, so this gets added to my list.
The other player characters had been onboard the Venerus when Lady Dominique Decusis-Black had, in the absence of another authority figure, assumed command and overseen the bombardment and surrender of the second vessel.
Split parties

Always a slightly difficult issue for me is what method of GM-ing to use when the party splits up; generally I adopt the tactic of jumping between the two groups trying to keep them engaged and not leaving anyone sat twiddling their thumbs, doing nothing whilst the action unfolds. At the end of the last session we have the encounter with Admiral Black and Enginseer Pak on the enemy vessel to resolve, however, I don’t want to do this to the exclusion of the other two characters (York Benetec and Confessor Cornelius) who are currently aboard the Venerus.
As far as I see the situation, I have a number of methods to resolve this:
  1. Resolve the scene with Admiral Black as a quick talkthrough so that the party can be re-united as quickly as possible and the main action can continue.
  2. Create a scene aboard the Venerus involving the other two characters and then adopt my normal tactic of jumping between the two.
  3. Contrive some reason why the group from the Venerus go aboard the enemy vessel and join up with the other two players.
In this sort of situation I generally try and go for the decision that will result in the most interesting potential story or the most action-packed session time that we can get; looking at the options I have outlined above, option 1 would be the easiest to do however it’s not terribly interesting and (in my opinion) wastes a lot of the potential interaction and RP opportunities inherent in the party’s current situation.
Option 2 is doable, all it requires is that I create an appropriate scene for the the party members on the Venerus; this is eminently do-able and can possibly link in to some of the other unresolved plot threads from the last session (or before).
Option 3 is possible, although it is not terribly likely that the players of York Benetec and Cornelius would want their characters to go aboard the enemy ship and I have no interest in forcing/rail-roading them into this decision.
It would seem that option 2 is the most likely of the scenarios, looking at my notes from last session I can see that we still have unresolved the matter of the warp entity that caused York Benetec to have the Venerus drop out of the immaterium in the first place; when they stumbled onto the renegade vessels it was necessary for them to deal with the immediate threat and push all other concerns to the background. Given that Chief Confessor Cornelius is devoutly opposed to the blasphemous creatures of the warp and that the Navigator has psychic ties to the realm of the warp/immaterium this would seem a logical encounter for the two characters.
At the minute my list of ideas for the session looks like this:
  • Scene onboard the renegade vessel near the gravity well: Play through the scenario as Admiral Black and Enginseer Pak arrive on the renegade ship via the teleportarium; they quickly repair the engine and begin making their way towards the bridge in order to take control of the vessel.
  • Scene aboard the Venerus with the warp entity: Stirred into life by the use of psychic abilities and the clarion call of battle during the events of the previous session, the warp entity attempts to manifest itself on the Venerus; this scene should focus on how York Benetec and Cornelius deal with this whilst Admiral Black and Pak are aboard the renegade vessel.
  • Brief tie-up scene: Assuming that the player characters are successful in securing the renegade vessels and dispatching the warp entity in some fashion they now have an additional two vessels and only a limited supply of navigators (two on the player ships, York Benetec (PC) and Passacaglia Belisarius (named-NPC)). Question: Are the renegade ships capable of warp travel or where they bought here by the larger (now fled) ship? If warp-capable then they must have their own Navigators, can the players cajol them into service and use them to move the ships? Will the players try and sell or commandeer the ships into their fleets?
The player party was originally on their way to Footfall via the Endeavour system when the intervention of the warp entity caused York Benetec to drop them out of warp; assuming that the player party decide to continue with their previous plan then this adds the following two elements to my session planning list.

  • The Endeavour system: The player characters arrive in the Endeavour system, populated by savage space faring humans (only just warp capable, space vikings) divided into clans that are constantly warring with each other. Confessor Cornelius wants to travel here because the Imperial Missionary Deacon Samuel Kiril whom he previously met on Footfall was travelling here on a mission to set up an Imperial Colony and return the savage local populace to the light of the Emperor. Note: This may be a good place to use the new colony-building rules that I have been adapting from several G+ posts. This scene has the potential to expand and take up a large portion of the remaining session.
  • Returning to Footfall: The original destination of the player party was the Imperial Space station of Footfall, they are planning to return there to consult with the Adeptus Mechanicus regarding the Ancient Enemy and what action can be taken regarding them in future. Note: The most likely contact is Rha-Haz the senior tech-priest since he is already something of a mentor to Enginseer Pak.

This covers the basic list of scenes ready for the session and I have the majority of the significiant NPC notes prepared; however I like to create a couple of additional wrinkles or complication suggestions for each scene in my game since they suggest possible future avenues for the plot to follow or other ways for the player to engage with what is occurring.
Looking over my list of scene I come up with the following:
  • Scene onboard the renegade vessel near the gravity well
    • Repairing the damaged engine (although the roll for this has already been done it can still be played out).
    • Any members of the renegade fleet who have decided not to surrender but to go out fighting.
    • Who made the decision on board the renegade ship to surrender and were they sincere? [create appropriate NPC/s]
    • Is there a navigator onboard and can he/she be coerced into working with the players, and do they even want a renegade as part of their fleet?
    • How far does the corruption go?
  • Scene aboard the Venerus with the warp entity
    • What is the warp entity?
      • Given that the entity has been drawn by the conflict and violence of the combat it would seem that it is either connected to Khorne or Chaos Undivided.
    • What abilities does the entity possess?
      • Thus far the entity has shown the ability to plague the characters with phantasms and memories dredged from their past, all of them involving threats or violence.
      • The creature is a creature of fear and violence that is shaped by the murderous impulses and memories of those it preys on.
    • What does the entity want?
      • The entity may just want to cause violence and death if associated with Khorne.
      • Perhaps the creature feeds on the fear or violence.
  • Brief tie-up scene
    • Once the players have dealt with their respective scenes have a brief tie-up scene where they can meet up again on the Venerus and make plans/discuss what has just happened.
    • If the scene onboard the renegade vessel takes less time than the warp entity scene then Admiral Black and Pak may come aboard the Venerus whilst the hunt for the creature is still in progress and they may assist/become involved in this.
  • The Endeavour system
    • This scene assumes that the players still decide to stop off in the Endeavour System.
    • Deacon Samuel Kiril has set up a small colony and is working on converting one of the clans to the ways of the Emperor.
    • The clans have only just begun to discover warp-capable travel and fly smaller fighter craft, their technology is held back by the fact that they are constantly warring and raiding each other.
    • If Deacon Kiril can get some help to conquer/convert some more clans then an alliance may be able to win over/conque the rest – the only way that the natives will be converted is by the sword since their society emphasises respect through stength and conquest.
    • Some of the clans follow the Sky Warriors and have a great martial belief whilst others follow a darker god of vengeance and murder.
      • The followers of the Sky Warriors believe that they were bought to their world as a test and that when they have proved themselves worthy in battle the Sky Warriors will return.
        • In fact the clans are descendants of an ancient Space Wolves thrall ship that was cast adrift in the warp and crash landed here; injured beyond human endurance the only surviving space marine tried to pass on his knowledge to the surviving thralls before he died.
        • As he died the space wolf ascended into the sky, promising that his brothers would return.
          • In fact the space wolf climbed into a surviving fighter crafter and set the controls to autopilot, the ship ran out of fuel in orbit around Endeavour Prime where it became a floating shrine/tomb to the space wolf.
        • The followers of the darker god have been corrupted, the noble savagery that the deceased space wolf attempted to pass on has been lost and corrupted by an aspect of Khorne. 
  • Returning to Footfall
    • The players return to Footfall where they can meet up with Rha-Haz the senior techpriest in attendance; he will be most interested (although cautious) regarding what the characters have to say about the Ancient Enemy.
    • Rha-Haz will want to quarantine and conduct experiments on any samples of the Ancient Enemy tech that has been captured.
I now have a sketched out list of scenes to include and also a good idea of what NPCs to start detailing and how I can begin further detailing the scenes.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 13: Battles in the Black

Having returned to the Venerus following their aborted mission Lord Admiral Black wants to speak to the Adeptus Mechanicus regarding what they have discovered and what possible plans may be required for the future; Enginseer Prime Pak plans to keep the materials recovered from the planet in a shuttle incase it causes any problems and needs to be emergency jettisoned.
Lord Admiral Black consults his senior offucers asking for their council on how they are going to deal with the ancient enemy, tactful as ever Confessor Cornelius recommends holy fire and a thunder hammer, whilst Enginseer Pak suggests either returning to Port Wander or the Decusis system to speak to the Mechanicus; Admiral Black agrees and plans are made to return to Port Wander. Taking the Enginseer to one side Admiral Black asks Pak about his trouble with the Vitanteur Crime Syndicate; the Enginseer explains that they gave him private comm encryption protocol to contact them and that, in return for help, they would reveal the location of the previously unknown area of technology. The Vitanteur cannot legally salvage the tech, whereas a Rogue Trader can, they said that they would lead the fleet there (and forget about their grievance with the Enginseer) in return for a cut of the profits.
Cornelius brings up the subject of the Imperial missionaries lead by Deacon Kiril who were going to the Endeavour system in an attempt to set up a colony and that the system is on their route back; he suggests a quick stop off to refuel and check on their progress, Admiral Black agrees to this and orders the Navigator to make the necessary preparations, Benetec estimates that the trip will take approximately two weeks in warp-space.
Following his explosive experience with the Vitanteur Syndicate, Enginseer Prime Pak reprograms a ships servitor to act as a watcher to his quarters, building in redundancies to fool hackers into thinking they have disabled it but in actual fact they haven’t and it would keep recording the happenings in his quarters whilst pretending activity.
“The Vitanteur don’t seem to be that subtle.” – York Benetec
The end of the Imperial year is marked on the ship by wide-ranging  celebrations, lead by the ship’s Chief Confessor and ecclesiarchical authority Cornelius.
“And the ship shall ring out with the sound of our faith.” – Cornelius
About a  week into the journey (it is difficult to be exact because of the time distorting effect of the warp and the gellar fields blotting out the starfield) Admiral Black who, like a lot of his family line find the presence of the warp less discomforting than other folk, awakens suddenly in his bed; his wife is lying asleep next to him with her arm draped over his chest and everything is quiet. The Admiral feels uneasy but can’t quite put his finger on why and so pours himself a nightcap, as the spirit hits the back of his throat and he wakes up more fully he can hear a clanging sound like dragging something heavy and metallic along the ground outside his quarters.
In his dressing gown the Admiral explores the corridor outside his quarters, the ship is largely deserted because it is during the night shift but he can’t see anything, however his resolves to continue to exploring the corridors.
Meanwhile in the ship sensorium chamber the Navigator York Benetec is wide awake, his mutant talents piloting the ship through the terrors and dangers of the warp; he becomes vaguely aware of an unsettling influence somewhere on the ship.
Admiral Black turns the corner and is confronted by a crowd of crewmen running in a blind panic down the corridor towards him, he warns then to halt but they pay little heed; he grabs one of the men and demands to know what is going on bu the terrifying crewman simply shouts “we’ve gotta get to the teleportarium and get off the ship, the ship’s going down” before struggling free and running off down the corridor. Admiral Black heads to the bridge determined to find out what is going on; 1st Officer Tullius Black seems unaware of any danger or strange goings on, he checks with the teleportarium but they’ve had no strange incidents – Admiral Black orders the guards doubled by the teleportarium chamber just in-case.
Chief Confessor Cornelius is having a dream about when he was attacked by xenos forces years ago on an Imperial base, he has had the dream where he attempted to place a signal beacon to summon reinforcements many times; this time however when he runs outside with the beacon there is a redemptionist preacher standing there whom he recognises as Zane Cortez (the redemptionist originally from the Venerus, now serving on the Lunatic Pandora). Cortez says in a sorrowful voice “The geller fields have failed and are spawning mutations, we need to make our way to the teleportarium and save as many of the crew as possible.”
Cornelius wakes up with a start in his bed, a fresh sheen of sweat covering his body; suspecting an unholy influence the priest chants communion prayers and calls upon the faith present on the ship (already heightened by the festival) and is rewarded by a slight lessening of the tension/foreboding in his chambers. Somewhat disturbed by this, but resolute in his faith, Cornelius makes his way to the ships chapel. At the same time as this York Benetec briefly feels a lessening of the strange feeling; he contacts the technicians manning the geller field and mentions the strange feeling, they say the field is fine but that the first officer has also contacted them asking if there were any problems and the Lord Admiral has ordered a doubling of the guards on the teleportarium.
Enginseer Prime Pak powers up after his rest cycle to see a device attached to the inside of his door with a blinking red light, he quickly disables the explosive and calls in a fake alert to see if the guilty party will come to check on it. Whilst waiting for his trap to be sprung Pak accesses the memory unit of the surveillance servitor and sees his door open and a member of the Vitanteur he is familiar with from the old days (Ezekial Vitanteur) enter, plant the bomb and leaves.
“Warning! Explosion registered in Sector 5!” – Ships computer
A few moments later a disaster recovery crew arrive, and are puzzled to find no explosion; Pak turns to show them deactivated explosive and finds nothing on the table, he checks the servitor memory and finds no evidence of the previous footage; sees himself reacting to nothing. Shaken, but not wanting to show it infront of the crew, he explains it away as a drill to Recovery Crew Lieutenant Royston.
Pak heads to the cathedral where Confessor Cornelius is preaching to the crew who are not on duty about how the Emperor and his Blessed Navigator will see them safely through the Warp. Pak sits down at the back of the chapel; when Cornelius spots him he hands over to one of his junior priests and leaves the pulpit to a smattering of applause and takes Pak to one side.
Pak admits to being slightly troubled by the events of the evening and is seeking spiritual guidance.
“Although you are not part of my flock I will always offer to spiritual guidance to those of other faiths sanctionned by the Emperor.” – Cornelius
Pak explains to Cornelius about his past with the Vitanteur and how he used to run with them before he was selected to be part of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and how the Syndicate blames him for the loss of some recovered tech and several of their operatives to Adeptus Arbites force. Pak mentions that the Syndicate have made several explosive attempts on his life, that they are well connected and have numerous operatives on-board the ship.
“There is no-one too well connected to be purged.” – Cornelius
Enginseer Prime Pak then explains about the incident with imaginary/hallucinatory explosive and that this is what caused him to seek guidance; Cornelius tells him about his own dream and how he was able to counter it by calling on the faith of the ship. Pak calls in to see if anything unusual has happened and finds out about the doubling of guard on the teleportarium and that the Navigator has also made some queries although this isn’t anything unusual.
Lord Admiral Black has been researching their destination, the Endeavour system, in the ships library- he discovers that the people in the system have warp capable tech, but that they have just started using warp for travel, it has a large white star and many asteroid belts making it slightly hazardous to navigate, the star also throws out radiation bursts in the inner-cauldron area of the system. A low gravity gas dwarf known as Endeavour prime is the largest planet in the system but it is on that planets moon (called Scrive) where most of the life in the system lives. The civilisation is a violent society of clans whose development is held back due to the constant raiding and violence they inflict upon each other.
Fortunus ponders this problem and thinks that the system could do with a strong leader to unite them and rule them, Cornelius agrees that a leader who brings them back into the light of the Emperor’s grace would be indeed a worthy endeavour.
“Bringing savages into the fold” – Cornelius
Cornelius, Pak and Fortunus discuss Paks problem/recent issue and the difference between their two sects; the Emperor embodies both the divine principles and fates of both the ecclesiarchy and of the mechanicus. As they toast to the Emperor, Cornelius mentions how he saw the redemptionist priest and people running towards the teleportarium in his dream; he believes that a part of the crew of a ship remains with it and theorises about whether the ships long isolation in the Sycorax warp storm could have affected it in some way.
In his sensorium chamber York Benetec meditations are intruded upon by a sound like a baby crying; meanwhile Cornelius, Pak and Fortunus discuss whether perhaps some form of entity has managed to pierce the Gellar fields of the Venerus and, if so, what their response would be. Benetec can sense that the sound is emanating from somewhere on the ship but that it is rebounding off the inside of the Gellar fields, he theorises that some sort of entity has become trapped on-board and cannot escape due to the Gellar fields. As the shift ends, the crying stops.
Pak checks out the systems on-board  there have been a few glitches in the ships sensors; the odd glitch is not unusual, however during the last day there has been a dramatic increase in the number of glitches; he is able to see that the series of glitches appear to move through the ship during the shift and calculates that they will reach the bridge in the next two hours or so. Pak contacts Fortunus and tells him about something passing through the ship on its way to the bridge, they plan to divert as many of the bridges functions as they can to engineering until the entity/force has passed, hopefully minimising the effects on the ship.
Tullius Black, a distant cousin of Fortunus who has been given his post as a second chance (he never really advanced previously due to his rogue-ish nature and fondness for gambling) is current acting as First Officer of the Venerus and is manning the bridge; Enginseer Pak contacts the senior officers on his vox-link and informs everyone about the entity affecting people’s dreams, he notifies Tullius that systems were to be routed through the engineering section whilst this threat was posed. Tullius asks whether they needed to evacuate the bridge, and agrees to relocate the essential bridge staff (himself included) to the engineering section.
Navigator Benetec explains that he recognises the creature as some form of warp presence but he has been unable to examine it further since most of his concentration is required to pilot the ship; he explains that he planns to bring the ship out of the warp prematurely as a safety precaution. As the discussion continues there is a crackling on the vox-link and the sound of a crying baby; Benetec explains that he has heard the sound before.
Tullius voxes in and asks about the noise, the other senior officers hear Tullius break off and begin talking to someone else, he seems surprised saying “How can you be here?” There is the sound of an impact and the vox-link goes dead. Pak contacts security and they say that Tullius’ last known whereabouts were Sector 5 near engineering and that sporadic gunfire has been reported, a security detail is sent and Lord Admiral Black informed.
Benetec contacts Lord Black and explains that he is planning to bring the ship out of the warp due to the potential danger posed by the warp entity on board the ship; he suggests to the senior officers that, once out of the warp they could lower the gellar fields that are containing the entity onboard ship; however Confessor Cornelius is wary that doing so would simply release a warp entity to menace the world. During this conversation the ship drops into normal space.
The Venerus (followed by Lunatic Pandora) has dropped out of warp space near a gravitational anomaly (the remains of a black hole); their sensors can pick up three other vessels moving through the area. The vessels appear to be of Imperial manufacture although they don’t have any Imperial heraldry, they don’t appear to have spotted the Venerus or the Lunatic Pandora yet, but as soon as the ships fire their engines to avoid being sucked into the gravitational well they will be detected.
Lord Admiral Black orders the Auspex scanners to scan the other ships; he recognises the larger ship as one of the near mythical Adeptus Astartes battle barges that he has only heard of in the myths and legends of the Imperial Crusades; although this makes it doubly odd that they have no heraldry.  The two smaller ships are about the same size as the Lunatic Pandora and appear to be escorting the larger of the ships.
The Venerus begins moving towards the ships slowly whilst the Lunatic Pandora fires its engines and begins circling around to the rear of the convoy; Confessor Cornelius makes his way to the chapel and begins preparing the vox systems within to broadcast prayers of battle and deliverance throughout the ship. Enginseer Prime Pak continues to prepare things in engineering whilst linking into the Vox system to ensure that the transfer of command functions is still going ahead; he dispatches his servo-skull to investigate the sounds of gunfire in Sector 5.
Concentrating from the within his contemplation chamber York Benetec projects his consciousness out into the surrounding area, giving him a wide-ranging view of events occurring within the sector; he can see the floating wreckage of some destroyed spacecraft a short distance away from where they are, closer psychic examination reveals the wrecked ships to be the remnants of Imperial supply vessels. The supply train appears to have been annihilated by a surprise attack from the unidentified vessels currently near the Venerus and Lunatic Pandora.
Benetec relays this information to the rest of the senior offiers just as the unidentified vessels pick up the fleet on the far range of their sensors and begin to turn to bring them more in range; judging that they have forfeited any attempt to parley due to their attack on the supply train, Lord Admiral Black orders his ship to begin firing on the main weapons of the battle-barge.
From his overview of the scene York Benetec is able to get the drop on the approaching fleet and the great ship Venerus begins to move forwards; prayers of vengeance and fury against the traitorous dogs who would raise weapons against the Imperium of Man flood through the ships vox systems, spurring the crew to grip their weapons tighter and remain resolute in the face of danger. The Venerus weapons open fire on the largest of the enemy ships, there is an explosion from the enemy vessels as a salvo strikes their engines, unfortunately the Lunatic Pandora’s shooting proves largely ineffective. In response the battle-barge opens fire on the Venerus whilst the escort vessels shoot at the Lunatic Pandora blowing open the cargo bays and causing the loss of many materials before the emergency bulkheads slam shut.
A burst of fire from the battle-barge crashes into the Venerus, causing the emergency measures to activate prematurely, across the ship bulkheads crash down, trapping the crew in whatever compartments they occupied; however Enginseer Prime Pak and his repair teams are quickly able to repair the damaged systems and bring the ship back under control.
Relentless fire continues between the two fleets, a sudden cry goes up from the navigational array of the Venerus “Sir, the engines are firing, it’s like the ship is flying itself!” as the huge vessel moves forwards towards the enemy fleet unbidden by its pilots. York Benetec reels back in his sensorium chamber as he feels a murderous, bloodthirsty and ancient presence pressing down on him from deep within the roiling tides of the Immaterium, calling on his training the navigator breaks off with a scream as his psyché slams back into his own body.
With their engines still firing the Venerus crew manage to fly over the enemy fleet, turning to present their most heavily armoured side to the enemy and thus sustaining minimal damage from the bursts of lance-fire that stab out from the enemy vessels. The two escorts vessels fire boarding pods towards the Lunatic Pandora, the pods grapple onto the hull and begin burning through; a slightly panicked communiqué from Captain Polaris on the Lunatic Pandora comes through on the ship-to-ship short range communications  “We’re being boarded, we can’t take much more of this Admiral!”
Gritting his teeth Lord Admiral Black orders the Lunatic Pandora to make the jump into warp space and withdraw as soon as they are capable; with a tearing sound Passacaglia Belasarius the navigator of the Lunatic Pandora drops the ship into the warp, leaving the battle. The Venerus returns fire at the large enemy vessel, focussing their fire on areas of the ship that were damaged in the earlier attack on the Imperial convoy, scoring tears and rents across it’s hull.
Commotion breaks out amongst the weapons crew as, halfway through a prayer exalting the Emperors presence, Confessor Cornelius becomes aware of a strange presence and he is driven to his knees, blood gouting from his ears and eyes, he recovers and staggers to his feet although the gun crew are clearly shaken by these events. The sensors from the Venerus, now at close range, report that the enemy vessel has a weak spot on its hull near the engines, presumably due to damage sustained when attacking the convoy.
The navigator of the enemy battle-barge feels the presence of the warp entity closing around him, however he is still able to activate the warp engines of the larger vessel and disappear into the immaterium; the two smaller vessels continue to fire on the Venerus but cause minimal damage. Taking direct control of the Venerus’ sensor arrays Enginseer Prime Pak uses his tech-assisted intellect to zero in on the weak spots of the two small enemy vessels, picking out spots where the Venerus’ fire could do maximum damage; a salvo of fire damaging the weapon systems severely on one on their target.
York Benetec reels as a deep gravelly voice appears to fill his consciousness, “You have made an enemy this day! You have not heard the last of Lorgar Khan!” He recognises it as a last message transmitted from a powerful psychic on the departing battle-barge.
The sustained salvo of fire from the Venerus takes its toll on one of the remaining enemy as the ships munitions rupture, blasting fire and explosive gases into space. Realising that their weapons are destroyed the remaining enemy vessel with maneuverability begins attempting to flee the combat.
Meanwhile Confessor Cornelius is exploring the damaged section of the ship, he thinks that he sees the Eldar envoy stealthily moving around the ruptured sections of the ship; thinking that by rights this xenos menace should be confined to quarters at a critical time such as this the Confessor gives chase. Eventually the Confessor is forced to return to his chambers, the xenos-scum having alluding him for now, but mentally he vows that one day there will be a reckoning.
A devastating blast of macro-battery fire towards the fleeing ship destroys its engines; Admiral Black recognises from his considerable experience that the ship is now dead in space and will slowly be drawn into the gravity well and its own destruction. The crippled ship broadcasts a message of surrender, begging to be saved from their inevitable death in the terrible depths of the gravity well.
Ordering Enginseer Prime Pak to the teleportarium aboard the Venerus the two of them take a contingent of men aboard the enemy vessel with the crippled engine, planning to take the ship, repair the engines and prevent its destruction within the gravity well.
Aboard the Venerus Dominique Decusis-Black steps onto the bridge, seeing the chaos and lack of clear command structure following her husbands departure and 1st-Officer Tullius Black being reported as being in the med-bays following an injury (although it is not clear how or why), she takes control of the bridge.
“This is Lady Dominique Decusis Black, wife of Lord Admiral Black; in the absence of any other authority I hearby assume command of this vessel. Return fire on the Enemy ship.” – Lady Dominique Decusis-Black
“I knew she was trouble.” – York Benetec
The Venerus fires at the enemy vessel not containing Admiral Black and Enginseer Prime Pak, tearing a huge gash down the side of the ship.
“This is Lady Dominque Decusis-Black of the Imperial Rogue Trader vessel Venerus, stand down and prepare to be boarded. Surrender or be destroyed.” – Lady Dominique Decusis-Black
With their master fled and seeing only death in the coldness of space as their future should they keep fighting the enemy ship surrenders and stands down.
Back on-board the crippled enemy vessel Enginseer Prime Pak has managed to repair the engines (although the ship is still very damaged and its weapons are down), preventing the ship from tumbling down the gravity well.

FATE core specialised skills

I discussed one method of dealing with specialised skills in my Warhammer 40K FATE hack here :
However, as FATE core encourages the GM to have the players take a more active role in determining the outcome and progress of the story, I also like to discuss the various permutations of the rules with my group before implementing them; last session we discussed how certain skills (such as craft, drive and lore) could be made more specialised without unduly complicating the rules system.

Eventually we hit on the idea that someone would still have their generic skill level (set at whatever level as determined by character generation) in lore, drive or craft and that people without would roll at Mediocre (+0) level as per the normal rules, but that each person with this skill would choose their particular speciality and note it in brackets after the main skills.

For example:
  • Drive (aircraft)
  • Drive (space vehicles)
  • Lore (Imperial Religion)
  • Lore (The Warp)

The speciality functions like an Aspect tacked on to that skill and can be invoked in the normal manner by spending a fate point; this effectively gives the character a small bonus in their area of expertise but only if they’re willing to spend a fate point.
The addition of an extra Aspect tied to a skill doesn’t unduly complicate the rules and my players seemed to find them easier to come up with since the skill already gives some ideas of what to take; it is also an idea that can be used to add some additional flavour to the basic skills list without introducing a shedload more skills or making the rules unnecessarily complex.
For example: Instead of introducing a Medicine Skill in my game there is the Craft (Medicine) ability that functions as per normal Craft skill but allows the expenditure of a fate point to Invoke the Medicine Aspect whenever appropriate.

God Machine Chronicle – The Secret of Specto Vale – Session 1 Writeup

A huge snowstorm is howling outside the crumbling tower block of Specto Vale in the East Midlands, early 2013 has seen terrible winter weather hit a country ill-prepared to deal with such conditions; the result has been people confined to their homes and roads packed with snow and ice, becoming impassable to all but the sturdiest of vehicles. Several feet of snow have piled up around the base of Specto Vale, the ground floor holding a handful of shops, takeaways and a single public house the Red Lion, after a few weeks all contact with the outside world has been cut off by the constant flurry of white falling from the sky, people have emptied the shops of what little food they still contained and most of the businesses have closed their doors. Up on the 13th floor an old polish gentleman Mr Jakub Bodak makes his way along the dimly lit corridor outside his flat, the mans walking stick tapping its way along the concrete, barely carpeted floor of the building; the floor is quieter than the others, something of a local mythology has built up about the strange folk who make their home on the unluckiest floor of the building, and that’s just the way that Bodak likes it, keeps people out of his businesses. Today however, he has some business of his own with Samuel Carson the manager and owner of Specto Vale who lives (if rumours are to be believed as the sole occupant) of the buildings top floor.

Reaching the limit of the elevator, Mr Bodak is forced to walk up a small flight of stairs from the fourteenth to the fifteenth floor, he is greeted by the overweight, blustered figure of Mr Carson who ushers his tenant into his warm office and offers him a cup of coffee from a bag of fine columbian beans sat on the side; it would appear as though the scarcity afflicting the lower floors has not yet reached the lofty heights of the fifteenth. Jakub expresses his concern that he has heard rumours that numerous people have been ejected from the building due to a slight falling around on their rent, in order that immigrant families can be crammed in to make the management more money; tactful as ever Jakub phrases his concern without mentioning the money aspect but pointing out that such ‘re-allocations’ may damage the sense of community in the building. Still blustering Mr Carson says that he will look into what Mr Bodak has said (although his tone suggests anything but) and dismisses the elder gentleman, saying that he is sure they both have work to do; dissatisfied Bodak returns to his flat.
Joe “Smokey” Thomson is stood out the back of the flats in a covered over delivery area, smoking a cigarette when he hears a strangled cough from behind one of the snow covered skips; investigating he finds the badly beaten body of Mr Lung, owner of the local Chinese Takeaway (one of the many businesses that contributes to Thomson’s monetary income), slumped by the side of the skip. Picking up the injured man Thomson began to head back towards the inside of the building, clods of white powdery snow falling from the injured shop owner.
Brian “Bulldog” Best had finished emptying the cab of his lorry, it had been sat unused in the delivery bay since he had returned from his last job; Brian had been carefully extracting his portable DVD player and a selection of Star Trek DVDs, planning to bed down until the storm had passed. As he turned round a figure carrying what appeared to a be a sack or a bundle of sticks loomed out of the white sleet flurry, slowly resolving itself into the shape of “Smokey” Thomson carrying the injured body of Mr Lung over his shoulder; after some initial confusion Brian helped Thomson carried the injured chinese man to the door of the closed takeaway. Banging on the door and shouting lead to Mr Lungs two teenage daughters and mother-in-law opening the door and helping them bundle the injured Mr Lung inside. Having worked several times as a hospital emergency driver, Brian recognised that Mr Lung appeared to have been beaten several with some sort of implement and that he needed some immediate medical help; remembered that a hospital worker lived on the fourth floor he went off in search of Cathy Williams.
As he passed by the door of Maggy Pike, local hippy and well know purveyor of herbal relief, a familiar smell drifted out from under the door and Brian could hear the voices of Maggy and Cathy talking inside; thinking it a stroke of luck he knocked on the door and was soon explaining the situation to both of the women. Accompanying him to the takeaway Cathy was able to use her emergency medical supplies to stabilise Mr Lung and make him as comfortable as possible, although the elderly gentleman drifted off into unconsciousness. After leaving the herbs that Cathy had purchased for one of her patients behind Maggy left and began making her way back home, she passed by half a dozen young men wearing an assortment of hoodies, one of them carrying a crimson spattered bike lock, luckily none of them paid too much heed to the young Ms Pike, one of them even stopping to ask her about buying a ten-bag. 
Upstairs on the thirteenth floor, Mr Bodak watched the unfolding events from his flat window; picking up his stick Bodak began making his way downstair, but his false leg and age slowed him down a lot.
The youths began to hammer on the door of the chinese takeaway, shouting for them to send out Mr Lung, they began to shout about Mr Lung being responsible for the local cats disappearing and that he was using them in his takeaways. Braced behind the door Cathy and Brian were holding their own when Thomson asked them to open the door; fronting up to the leader of the mob, Thomson warned him to leave and then, when he didn’t respond, smacked the youth in his jaw, the loud sound of a cracking jawbone echoed down the corridor, although Thomson took a crack on his arm as the youth wildly swung his bike lock. Seeing their leader go down so swiftly the other youths lost their courage and turned tail, Thomson carried the injured youth outside and dumped him face down in the snow.
By this time Bodak had made his way down the stairs, both being connected with the old-school criminal element, he and Thomson warily recognised each other and it was clear that Bodak both disapproved of the youths actions and approved of how it had been dealt with. Brian and Thomson picked up the youth with the broken jaw who, through painful clickings of bone, said that his name was Rob Smith and he really believed that the chinese were stealing the local cats; attempting to allay his fears the youth was taken to his flat (a dirty, messy affair), given some pain relief by Cathy and was then warned not to interfere again, Brian telling him that the youth had learnt a valuable lesson.
Returning to the takeaway Brian began to root through the chest freezer of the takeaway, finding it mostly empty aside from a few bags of frozen vegetables and a batter rucksack; with a sinking feeling Brian removed the rucksack and peered inside, a frozen feline with clouded green eyes stared back at him, unmoving from the bottom of the bag. Taking the bag into the main room Brian showed its contents to the others, which resulted in explosive vomiting from the squeamish Cathy, Brian was about to carry the bag away when he felt it twitch and, with a screech, the cat (now seemingly alive) leapt from the bag and quickly disappeared out of the door of the flat. Lung has regained consciousness and seemed entirely surprised when the cat was mentioned explaining, via his daughters interpreting, that the bad was not his, a man in a large duffel coat and a hat had paid him £50 to stash his bag in the freezer.
Following the cat outside Brian spotted a man with a thick coat and wide-brimmed leather hat, the man was carrying a burlap sack that he tried unconvincingly to tuck into his coat; Brian spoke to the man briefly, although when he mentioned cats a look of fear crossed the man’s face and he slugged Brian on the chin before taking off, dropping his sack in the progress. Brian, nursing his jaw, picked up the sack; although it was empty there were traces of what looked like animal fur clinging to the inside of the sack.
Later, whilst escorting Cathy back to her flat, Brian and Thomson spotted the strange animal-napper watching them from the top of the stairs, Brian gave chase and was in time to see the man dive into a flat on the 6th floor. Attempts to verbally convince the man to let him in didn’t succeed until Thomson arrived and made some (thinly) veiled threats, finally persuading the man to let them in. The man’s apartment appeared as though it was decked out for a survivalist apocalypse, tins of beans and dried food were stacked in orderly piles; a large blueprint of the flats covered one of the walls, it was studded with red pins and a long red line connected a flat on the 13th floor to the 15th floor diagram. Miles explained that he had been one of the pest control specialists who had recommended getting cats to control vermin problems in Specto Vale, since then he had fallen on hard times and had moved into the apartments  volunteering to keep an eye on the vermin problem as a favour to the management.
Miles outlined a fantastic tale that the cats in the block appeared to be behaving abnormally, they were watching people and congregating in certain areas; the most fantastic element of the tale was that apparently Miles had seen a number of cats be apparently killed and then emerge unharmed, he had stored one in the freezer of the chinese takeaway apparently planning to return and examine it later. Although initially believing the man to be crazy, Brian found himself thinking back to the supposedly frozen cat and how it had revived once the rucksack had been removed from the freezer; the two men left with Miles promising to show them proof if they returned tomorrow evening.

Testing proposed narrative space combat system

As detailed in my previous posts I have been trying to come up with a solution to the problem of lengthy combats leaving certain people out, I decided to ‘test run’ a number of ideas this evening with the results shown below.


***

Statistics

For the examples below the combats pit the Venerus against a Pirate Cruiser, the two ships have to following stats:

  • Venerus (Engine +1, Hull +4, Trade +2, Weapons +3)
  • Pirate Cruiser (Engine +3, Hull +1, Trade +2, Weapons +4)
***
Idea 1


Each player makes a roll for their engines and weapons score and totals the final results together to equal the damage done to the other side, each side then rolls their trade score to represent their attempts to repair their ship and subtracts it from the damage done.
Try 1
Venerus = -1 +6 = 5 dmg done to pirate -5 repair = 0 dmg to pirate
Pirate = +5 +7 = 12 dmg done to venerus -2 repair = 10 dmg to venerus
Try 2
Venerus = +2 +5 = 7 dmg done to pirate -0 repair = 7 dmg to pirate
Pirate = +2 +3 = 5 dmg to Venerus -4 repair = 1 dmg to venerus
***
Idea 2
Each player rolls for their engines, weapons and trade, totalling the rolls and this gives the dmg done to the other side.
Try 1
Venerus = +2 +4 +2 = 8 dmg done to pirate
Pirate = +4 +4 +0 = 8 dmg done to venerus
Try 2
Venerus = +0 +4 +2 = 6 dmg done to pirate
Pirate = +4 +5 +3 = 12 dmg done to Venerus
***
Idea 3

Total up Engine, Weapon & Hull scores and then add a 4DF roll, this gives you the damage done to other side.
Try 1
Venerus = +1 +4 +3 = 8 + roll(+1) = 9 dmg to pirate 
Pirate = +3 +1 +4 = 8 + roll(-2) = 6 dmg to venerus
Try 2
Venerus = +1 +4 +3 = 8 + roll(+0) = 8 dmg to pirate 
Pirate = +3 +1 +4 = 8 + roll(+1) = 9 dmg to venerus
Try 3
Venerus = +1 +4 +3 = 8 + roll(+3) = 11 dmg to pirate 
Pirate = +3 +1 +4 = 8 + roll(-2) = 6 dmg to venerus
Try 4
Venerus = +1 +4 +3 = 8 + roll(+1) = 9 dmg to pirate 
Pirate = +3 +1 +4 = 8 + roll(+3) = 11 dmg to venerus
***

Idea 4

This would be run more like a normal attack roll with each ship making a weapons roll vs the other ships hull roll and the number of shifts being the amount of damage caused.
Try 1
Venerus attack = +3 -1 = 2
Pirate defend = +1 +0 = 1
1 damage done to Pirate
Pirate attack = +4 -3 = 1
Venerus defend = +4 -2 = 2
0 damage done to Venerus
***
All of the ideas proposed so far have their individual merits and flaws, however their main flaw in my opinion is that that they all effectively involve adding a variety of stats together and then adding a dice roll as a randomiser; whilst this has a certain amount of logic to it given that this is how most challenges work in numerous roleplaying games, the various methods proposed above seem to result either in both ships taking crippling levels of damage or barely anything at all.
***

Idea 5

Make the opposing fleet a difficulty level to be beaten as part of an Overcome action:

  • Low quality (ragtag fighters, low tech vessels) +0
  • Medium quality (cobra class destroyer) +2
  • High quality (rogue trade vessels, havoc & hazeroth class ships) +4
  • Superb quality (warships, dictator class, space marine strike cruiser) +6
  • Legendary quality (retribution class, space marine battle barge, vengeance class grand cruiser, mechanicus ark) +8
  • +1 for every additional ship beyond the number of vessels possessed by the players fleet
  • If the players exceed the difficulty then they have forced the enemy to surrender (unless they are particularly zealous in which case they are destroyed), if the player ties on the roll then either the combat ends in a stalemate with both sides withdrawing to lick their wounds or the players win but at a heavy cost.
    If the players win by 3 shifts or more then they have succeeded with style and may choose to destroy the enemy vessels if they wish; however if the players lose then they have been defeated, if they fail by 3 shifts or more then the enemy have beaten them in style and the consequences may be severe.

    Try 1

    Venerus vs 1 pirate hazeroth cruiser.
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels)
    Venerus rolls a -1, adding their weapon skills of +4 = 3
    Not enough to defeat the enemy fleet.
    Try 2
    Venerus vs 1 pirate hazeroth cruiser.
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels)
    Venerus rolls a 0, adding their weapon skills of +4 = 4
    This is a stalemate, so either both sides retreat to lick their wounds or the Venerus wins but at a high cost.
    Try 3
    Venerus vs 1 pirate hazeroth cruiser.
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels)
    Venerus rolls a +4, adding their weapon skills of +4 = 8
    The Venerus has beaten the difficulty by more than +3 and so they have defeated it With Style and can choose to destroy the enemy if they wish.

    Try 4

    Venerus vs 3 pirate hazeroth cruisers.
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels) + 2 (for the additional pirates) = +6
    Venerus rolls a -4, adding their weapon skills of +4 = 0
    The Venerus has lost by more than 3 shifts and so they are at the mercy of the small pirate fleet.

    Try 5

    Venerus vs 3 pirate hazeroth cruisers.
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels) + 2 (for the additional pirates) = +6
    Venerus rolls a +2, adding their weapon skills of +4 = +6
    This is a stalemate, so either both sides retreat to lick their wounds or the Venerus wins but at a high cost.
    Try 6
    Venerus + Lunatic Pandora vs 3 pirate hazeroth cruisers..
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels) + 1 (for the additional pirate vessel) = +5
    Venerus rolls a 0, adding their weapon skill of +4 = 4
    The Venerus and Lunatic Pandora are narrowly defeated by the pirate fleet.
    Try 7
    Venerus + Lunatic Pandora vs 3 pirate hazeroth cruisers..
    Difficulty = +4 (high quality vessels) + 1 (for the additional pirate vessel) = +5
    Venerus rolls a +3, adding their weapon skill of +4 = 7
    The Venerus and the Lunatic Pandora have defeated the pirate fleet.
    ***

    Out of all the ideas that i’ve suggested in this post the final one is the most appealing, reducing the combat to a single test with a difficulty set by the quality of the opposition and modified via fate points, Aspects and Stunts as per normal tests (although this is not reflected in the tests shown above).
    I certainly plan to test out Idea 5 a game situation at some point, the only thing left to be decided on would be how to adjudicate the amount of damage done to the defeated fleet and the victors; although I am half tempted to leave this to narrative fiat.

    The quest for inclusive space combat continues

    So, continuing on from last nights post regarding how my game went, i’ve been giving more thought this morning to how I can improve space combat in my Rogue Trader FATE game, in order to get to the point I want the space combat in my game is going to have to meet two criteria:
    • The space combat should be short/quick enough so that any people not involved are not sat out of the game for an extended period.
    • It should involve a series of rolls rather than just a single dice roll.
    Dissecting what happened in yesterdays game

    When we were engaged in the space combat part of the session yesterday, the turn sequence ran as follows:
    • The navigator piloting the ship moving the ship.
    • The Lord Admiral making the shooting rolls.
    • The Enginseer making rolls to repair.
    • Alternating people making rolls for the other fleet ship (crewed by NPCs).
    I made an attempt to have players whose characters hadn’t acted in the last round roll dice for the NPCs to keep them involved, however, I can appreciate that rolling a few dice isn’t the same as having your character actually involved in the situation unfolding, the same level of emotional investment isn’t present IMO. There were occasions when people whose characters weren’t directly involved used their abilities or fate points to help provide bonuses to those people (whether PCs or NPCs) who were making the rolls.
    Gaining FATE points

    Another (very valid) point that was raised after the session was that when people were suggesting compels for their Aspects in order to gain Fate points, only the person gaining the fate point was actually benefiting, however, in a lot of cases the complications arising were affecting or stymieing the efforts of other players who were not benefiting directly from the accumulation of fate points.
    So what is the solution?
    My current plan is to distill the space combat down to a small series of rolls rather than an extended sequence of rolls; for example, i’m currently thinking that i’ll have a combat be resolved using the following rolls:
    • The ships pilots position their ships, this provides a modifier to the next stage for whichever ship gains the advantage.
    • Rolls are made for ships weapons, the number of shifts providing the total damage done to the opposing side.
    • Repair rolls are made, the number of positive shifts repairing the amount of damage done.
    • The amount of positive/negative shifts that each ship has remaining will be totaled and each side in the conflict will tally up their totals.
    • Total damage is allocated to the various ships by the commander of each side in the conflict.
    • The side with the least positive shifts in total is “Taken Out”, if they’ve taken a lot of damage then they may have been destroyed, or they may have been forced to surrender.
    This should allow a combat to be kept reasonably simple and short and on a narrative basis with a number of dice rolls that can occur simultaneously.
    In terms of Compels, I believe this is something that I can solve through my GMing by assuring that the complications arising from Compels are more personal and directed at the the character of the player receiving the fate point.