In this video I’m reviewing The Way of Pukona a world of adventure for Fate Core, written by Felipe Real and published by Evil Hat:
Last night I ran a game of Dresden Files Accelerated for five great players, it was a one-shot and–to put a bit of a twist on it–I’d decided to set the game in the wild west rather than the more traditional modern setting of the game. Looking for an iconic town I settled on Tombstone, during it’s waning years after the silver mines had dried up:
Using the Wikipedia page I made the following notes:
POTTED TOMBSTONE HISTORY
- Founded in 1979 by Prospector Ed Schiefflin in Arizona.
- Grew in mid-1880s, last of the boom towns.
- Local mines produced $40 to $85 million silver bullion.
- Town established on mesa above the Goodenough Mine.
Had bowling alley, 4 churches, ice house, school, 2 banks,
3 newspapers and an ice cream parlour.
- 110 saloons.
- 14 gambling halls, numerous dance halls and brothels.
All businesses situated amongst and around silver mines.
In mid-1880s the silver mines pentrated the water table.
- Pumps were destroyed by a fire in 1886.
- Unprofitable to re-build the costly pumps.
- City nearby became something of a ghost town.
The players were told about the setting in advance and asked to create characters using the DFAE rules, shortly before the game I posted the following plot-clue to the Facebook event:
Created using an online tool: https://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp
To give you an idea of my prep, below are some of the notes that I made for and during the game.
First of all I started with the main antagonists, a black court vampire by the name of Dillon and his thrall, a young girl with powers of necromancy.
Then I moved onto some of the goon-level flunkies who were going to be acting as muscle for our main villain:
I also made some brief notes of the powers and abilities that these villains had to save me having to look them up during the session:
During the session I also made some notes regarding PC names and incidental NPCs, I also used these index card to keep track of boosts, advantages, etc.
In addition to these note I had a text file with some rough plot ideas outlined, just before we started recording I asked the players for a bit of background and worked to incorporate it into the draft plot that I had written down already, changing it as necessary. The index card method is really useful during a game because it allows me to quickly reference the most needed stats and information without having to flip through the rulebook so much.
If you want to watch the actual play video of the session you can find it here:
For those of you who aren’t aware, myself and Lloyd Gyan have been working for some time on creating a Storm and Sail campaign book for the Fate RPG, this spun-off a campaign that I kludged together using the Fate Accelerated rules and a few ideas that I had, you can find the videos for that original campaign here:
As a big fan of swashbuckling adventure stories, a short while after the original mini-campaign has finished I decided to try and actually make it into a complete campaign book that I could publish as a PDF, Lloyd came onboard a short while later to lend assistance and a valuable second set of eyes to go over things.
I’ve been posting bits and pieces about Storm & Sail for a while (mostly over on Google+) but it’s been slow going in parts because we’ve both got RL jobs and other commitments that prevent us devoting 100% of our time to writing Storm & Sail, however, I’m now pleased to announce that we are getting pretty close to completion. By that, I mean we have most of the layout done with placeholders for artwork (yet to be commissioned) and we’ve sent advanced preview copies to a closed group of people to get some final feedback on the PDF.
Here are a few sample pages to whet your appetite:
So how long before it’s released?
Unfortunately it’s not possible for us to give an exact date when the PDF will be released since it depends on a few different factors:
- How long the artwork takes to commission and create.
- How long it takes for us to get feedback from our closed group.
- Any last minute changes or alterations we have to make.
But we’re hoping to release the PDF as soon as possible, and we hope that you’ll join us on the High Seas 🙂
I recently had the good fortune to be invited to play in a short mini-campaign of Dresden Files Accelerated ran by John Drury of Roll For Your Fate; in case you’re not aware, Dresden Files Accelerated Edition (referred to henceforth as DFAE in this article) is the second game in Jim Butchers Dresdenverse– you can find more info on that here–the first used an early iteration of the Fate Core system and was great fun but was a little clunky in places IMO. DFAE uses the streamlined Accelerated build of the system and has obviously benefited greatly from lessons learned since the original was released.
Disclaimer: When I’m talking about crunchy, rules-heavy or simulationist games in this post, I’m not implying they’re bad–hell, play what you want–but they’re just not for me.
As you might gather from the disclaimer above, I’ve never really been a fan of simulationist games or ones that have vast tomes of increasing complex rules, TBH I’m surprised that I like FFG’s Star Wars so much given the number of specialisations, bonuses and other stuff that is in there, but I suppose preference is a fickle beast. Since sometime last year–probably even before that–I’ve been noticing that my preferences have been moving towards simpler and simpler RPGs. Whether you want to call them RPGs or Storytelling games is an argument for another time, I’m going to stick to using RPGs in this blog entry.
If you’ve seen any of my stuff online you’ll know I’m a big fan of the Fate and Dungeon World games, both of these have–in my opinion–a nice clear central mechanic that pretty much everything else in the rest of the game references, and for a long time I thought that was the big lure of these games for me, but I’ve also started taking an interest in OSR products.
I’ve recently had the good fortune to play in a Dresden Files Accelerated game using the preview rules that Lloyd ran, I very much enjoyed it; one of my favourite bits of the game was a mechanic dealing with a new type of condition that effectively acted as a power pool for some of your other abilities, each one normally came with a condition that you could tick to refresh your pool at the cost of gaining some sort of longer term complication or disadvantage. Continue reading
Love them or hate them, random charts and tables have a long history in RPGs, whether it be to determine wilderness encounters, a random bauble gained at character gen or any number of other potential things. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about skill lists, Approaches and Professions in the Fate system, in preparing my Storm & Sail game (starting next weekend) I’ve decided to go with a Profession based system, but it has got me thinking about just how many skills are actually needed in a Fate game; if you love the current amount of skills that’s grand, I’ve no problems with that, but this post probably isn’t really aimed at you.
Recently my wife Hannah has been running a game using Aspect only fate, essentially the skill rating you add to your dice rolls comes from the number of aspects you have that are applicable.
For example: If you had “Best gunslinger in the county” and “Quick on the draw” as aspects and found yourself in a shoot-out then you could claim +2 as your skill level, one rank per applicable aspect.
This system seems to be working really well at the moment although it does involve a bit of adjudication as to what aspects are applicable in certain situations, and having players who aren’t going to attempt to manipulate the system to get the best rolls in any and all situations; very similar to some of the potential issues that Fate Accelerated can face depending on the level of player buy-in to the spirit of the system.
It also got me thinking about the World of Darkness series of games where attributes are organised into three categories, physical, mental and social, I started thinking about whether or not these three “stats” could be used to replace the existing skill list, and I believe that they could be. Those three labels cover pretty much all situations that I can think of, trying to be diplomatic with somone, roll social, trying to recall ancient lore, roll mental, fighting a pirate, roll physical.
Now I can hear some people complaining and saying that there wouldn’t be much variety using this system, however I think this is where the stunt system can more than adequately pick up that slack, you want to play a character who is more dexterous then brawny, then take a stunt or two that benefit you in those sort of situations, and vice-versa if you want to be the brutal but clumsy barbarian. Although it might be worth the GM being a being more lenient with the situations that stunts can apply to.
As you may know I’m preparing to run a pirate-style fantasy game using a version of the Fate rules that I have compiled, taking inspiration from several different sources. I’ve also been experimenting with the free version of Xsplit in an attempt to make the game more visual for those watching it and as a helpful aid to my players, I’m pretty happy with the layout I’ve now got and have uploaded a small video test of it (you can see this by clicking on the video link below).
Features I intend to use via Xsplit for this game:
- Changeable backdrop images.
- Gold coins as fate tokens that can be moved.
- Screen capture of the players with their fate points below them and their characters name and aspects above them.
- Overlay-able map of the New World.
- I also have a second screen set up that can function as a whiteboard.
As those of you who read my blog will be aware I am currently preparing for a fantasy-Fate I am planning to start in a couple of weeks that will take place in a setting (very) loosely inspired by the Carribean in the 18th Century.
Up until recently I was writing the rules for the game and merrily looking at subsystems for scale, vehicles and all manner of things and slapping them into the Google Doc that I was writing, then it occurred to me that the more I was adding the less and less the game was resembling the elegant simplicity of the base Fate system and was turning into something far crunchier. Now that’s fine if you like crunchier rules (and if you do version 1 of the rules I wrote is here), but it’s not really my bag, one of the things I love about Fate is how versatile the basic rules system is and I generally prefer to stick closely to it. This left me with something of a dilemna, I wanted to have vehicles of different sizes and two magic systems, so how could I include them and keep the game simple.
It was at this point I turned to a game that has rapidly become my Fate crisis-bible, and that is Jadepunk by Re-Roll Productions; I ran a campaign of this game a short while ago (you can see the videos here) and thoroughly enjoyed it, I remain impressed by how thoroughly the designers managed to get across their vision of their gameworld whilst at the same time avoiding the trap of just adding a buttload of new rules to the Fate system. One of the things I loved about this system was that instead of skills the characters had ratings in six professions that they used for their various rolls, so I decided to use this as inspiration for my campaign.
I also decided to keep the names of the two magic systems but trim down the mechanics in the extreme, concentrating more on what they bought to the game fiction.
You can check out the documents I’m working on by clicking the links below:
I plan to continue updating them as necessary until the beginning of the game, the rules are mostly done but the background will be reworked and expanded at a later date.