Streamlining the WOD: First thoughts

As you may have seen from our previous post I was in a Google Hangout last evening with Marko, Rufus and Chepé; the crux of the Hangout was that I wanted to run a world of darkness game in the future (probably either the V2 NWOD version of Werewolf: the Forsaken or the V2 version of Changeling: the Lost (when it’s released)) but that I feel the rules for the game could do with a real streamlining. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the rules but I don’t feel as though they’ve been majorly altered/re-worked since they were created (understandable since the publisher doesn’t want to alienate their core market) but have just has sub-systems piled on top of the existing rules, making it a little unwieldy in my opinion.

Whilst the discussion on the Hangout turned into something a little more like “how could Fate be used to run World of Darkness“, I very much want to use the core WOD system (or something like it) in a game.

So i’ve decided to create a list of things that I believe will need to be dealt with in my streamlined version of the game:

Things that I want to get rid off

  • Conditions: One of the newer mechanics that I am not that keen on, I love the idea of having conditions that apply to a character and encourage RP but i’m going to be looking for a different way of representing them (perhaps taking a leaf from the Fate aspect system).
  • Humanity/morality score: I’ve never really liked the idea that humanity was tracked on a scale like it is in WOD so i’m going to look for a different way of doing that.
  • Altering the number you need to roll on dice: Certainly in OWOD the GM could alter the number you needed to roll on a dice to make it a success (as well as the number of successes you needed per roll); I don’t think this is as prevalent in NWOD but it’s something I want to get rid of.
  • The massive skill list: One of the things I thing Fate does well, and that i’m taking inspiration from, is that they shortened the skill list dramatically, I think that the list of WOD skills can be condensed down.
  • Merit & flaws: After a suggestion by Marko I think that i’m going to get rid of merits/flaws and have them represented by either something akin to Fate aspects or incorporate them into the background system somehow.
  • Different types of damage: I think this is unnecessary and can be dealt with by just varying the damage level instead or common sense (if a werewolf can’t soak silver damage then just don’t let them, for instance).

Things that I want to keep

  • D10s and the attribute + skill style mechanic: D10s are very much linked with the WOD so I want to keep them and I like the whole attribute+skill mechanic although I may not have it as a dice pool, i’m considering reverting to an attribute+skill+dice roll vs opponents roll/difficulty level style system just to make things a little quicker and less dice intensive.
  • The background system: I love the backgrounds in the WOD, however over they have odd and arbitrary rules attached to them, i’d like to see them incorporated into the dice pool/total; so you might be rolling attribute + skill + background + dice roll.

I’ve also been thinking about the things that i’m going to need to cover in my WOD hack:

  • Supernatural powers: There needs to be some method of representing these that keeps the essential flavour of the powers without unnecessary book flipping.
  • Supernatural weaknesses: Things like a vampires need for blood or a werewolves vulnerability to silver will have to be represented somehow.
  • Morality: Despite me not liking the current rules system, morality is an important aspect of most WOD games and so it will need to be dealt with somehow.

Over the new few weeks/months i’m going to put up a series of posts that discuss my tweaks to the WOD system and hopefully some playtesting as well.

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

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

Vampire Stunts

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

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

Incase you’ve not seen my quick and dirty Fate Accelerated rules for vampires you can find them here:
How did the game go?
Unfortunately because of other RL factors we didn’t get to actually finish the session, however the three or four hours that we did do were quite entertaining and everyone (including the couple of less experienced tabletoppers seemed to enjoy themselves).
Generated characters with Fate Accelerated was extremely easy although it took the newcomers a little while to get their heads around Aspects, once they had though the rest didn’t take long at all; to keep things simple whilst also maximising the potential for plot hijinks I told the players that their characters would not be vampires at the start and that they were all on a cruise ship heading to Hawaii, I then asked them to think of reasons they were there. We ended up with a fairly eclectic mix of characters:
  • Aurelia – Cello player with a goth rock band who were on the cruise relaxing and doing some promo work after a big tour.
  • Stevie Steel – Lead vocallist of said rock group, a vain main who traded on looks more than talent and had spent most of the cruise in various dalliances.
  • Katherine – A waitress on the cruise who was later turned into a vampire by a strange fellow she encountered in the café on the night shift.
  • Orsten Thomas – A medical researcher whose outré views and outlandish experiments had lead to unwelcome press attention that he was seeking to flee.
I ran the characters through a fairly simple sequence of events that lead to them being turned and the various complications arising from that; the aim of the game eventually would have been for them to discover that they had all be turned for a reason by the same vampire, however unfortunately we didn’t have time for that.
So how did the rules work?
I threw lots of complications and obstacles at the players (probably more than I would have done normally) both to give them the option to use their vampiric side (and the demonic red fate chips) and to get used to the idea of the fate economy; it seemed to work quite well and none of the players seemed to be overly concerned that they were losing control of their characters by not being able to buy off the effects of the red fate chips.
This lead to all sorts of incidents such as when one of the band roadies witnessed the PCs covered in blood and attempted to flee to summon security, Orsten ran after him determined to stop him reporting the incident by any means necessary (especially given that he’d woke up next to the blood drained corpse of his wife shortly after his first awakening as a vampire); Aurelia, the only vampire who had not yet fed, decided that she couldn’t allow this innocent roadie to be harmed and gave into her vampiric side, tackling Orsten against the wall, I then instantly used the red fate chip garnered to say that she tackled him so hard that the two of them went through a wall into an adjoining cabin.
What would I change?
I think that going forward that rather than having the players usage of their vampiric side give the GM a red fate chip that can be used for an unblockable compel, I would give the players a seperate number of red fate chips in addition to their normal ones (based on the strength of their vampiric blood) and say that they can be spent as normal fate chips for double the benefit, however, when they are a player must feed in the following scene or some other vampiric complication will occur.
I definitely think that the rules worked fine for a quick pick-up game, having a group of new tabletoppers with only one that has any experience of the Fate system we were able to get up and running in around 5 minutes (inc. character generation) and were soon enjoying a fun vampire game, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t the most serious nor angst filled vampire game ever and was a bit more tongue in cheek, but compared to some other horror/vampire systems it was certainly a lot more accessible and captured some of the essentials of vampire settings. I think that if I was going to run it for a campaign then I would seek to refine the rules a little, perhaps characters having stunts to determine what they can spend their red fate chips on our to expand their utility?
(picture is use for non-profit use only, no challenge to copyright intended, you can find this picture and more at

[RPG] Quick & Dirty Fate Accelerated rules for Vampire

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


  • As per the book.

Vampire Edge

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

Red Fate Chips

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

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

Powered by the Fate-pocalypse: Starting work on the Playbook

I have started to put together the general playbook for my Dungeon World/Fate combo, this playbook is adapted from the excellent blank playbook template created by Zarathud:
Below is my initial starting point, there is plenty of work left to do on it, but it’s a start:

Powered by the Fate-pocalypse: Back to Basics

Those who’ve been keeping up with my blog posts will be aware that I have been attempting (with varying degrees of success) to create a game that combines the best elements of two RPing systems, Fate and Dungeon World, both games that I greatly enjoy. Although i’d thrown up what I thought were some interesting ideas, when I tried to combine them the system looked quite clunky and unwieldy, which wasn’t what I was going for at all; both Fate and DW are very streamlined systems that enable to to jump straight into the action.
Looking back at my notes I think the problem is that I was trying to make the game equal parts Fate and Dungeon World; sitting down it seemed clear that the only way a combination game was going to work was if I decided at the start whether or not I wanted it to be more Dungeon World or more Fate. For the purposes of this game (and because my local players prefer a more structured approach) I decided to make the game mostly Dungeon World but with some inspiration taken from Fate.
So how do I do this?

Well I was reading the excellent Grim World that has a rough Fate hack at the back of it, essentially the player picks three hindrances and they gain a move that allows them to disadvantage their PC in return for receiving a luck point; luck points can be spent via a couple of additional basic moves to give the players an advantage, the author of the hack is the first to admit that it’s a bit rough and ready but the inspiration from Fate aspects is clear.
My Recipe for a Combination

Below is the recipe for the combination game that I intend to create:
  • Create a general one-use playbook that can be used for all types of character.
    • Will contain the core stats and hit points as per DW.
  • The playbook should have space for a character concept: effectively a two/three word description of the character, i.e. ‘brave fighter pilot’, ‘grizzled war veteran’, ‘haunted detective’, etc.
  • The playbook should also have space for five aspects.
    • A list of aspects will be provided but they can be added to by the GM of the individual game.
  • There should be a space for race/species on the playbook: effectively the different races in a game will grant access to a pre-defined special move (as detailed later).
    • The exact special moves granted will be down to the GM and their individual campaign but can be constructed using the rules provided for special moves.
  • The playbook should contain details of all basic moves (as per normal DW):
    • Hack and Slash
    • Volley
    • Defy Danger
    • Defend
    • Spout Lore
    • Discern Realities
    • Parley
    • Aid or Interfere
  • A few additional basic moves will be added:
    • A compel move (for gaining fate points from aspects)
    • Gaining bonus to a dice roll by spending a fate point move
    • Improvising an element of the setting by spending a fate point move
  • Playbook should also contain blank spaces for a number of advanced moves: advanced moves to be constructed in a manner similar to Fate Stunts.
    • Players start with three advanced moves.
    • An advanced move may do the following:
      • Grant a player a +2 dice roll in a certain set of circumstances.
      • Allow them to use a different stat for a particular type of move.
      • Increase the amount of damage a PC does in combat.
      • Decrease the amount of damage a PC does in combat. 
      • Increase the amount of HP a character has.
      • In a certain situation the player may ask a question of the GM and have it answered honestly.
      • Heal someone of damage.
      • Gain a companion.
      • Gain a particularly notable piece of equipment.
      • Cast a spell/use a psychic power (not sure how to handle this yet).
  • I may also look at adding some GM moves related to awarding fate points, etc.
Over the next week or so my plan is to create a document using the guidelines above and place it on my Google Drive, once this is done I will link to it in this blog; obviously this combination is not going to be ideal for everyone (I know that certain people aren’t keen on various concepts from DW such as HPs for example), however, it takes the elements that I personally like from both games and combines them in a way that I think will be fun to play.

Powered by the Fate-pocalypse: Rules – More thoughts on Aspects

Thinking about Aspects and chatting with my wife (who is a big fan of that old-school D&D (but simpler) feel that Dungeon World provides, less so of Fate) last night; it occurred to me that one of the problems I have had people mention to me when talking about Aspects is that it can often be difficult to know what to pick since the choices are almost limitless, certainly newcomers to the game can find it a little bewildering at first. It occurs to me that perhaps combining Aspects with the Bonds system of Dungeon World might work well.
* * *

Effectively in Dungeon World each playbook has a number of sentences describing connections to other characters and they just have to fill in the names of other PCs; for example the barbarian sheet has the following:

Fill in the name of one of your companions in at least one:
_______________ is puny and foolish, but amusing to me.
_______________’s ways are strange and confusing.
_______________ is always getting into trouble—I must protect 
them from themselves.
_______________ shar
When a bond is resolved the player receives XP and replaces it with a new bond appropriate to the setting, however, aside from the resolution XP gain and being a great RPing guide the bonds have only a very small impact (a couple of moves have you roll 2d6+bonds) on the system.
So how could I link this with Aspects?

Well I was considering effectively providing a big list of Aspects but in a similar format and with blanks to fill in, the player could then pick a number of them for their starting character. For example, I might have something like:

  • I am being hunted by the [type] organisation known as [name of organisation].
  • I am well known throughout [name of country] as being the finest [occupation] in the land.
  • My [object] was stolen from me by [name of thief] and I cannot rest until it is returned.
I’m considering perhaps using this system to effectively replace Aspects and Bonds, also i’m considering removing the use of Fate Points and simply giving the player the ‘advantage’ (roll 2d12 rather than 1 and pick the highest) when actively pursuing the bond.
* * *

Powered by the Fate-pocalypse: Rules – Dice Rolling, Aspects & Attributes

As part of my attempt to create a game combining elements of my two favourite systems (Fate & Dungeon World) I start collecting together some of the rules that I intend to use in the game.

* * *
Dice Rolling

I have decided to switch from using the 2d6+attribute modifier (espoused by the Dungeon World system) to using a straight 1d12+attribute modifier to lessen the number of dice that need to be rolled and because i’m considering stealing a version of the advantage/disadvantage mechanic from D&D 5E.

Having been reading about the effects this may have on the probability of certain dice rolls ( I am interested to see what effect this has on the feel of the game.


Aspects will remain largely unchanged from Fate Accelerated and are words or phrases that describe a person, place, thing, situation or group.

A character in Fate-pocalypse can take advantage of Aspects by spend Fate Point (I am still considering whether or not to determine how many of these a character possesses, but will put up a post about it when I reach a decision).

This next bit is where the Aspect rules diverge from the Fate system making use of a version of the advantage/disadvantage rules from D&D 5E.

When a character has an Aspect that may prove advantageous in a situation they may (as long as the GM agrees) spent a Fate Point to invoke it; invoking an Aspect allows you to do the following:

  • Instead of rolling 1d12+attribute for an action the player rolls 2d12 and picks the highest number to add to their attribute (please note the Fate Point must be spent before the roll is made).
  • Help an ally; this works the same as above but the allied PC gets to roll the 2d12 and apply the highest roll to their action.
  • Establishing facts about the game world. Aspects are always true as long as they are active, so if a player has “hunted by the red arrow tribe of orcs” then they have established the existence of orcs, a tribe of them called the ‘red arrows’ and an adversarial relationship; Aspects should always be created in collaboration with the GM and other players so that they suit the game.

Please note: Only a single Aspect may be invoked per roll.

Players gain more Fate Points by allowing Aspects to be compelled against them; when an Aspect may prove disadvantageous or more complicate things for the player character then the GM can offer them a Fate Point; if the player accepts then the GM can make a move.


I have decided to use the Fate Accelerate approaches for this: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Sneaky and Quick.

However I will be using the Dungeon World modifier spread, so each player will allocate the following modifiers between their approaches: +2, +1, +1, 0, 0, +1

* * *

Powered by the Fate-pocalypse: Initial Ideas

After reading a very amusing blog post by Ryan Macklin ( regarding the recent RPGGeeks best of RPGs tournament in which Fate and Dungeon World faced off against each other in the final (with Dungeon World winning) I started thinking seriously about how feasible it would be to create a game that incorporated elements from both Fate and Dungeon World since I love both of the systems.
Over the next couple of weeks i’m going to be attempting to kludge together a system that brings together the elements that I am most fond of from both of the system; please keep in mind that there are no doubt numerous ways to combine the systems, I will not be looking to create a definitive system, but rather one that I consider to be simple and fun and that (above all) is playable.
* * *
The Ethos of both Games

I decided first of all to decide what the concepts were from both games that I wanted to include in this combination:
from Fate:
  • Aspects – These little story tags are an inherent part of Fate, but have caused some confusion for some RPers, if possible i’d love to keep the idea of having story tags but simplify them somehow.
  • Versatility – a very simple rules system that allows scope for lots of different genres and types of game.
  • Guidelines for creating customised Stunts – the ability to create your own Stunts using the guidelines is, for me one of the great things about Fate.
  • A simplicity of actions – Fate only has four different types of actions making it very simple to grasp.
from Dungeon World:
  • A unified dice mechanic – Dungeon World has a very simple dice mechanic involving rolling 2D6 and adding a modifier, a result of less than 6 means that the GM effectively determines what happens, 7-9 means the player succeeds with a cost and 10+ means they succeed with no cost. I love the way this mechanic works in play, keeping the dice rolling (when used very simple).
  • Encouraging players to contribute to the campaign world – Dungeon World has numerous moves that allow the players to contribute (or find out about elements of the campaign world history of events), I definitely want to keep this.
Mapping Across the Elements

As my second step I decided to have a look at the elements in the systems and see if they could be mapped across to elements in the other.
Fate – Dungeon World

  • Aspects => ??? (possibly tags)
  • Approaches => Attributes (will prob use the DW att mod spread but remove the original stats and just stick with the modifiers, as Fate does)
  • Stunts => advanced moves
  • Actions => basic/advanced moves
  • 4DF + approach => 2d6 + mod (i’m more than likely going to stick with the DW style of rolling since I want to use the game’s dice mechanic)
  • Stress/Consequences => HP/conditions (probably going to go with DW’s HP/conditions for now and see how this works)
* * *
I’m pretty happy with the start i’ve made, i’ll continue to work on the combined system and make blog posts detailing my progress.