Following on from my last blog post about a D&D style hack for the FAE system (http://wh40krpg.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/d-style-fate-hack-could-classes-be-used.html) where I pondered the idea of using class style descriptors as Approaches for a D&D-esque FAE game this post addresses my thoughts on character races (although species would be a more accurate term) and skills in the game.
This post builds on the idea that the six Approaches would be something along the lines of:
- Warrior – rolled for attacking or defending from attack using physical means, taking care of armour, working out battle-tactics, recognising ambushes and initiative order in combat.
- Rogue – sleight of hand, stealing things, breaking and entering, deception and also shmoozing and general social actions.
- Spellcaster – casting spells (obviously), working out what spells other people were casting, crafting magic items, examining magic items, feats of prestigitation, etc.
- Priest – interacting with church/holy order members, researching/recalling information about gods and their followers, making blessings, etc.
- Ranger – covers wilderness survival and skills.
The term ‘race’ in D&D tends to actually refer to a different species (ie. orcs, dwarves, elves) all that generally seem not to share a common ancestry, but never-the-less the term race has been widely used in RPGs since the early days. In this hack I would make the characters race a specific Aspect that can be invoked or compelled under specific circumstances.
Some examples using the most common D&D races are listed below:
- Dwarves – hardy and skill craftsmen with a very traditional outlook.
- May be invoked when: Calling upon the wisdom of ancient traditions, craft rolls related to stone or metal work, fighting with a hammer, finding your way underground, perception rolls in darkness, appraising gems, stone or metal work.
- May be compelled when: New innovations or technology are at odds with traditions, faced by their ancient greenskin enemies, when the distrust between dwarves and elves bubbles to the surface, when a dwarves appreciation for precious stones may turn into greed.
- Elves – graceful and beautiful creatures at peace with the natural world and with magic singing in their blood.
- May be invoked when: Using magic, moving unseen or finding sustenance/tracking in the wilderness, social interactions with people awed by the elves beauty, using a bow, perception rolls in dimly lit conditions.
- May be compelled when: Vanity causes them to dismiss the opinions and thoughts of ‘lesser’ races, when the distrust between elves and dwarves threatens to bubble to the surface.
- Orcs – strong and stubborn creatures raised in a brutal martial tradition.
- May be invoked when: Assessing the strength/value of armour and weapons, facing down another in a one-on-one combat, perception tests in the dark, tests of raw strength.
- May be compelled when: An orcs bloodlust overcomes their reason, they are shunned by ‘civilised’ races.
- Halflings – Clever and capable opportunists with a mischievous streak.
- May be invoked when: Small size allows them to slip from an opponents grasps, looking harmless allows them to evade notice, tests of manual dexterity.
- May be compelled when: A halfling cannot resist the urge to cause mischief, a halflings small stature and lower strength causes them problems.
At the moment I would having the following Aspects on the D&D-style hack character sheet.
- High Concept
- +additional general Aspects
I think the beauty of having the race as an Aspect (and one of my favourite parts of the FAE/FATE system) is that it is tremendously simple (requiring no real modification of stats), uses the existing mechanics of the game and all the players and GM have to remember is what compels and invokes can be used against racial Aspects; the Aspect Race also encourages the constant using and flowing of FATE points that is at the heart of the system.
This is something I hashed out in my Cthulhu-FAE hack, instead of bringing in a big list of appropriate skills (which is essentially trying to turn FAE into FATE core, something i’m keen to avoid since I love FAE’s simplicity) skill groups can be represented by suggesting Stunts that provide bonuses in applicable situations.
Looking at the AD&D 2nd edition Weapon and Non-weapon Proficiency model, a few suggestions are made below:
- Master of the [insert name of weapon]: The player receives a +2 bonus to rolls made using the [weapon] (for example: A ‘Master of the Sword’ attacking with a short sword would gain the +2).
- Shield Mastery: The player receives a +2 to their defence rolls when using a shield.
- Escape Artist: +2 when escaping bonds.
- Herbalist: +2 to rolls to analyse/use herbs.
- Professional Lock-pick: +2 to pick locks.
As you can see i’ve not yet put up any rules concerning weapons or armour, my current thought is to leave them nebulous so that they don’t needlessly complicate the system; anyone may have appropriate equipment but only gain a benefit if they have an appropriate Stunt or Aspect.
Likewise with Non-weapon Proficiency Stunts, pretty much any skill from D&D3.5 could be turned into a Stunt just by it granting a +2 in the appropriate field of study or endeavour.