Fate: Boldly going where no-one has gone before…
For those of you who aren’t aware I play in a small (1 GM + 3 players inc. myself), very interesting Star Trek inspired game run by my friend Simon at our FLGS Spirit Games; the game is set in a pre-Enterprise (the series) era and involves the players being the crew of an earth experimental ship built to test out new technologies. In the first session we were conducting tests on an experimental warp drive that effectively created a stable wormhole through which a ship could pass rather than folding space the way I believe a standard Star Trek warp drive does (although I may be wrong, although I enjoy Star Trek, i’m not the font of knowledge where it is concerned).
In a plot reminiscent of Star Voyager (although as Simon pointed out “Without the rubbish all-powerful alien bit in it”) something went wrong during the testing of the experimental drive and a motley crew of scientists, engineers and communications officers found ourselves hurtling through the galaxy at ridiculously high speeds, facing the prospect of eventually starving to death if we couldn’t find a way to de-activate the drive, which seemed to be emitting an energy field that barred access to it. Eventually we managed to use the point defence lasers on the testbed ship to damage the drive enough so that we could de-activate it without splattering ourselves over whatever quadrant we happened to be in.
As the game stands at the moment (about 3/4 sessions in) we find ourselves in a strange area of space where a human-like species called the Destroyers are waging a genocidal war against all other species in the area; giving that these Destroyers are human-like (and may possibly be descended from the earth population, although they have evolved separately since) we feel a certain responsibility and have decided to stay and try to help resolve the problem with them. Given that the Destroyers are extremely unreasonable and see their attempt to wipe out an alien life as some sort of holy crusade this means that we have effectively pitched our testbed ship into a war, and are now trying to weld together an alliance of the Talansidry, Athlar and other species we have encountered to deal with the Destroyers.
So what does this have to do with Fate?
Well, when we originally started Simon was going to use the BRP system from Chaosium (made famous in Call of Cthulhu and other games); however, without really having a lot of prep time due to the spectre of real-life interfering with roleplay preparation (the way it is wont to do from time to time) it hasn’t been possible for him to get the game ready for using the BRP system.
Given that I spend so much of my time banging on about Fate, Simon has volunteered me to write a quick and simple Fate hack for the game; this is a task that I was happy to undertake, especially since i’ve already done a Fate Core science-fiction hack (Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader), albeit of a very different sub-genre.
Before I even started to look at creating a hack I plan to send Simon a few questions so I can be sure that the hack does what he wants, the questions are below (Simon’s answers are noted in blue):
- How detailed do you want the list of skills to be? For example, are you happy with just having a pilot skill or would you prefer a pilot skill for different vehicles?
Vehicles will be done I think best by general type Star ship, Shuttle, Aircraft, Ground vehicle & I would use an edge to reflect greater skill in a particular vehicle of a given type.
- How detailed do you want the handling of equipment to be? Would you prefer each bit of equipment to be noted down and have an effect are are you happy to hand-wave this and focus on just major pieces that have a plot impact?
Largely yes, as it’s the narrative which matters most, however equipment will be listed by name as most of it permits use of skills in a way an unequipped character just cant. For example a perception check with a tricorder or equivalent will allow the character to see stuff his unaided eye would never notice at all. Same goes for the ships sensors scanners and computers used in analysis and research.
Weapons would work in a bit more detail as no one wants their character killed by gm’s fiat however its axiomatic to the setting that weapons are designed to kill and do so rather well especially the higher tech ones. This is one of the reasons for the seeti8ng emphasis on resolving conflict by negotiation.
- How much detail do you want to put into space battles and the like? Are these just going to be handled narratively or do you want solid rules for them (either is not a problem)?
Space battles I would do most of them narratively with success or failure at skill checks where requested driving the narrative in a particular direction.
With these answers gathered i’m about ready to start work on the hack.