Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thoughts on my life

It started when I was fourteen. At least I first remember it happening at fourteen. My first depression. Thats what I call it, depression. I am unsure if that is an accurate description. I think a better way to say it would be that that is when I lost control over what was important to me. All teens experience serious emotions, what with hormones and sex and all that. For years I just assumed that is what it was.

It happened a lot in my teenage years. Depression would hit me in waves that would last months. I would have something bad happen to me and I would retreat into my own head. It didn't help, as all that I would do is relive the problems I had over and over again. It was a dark time for me. I would get depressed, make a bad choice, and then things would get worse. I was gifted kid too. So i could see how all of my problems came about and which of my decisions led to the current dilemma. it is a terrible thing knowing that you are the cause of your own misery. I know that is not true now, but fourteen year old me? He knew none of it. He would spend whole days weeping internally while trying not to let it show. A man doesn't let his emotions show. Not sure where I picked that up, not from my parents...must have been from movies or books or something.

Jump forward four(ish) years. I was in basic training and on the verge of total collapse. every day I would way the options. Continue living, or throw myself down the stairs and take my chances. I had panic attacks over even the smallest problem. This was not all that unusual. Basic is supposed to teach you were your limits are, and then push you beyond. I remember one Sunday morning in particular. I wanted to go to church, but the barracks really needed to be cleaned(I say needed, but that is Basic need, not real need). I was panicking. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off. My friends tried to calm me down. But I could make no real decision, I was waffling over cleaning or church.

Any way, it eventually got to the point where I felt I could not go on. i could not figure out what to do though. I was having a panic attack over whether or not to kill myself. how sad is that? I was so indecisive I could not figure out what I wanted, Death or Life. So I went to my TI(Training Instructor, it is what we in the Air Force called our Drill Sergeants). That's right, I went to my TI to ask if it was OK if I hurt myself. To say I was not thinking clearly would be an understatement.

My TI was a West Virginia man, born and bred. A red-headed, chisel jawed, leather skinned, genuine special forces son-of-a-bitch. I think he may have been born with chaw in his lip. He wasn't a yeller, as a lot of TIs were. That's not to say he couldn't yell, it just wasn't his favorite method of order induction. No, what he would do is sneak up on you, wait until you thought you were safe, and then ambush you with a couple of stern words. He didn't hold hands, he didn't call any fancy cadences. It was all left-right-left and yessir nosir. He was all business all the time.

So one day, Saturday if I remember it right. I go to this man. I go to the scariest sumumabitch I have ever met. The office was a small room taht linked the two bays of my Basic flight. it had a window at each end so he could watch us all from his nice comfortable chair. I do not think I sat in a chair outside of the mess hall once in all of Basic Training. So I went to this man.

I stood awkwardly for several minutes at the door. He was reading.

He turned slowly to me, "Poss?"

I said, "I-I would like to talk to a chaplain...sir." In the Air Force you call your TI sir, I am uncertain how it is done in other Basic Trainings.

He cocked an eyebrow at me. " Why do you need one?"

"I just would like to see a chaplain," I said.

"Well when I call him, I need to give him some sort of reason."

I was silent, not sure if I should answer.

"Are you planning on," He paused, "harming yourself or others?"


"Poss, do you have family? friends?" His tone was still conversational.

I nodded, not making eye contact.

"Do they care about you?"

Again, a nod.

"What would they say about all this? How would I even begin to tell them about what happened?"

At that moment, it struck me how dumb all of this was. Basic really wasn't all that bad(I am not joking here, looking back Basic was highly useful to the rest of my life). I was being silly, I was failing myself and those that I loved. Suicide, self harm, was selfish and pointless. I realized these things while I stood about to ask this man to call a preacher. I think part of me wanted to be talked out of it.

This was not my darkest moment, that came a few years later. I eventually got the help I needed, and while I still struggle with these emotions and desires I have a better grasp on how to deal with them now.

I only thought of this indecent from that time in my life be cause I watched Biloxy Blues today. It makes me sad. Reminds me a lot of things that happened in my life. I have not talked about these things much. I will talk all day about philosophy, game design, and jokes. I never really talk about my life, my real life. So I thought I might step out of that mode of communication for a little bit today and share something real. something that MEANS something. It is mostly just the ramblings of a man caught up for a moment in the past. I don't know if it will entertain, or inform, or what. Anyway, here it is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fate Core: Aeon Trinity pt 5

I am going to change the Chromatics up a bit for my hack. In part this is because I have moved the time frame forward a decade or so. Also, I have always had my own version of them, and I think that this will add a bit of variety to my hack. If you want to play them the way they are written in the source material, that is fine and dandy. I just felt like playing around with some of the ideas.

Much has changed since man fist encountered the Chromatics. They will probably never be our friends, but they may become our allies. Since they were freed from their Doyen masters they have split into a several factions. The largest faction have abandoned their religion and embraced the technologies of man.They are rapidly becoming a technological powerhouse. The older members of the society fear space. The newer generation are far more open, and interested in it.

Chromatics have difficulty with politics as they are inherently honest. Lying is completely foreign to them. They have a name for Humans, they call them The Mad. To lie is to be false. To be false is madness. They have an embassy on Unity 3, mostly because humans and Qin have the technological superiority.

Chromatics have a psi-power called photokinesis. this allows them to create advantages and attack with it. Their language is based almost entirely around color and light. To speak with Humans and Qin they require a translation device. It is a harness that picks up the light emanations and converts it to a verbal language.

Chromatic characters must have the photokinesis skill. Also they must have an athletics score of +2 or higher. Also they cannot communicate normally with Qin, Humans, or the Coalition. They also have a couple of unique stunts they can take.

Chromatic Stunts
Void Walker: when formatted to a Chromatic Biofighter you can use athletics in place of piloting.
Electrokinesis: you can use photokinesis to do electrokinesis powers.
Tech bond: You must have electrokinesis to use this. you can format hardtech. When you do this gain a +1 to rolls when using hardtech. Non-Chromatics can learn this provided they have electrokinesis, and can find a Chromatic teacher.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fate Core: Aeon Trinity pt 4

Mysterious alien allies of man against the encroachment of the Aberrant threat. This is what is known. They are all telepathic. They are a one meter long slug-like beings, though few now this. The Qin are masters of Biotech, they build custom bio-suits to fit the needs of the moment. First contact was made by the Chinese in the year 2108. They worship the Doyen, supposedly immortal beings of pure psychic energy. They are clannish and factional. About half of them support contact with humans, and half see humans as just as big a threat as the aberrants. They are our allies, but they are alien, and none can say what they truly think

All Qin have the telepathy psi-power. They cannot have telepathy as there apex skill. They also must have a notice skill at +3 or higher. they cannot have a physical skill higher than +2. They tend to augment their feeble physical skills with biotech.

Biotech is an item or device that is alive in someway. Basically it works exactly like its hardtech counterpart, save for a few differences. You can format a piece of biotech. Formatting involves attuning your body to the biotech item. A formatted biotech device gives you a boost to your controlling ability of that device. generally this is a +1. Some biotech have more than one bonus. each bonus to each skill counts as additional piece of biotech.

Humans start with on tolerance slot. this means they have the ability to format one biotech device. you can take a stunt to increase this number. if you do not format the biotech, it still works as a normal device, you just get no bonus.

Tolerance: you gain one additional tolerance slot. this can be taken multiple times, thus allowing for bigger or more biotech devices.

Example biotech devices
Biotech Laser/plasma gun
   works like a normal gun. when formatted it gives you a +1 to shooting rolls.
biotech tools
   Works like whichever tool it is. when formatted gives you a +1 to the relevant skill.

Example Qin bio-suits
   Looks like a perfectly symmetrical humanoid of indeterminate gender. It has a pleasant voice. Unformatted it works like light armor. It takes two biotech tolerance to use. when formatted it grants a +1 to rapport and to deception.

   Looks like a tall and imposing man in armor. unformatted it acts as medium armor. Takes two tolerance slots. When formatted it grants a +1 to physique and to fighting.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 12

The long dark shadows had crept over half way up the city skyline, casting a sinister veil over the streets and alleys below. Two small figures rushed from shadow to shadow in a meandering path through the darkening city. One was a tall young man in a leather jacket, grinning ear to ear. The other was a short woman, her face grim and determined.

"Do you think we lost them?" Ivan gasped, leaning against a wall.

"I think we may have lost ourselves," Chloe said, "I don't recognize this part of the city."

Ivan looked around for any kind of landmark, any sign of where they were. "do you think they altered the city, or futzed with our perception?"

She closed her eyes for a moment and began to quietly chant. she was still for a moment and then said, "Our perception are our own as far as I can sense. If they have changed the ity to trap us-," She shrugged.

"We have to get back to sanctuary. We can get protection there," Ivan said.

Chloe nodded, then motioned for him to follow her. She began to run. Though that was an inappropriate word for it. Her form was perfect, her breathing even. the world blurred around her. She was running in a bubble of her own reality. She chanted as she ran, keeping the the bubble intact. Ivan ran alongside her, safely carried by the spell so long as he ran.

He was breathing hard. "You know that this will register with the Custodians. They know where we are now."

She gave him a dismissive glance, never slowing her chant. Ivan looked back. He could see them now, The Custodians. The Rationalist's secret police. With their nondescript suits and their average looks they were difficult to see even though they were chasing at full speed. 

Ivan made a simbol with his hands and closed his eyes, attempting to attain the moment of absolute peace his magic required. This was made difficult by the need to keep running. He trusted Chloe to guide him and let his feet carry on. He felt the oneness of the universe flow into him and through him. It pushed against boundaries and opposition. The world around him pushed back. 

It takes a lot of focus to change the world. A lot of belief. The world tend to stay in one state or another. It does not accept a change to the status quo. Ivan pushed all of his desperation away, seeking stillness. The world would do his bidding, not the other way around.  The people on the streets began to drift together, schooling like fish. they formed a wall of flesh between Ivan and his pursuers. It would not stop them. It would slow them down.

I may have pushed myself into a design corner, so to speak. I got so focused on the world and how those mechanics interacted with each other that I forgot to figure out who the characters in it will be, and why anyone would want to play. So I had to take a few days and think about the core of my game. A game is not about the setting, or the actions you can take in a setting. It is about the player's characters. Everything else exists to further their actions, causes, and decisions.

So what was it about my original idea(s) that I liked from a player character perspective? I like the idea of a reality war. I like the underdog story as well. So the game will be about fighting for the very nature of the universe. The players will be part of a small cabal who are going against the status quo of their particular series of nodes.

How will I do this? I think the first game of a campaign will have a few more decisions to discuss. Firstly, who is in charge of the node cluster you are in(these will be the antagonists)? Secondly, What is the super node of this cluster? this will be voted on by the whole group. the supernode needs a prevailing style, or styles as well as a few aspects on the side. Thirdly, how many nodes are connected to this super node? The minimum will be the number of players(gm included) at the table. the maximum...whatever you like, really. each of these will be worked on by individuals in the group. each node will have two styles. one for it's super node, and one for itself(they can be contradictory.

This will be the world the players play in. You will need to populated it with NPCs and villains as well as threats and the like(more on that in a future post). The other big change to the game is to the character advancement. Every time you hit a significant mile stone you will mark a world change token(terrible name, need to come up with a better one, but you get the idea). You can exchange these to change a nodes aspects. One for one for a nodes lesser aspects, two for one for a nodes style aspects or a super node's lesser aspects, and three for one for a super node's style aspect.

That is currently how I am think on it, though that may prove to be just as problematic as my previous thoughts on the matter.

I think that will help fix some of the issues I had with the game. I would love to here any thoughts on the matter.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fate Core: The Sharn Codex pt 2

Today I ran a game of Fate Core. I had one of my players not show up, which changed a lot of how the session went. Also one of the players was ill and had to bow out early. These games I am running on Google+ seem to hit around the two hour mark. I have some thoughts on how to do a two hour game work.

The first piece of advice is take way more notes than you think you need. You are going to have a week between sessions, so it can be hard to remember stuff. For these shorter sessions this is more of an issue than in regular games. as they have less scenes and less information, those notes become far more critical to the unified game experience.

The second is do not over plan the session. Generally if you are planning more than three scenes per session you are planning too much. Generally I have two scenes planned out, with a couple of hooks for one or two of the PCs.

Third, find a good stopping point, and learn to recognize them when they happen. I find cliffhangers are good, though at the end of a scene where they learn something and that knowledge leads to more problems works really well too.

Here is the recording of our game:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Diaspora: Maricaiban Express pt 1

Today I ran a game of Diaspora for my group. It is set in the same cluster as the last adventure we had, and follows directly on the heals of that adventure. Our heroes arrive at Trade Station(it sounds better in the native Maricaiban) to offload their cargo and find new work.

In Rick's Bar, specializing in catering to nonmaricaiban pallettes, they find hints of something lurking within the cloud layer of the gas giant Maricaiba Primo. After convincing a Diver pilot to take them into the atmosphere of the great planet they discover towers floating in the sky. They board one and find aliens in what appear to be cryo pods, long dead. Now that they have this information, what do they plan to do with it?

This was an odd game for me as there was no combat, and almost no real conflict. We tried out the social conflict rules and found that I really need to grok those rules a bit more. Everyone seemed to have fun, so mission accomplished, I guess.

Here is a recording of the adventure should you wish to watch:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Issues in design today

I was working on my Magi hack for Fate Core and ran into an impasse. I think, maybe. Basically, I do not really know where to go from here. I dislike my rules for Nodes and Super Nodes, but I am unsure what to do about it. I want to change the way things work, but I know not how to do so.

I seek fire. I seek inspiration. I want this game to work, but as I move along in the design, I find myself questioning what exactly the players will do in my game? I think that is where the crux of my dilemma lies. If I could sort out what the player characters are supposed to do in the game(beyond the broad strokes obvious) then I could begin to focus the mechanics to what I want.

Or perhaps I am too close to the design process. I may just be unable to see what I am building for focus on the details. I may need to take a bit of a break from Magi. Though if that be the case, I fear I'll not return to it soon. I will be distracted by whatever projects that follow.

Maybe I should work on my fiction writing for a bit...I just don't know. We shall see what tomorrow brings I guess.

On that note I do have another side project I am planning with my friend Eliza. We plan on doing something like a weekly project where we discuss shows we have watched. We will be starting with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then move onto whatever we wish. It should be fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fate Core: Aeon Trinity pt 3

Seventy-five years ago we drove the aberrant menace from the earth. They left with the promise of a return. Thirty-two years ago they swept out of the darkness like the titans of old. The monstrous forces of The Colony took there time. Small raiding parties here and there to test the waters were the name of the game for twenty years. The Colony wanted to rule over humanity, not just destroy them. Many other aberrants left earth for good, taking their followers with them. They colonized over a hundred worlds. Some were friendly to humanity, some were not.

The Colony
During the First Aberrant War the aberrant who would become the Colony delved deep into the philosophies of taint. He believed that mankind's destiny was to become one. One mind, one group,and eventually one organism. He is now beyond form and obvious matter. The colony exists as something like a virus or infection. His infection allows him to absolutely control non aberrant infected. Aberrants who are infected with the Colony can resist him, but he still knows where they are and what they are doing. He is calculating and power mad. He wants the earth and it's population, but he is willing to be patient.

By incaink
The colony of Eden was founded early on in the First Aberrant War by a group of aberrants and baseline humans who sought a safe place far from the war. they continued to take on refugees throughout the war. The ceased all contact with earth at the end of the war. Recently they have reestablished contact with the earth by way of Upeo Wa Macho. They aided humanity during the war with the Chromatics, and so they have the grudging appreciation of humanity. They have a small embassy on Unity 3. Most humans are distrustful of them, though.

Kingdom Come
Aberrants have the Aberrant extra. This costs one refresh and allows you to take Aberrant stunts. These stunts are closer to extras in that they cost a certain number of stunt slots(or refresh, once you are past the first stunt). It also give you access to a secondary consequence list. This is your Taint Consequence list. you can take a taint consequence along side a stress box and a regular consequence. This allows you to take quite a bit more damage than a baseline human, however this can lead to some serious deformities and derangements. You can also gain a consequence by Maxing a roll. this represents pushing your limits as far as you can and then pushing further. How it works is this. You can add a number to your roll equal to the consequence you are taking(plus two for mild, plus four for Moderate, and so on). Taint consequences take twice as long to recover from.

Psions can invoke your Taint consequences to shut down your aberrant stunts for a round. They cannot stop you acting, but they can negate your powers for a moment.

Aberrant stunts
Here is a list of sample stunts for Aberrants. Feel free to make up you own.
Mega_____: You can take this stunt as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. What it does is allow you to set one of your fudge dice to + before the roll when using that skill.
Epic_____: You can take this as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. This allows you to do part of that skill more, superhumanly more. the skill is either faster, further, or needs no tools when you use it. Requires you have Mega_____ or Elite____.
Elite_____: when you use this skill you replace one of your fudge dice with a D6. This skill requires and replaces Mega______.
Warp: You can bend space, ripping a hole in the universe between here and there. the further away, tho more difficult it is to do[+2 to leave the immediate area(leave the conflict zone areas), +4 from the earth to the moon, +6 from earth to Oort cloud, +8 to another system]. Use Lore or Notice(Lore for far jumps, notice for combat jumping) to roll to warp.
Mind control: Use (name of skill) to make a mental attack.
Flight: You can fly, this negates some obstacles and give you more movement options for creating advantages
Matter Transmutation: Use Lore to change matter from one thing into another. the difficulty is based on the amount of matter to be changed(man I need to come up a with a listing of scale for this).

So there are my thoughts on how Aberrants work in Fate Core Aeon Trinity. Let me know what you think. Critisism and praise are both welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 11

Nodes, Super Nodes, and the Nature of the Universe

We do not see the world the way you do.  You see the world as something you can change. This places you at the center, the unchanging eye of the universal storm. We see that as a false assumption. Your talk of nodes and the nature of the universe fail to understand the reality of the situation. Nodes and there ilk are ideas that were invented by minds. Minds are the only real nodes. We do not change the world. We change those who change the world. That is who we are. That is what we do.
~Geppetto, leader of The Puppeteers

I find that the world is a river, moving as it wills. Channeled and directed not by an intelligence, but by the whims of the moment. We are the illusion. That anything is possible is a fact. There is no right and wrong. There is no choice at all. You are you, until you are not. Then you are someone else. We are here, then we are not. There can be no purpose or meaning. One decision is as good as another. There are no real choices. There are no rules. Why should I live as though anything were real?
~Mad Alice

Every Super Node has a Core this is the thing most difficult to change. It is represented by an aspect.  It also has Links, which are its connections to the nodes related to it. There are always seven links to a Super Node. No one knows why. Links are represented by aspects as well. If you have altered the core of the node connected to the link, it is easier to change.

To change a Core aspect of a Super Node requires an attack against the Super Node and then stressing it out. It will defend with its core skill. That skill has a variable rating depending on the number of Link aspects you have changed.  To change one of the link aspects you do the same type of conflict only the skills are one less. If you have also changed the node connected to that link then reduce the difficulty by another one.

Every Node also has a Core, also represented by an aspect. They have a link aspect connected to the super node they are connected to and each node they are next to. This is how super nodes connect to others. They are connected to the nodes below them. In turn, those nodes are connected to the nodes of another super node. These are the weak structural bonds of the universe. The node has four aspects attached to it. These are links. Links work like link aspects in a super node, only representing there connection to the nodes around them.

To change the Core of a Node is the same as attacking the core of a Super Node. the difference is the level of the starting skills. To change one of the link aspects of a node is a conflict, but the skills used are one less than if attacking the core. If the node that connects to that link has been altered reduce the skill by another one.

The skills of the node are as follows Core, Discord, and Shape. Core has already been mentioned. Discord represents the nodes attack skill, and Shape is its ability to create advantages for itself. These are also stacked in a ladder. For a super node the highest skill equals Legendary, the second equals Epic, and the third is Fantastic. For a node the highest is Fantastic, the second Superb, and the third great. Links and cores have there own stress track. A link belonging to a node has a stress track of one. A link of a super node has two. the core of a node has three. the core of a super node has four. they have access to consequences, but they only get minor consequences. Links have one minor consequence, node cores have two, and super node cores have three.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fate Core: Aeon Trinity pt 2

Project Unity
Unity Station was our last, best hope for peace. 
A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. 
A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. 
A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. 
It was the third golden age of man...the year the Great War came upon us all. 
This is the story of the last of the Unity Stations. 
The year is 2136.
The name of the place is Unity 3.  

  In the years leading up to the second Aberrant war, during the conflict with the Chromatics, there was an idea. A place where all the various people, nations, and species could come together in peace. The Trinity began construction on Unity Station with the help of the Upeo Wa Macho years before they disappeared. When this idea for a neutral ground came forward, the half completed station was put forward as a prime location. The first station was attacked by Aberrants within a month of the decision. They began building a new station within a month. There was a great deal of corruption and graft involved in that stations construction. Within a week of its completion it fell out of the sky. The Trinity took a more active hand in the creation of the third, and final, station. It was completed six month ago, and now it stands as the meeting point for nations, organizations, and aliens. The Qin have an embassy, as does one faction of the Chromatics. Each psi order has an enclave there as do most nations and free planets. Eden has a token Embassy, but no one is comfortable with them being there.

Here is a list of sample stunts for my Aeon Trinity hack for Fate Core. These are just examples to help you come up with your own, if you need to.
Aggressive Shape-shift:  You can use your Biokinesis skill to attack physically within the same zone.
Carapace/redundant organs/ defensive shape change: you can use your biokinesis to defend physically.
Master shifter: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.
Programed moment: you use clairsentience to avoid a blow by predicting the scenario.
Cosmic dice: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.
Planned hit: you saw the damage coming ahead of time and used that knowledge to lessen the blow. once per conflict you can spend a fate point to use a consequence as if it were one higher.
Lightning bolt: you can use Electrokinesis to attack. For each zone outside your current one reduce your roll by one.
Technokinesis: you can use your electrokinesis when using computers, or interacting with machines that have an electric current.
Power Surge: when attacking a machine gain a +2 to your roll.
Remote manipulation: Use psychokinesis to create an advantage.
Freeze: you can create  a barrier around a person or thing(see Storm calling in the Magic Toolkit), like the attack action for glacier calling(pg 15).
Burn: when making an attack action you can attack every target(except you) in a zone. you take a minus one to the attack roll to do so.
Phantasm: +2 to create advantage rolls involved with illusion
Mindstorm: use Telepathy to make a mental attack.
Mental fortitude: telpathy defends against mental attack.
Object Jump: reduce your roll by one to teleport an object and everything in it(like a space ship, or a house) over a long distance.
Transmass Shield: my altering the way space folds around you you can roll teleportation to defend.
Master of the Long Jump: you gain a +2 to overcome rolls to teleport.
Algesis: you can use vitakinesis to attack within the same zone(you must touch the victim of the attack).
Regeneration: +2 to overcome rolls to heal yourself.
Negation: when an ally(or enemy I guess) takes a consequence you can roll your Vitakinesis. If your roll is higher than the attack roll that player can treat a consequence as a higher level of consequence for purposes of negating damage.

Weapons have a rating from one to four. This rating is added to the roll after it is successful, this it adds to damage. It also has one other stat, ranged or close, to indicate whether it can be used in the same zone or an adjacent zone. armor is rated from one two three. This rating removes a certain amount of damage.

1- Knife(close), hold-out pistol(ranged)
2- Sword(close), Pistol(ranged)
3- Axe(close), Rifle/assault rifle(ranged)
4-Plasma weapon(ranged), Rocket launcher(ranged)

1- Light armor, flak jacket, concealed armor
2- Medium armor, swat armor
3- Heavy armor, combat armor, bomb squad armor

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sharn Codex session 1

Today I ran the second session of my Fate Core game. Our heroes got into a lot of trouble. What with the jailbreak, the battle, and the horrible interrogation after. I ran into a few issues during the game so I thought I would talk about them here.

Issue the first, cantrips are either too powerful or not powerful enough in my game. This came up during the interrogation scene, when the Wizard had no spells that could help the conflict. He wished to use a cantrip to justify replacing Intimidation with Arcana. It worked, but that makes the Arcana skill very versatile, in fact why use other skills at all?

We came up with a few ideas on what to do about this. My first instinct was to remove cantrip entirely. Though I still think that this is the best way to go about it, there was disagreement at the table. Some believed that they are core to the experience we are trying to create. Another idea was to decrease the skill check by one or two when using a cantrip. this is fine, provided you have a three or four in your Arcana skill. those with a lesser skill will have difficulty doing cantrips at all. seeing as cantrips are supposed to be very easy magic, that just makes no sense. One other idea was brought forward. Basically you would roll arcana, and if you succeed you gain a +1 on your next non-Arcana roll. I think that this is too close to creating an advantage. I really wish to remove cantrips from the game, but that seems to go against what the players want. Thoughts on this dilemma would be helpful.

Issue part two, conflicts in Fate either go very quickly, or very slowly. I tried to adjust this in my game by switching form conflict to contest and back again. I am unsure how successful that was. basically the players are very good at pinning down and killing the bad guys. I need to work on explaining the stakes of the conflict better. I don't know...

Anyway, if you want to here is the recording of the game, should you wish to watch it:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Diaspora: Tales of the Butcher Bird

I just played through the first play session of Diaspora today. It was fun. We are still trying to gel as a group and so there are some difficulties involved. We stopped at the lowest tech system in the cluster and went on a bit of an archeological expedition. Turns out, that the city...was not a city. Those buildings? Not buildings! Not buildings at all. We fought, but for naught. So, we ran. Now we know of information no one else does.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fate Core: Aeon Trinity pt 1


When you wish to play a psion, you must subtract one from your refresh, and pick an aptitude. This aptitude is the only way you can access psi. Once you have picked an aptitude that is your only power from then on, you can never use another aptitude. you must also have something in your high concept related to being a psion. 
Psi Aptitudes

 Mostly this is used for creating advantages, and overcoming obstacles by changing your shape, altering your internal organs, and the ability to adapt to hostile environments. You cannot directly attack and defend with this power, you have to have prepared an advantage before hand to represent the changes you make to yourself.

Biokinetics tend to be loyal to NORCA, leaving is seen as traitorous and often they are hunted down by the NORCA. If you have left NORCA you will need a good reason to have gotten free.
Use this to create advantages and overcome obstacles either through looking into the past or the future. Directly attacking is impossible and defense is defined by creating an advantage.

ISRA will take just about anyone who shows latency for clairsentience. Their is a predominance of the Baha'i religion within the order. Often those who see the past or the future are distrusted. 
 Advantage, and overcome actions, only related electricity and light(photokinesis). 
You can make attack actions and overcome actions for kinetic and thermal energy.

The Legions are the last line of defense for mankind against the Aberrant threat. They are the largest order, and always looking for new recruits. They only accept volunteers in the Legions.
You can overcome and create advantages dealing with understanding the mind and emotions. you can read thoughts and emotions.

Telepathy is not as common as telekinesis or Vitakinetics. The Ministry recruits all it can find, though they are careful, as only telepaths can be, to recruit those who share there goals.
You can overcome obstacles and create advantages related to the healing. you can speed up the healing of yourself and others, you roll psi vs a difficulty equal to +[the combined level of the consequences you are trying to heal], should you succeed at the roll treat the consequence(or consequences) as one level lower for the purposes of healing it. if you succeed with style it counts as two levels lower(can't be lower than minor).

Vitakinetics tend to come from a medical background, after they go through the Prometheus chamber they spend a few years interning. Many stay with the Aesculpian Order, but some move onto other jobs.
You can roll overcome and defense actions involving teleporting, either yourself or others. Overcome action to move distances. the bigger the object and the less you know about the location, the more difficult it is. Roll defense action to avoid physical damage by a short hop out of the way of the damage.

Upeo Wa Macho have a hard time of it. They left the earth for a time to remain free from the control of outside forces. Now they are back and dealing with the mistrust of the world they abandoned. Teleportation is the least common latency, now that the Chitra Banu have been purged.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fate Core: Fantasy

I played in a game of Fate Core tonight. We played a fantasy one shot. There was a long discussion about how the world and characters should go, and a large scuffle with a band of outlaws. I ran into a few issues that I found troublesome during the game.

At one point the GM used a compel to deny one player an action. I found this distasteful. I understand why it happened, I just did not care for it. A player's only real handle on the world is the character they play. If you deny the player their action you are negating their ability to choose. I realize that the player can spend a Fate point to ignore the compel, but it seems wasteful to spend a point just to do what you want in the game.

Concessions, I have ever really got these. I understand them on paper, and when the PCs wish to concede there is no problem. It is when the NPCs wish to concede that I find the problem rearing its head. I think that if the players and GM were more direction stating what is at stake in the conflict this would be better off.

Can you take more than one consequence in a single round? I just can't remember. Overall the game was enjoyable; fun was had by all. Check it out:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 10

An in-depth look at skills. You will need to have access to the Fate Core rules to get the most out of this post. Check out the Kickstarter, all it takes is a buck and you get access to the whole shebang. I am not liking how I worded the Spirit section, any thoughts on that would be very helpful. Having been writing game material for almost thirty days straight now, I have had some thoughts on the process. Writing for RPGs is very different from the other types of writing I have done. Normally when I am writing I spend all day spewing forth a steady stream of words and then going back through later and making it clear. In game writing I spend all day working on details. I will write a few sentences, look at them and then look at them again. Editing three to four sentences is weird.

Description: Everything is connected.Or more to the point, everything can be connected. This skill deals with the connections between people, places, and things. It is a difficult skill to fully grasp on its own. The easiest example is movement and teleportation.
Overcome: you roll to move through rough or blocked terrain, or to move further or faster. This could be via teleportation, seven-league-stride-altering you form to a faster one, cybernetics, or whatever. This can also be used to understand the connection between things, roll to find out what that connection is. This could be post-cognition(the past connects to the present), some sort of Kirlian apparatus(aura reading the connection between people),  or whatever.
Advantage: Creating an advantage with this skill is changing the distance, altering the relationship, or creating a new relationship: being in two places simultaneously, Someone liking yo for no real reason(this does not manipulate memory, just relationship).
Attack: You attack to break down relationships, physical or mental. Mental attacks are easier with this, but physical attacks are also doable. remember this is about altering an existing relationships and affinities. Major movement(kinetic energy) is covered by Forces. Attacking someone mentally(altering there relationship with another person or thing) will not change the memories of how they were, just the emotions of how they relate. If you have ever fallen out of love, its a lot like that. Physically altering the affinity of someone with gravity or there connection to the world can send them flying into things.
Defend: You defend with this skill by altering where you were, or altering when you were, or altering how people view you. You can stop someone from hating you, or wanting you dead.

Elan Vital
Description:There is a difference between the living and the nonliving. What the difference is has been debated and fought over for many cycles. But the difference is there. This skill deals with living things. Examples include manipulation of form, creation of/summoning creatures and people, and anything dealing with living things.
Overcome: Use this skill to understand living things and the residue they leave behind. you can see the living, know the living, feel the living, and in all ways comprehend them. This may also be used to create a new living thing. This could be done with some kind of mystic circle(summoning), A genetics lab(creation), or a spidey sense(sensing living things)
Advantage: Creating advantage with this skill would involve temporarily changing yourself or adding temporary creatures to the scene. Shape shifting, Biokinesis, summoning(pokemon style), and any other short term life effect works well for this.
Attack: Again this can be done with claws or a summoned creature, or simply rending the forces of life itself. Disintegration effects and the like are just as good as claws and fangs.
Defend: You can form a hard carapace, have a creature you create jump in front of the attack, or changing your form to move quicker. This is using life as your defense.

Description:There are things that exist, being neither life, spirit,nor matter. These things are known as forces. they direct and follow laws. those laws can change, but to be a force law must apply. Fire, speed, kinetic force, gravity, light, and many many others are examples of forces.
Overcome: To know what forces are affecting you, understanding of them. Removing obstacles and barriers are also there.
Advantage: Creating advantages with this is very easy, moving faster, removing gravity, altering the flow of light, adding heat, or removing it are all the kind of advantages you can create.
Attack: Forces are a blunt force in a things on fire, shoving them, breaking them, rending the very universe around you itself. Forces are not often subtle, and when they are subtle, they are lethal in unpredictable ways.
Defend: Using the forces of the universe to block(force field. eh? eh?), to increase your speed, or to reduce the speed of others. Much like attacking with this skill, defending is not subtle. This is the brute force solution.

Description: The 'things' in the universe are made of matter. Matter has no person-hood. It has no animation, no life.  Matter is the stuff of the universe.
Overcome: To create/change matter(lead to gold, or creating a table, both are doable), remove/overcome obstacles(create a door in the wall, or just flatten the wall).
Advantage: when creating items you can treat them as short term aspects(longer term stuff is much harder), also you can alter the terrain around you to aid you in a conflict. Building traps and understanding your environment can give you subtle advantages with this skill. Beware the master of matter for they are long in memory and subtle in their anger. Often this skill is technological or highly ritualistic, it takes time to shape the world, and the masters of this skill often take the long view on things.
Attack: You can do a direct attack with matter(earthquakes, heaving a boulder at them, using a gun), or indirectly(weird Rube Goldbergesque coincidences, cars flying off the road and hitting the bad guy, guns exploding in their face, and the like).
Defend: The attacker fails because suddenly there is a wall there, or the ground pitched to the side, or his bullets refuse to harm you. If they are using a weapon, they are making a mistake. That weapon is made of matter, and that is all you need to stop them.

Description:The mind is a haunted house, a labyrinth with no map. masters of this skill are the guides that can get you in and out, they know the rules of the mind and can change themselves or anyone else as easily as breathing.
Overcome: to know the thoughts of others, you can create a mind(in a body if you build it with Life), understanding others is the purview of this skill.
Advantage: against a mind you can create advantages all day. you can ask questions that cut them to the core, you can find the core of their beliefs, tear away the layers of deception and see the truth of them, and all other forms of mental manipulation.
Attack: Attacking the mind directly can lead to aneurisms, or crisis of faith, loss of belief, or severe brain damage. 
Defend: to attack the master of Psyche is folly, for they know what you are going to do as soon as you do. they have altered their minds to deal with stress. they have sped up their mental processes, and are so smart that the confrontation was won before you even got there. they are the psychics and super geniuses of the Magi community. Tread carefully around them.

Description: there are beings and locations that exist in neither matter, life, nor mind. these are places and beings of spirit. Masters of the art often claim that spirit is the prime material of the universe. That all things started out as spirit and the other concepts came later. The other are creatures of almost pure spirit, so there is some traction with that theory. they do not have minds or bodies(though they can if they choose) they merely believe things without thought. they are alien. If spirit is the prime material of the universe, that says many strange things about the nature of being.
Overcome: To find your way in the spirit pathways, or to create/summon a spirit being, or overcome a barrier of spirit. You can travel through the spirit realm and understand its inhabitants.
Advantage: creating an advantage with spirit involves the spiritual places and beings. it is difficult to create an advantage against a Magi or shadow with this skill.
Attack: Attacking spirits and spiritual entities is the primary focus of the attack action with this skill.
Defend: defending from spirits and spiritual attacks.

Description: Time is the ordering of events sequentially along a path through a fourth dimension. It flies, it heals all wounds, and it marches on. Time is the eternal river, flowing inexorably to the end of days. It makes nonsense of infinity and requires eternity. Time is a truly subtle skill.
Overcome: to see the streams of time, the future, the past, all things are revealed in time. overcoming obstacles, or altering the time stream(time travel)
Advantage: Creating advantages with time is easy, anything where forethought would be useful, or where speeding up or slowing down time would be handy is fair game. you can travel back in time and give yourself aid in the current battle, or leave the item you need for yourself.
Attack: You ever see the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? The part where Donovan(I think that was his name) drinks and ages to death and dust in seconds? Yeah, you can do that. or you can alter time to hit precisely and hard. or you can study each and every micro expression in slow motion.
Defend: You know where all the attacks are coming from, you have seen it in a thousand futures. Dodging attacks is as simple as walking across the room. You can play the temporal game, having left yourself a clue or item you need to defend. Or you can jump back in time and stop the attack from happening.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Skill issues, and my REAL second project

I was going to have a post describing my skills in detail and building stunts for them. As you will see, that is not the case. I am having difficulty with the skills section of Magi. I was going along alright, then I realized i was uncertain if I was being clear. I am entirely to close to this project and I may not be objective. So I give you a sample of my skill writing and I ask that you let me know if it is clear, or if you think it needs more. Here is the trickiest one I have:

Description: Everything is connected.Or more to the point, everything can be connected. This skill deals with the connections between people, places, and things. It is a difficult skill to fully grasp on its own. The easiest example is movement and teleportation.
Overcome: you roll to move through rough or blocked terrain, or to move further or faster. This could be via teleportation, seven-league-stride-altering you form to a faster one, cybernetics, or whatever. This can also be used to understand the connection between things, roll to find out what that connection is. This could be post-cognition(the past connects to the present), some sort of Kirlian apparatus(aura reading the connection between people),  or whatever.
Advantage: Creating an advantage with this skill is changing the distance, altering the relationship, or creating a new relationship: being in two places simultaneously, Someone liking yo for no real reason(this does not manipulate memory, just relationship).
Attack: You attack to break down relationships, physical or mental. Mental attacks are easier with this, but physical attacks are also doable. remember this is about altering an existing relationships and affinities. Major movement(kinetic energy) is covered by Forces. Attacking someone mentally(altering there relationship with another person or thing) will not change the memories of how they were, just the emotions of how they relate. If you have ever fallen out of love, its a lot like that. Physically altering the affinity of someone with gravity or there connection to the world can send them flying into things.
Defend: You defend with this skill by altering where you were, or altering when you were, or altering how people view you. You can stop someone from hating you, or wanting you dead.

So, while I work that out I will be working on another project for a bit. I was going to continue with Buck Rogers, but I found that it lacked any kind of change to the rules of bog standard Fate Core, save for dog fighting which is covered in Kriegzeppelin Valkyrie.

I had a few other thoughts on what settings to do, but eventually I set my sights on one of my favorites. There is loads of material and many different kinds of campaign frameworks within the setting. It has many different in setting systems that interact with the rules, so there will be loads for me to consider and convert. I will be converting the Aeon Trinity continuum to Fate Core.

Aeon has several really interesting parts to it: Psionics, Superpowers, Faster-than Light Travel, Aliens, War, Mecha, espionage, conspiracy, and loads of others. The setting itself stretches from an alternate 1920s to the 2120s.  I will be breaking down the parts of the setting I like and reworking them to fit how I see the setting. It will be mostly the same, but there will be some changes so that that setting will work better for the types of campaigns I tend to run. Also I will be adding little tweaks to the setting, just for my own enjoyment of setting creation.
Artificially enhanced humans, with powers beyond those of normal men. They seem to be the salvation of man. If only they could unite. Created by secret alien masterminds, for purposes known only to them, the Psions work hard every day to fight the Aberrant menace.

There are several parts of the Psions I really like and would enjoy monkeying around with. The psionic powers are a bit of trouble. I think I will probably build a bunch of broad skills for the aptitudes and then use stunts to represent various pieces of the modes. this is problematic in a way, as it adds quite a few extra skills to the list.  

Another thing they have is bioware. Basically they can build living tools that only those with psi can use in the original game there is a limit to the amount of bioware you can attune to. I am not sure if this is still required for a Fate version. If I do it would also work well as a system for using some types of cyberware, so it is a thought I have had.

The Psi factions are also very interesting, and I think they would work far better in Fate Core. I am thinking of having an organizational aspect as one of the steps in character creation. I will work on this as the project goes on.
Wielding powers beyond their ability to control. Forged in quantum fire, tempered in the madness of war. These beings are terrifying, not for their alienness, but for the fact that they were once human. Mad and mutated, genius beyond human thought, these beings are power incarnate. Or at least that is the story the Trinity tells everyone.

They show up out of nowhere, like the titans of old they seek only the subjugation of man and reclamation of the Earth. They are not ravening monsters. They are calculating and cunning. Like the people the spawned from they are fractious. Some wish to leave Earth and its people alone, some to rule, and some to destroy.

I really want to do something really special with the Aberrants. I would like them to be playable in the Trinity era. I would also like to make them playable alongside Baselines and Psions alike. THis will be tricky, but not impossible. I think I may use bits from Strange Fate to make it work. Some of the largest Changes to the game world will probably involve the Aberrants. I would like to see a few more o the worlds they control, what they have done in 60 plus years(some of them had left Earth as early as 2020). These strange planets would allow me to do some of the wierder stuff I would like to do with the setting.

I also want to do some stuff with the aliens and the mechs(known in setting as VARGs). There was some interest, when I brought this up, in doing a Babylon 5 hack. As much as I like that series I do not know it well enough to do a setting hack for it. I do intend to bring some of the elements of it to the game, however. We will see how well that works.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 9

The Magic System Toolkit was released in draft form to us yesterday. Oh wow, this thing is just filled to the brim with unadulterated awesome sauce! Seriously, if you have not have not donated to the Kickstarter, now is a perfect time to do so.  Now, having had a look at how some other magic systems were built I can see a few areas that helped me figure out how to present the magic system for Magi.

In the Magic System Toolkit +Rob Donoghue puts forward a series of defining traits of magic. I have decided to question my game using those traits. I hope to end up with my magic system a bit more defined than it was before. Here goes:

What is the tone of magic? Magic is basically neutral. It is the stuff of the universe, and thus has no will, desires or influence of its own. It has no will or personality, there is no light or darkness in it, though it can be influenced by those who use it. Magic is the turning point between the three pillars of the universe: Stasis, Destruction, and Creation. Without using magic, these forces tend to remain balanced, magic allows the Magus to tip that balance.

What is the cost of magic? Magic has no inherent price. Anyone with the belief, can do it. Even somethings without belief can do magic, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Magic does have a great deal of risk. Altering the world to suit your beliefs is dangerous work. You may come away from it changed beyond recognition.

What are the limits of magic? Theoretically magic might have limits. But for all practical purposes it does not. Only the skill of the magic user limits the magic. Most limits are those imposed by the mind. The skills themselves limit magic in a way. They only allow for control of a piece of the universe. The skills you choose will effect what you can do.

How available is magic? Anyone can have magic. Most people don't. there appears to be very little difference between a Shadow and a Magus, yet the difference is vast. Why some people can do it and some can't is a mystery, though a thousand theories exist. There probably all wrong too.

What is the source of magic? Magic comes from the beliefs of people(however that is defined). Before there was consciousness, there was nothing. Before belief, there was unity. Magic comes from that initial conflict. When the first world view argued with the second. Where belief met doubt for the first time. That is where magic comes from. It may have a deeper source as well.The Other seem to have no beliefs, no purpose. Yet they work magic as great(maybe greater) than any Magus. Magic is the power of creation, and it steps from and channels through the true believers, the Magi.

.I hope that helps with the understanding of magic. I know I found it useful. The questions allowed me to look at Magi and magic from a different angle and see where the edges are. I wish to talk about how casting works for Magi. I do not yet have the whole system laid out, though. I am still having a great deal of difficulty with nodes. They are crucial to my game and I have hit a bit of a wall on how they work.

When using magic the default difficulty is +2, the node can spend one of its fate points(it gets as many as there are players in the game) to increase this difficulty as a passive defense/obstacle. At any point you can be compelled to allow the Node to actively defend and attack. The fiction of how this happens is dependent on the node. If it adheres to Methodical Naturalism, the attack and defense would have to follow the conservation of energy so creation ex nihilo becomes much harder. Whereas in a node that follows an ancient Egyptian world view would allow for that easily, provided you were channeling the power of the gods(Heka) and met with the metaphysical balance(Ma'at). It gets a bit iffy in some cases, and corner cases abound. I am still working on a way to make the system of adjudicating what magic works where.

I have this idea to give magic a cost like property and add to the players power base at the same time. I got this idea from the Magic System Toolkit. You can take a Discord consequence and add the shifts of damage it would normally avoid directly to your magic roll. this allows for you to purposefully cut loose with your magic but you are creating a great deal of dissonance in the world. I think this will work well, I will have to play test it to be sure though.

I also had a few random, incomplete, thoughts on how magic will work, sort of. These are just one sentence explanations for something that will probably be its own post once I have worked them out a bit.

Ritual casting
Slow and big, makes permanent things, not for combat magic, easier way to get around Discord.

Fast casting
Very quick, but nothing it makes is permanent and it has more of a tendency to generate Discord

And that is what I have on the magic so far. I will be refining skills and stunts tomorrow. Hopefully by Monday I will know how nodes work. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fate Core: Magic Sytem Toolkit Test

I just finished running a game of Fate Core using one of the new magic systems presented in the Fate Core Magic System Toolkit. The system was called Stormcallers. Basically the players each had control over an storm element: Inferno, Glacier, Flood, Earthquake, and Thunder. we made characters and I ran them through a heist scenario. Over all it was a blast to play and the magic was very quick and intuitive. It was a thrill ride.

We did run into a few issues though. The first was the names of the various storm elements. It was inconsistent, which led to some debate as to what each power was actually called. Not a huge issue really, but still it was a bit annoying.

the other issue we ran into was that some of the elements were poorly defined in the fiction. I had assumed that Thunder would allow for control of the winds. But there is nothing in there saying that. It talked mostly about lighting and thunder. If it had been described a bit more I think that this  would not have been an issue. We also ran into an issue with misunderstanding what a barrier is. Barriers are introduced in Stormcallers as a way to block movement from one zone to another. One of my players wished to use this a s defense, and as written it does not do that in the way he wanted(i.e. in the same zone as the baddies). I did not think that this is a problem with the rule itself, more in its perception.

If you wish to watch the game we recorded it on hangouts, check it out if you like:

Fate Core: Magi pt 8

Today I am going to try something a little bit different from my normal design. i am going to go through character creation and make a couple of characters. I would like to see how easy(hopefully) or hard(hopefully not) it is to conceptualize a new character. Through out the examples I will also be introducing some new(ish) mechanics for the game; don't let that throw you.

Throughout this post I will be following two of my friends, Chuck and Adrienne, as they create characters for my game. Chuck is a hard hitting, in your face action maniac. Adrienne is very into swashbuckling adventure, along the lines of Captain Blood. Before we even sit down to play I know that this game will have lots of high flying action and a distinct lack of patience. It is good to know your game group.

Step 1
Name: Names have power. They are you, in as much as anything is. If one were to know your true name, they would have power over you. Your name is not an aspect in itself, but it provides good conflict, or an aspect you can build to get one up on another Magus.
Belief: What do you believe about the world around you? How do you think it should behave? How do you see yourself? What is the thing that drives you to act? This is the trickiest aspect to get down, but if you nail this one then all the dominoes will fall neatly in place.

Style: How do you change the world? what is your system of magic? do you do rituals? Speak the names of dead gods? Take loads of drugs and become part of a larger universe? Do you know an ancient martial art? Are you a super hero? A god? a dragon? A Jedi? This aspect will be central to how you interact with the world. It dictates when you are in tune with the universe and when you are disassociated with it. It will inform how you do your magic

Adrienne decides she wishes to play a forgotten goddess from many cycles before. She thinks that a good belief would be that technology poisons the world. She think that this fits as without technology men will once again worship the old gods. she chooses the aspect Fire Must Be Returned To The Gods. She then moves on to her style. Adrienne sees the goddess as very driven, perhaps a battle goddess. She sees the style as involving meditation and seeing the future. She chooses the aspect Actualized Temporal Wrath. She then chooses a name, she goes with Morrigan after a Celtic goddess.

Chuck thinks it over and he decides that he wants to play a more traditional wizard. He looks through Wikipedia and finds that there were a lot of different kinds of magic users in history as well as fiction. He centers in on true names and thinks that sounds really cool, as does mystical equations. He thinks about the kind of person who uses those powers. He just watched The Mummy and like the character of Imhotep, so he decides that is his character's name. For his belief he goes with I Will Break The Bonds Of Life And Death. For his style Chuck chooses the aspect Numerals And Nomenclature
Step 2
Love: What do you care about? Who do you love? What could you not bear to lose? What did you lose that you NEED to get back? This aspect is on your mind. This is your Lois Lane, your Holy Grail, your object of worship.
Failing: How have you failed in your life? What is your worst tendency? Your weakness? This works like your trouble in standard Fate Core. Magi have great power that stem from their passions and beliefs, this leads to greater failings.
Cohort: Look to the players around the table. Their characters are all part of your cohort. You all seek to change the world together. What drew you together? What can the other members do for you? What do they need you to do? Do you all get along? Who do you dislike? Why do you have to work with them? This aspect can be about the group as a whole, or about the time you came together, or even about a specific member of  the group talk it over together and see what you can come up with.

Adrienne thinks about what Morrigan loves. What could she not stand to lose? Adrienne decides that Morrigan has a child that she is going to raise to be her vengeance on the world. She chooses the aspect My Son My Vengeance. Her failing comes easily enough from that, it is her pride, her hubris. She is a goddess after all. Adrienne goes with the aspect Fallen Pride to represent her status as a forgotten goddess and her pride in her station still. After talking it over with Chuck they come to the conclusion that both of their characters are remnants of bygone cycles using ancient magics. Adrienne tells a story of How Morrigan was being hunted by a nasty Jinn and its Fire Hounds and Imhotep helped her. She writes the aspect Debt Owed Through Blood And Fire.

Chuck knows exactly what he wants for his Love. Imhotep's wife died. that was bad, but then in the new cycle she was erased from reality. That was worse. He chooses the aspect I Will Get Her Back. He then must come up with Imhotep's failing. Chuck's firs instinct is to make that about his wife as well, but then he thinks of the kind of situations he wants to get into, and he goes with a tendency to rush to judgement and alack of patience. He takes the aspect Rush To Judgement. After talking it over with Adrienne and hearing her story of how they met, he decides to go off of that. He sees Imhotep as using Morrigan to help him getting what he wants. He writes down Morrigan Can Help Me as his aspect.

Step 3
Skill ladder: There are seven(7) skills in Magi: Elan Vital, Matter, Forces, Spirit, Affinity, Psyche, and Tempus. Elan Vital is the skill that deals with living things, creating them, harming them, healing them, and in all ways affecting living things. Matter is the same but with inorganic material. Forces controls things like fire, electricity, light, and other 'forces.' Spirit deals with things that are not of this world. It is the main skill for dealing with The Other, as well as summoning and binding the representation of an idea(a spirit or genius). Affinity deals with the connections between things, people, locations, or ideas. Psyche deals with the mind, and time deals with, well time.

When creating a character pick three skills, one at +3(Good), one at +2(Fair), and one at +1(Average). the remainder of the skills are rated at +0(Mediocre). These can be increased during a milestone like normal(just ignore the rules on having skills in a pyramid or column. Any skill can have any rating.

Adrienne looks over the skills and sees a couple that stand out. She will definitely need Life as a war goddess she will need to be able to hurt living things. She also needs time as Morrigan can see the future and Psyche seems to fit. She her final skill selection is Time +3, Life +2, and Psyche +1.

Chuck is nearly as quick. Going over it he focuses on Forces, he wants to shoot lighting and such. Life is also a good one for him as he wants to affect others. He hems and haws over the last one for a while then remembers that he wants to deal with death and life, so he takes Spirit, to control the boundary of life and death. His final skill ladder is Spirit +3, Forces +2, and Life +1.

Step 4
Skill aspects: You get three skill aspects. these are different than other aspects in a couple of ways. Firstly they are transitory, you can change them with a roll versus a difficulty of +2.  Secondly they represent the mundane skills you might have. When you invoke these aspects you gain the normal bonus, however the action you are taking counts as a mundane action. If the skill aspect does not mach up with the aspects of the node you are in you can get compelled to no longer be able to use the skill until you change it.Generally these aspects will be one word only, usually some sort of action word.

Adrienne now must pick her skill aspects for Morrigan. She goes with Fighting, War, and Speed as her three aspects as they represent how she sees her character's default state.

Chuck then thinks it over and takes Knowledge, Fighting, and Literacy as his three. He sees Imhotep as a warrior scholar and this fits that idea.

Step 5
Stunts: Pick a stunt that works for your character, you can pick more stunts than one at the cost of one refresh per stunt. you cannot start with less than one refresh. I will add a stunt list in a future post, right now, there are no stunts for this.

Adrienne and Chuck pick one stunt each, it was very exciting.

Step 6
Finishing touches: Record your starting Pattern and Discord stress(two each, unless you take a stunt that increases it). Record your refresh(three, unless you took extra stunts, then less).

Name: Morrigan
Played By: Adrienne
Belief: Fire Must Be Returned To The Gods
Style: Actualized Temporal Wrath
Love: My Son, My Vengeance
Failing: Fallen Pride
Cadre: Debt Owed, Through Blood And Fire

+3 Time +2 Life +1 Psyche

Skill Aspects

She has taken one stunt(these will be detailed in a later post(probably tomorrow, we'll see how I feel)

Refresh: 3
Pattern Stress: [1] [2]
Discord Stress: [1] [2]

Name: Imhotep
Played By: Chuck
Belief: I Will Break The Bonds Of Life And Death
Style: Numerals And Nomenclature
Love: I Will Get Her Back
Failing: Rush To Judgement
Cadre: Morrigan Can Help Me

+3 Spirit +2 Forces +1 Life

Skill Aspects

He has taken one stunt, this will be fleshed out later, once I have built the stunts for the game

Refresh: 3
Pattern Stress: [1] [2]
Discord Stress: [1] [2]

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 7

Randy Scott Slavin

Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down

                                   ~Nursery Rhyme

when I put my thoughts on stress down, I had not really had a lot of time to think them over yet. After considering my initial position I have decided to change the Stress tracks to something that fits my game a bit more. There was nothing all that wrong with my initial ideas on Stress. The issue came when I was working on the rest of the world. Having a mind stress track was just too rigid, especially because there are some factions and people who seek to eradicate the concept of mind. So I had to change it up, and after rereading Mage: the Ascension, I think I figured it out.

I had wanted something that worked a lot like the paradox mechanics in Mage. I got very close with my thoughts on how nodes work. When you use magic in a node that has a style different from those supported by that node, it rolls against you. It becomes a conflict. It defends and attacks. Originally I was going to have it inflict Will stress, but that is not really correct in the world of the game. It is not your will that protects you, it is your ability to change the world around you. I know that can get a bt semantic, but I think there is a key difference there. I have now decided to have two kinds of stress, pattern and discord.

Pattern stress represents your selfhood, and your resistance to changes by outside forces. When someone tries to change you this is the type of stress they have to create. If you get stress out in this manner, you are taken out, and the person who took you out will have free reign on your pattern. Pattern consequences will be large or small changes to yourself. Either physically or mentally.

Discord stress represents how in tune you are with the world immediately surrounding you. You take stress only when you are casting magic in an area not conducive to that type of magic. The world fights back. When you get taken out it is bad, very bad. It changes your style aspect to match its own. Discord consequences are representative of how out of tune you are with the surrounding world. So on the low level, it could be a bit of bad luck, at the higher levels it could be full blown hallucinations, or you are cursed with stigma or a 'witches mark' of some kind.

Person of interest
The Once and Future King: He has slept in a sealed node for time immemorial. all that is left of his glorious shining kingdom are few half remembered stories. His rest is watched over by his three closest companions. He awaits the sounding of teh horn and the call to once again take up the sword and the banner. To call to all men, good and true. To face the evils of the world and drive them back to the shadows whence they came. He was the king, is the king, and shall be so again. Until that day he sleeps. He dreams. Oh, such dreams as would make the angels weep.

Belief: Good will triumph over evil
Style: By my Sword and my deeds
Love: The weak need protecting
Failing: Too Trusting