Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Fate of Poseidon

After a rather large discussion(on what games would make a great Fate hack) on the feasibility of doing a Blue Planet hack for Fate Core, I decided that rather than just say its possible I will go right ahead and make a Fate hack for Blue Planet. This is going to be pretty rough as it goes along as it has been a while since I played Blue Planet.

The first part of doing the setting proper is to come up with the themes and the threats for the setting. This is incredibly important as it will affect everything down the line. To me, the most important and thematic elements of BP are , the xenosilicate Long John, the newcomers to the planet vs the original settlers, and the exploration of the planet and discovery of many wonderful and strange things.

Lets start with the newcomers first. After decades of being alone on Poseidon, the first colonists have adapted an live in peace with the planet. Most of their technology broke down years and years ago, and so they mostly live in a somewhat more primitive state than expected. Meanwhile for those same decades the people of earth suffered under famines and environmental disasters. They only recently managed to achieve what they had lost, under the guidance of GEO. The new colonists from Earth are seeking new resources and new frontiers to live and thrive. I see this as being two themes(though it could be one and I just don't see it).The first theme deals with the desires of the Original Colonists. The second deals with the desires of the new colonists.

Theme: This is our new home, don't waste it

Theme: Hungry for new resources

Now to the Xenosilicate, "Long John," is crucial to this boom in population(am I remembering the name right? Long John?). It is an anagathic drug that is found in the depths of Poseidon. THis has caused a massive boom in the population of the planet as speculators and deep sea miners all come to strike it rich. I see this as both a theme and a threat to the planet. A theme, because it is pervasive, and a threat due to the people trying to take this resource.

Theme: Immortality in the Depths

Threat: Mining will kill the planet

THe final theme is the idea of discovery. Blue Planet is a massive book, and it has loads of support material. Most of it is just an exploration of the setting. I really think discovery is a big part of the game, and I would like to keep that in the themes as well. So here is the final Theme.

Theme: Last Great Frontier

Threat: Danger in the deep

Now that we have themes and a threat I want to dig into the mechanics a bit, because that was a concern of many in the thread that spawned this whole project. The concern is that in BP the combat is pretty lethal and people are fairly fragile, while in Fate the opposite is true. I have a fix for this, but it requires adjusting a few of the dials for Fate Core. First, get rid of the stress tracks. Now there is only consequences. This makes combat really nasty. There is no walking out of a fight unscathed unless you are really good or really lucky. Mostly I think that handles the problem in its entirety, but here are a couple of ideas for tweaking that if you get the idea to go this route. First tweak, make two consequence tracks. One for Physical, and one for social/mental. The second teak is to lower the amount of stress that a consequence can mitigate. As of right now they stand at 2/4/6, if you want to get really lethal go with 1/2/3, with a stunt required to raise it to Fate norms.

The other thing I would like to talk a bit about is Blue Planets attempts to be realistic and Hard Sci Fi. This needs to be talked about at the table. No playing fast and loose with the physics, no hand-waving stuff, when you are talking about the world it has to feel real. Now there are books and books of material on what Blue Planet has and doesn't have, so I would recommend going and getting the supplements for the game and using those as your baseline for what is and is not allowed.

Now back to the world and what the players will be playing/doing. There are a number of options for player characters in Blue Planet. There are the Genetically modified original colonists, one variety can hold their breath for long periods of time and dive very deep, the other has gills and can spend long hours in the water(though not as deep). there are the new colonists(which I have a difficult time remembering all that they bring with them). Then finally there are uplifted Dolphins and Orcas. I think I will cover those in a future post.

The other thing I would like to do is to stat up Poseidon itself as a character, because much of what the players do is survive in a harsh and unforgiving world. This, to me, sounds like the planet has skills and aspects and maybe even a stress track or two(a great way to keep track of environmental damage). However doing the whole planet as a character is a little outside the scope of what I am willing to do today. SO I will leave that also for another post in the future.

I think what I have so far is a fine beginning point. Please let me know where I have gone way wrong, as I said it has been a while since I read or played the game. My knowledge is a bit rusty. If you have comments or corrections please let me know so I can fix things.