Sunday, September 21, 2014

Midnight At The Witch's Hat

"The Witch Hat Tower And A Full Moon" by Mark Goodman Photo

If this stunning image doesn't convince you that Minneapolis, Minnesota has places of power, I don't know what will. The Witch's Hat in Prospect Park has been part of the Twin Cities' occult landscape since 1913. It was built as a water tower (with a bandstand deck at the top) and it occupies the highest natural spot in the landscape of Minneapolis.

This was just one of the numerous supernatural locations that the we identified in our first playtest session of Dresden Files Accelerated. Others included the Elf House near Lake Harriet...

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Where it looks pretty easy to leave a message... for someone.

Elf House

More to come on the "movers and shakers" in our Minneapolis' Dresden setting, as well as on the cool PCs that our players created using Dresden Files Accelerated's "Mantles".

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dresden Dreams

Winter Knight Dice

The dice fall where they may, and sometimes they fall in your dreams. That was my experience last night. I spent roughly four hours reading the Dresden Files Accelerated Alpha Playtest rules, because our Thursday Night Group will be running it's first playtest session tonight.

We're doing some city generation, character generation, and campaign issues.

Once I had finished reading the rules it was 12 midnight, so I turned in.

Almost exactly an hour later, I woke up from a nightmare.

We had been playing the game.

We were rolling the dice. A spell was being cast.

The roll was a Bad One.

I was more than a little rattled.

It's just a game right?

Except that in the dream it was both real and a game.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Doomsdays & Dresdens

Quick post for today. Yesterday's write up of the USS Constellation for Paul Stefko's Interstellar Patrol prompted someone to suggest that I should do a write-up for the Doomsday Machine itself. I am thinking about how one might do that.

In the meantime, I am preparing to run the first playtest of Dresden Files Accelerated with our Thursday Night Group. I'm thinking our playtest adventures will take place in the Twin Cities, MN, one of the cities that gave birth to Urban Fantasy in novels such as Emma Bull's War for the Oaks.

Should be fun!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U.S.S. Constellation

Commodore Matt Decker

The Constitution class of starship was a solidly build workhorse vessel suitable for deep space, long-term exploration. It was also used for perimeter patrols and defense of core systems of the Federation. This class of starships was also built to hold its own in a battle. The Klingons and Romulans soon learned that they needed to field three D7s against one ship of this class to ensure a superior prevailing force.

Commodore Decker - like Captain James T. Kirk and their peers commanding other Constitution class vessels - was a hard-headed commander and a bit of a megalomaniac. But you had to be to go out to the edge of the Federation and beyond with one starship on a five year mission. This ship could take you there, but you had to bring it back in one piece.

With a crew.

Which not everyone did.

Federation Starship USS Constellation
  • Propulsion: Two warp nacelles and impulse engines
  • Tactical: Phasers, photon torpedos, and shields
  • Sensors: Suitable for deep space exploration
  • Amenities: Everything needed for a five year mission
  • Special: Saucer separation
    • Someone at the helm may invoke this Aspect to detach the saucer section from the engineering section of the ship. Crew will be needed to staff a bridge on each section.
  • Special: Tractor beams
    • Someone at helm, engineering, or science may invoke this Aspect when using their Forceful Approach to grab hold of an object in space. 
  • Special: Self-destruct
    • In extreme circumstances, the Captain may invoke this Aspect and use their Forceful Approach to destroy the ship (often damaging or destroying a nearby enemy in the process).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Klingon Bird-Of-Prey

Klingon Bird of Prey

Here's another example of a starship built using Paul Stefko's Interstellar Patrol campaign frame for Fate Accelerated Edition.  The Klingon Birds-of-Prey are a beautiful line of ships.

Klingon Bird-of-Prey
  • Propulsion: Warp capable starship
  • Tactical: Klingon patrol [raider, scout, pirate] ship
  • Communications: An ideal vessel for espionage
  • Amenities: Hot, humid, and cramped
  • Special: "A cloaked ship is no small favor"
    • Someone at the helm may invoke this Aspect to make the Bird-of-Prey invisible to sensors for all or part of a Scene
    • A captain may invoke this Aspect to drive a hard bargain with someone who needs to get somewhere without being detected

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Fate Library: Interstellar Patrol

A little over a week ago, Paul Stefko published an eight page campaign frame for Fate Accelerated Edition called Interstellar Patrol. The first review to appear on DriveThru is rather harsh. The product is Pay What You Want, so if you like space opera, I'd encourage you to give it a look.

Interstellar Patrol bills itself as offering players the opportunity to play a campaign of relatively optimistic SF, such as the original Star Trek. This isn't a fully realized retro SF RPG setting though, such as Cosmic Patrol and Rocket Age.  Instead, Interstellar Patrol offers the barebones tools for creating a space opera game. If you needed to run a pick-up game in an hour, you could download this (provided you have downloaded and read Fate Accelerated Edition already), read this eight page guide, and offer your players a game.

The PDF offers quick suggestions for making PCs, primarily focusing on selection of two strong Approaches for each character type. The examples are perfect for the bridge crew/core cast for a show like Star Trek. I don't agree with all the recommendations but the examples are fine.

This is followed by some great examples of Stunts that are perfect for a space opera game. Here's an example:
Because I know every inch of the engine room like the back of my hand, once per session I can "give all she's got" and automatically succeed with style on one action using the ship's systems.
Next come quick 4DF tables for creating worlds and adventures. Again, these are perfect for a pick-up game.

Finally we get quick rules for creating spacecraft. Ships have four systems that are represented as Aspects with three possible damage conditions. Those systems are: Propulsion, Tactical (which includes both Attack and Defense), Sensors (which includes communications), and Amenities (which includes life support).

It would be easy enough to embellish these Aspects to make them specific to the vessel. For example, the shuttlecraft Galileo might have Impulse Engines (Propulsion), Harmless (Tactical), Planetary Range Sensors, and Barely Any Amenities. Note that the last Aspect will work equally well for any D7 Battlecruiser your players run into during a game.

Players take action with the ship using their own Approaches but only one player may operate a particular ship system at any given time. So you can't have three PCs each running Tactical and taking shots at the enemy.

Each system has three damage states (Disrupted, Damaged, and Disabled) which must be taken in order, and which absorb 1,2, and 4 shifts of shit-to-ship combat stress, respectively. Alternatively, a PC can take a number of shifts directly as a personal Consequence on their own character sheet, rather than the ship's. This simulates all the being tossed around we see during space combat in shows like Star Trek.

Again, this looks pretty sufficient for a pick-up game, but maybe less so if you enjoy the tactical complexity of Diaspora or the broader range of design selections possible in a game like Starblazer Adventures.

There's no aliens offered in the game, although it's straightforward to make an alien character. Just take an appropriate Aspect.

I should mention that the FATE Bestiary at here FATE SF is mostly written for Fate Accelerated Edition - so most entries there are 100% compatible with Interstellar Patrol.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Deck Of Fridays 25: A Simple Mistake

Welcome back to DECK OF FRIDAYS, our not-so-weekly feature here at FATE SF! Each week (more or less) since the release of the Deck of Fate, we have made a draw from the Deck of FateRPG Inspiration Cards, or another Aspect-generative randomizer. Then we do something interesting with it, using the Aspect as inspiration for a campaign or scenario seed, a situation, scene, location, NPC, thingie, etc.

This week's draw from the Deck of Fate is a card with the aspect A Simple Mistake. There's a certain amount of metaphor at work in this one so it may or may not work well for your gaming table.

A Table of Simple (or not so simple) Mistakes 
(or B-b-b-lunders)

 Roll 4DF or draw a card from the Deck of Fate, and consult the appropriate outcome corresponding to the numerical result on the left. 
  • +4: "Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be..."
  • +3: "Uh, uh...negative, negative. We have a reactor leak here now."
  • +2: "These aren't the droids you're looking for."
  • +1: "Now witness the power of this armed and fully operational battle station."
  •  0:  "It is obvious to even the simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed."
  • -1: "Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side."
  • -2: "Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances."
  • -3: "Don't worry, it's a slam dunk."
  • -4: "Cardassian* forces will not have a combat mission - we will not get dragged into another protracted war."**

*Or Klingon, or Romulan, or Sardaukar - or American.

**Actual quote is: "American forces will not have a combat mission - we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq."