Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm Awarding FATE Points!

Just for a change of pace, I'm awarding some Fate Points to recognize a few people who have made important innovations in FATE and SF gaming.

Two are pretty recent innovations, and one is THE ORIGINAL SF RPG.

These will do as FP!

So here they are:

+1 FP to Jeremy Whalen. In response to my post on the Forerunner alien artifacts known as Enigma Boxes, on the Diaspora listserv, Jeremy gave his own example of an alien artifact. He statted out a psychically active alien artifact with its skills, stunts, and aspects - and then went on to comment that he'd give something like this Fate Points. 

Maybe someone has written down that idea before, but I couldn't think of any instances today. But it makes perfect sense to do this given how the FATE fractal works: person -->ship --> organization can all be statted in similar ways. So, why not artifacts-as-characters, too, complete with their own Fate Points so they can make declarations and offer their own compels to the PCs? One more tool in the GM's arsenal!

+1 FP to Chris Kutalik at Hill Cantons. He has been running a very interesting series called Space Cantons. You can start here and read forward, but I would also recommend downloading his "Space Cantons House Rules and Setting Information" which he has set up a link for from his blog in this post. So what am I going on about?

Space Cantons is a Traveller campaign. You are probably with me so far. It is also a re-imagining of a Traveller setting. Not the Imperium. Something completely different. This is very much a thought experiment in what people like Victor Raymond has been discussing for a while: that Traveller the game  existed before Traveller the (Imperial) setting. Space Cantons shows us one way to get back to that.

And there are interesting things going on in this setting. Like bolos as in the book bolo'bolo. The concept emerged from German and Italian autonomist thought of the late sixties and seventies, filtered through the lens of antropology. Bolo'bolos are in essence local utopian cooperatives with the capacity to link up in non-hierarchical ways with other collectivities. 

And what does this have to do with gaming? Well, a lot, if you want to let it! It was either Fredric Jameson or Clint Burnham, the author of The Jamesonian Unconsciousness who pointed out what makes the protagonists of the Reservoir Dogs so appealing.

In a nutshell, the argument is that the Reservoir Dogs' protagonists are like a bolo'bolo, I mean a PC party. They are an autonomous collective out to pool their resources, make some money, and control their own destiny. So kudos for Chris for putting all this in there without any ideological heavy-handedness. It's a welcome and fun diversion from the typical libertarian assumptions of so much SF.

+1 FP to Jim Ward, creator of The One, The Only Metamorphosis Alpha. This was one of the first RPGs I owned. It was the first published SF RPG too.

I loved this game as a kid. And after downloading it today from DTRPG, I can honestly say I love it again! You can also get a print copy from Lulu.

I don't think as kids that we ever played this game set on a runaway generation ship, but I certainly worked on deck plans for my own version of the setting. At 30 pages, it was and still is a very complete RPG. You could run it out of the box or as a supplement to Rogue Space.


  1. I enjoyed that. There's also a lot in the direction of that bolo idea as it relates to this kind of gaming. With all the light research, rediscovery and interpretation going on at the moment, I'd say thinking further along these lines could open quite a few doors.

  2. @Porky: Thanks for your comment! I'd agree that this feels like a pretty open moment where a lot of exploration and rediscovery is going on, and that is healthy!