Friday, April 4, 2014

Deck of Fridays 15: Charged Up

Welcome back to DECK OF FRIDAYS, our weekly feature here at FATE SF. We make 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: Charged Up. Today we're sharing a Nexialist spell, designed for all those times when, well, something's Out of Juice.


Blasters, beamswords, tablets, personal shields: it's terrible when our handheld devices lose charge, flicker out, and die. It always happens at the most inopportune times. This is why the Nexialists believe in always being prepared. Back-up weapons, extra battery packs, charging cords. 

But there are always those times when you are just plain Out of Juice: there's no nearby power source. Or it's one of those interminable Yangs vs. Kohms battles, and you've exhausted every weapon and battery on the advancing hordes. 

Time for a recharge the Nexialist way:

Nexial's Living Battery (Evocation, Cost, Per Scene, Persistent): This Nexialist formula is used to sacrifice some of the caster's life energy as fuel for a small technological device. The caster rolls CHA to Create an Advantage by replacing an existing temporary aspect on a device such as Out of Juice with a new temporary aspect such as Temporarily Charged. This aspect lasts for one Scene. 

While most commonly used in battle, the formula has other applications. For example, archaeologists often use it to infuse energy into long powered-down ancient devices in order to awaken them. This often has unforeseen consequences as many of the devices of the ancients were self-aware, and can be distrustful or even vindictive toward those who disturb their dreams...


  1. A nice spell to help player characters get into trouble. Excellent...

    1. Yes, I still have Niven on my mind... and Vinge.

    2. Haven't read Niven lately, Vinge is very cool. 'A Fire Upon the Deep' could serve as a great RPG setting. I'm re-reading some vintage Andre Norton to get into the mood for a fresh project.

    3. Vinge's second novel in the same setting, "A Deepness in the Sky" is also amazing. WWI era "British" spider aliens! I haven't read the third one yet. There was an issue of Pyramid that did an article on the setting of the first novel.

    4. I read a lot of Norton back in the day too. I keep on meaning to try the Witchworld series. I like the ancient GURPS book on Witchworld, and I like Darkover, a somewhat less fantastic planetary science fantasy. The neat thing about both WW and Darkover is that you have both science and magic.

    5. I'll have to look for 'Deepness,' and the third book later. I'm reading a lot of history and non-fiction right now, as well as going over a few older works now that I've had a chance to get a bit more caught-up on my accumulated notes and idea-scraps.

      I liked Witchworld. The earlier books are fun adventures. Later on it grew heavy and I lost the taste for it. I just re-read Web of the Witchworld--there's a nice quote in there that I lifted for a Wermspittle entry.

      Darkover is another series that I liked the first book, and quickly lost interest in as it went on. I know I should like it, but I haven't been able to get into it, probably because of an unfortunate case of fan-poisoning. Met some rabid fans and that turned me off of it in a big way. Maybe I'll dig-up the first three books and try it again. I did like the thing with the matrix-jewels and the towers for telepaths thing.

      Blending and mixing Science and Magic is all through the older stuff, often in subtle ways that people miss or overlook. Burroughs based his Barsoom books on a form of astral projection, for example. In the Seventies you had Saberhagen's Empire of the East, as well as just about anything written by Zelazny, and not just the Amber stuff. It's there, if you look. It isn't particularly new, nor unique to the paranormal romances set, and it has been done quite well long before Mr. Lucas made his second little movie...

    6. Re Darkover and Witch World, I suppose there is definitely a point at which "death by sequels" commences. One sure sign of atrophy is when novels start being co-authored by an apprentice author.

    7. Maybe, maybe not: I know a few people who really liked the Rama sequels. I see some very good lessons to be learned from the experience and process used by authors like Norton, Bradley, and others. Most of the classic, old settings were not constructed to accommodate change or growth. Too many brittle-precious things to keep intact makes for a museum, not a rousing adventure, but that's an opinion. I feel that I still have a lot to learn from these authors. Even where things seem to have gone sour/stale/flat with their respective series has something to teach, if only not to go that way.

      I remember someone explaining to me in breathy earnestness that Darkover was written out of sequence over decades and so one has to make allowances for the discrepancies and flaws in continuity. I've never liked that attitude, nor that approach. Not sure if the author expected or encouraged it, but it's bullshit. If you can't be bothered to keep it all straight as the author, why should I bother as a reader?

      Kinda kills the whole investment of time and attention thing, especially if you know going in that anything established in one book might be dropped, glossed, changed or over-written in the next one--makes it almost pointless to have a series in that case. Might as well just make stand alone stories.

      Oh well. Time to go out for a bit, before the next Spring Blizzard gets us...