Friday, October 23, 2015

Dissecting My Fate Game and What Went Wrong

A'ight. In the post I made last night, (directly before this one) I bitched about my failure to make Fate gel in my head. Let's look at the things that truly vexed me.

A brief synopsis of the setting:
Earth. In 2015, a cabal of 12 sorcerers convinced most of the sorcerers in the world to help them undertake a Big Damn Spell to realign the destiny of humankind. In truth, it was a plan to basically harvest all their power and become a pantheon of gods. Of course, the twelve wizards each planned to also snuff out the other 11 and become a supreme being without equal. In the end, everyone ended up dead and 12 alternate dimensions split off from Earth, each on a reflection of the desires and visions of one of the big 12. Now various occult factions fight out their agendas: some want to fix the universe, some want to keep it from being fixed, some want to amass power, some want to kick mythical monster ass, etc. The PCs belong to an organization that wants to reunite the dimensions and fix the universe. The main antagonists are 1.) a faction that wants to keep the dimensions separate, and 2.) horrible things that are slipping into our universe between the cracks formed by the big split.

A brief synopsis of the characters:
Yelsew- A vampire noble with an affinity for animals, particularly wolves.
Saanji- A Buddhist nun (bhikkhuni) with crazy mental powers, defected from the antagonist faction.

Despite sorcerers and wizards being a large part of the setting, neither of the players had any interest in playing one. That saved me the task of constructing a magic system and allowing magic to be more of a narrative/dramatic thing.

What went right:
-Skills were fine.
-Aspects, I feel, went okay. Yelsew had I Run With Wolves to represent his beast affinity. Saanji had The Wheel Has Failed Me to represent her ties to the antagonist faction (The Wheel of Samsara) that she defected from. I feel like we had Aspects down okay-ish. Personally, I would prefer much more specific Aspects like Vampire or Beast Control, but the system seems built for more narrativist Aspects.
-Stunts I felt shaky on. I tried to model them based on the guidelines in the book. The two players were most familiar with Savage Worlds, so I told them to also look to that system's Extras for inspiration.
-Extras, my Kryptonite. Here's the deal:

Yelsew's player wanted his character to have the vampire's hypnotic gaze, the ability to command animals (less mind control and more empathic) and supernatural strength/speed.

Saanji's player wanted telekinesis and the ability to trap opponents in a sort of internal psychic prison, effectively rendering them temporarily catatonic and subject to her telepathic probe.

You trade refresh for extras. Given that this setting features a lot of supernatural elements, I gave them both a certain amount of extra refresh for which to buy powers, with the remaining refresh being kept or used for stunts.

The Fate Core rule book has a couple of examples of superpowers, how they work, and how much refresh they cost. I tried to use these as something to base my own extras off, but it always felt somehow wrong. This is really where I fell down.

Conflict is more difficult to gauge, since we only had one conflict before the game kind of fizzled out. It was a social conflict between the PCs and a band of werewolf mercenaries who they were trying to talk out of instantly attacking them. I don't remember it well enough to recount the entire thing, but I remember Yelsew successfully invoked his I Run With Wolves Aspect, giving him a +2 to a Persuasion roll to establish camaraderie with the pack.

Given that there was only one conflict, I really didn't get a chance to deal with Scene Aspects, Zones, Boots, or temporary Aspects. I know all the terminology is sort of eye roll-worthy.

As I read back over this blog entry, the individual parts (aside from extras), make sense to me. However, when I try to look at his holistically, it just seems... man, I don't know.

Next post: Comparing Icons, which I love-love-love, with Fate Core.

1 comment:

  1. I could never wrap my brain around Fate and the few games I was in, I discovered it just wasn't for me. Your setting sounds very cool. I've been exploring other 'narrative' type games like Torchbearer and Dungeon World. Not sure I grok them any better, but to read about.