Showing posts from April, 2017

First Thoughts on Fate Accelerated Vehicle Combat

One request I've received for our Fate Accelerated Star Wars game is the inclusion of some space battles. I've shied away from them as I got my handle on Fate in general.

As I consider this, my inclination is to stay true to Fate Accelerated and keep things simple. Probably the most important factor in Star Wars vehicle battles is the pilot. Han Solo takes a freighter through an asteroid field that destroys smaller and presumably more agile TIE fighters pursuing him. Anakin Skywalker manages to "land" a battleship that is literally falling apart.

With this in mind, I want to stay clear of giving a vehicle full stats. Rather, I will focus on aspects. If a freighter is clunky, that can be realized via aspects. Consider this possible realization of the Millennium Falcon:

Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxyProne to breakdownsArmed with twin quad lasers and antipersonnel gunsSmuggling compartments This series of aspects would allow the crew to realize most of what we see t…

Fiction Review: The Magicians

I first read Lev Grossman's The Magicians when it first came out. I've been on a bit of an urban fantasy kick lately and have begun watching the Syfy series based upon it. I just finished a reread.

Looking at sites like Goodreads and Amazon one discovers opinions on The Magicians are extremely varied. I'm definitely one of the people who greatly enjoyed it but definitely be aware there are people who hate it just as much...

The Magicians takes us through several years of Quentin Coldwater's life. We are introduced to him as a 17-year old high school senior in Brooklyn. He is a super-genius, heading for a likely Ivy League education. He's never particularly happy for long - the television series has him formally diagnosed with depression and having seen enough of it in my life I would agree with that diagnosis. He is a great fan of the "Fillory" series of novels - 1930s novels about a group of British children who find their way into the magical realm of F…

What's Distracting Me in RPGs - April 2017 Edition

The good news is I'm still giving thought to the current Fate Accelerated Star Wars game. May 4th is close and it'd be a massive shame to not be playing Star Wars close to it. I'm thinking of ways to tie into Rogue One, perhaps having the characters be meeting with Bail Organa as he readies Alderaan for war, only to find themselves on the run from a space station the size of a small moon... To be honest, I've still a number of ideas and there's a request for some space battles in the game (which I've shied away from thus far).

We did take a break for this week's session - having just come back from Disney World there was no way I'd be prepped so a member of the group ran a session of No Country For Old Kobolds. I'm pleased to say my first Kobold, LeFou Gaston, died a heroic death, killing two flying turtles after being launched from a giant spork (alas he and the second flying turtle mainly died from falling...)

I've been digesting Dresden File…

Back From Disney

There was a bit of a delay in my normal update cadence due to the family vacationing in Walt Disney World in Orlando. Alas, it is time to come back to the real world - especially as such vacations seem to directly attach themselves to one's finances...

I know a number of people aren't big fans of Disney World as it isn't "real". I can absolutely understand that criticism, though I suppose the escape from reality is much of the appeal we find in the trip. According to my handy Gear S3 watch we walked a few gazillion miles and despite eating rather well I seem to have dropped a few pounds (albeit with a number of pounds to go).

As a gamer, I find lots of shiny stuff when I go on vacations - visiting Colonial Williamsburg, for example, gives me all sorts of ideas for games set around the American Revolution. One thing that Disney World does is present illusions. Walking through Star Tours and one feels one is preparing to board a Star Wars spaceship. Daughter Jasmi…

Fate Lessons #2 - Tossing Death Troopers off the Cliff

In this week's Star Wars adventure, our heroes were on a mission to extract a Rebel agent who had crashed on a planet and was being pursued by the Evil Galactic Empire. It's based on the old West End Games' Stat Wars adventure "Operation: Shadowstrike" contained within Instant Adventures.

My previous post on lessons I've learned in GM-ing Fate was rather popular and I found the exercise useful for myself as well so I'm continuing that idea here.

I've had some discussions on the use of sticky notes and marking up of the map. There's one reason I do that - if not I doubt we'd be doing much with Aspects. Most of us having been gaming for a long time and are got our start with more "traditional" games. As a result, it's likely we'd totally forget what Aspects were in play - it's something I ran into playing Atomic Robo a few years back.

One encounter in our adventure wound up having a nice combination of environmental Aspect…

Fiction Review: It

He touches his wife’s smooth back as she sleeps her warm sleep and dreams her own dreams; he thinks that it is good to be a child, but it is also good to be grownup and able to consider the mystery of childhood . . . its beliefs and desires.   - Stephen King, ItIt defeated me the first time I attempted to read it. I was introduced to Stephen King by a classmate in, if I recall correctly, in my junior year of high school. I borrowed a number of her copies and acquired my own from the local Waldenbooks. For whatever reason, I was never quite able to finish It. I made it through many of his books (The Gunslinger and The Stand were my favorites at the time) but It was a bit too much.

Fast forward to 2011 and I finally got around to completing It, reading it in audiobook form. What's really odd is what a gap was. My recollection is I tried reading It in 1989 or so, so it was about 22 years later. It itself takes place in two time periods, 1958 and 1985, with the 11-year olds of the 19…

Some Lessons From a Semi-Successful Fate GM

While I'm still quite a ways away from achieving Fate system mastery, I'm definitely getting the hang of it - so much so that it's making me resist the shiny call of trying some other games (though now that I think of it, I could do Dresden Files Accelerated).
Looking at the map from a recent game the first thing I'd say I've learned is it is vital that everyone know the Aspects that are currently in play. Even though I play using a virtual tabletop in Roll20, I've gotten into the habit of using sticky notes to list the aspects of all of the NPCs as well as writing down the environmental aspects. One thing that's been challenging for me mentally is including aspects that the characters do not know about - the players still know about them. Now, if they want their characters to be able to get a free usage out of them they'll need to have their characters perform an action to "discover" that aspect. 
I've also learned to be cautious about o…

Old School Stuff That Bugged Me Back in the Day

DM: "Black Dougal, you find out that you missed a tiny discolored needle in the latch. Roll a saving throw vs. Poison, please!"  Dougal (rolling): "Missed it!"  DM: "Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."  Fredrik: "I'm grabbing his pack to carry treasure in."  Rebecca: "I'm giving Black Dougal the last rites of my church." - D&D Basic Rules, 1981, p. B59.
As an older gamer, I tend to like a lot of aspects of the Old School Renaissance. As I began having children, discovered that spending a lot of time balancing encounters, making sure I gave out just the right amount of treasure, calculated stats properly, etc. was not how I wanted to spend my time. Indeed, I often didn't have the time. It really made me appreciate many of the tropes from the beginning of the RPG hobby. That's not to say I don't enjoy new-fangled stuff. I'm enjoying running a Fate Accelerated Star Wars…

Thinking About Time Travel RPGs

It occurs to me that one of the genres I've not gamed in for years is that of time travel. I'm pretty certain I've had the occasional time travel adventure but I'm thinking more a game dedicated around time travel. I had a Star Trek game about a starship that bounced from one parallel universe to another that was rather fun, but that was in the late 1990s/early 2000s - nothing since then as far as I can recall.

That's a bit surprising, as I love both the time travel genre and history in general. I think one of the things that makes it challenging is how to handle such things as paradox. The game I'm most familiar with as far as handling situations like this is Pelgrane Press' Timewatch which makes paradox a gameable mechanic. It's in your best interests to avoid outright paradox while dancing around it. For example, if your characters were to be imprisoned, it would be quite the paradox to have your characters just vanish from their prison cell. On the…

FAE Star Wars Actual Play: Gallisport Recruitment

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....
Star Wars: Tales of Rebellion
Episode II: Gallisport Recruitment

Having captured the Clone Wars-era shipyard of Admiral Bayran, the Rebellion is searching for a worthy person to convert the Separatist yard to production of Rebel craft.

Reviewing intelligence data with their sponsor Bail Organa on Alderaan, our freedom fighters discover that the woman they want may be in the system they just departed - in the city of Gallisport on Shesharile 5. There, Rayne Toruna, an aging Twi'lek engineer, leads a swoop gang known as the Mynocks.

During the Clone Wars, Toruna was one of Kuat Drive Yards lead engineers, having created the Delta-7 and A-Wing fighters. She left KDY after seeing what the Empire was using her creations for. If Toruna could be persuaded to join the Rebellion, the Separatist Shipyard could soon be producing fighters for the Rebellion against the Evil Galactic Empire...

Cast of Characters:

R2-C4 - Rogue Imperial assassin droi…