I’m still on my extremely slow learning curve on FATE, and I’ve decided to pick up from the FATE Accelerated Edition side first. The promise of a very rules lite game is appealing to me mostly due to the sheer amount of real life obligations that I have to address these days, so having something quick that I can run with little need of prior memorization is going to be a godsend.

So for the sake of this particular experiment, let’s go with an old HERO character of mine: Dr. Steve Armstrong, aka Megavolt, a power suit character based roughly on if Voltes V was an Iron Man suit of armor.

As with all FATE games, the first (and arguably the most difficult) step is the Aspects.

The first Aspect I need to come up with is a High Concept, a short phrase or sentence that sums up my character concept in a way that can be used in a positive and a negative way.

For this one, I’m thinking:

“Daredevil Science Hero”

It’s a little vague, but hopefully it’ll do. Daredevil can be both positive and negative, and being a science hero means that he’ll be ill equipped to deal with (or believe in) supernatural threats.

The next Aspect to worry about is the character’s Trouble. This is an aspect that always complicates the life of my character.

For this one let’s go with:

“Sworn enemy of VIPER”

HERO fans would recognize VIPER as the HYDRA analogue, a para-military secret society out to rule the world. Any time they’re involved, Megavolt will be on it.

Here’s where it gets tricky, this time I have to come up with one other Aspect. This one has no specific guideline, but I might as well use the opportunity to flesh out the character more.

“Custom suit of experimental power armor”

Again it’s a neat thing to have, and trouble-wise, it means that Steve would have to find a way to get to it if it’s not with him, and it’s prone to the occasional malfunction and need for rare materials in it’s repair due to the experimental nature of the suit.

Sounds right, I hope.

The next section is all about Approaches. Approaches are interesting as they represent the “how” a character does something. Fate Accelerated Edition uses these in the place of skills, which I find myself agreeing with.

These approaches are: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick and Sneaky.

I get to choose one at Good (+3), two at Fair (+2), two at Average (+1) and one at Mediocre (+0).

Given this I’ve decided on the following:

Clever +3, Flashy +2, Forceful +2, Quick +1, Careful +1 and Sneaky +0

Stunts are my next order of business. At default I begin with up to 3 stunts for free, which gives me a +2 bonus to a specific type of roll, or allow me to do something cool.

I figure that Megavolt’s signature attack, the Ultra-Electromagnetic Beam is worth turning into a stunt, and so I’m pegging it as a +2 bonus to Forceful Attack.

Since Steve Armstrong is supposed to be a brilliant scientist, I’m also giving him a stunt that gives a +2 to Clever ideas that create an advantage for another Character.

Finally I figure I might as well make Steve Well-Connected so once per session he will know someone that can help in a current situation.

Overall that was relatively painless. Certainly the Aspects might be wobbly (and they always have been my pain point with FATE) but as is I’m really enjoying the simplicity of the Approaches from FAE.

I suppose the next step would be to figure out how Armstrong does in a hypothetical situation… like a bank robbery.

 


The funny thing about Mage is that everything could be your enemy. Tradition mages, the technocracy, other supernaturals, ghosts, other-dimensional threats, unexplained phenomena, they’re all there.

The trick to Mage is understanding that no matter what happens, a Mage cannot simply “unsee” what they’ve encountered. Their ability with the Spheres leaves them susceptible to seeing exactly where all the cracks of this broken world are, and that propels them with morbid curiousity to see what makes it such.

As such I’d recommend structuring a Mage campaign that doesn’t think in terms of opposition, as much as situations that they have to unravel. To “fix” something in Mage is easy, as they all have Spheres that can do all sorts of nifty things. However, the fallout of their actions is where the fun really starts.

While the most obvious example is the Technocracy going on an investigation to determine the source of magic in an area, I prefer to take the magic that they’ve cast and see what other interesting things might happen because of it. Not to discourage players to use magic, but instead to make them consider their options heavily before employing it. Messing with reality calls down paradox, but actually successfully casting a spell is a plot hook in itself.

Mages always need to find out new things, and that makes them ideal investigators. The trick is recognizing that as a GM, you don’t have to hide things from them, but rather make them wonder at what they should do now that they know… and worse, make them wish that they’d never discovered about it in the first place.


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Hey guys,

Just to let you know, Fight Class is still alive and under development. Work on it has slowed to a crawl due to the amount of real life work piling up, but I’m determined to release something by the first half of the year.

That said, I’m posting to solicit feedback on something.

One of the biggest difficulties for this at the moment is getting help on the artwork of the game. I’ve managed to tap a few friends to help me out, but I feel that the game could really shine if it had the kind of glossy artwork that I imagined it would need to have.

I initially considered having a crowdsourcing effort to help with getting the budget for this, but I think that I might be able to work on a different model. I’m considering getting a copy of my edited draft through layout with minimal artwork first. I just need it to read well and have the illustrations that I’ve managed to acquire, and I’ll release it as a low-cost (less than $10) version of the game. It would have all the rules you need to play, just without the fancy artwork.

Would people be interested in checking something like this out?

Let me know as I’m seriously considering it.


Mage: the Ascension is very complex game that can do all sorts of stories depending on the GM’s preferences. In fact, I would highly recommend that a GM who plans to run Mage: the Ascension should really take the time to decide what the campaign should be about in order to lend focus to the game.

One of the easier ways to do it is to look at two things: Scale and Conflict

Scale

This is where we discuss the scope of the game. Mage: the Ascension can go all out and tackle things like the far realms, alternate dimensions, fighting in the spirit realm and other locations and times.

This suits games of high adventure very well, but there’s also an opportunity to run games that run the opposite end of the spectrum. These are the low-key street level tales of mages who struggle with every day life and work to improve their immediate community rather than trying to change the world.

By selecting the scale of the campaign, the GM can then work on creating the kind of opposition, situations and conflicts that work within that range. Mood and tone of the campaign are likewise influenced.

Conflict

It is impossible to have a game about having an Ego strong enough to change reality, and not run into conflict. Mage is all about having people with powerful wills with agendas that don’t agree with each other. As such the conflicts that best suit a mage game are those that have valid motivations.

Nobody is truly evil in a mage game. Everyone just thinks that they’re the good guy, even the ones that sell their souls to demons to get what they need believe that they’re protagonists… in their own twisted way.

Mages are very good investigators, and can easily be exposed to all the sides of a conflict. My preferred methodology is to get the players to realize why the opposition believes what they do, and see how the players plan to resolve the conflict (through peaceful or violent means)

Specificity in a mage game’s Scope and Conflicts is a good thing. For the GM, it allows them to bring the game into better focus without being all over the place. Players also will appreciate the consistency of the campaign, as opposed to punching Cthulhu in the face one moment and then worrying about a marriage that is falling apart in another.


Pics or it didn’t happen.

One way of analyzing this overused statement in the internet is that people demand proof of having been somewhere before they believe it. The other way is that if you can fabricate data well enough, people will believe anything. The Virtual Adepts are the masters of Correspondence in Mage: the Ascension’s Council of Nine, and their specialty lies in the mastery of connections, perception and space.

Despite being among the more technologically oriented of the Traditions, the Virtual Adepts have a decidedly un-Technocratic approach to the practice of their magic. They’re free spirits, who believe in the natural meritocracy inherent in cyberspace and who believe that rules are meant to be broken for the sake of experimentation and learning.

Magic

The Virtual Adepts specialize in magics that propel their consciousness to distant places. Scrying through technology, and even entering into Cyberspace through virtual selves wrought from programming code and magic. To them, the Digital Realms is a playground, and their mastery of being present in two places at the same time (the Real and the Virtual worlds) make them a natural fit for Correspondence magic. Correspondence is a tricky Sphere, working on the manipulation of space and sympathetic connections, of relationships in terms of distances both physical and metaphysical.

Weakness

Virtual Adepts are often saddled with a paradigm that is closely tied to their tools. Take their toys away from them, and many find themselves helpless in the face of danger. This is somewhat mitigated now with the presence of so many computerized gadgets in the present day, but when robbed of these, a Virtual Adept usually needs a stronger metaphysical paradigm in order to survive.

Opportunities

There’s a computer in everything. From cellphones, to smart watches and even car engines, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place in the city that isn’t wired somehow. Add the fact that humanity is perfectly willing to trust in technology that they don’t understand, and you’ll see why the Virtual Adepts thrive in this kind of setting. Their methods are maturing, as gone are the days of the 90′s hacker, and in their place are the CEO’s of tech corporations that can push the Consensus towards new modes of thinking. By growing up, the Virtual Adepts develop the kind of patience and methodology to introduce lasting change to the Consensus, and might just be the best hope for the Traditions moving forward.

Character Concepts

Software Angel Investor – You used to be a hotshot. You had big dreams and bigger balls but it call came crashing when you got too hot and the Technocracy came down on you, your partners and your business. It took nearly everything you had and every favor you could pull, but you managed to get out alive, wiser for it and with a better appreciation for a more moderate approach. Slowly you put back your business on track, and had the funds to bankroll the future. This time, you turn your eyes towards other up and coming businesses, sorting through the trash and finding the ones with the spark of true Inspiration, the kind that can push the Consensus forward. That’s when you move in and inject the funding that the Technocracy would deny, giving the start up the break they need to make things happen.

E-mail Activist – You run a network of keyboard activists. Individually, each voice would be nothing, but you collect each voice, and put them together to form a greater whole, an overwhelming bomb of opinion, fact and criticism that you can level to any target you want. It’s a simple process, a carefully crafted email meant to present facts in the light you want. A gathering of outrage, and some donations to your cause… and the result is an explosion of will that can change the course of mortal policy, and even make a dent on the Consensus.

Mathemagician – Computers are so last decade. They call you a hipster, but you’ve come to understand and appreciate the fact that information technology is based on the basic principles of computation. You’ve learned to eschew the trappings of modern Virtual Adepts, instead relying on mental processes and your mastery of presenting and re-presenting information in charts, data and graphs to twist the truth around your world view. Sometimes it’s not about changing the world, but how people perceive it. All it takes is a little bit of magic.