Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fantasy: Stunts, Academics-Investigation

This is one of the biggies (the other big biggie, magic, is probably coming up next -- well, after Stunts, Part II). When I did "Spirit of the West," my Wild West-styled hack of SotC, I went through the stunt list with a fine-toothed comb, weeding out the inappropriate ones and adding more as needed. For "Spirit of the Sword," though, which is far more removed from SotC's default setting, the stunt list needs significantly more work. Some of the reasons for this are readily apparent from the altered skill list: Fists is gone, Leadership is redefined, Status is added, etc. Other changes are completely divorced from that and have more to do with what I think are simply worthy options than anything else.

I talked about Racial Stunts earlier, and that's certainly one major addition -- although, as I said then, this category is highly dependent on setting, so I'll say more about them when more of the setting is worked out. (There is, in fact, a setting in the works -- a collaboration between my friend Andy and me -- and it's turning up some concepts that are hopefully as interesting and fresh to others as they are to us.)

General:
A new category of stunts, and sparsely populated. These stunts aren't especially connected to any one skill in particular.
  • Signature Aspect: Pick one Aspect. Invoke that Aspect once per scene without paying a Fate Point.
  • Fate's Favor: Permanently increase your Refresh by 1.
As for the rest, many of these changes fall into two basic categories. The first is renaming an existing stunt to make it "feel" right in a fantasy milieu. The second is moving a stunt from one skill (possibly an eliminated one) to another (possibly a new one). Completely new stunts are relatively rare; there isn't much need to add a ton, given the excellent options that already exist in SotC. Some changes to flavor text, and non-SRD additions, are mandatory. However, those details have been deferred in favor of forging ahead with new, more important material, so if some of these entries seem a little glib, that's why. Significant changes are bulleted; new stunts are bolded.

Academics [Lore]: This can stay pretty much as is, barring changes in flavor text.

Alertness: Ditto. I don't really see a need for change here.

Art: As-is, but there are an awful lot of stunts here for a category that isn't likely to be the focus of a fantasy game. Still, no reason to cut them, especially since it makes an "artist" character a viable option.

Athletics:

  • In the description for Equestrian, replace "Survival" with "Ride."

Burglary:

  • Rename "Mental Blueprint" to "Mental Map."
  • Rename "The Big Heist" with "Master Thief."

Contacting:

  • Rename "Big Man" to "Famed."
  • Rename "Big Name" to "Renowned."
  • Rename "Big Reputation" to "Epic Repute."

Deceit:

  • Rename "Con Man" to "Charlatan."
  • Rename "The Fix Is In" to "Lucky Dice."
  • Pretender [Prerequisite: Charlatan]: The character is adept at assuming the traits and mannerisms of other strata of society, and may use Deceit instead of Status in such situations.

Drive [Ride]:

  • Replace "Custom Ride" with "Loyal Steed," a la Spirit of the West.
    • Stunt: Horse Companion: You have developed a special relationship with a particular horse. The horse is built as a Companion with the "physical" scope, and receives three advances. Horses start with Endurance, Might, and Resolve at Average (+1). Default Quality is Good (+3), giving them 3 Stress boxes to start; these are, in turn, modified by high Endurance or Resolve. Horses have a Speed rating, like a vehicle; more on this later. A character may opt instead to have a donkey or mule as a companion. Functionally, these are nearly identical, but donkeys get a +1 to Resolve, one additional Composure Stress box, and only two advances.
  • Cut "Prototype Car."
  • Replace "Car Mechanic" with "Horse Sense."
    • Horse Sense: Use Ride instead of Medicine when healing a horse.
  • Rename "Defensive Driving" to "Trick Rider."
  • Rename "One Hand on the Wheel" to "Mounted Combat."
  • Rename "Turn on a Dime" to "Master Rider."
  • "Unsafe at Any Speed" now only applies to vehicles, such as wagons and carts.

Empathy: No change.

Endurance:

  • Rename "Man of Iron" to "Troll-Skinned."
  • Rename "One Hit to the Body" to "Heroic Toughness."
  • Rename "Now You've Made Me Mad" to "Furious Vengeance."
  • Unstoppable [Prerequisite: Troll-Skinned]: Once per exchange, as a full action, you may roll your Endurance against a target equal to the highest Health Stress box you currently have filled. If you succeed, you may clear any one Health Stress box.

Engineering [Craft]:

  • The entire "Devices" category is out, as written. I'm not picturing an especially "gadgety" brand of fantasy right now.
  • Cut "Demolitions."
  • Cut "Architect of Death."
  • Apprentice: Pick a category of Craft, such as smithing, woodworking, or stonecutting. When using Craft for tasks that fall under that category, reduce the time required by one step.
  • Journeyman [Prerequisite: Apprentice]: When using Craft for tasks of the chosen category, reduce the difficulty of the task by one. Also pick a specialty within your field, such as swordsmithing, shipbuilding, or sculpture. Reduce the difficulty of tasks within your specialty by two.
  • Master [Prerequisite: Journeyman]: When using Craft for tasks that even tangentially relate to your chosen field, such as a carpenter crafting a bow, reduce the difficulty of the task by one. In addition, you may use Craft in place of Lore when the topic falls within your field.
  • Cut "Grease Monkey." It could work for wagons and the like, but honestly, it's a little dull given the usual unimportance of wagons in fantasy compared to cars in pulp.
  • Also cut "Mister Fix It" and "Thump of Restoration."
  • More stunts may be needed here.

Gambling:

  • Rename "Player's Club" to "Gambling Den." Otherwise, as-is.

Guns [Missile]:

  • Rename "Shot on the Run" to "Skirmisher."
  • Rename "Stay On Target" to "Elvish Aim."
  • Rename "Fast Reload" to "Ever-Full Quiver."
  • Rename "One Shot Left" to "One Arrow Left."
  • Rename "Rain Of Lead" to "Hail Of Arrows."
  • Rename "Snap Shot" to "Reflexive Archery."
  • Rename "Gun Crazy" to "Bowyer."
  • Cut "Custom Firearm."
  • Cut "Two-Gun Joe."
  • Signature Weapon [Prerequisite: Associated Aspect]: You have one Missile weapon that's especially important to you. If you’d normally have to spend a fate point to have this weapon nearby, you can have it nearby without having to spend a fate point. If you wouldn’t normally be able to get it near to you for a fate point, then this stunt lets you spend a fate point even in the face of that impossibility. Once the fate point is spent, the GM is not required to furnish your weapon immediately, but must work to bend circumstances to make it available in reasonably short order. Thus, you cannot be deprived of the weapon for long unless you voluntarily give it up or pass it on to another. In addition, the weapon has two improvements of your choosing.
  • Sniper [Prerequisite: Elvish Aim]: Whenever you attack with Missile and your target takes a consequence, spend a Fate Point to increase the severity of that consequence by one degree.
  • Eagle Eye [Prerequisite: Sniper]: If your attack inflicts stress, spend a Fate Point to force your target to immediately incur a consequence which does not reduce the severity of the attack. This means that if he chooses to take a consequence to the reduce Health Stress dealt by the attack, he instead takes two consequences.
  • Crow's Archery [Prerequisite: Any two Missile stunts]: Attack two targets in the same zone with a single attack roll. Fate Points can be spent to increase that number further, on a 1 Fate Point/+2 targets basis.
  • Thrown weapons now go under this category; import all Throwing stunts here from Melee. Many of these are simply renamed existing stunts:
    • "One Shot Left" ("Make It Count"), "Reflexive Archery" ("Quick Throw"), "Elvish Aim," "Sniper," and "Crow's Archery" ("Master Thrower").
    • Throw Anything [Prerequisite: One Throwing stunt]: Use Missile instead of Melee to throw a melee weapon that doesn't normally have a range. One-handed weapons incur a -2 penalty; two-handed, -4. Range is one zone.

Intimidation: As-is.

Investigation: As-is.

Up next: Leadership through... I dunno. I actually wanted to go farther with this post, but I've had to delay it long enough and I'd rather get something out than nothing. At any rate, Leadership has some neat stuff. I haven't counted, but I'd like to think that I've eliminated at least as many stunts as (or more than) I've added. The idea is that, overall, a "SotS" GM won't have more (or many more) stunts to deal with than a SotC GM.
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