Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Thrilling Fate!] Getting Started


So here's what's going on. I'm probably going to do a few posts about this thing, so consider this the intro.

I may have an opportunity to run a game for a bunch of non-gamers whose work I very much admire, and (more importantly) who I want to make sure have a really good time with their first RPG experience. Some of them may have RPG experience, actually, but I'd be really surprised if it were recent at all.

Anyway, so my first thought is naturally to use Fate, because it's second nature to me and I've already introduced more first-timers to Fate than I can count. But because I want to make any barriers to entry as low as possible, my next thought was to use Fate Accelerated, because it's rad.

However.

This PCs for this game would be specific, well-established characters, characters with whom the prospective players are very familiar. And frankly, the default approaches in FAE don't really fit all that well. I could easily replace them with new adjectives, adverbs, or nouns that fit the property better, but not even that would really do the trick. Ranking these characters by how clever, forceful, or sneaky each one is just doesn't feel right. It feels too confining, and it doesn't put enough emphasis on what makes these characters really interesting. It's too... objective, I guess.

Plus, because of the whole new-to-RPGs angle, I want to cut down on how many things they'll have to look at on the sheet. So I decide to to cut out approaches altogether and concentrate on aspects. (Almost everything from here on out is a little weird.)

You have five aspects. Each aspect has a box next to it. When you roll the dice, if you have an aspect that seems helpful, you can check its box to exhaust it and give you a +3 bonus to the roll. You can only exhaust one aspect per roll, but you can invoke other aspects (the usual way) for a further +1 each.

(Maybe it'd be per roll, maybe it'd be for the scene. I'm not sure yet.)

What this means is that instead of having a predetermined menu of bonuses with attendant contexts, you'd choose as you go what's important right now. Any aspect is potentially a free +3; it's just a matter of deciding which one. It's a bit like Cortex Plus's distinctions.

For example, here are the aspects for, I dunno, some random character:

  • Marshal on Mars
  • Robot Fists
  • Justice Rides a Rocket Steed
  • Righting Outlaw Wrongs
  • Emotionally Unavailable
So if you're chasing down an outlaw, you might exhaust Justice Rides a Rocket Steed, or Righting Outlaw Wrongs or Marshal on Mars. If you're punching out that outlaw, you could turn to your Robot Fists. If someone's trying to talk you into committing to a relationship, which does happen from time to time, and you're resisting, which happens all the time, exhaust Emotionally Unavailable to put up the wall.

Of course, all of these aspects can be invoked and compelled as usual. Situation aspects work the same way: exhaust, invoke, or compel.

But how do you clear those checked boxes? How do you refresh these aspects so they can be used again? Find out next time!
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