Thursday, September 19, 2013

[Thrilling Fate!] Stunts

I don't have a lot of changes in mind for Thrilling Fate! when it comes to stunts. Hey, if it ain't broke, etc. Really, I only have three guidelines for myself: no more than three per PC (so... three per PC), explicitly tie each one to an aspect, and make them about something other than bonuses.

The first one isn't unusual, especially since I'm using FAE as a base, but I need to emphasize it to myself because lately the characters I've been making usually have a lot more than three stunts' worth of stunts going on. I don't want to give my players too much to look at on the sheet. I picture a really clean layout, with stunts in callout boxes connected to aspects.

I want to connect each one to an aspect to make everything feel that much more interrelated. I like FAE's stunt sentence construction of "Because I'm a whatever, I can do whatever," but if I include an aspect in there, it's a little more smoothly integrated. I think it'll make the idea of the stunt easier to swallow.

And the ideas behind those stunts aren't going to engage with the mechanics quite as directly as they usually would. I mean, look, it's really easy to say "Because I have Robot Fists, I get a +2 to attack with them." That's a totally fine stunt. The issue is that I have no idea how much arithmetic my players are going to tolerate. Even experienced gamers forget the odd +1 or +2 here and there. I don't want any of that going on, because I don't want them to feel distracted by the math, simple though it may be.

The next most common stunt is probably skill substitution -- y'know, "Use Athletics instead of Fight to attack when fighting unarmed" -- but since the total lack of skills here would make those meaningless, that's not really an option.

As I mentioned yesterday, I initially made these characters for an Apocalypse World hack (Thrilling World, I guess?). In that incarnation, each playbook had about three custom moves. So... hey, stunts! AW-style stunts! These are pretty easy to do in Fate.

Here are a couple for Sparks:
  • Because you're the Marshal on Mars, when you're acting in your capacity as a representative of the Mars-Earth Coalition, they can either do as you say or give you a fate point.
  • Because you have Robot Fists, when you punch someone with them, they have to check an extra trouble box.

And here are a few for Croach:
  • Because you are Under Onus to Sparks Nevada, whenever you are in a scene with him, you start with a free boost called Onus.
  • Because of the Sacred Nah Nohtek within you, you heal extremely fast -- clear an additional physical trouble box at the start of every scene.
  • Because of your Martian Physiology, whenever you try to perceive something in your environment, you get a +2 bonus to your roll if you mention how you're using one of your 28 senses in the process.
Right now, you're probably jumping up and down and screaming at me about how I said I wanted to avoid bonus-oriented stunts. That's a perfectly reasonable reaction. I'm okay with them if they look like that last one. It's not a passive bonus that's easy for you to forget; you have to make a roleplaying choice to activate it. As long as nobody has more than one of those, it oughtta be okay.

But hey, what's this "trouble" thing about? It has something to do with this guy:
But what? Find out next time! You can probably guess already!

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