Tuesday, January 29, 2013

[Atomic Robo] Cover Preview

I have a preview of the cover for Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game below, but first, a brief post-mortem on the Fate Core Kickstarter that just ended.

It was super-successful.

Seriously, 10,103 backers? Who was expecting that kind of incredible support? If you're a backer, take a moment to realize that's 10,102 other people who now have Fate Core. Find them and play! It's out there in the wild in a big way. I'm willing to bet that most games available for free on the Web aren't downloaded by 10,103 people over the course of 56 days. If you were already one of the Fate faithful, I have good news. That game you like, to paraphrase a certain backwards-talking little person, has come into style in a big way.

Pretty cool, right? I came into Fate Core late in the development cycle, and I had nothing at all to do with the management of the Kickstarter (I was as surprised by The Day After Ragnarok and Dresden Files Accelerated announcements as you were), but still: If you kicked in even a buck, thanks for supporting this game I worked on. You guys are great, and I'm excited for everything that's about to come down the pike.

Anyway -- the cover! Check out those robot fists!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

[OrcCon 2013] More Like Fate CoreCon!

OrcCon's comin' up, President's Day Weekend (February 15th-18th), and that thing is positively lousy great games. In particular, and of more immediate concern for you if you're reading this blog, it's lousy with Fate Core games. Here's a breakdown of who's running what when, and how many seats are still available as of this posting, after Saturday's initial pre-reg onslaught.

  • Friday at 8:00 pm: Big Damn Heroes, run by Sayler Van Merlin. This game explicitly has no pre-determined premise -- everything will be decided at the table. Sounds like a challenge for Sayler, but I'm sure he's up to it. Should be interesting. Max four players, four seats open.
  • Saturday at 9:00 am: Atomic Robo and the Invaders from Mars, run by me. "Ladies and gentlemen, I have a grave announcement to make. Incredible as it may seem, both the observations of science and the evidence of our eyes lead to the inescapable assumption that those strange beings who landed in the New Jersey farmlands of Grover's Mill tonight are, in fact, the vanguard of an invading army from Mars." You get the idea. Max five players, two seats open.
  • Saturday at 2:00 pm: Bait and Switch, run by Seth Halbeisen. I don't know Seth! But this is a Fate Core treatment of Shadowrun (I dunno, maybe it isn't) called ShadowPunk! Exclamation point! Max six players, five seats open.
  • Sunday at 9:00 am: Tron: Rebellion, run by Morgan Ellis. "Greetings, Programs! The Grid is now under the complete control of CLU. The outlaw Tron has been derezzed, and the tyranny of the Users is at an end. All remaining ISOs are to be rounded up and derezzed. Any attempt at resistance will be met with swift punishment in the games. The perfect system will finally be achieved. End of line." Signing up for this game today was my top game-signing-up-for priority. It'll give me the chance to say "Greetings, Programs!" and have it be totally acceptable in context. Max four players, one seat open.
  • Sunday at 2:00 pm: Stand and Deliver, run by Seth Halbeisen. This is Seth's other ShadowPunk! game using Fate Core. I still don't know him. Max six players, four seats open.
  • Sunday at 2:00 pm: F1: Expedition to the Sinister Temple of the Reptile Cult on the Borderlands, run by me. "Come celebrate games both old and sorta new! A confused mess of several classic D&D and AD&D modules as seen through the lens of Fate Core, this promises to be, if nothing else, a good time for me personally. Characters will be provided and references will be made. No experience with Fate Core is necessary." I wanted to hack Fate Core for something, but I couldn't decide what. Then dndclassics.com came online, and that was the end of that dilemma. Max four players, one seat open.
  • Sunday at 8:00 pm: F2: Descent into the Hidden Tower of the Silver Demonweb at Dunwater, run by me. My other D&D Fate Core game. A nominal sequel to the earlier game. Max four players, no seats open (!).
At the risk of sounding, like, way into myself, I'm probably looking forward to my D&D Fate Core games the most. I kinda love the characters I made -- they're full of rules tweaks, including two separate magic systems, and I'm really curious to see how they play. I'll post the character sheets in the next week or so.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

[Atomic Robo] Tentative Table of Contents

Hey, Happy New Year! I know I'm more than two weeks late on that, but the baby was two weeks early, so it all balances out.

(BTW, have you checked out the Fate Core Kickstarter lately? It's doing all right.)

The usual thing I say in answer to the question "How's Atomic Robo coming?" is "Work continues apace," which is wholly accurate. But for all that, it's not a very interesting answer. So I figured I'd give a little progress update here in the form of a tentative table of contents -- or at least the names of the chapters as they stand now, not in any particular order other than the one that makes sense to me right now off the top of my head. The bolded stuff is already done and ready for editing, barring a few examples or something. The italicized stuff is at least partially done.

  • Robo's World (Note: This is Brian's stuff on the setting; I think it's done.)
  • Timeline
  • The Basics
  • Outcomes and Actions
  • Aspects and Fate Points
  • Modes, Skills, and Stunts
  • Making Characters
  • Challenges, Contests, and Conflicts
  • Let's Do Some Science
  • Factions
  • The March of Progress
  • Running the Game
  • Telling Stories the Atomic Robo Way
  • Playing in Multiple Eras
  • Character Write-Ups
  • Intro Scenario

So, as you can see, it's mostly good to go (to editing). The current wordcount (not counting "Robo's World") is about 70,000 words, which is trending on-target.

A few details on the in-progress chapters:

  • "Factions" talks about factions (like Tesladyne) as characters, and the role they play in the game. This is mostly a revision of a chapter from the playtest material, with some new bits added.
  • "Playing in Multiple Eras" is about era-hopping campaigns. This is something we talked a lot about in the early going as a mode of play the game heartily supports. That's still true. Right now this chapter is an extensive outline and lots of notes, but could arguably be reduced down to a call-out box in another chapter rather than claiming an entire chapter of its own. As much as we all (that includes you and me) like the idea of era-hopping, it really only shows up in two volumes -- 1 and 3 -- and the first volume of Real Science Adventures. Does a chapter on this subject have a place in the book? I dunno. How about I write it and we find out?
  • The character write-ups -- there are around 30 of them -- are the biggest time-sink I still face. Several are already done, having been written for playtest purposes (Jenkins, Jack Tarot, Helen, two different versions of Robo, Otto Skorzeny, and a few others), but some of the remaining ones require a little more research. This has taken the form of me twisting Brian's arm to write me some short bios. "Ow! Ow!" he says. "No, don't make me talk more about Atomic Robo!" It's hard to listen to sometimes. But really, at this point, I don't know how much I could differentiate, mechanically speaking, between, say, just about any two She-Devils. Or Benjamin and Koa. Or Mac and Slim. I have a feeling some of these may end up looking a bit like the proto-PCs I made for playtests: modes, a few skill improvements, one or two aspects, and a stunt, with the rest to be filled in by the player during play. But I guarantee the really iconic characters, like Helsingard and Dr. Dinosaur, will definitely get the full treatment. Anything less would be -- say it with me -- mammalian treachery.
  • The intro scenario is the one from the playtest. It's revised, done, and ready to go, but it should probably be reformatted for ease of editing. Because I'm a nice guy.
So there we are! Pretty close.

Oh, and obviously, revisions to Fate Core prompted by Kickstarter backer/playtester feedback will have an effect on ARRPG, but right now it's tough to anticipate how much of one, so I'll deal with that as it comes.