Friday, August 29, 2014

Big Trouble in Little Narnia

On my way home from work and idea struck me. It hit me so fast and so hard that I had mental whiplash for a bit. I realized right away what I needed to do with this idea. I needed to share it. So here it is. What would a mashup of The Chronicles of Narnia, Big Trouble in Little China, and Doctor Who look like? I know, right?! I will give you a moment to collect yourself after I just asploded your brain meats. You better? Good. Lets break this down.

Uncle Chu: China is here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, they've been fighting for centuries.
Jack Burton: What the hell does that mean? huh? China is here, I don't even know what the hell that means, all I know is this "Lo Pan" character comes out of thin air in the middle of a goddamn alley while his buddies are flying around on wires cutting everybody to shreds, and he just stands there waiting for me to drive my truck straight through him, with light coming out of his mouth!
~Big Trouble in Little China

“Why, if we can get back to our own world by jumping into this pool, mightn’t we get somewhere else by jumping into one of the others? Supposing there was a world at the bottom of every pool.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Magician"s Nephew
There is the basic idea. The idea is this, whoever built the world of the pools still exists(these would be our Galfreyan Time Lords...sort of). They have since moved beyond using something so primitive as the pools, directly. Instead they harness the power of the pools to control the reality flux. Their civilization is powered by the eternal creation and destruction of worlds at the other end of the pools. Then comes the Exile with his Dimensional Bathysphere. He travels the pools with his dimensional companions, often humans from the Earth Ream. 

The People of Charn, desperate to prolong their dying world have begun to bleed the pools together. The Charn will be like the Daleks a bit. Also this is where the Big Trouble in Little China stuff comes in. The Charn begin their conquest of a new dimension through the subtle stuff, bring entropy and chaos to a world and then gradually the dimensions meld. When Jack Burton enters the scene, the invasion had been held off a thousand years ago by the first sovereign emperor, and no Lo Pan, the Charn conqueror is seeking to restart the invasion. All that stands in his way is a green eyed girl, a tour bus driver, a resteraunt owner, and Jack Burton.

So that is the idea I had. I would love to play more in this head space. I think that I would like to use Timeworks, or something like it to represent the dimensional travel. Though I am a bit at a loss how to do it.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Unleash Your True Power!

Perhaps you do not know this, but I am a fan of Dragon Ball Z. I just love how over the top it gets and how ridiculous everything is. I have tried a few times to do something like it in an RPG, however I could not figure out how to do it right. I even bought the Fuzion System game and its supplements, it...was not the best for what I wanted. Basically my issues with doing a Dragon Ball Z-esque game come down to a desire for unique special attacks, an ability to handle power ups, and a need for an all or nothing strike. I think I can do most of those with Fate Core, but my issue came down to how to do it. I can model most of that with Jadepunk's asset creation system, but it is so smooth that I find it difficult to get the results in the way I want.

In this post I will be talking about power attacks and how I would like to use them in Fate. Specifically I would love to have a system that allows for dangerous and powerful last ditch efforts. Enter +Ryan Macklin and his recent post about power attacks. If you do not wish to read through the entirety of the post(though it is short), here is the relevant part:
Sometimes an attack will be so overwhelming that stress boxes shouldn’t come into account, nor stuff like armor ratings or other things that tweak stress. These attacks are known as power attacks, and work slightly differently from normal attacks. You still roll dice and apply your skill and any relevant stunts, just as you would for any action. Then…
  • If you succeed, you inflict a moderate consequence.
  • If you succeed with style, you inclift a severe consequence.
  • If you tie, you inflict a minor consequence
  • If you fail, nothing happens — though if the defender succeeds with style, they still get the normal benefit
Naturally, if the type of consequence is already filled, a higher one must be used.
It was like serendipity. Basically he is planning on using these rules for guns, to showcase what a game changer guns are. Upon reading this post, though, I saw the beginnings of what I am looking for in a power attack. It was just lacking a trigger. Or more specifically, lacking the kind of trigger I was looking for. So here is my idea, In order to use a power attack, you must have first filled up all your stress boxes. To me this feels a lot like the action we see in the show. The heroes spend much of the fight(the real fight, not the build up fights prior to it) taking hits and barely keeping up, and then, when all looks lost they start hitting hard and often. I also think that it might be interesting if failure was a little worse when using a power attack, though I have not really worked that through yet. Perhaps failure grants a boost and failure, where the defender succeeds with style, grants a full aspect...I will consider it.

So this is the first step toward my dream of a DBZ rpg that works the way I want it to. Let me know what you think.






Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shadow Legion: Farspace, Pirates, and Heresy

After watching Guardians of the Galaxy(seriously go see it, its phenomenal, I will wait) I really wanted to capture that feel. Then I realized I had already done something quite similar a year ago, when I ran the Shadow Legion Campaign for some friends. It was awesome and hit all my favorite parts of Space Opera. In reminiscing I realized I still had more to explore in the fictional universe of the Shadow Legion. And so I began to build on the edges of the world, just for my own fun. However, these ideas and concepts were scattered and unfocused. I often find that when I am brainstorming it is quite fun, but I need to actually attempt to write the ideas for other people in order to find the clarity I seek. As I like the movie, I was more interested in the fringe societies and dangerous threats of the galaxy. Luckily way back when I made my first post about the Shadow Legion(though that name had yet to be invented for the setting) I mentioned that Guardians of the Galaxy was one of my influences.

I also had mentioned briefly the idea of Farspace and the Non-Aligned Worlds. So I will be working in those area a bit more now. I like the idea of places on the edge of Charter space, where the law exists only in theory and justice comes at the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun. Here be dragons, as the old spacers claim. In this post I will be digging into the fringes of the main species of the galaxy, and also I will be looking at the history of the future.

Shadow Legion Long Patrol
We are the line between darkness and light. Driving back the shadows to bring the light of peace.
~The motto of the shadow legion
After the finally defeating the mighty Sukar threat five years ago, the Shadow Legion was sorely depleted. They were forced to pull back from the frontier. As a stopgap to deal with the problems, the Long Patrol was established. New recruits were paired with former Shadow Legion members, brought out of retirement, to travel in larger than normal Cadres throughout the edges of space. Bringing justice and granting the experience of their elders to the new recruits.

Tesh Biology, Culture Basics, Mother-lines and other Heresies
Tesh retain memories through their father's genetic material. These lines of descent are known as father-lines and are the basis of much Tesh culture. They gain skill and knowledge through the males, though female Tesh retain power because they can control their fertility and through the rareness of females. There are 40 males for every female. So while Males have the advantage of memory immortality(should come up with a term for this that sounds neat)

Tesh myths
...the myth of the mother line claims that their exists a mutant genetic line among the Tesh. This line gains knowledge from the mother rather than the father. When asked where this line exists, it is always somewhere far away and remote, usually deep in Farspace.

...the myth of the Lamfa, master of all, a Father-line that contains(or will contain) all skill and knowledge in the universe, creating a perfect Father-line of Tesh who will be the universes true masters. There are a great many differing views on the Lamfa. Every few years a Lamfa cult will appear around one particularly skilled Tesh, though they never last long. On the other end of the spectrum is the yearly games named after the Lamfa, the tournament of all skills. It is mostly played for entertainment and for laughs.

First Post that includes Tesh
Second Mention of Tesh
Tesh Humor

Taurai Exiles
Being an exiled Taurai is bad, very bad. Taurai are an ancient people, powerful and intelligent, yet paranoid and Isolationist. Every member of their species has Esp, and as they get older their power grows. Those with a clan become, upon their physical death, individuals within the unconscious undermind of their clan. This is why being exiled is bad. You lose the closest thing to immortality that anyone outside of the Tesh can understand. You lose anyone who could ever truly understand you. To exile even one Taurai is a serious thing, exile is a death sentence. Forever death, forever lonely. Not just that but a the exile is destined to die alone and unloved. Being an exile is bad.

Pirate Clan Worlds
Five years ago, the Shadow Legion made a deal with the Pirate Clans of Antares. For their agreement to help fight the Sukar, the Pirates were promised legitimacy and the rule of three star systems. After the end of the war the politicians held back as much as they could. The Pirate Clans were left with only one system after they had sacrificed so much. Relations are cold between the Charter and the Clans. The worlds of the Antares system are lawless havens of vice and commerce. The only law is Pirate Law. The only enforcement is what you can bring with you. Currently there are seven pirate clans that rule over the system.

History of the Primacy of Man
Four hundred years ago, after humanity had colonized the sol system, but before the discovery of Hyperspace Gates, war raged throughout human spheres of influence. Among the worst and most dangerous were the Titans, humans who had altered themselves using genetics and nanotechnology to near "perfection." These Titans believed themselves to be gods of science. They crafted clone armies and cults of personality. Their missionaries would promise immortality and temporal power, and thousands would flock to the banner of these petty godlings. Eventually they were driven back and driven off, disappearing into the dark of space. One hundred years ago, the Charter encountered the Primacy of Man. This was a group of worlds inhabited by humans united in their genetic engineering and their belief in godlike beings called the Titans. Since the fall of the Sukar, the Primacy has been making more aggressive moves throughout the Non-aligned Worlds.

First Mention of the Primacy of Man

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Omnis Mundi: Big Times in the City

Last Saturday I got together with +Timothy Shiflet and +Paul Carroll  to make characters. +Loyd Digg Johnson was sick and unable to make it, and +Ron Frazier still couldn't make it. I was going to do character creation and then do a bit of a starting scenario. As we were missing a few players we did what we could. We worked through character creation and did a bit of joint world building. Over all we had a lot of fun, and I think we set up a pretty good basis for adventuring.

So here are the character that my players made:

Player: +Timothy Shiflet
Character Name: Talathriel
High Concept: Conflicted Agent for the Unseelie Court
Trouble: Cannot Tell a direct lie
Aspect: Damn The Man
Aspect: I know the Perfect Place
Aspect: ?

Skills
+4 Deceive
+3 Athletics, Stealth
+2 Fight, Burglary, Notice
+1 Investigate, Physique, Shoot, Will

Stunts & Extras
Elf Extra: To play an elf you must have elf in your high concept and you must reduce your refresh by one. The elf aspect means that you are immune to age. You do not get sick. Provided you do not die from your wound immediately you will eventually heal from any damage. You can see perfectly in even the dimmest of light. You can invoke your elf aspect to be better than others at any skill the requires fine motor skills. You can be compelled to be viewed as aloof. People feel like elves look down at them.
Mind Games
Dazing Counter
Glamour: Lets you cast visual and auditory illusions with deceive. Increase difficulty by one per zone.
Hack and Slash: Lets you use burglary in place of technology for hacking computer systems.

Gear
Computer with hacking programs, Massive Damage Fae Crafted Blade(black blade), Gossamir armor(massive damage)

Personal item of great importance: Manacle(represents his ties to his overlord)
Refresh: 1

Player: +Paul Carroll
Character NameAaron “Razor” Dobbs
High Concept: Psychic Street Warrior
Trouble: Hunted By the Shadow Suns
Aspect: I can be more
Aspect: Ebb and Flow of the streets
Aspect: ?

Skills
+4 Burglary
+3 Fighting, Stealth
+2 Athletics, Physique, Will
+1 Contacts, Technology, Pilot, Rapport

Stunts & Extras
Mind Knives Extra: You need to have psychic in your high concept. It can be invoked to make you a mystic warrior par excellence. You now have access to energy knives made from your mental energy. It appears to be made from a glowing energy. You can use fighting as though you had a weapon even if you have no weapon. You can gain access to a bunch of stunts to improve your mind knives or mystically enhance your fighting ability.

Massive Damage Knives: Your Mind Knives is far more dangerous than normal. Your knives now counts as  Massive Damage Weapons.
Aggressive Defense: When you are defending in hand to hand combat and succeed with style. Rather than gaining a boost you can immediately do two stress to the attacker(three if you have a Massive Damage Weapon and your opponent does not have massive damage armor you deal an extra stress).
Mystic Will: You gain a +2 bonus to will defense actions when dealing with supernatural mind effects.

Gear
Street bike, Electronic lock picks, Tricorder

Personal item of importance: Gang Clothes
Refresh: 2

So there are the characters. We left the last aspect blank so as to link up with the other players. We also did some world building and added in some more depth the the City.

The Shadow Suns
A gang of psychic youths who have trained their minds as weapons. Led by Aaron's brother Drask "The Blood Axe." They are thugs, though small in number, they do a lot of mischief. They are hunting Aaron for leaving the gang. Drask is a blunt instrument of a man, a self aggrandizing bully

The Unsellie Court in the City
The court is always in flux, Fae vying for prestige and rank. Each gain in power leads to an even more dangerous game. The Unseelie do not deal in material possessions, but in Oaths and debts. The more debt one collects, the more power one has.

Sade, Spirit of Slaughter, is Talathriel's contact in the City. It was once a major Unseelie Lord, but a recent failure has led to a lessening of its influence. Sade now seeks to gain back what it lost, but it cares little for what Talathriel does, so long as the reports keep coming in.

And that is what we came up with for our game. Here is the recording of the session, should you wish to watch it all:


Here is the rest of the setting documents should you be interested.
1. Introduction to the Setting
2. Character Creation
3. Solutuhz, The Unbound City
4. Tasmania by +Tom Tyson
5. City of Book
6. City of Book, addendum7. Lord Gene and the Animal Men
8: The City

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Omnis Mundi: The City

Last Saturday I got together with +Timothy Shiflet +Loyd Digg Johnson and +Paul Carroll to discuss our upcoming game of Omnis Mundi. +Ron Frazier was unable to make it, but we have hopes that he will be able to join the campaign proper. The session was mostly devoted to getting to know my new players and building the setting. I know what you are thinking, after all the work already done on the setting, what more needs to be done? Well that is what is so lovely about setting creation, you can always add more in. And let me tell you, we added some really awesome stuff, and built a really cool set piece in which to play our game.
The session started out with some basic ideas. I asked what the players were looking to to experience in the setting. After this initial idea mining, we came up with a solid basic idea. A city that spans the dimensions through the tears. This city is ruled by an evil entity that only cares for its own power and wealth. The players wanted something like Game of Thrones, with politics and big issues being just as important as anything else. A science fantasy mega-city with links to all other times and places. There was even mention of a Realm of the Bagel Lords, so that might become a thing. We then moved on to some basic character idea generation. The characters my players came up with is pretty fantastic, not gonna' lie. So here is The City and the setting for our game as it opens.

Upon the ruins of the ruins of Old Detroit lies The City. Once a shining example of mankind's potential and glory, now it is a blight hidden within the shining facade of culture and prosperity. Ruled over by the Demon Lord, The City spreads its influence throughout all the possible universes. The Demon Lord keeps control over the city by encouraging infighting and treachery among the powerful factions within The City. Each vies for power within the city, the ends differ but they all need power to achieve them.

The City stands tall, shining towers of impossible delicacy scrape the atmosphere, connected together by gossamer webs of bridges. This glorious center is surrounded by the squat dark factories belching smoke and the rookeries oozing with desperation and sorrow. The Wall stands circumference about the city, hugging it close to the great freshwater sea. Day and night the people are out in the streets, boulevards, and arcades selling and buying. In The City everything is for sale, if you know where to look or who to ask. Beneath all the noise, sorrow, and glamour lies the deep city, catacombs and tunnels containing true ruins from the Golden Lands. Only the most desperate or foolhardy dare enter the deep city, though it is said anything can be found their for those found worthy.

The Current Major Factions: 
The Sons of the Dawn: Freedom is the right of every sapient being. This is the credo of the Sons of the Dawn. They believe in freedom and justice, at least on paper. For many years they were nothing but a small movement of like minded individuals. They never had the economic or political clout to do more than spread pamphlets and talk of freedom in barrooms. IN recent years certain criminal families have begun backing the faction in the hopes of gaining more influence in The City. This had led to some of the members speaking out, for the crime families see the faction as a way to gain and exert control. While the leadership is still the core members who believe what they always have, many feel that the faction has lost its way and become blinded by power and money.

A Better Tomorrow
Indulgence Now

The Military: The strong right arm of the Demon Lord, the obvious sign of his rule. Brainwashed from birth to be warriors, they are given battle drugs to enhance reflexes, dull pain, and remove empathy. The side effect of these drugs is a dark mind magic, they radiate an aura of despair and terror. Upon seeing them, many enemies just flee in terror. These paladins of darkness are completely dependant upon the drug. Should they fail to receive it the withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and terrifying. The begin to have violent hallucinations, intense rages, and a complete lack of control. Without the drug they fly into a berserk fury and attack all around them until exhaustion or damage cause them to stop.

Storm troopers of the abyss
Need the drugs

Little Fott Consortium: When the Demon Lord came to The City he found a group of trans dimensional beings had already taken up residence there. They were the Little Fott clan from a dimension where dinosaurs developed sapience. They worshiped The Devourer, a dark god that demanded ritual sacrifice through the devouring of other species. The Demon Lord made a deal with this clan, they would be given access to the many dimensions to trade and raid, and they would not stand in his way. Their currency, the silver leaf, is the main currency of The City. On the nights of the new moon, the poor and disenfranchised know to lock up their doors tight, for it is on that night that the Little Fott consortium hunt and eat other sapient life in sacrifice to the Devourer. They are heavily invested in the status quo, and seek to ensure things continue on as they have been going.

The Money Must Flow
Food For The Old God

Children of the Demon: These are the aristocrats, overseers, and administrators of the city. They are the priests of the Cult of the Demon Lord. Their are many rumors as to the origin of the Children. It is said that they summoned the Demon Lord to this plane, that they are in fact his spawn in some way, or even that they caused the fall of the Golden Land. All that is known is that they have a link to the Demon Lord in some way and that they are dangerous. Very Dangerous.

Servants of the Demon lord
Chained by Bureaucracy


The Character Concepts
Loyd: A drug addicted combat mentat who is one of the rebel leaders. He is always in the right spot at the right time.

Paul: A guttersnipe with brain knives made of energy.

Tim: An Elven spy of the Unseelie Court sent to scout this dimension for conquest. He does not wish to see this world destroyed and secretly works against his dark masters.

And that is what we did on Saturday. Next Saturday, the games begin!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FATEsy Heartbreaker: Underpinnings of Creation

While working on Jadepunk I keep coming up with loads of ideas, for my other projects and for brand new projects. Primarily I have been working on Heartbreaker in my spare moments, trying to drill down to the interesting substrates of the game, reworking what needs polish. I recently started a couple of discussions about what makes a Paladin, and what makes a Druid(feel free to jump in on either discussion). I will probably continue along those lines for a while, opening discussions on the what the core of various fantasy ideas entail. However, in even just these two days of discussion I discovered some areas that require some work. I need to work out the structure of the universe and the nature of magic and the deities.

Here is my thinking on the deities of Heartbreaker.

The world was designed by rational beings and thus behaves according to rational logic. However, as multiple beings were involved in the creation of the world what is rational and logical shifts depending on which gods have authority at that time and place. The world is currently dragging its way out of a major shift in godly authority. This is due to the god war which brought down the last great empire on the world.

Basically when you support your god it allows you to "break" the current laws of physics as you now operate, to some extent, within your gods preferred paradigm. There would need to be some touch points though, things like time and space would need to still work and the rest of the laws of physics would exist, but on a sliding scale of godly preference. There would need to be some sort of groundwork, that is agreed upon by all the creator gods.

When you are in an area where your god/pantheon does not control supplication difficulty is increased...or you take mental stress to reduce it(max you can take brings it down to baseline). Supplication has no direct skill. You must create advantages to have a bonus on the roll. Supplication advantages are ritual, cleansing, sacrifice...and need to think on this. Miracles are basically when physics goes sideways to your advantage for a scene...maybe, perhaps there are certain stunts you can only get through supplication to your deity, or deities.

The rules of gods that I have worked out.

Gods control a raw, primal, creative magic.
Gods can be born or/and made.
Gods can die(this was a surprise when they discovered this, some interaction of gods and their creation allows for this outcome).
Gods cannot unmake something gods have made.
Gods do not(or cannot) take thier gifts back.

That is what I have, so far. Now the questions I must ask. Is morality external to the gods, or created by the gods? If external, what enforces it? If the gods created it, what makes one morality better or less relative than any morality created by man? What are the ramifications of gods that work the way I ave outlined them working? I am going to keep working on this, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the answers to these or any other questions you might raise.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jadepunk Chrono Trigger: Millenial Fair Crono

A little shile back I attempted to start a Fate Core game remeniscent of all the Shonen Anime that I like. The game fell through, as they sometimes do, but I did realize something. I realized that what I wanted was this:

I love Chrono Trigger, I have loved it since I first played it when I was a lad, and it stands up as one of the greatest video game RPGs of all time. Seriously, it has multiple endings, everything you do or don't do matters. Visually and musically it is amazing. So I started replaying the game, and then it hit me. Jadepunk is a perfect match for this game. See, Chrono Trigger is mechanically based around having cool gear, techniques, and allies. Jadepunk's asset system does that so well. Whoo, buddy! I am excited. Are you excited? Yeah, I am going to go through the game and build all the characters from Chrono trigger as Jadepunk characters. Lets see how this goes. For each of these characters I will be building them as we first meet them. At the end of this I will probably do the characters at their peek as well, because why not?

Crono
Crono is the trickiest character to do in Fate, as he is a silent protagonist with little backstory and few real decisions. That said there are a bunch of things we can guess about his character based on the reactions of those around him. We start out by meeting his mother. She is not named in the game, so well will just call her, "Mom." Normally in an RPG like this she would be a throw away character. Just there for exposition and to get you out the door. Not so Mom. She has things to say, she has personality and she cares about Crono. When Crono disappeared and then was on trial, she was worried. So we know that Crono has a good relationship with his mom, Mom. We also know he was so excited about the Millenial Fair that he couldn't sleep. He is a martial artist, practiced with a sword. And he cares about people(well he does in my version). He helped a little girl find her lost cat, he helped Marle find her necklace, and he jumped into a time portal without thought for his own safety to rescue her. We know he has a best friend in Lucca. Also the way other talk to him seems to imply that he is not dumb. So there you go. Lets start working from there. Also I only have included his starting technique and I did not include his sword. I do not think any of his swords really matter, until you get to swords with special powers, and that does not happen until much later in the game. His wooden sword just doesn't add in any mechanical benefits at this point.

Portrayal: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Origin: A Good Son
Inciting Incident: Things Must Be Set Right
Belief: I See The Good In Others
Trouble: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Professions: Fighter +3, Explorer and Scoundrel +2, Aristocrat and Scholar +1, Engineer +0

Assets:
Technique: Cyclone
Crono spins around and around, hitting everyone nearby with his awesome sword. Its pretty neat. Like the Tea Cup ride at Disneyland...only deadly-er, more deadly.

Guiding aspect: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Features: Exceptional(hits everything in the same zone as Crono), Harmful 2
Flaws: Demanding(need to roll a +2 fighter roll), Limited(can only be used once per scene)
Cost: 2 refresh

Stress: [1] [2] [3]
Refresh: 5

So there is the first of the series. Next up we will do Marle, followed by Lucca, Frog, Robo, Ayla, and Magus, in that order. After that I will be delving int each of teh time periods and building the monsters for each era. Its gonna be epic. Let me know what you think. Comments, Critiques, and Questions are all welcome.