Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fractured Sol: Plains of Dust

The game of Atomic Robo continues with +Mark Miller +Frank Falkenberg +Ron Frazier +Robert Sims and I. The game really heated up this week. We had the introduction of a new PC, exciting. The beginnings of a new heist, also exciting, and the introduction of a whole bunch of new villains. Overall the game seems to be going well.

A conversation that Ron and I had has made me want to delve a bit into the weapons technology of our setting. He asked what sorts of weapons we used? Whether it was traditional cartridge weapons or if we had lasers or mass drivers, or what. So I thought I would devote a bit of time to the concepts. It seems I can't get past the writing of weapon descriptions. I have spent the last six months writing what amount to equipment guides for Jadepunk, and now I am writing them for our Atomic Robo game. Heh, guess we all have our niches, and this is mine.

Most human weapons are chemically or electromagnetically compelled. By and large they come in two forms. Magnetic accelerators are basically a rail gun that fires small bits of metal at incredible speeds. This works like the guns in Mass Effect only with electromagnets rather than mass effect fields. Recently there gas been some experiments in man portable gravity based projectile weapons, but they are still experimental. The other weaponry used are gyrojet weapons. Mostly they are used for micro-gravity and zero gravity environments, as the kick from a normal gun can be problematic.

The Europeans(from Europa) have never needed projectile weapons as they have Telekinesis and can just accelerate matter on their own.

The Hellions main weaponry are pulsed laser weapons. They have near zero recoil and are intensly powerful, They are not, however, silent. When the laser hits the surface of a target it cooks off a layer rapidly. This causes a popping sound. They are generally set to fire off bursts of three to five laser blasts, in less than a second, blowing a hole in the target up to nearly three inches deep and making what sounds like a loud bang(all those expanding molecules gotta go somewhere).

There are of course loads of other weapons that are used, but these are the primary weapons used by each species.

Here is a recording of the game, should you wish to watch it:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jadepunk: Dark Premonitions

As some of you may know I am currently writing a series of short stories for Serial Tales: Iconic Adventures, a Patreon that +Ryan M. Danks and I started. The story series I am writing is set in the world of Jadepunk, so I thought it would be fun to write up the characters of the series as Jadepunk characters. Sort of like a preview, only playable. A playable preview, if you will.

As I wrote her up, I realized that there are going to be some gaps in the narrative here. A lot of her aspects only show up during the story. I guess that is one of the differences between a game and story. In the game you have the character in broad strokes right from the start, whereas in the story you are introduced to the character one piece at a time.

Name: Lacao Keahi
Princess of the border province of Shinkenu, an idyllic island on the fringes of Kaiyumi territory.
Portrayal: Provincial Kaiyumi Princess
Nearly from birth Keahi was raised to rule. Her mother ensured she had the finest tutors and was schooled in all the royal arts. Though only the ruler of a small province, her mother had much higher aspirations for her daughter.
Origin: Trained To Rule
Shinkenu has recently discovered a major vein of red jade in the extinct volcano at the heart of the island. This has led to a great deal of interest by the great nations in the island. Keahi's mother has gone off to the capitol to negotiate new trade contracts, leaving Kaehi to rule for the time she is gone. In the last few days some of the fishing boats have gone missing. Her advisers think it is the weather, but Keahi fears something darker is at play.
Inciting Incident: War Nips at Her Heals
Keahi sees her current situation as a chance to test her theories on leadership. She disagrees with much of how the Empire runs things. Her mother thinks it is just a phase and that a little authority will help get it out of her system.
Belief: Government Must Serve the People
Shinkenu has very few defenses. It had never needed much previously, as they had few strategic resources. Now that red jade has been discovered, the defenses are lacking. Those in charge are all to aware of this.
Trouble: On the Run From Trouble To Trouble

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

Lacao Family Armor: Blue jade armor that can instantly form around her at her will. Increases her speed, protection, and combat prowess. One hundred years ago, Kaiyu began to conquer and colonize many of the smaller island nations that surrounded it. During this time a young general named Lacao Heido rose to prominence. Shinkenu and this armor were given to his lineage as a sign of the empress' pleasure.

Function Aspect: Blue Jade Reactive Armor
Features: Focus 4(+2 Explorer and Fighter), Protective 2(reduce shift value of succesful attack against you by two), Sturdy 2(two extra stress boxes)
Flaws: Situational(Can only use explorer and fighter when outnumbered)
Cost: 5

The Seal of Shinkenu: Her mother's seal, used on all official documents. Entrusted to Keahi until her mother's return. The seal represents the imperial power granted to the leaders of a province. Whoever holds the seal, holds the fate of the family.

Function Aspect: Jade Provincial Seal
Features: Focus 1(+1 Aristocrat), Aspect(Symbol of Imperial Authority)
Flaws: Situational(only when dealing with issue related to the province)
Cost: 1

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fractured Sol: Lunatics Unleashed

Last Sunday I ran a game of the Atomic Robo RPG for +Frank Falkenberg +Ron Frazier and +Mark Miller. I think it went rather well.

Our heroes(and I use the term a little more loosely than normal) arrive on the moon and begin their search for December's sister and the secret Martian files she stole. After a fair bit of investigation they discover that she is in jail after breaking into a Lunar Casino. In the course of their investigation they realize that she had not broken in to steal something, but to leave something. POL noticed through his nano-tech sensor network that they were being followed. A bit of a fight begins with a local gang, the Moon Ogres. While the heroes win the fight, but the local constabulary shows up and they get arrested. What follows was a standard escape and flight from justice while holding a conversation with August about the nature of what she is doing. As they made their way out of the lunar plains they find out that what she stole is dangerous beyond all imagining.

We ran our first brainstorm this session, and I think it went rather well. If you would like here is a recording of the game.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fractured Sol: Characters and Addenda

Yesterday I wrote about the world we created during our game of Atomic Robo. Today I would like to share the characters that my players made. They are awesome, characters and players alike.

Player: +Ron Frazier 
Name: P0-7A-1423 (Pol)
Concept: Modular Ship Intelligence
Good Mode Aspect: More Than Just a Talking Machine*
Fair Mode Aspect: Natural Space Navigator
Average Mode Aspect: Backups, Checks, and Protocols
Omega Aspect: A Serious Personal Jackpot

Good(+3) Mode: Aperatoid
Fair(+2) Mode: Pilot
Average(+1) Mode: Science

+5 Athletics, Notice, Physique
+4 Combat, Vehicles
+3 Computers, Engineering, Astronomy
+2 Contacts, Will
+1 All Sciences

Stunts and Mega Stunts
APERATOID STRENGTH (2): Absolutely stronger than any human (Physique), but at a cost; +2 to overcome with Athletics when jumping.
METALJAK (5): Bulletproof, but at a cost; Armor: 2; Weapon: 2 when fighting hand-to-hand; +2 to Vehicles to CA when airborne; +2 to Combat to attack when airborne.
SIGNATURE ASPECT: More Than Just A Talking Machine.
ASTEROID DODGER: +2 CA Vehicles when pulling off a fancy maneuver.ROUTINE MAINTENANCE: Use Physique to remove your own physical consequences, but without the usual +2 increase in difficulty.

Player: +Frank Falkenberg 
Name: Captain Ernest H. Serious (from the good old Earth)
Concept: A Crew of One
Good Mode Aspect: Sometimes violence is hilarious
Fair Mode Aspect: Honestly, would I ever lie to you?
Average Mode Aspect: Scum of the blasted Earth
Omega Aspect: August’s, December’s sister, Ex.

Good(+3) Mode: Action
Fair(+2) Mode: Banter
Average(+1) Mode: Mutant

+5 Athletics, Combat
+4 Provoke, Deceive
+3 Notice, Physique, Vehicles, Will, Empathy, Contacts
+2 Rapport

Stunts and Mega Stunts
Duplication (2) - Proof against physical damage, but not vs. energy weapons; any hit, that would have caused physical stress produces the number of shifts in duplicates. (Dupes are mooks without stress boxes.)
Lend me a hand - Create Advantage by using Combat produces 1 duplicate for a success, 2 Dupes on a success with style.
Friends in low places - +2 to Overcome with Contacts in the seedier side of society

Player: +Mark Miller 
Name: December
Concept: Cold As Ice Former Operative
Good Mode Aspect: Friends? Enemies? Who can tell anymore?
Fair Mode Aspect:
Average Mode Aspect: So many secrets.
Omega Aspect:

Good(+3) Mode: Secret Agent
Fair(+2) Mode: Cryokinetic
Average(+1) Mode: Intrigue!

Skills & Stunts have yet to be fully finalized

Fractured Sol: Beginings

The other night +Ron Frazier+Frank Falkenberg, +Mark Miller, and I all got together via hangouts to play a game of Fate. +David Lee could not make it to the game, though we hope he will be able to play in our future games. We had discussed prior some basic campaign premises and what we were aiming for, we eventually landed on this pitch: Science Fiction Supers set in the future Solar System. We also decided to use Atomic Robo for the system. This will be my first time running this particular iteration of Fate. I hope it goes well.

We dove right into world building, defining the setting as a little over one hundred years in the future and set in our solar system. Ron wasn't quite feeling it at this point, so we went back and forth for a bit on whether to use Earth and Sol or to base it in another system altogether. Eventually we got it nailed down, and here is the setting we devised.

Fractured Sol
In the early 2020s humans began the great space renaissance. technology and desire finally reached a point where space travel was a practical and and profitable endeavor. The terraforming and colonization of Mars began in earnest in the 2030s. By 2050 Mars had a breathable atmosphere and nearly one billion citizens. Work had begun on Venus and scientific stations had been established throughout the system. In 2055 the scientists on Europa made a startling discovery, life existed under the ice. It not only existed but flourished. The following years led to another great discovery, intelligent life existed there as well. The Europeans( a joke name that stuck) had little in the way of technology, but had deep understandings of logic, mathematics, and theory. They managed to trade these skills for access to technology and the outside world. For the next decade humanity and teh Europeans became very close and their societies mingled in interesting and strange ways. During this time humans also made many great breakthroughs in the area of robotics and synthetic intelligence. They could create sentient intellects, though these were not sapient. Robotic assistants and workers boom throughout human space. These became known as the Aparatoi.

Also during this time many great unrests rose up among the workers and the under classes. The leaderships of the various nations began to militarize, aiming at each other and at keeping their populous in line. By 2078 the nations of earth still held all the power in the system. Then came the planet Hellion. Many light years away a solar system was dying. It sun was on the verge of transitioning to a red giant. Though philosophically disparate, the people of the one inhabited planet banded together to save their planet. Utilizing dangerous technologies the developed a method for transporting their planet faster than light to a system that could support them, Sol. By using up all of their dying star's energy they made the trip. Many died, more were injured, but they had made it. The planet Hellion's arrival in the system had many strange effects. First it destroyed a great deal of the Earth's technology and infrastructure, stranding the people there until they could rebuild. The secondary effect Hellion's transportation had was far more subtle and far reaching. The Apparatoi began to develop sapience. Not all of them, and not all at once, but enough. The Hellions, Humans, and Europeans began to develop super powers. Again, not all of them developed powers, but a small number have. No one really understands why or how.

Mars, now cut off from the earth was forced to take a leadership role in human space. Luckily they had been self sufficient for over twenty years at that point. Seeing the arrival of Hellion as a direct attack, the Martians formed a massive fleet to counter this incursion. The First Contact War had begun. It raged for ten years, neither side one though an uneasy peace was arrived at five years ago in 2088. Now the year is 2093 and the Martians and Hellions are the two largest powers in the system. Each stands ready to fight, and each controls large swaths of the inner system and are always pushing further out.

Hellion Xenophobes Are Bad News

Coming threat
Terra Rising

Not All Change is Good
The Struggle For Identity


Dead Rock: Hollowed out asteroid in the belt taht serves as the home base(indipendant and nuetral) for miners, mercenaries and pirates of all races.
Dirty Dianas Bar and Grill: Its the best you can get
Red Dawn: nice hotel, where Martian Ex-patriots hang out
Mars: seat of Human power)
Asteroid Field: pirates, prospectors, and opportunity
Luna: The Lunatics (space hillbillly anrachists) crazy accents and space motorcycle gangs, used to be a popular place to live until the destruction of Earth.
Hellion: Seat of Hellion power
Decimated Earth: Seek to regain all that they have lost and more.

Red: The Lord of The Docks, Nothing Lordly about him, ex soldier from the war, has a bunch o friends from the war, they took the docks and it is easy money
Decker: Martian Ex pat who still keeps a hand in(discretionary funds and such, he hires the heroes every now and again)
August: Pyrokinetic super spy and sister of December(one of the player characters), recently gone missing with some very important files.

If you would like to watch, here is the recording of our session:

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.