Saturday, October 14, 2017

After Jade: An Alternate Setting for Jadepunk

I have been working on a project for a while now and so I have not been focusing on this blog. However I have had a real gut punch of news this week and I need to have something to distract me for a little bit. Help me calm down.

That in mind I am going to work up an old Idea I have had in the back of my mind for a few years now. Here is the basic pitch.

Sometime after the time Jadepunk is set in, something goes wrong...very very wrong. It has been over a hundred years since the fall and the world is a very changed place. It is a post apocalyptic wasteland filled with Jade. Clouds of mystic jade dust roil across the world and has been bound into everything on the world. Some people have been able to harness this omnipresent jade to become Jadecasters, manipulating the elements and the raw forces of nature. Beyond that humans now are not alone in the world. Automatects, clockwork beings with jadetech minds from before the Fall, wander the world doing their inscrutable duties for unknowable reasons; Kymiirs, uplifted animals, have formed their own communities in the Waste; and Mootares jade tainted mutations with strange powers and beliefs wander the land.  Despite the problems, despite the danger, life continues. The Jianghu travel the land and help those in need. Named after ancient legends of heroes of old, they wander the land and help people rebuild. 

Setting Aspects
Shadows of the Old World
Jade in Everything Now
Leftovers of A Fallen World

New Asset Types
Assets after Jade are different than in standard Jadepunk. The standard three types(Allies, Devices, and Techniques) still apply as normal, but there are a couple of other types of assets in this hack.

Automatect: If you take/make an Automatect asset it you use the device features list, but it must have a Guiding aspect related to your mechanical nature. These assets represent jadetech or clockwork abilities or additions to the mechanical frame of the core Automatect or its jadetech mind. 
Mootares: Mootares work the same as Automatects but the assets represent mutations and jade in the blood. The guiding aspect is related to their altered nature and can be compelled due to obvious jade markings or mutations making them stand out in the world. 
Kymiir: Uplifted animals created through Chymeric engineering before the Fall. You must have a guiding aspect related to your semi animal nature. Any asset created in this way represents your animal abilities or further understanding of your inhuman nature. 

Sample Assets
Here are some sample assets that fit within the wasteland that is After Jade.

Returner Staff(device)
The Returner movement began nearly immediately after the Fall. The desire to return to what was before. They see the glory of the past and minimize the faults. The Returners travel the Waste preaching of the glories of the old world and seeking jadetech to help rebuild. When they are initiated into the order they are granted a book and a staff. The book is empty and must be filled with knowledge from the past, the staff will help them in their travels.

Function aspect: Blue Jade Staff of the Return
Features: Exceptional(On a successful defense, deal shifts of harm equal to your margin of success), Focus 2(+2 to Fighter)
Flaws: Situational(may only be used in defense), Demanding(Must take the whole turn doing nothing but defending)
Refresh Cost: 2

Jadecaster(technique) 
When the old world fell it fell in jade-laced fire. now the winds themselves carry massive quantities of jade. it is in everything, even if only in small quantities. some folks have learned to perceive these forces in the world and manipulate them. These people have become mystics and sages deep in the Waste, controlling forces beyond the ken of most. Jadecasters can call up temporary assets related to the elements, or controlling/creating emotions.

Guiding aspect: Must have an aspect relating to your training as a jadecaster.
Features: Flexible(may use Scholar in place of Engineer)
Flaws: Situational(only when creating temporary assets related to manipulating the jade in the environment)
Refresh Cost: 1

Sample Jadecaster Workings
Call Fire
You draw out the red jade in the world around you and pull fire into existence, damaging your target.

Function Aspect: Fireball!
Features: Harmful 2, Focus 2(fighter +2)
Flaws: As per the creation roll

Wind Walker
You change to shifting motes of dust and can swiftly move through the air travelling from your current location to any nearby location not completely airtight.

Function Aspect: White Jade Transformation to Dust
Features: Exceptional(Instantly leave or appear in a scene, as long as air can get in or out)
Flaws: As per creation roll

Dangers of the Waste
In the waste there are many dangers, great and small. The world is changed and not for the peaceful. Even the very air has turned hostile.

Devil Winds: On occasion the winds will whip across the Waste in such speed that they will pull up vast amounts of jade dust. When the devil winds sweep down experienced travelers know to get to shelter and sit tight. The wind can strip the flesh from unexposed flesh to the bone. Their are rumors that the winds do more than harm flesh, that they can strip soul from a person and ensure their is no afterlife.

System: This is a series of rolls brought on by a compel(either against the characters aspects or against the setting aspects). Roll against explorer to find a good spot to hide out in(difficulty will vary based around the location).  If you succeed with style you find shelter and take no damage. If you succeed you take one harm before finding suitable shelter. If you fail you will take 2 harm and must roll again to get to shelter. Two rolls are all that will be needed in most circumstances in order to get to shelter.


And there it is, a rough outline of an alternate campaign and setting for Jadepunk. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Far Marches: Stunt Trees

Moving forward with this project I am definitely getting a better sense for how things will look and what I am aiming for. I think I have a few ideas on fixing the unique skills from the last post, as well as a few clever ideas for down the line(at least, I hope they are clever ideas...we'll see). Now we will begin with how I see stunts working in this hack.

I wish to use stunt trees that fall into the general categories of the classic OSR roles of Fighter, Rogue, and Magic User. I will probably also do a few other stunt trees for other roles and maybe even a couple of smaller stunt trees for the different fantasy races, but I mustn't get too far ahead of myself. Right now I have worked out the basics for how I want the stunts to play out, and I have one complete stunt tree. I would love to hear any thoughts on how it could be improved or ideas for what to put in further stunt trees. My goal with the stunt trees is to have each stunt further down the branch be a little more powerful than the previous stunts.

My hope here is to incentivize specialization and thus allow for something that feels like a class without forcing that specialization. With these trees one could be a magic user and a fighter and a thief, but you would end up without a to of the cool fiddly bits that come later in the stunt trees. If that makes sense. Here, let me show you the stunt tree I currently have fleshed out, maybe that will make it make a little more sense.

Fighter Stunt Tree
A rough map of the stunt tree.
Fighter Basics: Gain a 3 Stress Box. This may be taken a second time to gain a 4 Stress Box.
Bend Bars Lift Gates: (requires Fighter Basics) Once per scene you may automatically succeed at a physique roll to destroy an inanimate object or lift a heavy object.
Weapon Mastery: (requires Fighter Basics) When using a specific weapon type you will deal an additional 2 stress on a successful attack action. You may take this stunt more than once. Each time you take it it must be for a different weapon type. Weapon Types: Swords, Pole arms, Clubs/maces, Chain Weapons, Bows and Crossbows, Daggers and Knives.
Leadership: (requires Fighter Basics) In combat when you use uplifting or inspiring words to aid your others with the create advantage action the subsequent use of that created aspect will grant a +3 on an invoke rather than the normal +2.
Powerful Physique: (requires Bend Bars Lift Gates) You may use your physique for defending against attacks by weapons. If you succeed with style on this defense you may choose to take one stress to destroy the weapon that just struck you.
Intimidating Presence: (requires Bend Bars Lift Gates) You may use Physique in place of provoke when attempting to be physically imposing or physically terrifying.
Counter-strike: (requires Weapon Mastery) When using a weapon type you have mastery in, when you have succeeded with style on a defense action, you may choose to do the difference in success level in stress to the attacker.
Extra Range: (requires Weapon Mastery) You may use a weapon type you have a mastery in as a ranged weapon even if it is not normally a ranged weapon. These weapons now have the ability to attack up to two zones away. If you have mastery with a ranged weapon you may double the normal range(out to four zones, normally)
Armor Specialization: (requires Weapon Mastery) You gain an additional condition when wearing armor, called Broken. This can be used to negate any single physical attack , however it does mean that you can no longer use your armor until you repair it or buy new armor.
Trusted Ally: (requires Leadership) You gain an ally who follows you around and will be of use, this ally has a +1 in three skills, two aspects(high concept which you create and trouble which the GM creates) and it has two stress boxes. You may take this stunt a second time to either increase one of their skills to a +3, or add another stress box to the ally.
Inspiration: (requires Leadership) Once per scene you may place an inspiring aspect on all allies in the scene and they will each get a free use of that aspect. This is very powerful and I am not sure I like it.

There you go, my first stunt tree for The Far Marches. I also have some ideas on how the other stunt trees will look. Here is the rough ideas for how those are going to look:

Rogue : Lucky Bastard; Assassin; Thief : Impossible Luck; Walking Curse; Sneak Attack; Ghost The Walks; Master of Poisons; Second Story Man; Friends In Low Places; Low Knowledge

Magic User : Conjuration; Evocation; Abjuration; High Knowledge : Familiar Strength; Familiar Endurance; Familiar Connection; Magic Missile; Shield; Blessing; Curse; Healing; Book Learning; Theoretical Magic

As I said, I would love to hear any thoughts, ideas, or critiques on how I am going about the stunt trees. I really like how they are turning out but it may be that I am not seeing the long term effects or short term flaws.

Previous: Skills
Next: Gear and Stress

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Far Marches: Skills

Before we get started on skills in this post I would like to point out that I have had a number really good comments on my previous posts in this series so far. Some people agreed with the decision I made and made some good points on them. Others disagreed with my decisions and called out flaws that they saw. It has been a good conversation overall and it has given me a lot to think about. So, thanks guys I really appreciate the back and forth of it all. In fact I think you have convinced me to work the reputation aspects a bit differently. I will get into that in a future post where I will talk about the Party Sheet.  And now, without further ado, lets dig into skills in The Far Marches.

Skills

Skills in the Far Marches will be the same basic skill list as in standard Fate Core. I am considering adding in Survival as a skill. I would also probably want to combine burglary and stealth into a single burglary skill. I always felt that stealth was pretty darn narrow in focus for a specific skill. Though I am not sold on that idea yet, and so I could easily be talked back from the brink on merging those two skills.

Another issue I have with skills is the importance of Will and Physique in relation to stress tracks. I have never been all that pleased with the way stress works in standard Fate Core, so do not be surprised if I make some changes in stress when we get to that. As a bit of a precursor to that Physique and Will will not add stress to the tracks in this hack.

The final issue with skills comes to the pyramid and the alternatives therein. I really like the skill pyramid, however I have noticed certain trends in games I have played and ran that lead me to look for an alternative. I have noticed a trend where people tend to work very hard to only have to roll there top three skills in the pyramid. I do not know if this is a good, bad, or neutral thing but it is something I noticed and I am not sure what to do about it. As of this moment I am still planning on using the skill pyramid, though I am very open to interesting alternatives.  

Unique Skills
Each player gets access to one additional, player designed, skill. These unique skills represent abilities, professions, unique traits, or your fantasy race. While not all elves will have the Elf skill, having the Elf skill would represent your character really focusing on his peoples history and traditions. Your elf would be more elfish than some other elf who did not have the elf unique skill. How you make unique skills is pretty simple. The skill will have access to all four basic actions, however you won't be able to use those basic actions in all circumstances. For example:

Elf: When in the forest you may use the elf skill to gather information about the natural surroundings and identify natural dangers. You may use the elf skill in place of social skills when dealing with eleven court. And you may use the elf skill in combat when using an elven bow or Shamshir.  

While the unique skill is powerful you must make sure that it does not overpower the game. The basic rule of thumb here is this: If everyone at the table agrees that the skill is over powered then it is probably overpowered. I am looking to make these skills a big part of the game without overpowering the game, so if you have ideas for improvement please let me know.

There you go. That is the very basics on how I see skills working in this hack of Fate. I know it is probably not different enough for some of you, and for others it is probably a step too far. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as this is the area I have gone back and forth on the most over time. I will probably go back and forth on it a bunch more moving forward. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Far Marches: Aspect Creation

They go by many names: Hunters, Slayers, Rangers, Explorers, and other more esoteric titles. Whatever they are called they they travel into the darkness in search of treasure, fame, and glory. They travel in squads, parties, groups, and cabals out into the wilderness, the forgotten ruins of the old world. They exist in a world of danger and adventure, outside of, but parallel to society at large. They are bring wealth and safety to the wild lands on the edge of civilization. They are disliked, but necessary. They are The Adventurers.

Alrighty, back when I first started this project I had a specific set of aspects I wanted to use for the PCs:
High Concept, You All Meet Up In A Bar, Your First Dungeon, Backstory, and Epic Destiny. As you can probably tell I was being a little bit flippant when I wrote those up. That said I like a lot of what those represent. The classic adventurer sits outside of civilization, yet is dependent on and supportive of it too. Like the classic western these are the dangerous people who go out into the world and tame the dangerous parts but once tamed those parts have no room for the dangerous people anymore. There is a bit of the shaman here as well. You stand outside the city and interact with the gods and demons for those who dwell within. Its also a bit like a lot of post apocalypse adventure fiction as well, where there was a great world once and now you travel into the ruins of the old world to gather resources to help you in the new world.
The World Uncharted

In the previous post I set out that I would like to have two types of personal aspects, Character Aspects and Reputation Aspects. There was a bit of discussion in the comments on how best to go about it and whether or not I should have players start out with reputations already or whether I should have the reputations grow outward from zero. So here is what I have come up with as of right now for character creation part 1, aspects:

Aspects

When you first make your character you will need to create three aspects that represent the more permanent and essential parts of your character. These three aspects are called Character Aspects(I know, right? how do I come up with such original and awesome terminology? It's like a gift or something).

High Concept: This represents the core of your character, very often a stunt tree or two will be attached to this Aspect as it is the least likely to change over time. I would like to come up with something a little more old school for the name of this aspect, but it is pretty standard Fate stuff here for this one.

Belief: I'ma steal this from Jadepunk and kind of mash it in with inciting incident(also from Jadepunk). For this aspect figure out why your character is adventuring and what keeps them adventuring. This could be wealth, fame, love , or even a total disconnect from normal society. Basically this aspect is your reason for adventuring.

Backstory: I just really like this as an aspect. I do think it it needs to be character focused though. This aspect should relate to how your character's history family and the like relates to why they are outsiders and why they adventure. Every aspect should relate to why you adventure.

Once you have those three aspects you may move on to work out your skills and the ladder and stunts from the stunt trees and all that stuff which will be in future posts. Very exciting, not gonna lie, I am excited. Now on to the second part of the aspects, the Reputation Aspects(again, not to toot my own horn but I am just nailing these super creative names for things). You do not start out with any Reputation aspects , but you do get two reputation slots. How you gain reputation aspects is like so.

At the end of an adventure, which should be roughly equivalent to a significant milestone, the person you your left will make a reputation aspect for you that represents something that happened in the adventure or how people respond to you do to the outcome of the adventure. That is how you get the first one. The second reputation aspect happens at the end of the second adventure(the next significant milestone)but instead of the person your left you get the aspect from the person on your right. Once you have two Reputation aspects they will change at every significant milestone, and be written by the person on your right or left depending on which aspect you are changing. If you want to start as less of a blank slate and more connected to the world around you you could start with one or both aspects already pre-created. This would be a more advanced character, more connected and known. If that makes sense.

I had a bit of a thought as I built this character aspect rules set. I want there to be a party character sheet. I am still not fully sure how I want it to work, but I think it would be interesting for you to get rid of one of your personal aspects at a major milestone(or something) and use that to alter and grow your Adventuring Party Sheet(man I am on fire with these names, just...so...creative). I would like this adventuring party sheet to cover something similar to what is used in Blades in the Dark for the group sheet and the maps and such. It is a really spiffy system and I think there is a lot there I can fiddle with. I think it would be interesting as well that you could take your reputation and give it to your group as a whole...in a way. Like I said this is just an idea I had as I was writing this post. It is incomplete, but I think there is something in it. So I will add a post on it later on.

And that is what I have for personal aspect creation in this hack. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Often it is difficult for me to keep writing if I don't have feedback. So if you have some feedback, by all means let me hear it. The next post, I think will delve into skills and the choices I have made along those lines here.

Previous Post: The basic premise and why I am doing this
Next Post: Skills

Monday, May 22, 2017

FATEsy Heartbreaker: Reworking Ideas and a Real Title


It has been a while since I last got any serious work done on this project, or any of my other solo projects either. For the last year or so I have been working on a joint project with +Megan Bennett-Burks that we hope to have out within the next couple of months, watch for Far Off Land coming soon. For some reason writing has been a great difficulty. I am not sure why. what I do know is that each day that went by with a minimum of writing the easier it became to write less the next day. This sort of spiraled for a while. This post is the first in what I hope is a series of posts that will help me move forward into steadier writing. I hope you like it, fingers crossed.

When I first started this project I was unsure what I was aiming for. Mostly it was a way of having a bit of fun with Fate. I like objects in motion and it was fun playing around with altering well worn tropes and seeing if I could find some new edges in Fate at the same time. As I went forward with the project I ended up building a bunch of interesting widgets and I saw hints of somethings even bigger and more interesting that needed more development.

That in mind I have decided to rework the mechanics I built and see what I can make out of what has come before. The end goal of this is to build the skeleton of a game that is at once old school and new. I want a game that feels a bit like old school D&D and a bit like the Comic Book Rat Queens. Basically I want something that feels like a Dungeon crawl(Fate Style, so more like the movie of a dungeon crawl) and also feels like a character driven story with relationships and the like evolving over time.

In this first post I will be breaking down the core elements of character creation as well as the large scale mechanical subsystems I currently intend to work on. I also have come up with a Title that works better for me than Heartbreaker. The Title I am leaning toward right now is...

The Far Marches

The game will focus around exploring a dangerous wilderness filled with ancient ruins and dangerous monsters. To that end the players will be playing a group of thrill seekers, treasure hunters, and other folk who just don't fit into polite society. This motley crew will be some of the very very few who purposely walk into dangerous lands in search of powerful magics and great wealth.

As I want this game to be a toolkit for making your own fantasy dungeon crawl games I need to breakdown the set up of the game to its very very core. No fantasy races(though I want to put in the option so that you may make your own), a very simple magic system(Fate will be a boon there), and such. I just want to work out the core mechanical necessities of the type of characters that would fit into this type of game.

World Building
Like many many Fate games world/campaign building should be a cooperatively built to some extent. Some parts of the world are going to be set fairly hard up front. The world is a fantasy world, so there is that. The world needs big dangerous wilderness filled with ancient ruins, dangerous monsters, and other mysteries that need to be explored and brought back to civilization. I would like that civilization to be represented by a single town that will be the headquarters of the player characters. This will allow me to use the really excellent city creation rules that many Fate Games use.

I would also like to use something like the city map from Blades in the Dark, or at least an idea that stems from that. I would like to have a character sheet for the town that would allow for the players to make alterations to the town so it can grow and change in response to player action. I also would like to have something similar for the surrounding lands to build in that classic Old School Mapping feeling. This would be a character facing map and as such it would only have stuff on it that they discover, crate, and interact with.

The world building section needs to answer a couple of big questions. Why are these treasure hunters allowed in society; Why is there ruin filled wilderness around the town; and How are the adventurers viewed by society as whole? I know I need to rework these questions and probably lay out a bunch of examples and explanations on how these questions might be answered and what that means to the game world. This is the area I am most uncertain on and yet it is the area I am most certain needs to be nailed down the clearest. So if you have any ideas on it I would love to hear it.

Character Creation Breakdown
When making a character there are a bunch of moving parts that need to be worked out. There are the core three bits: Aspects, Skills, and Stunts. However there are also a number of other moving parts that need to be examined. I already have a number of ideas on how I am going to use these moving parts, but if you see a flaw or an issue please let me know.

Aspects
Character aspects in Fate Core can vary in number and in potency. The choice of that number will have a huge effect on play. Aspects started at ten way back in Spirit of the Century, and for a long while after that 10 was the number in most Fate games. Then came Dresden Files RPG which lowered that number of character aspects to 7. Finally in Fate Core we saw the number of aspects lowered again to 5. This seems to be a solid number of character aspects. Not so many that the GM forgets them and enough so that the character isn't really one note.

For this hack I am leaning toward two types of character aspects. First I want there to be fairly standard character aspects as one would expect in Fate.  The other type would be a little different, they would be aspects that one gets as they advance through the game. My idea is this. At the end of a big adventure(dungeon crawl and the fallout from that dungeon crawl back in town) the players would get to give the person next to them an aspect related to their performance in the adventure. I think the number of these secondary character aspects should remain at around two or three, and would kind of represent something like the character's reputation and what stories are told about them in the town. As I want two to three adventure aspects I think that the initial number of aspects should also be kept fairly low. I am thinking three personal aspects. This could lead to a character that is a bit one note at first. Though this could be a problem I do think it fits with my idea of growing the characters through their reputations and the like. The characters will start out fairly simple, but over time and throughout adventuring they will become more complex and more linked to the hometown and its surrounding area.

Skills
I have gone back and forth on skills in this hack how many to have, how expansive whether there should be special skills with odd effects. In the end I am still unsure. Way back in the first version of this hack I went with the classic six attributes and then used stunts to represent specializations and skills. The more I think on it the more I lean away from that. I think what I would like to do is a custom skill list with some rules for building class and race skills. This would allow for fantasy race and classes without needing them to make the game work. The hard part comes to narrowing down the skills to what is needed without going over and without removing too many. I could just use the skills as listed in Fate Core, but I really do believe that for a custom game you need custom skills that reinforce the core game play both mechanically and thematically.

Stunts
Stunts often add specialization and special powers to the skills and aspects. They can be linked to both or to neither. Stunts are fun and fiddly, and as such I quite like them. I want to cover magic with stunts as well as cool techniques. The problem I have is not what to do with stunts, but when should I stop fiddling with stunts? Stunts invite manipulation and fiddling, so stopping that can be difficult. I am currently leaning toward stunt trees revolving around the core competencies one usually finds in the standard Old School Fantasy. Each spell will be in itself a stunt. As you can exchange a stunt for another stunt at a minor milestone, this fits pretty well with the extant Vancian Casting common in the old school fantasy. Stunt trees are tricky and I have never done them before, so I am unsure on how well that will work as I work forward with this hack. I also want each stunt tree to require certain types of character aspects. This does mean that if you change a connected aspect then you could lose access to the related stunts. Which suggests some tactical goals in a given conflict.

Other Character Facing Things I want in the Game
Wealth: I really hate the wealth system I developed way back in the first version of the hack. I hate it a lot. It just does not work very well in practice. It is fiddly and requires keeping track of two pools of rapidly shifting points for very little extra mechanical benefit. I am currently leaning toward something like the wealth system from Diaspora, though that does not fully work for me yet. I have a bunch of half Ideas on this but nothing that really suits my purpose. If you have any ideas on this I would love to hear them.

Stress: I would like to use conditions rather than consequences for this hack. I think that consequences fit the style of play a little bit better than the more free-form consequences.

Gear: Gear can get pretty darn complex and it can also get super simple. I want the gear in this game to matter, but I do not want it to overshadow the characters. I am leaning toward using the asset creation rules from Jadepunk in order to represent magic and special items. Then I would probably just use a list of gear to let the player keep track of what gear they have in any give situation.

Future Posts
Future posts will be going in depth into each o these issues and hopefully helping me suss out exactly what I am looking for in this Hack as well as breaking down the core mechanical subsystems I will be designing, specifically Dungeon Crawls, Overland Travel, and Relationship Mapping. That is it for today's post, I would love to hear you thoughts on the matter. Here is hoping that this will help me get back into the swing of things once again.

Next we delve into the nitty-gritty of...

The Far Marches

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Generations: 1938 First Foes and Future History

The creation of an open supers universe has hit a few snags. Nothing I can't get past, but they do need some consideration. Lets discuss.

The process for creating villains and the adventures that follow is quite a trick. I could use the Mythic GM Emulator, however I do not own that and I currently have no money for which to buy it. I may get it in the future, but for now I kind of have to wing it and come up with a situation generation device. Some of the villains and plots will pretty straightforward. If you come up with a Jewish folk hero right before World War II, for instance, it is not that much of a leap to get said hero fighting Nazis and Nazi Sympathizers. Some of the history stuff will be dependent on other heroes and villains that already exist(as I go forward), and some of it will be because it makes sense in the timeline as I am constructing it in my head.

I sort of have a rough outline of the century as it mostly will progress, based on the actual history of the big comic book universes and some ideas I have had floating around for a while now. It will start as normal with the twentieth century as we understand it. Then in the late thirties the secret world will become reveled through the lens of super human heroes and villains. The War will unite them and many great adventures will be had fighting Nazis and such. After the war, much celebrating and a return to form. In the fifties their will be Civil Strife and many heroes will go into the shadows again due to the HUAC stuff and all that. Also in the fifties will be prime time for awesome super spy organizations like UNCLE, CONTROL, SHIELD, and others. The Sixties will be a big time of Exploration of space as well as the civil rights movement. The Seventies will be prime supers time. A whole new generation of heroes has been raised up on the stories of the previous generation's heroes and will begin to don the capes once more. The eighties will bring a massive tech revolution that began in the seventies, only it will be much faster and more dramatic because of super science and the like. The nineties will be almost cyberpunk due to these advances, leading into the 2000s which will be the worlds first steps into a wider universe with the colonization of the Moon, Mars, and Venus. I have yet to decide if the solar system is inhabited by aliens yet, I could see it being interesting either way. I am open to suggestions.

So that out of the way lets dig a bit into The Golem's adventures. First I know somethings already. The Golem is immortal, which means he could be his own legacy and also he can serve as that central moral Icon for the century, much as another semi immortal alien super hero did for another universe. Golem may get taken out, but he will always return. I also know that he will have a daughter(Thanks to +Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi for that, really changed how I saw the character and opened up a lot of interesting avenues) who shows up in the seventies do to some strange circumstance with a sorceress named Drusilla, who no one on earth has ever met. Dusty, the daughter shows up as a teenager in the seventies, so that means that sometime in the fifties Golem travels to another dimension, meets Drusilla and they somehow form a union that results in a daughter created through magic. Because of this we know that other dimensions exist, perhaps an infinite Landscape of dimensions, or perhaps a finite one. So that is all in the future. In 1938 he encounters to villains of any real note. Mostly he fights corrupt councilmen, aldermen, and slumlords who are hurting the Jewish community in New York. I like to think he has a bit of a sense of humor about, giving out poetic punishments that are meant to teach people the error of their ways as much as punish them.

The Ghost(Later known as the Flying Dutchman) and the Crime College first came into being in the late twenties. The Ghost is sort of a talent scout for criminals. He is a master of many skills, His family is of the dutch royal line exiled due to circumstances none wish to speak of, he was raised to be a master of all skills and disciplines. He used those skills to become a master thief and by the mid twenties had accumulated over ten million dollars in ill gotten gains. He then set about investing that money in the inner city, gathering talented people to him to build an empire of crime and advance the science of crime. He employs scientists to develop technologies to enhance criminals, and he trains street toughs in a martial art of his own devising. He does not run organized crime, but he sells services and technology to Organized crime.  The Ghost encounters The Golem when some of his operations were disrupted by The Golem. He came out of retirement and fought the Golem to a standstill his technology just barely a match for the Golem's inhuman might. He was eventually defeated and handed over to the authorities, but promptly escaped and is on the lamb. He still nurses a grudge and swore that one day he would bring the Golem low.

Die Maske is a member of the Nazi SS who specializes in disguise. None but Himmler know his real name(or even if he is a man or a woman). Die Maske uses specialized chemicals to make her skin more pliable and shapeable, as well as to change her voice. He uses this to study and copy people and to gather secret information. He first encountered the Golem when trying to sabotage the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and frame the French Government. The Goem put a stop to the plans, but could not capture Die Maske as she placed innocent people in danger. The Golem had to choose between catching Him and saving innocents. I see Die Maske a s a solid recurring villain in any story involving the War.

Now that I have the two big adventures of 1938 somewhat plotted out I got to thinking. What are some of the knock on effects of the Appearance of the Golem? For one I think that interest in the Jewish faith will be on the rise. I have a feeling Orthodox Jewish belief will have a larger impact on the history of North America than it did in our own century. It also raises the question on the nature of Deity in the universe. I am a christian, so I do tend to have a bias toward a specific monotheistic worldview. However I really do like having the various pantheons and such as well, I love all of Jack Kirby's stuff(the Fourth World, Asgard) as well as being quite fond of the Greek and Roman Pantheons. I would also like to do something fun with the Hindu pantheon...maybe. I am thinking of doing a solution like they did in the DC universe, where there is an Uncaused First Cause(the Source) and the gods are just super powerful entities that are often worshiped throughout the cosmos. I could even call the central godhead, The Cause or something of the like. Let e know what you think. Maybe you have a better idea for how the gods would work in this universe.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Generations: 1938 The Rise of the Golem


In a comment on my last post it was brought up that Microscope would work far better for this project than what I am currently doing. This is a true statement. Microscope is a fantastic tool for rapidly building a whole timeline with lots of interesting ideas in it. However It does lack a couple of things that I need. First, it is best played with a group, and I wanted to make sure that I could continue this project even if no one else is interested in it. Secondly it is not random. If I am to do this project myself I need a bunch of random generators in order to make that work. For this project I needed something with random character generation and so I chose FASERIP, I could have also picked Icons or Mutants & Masterminds as both would fit really well in the kind of world I am building. Heck if anyone wants to make there own heroes for this setting you could use those systems to equal effect. All I really need is the basics of what the hero can do and how that would effect the timeline. System is pretty unimportant.

Today we delve into Generations with the first public superhero. I will walk through the character creation step by step so that you can see how it is all done. When I have the character done I will then do an abbreviated version of his first three adventures.

So to start we need to work out the basic power level of the setting. I am going with World Class as my starting point, which is where the game recommends we start. Then I must roll to see how much higher or lower the various Abilities will be. For my pluses I roll 68, 1, and 47. Meaning my character's Reason, Fighting, and Endurance each go up one rank. I then must roll my negatives. For which I get 74, 69, and 79, meaning my character's reason is decreased by one rank(cancelling out the bonus I just gained) and my intuition decreases by two ranks. This leaves me with the following Ability ratings:
Fighting Fa[40]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Wc[30]
Endurance Fa[40]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]
These can be increased Later, but this is my starting point. Now We roll for powers: Now comes the fun stuff. For my first power pick I rolled 93 on the power acquisition table giving me a transformation power. Rolling a 12 on the transformation powers table give me Alter Ego as my first power. My next roll is 17 giving me an Attack power and the roll on the attack table is 24 giving me Blast as my second power. For my third power point I will roll again and get 85 a sense power. rolling on the sense table gives me 88, Super senses(which I must pick a specific one, I am going with Circular Vision). Now I will roll again, 75, which grants me a Physical enhancement power. Rolling 37 give me the power of Immortality. Now I have spent 4 of my eight power points and have a fairly eclectic group of powers. I think I will spend some of my points non  randomly in order to increase some of my existing scores. I will increase my strength, fighting, and endurance each by one which costs one point each. This leaves my with one point left. I think I will make one last random power roll. A 20 gives me an attack power or a boost to an existing attack power. I think I will increase Blast With that. Now My Character looks like this: 
Fighting As[50]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Fa[40]
Endurance As[50]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]
Alter Ego Gt[20]
Blast Wc[30]
Super Senses(Circular Vision) Gt[20]
Immortality Gt[20]
So he is really tough, good at fighting will live for a very long time and can shoot lasers from his fingers(or something). Good Good. I really don't care for Alter Ego so I think I am going to drop that Power and use that to gain two benefits. The Benefits I am looking at are A specialty in the Blast Power, and a Specialty in Investigation(my intuition sucks and a hero has to be able to ind some clues. The final step is to come up with a random origin and a random source for those powers. I rolled a 2 on the origin table that I made(though I crewed that up and need to fix it) and so this character is Artificial in some way. I think he is some sort of robot or something. As this is the thirties I have to decide if mad science has advanced to the point of intelligent robots or if maybe I should go with a golem. I like that, a heroic golem. Though that does raise the question, is he an American or is he the hero of the Jewish ghettos in Germany. Maybe he is American, he was created in response to the antisemitism that spread throughout the world. I could see him doing stuff like Joe Greenstein(who is awesome and you should read up on him, he once beat up thirty members of the American Nazi party on his own). Also this would make this character a bit of a warped mirror of superman, in a way. I like it. Now for the source of his power, I rolled a 5 giving me a power source of Innate. That makes sense as a mystic construct of the collective will of the Jewish immigrants in New York I see the golem being naturally strong and tough and immortal. Also he can shoot fire because why not. SO now I give you the First Public Superhero:
Kind of how I see the Golem looking

The Golem
Real Name: Has None
Secret Identity: Has none
Fighting As[50]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Fa[40]
Endurance As[50]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]

Blast Wc[30]
Super Senses(Circular Vision) Gt[20]
Immortality Gt[20]

Specialties: Blast, Investigation

As the Nazis gained power in Germany the Jews began to flee the country. Many came to America as they saw it as a land of freedom and peace. When they arrived, though they saw that the Nazi movement was making inroads here too. These people came to their Rabbis with concerns the people prayed. For nearly a year now, the Jewish areas of New York have been patrolled by a shadowy savior. He speaks mostly in Hebrew and helps those in need. Eventually the Mob started muscling in and the savior had to step into the light to do battle with these criminals. Standing seven foot tall and made of living mud and brick The Golem drove the hoodlums out of the neighbor hood. Immensely strong and durable, and able shoot fire, this strange being has become something of a sensation in the papers. He is just now beginning to see what a force for good he could be, not just in stopping crime but in helping America realize the Danger of the Nazis and those like them.

There is the first public Superhero in this setting. Going to be honest, did not see it going this way. I am not sure I am in love with the wording of the description, but It will o for now. I think for future heroes I may want to do origin and source first, rather than last, I think that will help me sort out powers as I go. Next time I will come up with the first super villain to threaten this setting. Should be exciting. Let me know what you think of this first hero, and maybe help make him more interesting and such. I also need to work out how magic and such works now, as now that is a major part of the setting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

FASERIP: Generations

The idea: I want to make a living supers universe. something that would be super fun to play in and have grand adventures in. I would love to run this game as a GM, however I do not do very well in long term games. It is just not how my brain operates. So instead what I would like to do is create a bunch of superheroes and villains and slot them into the timeline as I go. I will be trying to organically create a supers universe where people age as they go and the status quo is less important than following through on the ramifications of a world with supers in it. If major technologies have little impact that will be due to explainable reasons, even if those explanations are the actions of other powerful beings. I will be stealing heavily from existing universes for the timeline, so the initial supers will be few, but powerful. As time goes on there will be an increase in the number of supers and villains.

The year is 1938 and and I will start with the first batch of superheroes. There may have been mystery men and adventurers in the past, but these are the first public supers of the modern age. I get one big team up adventure per year. Between adventures I will write up a number of solo adventures(between one and three), only one of which is allowed to have a recurring villain. The years go forward as normal. After each major adventure you can continue the character or come up with a new one to have in the new adventure. After about ten to fifteen years worth of adventuring the hero will retire(unless they are immortal or something). Being a superhero is a lot like being a professional athlete, it is hard on the body.  So you can have legacies build out like that. Then I carry it forward from then until now and we build the world as it goes.

I will be using a number of system in order to replicate what I need for the setting. I will be making characters using FASERIP(its free so check it out, I like it you might too). I enjoy the game and it has a very decent random character generator, so that will be handy. I will use the world alteration rules from Progenitor(not free, but worth every penny) in order to judge the changes to the timeline as I go, so anti grav and super pills will have a real world impact. I also will be stealing as much of the bizarre stuff from comics as I can. No Origin or Source of Powers is off the table, though I will have to come up wit ha random table for those so that I have less control and thus must exhibit more creativity(I hope).


The world will probably have a more optimistic bent to it as making it super grim/dark has no real appeal to me. Though I do think that there would be some major issues that would crop up so we will see how that works as we go forward. It will probably be a bit America focused as I am American and understand that paradigm a little better than other countries. That said I will definitely try to include more heroes from around the world. I will start with America though as flamboyant heroes in bright costumes fighting for truth and justice sort of fits in America very well. I really do want to do a big honking Brazilian team though, not sure where they will fit in but I think it would be cool. Anyway, I will also need a way to randomly come up with superhero world changing events and a way to make sure they stay spaced out so that its not happening all the time. Stuff like the White Event, Blackest Night, The Comet, and similar stuff that changes the dynamic of the setting will be needed, but I can't have them happening all the time.

New random Chartse

Origins
1 - Artificial
2 - Birthright
3 - Gimmick
4 - Transformed
5 - Visitor
6 - Trained(this does not allow for powers or superhuman abilities)

Sources
1 - Cosmic
2 - Divine
3 - Genetic Mutation
4 - Infernal
5 - Innate
6 - Magic
7 - Psychic
8 - Science!


Yearly Adventure Generator
Big changing events, you get one per ten year period(1939-1949, etc) each year I roll a ten sided die and on a ten that is the year of that decade's events.

When designing a character you must answer these questions(though not all at the same time)
Do they get married?
Do they have children?
Are their powers/training/gadgets inherited?
Do their children go on to be superheroes?
Is anyone else inspired by the hero to become a hero(do not need to have the same powers)?

And the best part? You can play along as well. Seriously It would be cool. If you have a blog and want to play along there you certainly can make sure to leave me a link in the comments so I can add it to the setting, otherwise do a write up of your Hero/adventure/what have you and then send me a note in the comments and I will post it in my next post in this series. I think that would be pretty cool. It could start some really spiffy ideas and spin the world off into even more cool ideas. It will start to feel a little more like an actual comic book universe as we will get some messiness and complexity that a single writer cannot get. This may mean that we need to have a couple of parallel universes or something, but that is cool and totally usable in this setting. Like I said, nothing is off the table at this point.

So what do you think? Is there anything I need to add? Anything where I am going to far, digging too deep?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Evolution of the Map of Jadepunk

Earlier I ran into an online conversation about the map of Jadepunk. Namely, did we have one? Technically we do not have a map. However I do have a rough map that I worked up over time while I was writing stuff.  Now the map I use is not the final map. It is not cannon, nor is it finished. Things can and will change as we move forward with the project. I just thought it would be neat to show you what my Jadepunk looks like. Your Jadepunk may vary.

It came about because during the creation of Jadepunk the landscape changed quite a lot. When I first teamed up with Ryan to make the game we even went back and forth for a little while on whether we should just make it our world and do an alternate history. We quickly decided against that for a number of reasons, the main one being that we wanted to do something new and interesting(here's hoping we succeeded, yeah?).

I based a lot of the surrounding terrain and climate on Hong Kong and Shanghai, though I did have some constraints on it. It could not be in an easily accessible piece of land. Otherwise some one would have discovered black jade much earlier. Also it needed a large mountain range near it as that was where most o the mines were. Also it needed a large bay, because it needed to be able to ship out the jade mined there. At one point Ryan and I thought about having something like the silk road, but with jade instead, working its way through all of the lands terminating at Kausao City. But again, the need for it to be cut off and isolated nixed that plan. Though I did add a little something like that into the Red Jadetech book.

I knew that Aerum and Naramel would be to the west of Kausao, we had that nailed down fairly early. I also Knew that Aerum would be an island. I always saw it as being as large as Australia, and the west coast of it being heavily inhabited as the mountains and hills along the sea were far safer that the inland deserts and volcanoes in the burned lands to the east. Though I think Ryan and I still disagree as to the location of the Burned Lands. He wants them in the west I want them to the east. I am sure that will get sorted out soon enough though. I saw Naramel as the massive nation that does not rules the whole of it's continent directly, but still exerts control through economics and small wars. They control the massive river valley through most of the desert regions, as well as the surrounding deserts.

Tuyang was always going to be north of Kausao. It has the most direct land route to the city which gives it an edge. Back when we first started the project Tuyang was going to be a conquered nation and Kausao was going to be its capital. We moved away from that as it was less interesting that the situation we now have set up in the city. On a side note, there is a contradiction in the books. In some parts we say that only Tuyang is on the same continent as Kausao, and then in others we say that Naramel is on the other side of the Xibu Bati Mountains. As I said, your Jadepunk may vary. I kind of work it like this, Tuyang has the only mountain pass that, while difficult and dangerous, is the only true land connection to Kusao while Naramel might have a land connection it cannot use that.  Kaiyumi was always to the east of the city, it was kind of a mix of the Philippines and Japan, so it was a huge nation of thousands of islands. beyond that was a couple of continents that had just recently been discovered(within the last hundred years or so). As you can see I had the rough directions of the major nations and what their land kind of looked like. Using those directions and my inadequate understanding of geology, meteorology, and science in general I set about to rough out a map. This was the first hand drawn map I used.

Admit it, you are jealous of my L33T drawring skills. :P
Starting with that I then roughed out something a bit closer to the map I had in my head using my very very limited understanding of photoshop. And thus we get the final rough draft of how I see the world of Jadepunk. Mind you it is not to scale. Those oceans should be a lot bigger and the contenents a little more spread apart. I did say this was a rough draft right?
Best map ever...provided you ignore how crappy it is. 


So there you go. You get to see a bit into how I think and how I design. I hope it was of use to you, or at least entertaining. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rethinking Stress and Consequences(sort of)


I have been mucking about with stress and consequences for a while now. I have played with the idea of not having stress, or only having stress when certain conditions are met, using alternate tracks and simplified tracks. I have never been all that excited about the two stress tracks listed in the main Fate Core book. It just always felt off to me. In analyzing my issue with the stress tracks I came up with a thought on a solution to my problem, or at least a solution to one corner of the nebulous issue I have yet to fully comprehend(on a side note, I hate it when I have a problem but I cannot properly define the problem).

OK so here is the thought:

Conflict and stress tracks work as normal..sort of. You can take multiple stress boxes to absorb stress. You cannot take consequences during the conflict. I would probably increase teh number of stress boxes by one or two, or perhaps grant more lower tier stress boxes in order to make the characters more durable.

At the end of conflict you only get your stress back if you take a consequence that is worth as much as the highest level of stress box you have marked.  So consequences allow for refresh of stress and provide lasting impact for stress in a new(ish) way.

This would require some rejiggering of the stress and consequence mechanics, but would be interesting. During a conflict you may not notice the damage you are taking(mentally or physically) but after wards when you have a chance to reflect and notice things you will find the damage. Or you could not do that and just repress, however that makes it easier to stress you out in the future. This would allow for some different trade offs and tactics in play, while giving stress tracks a little more focus in play. Heck you could then get a stunt that allows you to refresh stress during a conflict by taking a higher consequence.


That is that idea. Pretty simple, not all that novel, really. However I like the concept and would like to discuss it. What do you think? Would it work? What are some problems you see with it? What might it work best for?