My three Fate Core one shot ideas...

So, I thought I would go into more detail about the three scenarios I am thinking about creating for Fate Core. These are just one shots to get the mind flowing on the system.

#1. The good, the bad, and the Fate.

The setting. It is the Old west. Serenity Hill. A small town in the middle of nowhere. Outlaws owning the roads and robbing the trains. The law doing everything they can just to survive. Six shooters blazing at will. Something lurking in the darkness.

Serenity Hill is a town that was once bustling and thriving in the world. People had a good life and the law made sure it was safe. Crops were bountiful to not only live on, but to trade to the nearest city of Riverwood. Times were prosperous. People were happy.

But as things often do, things changed quickly. Rumors of a vast amount of gold in the west sent a large majority of people off to find their fortune. Because not matt how wealthy one can be, you can always want more.

Now, the town struggles to survive with less people to tend the crops, and the two largest families on the verge of a feud. Not to mention the outlaws that constantly raid the town and demand tithes. Oh and then there are the creatures in the dark…

Who are you?  You are a company that was hired by the governor of the state to bring order to the region. You roam from town to town trying to help people fight the lawlessness that is taking over the world. Sort of like the Dogs in Dogs in the vineyard, minus the religious component.

#2. Fate’s Gambit.

The setting. Kushara. A fantasy world of magic and wonder. A world ravaged by the elements as natural disasters of all types constantly berate the land. A land where the people struggle to survive the harsh elements and those that rules with an iron fist.

Yet, it is a thriving world where the elements themselves can be wielded to do great deeds or cause mayhem.

Magic, however is forbidden except for those that rule. That cabal is known only as the Devout. The Devout have been in power for as long as anyone can remember, and their belief is that only they are worthy to hold such magic. So, they created sentinels to hunt down anyone else that shows any signs of magic.  Bringing them back alive if they can, killing them if they have no other alternative. These unfortunate souls are known as the wicked (yes, the name needs work).

Recently, you have found out that the Devout have learned of your identity. So, they are sending the Sentinels to ravage your home town of Devon’s Cross. You rush home to save your family (and everyone else if possible), or to help defend the town. Then again, it could be a trap.

Who are you?  One of your characters is a child of Fate and born with the power. Your lives have been a difficult one, since you have spent most of it looking over your shoulder. Allies have been made and friendships have made you strong. Yet, you struggle to find a way to fight back. Is now that time? Or are the Sentinels setting up an ambush in that pass ahead?

#3. Murder by Fate

The setting. The backdrop is a large mansion cascaded in shadows. Rain and lightning battering the manor as if nature itself was raging at its existence.

Four people arrive separately to the mansion via limousine service.  Yet, none of you know why you were invited. Your only clue was a letter addressed to each of you requesting your presence on this day, and a promise that the information you received would only further your ambitions.

What you don’t know is that you have been enticed to this place and time because each of you has wronged someone in the past. Someone with enough power to lure you to this place.

Someone who plans on killing all of you.

Who are you? Four strangers trapped in a house on this dark and stormy night. After the initial sequence you are left on your own in the mansion. What secrets does it hold? Who is the person behind this?

The four of you have to decide on how to move forward. You may have survived initially, but the mansion is massive and danger could be lurking around every corner.

Can you trust the others enough to work together to find the person behind this?
Or do the others feel “wrong” to you and you know the only person you can trust is yourself?

The choice is yours, but you must find a way to survive the night.


My thoughts on Fate Core after playing it a few times...

So, I have played the updated Fate Core a few times lately, and wanted to give a few thoughts on how it plays.

Now a lot of people have read the pdf by now, but there are some changes from some of the older versions of Fate.  A few of them are:
-You only start with a health and mental track of two. Yes, if you choose physique or will, it increases but since everyone doesn’t always choose those skills, the game seems a hell of a lot more dangerous for your character.
-When a player (or npc) take a consequence, it can be used as an advantage (what tagging used to be) for free.
-You get 20 skill points only, which comes up to 10 actual skills.(1, great, 2, good, 3 fair, and 4 average). This makes it really important for you to choose which skills work for you in the game.
-You start out with 3 fate points, and if you want a stunt it subtracts from that (but the first stunt is free). So, you start out with usually 1 or 2 fate points to start.
-You can now invoke an aspect to make the npc (or another player) overcome an obstacle. This basically is replacing the block action on a turn. I haven’t done this one yet, mostly because it is hard to remember to do it. It is an interesting idea.
-One cool thing I really like is that if you fail a roll, you can actually still succeed but at a cost. This is a very cool thing and since you don’t start out with that many fate points, it gives you another way to succeed.  Also if you tie, you can succeed, but at minor cost. Nice.
-They have created a boost. It is basically like tagging an aspect, but it is free and you can only use it once and then it is gone.
-If you (or the npc) succeeds at an action and get 3 or more shifts, you succeed with style. You actually get bonuses and/or extra advantages when creating them.

There might be a few more, but that is what I am remembering at this point.

So, what I got out of this was just how dangerous the game is now. I played a Star Wars game last week and someone almost died in the first scene. It was a bit brutal. With a smaller health track, it means you will be taking consequences pretty quickly if things go bad. Combine that with the fact that those consequences can be tagged for free, just intensifies that.

The other thing you get is that is just written so much cleaner. Everything they changed seems to speed the game along. Which has been one of the few issues I have had with the system over the years. Sometimes conflicts could take a while to resolve. Now, they seem to go at an almost super human speed.

Also, since it is a blank slate, people are going crazy with coming up with their own scenarios. If you want a Star Wars game, you make it. If you want a game set in the civil war, but with werewolves, you do it. It is very easy to create the world with this game and is kind of fun to see what everyone is making with it.

So, Fate Core is awesome. They took everything that was great about the system and cleaned it up a bit. It is decidedly harder for the characters to survive, but I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. Not to mention, you can still tweak it how you want and give them more skills or a higher health/mental track if you wish. The game yells flexibility.


Fate Core Star Wars...the recap.

So, we played our first session of the Fate Core Star Wars game last night. It was also the first time I really played the game with the new tweaks in the system. A lot of little changes that really speeds the game up, but makes it much more dangerous for the players.

So, this was a pretty hastily put together micro version of the Star Wars universe. Taking place at the beginning of the Jedi Knight order, and taking place in Corellia. The world had some of the usual tpes. A power hungry Hutt, the beginning of what would be the Sith, an alien type empire bent do conquering the galaxy…and only the Jedi to stop them!

You know, the usual.

The game itself ran pretty smoothly via hangout. One of the biggest issues is that one of our players is not a English speaker, so it is hard to understand him sometimes. That isn’t his fault, and for all I know he may have an equally hard time understand us. Is just one of those things you don’t have much control over.

A few highlights from the night.

My character Krax Inkari, doing a force jump and attacking a dark jedi in the face, while they were riding a dark side influence rancor. Yep, rancor.

Sadly, the next thing that happened was Zaen (one of the other jedi) then got stomped on by the Rancor and took an severe consequence not even 5 minutes into the fight. Holy shit.

The dark jedi ended up being Galen’s (the other jedi in the group) sister, and my ex-lover. She was being groomed by the evil jedi Taelros , and my character got a good enough roll to bring her away from the dark side.

As we were leaving some bounty hunter types that galen owed money, ambushed our party as we were getting into our ships. That is where we quit,


Fate Core will #$@$ you up. The smaller health and mental tracks make the game so much more deadly. Especially with the addition of more ways to get advantages and boosts (what used to be called tags). A player almost died in the first fight. IT was nuts.

The game goes much faster, which has always been one of the issues with Fate sometimes. They cleaned up a lot of that and the game flows much better now. That is damn cool.

I like that you can play pretty much whatever you wish. Star Wars. WWII with steampunk. Old West. Knights of the Round table. It doesn’t matter, you just have to create the setting for it. This is why so many people are so excited about this.

It was a lot of fun.

You can go watch our you tube video of this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=h2_gJTMT5LQ


My Fate Core Star Wars character for tonight.

Krax Inkari

Race: Twi’lek
Description. Krax has a light blue skin and is about 5 foot 6 and has a lithe body. He is a Jedi, so he typically is wearing a grey robe and his lightsaber is purple..

High Concept: Twi’lek Jedi investigator
Dark side: When evil gains hold in the world
Aspect; Some wounds never completely heal
Aspect: Blindly loyal, fiercely protective
Aspect: Everything starts with a plan

Great +4 Investigation
Good+3: Athletics, Rapport
Fair +2 Fighting, Stealth, Empathy
Average +1 Physique, Will, Lore, Notice

Stunt 1. Force speed +2 to dodge attacks.
Stunt 2. The Power of Deduction. Once per scene you can spend a fate point
(and a few minutes of observation) to make a special Investigation
roll representing your potent deductive faculties. You may discover or
create an aspect for each shift you make on this roll, on either the scene
or the target of your observations, though you may only invoke one of
them for free.

My first adventure: Naive in the matters of the heart, Krax was lured to a remote jungle location by fellow apprentice Aria Orion They had had an on again and off again romance during their time together at the academy. Aria was upset that Krax had shown interest in another student and wanted to teach him a lesson. She drugged him with a bothan red and left him in the jungle to find his way back to the temple On his way back to the temple  Krax was then attacked by a Rancor and left for dead. The attack left Krxa with a knee injury.
Aspect: Some wounds never completely heal.

Crossing path-Galen Orion. Krax found out that Aria Orion was kidnapped by Kreega the Hutt.

Krax finds word of this and although things had not gone as planned for him with Aria, he knew he must save her. Krax charges blindly to her rescue, not knowing that  negotiations were almost finished, and she was about to be release. His appearance started a firefight during the negotiation, and Krax barely made it out alive. Aria vowed he would pay for nearly getting her killed.
Aspect: Blindly loyal, fiercely protective

Crossing path-Zaen Moor. Zaen was part of the crew which tried to take over a ship with Jedi’s Taelros and Sovi Duan.

Krax joins the battle against the pirates and as the battle rages on, plan after plan fails. Finally, the Krax makes his stand and defeats a group of pirates that had trapped him in a corridor.
Aspect: When a good plan falls apart, there is always my lightsaber.

Health track=3
Mental track=3


Shadow of the Century!

So, over on the Fate Core Kickstarter page they came up things have been movin’ on along. Stretch goal after stretch goal has been met, and one can only wonder how they can top what they have already done.

Well, not anymore.

Introducing, Shadow of the Century

Holy shit.

Those were the exact words that popped out of my mouth when I started reading that they were taking the Spirit of the Century and moving it forward about 60 years to 1984. The centurions are have been outlawed and the Shadows are in power.

It is up to a new batch of heroes to try to save the day.

This kicks ass on so many levels. Sotc was such a great game and to this day I am always happy to get to play it when I can. But the idea of moving the story forward, and especially with the updated Fate Core rules for it, is just amazing.

We got into a huge conversation on Google+ about what kind of heroes that were prevalent in the 80’s. There are just so many tv shows/movies that have heroes that would be awesome in this kind of game.

But that is not the best the part.

The best part is that they are smart enough to take something people love, and make it MORE. I have always loved Sotc, but over the years (especially with other fate games) it began to show its time. This is not really a shot at the game, just at how good the subsequent Fate games have been. This includes another game Evil Hat made by the name of The Dresden Files.

So, when I think about Sotc now, I still love it, but it is obvious the game is too easy for the players. I have always thought this was intentional, since you are the heroes in the game and it is a game to show how awesome you are. 

This is not a bad thing, but it is still amazing to see them update this game and move it forward. I am so damn excited to start hearing about their ideas on this. It still has to reach the goal of…


155,000. They are currently around 137,000. Just 18k more to go. That normally seems like a crazy number, but they reached their current total in just a little over a week.

But if you haven’t backed this, GO DO IT NOW!


DFRPG game I am running...

So, today I started a Dresden Files game via on Google+ via hangout.

Well, we got together to introduce ourselves and to figure out what kind of game we want to actually create and then play. In case you don’t know you actually create the city before you make characters for the game.

So, we also had to figure out what power level to play in the game and get an idea as to what type of characters they wanted to play as well.

So, after introductions were out of the way, discussion started about power level. Now, all I have ran prior was the submerged level (which is the most powerful and most dangerous level of the game), and they wanted a little wiggle room, so we chose Chest Deep (8 refresh and 30 skill points).

Next came the city. One of the issues is that one of the players lives in Britain, and may have felt a bit disconnected from this considering the rest of us are from the United States. But after talking about it, it was narrowed down to New Orleans, and Orlando. We got the impression that NO has been done quite a bit and there is a lot in Orlando that people were interested in.

Just a few of those things regarding locations:
Walt Disney World
The Everglades
The Fountain of Youth
Universal Studios (Harry Potter)
Indian Casinos
Military presence in area
Islands of the coast
Sea World

There were more as well, but this is to give you a taste.

Character wise, they are not sure as of yet. The 8 refresh does give them a chance to be magic users if they wish, but they are still looking into that as we research Orlando. Probably not going to be a roaming band of wizards fighting justice.

Coolest idea? Walt Disney as a clued in mortal and member of the Unseelie Accords.  Disney itself is an Illuminati organization...

Oh and George Lucas may make in the game, if only they can find a way to either kill him or at least make him pay for the last trilogy. I agree whole heartedly.

More on this as we go forth, but with the holidays it will be slow going. 


Why I think Evil Hat is the best. Period.

This doesn't mean I don't love other gaming companies, because I do. I spend quit a bit of money on other gaming companies. This is just why I love Evil Hat the most. :)

This story goes back a few years to my time in New York City.  June of 2008 to be exact. I was going to a mini convention in the city and one of the games people were talking about was Spirit of the Century. Now my gaming background comes from D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, etc. The old school games from the late 80’s to early 90’s.

I was also in the midst of being burned out on gaming. My group had been playing D&D 2nd ed, and we moved on to 3.5…and I really, did not like it. Part of it is that I was burned out of D&D anyways, but 3.5 never really clicked with me. I played it a bit, but never enjoyed it.

Then I played Spirit of the Century.

I had not played any of the “indie” games before and it blew my mind. Just in the ways aspects are handled and the cooperative character creation. I could not believe it. Gone were the days of randomly dungeon crawling for no purpose. To be fair, I am not talking about our games for the most part. My friend Henry runs a pretty mean 2nd ed. But that is what most of D&D did turn into for me. Just let’s go kill stuff and gather gold.

So after playing this game I immediately went online and bought the game, and also Don’t Rest Your Head.  Not long after I found out they were making games from one of my favorite series. The Dresden Files. I then began my campaign to be a part of their playtesting. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but I did make myself a nuisance probably for a bit.

I was selected and life was awesome.

But the cool part about this was at this time we were making our own game. I asked Fred a few questions about game design, and he graciously answered them with quickly and with respect. This was before Google+ and everyone was blogging to get the world out on things. It was just damn cool of him to take time out of his life and answer questions to a fledgling game designer. He might say it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it left an impression on me.

I have always been impressed with Evil Hat. They go about game design and how to run a company doing that in a way that I have always appreciated.  The way they always try to answer questions. They started sending out .pdf’s to anyone that bought any of their products. Also, their honesty. The DFRPG game took much longer than they thought, but they were always there to tell you what was going on. Not making excuses per say, but at least with an answer. Was it an answer a lot of people liked? No, but silence is always worse.

Now they have made quite a few other games as well. So, the company has been doing well for itself for a while and yet there was always that rumor of the Fate Core book coming out. Sometimes I thought it would never happen, especially as time goes on. But every once in a while you would hear a small nugget about it. Just enough to make me go look for it again. Eventually the made the Fate website and started updating it as well.

So, now the book is in kickstarter. I have seen some crazy kickstarter’s and this if you asked anyone outside of the gaming sphere, would not be categorized as such. Like the freaking Shadowrun one that raised almost two million? Wow. But this has been really damn impressive to watch. They made their first goal in 12 minutes. As of right now, they are over 70k and it hasn’t even been 48 hours yet.

And the rewards? Nuts. People in the industry writing modules and mini-campaigns, and a tool-box for the game. A magical one and another just to help the game be more awesome. It will be in hardcover, since that was one of the first stretch goals. And on…and on….and on.

I mean, shit.

I have known the Fate community would love this book. Hell, even Fred knew that. But did anyone see this coming? They have almost 2400 backers?

All of this proves that I am kind of an Evil Hat fan boy at this point. Also, that they are the best damn gaming company out there. That is my opinion, so those of you that do not agree, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Is just what I think. :)

Oh in case you weren't convinced. Look at the freaking picture at the top. A cop with a gun, a female samurai (or ninja or just badass with a sword) and a huge gorilla that looks ready to take someone's head off. Enough said.


So, Fate Core came out and...damn.

Well, unless you are under a rock you have to have seen by now (either by G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that the Kickstarter for Fate Core is officially on. You can go here Fate Core to find out more about it, AND to pledge money to it. Obviously.

So, it started around midnight Est. Within 15 minutes, it it has already reached its first goal of 3,000. As of the moment of this post, it has smashed the following goals:

$3,000 Backers $10 and up get a digital fantasy adventure playable using only the Fate Core book.
$6,000 Backers $10 and up get the WW1-meets-Battlestar Galactica mini-campain.

$9,000 Backers $10 and up get a magic system toolkit for Fate Core
$12,000 Release of the pay-what-you-like download in multiple format: pdf, ePub, and mobi.
$16,000 Backers $10 and up get Wild blue, a mash-up of cowboys, fantasy, and superheroes.
$20,000 Backers $10 and up get Court/Ship, an alien invasion drama set during the court of Louis XV

Here are the next goals.

$30,000 Fate core gets published in hardcover.
$35,000 Backers $10 and up get the post-apocalyptic mutant future of Burnshift.
$40,000 Backers $10 and up will explore the live, loves, and dangers of fire fighters in Fight Fire.

There are more unlocked to be found, if and when it gets that high. Which is may. :)

My mind is blown at how fast they are flying through their goals. We all know how awesome Evil Hat is, and a lot of us love their games. But damn. :) It just goes to show how much people will support a company that does things the right way. A company that talks to their customers and truly appreciates their feedback.

This is in a word awesome.

As of this post, quickly approaching 30,000. Wow.


Gaming yesterday at OH Nerd.

So, yesterday I went to an event in Columbus, OH, called Nerd OH. It was an all-day gaming event that started ta 12. They also had board games on Friday, and a discussion about game design today. I got a ride from someone I know in Pittsburgh, and we could not stay for the last part. Even if we really wanted too. This was a last minute thing, so I did not have much time to prepare, and then off we went yesterday morning.

So, the first odd thing. When we got there, the person running it was someone I knew back when I lived in NYC named Aaron. We were part of a group called Nerdnyc (which it still is active today and if you live in NYC and want to game…look them up), and it was just bizarre to run into someone in Ohio. It blew both of our minds and he is a really good guy.

So, Aaron ran our first game of the day…Burning Wheel. I cannot say I am a huge fan of this system. I do really enjoy Mouse Guard, which is based on the system, but this one does not work for me. That isn’t saying we did not have a good time, cuz we did. But the system is a bit took clunky for me and I never really connected with it. Not to mention on one of the Gasp days here in Pitt, I tried to join a campaign of this game. After four hours we did not even finish character creation and if that is the case? It isn’t a game I want to play. It was still fun and there many moments of laughter, but BW is not for me.

The second game was Apocalypse World. I really did this game and its rules (which are also the rules for Dungeon World). This can be a gritty game and can turn kind of ugly really quick depending on whom was running it. The person I came up with and I had already had conversations about what our “triggers” are for games. What will make us want to stop playing them? One thing the GM did that was great was the X card. If someone got too bothered by what happened, they could pick up the card and the story would then veer from whatever was taking it in that direction. I have seen this a few times, but it was still a cool thing to see.

The game itself did not work out as we wished, but only due to running out of time. It does take a little while to make characters in the game and we just ran out of time. What we played was fun and it is something I would love to play again.

The last game I played with Cthulhu Dark. This is a d6 light rules game for one of my favorite mythos. That game itself was ok, but it did derail at the end when we had to kill the person that was taken over by the ancient Chinese sorcerer. I am never a fan of Cthulhu when the end result is that you are just attacking them with weapons. Don’t get me wrong, the game was fun and the GM did a good job of the setting (887 A.D. we were monks and Vikings). Just it did fall apart a bit at the end. Still, with Cthulhu, all is good.

I do wish they would have played Fiasco. The person I came with has written a fairy tell setting for this that is just awesome. We played it last week and it would have been a great ending to the night. Or that I could have gotten into the Monsterhearts game. :)

Saying that, it was a blast. I got to play three games I have never played before. Which is always awesome. I also picked up Tracy Barnett’s game School Daze, cuz it was so damn cheap. So, I will be reading that one soon.

Lastly, it was also cool to get to know this new person that came into my life. That was not meant in a creepy way since she is married. But we gamed together last week and spent almost 7 hours in the car talking on the way there and back. It is always a good thing to get to know new people. Making new friends and all that jazz. She is a very nice (even if she doesn’t like to admit it) and the hours went by without either of us really annoying each other. Which is saying something, cuz I can be damn annoying after being trapped in a car for more than about 10 minutes. 


Do I not know Fate as well as I thought?

Wow, I really need to read more of Fate.

Especially since the game we are making is using the system. This is what happens when you haven’t really gamed in a while and realize that you must play the game to really understand it.

I played the Dresden Files rpg over the weekend. It isn’t that I forgot EVERYTHING. But I did forget enough for it to bother me. I need to know this system, inside and out. I may know 90% of it, but then 10% showed up this weekend and that is not acceptable.

I have to start taking this more seriously. I own four fate games. DFRPG, SotC, Bulldogs, and Diaspora. My plan is to start playing these games more via in person, or google+ hangout. At some point I would really like to get a good tablet, so I can use the pdf’s instead of the books. But that day is not today.

So, here I am. Upset about not being able to remember magical rules and realizing that I need to know the system better. Every bit of it.

Just found the whole thing embarrassing. No one else knew it at the time, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I need to get off my ass and start doing real work on this.

Otherwise it is just yet another in a long line of things that I want to accomplish, but don’t.

Time to get to work.



So, I was lucky enough to get to meet some cool new people and did some gaming yesterday. It was a Dresden Files game I played in….a few months ago. I dropped off the face of the world for a while and have not been back to the game since then.

Yeah, I was an ass for a while. I get it.

So, anyways. I have been talking about the awesome of Google+ for a while, and a few of the people that were at the game are people I chat with on there. Getting to meet people in real life can be so very cool.

So we went to their house, and they did a great job of being hosts. Wow, their house was massive. They had a room at the top where it was for nothing but gaming. Awesome.

Ok, the games.

The games we played were:
The Dresden Files Rpg

We started with Hillfolk. This game was created by Robin Laws, whom has made other games I enjoy, such as Trail of Cthulhu.

Basically, you are a tribe, and each person plays a role. Our game had a matriarch, storyteller, high priest, raid leader (me), and a scout.  You then created relationships with each other and used a pretty simple card mechanic to resolve any issues you had.

I have not played a ton of diceless games, but this was fun and makes me wish I had backed the kickstarter when it came out. It is nothing but roleplaying and that is what I enjoyed about it. My character was the raid leader that wanted to get respect from the matriarch (his ex-lover). It was an up and down thing as the people lost faith in my ability to effective raid and ended pretty much the same way. There was a high moment, but it came crashing back down at the end.

Game 2 was The Dresden Files rpg. Boy do I love this game. But my character has not played in the game for so long, I felt like a minor character last night. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but it is what I get for not being there so long.

Speaking of which. Anyone that has ever played this game knows it is a game where you are lucky to even survive.  Yet, the entire game went without anyone even getting attacked.

What the hell?

That doesn't mean it wasn't interesting. There was a bit too much of people explaining what happened in the past games (so some of us could get caught up). This did go on for a bit, but mostly it was a rolepaying night where the players were heading to a supernatural summit, where a group known as the Thunderbirds were trying to consolidate power (along with a few other supernatural groups). In the end, disaster was averted by an apology that was made to the Thunderbirds. They had held on to a grudge for years and were willing to try to destroy a good portion of North America due to this. It was a cool thing to see at the end. An apology that saves the day.

The only real bad thing about it and this is not anyone’s fault. There were too many players at the table. Seven to be exact. That is just too many people for a GM to have to keep up with. So, the game did quite a bit of lagging. Please don’t think I am saying the GM did a bad job, cuz that is not what I am saying. But that is too many people to have any flow for a game. Minor quibble.

My best part was the end where I had to talk to the Winter Court about why I did not successfully do something and instead another player got kidnapped and I was told I have to kill one of the medium gruffs. Basically the one Harry had such a hard time killing at the bus terminal in Small Favor.

I am screwed.

The last game was Fiasco. OH MY GOD. This game was sooooooooo much fun. If you have never played this game. GO NOW. Seriously. GO. I will wait here, it is awesome.

The scenario (which was actually created by one of our host) was of fairytale creatures stuck in human bodies. You then create relationships (with the people to your left and right), objects, locations, and needs for example.

So mine were. To my left I had a relationship with a deputy. He was a bad witch, and I was a good one. We both had the need to get rich with the Midas touch.

To my right. Oh lord, did we have fun with this. We were brogres (yes, ogres that are bro’s) Fistpump! We kind of ran the fistpump thing into the dirt, but it never got old. Especially the time when we both went over to the fairy world and had the world’s most awesome slow motion fistpump. It was a magical moment for both of us. Truly.

But there was also Beauty (belle) and the beast. Gaston, the world’s most obnoxious and awful Sherriff, whom happened to be my father, and the before mentioned deputy that was also a bad witch.

Yes, it is even more ridiculous than I can actually convey here.

But there was betrayal, sex, attempted murder made with a gun that had only three bullets, and even more accidental gunshot wounds, fistpumping…LOTS AND LOTS of fistpumping, really awful police work, guidance counseling, more betrayal, Facebook (not real in the game) of the brogre’s talking about Gaston running someone over with his car, and the bad witch casting a spell that gave him the midas touch and who would have thought that could end up bad?

Oh and Gaston? Shot. Brain Damage. Coma. Stuck in the fairyworld for a while, but due the mechanics of the game (which I don’t’ 100% get yet so I am not going to try to explain) somehow managed to end up as the only character that had a “good” ending. My brogre and I? Had a Thelma and Louise moment of running from the state police and driving off a cliff. We did survive, but still. J

This was a really good day. Great games. Great people. It was awesome.              


Things I am thankful for...the Thanksgiving edition

This is what I am thankful for today. 
  • That I have damn good friends that gave me a place to stay in Pittsburgh. A chance to start over when my life was looking pretty god damn bleak. What they did is something I can never repay, but can only hope I can be there for them if they ever need anything.
  • That I have friends back in New York that also gave me a place to stay. Also gave me money to stay in a hostel, instead of having to find a shelter. Not to mention my friend Henry has always been there to thump me in the head when I started acting the idiot.
  • I am just thankful in general that that the people I can call friends are there for me. Even if I am too stubborn to ask for it.
  • I am thankful for being in reasonably good health. I do need to lost some weight and get back into a gym. But all in all, I am healthy.
  • I am thankful to be employed. I have no idea for how long, but I did not work for so long that it became a part of me for a while and that was hard to shake off.
  • I am thankful for my family, although they deserve better than what I give them.
  • I am thankful for my love of reading. It has always been there like a friend, and has helped me when things were darkest.
  • I am thankful I got to witness two of the friends I mentioned above get married a few months ago in New York City. They are amazing together and I am so damn happy for them. It was a beautiful ceremony and I am just glad I could be there.
  • I am thankful for the relationships I have made (and continue to make) on Google+. There are some great people on there and meeting people as geeky as I am is just awesome.
  • I am thankful for the lessons I continue to learn as I grow older. Trying to be a better man and being able to look to the future.
  • I am thankful for my brother Mike. He died almost a year ago of Cancer. But he taught me what it means to be a good man. He is the best man I have ever known and I can only try to be a little more like him each day.
 Lastly, I am thankful for whatever my future will be. The new people, the new challenges, the new loves (one can only hope), and the new memories.         


My dungeons and dragons hypocrisy...

So a good friend of mine has decided he wants to run a 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons game. I said I was interested in play. If anyone has followed me at all the last few years they know how I feel about D&D at this point. For those of you that do not know, let me explain.

The very first game I ever played (way back in 1991), was D&D. Except for the first encounter where I died and nearly quit the game forever (a story for a different day), I became hooked. It was not the easiest game to learn, but I got the hang of the rules and such and enjoyed myself.

It became a gateway for other games as well. Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, and Champions to name a few.

But over the years something happened.

I got burned out of the game. Our gaming group played it pretty consistently for a few years and I just lost all the desire to play the game at all. We used 2nd edition, which was the game I started playing back in the day. We then decided to go to 3.5, which is where my disconnect began. I have never liked any other version other than 2nd edition, and that has not changed to this day. I especially have no interest in 4th edition, or the 5th that is coming out.

But I also began to have an irrational anger toward the game. This was right when I started playing indie games such as Spirit of the Century, Dog’s in the Vineyard and the like. I was fascinated by the newer games coming out that seemed (at least to me) be more about the story and less about the fighting.

So, for years I have argued against playing the game and focused on the indie games I love. If someone brought it up in conversation, I would voice my displeasure and move on.

That brings us to today. My friend never even thought of asking me if I would want to play…for obvious reasons. We were together last night with a few other people and it came up and I said I would like to play. He seemed shocked, especially since I think I had even made a comment out D&D earlier.

I am such a hypocrite. But I also just want to game and the 2nd edition D&D is one that I know and can at least enjoy.

I even find myself oddly looking forward to it. Now I am off to amazon to find me a 2nd edition players handbook!


Games I am reading...

So, not much has been happening lately. I am building up momentum to start game design again. But in the mean time, I am currently reading the following games:

Call of Cthulhu
The Mistborn rpg
The One Ring
Our Last Best Hope
Trail of Cthulhu

Some of these I have read, but most of them I have not. I am always looking for a new game to play, and there is so much out there I have not even touched as of yet. I still plan on trying to play in some games using Google+ hangout feature. I love what they have done with that, and there is so much more they can do in the future.

I am still going to read all of the fate games I own (which is now 4) and try to get the ones I do not own. It is good to read everything about the system I plan on making a game from.


Discipline or bust...

I don’t know how some of you do it.
One of my biggest problems when I am trying to write my novel, or create the game we want to create, is the fact that I am so easily distracted. Also known as not very disciplined.

It is something I have struggled with for years, but it just pisses me off. I can get rolling on something and things are going great, but it hardly lasts for an extended period of time. This is really noticeable due to the fact that on Google+, I am associated with A LOT of game designers. This isn’t a bad thing, as I have gotten read about other people own journeys in game creation.

But the thing I have noticed is just how many people that can work consistently on their games. I really want to be able to do that, since making a Fate based game is something I have wanted to do ever since I played Spirit of the Century for the first time. It was driven home even more, when I was lucky enough to help playtest the Dresden Files Rpg. So, this is something I really want to accomplish.

But therein lays the rub. I have to find a way to get more disciplined, or it will never happen. It is not a switch I can just turn on, but it something I really am trying to work on.

So, I am wondering what other people do when they feel their discipline doesn’t seem to be enough. How do you keep the momentum going in order to be creative?


Getting back into Fate

Hello all.

Yes, it has been a while. Damn, almost 3 months to be exact. You know, sometimes you get in a dark place. A place where you just don't really want to do much. It isn't an excuse, but it happens. I was there for a few months. I did not want to do much of anything, and that included any kind of roleplaying.

Well, that stupid (and mostly selfish) period is over and I am ready to get back into things again. This includes gaming and moving forward with the creation of our own Fate game.

So I am ready to get back into gaming soon. I can think a user on Google+, who motivated me today by posting a Fate tutorial on the site today. It is a very helpful thing for those that love the Fate system (and also to those that do not know anything about it).

So, those of you that follow this blog. I am just wondering what kind of gaming have you been up too? Playing Fate? Any other exciting games?


Gaming day! 7-14-12

So, yesterday was an interesting day at the gaming day. It lasted all day and was in Pittsburgh, and it proved so much just how important an efficient GM can be. 

The day started with Spirit of the Century. THe idea was to play the module called Hell comes to Hollywood, which is a tie-in to the book Dinocalpyse now by +Chuck Wendig The premise was simple, the wold has been attacked by dinosaurs! You must defeat them at all costs!

It was a lot of fun. I played a sneaky type chraracter, while the two others played an academic, and a bruiser. It never got TOO hard, but was hairy a few times, but overall we overcame all of the obstacles and saved the day. The only down side to the day was that since it was such a fighting kind of game, our academic did get to do as much as she could have. She did have guns and had a few good moments, but nothing that really showcased whom she is. That is not anyone's fault since it was a one shot game that took place in about 3 or so hours.

But the gm did a great job of moving the game along and I was reminded why this game is so awesome. You can do whatever you think you can do, you just have to be creative and be able to explain clearly what you are trying to do.

The second game was called Monster Hearts, which is hack of Apocalypse world (there seems to be a few of those), where you played angsty teenagers at a school. Yet, the characters in our game was tho chosen (think buffy), a ghost, and a third I cannot remember, but it had something to do with snakes.

The rules of this game were a little odd to get used to at first, since that is the way apocalypse world apparently runs. I am not going into the mechanics cuz I still don't feel great and don't have the energy to remember them. Needless to say there were interesting, but the person that ran the game did a good job of moving things forward.  

The last game of the night was Call of Cthulhu, one of my all time favorites. This did not go well at all. First of all, the GM did not do a good job (at least I think) of running it. It is a four hour one-shot and we spent the first almost an hour making fishing and cooking checks. We were on a boat in the everglades, but I have a philosophy that you do not roll for things that don't matter. The game turned out to be someone that wanted to play CoC as a D&D adventure. CoC is not really that kind of game. You're job is usually trying to investigate what is going on and try to find a way to fight the creatures....without fighting them head on if you can. Cuz that way leads to death.

Just never got into his style and all he wanted to do was throw a bunch of people into a situation where they had no choice but to fight. That is not what this game is to me..and I was not enjoying it before I got sick again. Which was bad, toothache, nausea, dizziness. Awesome!

Just not a good time in that game, but a good day overall.


My Dresden Files character

So, this is my Dresden Files Rpg character. The people I am playing with are using power level, feet in the water. Still may tweek it a bit. :)

Name: Ransom Winter                  Age: 25
Template: Focused Practitioner

High Aspect: Bounty hunting practitioner
Trouble:  In debt to the Winter Court

Phase 1. Background
Ransom grew up in the foster system in New York City. After numerous beatings (and nearly dying) from different foster parents, he took to the streets to make his own path. The lesson learned here was that he could only trust himself and his instincts.
Aspect: Acting on Instincts

Phase 2. Rising Conflict
Ransom found two loves simultaneously. Lydia (daughter of the Three Rivers casino owner) and craps. He loved craps, and was actually very good at it, but as with most games of chance, his luck could change quickly. His love for Lydia was met with some resistance by her father whom threatened him to stay away from his daughter. Also, his growing debt to numerous “money lending” operations (some even tied to the Winter Court) made for a dangerous time in his life.

Things came to a head as one night as Ransom and Lydia were walking down the street and were attacked by a bunch of thugs. Ransom fought them off, but it was too late to save Lydia. Ransom vowed to find those responsible.
Aspect: Lydia will be avenged!

Phase 3. The story A run in with a vampire…or three.
Desperately needing money, ransom turned to bounty hunting. His first mark seemed innocent enough to start, but ended up in a battle to the death with two black court Vampires! Now there is a price on his head.
Aspect: Weirdness magnet

Great +4 Conviction
Good +3 Contacts, Lore
Fair +2 Athletics, Investigation, Rapport
Average +1 Discipline, Endurance, Guns, Presence

-2 Channeling (spirit)
·         Necklace, two pair dice +1 discipline
-2 Ritual (scyring)
-1 The Sight
-0 Soulgaze
-0 Wizard constitution
1 focus item slot left

Physical (Endurance) 000
Mental (Conviction) 0000
Social (Presence) 000

1 extra mental consequence

Focus Items
Dice Necklace (+1 offensive control, spirit) A necklace in the shape of two dice (lucky 7), which allows
Ransom to focus on his offensive spells.
Athame (+1 defensive power, spirit) An Athame with a dragon hilt which allows more power to poured into defensive spells.

Kinetic Blast (spirit attack, 4 shifts) Blasts an opponent with kinetic energy. Weapon 4.
Hide (Spirit block, 3 shifts) Ransom and one or two additional people standing with him. Seeing through the veil requires a roll against a difficulty of Good (+3) unless he expends a shift into persistence.


So, I guess I still really don't like the D20 system.

Apparently, I still have a major dislike of anything d20.

This is not me bashing the system as much as just realizing that I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

To be fair, I got into gaming playing D&D 2nd ed, and still have fond memories of that game. It was the game that got me into gaming in the first place. So without it, I may have never got into gaming at all. For that I am grateful.

It started in 1991, and I played that game (along with others such as Call of Cthulhu, cyberpunk, champions, etc.) for a good decade. Then I had a few years where I did not play anything, mostly due to not being able to find people to play with.

Then I moved to NYC in 2003 and started my own sci-fi/fantasy book club. From that I found people wanting to game, and we started playing 2nd ed again. It was fun, especially getting to introduce new people to gaming. I had a blast.

Then it changed.

I started to get bored with the game, and a few other things happened at the same time.  The first thing was an introduction to the indie game scene by playing Spirit of the Century. This changed how I viewed gaming and I started to go into a different direction. The second thing that happened is that we started to make a game and I realized our game was just a clone of D&D.

I don’t think we meant for that to happen, but it did.

Not to mention at this time it seemed like every game was becoming a d20 game.  Or it could be that I was so burned out of D&D that it ruined other d20 games as well.

So, anyone that knows me already knows this.

But last weekend we were at half-price books, and I came across and old star wars box set for 7 bucks. Part of me remembered that Wizards made a D20 star wars game, but I blocked that part of my mind and could not wait to get back home. See, I had played star wars years before it was a D20 game and it was AWESOME.

So, when I got home, I started reading the book and realized it was the Wizards version which was D20. It was so disappointing to me, and once I got a few chapters into the game, I was already done with it. It just annoyed the hell out of me. lol.

So, apparently, even though I have not played a d20 game in probably 4 years or so, I am still annoyed with the system enough that I don’t even want to read the book in a setting I love. This may never change, and if that is the case, that is ok.

I have enough indie games I love to make up for it.

The last week....

So, this is what has been going on lately.

Chris and I got together last wed night and talked about our game. It was a good evening of talking about setting type things. About how the Fury (a huge storm that ravages and heals the world) is going to work. Which is very important since the entire world is affected by this.

Also, we talked about starting a timeline of the world. To understand the present, you also have to know the past.

We are mostly just brainstorming right now about the fundamental aspects of the world. I am going to be working on Fate mechanics in between our weekly discussions.

The nice part is that I am reading Spirit of the Century now, and bought the Dresden Files rpg (yay!) again, and Diaspora is on its way.

Also, I am about to join a Dresden Files game with some people. I am really excited about that since I love the game so much. It should be fun making a character and actually getting to play Fate. I tend to be the one who runs is, so when someone else does I am very happy.

Other things I want to play? I really want to play the One Ring. I have not been as excited about a game in a while as I am about this one. I still need to buy it at some point and wished I had broken down and bought it on Amazon (it was like 37 bucks dammit).


Notes from todays game design discussion

So, after discussing the game today with  a few things were determined. Mostly due to some good advice from people about collaborating on a game, we decided to split up the duties. Chris is going to work on the layout/geography of the world. I am going to work on mechanics and tweaks on the Fate system for the game. We will both work on the setting itself.

Obviously we will both help each other with the tasks, but just getting some clarification as to where we are going really makes the control freak part of me happy.

I plan on writing a small synapses about the game soon so people can have some idea as to what the game is about. But it is influenced partly by the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.

p.s. please vote on my Fate poll. :)


The first step? Research

So, we finally got started on working on the game again. There are a few things we have to figure out, but overall I am just damn glad to be started. But a name would be nice, and the old name "perdition" just doesn't feel right anymore. The name of the world is Kushara, and I am writing a book that is going to be tied into the game. The name of the book is Kushara's Fate. I have no idea if they will be the name of the game, but we will figure that out eventually.

So, the first thing I realized I had to do when we agreed to make the game with Fate as a foundation? Well, other than creating an entire world and brainstorming with Chris. :)  Next? Read Fate again! I know some of Fate pretty well, since I have played Spirit of the Century, and was part of the Dresden Files play-test. But that doesn't matter, in order to really dig into the system, I have to read it all over again. So, along with those two, I am also going to read: Bulldogs, Diaspora, The Kerebos Club, Legends of Anglerre, and Starblazer's Adventures.

Those are all different games using the Fate system, so reading all of them will give me a feel for how they went about it as well. I especially want to read Legends of Anglerre, since it is the only other fantasy game like mine on the list. It was made by Cubicle7, and they already have a companion book out for it.

So, with each book I am going to be taking notes and trying to come up with ways to tweak the system to fit the world we are making. I will go into more about the world on my next post. But, the question is always how much you want to keep of the OGL, and how much do you want to tweak it. It isn't an easy thing to figure out, and luckily not something we have to figure out today.

Another great thing is Google+. There are so many people on there with so much information and most of them are willing to go over ideas I have for the game. That is just a great source to, and I am damn appreciative.

REALLY, appreciative.

So, now I got back to reading Sotc. :)

p.s. don't forget to vote on my poll.


Ahhhh....game design!

So, tonight was very productive. Sat with +Chris Whissen and talked game design for a few hours. We have decided to make our game with a foundation of Fate...which made me happy since that is what I have wanted to do since I first played Spirit of the Century a few years ago.

The world is inspired by The Codex Alera in a lot of ways. No furies or anything like that, but mostly a world based on the four elements. Every character will have some link with one of the four and there will be A LOT of political things going on since the focus of the game is a faction that is trying to rebel against the "empire". So there will be betrayal, fighting, exploration, politics, and much more. :)

We worked on this a few years ago and have all of the stuff still, but now we are creating our own world from scratch and trying to decide just how big it should be. But taking things I love from Sotc and the Dresden Files rpg. I still  have to check the OGL on the game and such, but we want to take everything we love about the Fate system and give it at epic fantasy twist. 

For now, I am just very happy to get started again


Gaming day!

complicated.Now, I don't know how much of this has to do with the fact that I  mostly play indie games that don't get too complicated with character creation.

Now, I am not saying I did not enjoy it, but it was confusing at first...just trying to get how it worked.

I ended up making a roden thief since everyone else was making magical players or orcs. 

So, who know how they will turn out but I am sure it will end fun.

Game 2. Mouse Guard.
I love this game. I love playing heroic mice in a world full of creature that can kill them so easily. I find the mechanics very interesting and how you have to fail rolls to eventually level them up. It adds something to the story when you have intentionally to eventually increase that stat. 

In the game we were still trying to help a village rebuild and determine how it was destroyed in the first place. A few highlights.

Getting our ass kicked repeatedly by a raccoon, having the town turn against us due to their being mice being a part of a an evil cult of the serpent, trying to find, going out and finding 4 separate mice left to be sacrificed (we only saved 1 of them..it was that kind of day). 

We did not really do to well overall, but all of this led up to one of our own, sacrificing himself so we could escape the raccoon. It was a pretty damn awesome moment.

After that we raised an army, beat the raccoon and all was saved,..er mostly.


Playing Fate by hangout on G+

So, sunday I came across someone wanting to play a mashup of Diaspora and Bulldog's on Google+. I was so there, since I have been reading both of these and wanted to play them. So, Ben Mckee started a hangout and a few others of us joined in what hoped to be an inter-galactic quest of awesome.

Now for those of you that do not know, Diaspora is an awesome game made by the very cool Brad Murray and it deals with what a lot of people would call "hard" sci-fi. Bulldog's on the other hand, feels a lot like Firefly (from what people have told me and what little I have read of the pdf).

It was my first time playing by hangout and it actually worked really well. There were two instances where one of the players dropped out due to a bad connection. But that is what the bastard gets for gaming from Costa Rica! I am really interested in seeing what can be done with tabletop forge in the future, but I am hoping to do more gaming by hangout soon.

The rules were probably more towards Diaspora, but the feel of the game was all Bulldogs. Which I have no problem with, since I love that type of game. I got to play Jayne (yes, Jayne from firefly). I had Vera and a few aspects that I really liked.

Hero of Canton
Anger issues
My cut is 10% off the top.

It was a very straight forward plot since we were doing a one-shot and had time constraints. I immediately compelled myself at the beginning of the game cuz some punk kids were trying to steal from us. I ended up chasing after them screaming like a madman.

Best moment? Bringing down a flying personal carrier with one shot. Also killed a few minions as well. Good times.

Overall, had a great time. Love all things fate and hope to play again soon.


Dragon Age Rpg...the review.

So, Saturday, I picked up the Dragon Age Rpg...cuz it was dirt cheap. I have wanted to read through it before, since I am such a huge fan of the game on my ps3. I must have beaten that game 5 different times. L O V E D it.

So, I was excited when I opened the box when I got home. Inside? A players guide, GM's guide, a map of Ferelden, and a bag with three of cheapest looking d6’s I have ever seen. I think they took them out of yatzee or something. 

I knew beforehand that this was a fairly, rules light kind of game...but damn. It really is. I personally don't have too much of a problem with it, but I know others would. Especially those that like a bit of crunch to their game. 

So after rolling stats. Wait. Rolling stats? It actually makes you choose the ability and then roll to see what you get. I have never been a fan of this way, and would allow anyone to change that if I ran this.  So, anyways, you can choose to be a wizard, rogue, or a thief...just like in the game. You can also choose backgrounds that allow you to get other skills. Nothing to out of the ordinary here. Then you choose focuses, which allows you to add a +2, to any die roll it associates with. So a +2 to sneaking if you chose that as your focus. Character creating did not exactly break the chains of the industry, but it did seem pretty quick.

The books were small, and very quick reading. Again, nothing out of the ordinary, and the book on how to run the game was almost boring at times. The artwork was not too bad…nothing great, but definitely worth looking at.

The mechanics are very simple. 3d6+ability (like strength) +focus and you compare it to the total. The one thing that was sort of interesting is the dragon die. Just choose a different six sides die to be that one and when you are making a roll and succeed, check the dice. If any two of the three dice are the same number, you then check and see what number the dragon dice is. You get that amount of points to use in stunts. For example, if you are healing, and this happens, you can use stunt points to heal for an additional amount. It seems like a nifty little device, to break up the mundane system it seems to be using. I like the idea behind it.

It also comes with a starting adventure that seems more like a tutorial than anything. Reading, it felt like it was holding my hand at the beginning of Skyrim. Not bad, just kind of generic. But it is free and not a bad way to start. I would just tweak it a bit.

Overall, this game is mostly going to appeal to the fans of the video game. Which to be fair isn’t a bad thing. IT would also be a great game to start people out with. Other than that, I am not sure how many other people are going to be too excited about it. I would definitely play it, but I fit in their demographic pretty easily. But as a rules light kind of game, I think it could be a lot of fun.

Rating. 6.0 out of 10.0