Fate Core review

Reviewing Fate Core is an interesting thing as I know the system very well. I have been a fan of this system since I ran across it in a small convention in NYC back in 2007. Then I was lucky enough to playtest the Dresden Files RPG. So, as I said, I am fairly versed in the system.

I am going to assume that most people that are reading this at least have some knowledge of the system, so I am not going to go into great detail about mechanics.

The good
First of all the book is small. I say this, because at the same time I also got Star Wars Edge of the Empire AND Numenera…and both of those books are HUGE. So, it is nice that the book can be carried easily. The artwork is also very good. A lot of different genres are in display and it looks very good indeed.

I am not going to go into EVERY change they made to the system. But, the best thing I can honestly say about Fate Core is that everything is more fluid as the system was streamlined quite a bit. The reason I say this is as much as I have always loved the system, it could get bogged down at times. Especially in combat. Now when you are trying to overcome someone, either with a skill, or in combat…you have four outcomes. Which was a much needed and simpler way to do this. Awesome.

This means what it sounds like. You can still obviously fail a roll. But now you have the option of succeeding at a serious cost. This is awesome as it allows you to succeed, but then something will be made more difficult for you. Narratively, this is gold.
Again, you can succeed, but this time at a minor cost. Or if in battle, you can get a boost (an aspect that you get to invoke once for free). This right here speeds combat up SO much.
You get what you want with no cost.
Succeed with style
If you succeed by 3 or more shifts you do it with style. This means you get an added benefit beyond just succeeding.

The reason why I talk about this, is because of the above mentioned, it just speeds the game up in so many ways. Gone are the battles that just took forever because of really high health tracks and back and forth turns.

You also have less skills, and a smaller health and mental track (which DFRPG actually started). This makes the game much more dangerous. I remember the first time I played this and we played a Star Wars Fate game and one of the players almost died in the first fight against a rancor. Death is much, much, more a chance in this version of Fate.

Which I love.

I also like that they gave stunt suggestions for each skill. I have seen people get a bit intimated in trying to come up with them on their own. Three is better than none.

Again, they do a great job of giving people that run the game tips. They do this better than anyone I have ever seen. Plenty of examples throughout and just a tone that doesn’t feel condescending and makes the person reading really feel like they can take this system on. Even if they have not played/run it before. This is a great thing indeed.

Lastly, it is just such a versatile system. You can honestly play just about any genre you want. High fantasy, steampunk, Cthulhu, pulp, sci-fi, or anything else you really want. I love that and beyond the settings they have already published, it is the most hackable game I have ever encountered. I have personally played a Star Wars, Thundercats, GI Joe, and Transformers Fate Core game.

It doesn’t get better than that.

The bad
About the only thing bad I can say is that this game is not for everyone. Power gamers and people that just love combat can get frustrated with Fate mechanics. I have seen enough of this to know it is true, and I have even converted some of these people. But that is just a fact and that is why there are hundreds of other games out there for those gamers.

Rating 10 out of 10


New blog

In my attempts to get back into the flow for this blog (and my life in general) I have started a new blog to talk about just geeky things.


That is all. :)


There is much happening in my corner of the interwebs.

So, there is a lot going on in the next few months from my little spot on the internet.

So, let’s get into it.

Fate Points
So, the Fate Points hangout is going strong. There is a new post on our blog where I talk about how it is going and who are next guests are. Check it out here. http://fatepoints.blogspot.com/2013/06/fate-pointsan-update.html

Designosaurs Hangout
So, Brianna and I are starting a new hangout called The Designosaurs. It will be every 3 weeks and it will focus on the trials, tribulations, and victories of game design.

The idea is to have someone on the show and have all of us talk game design.  Hopefully we can get some questions from the awesome people of G+ and then have a good discussion. We also want to then spotlight someone in the community that is creating something. Whether it is game, novel, art, etc. It doesn’t matter. We just want people to know about all of the amazing people that create things on G+.

More information soon as I am confirming our first guest which could happen as soon as NEXT WEDNESDAY!

Last and the thing I am MOST excited about.  I want to announce the official launching of #Nerdpitt. An indie gaming day that will take place on September 7th here in Pittsburgh. We are hoping to make a weekend of it to attempt to get more people from outside of our city to come.

Possible itinerary: 
Friday night-We are considering having a Larp.
Saturday-Gaming from 12PM to 10PM
Sunday-A brunch to discuss game design.

So, as you can see we are hoping to have something going on all three days.

As of today, we already have a location chosen and secured.  So, now we just have to get the planning out of the way and find a way to get you to come to Pittsburgh. J

More on this soon.


Communities and why I miss NerdNYC

So, I was in a discussion today about a gaming day project a few of us are making, and it got me thinking about my days at NerdNYC and communities in general.

Now, when I moved to NYC in 2002, I did not really know many people. I cannot remember how I stumbled across their website, but I joined their community in 2004 looking for some gaming.

What I found was a lot more. I found a community that really was passionate about all things nerdish. From gaming, to board games, movies, comics, etc. It was also a community that welcomed new people into the fold and that isn’t always the case in our world. As sad as that is.

I was a part of that group for 7 years and I cannot deny that I miss them quite a bit. They are still going strong and if you are in NYC and looking for gaming, you should go to www.nerdnyc.com at once! It has also been a pleasure to see the group come together and see how much better the gaming days have been organized. They do a damn good job of it there.

But back to why communities can be very important. Flash forward to December of 2011 and me moving to Pittsburgh.

I came across the Gasp gaming day and it has been really cool. It is a bit smaller than Nerdnyc and isn’t quite as organized, but you get to play games and that is what matter at the end of the day. I have been lucky in both regards. Meeting quality people in both cities.  People that are passionate about roleplaying and for that I am damn thankful. 


Yesterday was awesome.

So, yesterday was the best day I have had in quite a while. 

I had plans to be at the gasp game day here in Pittsburgh, but had to work overtime yesterday morning and at the last second, my friends Henry and Dawn came to Pittsburgh to look at neighborhoods. It was a worthwhile exchange. 

Yes, my friends from New York are considering moving here soon. This fills me with much joy. Especially since I have come to realize over the lat few months that trying so hard to get back to NYC was putting my life on hold. 

Anyways. So, yesterday after work, I met up with them and we went around the city a bit to look at a few neighborhoods (they really like Squirrel Hill) and it was just amazing. I have not seen them but three times since I moved here from NYC in Dec of 11...and one of those was their wedding. 

It was just a great day. We laughed, we looked around, we had lunch and then laughed some more. By about 5 we headed to Chris's house as he was going to make pork. So in the meant time we pulled out a list villains that someone at my job made.

Yes, a list of villains.

We had a discussion about who the biggest villain was and then he decided that he wanted to make a bracket for it, like the NCAA tournament. So we spent most of Friday talking about who should be on it. A list was made up, printed and I brought it out with my friends so we could go over it.

It was fun to go over some of the ridiculous things that was on the list. Bluto from Popeye, Wile E. Coyote, angelica from rugrats…and even an evil care bare.

We also added some of our own. Moriarty, Pinhead, Saruman, Maleficent to name a few. It was just silly.

Then, we all started drinking and man I have to admit I got a little drunk. We started playing Cards against humanity, which is a more adult version of Apples to Apples. We had more fun playing this game, than I think we have ever anything before. It is equal 50% awesome and 50% really disturbing and awkward. Wow, there was some crazy stuff.

The point I am making is this. Sometimes in life you are lucky enough to meet awesome people and have them in your life. Relationships change and people move away. And well, sometimes people are just immature and don’t always know how to deal with that kind of change. That has always been my issue. But seeing them reminded me how much I love my friends when we are all together. It was the happiest I have been since all the mess started three years ago.

If you are lucky enough to have people like this in your life. Fight for them. Remember why they are important to you and don’t ever let them forget how much they mean to you.

So, this small shout out goes to +Amy Welch +Chris Whissen +Dawn Antoline and +Honwe Zi . You are the most important people in my life and yesterday was phenomenal. ;)


My day at Nunchcon 2.5

Nunchcon 2.5

So, yesterday I went to a small convention type thing here in Pittsburgh. It was run by +Jeff Johnston and +Melanie Johnston Apparently they do this about every six months or so. Opening up their huge house and having games all day (and night). They are awesome.

So, I got there at 11 yesterday and the first thing they did was give me a t-shirt. SWAG! I then sat down and started talking to people about gaming related stuff and waited for the first game I wanted to play.

Game one started around 2 and it was Tabletop Blockbuster by +John Sheldon and +Brianna Sheldon. I have played play-tested this game a few times now, but am always willing to do so again. If you have not heard of this game by them (or me), the game takes like the 80’s blockbuster action movies and brings them to life.

The fun part of this game is that you get to create the setting and each time the game is played, it seems the setting is more awesome than the previous one. We have played a fantasy setting as dwarves and fairies, super soldiers in ww2, operatives fighting the supernatural in the Korean War, and yesterday? The old west with a bit of magic and taking place in New Orleans. It never fails to be awesome.

They are actually almost done with this game and it has been great to see the game grow over the last several months.

Game 2 was World of Cyberpunk, a hack of World of Dungeons. Being a huge fan of Dungeon World (and the World’s game in general, I was excited to see how this game plays out. It was run by +Stras Acimovic whom I have to admit is one of the more engaging people I have ever played games with. He is just so enthusiastic and it is always awesome to see.

So, Cyberpunk was one of the first games I ever played and enjoyed. This game had that feel, but also had that feeling of the world’s game that I love. But since it was a hack of World of Dungeons, there were a few differences, like rolling for stats/gear/cyberware. You rolled 2d6 and if you got a 7-9 you got gear that gave you a +1, a 10-11 a +2, and if you rolled a 12 you got gear at +3. You could then buy that gear for whatever type of character you played. For example, I played an infiltrator so I got a suit that allowed me to blend in the shadows, which added a +1 to my stealth roll.

Now if you are lucky enough to get a 12, it can help you quite a bit since a +3 is a huge bonus in this game.  But the game itself was probably the most fun I have had playing a “world” game. Stras does such a good job of hitting you with the soft/hard moves and moving the story along.

So our job was to kill a high level board member from the GenTec Corp and take his head (which had data in it that was important. Man did us over think this, it was going to be a train job and we just spent far too much time planning. Eventually we killed the person, but lost our doctor along the way. It was a grand time.

Game 3 was Little Fears, also ran by Stras. 

Wow, that game was a bit creepy…which we were warned it would be. Horror rpg’s are not an easy thing to play. First it is harder to be scared as we get older, and second you have to buy into it and really go for it. Not to mention that since we played children ages 6-10, you have to be ok with children dying.

This isn’t easy for everyone which is why this game probably isn’t for everyone. We were told up front it was going to be scary as hell and that most of us would die. Sweet, bring it on!

You made characters by answering questions like what you are afraid of, who your best friend is, what items do you have that you believe are powerful. That last part I had a hard time with (of course it was also 2 in the morning). Imagine those things you knew to be true as a child, but as an adult you know aren’t. Belief is such a huge part of this game. Do you have a pair of shoes that you believe make you faster? Guess what, they do. Do you believe that Purple Heart of your fathers gives you protection against the monsters? Guess, what, it does. Things like that.

So playing children can be a lot of fun and Stras did a great job of painting a picture of horror. The game truly was a bit scary and the tension involved was high as we fought and ran our way from really disturbing monsters trying to kill us. One of us died, and was ripped apart right of in front of us.

It was awesome!

I would so play that game again.

Overall, a damn good day with great people. Oh, and did I mention they fed up pulled pork! Holy hell that was amazing. Not to mention the jello with cream cheese and pretzel. No, you did not read that wrong.


An update on creative things...

So, I have been working on both the game and the book that took place in the world quite a bit lately, and I feel excited about that.

Shadows over Kushara
I mean last night for the novel, I actually wrote 1500 words. I cannot remember the last time I have written that much in one setting. It was an amazing feeling and I really just want to keep the momentum going each day.

To help with that, I bought a few binders and the clear thingies that go with them. I then printed out everything I have written for the novel and put them in them. The reason why this is important is that I work best when I have chapters printed. I then can go over them, and take notes in my notebook. It seems to be the only way I can do this consistently, but you do what you can to get stuff done.

Oh, and I named the main protagonist. Her name is Kira. Yes, I stole it from someone in my circles, cuz I freaking love the name.

Kushara's Fate
The nice thing about working on the novel, is it is helping shape the world as well. After reading +Deborah Teramis Christian's book on world building, it gave me ideas about how I want to start the world building process.

I have thought about the names of the two opposite factions. The ones in power were originally called the Devout, but I really don't like how everyone seems to think it is religious in nature, and for the most part I am avoiding religion in my world. Yes, it is possible my dislike of religion is rearing its ugly head.

But I had a conversation on here a while back with a lot of people and I think it was +Brad Murray that suggested the Doctrine. If it wasn't Brad, then I apologize. :) But the name ha really grown on m over time and I am leaning towards it now.

As for the resistance type group, I am liking the name the Resolute. Which is defined as:
Admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

It just feels right and is something I have been trying to figure out for a while.

I am still wavering on how much of the Fate mechanics I want to use. I am definitely using the aspect and some form of the skill pyramid, but am not sure about the dice. I am not sure it fits in the game. Or I could just be wanting to do something else. I am still trying to figure that out.



Myself as a Fate character. :)

So, I was sitting there at lunch today, roaming through Fate Accelerated and thought I should make myself as a character.


Hell, I don't know. I was bored, sue me. :)

It made more sense to use Fae rather than Fate Core. The approaches are more like real life and I don't really know how to use a gun. :)

High Concept-Temp looking for more
Trouble-My mouth has no filter
Aspect-Slightly obsessed with the Lord of the Rings
Aspect-Life has been hard for a while
Aspect-"I miss the Big Apple something fierce"

Good+3 Clever
Fair+2 Careful, Sneaky
Average +1 Forceful, Quick
Mediocre +0 Flashy


My review of World Building Tips by Deborah Teramis Christian

My review of World Building Tips by +Deborah Teramis Christian 

This came out of nowhere. I have been struggling for a few weeks as to how to start creating an entire world from scratch for the Kushara’s Fate game we are making. I still love the idea, but just figuring out where to start has been a serious problem.

So, then Deborah posted a link to this book a few days ago. A five dollar expense via amazon was not so taxing so I bought and dug into it. I was excited as the timing of this was amazing due to what I mentioned earlier.

Holy hell, it was awesome.

Now here it the thing about this type of book. They are only tips as you can use them or not. But what is great about it is that it points out things that have been roaming around the back of my mind and brought them to the forefront. That isn’t to say that there aren’t original thoughts in the book, because there are a plenty. My point is that sometimes someone can remind you of something that you know of and it just clicks.

For example. She goes on quite a bit talking about how rivers in a world are very important as the cities along the rivers tend to be places of commerce. This is something I have always kind of known, but not really thought about, but when reading this….BAM! It makes so much sense and really gives me thoughts about the world we are making. It was such a simple thing (in my mind) and she did an amazing job of going into detail just what this means.

This is where the book shines. Deborah talks about things from rivers and how they affect the creation of your world, oceans and capital cities, mountains and rain, the moon, volcanos, fauna and wildlife, guilds, illness and disease, herbalism in the world, currency and/or bartering.

There is so much win here I can barely contain how happy I am to have read this. If nothing else, it has done an amazing job of helping me organize my thoughts and give me ideas.

So, if you are someone that is making a game/novel that entails a lot of details about the world itself, I highly recommend this book.

Get it NOW!

You can also go to their website, where you can sign up for more tips and find out more information about world building. http://world-building.com/


Episode 3 of Fate Points

So, last night was the third episode of our Fate hangout, Fate Points.

We were lucky enough to have +Jason Morningstar come on the show and talk about have experience in creating Fight Fire for the Fate Core Kickstarter.

Please check out the video below.

If you would like to find out more information about the games Jason and Bully Pit make, go here. http://www.bullypulpitgames.com/


Gaming over the weekend...

So, I did quite a bit of gaming this weekend. Here is what happened.

Friday night. Star Wars D6 system
So +Jacob Poss  ran a Star Wars one shot on Friday night. It has been over a decade since I have played this game. I have very fond memories as it had one of my favorite characters of all time…Janus Darklighter. A bad ass Jedi that kicked ass and took names.

So, Jacob started by asking who are favorite star wars characters were. Mine is Wedge Antilles. Survive TWO Death Star runs, leader of Rogue Squadron and in the books helped take down Coruscant!

So, I played the brash pilot template. I had an A-Wing and we also had a Jedi, a tracker, and a fighter droid. We were sent to find certain pirates and get rid of them.

I got to have a cool scene where I kicked pirate ass that were flying Z-95 headhunters (I know, right?). I flew circles around them, killed a few, and then talked the rest out of fighting me, because they would just end up dead.

Things went wrong as soon as I got OUT of my ship. Starting rolling 1’s on the D6 (which meant you are screwed basically). Got shot a bit, could not fight worth a damn and was saved by a teammate that just blew everyone to hell with bombs. The poor Jedi? Was left behind for the most part and had a very passive role in the game.

Saturday Slot 1. The Quiet Year prep for an Apocalypse World game

So, we decided to run a session of The Quiet Year in prep for our AW game coming up at the Gasp Day in Pittsburgh. The people I have talked to about this never really gave this idea much of a chance, saying it was not the best way to setup the other game. That is fine, I went to people for their opinions and they gave them.  If you want to know a bit more about the Quiet Year, go here. As I am not going to talk much about the game itself. I already did on a previous post. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/110152/The-Quiet-Year

But the game went well, as we created a post-apocalyptic world based in Pittsburgh.  It was a nice start to our AW game I think. The map is built out and there are a ton of NPC’s in the game. Or we can choose to play any of them ourselves of course. But needless to say there are plenty of things in the world that won’t like us. A chopper gang roaming the roads, a Hocus that is trying to get followers, the Frost Shepherds, a militant religious order. Just to name a few.

I still it to be a great start to our game.

Slot 2. Dungeon World.
So, I decided to change my character from a fighter to a thief. I am just much more comfortable with this type of character and the game finally lived up to it hype as the session was oh my god, fun! We had a ranger with a demented cat, a halfing druid, a barbarian, and my thief.

The funny thing is that between my backstory and how the session started for me; somehow my thief got caught stealing, not once, but twice. Hmmm. 

So I was inside a mountain, trying to find a talisman for the god Akatar, and started out being captured by kobolds. I know, right? I was rescued by the others and they had found the Heartstone in the previous session and were trying to escape. We then met with the Kobold King, whom turned into a really angry fire creature and tried to smite us. While the fight was going on, I found the talisman and some loot and helped in the battle (or tried I kept rolling poorly). Eventually the creature was taken out and the barbarian became their king. This was really cool and he now has two followers that give him a 3 armor and 3 extra damage in battle. Awesome! We eventually got out of the mountain; I stole the heartstone from the druid and ran. In the most awesome moment I have seen in gaming in a while, the druid changed into a bird chased me down. When he found me, he dove towards me and shifted into a bear. In MID air! Also, he made the transformer noise to go along with it, which had me laughing for about 5 minutes afterward. Needless to say, I gave the stone back and then they finished their mission. Also, we were attacked by ratmen, as I was misled as to the type of deity the amulet was actually for. We took them out with good teamwork.

This was so much fun and I cannot wait to run it again.

Slot 3. Tabletop Blockbuster
So, my friends +John Sheldon and +Brianna Sheldon are making their own game. It is a genreless game that really showcases what an action movie would be like. I have played it three times now in different levels of playtesting and we have been in ww2 setting as super soldiers, a fantasy setting fighting dinosaurs, and this time? A merc group sent into the Korean War to find an occult item of some power.

I am not going to into the system much here, mostly due to the fact that it is still being playtested. But you have power/weapons which give you d6, and then you add relevant skills to it to add more. Then you roll a crapload of dice to see what happens. 5 and 6 are successes and you compare it to what the Gm rolled for the result.

You then create your character by choosing attributes, powers, skills, weapons, and trait.

What makes this game so much is just how actiony it feels. Our three characters were a vampire, The Sarge, and my character the Tank. Nicolas the vampire was the Dracula type, not to be confused with the sparkly, pansy ass vampires of our current age.  The Sarge was the grizzled old veteran driving our awesome military vehicle aptly named the Hammerhead. I was a big dude, with even bigger guns and armor.

There is also a mechanic that allows you to define things in the world, and another to allow you to re-roll missed dice. Very Fate Point in some ways, but nicely added.

One phenomenal thing this game does it that it allows the players to support each other in a way that is amazingly effective…and kickass at the same time. First the Sarge had a power that gave us a bonus if he gave a motivational speech. When he activates this as long as we are near him, we automatically get 3 extra dice to use on our roll. Next, if the Sarge knows I am tussling with that uber werewolf (which I was), he can say he is helping me by distracting it with grenades or something. He the rolls and the amount of successes he gets are added to may roll. Think about that for a second. My character already started with 12 dice (weapon+attributes), plus the 3 dice for the speech. Now I would get however many more dice if he succeeded the roll.

Holy hell, I had so many dice in my hands.

So, he would set things like that up. My character would do things like kick doors down and say cheesy one line. Bad ones like when the Sarge was worried that we were fighting werewolves, I turned to the “camera” and say while lock and loading my gun, “It’s ok, they all bleed the same Sarge”. It was like that all game long and awesome.

I am excited about his game. One because it is fun to play. Two because John and Brie are really good at taking feedback about their game. Everyone says they want honest input, but a lot of people then get offended that you dared say something bad about their creation. Seriously? I have seen the game improve from the first playtest they did back fall/winter. They go about this the right way and actually listen to what people say. Which to me is a no-brainer, but enough people don’t do that that it is nice to see when people actually do.

One last thing, I got to play with +Stras Acimovic twice yesterday and it is always a great experience. So much freaking energy and creativity is brought to any game by Stras. Great stuff.


A gaming update...

An update on things going on in my gaming world.

Hangouts. I have not done much of this lately as my life got super busy in the last month or so. I would still like to get some Fate Core in, and am planning on running Dragon Age and Dungeon World soon. The community I started is still going well. You can check it out here. https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101466247068767710475

I am still trying to find ways to make it better, but that is kind of slow going.

Gaming. Have done a bit of gaming on the weekends, which will continue this weekend at the Gasp gameday here In Pittsburgh.  Going to play a bit of setup for Apocalypse world using The quiet year, then on to Dungeon World and last either some Fate Core, or playtesting a game friends are making.

Fistful of Fate.  I just recently started working on this hack again. There is some interest out there and am trying figure out a good way to do a gunfight (high noon style).  I have made a few of the “classes”, so I am ready to move on with this.

Kushara’s Fate.  I have not done much on our game in the last few months.  Time has been crazy and I have sitting back and watching all the Fate hacks out there.

I do have to say this. I am wondering how much of Fate I actually want to use at this point. The aspects and skills are something I still like. Although I want to change how the skills work since I am a bit tired of the pyramid. It works, but I just want to see something different. Which is why when I played a dragonriding Fate Core game over the weekend, I was surprised to see it did a lot of the same things I was thinking. I am not going to elaborate on that as I don’t want to say too much about his game, but we had a lot of the same ideas.

This is making me wonder if I have waited too long to really make a Fate game? Everyone is hacking it to death and every time I think I have cool idea, I see that someone else has had the same idea. This doesn’t mean I have given up on the idea, but I just want to think hard about how much of it I want to use. There is still a large part of me that wants to use some other kind of dice mechanics (not that I know what), but we shall see.

Either way, I think it is time to start working on the setting itself. We can do that as we figure out what we want to do with the game.


Gaming at OHNERD!

So, last weekend I went to Columbus OH, to do some gaming. Yes, it was about a 3 hour trip, but luckily I was just a passenger, so it was all good.

We did get to the event an bit late, but these thing happen when you are driving in snow. :)

So, game one was Fiasco. I am very mixed about how this went. It was a gangsters set in England. The setup went fine, but the game suffered due to the fact that we had to cram the game into an hour and a half session. It just felt like there was not a lot of role-playing due to not having enough time. This was not anyone's fault and it was still enjoyable, but I want to re-experience how awesome my first game of this was.

Game two was Lady Blackbird ran by +Aaron Sturgill and it was actually a lot of fun. I have wanted to play this game for a while and have heard it was about as close to Firefly as you can get. But the game was a simple one to pick up (which I \knew it would be) and a very enjoyable time was had by all.

Game three was the one I am still amazed at. +Travis Scott has made/hacked a version of Fate Core that has Dragonriders in it. I had heard from a few other players (he ran it in the first session) that was AWESOME. So, I was happy when +Tracy Barnett talked him into running again in the last slot.

Thank goodness, because it was awesome.

You worked in tandem as one person plays the dragon, and the other played the rider. IT was so much fun to get to play this and I love what Travis has done with his world. I can only hope I get to play it again at some point as it was a joy to do so.

It was the most fun I have had playing Fate in some time.


Episode 2 of Fate Points

So, +Jacob Poss and I just finished our 2nd episode of Fate Points. We were lucky enough to have the awesome +Filamena Young on to talk about White Picket Witches and other projects she is working on.

As always, we appreciate people watching this and any comments you have. We want to make this a great thing and am always willing to listen to your feedback.

Don't forget that in two weeks, we will have +Jason Morningstar on to talk about Fight Fire which was on the Fate Cork kickstarter as well.


So, I ran a one-shot of Dungeon World last night

So, I ran a session of Dungeon World last night and it was a mixed bag. 

I am still trying to get into the flow of this game. I enjoy it, but there is an amount of flow that you have to have for it to work. I got there eventually, but with only two players it felt kind of forced at times.

Not to mention, one of the players had really bad connection issues, which ended the game before the climax. Not his fault, mind you. :)

The bard and the ranger were sent by the High Priest of Avacyn (goddess of justice) to find the holy amulet that was stolen. Clues led them to a thieves guild that had a tattoo of a tear drop above their left eye. It was common knowledge that they were bad ass to say the least, and those that messed with them ended up with the fishes.

While in the city of Westin, they managed to piss off two different thieves guilds, fight off some thugs of one guild, and get taken by the city watch. Well, the city watch showed up as there were four dead bodies at their feet. The watch commander Celeste gave them a choice. Repair the damage done to the thieves guild or hang by a rope. She was afraid it could be open warfare if this was not resolved. She sent her second in command Johan to keep an eye on them. 

Information was gathered and it was discovered that thieves hung out at two bars. The Dragon Inn, and the Hog's Head. They brazenly walked into the Hog’s Head (after a joke about Butterbeer) bar with the member of the watch and all hell broke loose. You see, Johann was a bit corrupt and had tormented his share of people in the city. As they walked in, they immediately were surrounded and they had a choice. Save Johann, or escape. They tried to save him, and a fight broke out.

Yet, in the middle of the fight, the ranger had another choice...save his buddy the bard or save Johan. He turned in his back on the watchman and he died as a result. They were able to get out of the bar and go to the temple of Avacyn for sanctuary and a much needed rest.

This is where the game ended as one of the players dropped out due to a bad connection.
Unfortunately, we did not get to the finale as Celeste was going to come to the temple of Avacyn (with a couple of watchmen) after hearing what had happened to Johann. She was going to be enraged at the death of Johann (since he was he lover), cut the priestess down and attempt to murdereize our heroes. :)

Overall, fun. I need to read the book again and just do a better job of running the game, but not bad for my first time. I also think they had fun, which is the most important part. :)

Thoughts on running the game. It is certainly an adjustment to run this kind of game. I play games where there is a bit of narrative, but not many that really depend on it…almost like a mechanic. Two people made it harder for me as I had a hard time coming up with questions at the beginning. It is mostly just me getting used to how it runs/plays, rather than a problem with the game.

I did get into the flow after a bit and the game is a lot of fun. I just think I need to read the book again and be a bit more prepared next time. I did this on a whim last night, but it was fun and that is the point.


Bulldogs! The review

So, Bulldogs! was an odd read.

Not odd, in a bad way, but I have read quite a few Fate books at this point and there are certain parts in each of them that I can pretty much skip. The introduction to fate, this is how fate works parts of the books.

This is not a criticism, but just part of the experience.

For the most part, Bulldogs! does not stray too far from what Fate already does. The biggest difference is in its setting. It is hard to look at this and not compare it to Diaspora, since they are sci-fi games using the Fate system. They do go about their approach very differently though. Diaspora is more of a hard sci-fi game where you get to create the system from scratch. There is a lot to like about that. Bulldogs! already has a setting and allows you to jump into the game a lot quicker.

It also has a very Firefly feel to it, which is what drew me to the game in the first place. I would play either gladly, this one just hits what I want a bit more.

There are a couple of things this game a bit differently than other Fate games.

First, the character creation is not as collaborative. That doesn’t mean you cannot do as a group, but instead of your character being a part of another’s phase, everyone is done separately. You do not get involved with their “adventure type” phase and it gives you ideas on how to come up with your aspects. Things like weaknesses, your homeworld, your profession, or ones specific to the alien race you choose to play. It is unlike anything Fate has done before, but it seems interesting.

Another interesting thing is the game suggests that you let the GM be the captain. That is an interesting idea, but some people may want the Firefly game and can you imagine someone not being Mal?

Then you get to make a ship (or you can choose one already made), and off you go!

Secondly, there are the races I spoke of a moment ago. They are:
Arsubararans-Human like and pretty much everywhere.
Dolome-Huge, blue, tripod-legged. Very loyal, but you probably don’t want to make them angry.
Hacragorkans-green, burly, tattooed, and man do they love fighting. It is what they excel at.
Ken Reeg-Slick, smooth, and also green. They are manipulators of the highest order. Dealing with them is always a risk.
Robots-Where would the galaxy be without them? They come in just about every shape and size you could imagine.
Ryjyllians- Catlike and with retractable claws, they are fierce mercenaries that have a high code of honor.
Saldrallans-Snake-like and cold blooded. They were one side of the thousand years war. Their ruthless pragmatism guides the Empire well.
Templari-Haughty and purple, the Templari rule the Devalkamanchan Republic, guided by their belief that they are genetically superior to all others.
Tetsuashans-They are slug like and unlikely adventurers, but they seem at ease in space. They have an affinity for piloting and ship-building.
Urseminites-They resemble small teddy bears, but don’t let that fool you. They are angry and murderous in temperament. Due to this, they tend to be despised by all.

The best part is that they also give you really good tools on creating your own species. Which is most definitely what I want to do. They give you a lot of examples of abilities to choose from, and it looks like it would be fun to do.

The ship combat is handled a lot like normal combat, but it seems like it would flow well, as each member can do certain things. From piloting, firing cannons, repairing, etc.

Overall, it was a fun read and I really want to play this pretty badly. I have wanted to play something that gets the feeling of Firefly, and I think this could be it. 


Fate Points goes live!

We did our first episode of Fate Points tonight. I think it went pretty well , for it being the first time I have ever done anything like that before.

Our guest was Rob Wieland,whom created Camelot Trigger for the Fate Core kickstarter. He was awesome and I can only hope he is going to be making his Fate Ghostbuster hack. I want that NOW.

In the future we are getting Mark Diaz Truman, whom created the Fate setting called Timeworks. That will happen in March. Next week, we have Filamena Young, whom made White picket witches for the same kickstarter.

This has started out about as well as we could have imagined.

Fate Points starts tonight....

So, another person and I decided to start a bi-weekly hangout via Google Plus. The hangout will devoted to the Fate system and our goal is to discuss ideas/setting/rules about the system in a hopefully interesting way.

Our first episode is tonight at 9 PM (EST=5).

Since Fate Core came out recently, there is still quite a buzz about the system. So, if you are a fan of Fate, you have to be excited about what is going on. Most people are already playing the game. Or hacking the games to their own personal tastes.

Which is great, since that was part of the purpose of Fate Core.

Or you can be running games on the like 15 or so settings that came with the kickstarter reaching its goals. Anything from witches to pulp mysteries. From Athurian robots to being a firefighter. There is enough going on in those settings to really make the Fate fan happy.

Another one of our goals is to hopefully get some of the people in the industry on the show. People that have created fate settings or a game of some kind. We are happy that this week we will be having Rob Wieland on the show.

In case you are not sure whom that is, he crated the Camelot Trigger setting for the Fate Core kickstarter. This took the legend of King Arthur and brought it into a sci-fi setting with giant Robots. The buzz on this particular setting was and has been pretty high.

So, as mention before, or first episode is tonight. We hope there are people willing to listen to us ramble on about the system, and talk to Rob about the setting he crated.

I hope you decide to watch. :)


Gaming yesterday...

So, yesterday I went to the game day in Pittsburgh.

It is a monthly event that you pay five bucks and can play 3 games over 12 hours. Considering I don’t really have a gaming group now, this is a must for me to get to each month.

As usual, it was a lot of fun.

Game one. The Quiet Year. It is hard to explain this game. You play a community instead of a character. You draw a map and throughout the game, you are adding details to it, making the world up as you go. May be more of a card game than rpg, but it has elements of both. Either way, it was a blast to play.

There are four seasons (starting with spring), and each of them have 13 cards. Each turn, you draw a card and do what it says. It can tell you to create a project (or destroy one), or make a new location. There was a bit of variety in what you could do when drawing the car. Then on the same turn you can also do an action. Which was start a discussion in the community about something, start a project, or create something new in the world.

By the time you are done, you have this complexly filled out map and have resolved quite a bit. The interesting thing is when you get to winter, there is a card called the Frost Shepherds. Once that card is drawn, the game is over. So, you have a 1 and 13 chance of that happening when you start winter.

The cool idea was that we can play a session of this game next month, and use it is a basis to play an Apocalypse World game. I thought the idea brilliant.

Game two. Dungeon World.  I have been excited about this one for a while. I got the book this week, which was perfect timing for the game this weekend. I like how it starts with the GM asking questions to everyone, therefore creating the world a bit. You background, what is the name of that forest, why do you have bonds with other character. Things like that. It is a lot of fun to start playing.

I am still struggling with one aspect of the game.

There are not turns, so if you are someone that doesn’t step up to do things, you can feel left out.  I normally do not play fighters, so I was a little apprehensive about how to play it. That is my own issue and not the games fault.

It was one of the oddest sessions I have played in a long time. There was: butterflies, shapeshifting, unicorns, a living dungeon, a barbarian that thinks HE is civilized one, a panther named kitty that did more damage to the ranger than anything else did, and lot of blood and puss that anyone every wanted to have anything to do with. Very odd, but still a lot of fun.

Game three. Ghost Lines.

Ghost Lines is created by John Harper. It is hack of Apocalypse World by Vincent Baker. Harper made another game I very much want to play called Lady Blackbird.

Anyways, so the game is that you are A Bull. Someone who travels the train lines fighting ghosts. It is the only way for people to travel, and someone has to do it right?
The idea is very cool and the game was fun. The only problem I had was I was getting tired by this time and don’t think I played as well as I could have. Not to mention, my dice hated me. J

Since there were only two of us playing, it was very fast. But the problem was that my character was more of observer, and other character was someone that actually trapped the ghost. By the time we got to the end, it was obvious we were in trouble because neither one of us really were fighters.

So the train was out of control as ghosts had taken over the train. We got into the last fight and tried to keep the train from crashing. We did ok at first as my character was wiping out the minions and the other character was taking care of the bad ass ghost.

Then things started going wrong, also known as rolling poorly.

We ended up failing our last six rolls, taking damage and eventually the train crashed into the imperial city and we died.

It was a lot of fun to play. I think you need four people to play it right, as the roles of the game would work better then. But overall, it was a good hack of AW.


Dungeon World the review

So, I finally got my copy of Dungeon World yesterday and here is my review of the book.

Part 1 The Game itself
It has been a long damn time since I have wanted to dungeon crawl. I just don’t play those kinds of games anymore and there are a lot of people out there that do. So, bully for them. But my point is that after I burned out on Dungeons and Dragons, this kind of game never even reached my radar. I was more into the story telling games like Fate.

Then I played the game once about 7 months ago and the narrative control amazed me, and the fact that it was so close setting wise to how D&D was, became irrelevant. The fact that it is such a rules light game also appeals to me since this is why I don’t want to play games like Burning Wheel due to how crunchy those games are.

Part 2 Playing the game
2D6. is what your roll to accomplish things in the game. Yes, you may have to roll a different die for damage, but the basic component is that you roll 2D6.

You have the basic attributes like D&D. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence. Depending on what your score is, you can get a bonus to your roll.

When you are trying to do something you roll the 2d6, and one of the following happen:
On a 10+ You accomplish your task with little trouble
On a 7-9 You accomplish your task but with complications or trouble
On a 6 or lower you fail and the Gm tells you what happens and then mark XP

There are basic moves like hack and slash (roll+STR bonus), Volley (roll +Dex bonus, Spout Lore (Roll +INT bonus, Discern realities (Roll + Wis bonus) Defend a character (Roll + Con bonus), or Parley with an npc (Roll + Cha bonus).

The other thing that you do is defy danger. When your character acts despite an imminent threat, you say how you deal with it and roll.  For example, to dodge, you would use Dex. To hold on the edge of a cliff could be +Con. And so on.

Oh, and did I mention that the GM never rolls a dice. Not once. Craziness!

Part 3 Character types
This is nothing new to you. The classes are Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Thief, and Wizard.

I don’t need to say what these are, but each has its own starting moves, such as picking locks, spellcasting, shapeshifting, a signature weapons, and hunt and tracking to name a few.  You also can get racial benefits since you can play human, elf, dwarf, or halfing.

You also have bonds with the other players in the game that can be resolved and get xp, but more than that it is a way to get you connected with the rest of the party. I like this quite a bit.

Part 4 The Gm
The Gm has moves as well. They could be as simple as enemies, or a trap. But when the player does not make the roll, the Gm can cause some problems for the player. They could separate the players or even make them lose resources…or my favorite reveal an unwelcome truth.

This is just a small sampling of what they can do, but their job is to keep the story going. When the players decided to do something, they make a roll. Depending on the roll, the GM then looks at their lists of moves and chooses something like mentioned above.

After the first session, the GM then starts creating something called Fronts. Simply it is secret knowledge of dangers and threats for the players.  Things that the player care about and get used against them.  Fronts allow the GM to organize GM’s thoughts their thoughts to create the opposition.

There is good advice here is to how to get this started. By the time you are done you would be able to have Fronts created along with threats, places, people, etc. It was cool to read.

Part 6 The World/Monsters
The first part of this was creating steadings, towns, ect. It is very simple and I love how easy DW makes it to create the world you are playing in. You take a map and start with a few locations and off you go creating the world.

The steading creation gives you a lot of options on how to go about it.

Then there are the monsters that are stated out. Enough for you to definitely get going in the game.

Part 7 Advanced delving
One of the best things about this game is how hackable it is. People take the basic game play and then just go nuts with it. This chapter gives advice on how to create moves, classes, races, etc.

There is some great advice here and I am personally looking forward to doing that at some point.

The overview
Overall, this book is awesome. It is damn hard to make a game where I actually want to dungeon crawl again, and the rules are easy enough for new players to jump in and get going. Sometimes you just need to make things easier to really gain complexity. That is how this game feels. It is so damn simple to see, but there is so much you can do.

It takes everything I used to love about D&D, but only better. I heard someone say the other day that this is the D&D they want to play. 

I agree.

Game on!


Dungeon World!

So, I have been going crazy lately with seeing all of the people on Google + getting their copies of the game. This is a game I am very excited about and the fact that something could even make me want to play a dungeon-crawl game is something that still surprises me every time I think about it.

Here is said book that was delivered today.

I played it once about 7 months ago or so at a gaming day in Pittsburgh. The funny thing is that I was wandering around looking for something to play and someone asked me if I wanted to play this.

I did not.

One listen told me it was too much like Dungeons and Dragons, which I had no interest in playing. It is possible I still have issues with D&D that I have not quite completely dealt with.

So, after getting talked into it, we took off and played the game.

I played a cleric. This is significant because I had not played any type of magic user in about 20 years. All stemming from an awful experience the very first time I played the game. So, I was a cleric of Thor and the narrative gameplay just blew me away.

Now, I finally got the book and am excited to play it again and then I want to run it as well.

It is good to be excited.


My thoughts on the Fate Core preview scenarios...

So, here are my thoughts on the first seven previews of things in the Fate Core Kickstarter. I am ranking them from least to most interesting to me. That doesn’t mean I did not like any of them, cuz I want to play all of them…but certain settings just call to me more.

Burn Shift (post-apocalyptic world)

My first thought is that I have never been much into the post-apocalyptic settings. But that is more of a personal preference than anything wrong with it.

Then I started to read it and it grew on me quickly. I like how it went above the Fate Core and dealt mutation in a way that was kind of cool. I also love the idea of flaws, since I want to put them in my own game as well. There is also a lot of room to create your own Burn Shifts (mutations) if you are creative.

Oh and the communities? Genius.  It just adds another cool layer to the character you are and what community you are a part of. They also get their own health and mental tracks and I find all of that pure win. They also give you examples of the communities in the existing world.

Using hazards as obstacles is something else I have thought a lot about with my own games, and I like how it was done here.

Overall, would definitely play this. Loved some of the ideas behind the world.

Camelot Trigger (King Arthur via giant mechas)

What I did love about this was how cool they brought in the myth of King Arthur and the Knights and incorporated it in the setting. It was just a lot of fun and how it was handled and because of that it peaked my interest in the setting quite a bit.

There was a lot of interesting things done with how the mecha was brought into the game.  It can also be two different kinds of games. One where you are doing things on your own, and another when you get into your “armour”.  Each part of the mecha can do different things. There is head, front, back, arms, and legs. Each one can have a different component (such as skill, or gaining a +2 to one), and there are a lot of options for those people that live to make a giant ass robot. J

That is not me though. Don’t get me wrong, would play the hell out of this game, but the genre is just not an exciting to me as a few of the other ones.

Still, getting to be a knight of the round in space? Very cool idea and I can see why so many people are excited about it.

The Wild Blue (the old west plus super powers)

The old west meets the superfriends. Er…sorta.

You are warden’s. You keep the Queen’s peace and you just happen to also have superpowers to help you. There are worse things you could have I suppose. From the start this sounded interesting, but that is due to the fact that I am playing around with an old west setting for Fate Core myself. But the addition of superpowers does give it a bit of a twist. 

The cool thing about it is that you can have a power, but it also has a cost that has to be just as powerful as the well…power. So you can say you have super strength, but the touch of iron hurts you. Or my favorite you can get a glimpse of the future, but you can do nothing to change it. Things like that. It makes for an interesting creation of a power. The cost doesn’t have to have anything to do with the power as long as it is something that is limiting.

They also did a decent job of a setting. Giving you different locations and a key NPC from each one. Which is a nice starting point if you decide to play the game.

Tower of the Serpents (high fantasy)

I love fantasy.

I always have and the game I am making is a fantasy game using Fate. So, I was very excited to read this and also do to how great Brennan Taylor tends to be in his games.

It was not what I was expecting, which isn’t really a bad thing.

The reason I say this is that this one was made for a world already set in place. It does not come up with magic or anything for your game; other than using Lore as magic. This was more of a scenario. With all of the other things I have read, I was just not expecting that. Again, that is fine.

The story is that you are hired to find an artifact from the Tower of Serpents. Then every other faction in the city seems to want you to hand it to them instead.

Once I got past all my misguided expectations, it was fun. The scenario is going to be about choice. Do you take it back to the caravan master? To the Triad? To the Governor? What about the Sorcerer?

So it becomes about choice and the dramatic effect of that choice. Very simply done, but with the potential of high drama. I like that combination myself. There are interesting sounding npc’s and enough factions for you to play more than one session, or just incorporate to your own game.

No exit (psychological horror)


Another one I really had my eye on. I love horror and have not seen anyone really tackle it well in Fate. There could be a good hack of it out there; I am just saying I have not seen it.

So you have are member in the community, but has made you forget who you are and wants you to be a drone. You wake up and it is time to get the %#&% out!

I liked it. I liked how the purpose of the game is to get your memories back and how you go about that. The management wants you to go back to your abode and carry on as before and will do whatever it takes to stop you.

You get a new skill Clarity. Which is an uber version of Will. It allows you to see through the illusions that Management uses to confuse you. You can spend fate points to trigger memories that you have forgotten. Or even destroy an item you had to create with each aspect in order to sacrifice that memory for a serious advantage. You don’t get the aspect back and if you lose all three, you become lost and become the drone they want.

All of this is awesome.

The Ellis affair (mystery, espionage, pulp)

I love a good mystery and have hoped someone would do it justice in a fate setting. So, I have been excited about this one from the onset.

Luckily, it does a good job of making it feel like a mystery. Set in the same time period as Spirit of the Century, it also has that pulp feel that I appreciated out of the game. Hell, you could use your existing Sotc characters in this game if you have them already.

One awesome thing they did which I will only talk about briefly is making a cool way to handle gambling. I am not going to go into it does a great job of inserting it into the game and making it sound like an actual game of poker (or whatever).  Being someone that likes to have a gambling skill, this made me happy.

There is a lot going on here and a lot of challenges for your players. Many dangers as you are dealing with spies, thugs, and even a large creature (along with trying to escape a flooded room). 

Overall it sounds like a blast to play. A lot of possible hooks for future games in this setting.  Very well done.
Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie (Pulp action with fighter combat and zeppelins)

This one was fun to read from the start. 

First of all, it had that Spirit of the Century pulp feel that drew me into that game five years ago. Combine that with the fact that you are fighter pilots (and damn good ones at that) it just seems like a lot of fun.

Taking place in 1919, just after the “Great War”, you find out that the Allies victory was not as complete as they thought it was. This would not be complete without a mad German scientist that has created machines that are rampaging Africa and the Mediterranean.

Your job? Stop them!

Sign me the hell up.

You choose your pre-gen (or make one) and pick your plane with whatever refresh it states and off you go to fight evil and gain fame!

I like that they have ties with the other pilots, but that can be friendly, or even rivals. Let’s face it, you are a fighter pilot and you want to be recognized for what you do. After each fight you are debriefed and then a fun sort of social combat can take place. You are debriefed by your commanding officer and a young plucky reporter by the name of Ernest Hemingway. This to me adds another layer to the game. You have to talk to your commanding office and state how well you did (i.e. how many kills) and it can turn into a social thing quickly. Especially if you are a rival of someone else that may not confirm your kills so they will look better…or even an ally that wants you to succeed. A lot of potential with this.