Posts Tagged ‘ Fate Accelerated Edition ’

Do: Fate of the Flying Temple

For some time now, I’ve meant to purchase Do: Fate of the Flying Temple. Now I’ve done so. Do, co-published by Evil Hat Productions and Smart Play Games, written by Mark Truman, promises to be “a family-friendly standalone roleplaying game.” I’ve seen this sort of claim before made by a few other games. Upon investigation, I discovered that, while those games might be family-friendly, it ain’t my family they’d be friendly to. Also, I facilitate Ludi Fabularum, a story game club, at the school whereat I teach. More than one of those other so-called family-friendly games would probably get me reprimanded if I allowed them at a Ludi Fabularum.

I am pleased to report that Do lives up to its claim. For the rest of this mini-review, I’m going to assume that you’re familiar with Fate Accelerated Edition; therefore, I’m not talking about the rules. They’re pretty much standard FAE rules, with two noteworthy exceptions, that I will address in a bit. If you don’t know FAE or don’t like FAE, that’s okay. Do‘s biggest selling point isn’t the game system; it’s the worlds of Do.

The Worlds of Do

At the center of everything floats the Flying Temple, home to wise and benevolent monks who master the martial arts in order to master themselves rather than fight others. Children who arrive at the Temple’s gates are adopted by the monks. These children become pilgrims. They’re not monks, but they’re not outsiders either. The monks teach their skills and wisdom to the children, who then fly to the many worlds of Do, answering letters sent by the troubled to the Temple. The pilgrims try to solve those troubles using the non-violent methods of the monks.

The worlds of Do are not planets like Earth or Mars. Instead, they are more like floating islands, drifting on the winds that blow through the vast sky in which everything moves and lives. To quote the rules, “There is no ‘outer space’ as we know it, with its harsh vacuum and hazardous cosmic rays.” There is sky. There are clouds and birds and worlds and flying whales and, like everywhere you find people, there is trouble. Those experiencing trouble write letters to the Temple. The monks read the letters, decide which troubles need attention, and then send pilgrims — children — to solve those troubles.

The players’ characters are pilgrims, remarkable children who live at the Temple under the tutelage of the monks. One day, all pilgrims face graduation day. Their pilgrimages have an end date, and after that they are pilgrims no more. Instead, they become monks who tutor pilgrims or else they depart the Temple to live among the worlds of Do. Regardless, they are player characters no longer.

About Pilgrims

Pilgrims are made pretty much like any FAE character. They have aspects, stunts, and approaches, but the aspects work a little differently. Every pilgrim’s name has two parts: a banner and an avatar. The former is “an adjective or verb that represents how your pilgrim gets into trouble.” The latter is “a noun that reflects how your pilgrims helps people.” Three sample characters are included in the book, and chapter two goes into admirable detail about banners and avatars. In normal FAE-speak, a pilgrim’s banner is his trouble, and his avatar is his high concept. Every pilgrim also has a dragon aspect. This aspect describes something about the newly hatched dragon that the pilgrims must protect, guide, and raise. The players, through the dragon aspects of their characters, create the personality, appearance, abilities, et cetera of the young dragon.

In simplest terms, the dragon is a non-player character controlled by the GM, given qualities by the players, a collection of aspects usable by all of the players and the GM, and, therefore, a source of both strengths and troubles. In my opinion, the dragon is the cleverest piece of Do. It’s something that is so simple that I wonder why I didn’t think of it.

The Temple Is Missing!

If you choose to run a Do campaign, it begins when the pilgrims return from a mission to discover that Temple is missing and, in its place, is a dragon egg. Where is the Temple? Where did this egg come from? What is the nature of the dragon within? All of the questions are answered during play as a sort of metaplot that moves toward a defined end of the campaign. As the game progresses and pilgrims answer letters (more on that below) and gradually solve the mystery of the Temple, the dragon gains more aspects. At the end of each letter (read: adventure), the dragon learns something new. It gains a new aspect. When the dragon gains its tenth aspect, the campaign draws to a close.

Mail Call!

As mentioned above, the people of the worlds of Do send letters to the monks, who read those letters and then send out pilgrims to solve the problems in the letters. When the Temple vanishes and the dragon hatches, the letters don’t stop. Instead, the dragon coughs up letters, and the pilgrims find themselves without the guidance of the monks. Problems must be solved, and the dragon accompanies the pilgrims, learning from how they act what sort of dragon it should be. In other words, the way the pilgrims solve problems ends up teaching the dragon, which will eventually become a very powerful creature indeed, how it ought to solve problems. Whether the pilgrims — mere children — like it or not, the fate of the worlds of Do is in their hands.

In Conclusion

If you like FAE, get Do. It is a remarkable example of what FAE can accomplish. If you don’t like FAE, get Do. It’s a fascinating idea for a multi-world campaign where solving problems via violence is possible but never without consequences, not the least of which is the fact the pilgrims end up teaching the dragon that the way to solve problems is via force.

I cannot recommend Do strongly enough, and I look forward to challenging the students who participate in Ludi Fabularum with its many worlds.

August 22nd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Nanny Death

For the past several months, about every other Saturday we’ve been playing Fate Accelerated. One of the nifty (if not the niftiest) thing about Fate Accelerated is that one can make up just about anything for use as a character. For example, let’s meet Nanny Death and her hell toddlers.

Nanny Death is an undead monster who disguises itself as a kindly woman, usually somewhat elderly and genteel. She infiltrates some unsuspecting family, taking great care of the children, earning everyone’s trust and even their love. Then, one evening after dinner, Nanny Death reveals her true nature, unleashes a pack of hell toddlers, and revels in a night of terror and bloodshed.

Nanny Death
“Stop screaming and eat your spiders.”

High Concept: Skull-Faced Nanny of the Damned

Trouble: Maternal Instincts

Other Aspects: Excellent References, I’m Already Dead, Necromantic Baked Goods

Approaches:: Careful – Strong (+3), Clever – Average (+1), Flashy – Mediocre (+0), Forceful – Average (+1), Quick – Fair (+2), Sneaky – Fair (+2)

Stunts:
* Face of Fear: Because I Embody Death, I gain a +2 to Flashily create an advantage or overcome an obstacle by invoking feelings of fear.

* No Place Like Home: Because I am Strongest in My Lair, I gain a +2 to Forcefully attack when I am at home.

* Reassuring Presence: Because I can Appear Harmless, I gain a +2 to create an advantage or overcome an obstacle when I Carefully disguise myself.

Pack of Hell Toddlers
Undead Flesh Eaters
Skilled (+2) At: Evading detection, playing horrifying games, tearing through flesh
Bad (-2) At: Acting in the presence of holy objects
Stress: Two boxes (3 hell toddlers per box)

April 22nd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

The Barabashka

Meet the barabashka, a horrible poltergeist, just one of the monsters you might have the misfortune to meet while exploring a ghost-haunted ruin in the world of Buyan.

Anger, remorse, guilt. Some emotions live on after death, coalescing into an invisible, malevolent entity. It lashes out, hurling objects and creatures with destructive force. Invisible, incorporeal, and vicious, a barabashka seeks to harm those who trespass on its haunt.

For Dungeon World

Solitary, Terrifying
Telekinetic force (d8 damage)
20 HP, 0 Armor; Close, Near, Reach
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, Invisible to Normal Sight

Instinct: To drive away

* Fool the senses
* Throw something
* Unleash a whirlwind of destruction

For Fate Accelerated Edition

High Concept: Incorporeal, Invisible Malevolent Entity of Telekinetic Force
Trouble: Driven by Powerful Emotions
Other Aspects: My Illusions Terrify, No One Trespasses on My Haunt

Approaches: Careful – Mediocre (+0), Clever – Average (+1), Flashy – Average (+1), Forceful – Good (+3), Quick – Fair (+2), Stealthy – Fair (+2)

Stunts:
* Boo!: Because I create terrifying illusions, I gain a +2 to Cleverly create advantages related to fear.

* Unleash My Fury: Because I can hurl objects and creatures, I gain a +2 to Forcefully attack by throwing something or someone.

For Mini Six Bare Bones Edition

Scale: 0

Might: 0D
Agility: 3D+2
Wit: 4D
Charm: 2D+2

Skills: Brawling 5D+2, Dodge 4D+1, Illusions 8D, Stealth 5D, Throwing 4D+1
Perks: Illusions (as the spell), Incorporeal (cannot be harmed by normal weapons, uses Wit in place of Might); Invisible to Normal Sight
Static: Block 17, Dodge 13, Soak 12

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 6+6; AC 1 [18]; Atks 0; SV 11; Special incorporeal (immune to non-magic weapons), invisible, telekinesis, undead; MV 15 (flying); AL C; CL/XP 10/1,400

Telekinesis: Once per round, a barabashka can lift and throw up to 360 pounds of objects or creatures with a range of 120 feet. It can hurl a single 360 pound object or creature up to 10 feet. Damage inflicted by such throwing is up to the Referee, but about 1d6 per 10 feet thrown or about 1d6 per 30 pounds seems fair. Saving throws may apply, which could negate or reduce effects.

August 3rd, 2015  in Product Development No Comments »

Koschei the Deathless

In my last post, I introduced Buyan, a magical island found in Slavic and Russian folktales and myths. Today, we meet Koschei the Deathless. If you’d like to read a tale featuring this villain, here’s a link to a PDF of “The Death of Koschei the Deathless” taken from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.

So tall he towers over the tallest men, emaciated yet vigorous, unkempt hair and beard grown into ragged and long strands, completely naked. Koschei the Deathless, sorceror and kidnapper, lives in a decaying fortress lost within a rugged highland forest. From this lair, Koschei rides out mounted on his remarkable steed, one of Baba Yaga’s magical horses given to Koschei by that monstrous witch. Koschei abducts women, especially the wives of aristocrats. He locks them up in his fortress’s dungeons, guarded by frost giants and winter wolves, often for no reason other than to enjoy slaughtering those who come to rescue the ladies.

Only Koschei’s deathlessness overshadows his legendary wrath and cruelty. In ages past, Koschei took his soul and hid it within a needle. He put the needle inside an egg. A duck carries this egg in its body, and, in turn, a white-furred hare holds within its body the duck. Koschei locked the hare inside a sturdy chest constructed from iron, crystal, and gold. He buried the chest beneath the roots of an oak tree that grows in Buyan’s forested wilderness. As long as Koschei’s soul remains protected, Koschei cannot die. No force mundane or magical can kill him.

Anyone fortunate enough to locate the oak tree, dig up the chest, and open the container must still contend with the hare, which then races away, seeking to evade capture. If pursuers catch and kill the hare, the duck bursts forth and flies away. Should the duck be caught and killed, the hunter can extract the egg and use it to control Koschei, who sickens and loses his great strength and his sorcerous powers. Cracking the egg open to get the needle breaks this control and restores Koschei’s might, but breaking the needle instantly slays the villain.

Koschei’s steed, which he addresses only with various insults such as “jade” and “nag”, has magical powers. It gallops faster than any mortal horse, and it speaks several languages. It tracks victims for Koschei with its remarkable sense of smell, and no one has ever thrown the horse off their trail. Koschei also possesses at least one amazing magic item, a normal-seeming handkerchief which, when waved three times, transforms into a strong bridge long enough to span any river or chasm. Once Koschei crosses the bridge, it reverts to a handkerchief.

This link takes you to a PDF containing game stats for Koschei the Deathless, making this miscreant usable for Dungeon World, Fate Accelerated Edition, Mini Six Bare Bones Edition, and Swords & Wizardy. Koschei’s stats for Barbarians of Lemuria appear below. Huzzah.

Koschei the Deathless
Attributes: Strength 4, Agility 0, Mind 3, Appeal 0; Brawl 2, Melee 3, Missile 2, Defence 0
Careers: Gaoler 2, Hunter 1, Scholar 1, Sorcerer 3
Lifeblood: 12
Protection: 0 (no armor)
Weapons: Scimitar d6+6
Special: Koschei is deathless as long as his needle is intact. He ignores all damage to Lifeblood.

Koschei’s Horse
Attributes: Strength 3, Agility 1, Mind 2
Offence: Attack with hooves +2; d6 damage
Defence: 2
Protection: d3-1 (tough hide)
Lifeblood: 20
Special: Koschei’s horse speaks several languages. Its swiftness is legendary. It can accurately track a target via scent.

July 26th, 2015  in Product Development, RPG No Comments »

The Spiders from Mars

The desolate plains of an alien world named for an ancient culture’s war god appear lifeless from a bird’s eye view, but appearances deceive. Strange formations crisscross that alien world’s desolate plains, and entities monstrous and malevolent live within those formations.

Martian spiders, or zlopavouk in their own bizarre language, are intelligent, communal creatures who build elaborate networks of tunnels and tubes out of soil, rock, and adhesive secretions, creating a composite material every bit as strong as granite. Divided into rigid castes, most Martian spiders are workers, who occupy the lowest tier in zlopavouk society. The workers have little in the way of genuine will, but instead live content, controlled by a combination of pheromones and telepathic commands produced by the higher castes, the fierce warriors and the terrifying nobles.

Like a terrestrial spider, a Martian spider’s body consists of two parts: a cephalothorax and an abdomen. It has nine legs, six growing from the cephalothorax, three per side. The other three legs, noticeably larger, grow from the abdomen, spaced more or less equally. A Martian spider scuttles rapidly on all nine legs, but it can also rise up on its rear legs, moving in a semi-rotating gait so that it can bring its forelimbs to bear. These forelimbs end in three-fingered hands. Martian spiders of all castes have three pedipalps near their three fanged mouths. The bite of a Martian spider is highly toxic. They also have three compound eyes spaced to the front and sides of the cephalothorax, giving Martian spiders a field of vision nearly 360 degrees in breadth.

Workers are smallish, being about three to four feet long. They do not have spinnerets like terrestrial spiders, but instead have structures evolved to scoop soil, move rocks, and then shape and fuse them with adhesive secretions. Warriors are larger, reaching seven feet in length. Their three-fingered hands end in hooked claws, and their fangs are exceptionally large. Noble Martian spiders are larger than workers but smaller than warriors. An observers may readily identify a noble Martian spider by the clusters of bright red nodules growing around its eyes. These nodules contain highly specialized psychic organs.

Martian Spider Workers
Agile Fingers & Venomous Fangs
Skilled (+2) at: Following Orders
Bad (-2) at: Thinking Outside the Box
Stress: [] [] [] (6 workers)

Martian Spider Warrior
Aspects: Driven to Conquer, Fierce Member of the Warrior Caste
Skilled (+2) at: Attacking with Speed and Precision, Commanding Workers
Bad (-2) at: Anything Not Related to Fighting and Killing
Stress: [] []

Martian Spider Noble
High Concept: Psychic Ruler of Martian Spider Society
Trouble: “Obey Me!”
Other Aspects: Hyper-Intelligent Alien Overlord, My Intricate Plans Cannot Fail, Your Mind is My Mind

Approaches: Careful Good (+3), Clever Great (+4), Flashy Mediocre (+0), Forceful Mediocre (+0), Quick Fair (+2), Sneaky Fair (+2)

Stunts
Telepathic Powers: Because I have telepathic powers, I gain a +2 to Cleverly create an advantage or overcome an obstacle by directly influencing the mind of another.

Refresh: 3

July 12th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »