The Extra Secret Service Team

Happy Halloween! Here’s a preview of all the characters in the Extra Secret Service packet I plan to have out by the year’s end. This mini-setting is what I used to introduce Wil Wheaton to Fate, and the example setting we showed people for Backstory Cards. The specific characters came about when James Shields had a sale on color portraits—I took that as an opportunity to make these characters to set up a Lady Blackbird-esque build of the game. James does fantastic work; I highly recommend him.

Last time I talked about this on my blog, I intended it to be a Fate + Powered by the Apocalypse blend, but in the last year and a half of attempting that blend with numerous projects, I’m calling a true integration functionally impossible[1] for reasons I’ll go into in the future. What that means, though, is the Extra Secret Service packet I’m working on will be a neat build of Fate Accelerated. Not a straight build, but one with some quick rules to focus play in different ways.

Wait, I typoed there. Not “I’m,” but “we’re.” I grabbed some Brian Engard action on this to help solve some problems. Brian is another person I highly suggest working with, and am stoked to see he’s a part of the Interface Zero Fate Edition jazz (Kickstarting until 11/20/15).

So these characters have been sitting in my Dropbox for months, and they’re begging to be released. Their playsheets contain questions that drive toward character competences and trouble aspects, so I’ve included one for each.

Enough preamble. Here’s the alpha ESS team!

Lumina Murphy: Action Occultist

Lumina is part of the new generation of occultists. She fights arcane forces with arcane forces and uses magic to solve weird problems for the team.

lumina murphy

How Did You Gain Your Power?

☐ I inherited it from my mother. Aspect: My Family Line is Infamous

☐ I entered into a forbidden ruin and was bathed in eldritch green light. Aspect: Waiting for That Curse to Bite Me

☐ I won my power by wagering with a demon. Aspect: Demons Have It Out For Me

Aaron Enriquez: Rugged Werewolf

From the deep wilderness to the heart of the urban jungle, Aaron’s home anywhere. He’s an adept hunter and survivalist… and that’s just when he’s human.

aaron enriquez

What’s the YouTube Video ESS Had to Cover Up?

☐ “Giant Wolf Chases Down Poachers”; Aspect: Someone Has to Have Nature’s Back.

☐ “Wolfman Spotted Fighting Aliens”; Aspect: The Aliens Can Track Me

☐ “Man Turns Into Wolf ”; Aspect: There’s Always an Onlooker

Jack Cranston: Psychic Chameleon

Jack is a top agent—was even before he got his weird power to influence others. He lead ESS teams back when he was “normal,” and is proud of his record.

jack cranston

What’s Your Proudest Moment in ESS?

☐ When I defused that arcane-infused nuke. I hear even the spirits would have been destroyed. Aspect: Got Dosed with Arcano-Radiation

☐ When I lead my last team into an Otherworld stronghold. Aspect: Risk Anything for the Team

☐ When I delivered the Queen of Atlantis’s baby while we were under fire. Aspect: Entrenched in Metaphysical Politics

Mary Valentino: Field Scientist

Name a science—Mary’s messed with it, mastered it, and got bored. She turned to the surreal field of hyper-science, and uses it to fight truly mad science.

mary valentino

What Was Your High School Project?

☐ The classic: a volanco. Nearly melted the gym. Aspect: I Sometimes Use Too Much Power

☐ I kinda accidentally wrote a computer virus that shut down the school for a week. Aspect: My Code is in the Wrong Hands

☐ While my classmates were dissecting frogs, I was reanimating mine. Aspect: I’m Still Figuring Out Scientific Ethics

Mei Wong: Electrokinetic

Mei is always at the heart of the action, whether it’s jumping a motorcycle onto a speedboat or blasting bad guys with her strange electricity power.

mei wong

Where Did Your Ability Come From?

☐ Alien technology permanently integrated into me. Aspect: The tech’s locator beacon comes on at the most inconvenient of times

☐ Genetic mutation—the cool kind. Aspect: My mutant brothers and sisters see me as a traitor to our kind

☐ I don’t know. I was in a coma for months, and when I woke up, I had this power. Aspect: I’m not the only one with a strange coma power, and we’re all drawn together

Viktor Panchenko: Ghost Spy

In life, Viktor was a double-agent in the U.S., spying for the U.S.S.R. He was a top spy before; now that he’s a ghost, he’s even better at tradecraft.

viktor panchenko

How Has Being a Ghost Changed Your Specialty?

☐ I tracked down American cultists, neutralizing their magic before they could be a threat. Still good at that, and I now I can question their ghosts. Aspect: The Old Cults Still Remember Me

☐ I was a great codebreaker before. Now, I seem to instantly see numbers and patterns everywhere. Aspect: Sensory Overload

☐ I got in and out of sensitive places with no one the wiser. It’s child’s play today. Aspect: Always a Little Nervous


[1] It’s pretty easy to create a weak integration it by calling hold “aspects” and saying 7–9 results are succeeding at a cost, but there’s a lot more to the problem than simple mapping if you’re gonna design a game for hundreds of different people to play.