Posts Tagged ‘half-ideas’
This is an old idea from a Story Games thread lost in time, but it’s stuck in my mind for the past few years. Building from yesterday’s post about cliques, you could do the same thing to flesh out sci-fi races. The following is a “half-idea“, left to you, the reader, to fully form if you so desire.
Start with the Best Friends approach, which is that each character fills out:
- I hate ____ because she’s smarter than me.
- I hate ____ because she’s cooler than me.
- I hate ____ because she’s prettier than me.
- I hate ____ because she’s tougher than me.
- I hate ____ because she’s richer than me.
And puts a character’s name in each slot, making that true about their dynamic. Looking at the Star Trek dynamic, we easily have “logical,” “honorable” and “aggressive” traits. I don’t want many traits that are antithetical, so no “warlike” and “peaceful”, which means finding two more traits that can co-exist with logical, honorable & aggressive.
In the end, we’d have:
- We do not understand ____ because they are more honorable than us.
- We do not understand ____ because they are more logical than us.
- We do not understand ____ because they are more aggressive than us.
- (one other)
- (one other)
You’d describe elements of your race, like visuals & homeworld, then launch into this phase. If you’re playing a crunch game, you could probably use this to generate some bonuses. Playing a Fate-like game, use this to generate racial aspects a la Bulldogs! Or just use it to influence play.
 I don’t remember who the author of the post was. It’s possible it was even me.
In Fate, your degree of success over a difficulty is measured in shifts. When you roll equal to the difficulty, you have zero shifts. Roll one over the difficulty, and you have one shift. Two over means two shifts, and so on.
As I am reading over Fate Core, I started thinking hard about that assumption. And how that needn’t always be the case.
Imagine it the shifts generated were exponential, like so:
- Meeting the difficulty = 0 shifts
- Beating by 1 = 1 shift
- Beating by 2 = 2 shifts (so far, the same)
- Beating by 3 = 4 shifts
- Beating by 4 = 8 shifts
- Beating by 5 = 16 shifts
- etc, doubling each time.
Master Fencer: (Weapons) When you are fighting off a horde of mooks, your shifts are exponential.
Master Engineer: (Engineering) When you are building or fixing something, your shifts are exponential.
Master Against the Dark Arts: (Wizardry) When you are fighting against the dark arts (necromancy, curses, and other evil magics), your shifts are exponential.
If that seems too large, it could be unlocked by spending a Fate point. No idea if this works, but it came to mind, so I thought I would throw it out there.
(Incidentally, stuff like this won’t be in Core, because it’s not, well, core to Fate. But I am considering it for a Fate build I’m tinkering with.)
I’ve been involved in many conversations about Technoir, and one of the criticisms I hear is that there isn’t really any noir in the game. And I agree, insofar that I also see there isn’t any inherent pulp in Fate–it’s genre expectations & understanding of theme & tropes that bring those things to life in a game. A game doesn’t have to directly support a genre with mechanics if there is an understanding that desired tone will be filled in.
However, there is one place where I’m seeing a lack of noir tone in Technoir: the distribution of Push dice.
If you don’t know, well, check out the free Technoir player’s guide.
The players start with all the Push dice, giving them the power to make lasting change and defend themselves. The GM’s characters, in contrast, don’t.
That’s the opposite of noir, in my view. So what happens if you give all the Push dice to the players?
I don’t know. But I look to find out.
P.S. Thanks to EZ for his comment on yesterday’s post that triggered this thinking.
 That said, putting framing elements (like questions or options) into character creation could more easily push noir into the game, but creating characters that remind us of those tropes and themes, with elements on the character sheet to reinforce that. Which, I think, it does pretty well for cyberpunk, and I’ve had fun with as long as I treat the game like a harsh cyberpunk world and allow noir to be a happy accident.
Over the last years or so, I’ve been playing Smallville & Technoir, which have interesting coin economies. Smallville’s Plot Points are infinite from the perspective of the GM, but when people get them, they aren’t immediately available–which is key to making the PvP elements sing. Technoir’s Push Dice is a table-wide closed system, where spending it means it goes to the person affected–player or GM–for them to use in the future. And that makes me think about one way to tweak Fate Points.
Fate Points as Closed Economy
Imagine if, when a game starts, the PCs have their refresh in Fate Points, and the GM has none to use. At the players spend Fate, the GM keeps them (unless you’re talking PvP, in which case the affected player keeps them instead). Later, the GM can use those Fate Points to compel the PCs or invoke aspects for her NPCs. This tackles one common question about Fate: does the GM have any?
Because the GM has none to start, she cannot right away compels. If that’s not desired, either the GM should start with a couple, or some compels (perhaps all) should come from the ether rather than from her pool. This means it’s no longer a closed economy, but semi-closed.
Similarly, the refresh mechanic at the start of a session or crucial point makes the economy semi-closed, since if you have more than your refresh in Fate Points, you keep all you have. Not sure how I’d want to tackle that inflation, but it’s something to consider.
Fate Points Delayed
Fate Points that you gain are not immediately available, but become available after the current conflict or scene. This is a necessary component for a closed system to work; otherwise, you can keep something going by throwing Fate Points freely back and forth.
Now, this isn’t something for every Fate game. My gut says (as I just thought of this and haven’t tried it) that this will be a somewhat grittier game.
What do you think?