Kickstarter – Site to Behold!

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Only a short post this week, as we’re working hard on getting everything ready for day one of shooting for our Fate Accompli Kickstarter. Gotta make sure all the props are gathered, cue-cards are printed, and camera batteries are charged!

So, this week we unveil our newest piece of prototype art, designed by Tangent Artist Indy: TA-DAH!

Fate Accompli Banner

If you want to commission Indy for your own project, contact tangentartists@gmail.com

Of course, we’d love YOUR advice on where to post it. Where can we post it? Know any affordable advertisement sites for gamers? Where do you recommend? Send us your links!

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ASPECTS – CAN YOU PICTURE THAT?

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While thinking of a shameless way to write a blog about our company’s erasable notecards, which will soon be pre-sold on our kickstarter as “Fate Accompli” in July, I was reminded of one of my favorite playtests from GEN CON. We were playing our original FAE setting, “Dungeon Tours LTD,” which included the PCs creating a fake monster by stitching together random animals they had killed. The end result was a bear-boar-miscellaneous hybrid beast which they dubbed the Jeff. The name was all them, but I also asked them to draw the head of the dread Jeff.

the jeff

The Jeff. Fear it.

(Can’t remember the artist’s name, but if wants to come forth, I will be glad to credit him.)

In This Week’s Post: When I often introduce new players to FATE, I often tell them it’s a game of words. However, today we’re going to explore a new idea: using pictures! We’ll talk about the several ways you can use pictures along with or instead of words when creating your boosts and aspects, and in what ways they might enrich your game.

METHOD ONE – WORDS & PICTURES
One of the first ways you can use pictures alongside descriptive sentences; this is a redundancy, and thus has no immediate change on the game play, but it does have a few psychological benefits.

a. Sense of Play – Unless you are a professional artist, you’ve probably spent done more drawing and coloring in one year of elementary than you have in every post-elementary year since then combined. It’s no surprise then that drawing makes you feel young, and reminds you of idyllic art classes from days long ago. It’s a small thing, but it puts people in the right mind set- they’re ready to fire up their imagination and play games of make believe (which is really what RPGs are.)

Toon Tested, Acme Approved

Toon Tested, Acme Approved

b. Genre Immersion – Depending on the setting, drawing also lets the players get in more in touch with the characters. “Dungeon Tours LTD,” as we mentioned above, is a game involving the PCs crafting objects. Likewise, any game which involves the PCs making something, like a cooking show contest or a creation god, the players are mirroring the creation of their characters, making the mental bond closure. Alternatively, drawing is also apt for any game setting typically associated with drawn visuals, such as a setting starring superheroes, anime characters, or loony cartoon characters.

METHOD TWO – PICTURES INSTEAD OF WORDS

As another option, you can have aspects represented by pictures, but with little or no words describing it. For example, you might have an aspect card with the written words “carving on wall,” but the only drawn indicators of what the glyph looks like.

I'm guessing Demon Cult, or Georgia O'Keeffe wannabes.

I’m guessing Demon Cult, or Georgia O’Keeffe wannabes.

Reason a. Mystery and Doubt – This is useful tool when a GM draws a clue for a group of players in a mystery setting. The image is intentionally vague, leaving players several hints, some of them contradictory. Like a Jackson Pollack painting, it might even be unclear which direction is up. Like a Rorschach test, the players might interpret it a hundred different ways. When asked to interpret an evil symbol, they might make wild theories about cults devoted to octopus gods, snakes, pasta monsters, or things you’d never have come up with. If one of their random ideas is better than the one you had, go ahead and change it! *

*Note: If a player is getting frustrated, don’t make the player depend solely on their own wits. Let them roll on their character’s skills (ex. Lore, Academics, Mythos); if successful, you can give the players hints about how the clue might resemble things the character has encountered before.

Reason B. Deliberate Misinterpretation – If a player is trying to create an aspect to reflect something that their character has made well, give them a chance to draw a picture to represent it in all of its glory (if they don’t fancy themselves an artist, imagination can take care of the rest.) However, if their character fails the roll, and creates something half-baked, you can use the player’s drawing to inspire how the malformed creation: this can be done by restricting them in some way, like forcing them to draw with their opposite hand or giving a only a few seconds to work. Thus, any mistakes they make might inspire the final aspect, like an illusionary double that’s basically a smiley face, or a summoned demon that has two arms but no legs.*

Of course that's a dog. Shut up.

Of course that’s a dog. Shut up.

*Laugh at vs. Laughing with- Adding art to aspects can also result in some comically bad drawings; however, you should always be careful about laughing at the art of others, especially people you don’t know very well. If in doubt, only laugh at art you made yourself.

METHOD THREE – MECHANICAL PICTURES

Lastly, it’s possible to have a picture that is not just pretty, but also functional- this normally gets into the pictographic territory, as there is something numeric that is also conveyed in the image. Here are a few things you might convey:

a. Invokes – An easy thing to keep track visually is invokes,

With all the talk of Rorschach, we had to slip in some pretty flowers.

With all the talk of Rorschach, we had to slip in some pretty flowers.

particularly in that they seldom do over a large number. I would recommend one image for the aspect, and a separate image to represent the invokes (ex. Drawing a gun, and using invokes as bullets), or representing an aspect as a white flower with the invokes as dark flowers.

b. Stress – You could have each player draw stress as images (ex. hearts) and erase them as they take stress. Alternatively, you can have it the other way around, with a healthy character drawing stress gaining pictures to represent stress they suffer. (For a variant, see the “Hangman Stress” below).

STRESS VARIANT – HANGMAN STRESS

Rules: All PCs get a single stress track of six points, each absorbing one stress. There are no mild consequences. Stress is measured not in tally marks, but in body parts: head, torso, right leg, left leg, right arm, and left arm, similar to the kid’s game, Hangman. Whenever a pc takes a stress point, they draw

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive.

Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

a body part onto their tracker. You can pick which part arbitrarily, but it is best done through the fiction- if you take damage from a rock falling on your head, it makes sense to fill out the head. If an opponent attacks you and succeeds with style, instead of gaining a boost, draw an indicator on the wounded body (ex. An arrow sticking out of a body), which counts as an invoke. While there is an invoke on a body part, treat it as an aspect that can be invoked. Ex. Quince the barbarian has an arrow sticking out of his arm. The vicious orc attacking him in combat could invoke the arrow, removing it (and making the aspect disappear.) Instead, he decides to spend a fate point to invoke the hurt arm, saving the free invoke for a future exchange.

When a character has the fully drawn body and suffers stress, they are removed from the combat.

Lower / Higher Stress – If six is too high, consider making the head and torso one piece, or giving the character a “V” as a pair of legs. For higher stress, find a finite number of other body parts to add on (ex. A tough dwarf drawing on a beard.)


CON NEWS!

This Sat & Sun, Tangent Artists will be at Tidewater Comic Convention in Virginia Beach! Drop by to buy a one-sided die, playtest a game, or just say hello! Say that you’re a proud Tangerine, and get a gift prize!

SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

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Last week, we gave out a slew of pre-made characters. This

You'll jump! You'll swoon!  You'll demand to see the manager!

You’ll jump! You’ll swoon! You’ll demand to see the manager!

week, we’re going to give you a full adventure to run. This one was inspired by the first Skeleton Crew comic we ever wrote (if you’re a player, no peeking, as there are spoilers!) I’ve used it at many conventions, it can generally be run in a little over 2 hours. Enjoy!


SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

This is a Skeleton Crew RPG pickup game, designed for 2-6 players. The PCs start with 20 points of skill, with a cap of Great (+4). While some of the skills and aspects are provided for the players, Fate is a very much a “make it your own” kind of game, so we have left some parts blank. For filling in aspects, the GM will start the game by asking a few questions, to see about the character motivations and connections. Any open skills or aspects can be filled out before the game, after it starts, or even near the end. GMs are encouraged to let players switch out skills, even mid-game, and not to worry too much about the retroactive changes. Reminder: if they decide to gain more Physique or Will, it will give them extra Physical Stress or Mental Stress. Keep this in mind.

THE SET-UP

Read aloud: You’re New Manchester’s premier team of Monster Hunters and paranormal investigators. You have tangled with plenty of underworld criminals, and have made many enemies, but you’ve also recruited a handful of allies. One of them, known as the Nosy Shadow, just heard that the necromancer Deadringer is hitting the Schmitzonian Museum of Natural History tonight. You head there as fast as you can, hoping you can beat him there.

As you pull up to the Schmitzonian Mall, you recognize the building- it’s the one with the giant banners advertising their touring exhibit, “The Mummy of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel.”deadringer comical scared

As the crewmates pull in closer, they see the skinny Deadringer at a broken window, slipping himself through. He sees you coming up, curses to himself, “Oh, fudge me!” and climbs through awkwardly.

POTENTIAL PCS

For a list of pre-made PCs, see last week’s blog post. If you want to reverse the gender of any of them, go ahead- Shelley can easily become “Sheldon” or “Percy”. It’s your game!

PRE-GAME QUESTIONS

TEAM ASPECT – Your Team aspect is “Monster Hunters”

The GM should ask the players the following questions- these will help shape their aspects and relationships for the upcoming game. If the same player tries to answer more than one or two, make sure you allow other players a chance to answer some.

  • Best Mate – You (A) consider another character your best mate in the whole world- you have saved each other’s necks so often you’ve lost track. Character B – write an aspect describing your strong feelings towards A (love, trust, disgust, etc.)
  • Former Enemy – You (Character A) find yourself on a team with a former enemy (Character B.) Write your feelings towards this character. Do you trust ‘em? Character B: do you mistrust A back? Is there an ulterior motive behind your cooperation?
  • Superiority Complex – You (Character A) consider character B to be your biggest rival- according to you, B thinks he’s SOOO much better than you, and you’ll do anything to prove that you’re the best. Character B: Is A your rival too? Do you feel like A is better than you, and you likewise have to prove your worth? Do you actually feel superior, but don’t feel the need to prove it?
  • Love in the Air– You (Character A) are head over heels in love with character B. Character B: write an aspect showing your acceptance of this love, or your knowledge / lack of knowledge about it.
  • Ulterior Motive – You (Character A) secretly or overtly want something that only Character B can give. Does B know information about a secret treasure? Does B have an ancient artifact that you’re eager to pull from their dead fingers? Character B: Do you know of A’s objective, or do you only have vague hints?
  • Love Gone Sour – You (Character A) used to be in a romantic relationship with Character B, before it crumbled; OR, Character A had a relationship that was disrupted, thanks to Character B. Write your an aspect reflecting your interpretation of the events.
  • Like a Son / Daughter– Between you (Character A) and Character B, there is a paternal / maternal bond. Pick which is the father/mother figure, and which is the son/daughter figure (age might be a good indication.)

Team Chemistry -The Chemistry aspect describes how the group members view each other. If you want, this can explain hint at a mutually shared past. Here’s a few examples:

  • Trusted: Band of Brothers / Old War Buddies
  • Familial:  Childhood Friends / Test Tube Experiment Siblings
  • Awkward: Thrown Together / Distant Co-workers / Amateurs & Old Pros
  • Competitive:  Confederacy of Rivals / Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend
  • Hostile: Every Man for Himself / If We Get Chased, I’m Tripping You

Note: For 2 hour games, this section can be skipped. If so, here’s a recommended pre-made Team:

Team Name: Skeleton Crew

Team Concept: Monster Hunters

Team Chemistry: Second Family – Love & Brotherly Hate

The following section contains spoilers of what’s ahead, and should be viewed by the GM Only – players, back off!


“Fright” Story Structure:

  • Act 1 – The Foyer / Vampanzees Attack!
  • Act 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects / The Orb of Kao!
  • Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit
  • Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

ACT 1 The Foyer

End Goal:

  • Story: Players are to dispatch or placate the vampanzees
  • OOC: Players are to become accustomed to rpgs (turns, skills, declaring actions,) and Fate system (combat, aspects, stunt & invokes). If possible, also introduce compels and consequences.

Players should enter the building after Deadringer- common ways include climbing in through the window (athletics) or breaking down the solid door (physique).

The first room is the main hall of the museum.

Once you get in, you see Deadringer at the other end of the hall, about to slip into the first exhibit.

I’m going to get the mummy. If you have a problem with that, you can talk about it to- my army of vampanzees!”

Deadringer pulls back his cloak an reveals a cluster (hardly an army), of vampanzees- namely, vampire chimps, complete with tiny fangs and short black capes.

vampan hate

At this point, players should brainstorm what the main hall is like. I recommend a large Woolly Mammoth model in the center of the room. Other ideas could include a gift shop, an info kiosk, fire extinguishers, lighting fixtures, etc.

Vampanzees – Mob
High Concept – Vampire Chimps
Aspects: Overly Curious; Bouncy Little Bastiches; Fight or Flight
Skills : Fair (+1) rating in Athletics.
Stunt: Clamber – If a Vampanzee is in a mob of 2 or more Vampanzees, it can make Attacks with Athletics. (If NOT in a Mob, it will generally join another mob or run away!)
Stress: No shift boxes— one shift of harm is enough to take them out.
(Note: The number of vampanzees are handled like mobs- each one is weak as heck, but add up to a threat if not divided. There are is a mob of 3 per character.)

Alternatively: Have only 2 vampanzees (which will be weak,) but invoke their aspects a lot- this will demonstrate the players how invoking works. 

Initiate Combat – Roll for Notice (Reminder: Zomboy & Caomh have stunts that give them order bonuses).

Determine the objectives & stakes: Vampanzees, for their part, want to scratch you, drink your blood, and maybe eat a few fingers, until they’d grow bored with your bodies.

Phase 0: I recommend you institute Phase 0, especially with a new group. One the first exchange, characters are not allowed to make Attacks- instead, they can only Create Advantages or Overcome.

Possible Compels to consider: Vampanzees are very curious. Weston has trouble with Light. Amon-anda might has trouble is the Vamps act in a particularly nasty way.

Once the vampanzees are cleared, players can follow Deadringer down the hall.

ACT 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Things

End Goals:

  • IC: Characters reach the end of the hall, which is best achieved by disabling the Orb of Kao.
  • OOC: Characters have experience with a non-combat obstacle, and test out a Challenge.

(Note: In a Short, 2 Hour session, this section is less necessary to the plot- the number of successes can be reduced as time dictates.)

As you leave the main hall, you get a closer look at the exhibit Deadringer escaped through: “The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects.” It seems a poorly thought out exhibit, with display items ranging from historical, like ancestral knives and spears, to mundane and random, like bent pipes and jagged rocks. Really, someone should be fired for this.

At the end of the hall, you see Deadringer place a large black crystal ball on the floor. He rushes out the door, and the orb starts emitting a thick smoke. The smoke seems to coalesce into spectral hands, which start reaching out and feeling the objects around them. There is also a high-pitched melody emitting from the orb, like the lullaby from a music box.

Any attempts to approach the orb will result in the hands grabbing random sharp objects and throwing them in the character’s direction. I recommend one free “jump back” into the safety of the doorway, giving the characters time to plan their approach.

Orb of Kao – Challenge

High Concept: Crystal Music Box of Doom

Experts will recognize the sphere as the Orb of Kao, a soul catcher from Ancient Egypt (they’re pretty rare, which makes the fact that Deadringer found one a little surprising.) It protects itself with ghost hands, and plays a haunting melody that hypnotizes anyone close enough to hear it.
Aspects: Egyptian automated sentry; Souls trapped inside; Made of hard glass

Challenge parts:
1. Dodge the Attacks- Recommended Difficulty – 2. Recommended Skills: Athletics
2. Avoid the Siren’s Call – Recommended Difficulty – 4. Recommended Skills: Will
3. Crush the Sphere – Recommended Difficulty – 6. Recommended Skills: Physique.

Taking Turns: Each challenge should be tackled by one character at a time.

1-3 Characters: You may have one character attempt all three challenges (as they run the gauntlet), or may have characters tag in. You may also consider lowering the difficulty of the later challenges by one or two points.

4+ Characters: We encourage each challenge be tackled by a different character, as they divert one part of the orb’s defenses, letting the next character tag in. If having over 6+ characters, considering raising the difficulty of the lower level challenges by one or two points, or consider adding a fourth challenge.

Extra characters: Any character that is not tackling a challenge may do ONE following:

> Make one attempt to use create an advantage to create an aspect.

> May use the teamwork rule to add +1 to any skill rolls, provided they are at least Average (+1)in it.

Special Rules:
Black Smoke – Any attempts to attack the orb from the Hall entrance without first doing challenges 1 & 2 will be blocked by thick smoke, but a shooter may assist with other attacks (by adding +1 through teamwork or by creating aspects), or may shoot it if that character or other have already beaten challenges 1 & 2 (ex. a character getting close enough to shoot it at close range, or throw it out of the fog)

Outside the box: If players want to attempt to get the orb some other way, go for it- just write up a 2-4 part challenge for them to overcome. One group used a hypnotized Vampanzee to run the gauntlet, after using illusion powers to convince it that the orb was a banana.

Failure: If a character fails to overcome challenge one or two, don’t forget that they can succeed at a cost- this might mean they stumble through a challenge, but have some negative boosts, aspects or consequences to hinder them the next challenge or scene.

Victory: If the orb is destroyed or overcome, the characters can safely go to the next room. There is also a “broken orb” aspect which the players can exploit.

Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit

End Goals:

  • IC: Players realize that the mummy remains undisturbed, and that Deadringer is casting something in the next hall.
  • OOC: Nothing major. If players want to prep themselves, allow each player a chance to prep once.

You run into the exhibit of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel, and find it- strangely quiet. At first glance, it appears that nothing is disturbed.

When the players get tired of searching, lead them to the next room. Any magic users may wish to pilfer the exhibit for talismans of mild power. Characters can also steal prop weapons or search for ancient weapons.

Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

End Goals:

  • IC: Defeat or subdue Deadringer and the Skelesaurus.
  • OOC: Players become familiar with Consequences, and fighting a character with multiple stress boxes. Against the T-Rex, players will hopefully see that stacking up Advantages is a good strategy for muscling through its tough hide.

You follow the (trail of magic / smell / maniacal giggling) to the next exhibit. It’s marked: “Mesozoic Marvels: In the Time of the Dinosaurs!” As soon as you come in, you can feel the crackle of ozone in the air. In the corners of the room are four mismatched candles, with hastily squiggled chalk circles. In the rear of the chamber, Deadringer has sprayed a chalk circle around the massive Stegosaurus skeleton.

Aha! So, you know, I was going to resurrect the mummy, and then I saw the dinosaur exhibit, and then I thought, ‘That’d be a great idea,’ and then I was like, ‘I don’t know… it’s late, Deadringer, and you always make bad decisions when it’s late,’ and- well, to make a long story short, taste my Skelesaurus!”

dinosaur feast kill

Cue a Conflict.

Stakes: Deadringer- if he succeeds, he & the dinosaur break into the night to wreak havoc on New Manchester.

Once more, ask the players what’s in the room, and Roll for turn order.

Phase 0 –If you’re doing another phase 0 (no attacks), during Deadringer’s phase 0, he does the following:

Deadringer raises his Doom Bell and starts to cackle maniacally. “You think that stegi’s the only dinosaur I’ve prepared? Face the terror of my fleet-feeted- my fleet flooted –Oh, to heck with it. Arise Velociraptors!”

From the room arise half a dozen velociraptors, each a staggering… two feet tall.

Oh, Poo, they look bigger in the movie.”

The raptors run around the floor, nibbling on everything and getting underfoot. At the moment, they’re directed at you, but given time, they’ll likely get in EVERYONE’S way.

The raptors are an Aspect that cause an obstacle when moving from zone to zone (recommend Difficulty 2). Deadringer has a free invoke on the raptors, but any player can invoke it. Once a player has overcome the raptors, they won’t bother that player again for the rest of the scene. Players may also attempt to dispel or whoop the raptors completely (recommend Difficulty 4).

Skelesaurus Dinosaur – NPC
High Concept: Terrifying Undead Skeletal Stegasaurus
Aspects: Massive spiked tail; Don’t make it mad; Vegan at heart.

Skills:
+5 Physique & Fight (With 5+ players, make it +6)
+4 Intimidate, Wilderness
+3 Will, Notice

Stunts:
Stand & Take It – Skelesaurus can use Physique to defend against Shooting attacks
Monster – Skele gains +3 from Invokes instead of +2.

Deadringer – NPC
High Concept: Skinny little Necromancer
Aspects: Derives Power from the Doombell; Kind of a Weenie; Vengeful

Skills:
+5 Shooting (Death Magic)
+4 Athletics, Mythos
+3 Sixth Sense, Deceit, Notice, Intimidate, Will

Stunts:
Necromaniac: As long as he has his Doombell, Deadringer can create advantages themed on blood, spirits, bones, shadow, or anything else. These summoned forms can be invoked to help him as normal.
Slippery Devil – Deadringer gets +2 to Athletics when using Overcome to avoid being pinned down or held.