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Devon Apple
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Bay Area Gamer
Bay Area Gamer

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[Fallout Fate]

Per a suggestion to use Mantles for a Fallout ruleset, I thought I would take a stab at Scale in the Wasteland.

The Retrocalypse game had its own scale for opposition:

Minions > Skirmishers > Villains > Monsters > Legends.

I could just keep these distinctions, or use this as a scale referent. But I tried to hew closer to the five levels of scale in Dresden Files Accelerated:

Apocalyptic: The direct influence of the setting’s mightiest forces. The Archimedes Orbital Laser, Liberty Prime, pre-war Nukes. This may be an unnecessary scale level.
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Legendary: The direct influence of major factions in the Wasteland; might also apply to its strongest champions. NCR, Legion, Legate Lanius, Ulysses, the Courier, any endgame Vault Dweller.

Mega: The most powerful threats in the wasteland: Legendary Deathclaws, Super Mutant Behemoths, Sentry Bots, Power-Armor users.

Elite: The majority of wasteland challenges, mutants, mantles, etc.: feral ghouls, super mutants, raider leaders, assassins, mercenaries, Rangers, bounty hunters, cazadores/giant scorpions, mid-level combat robots. Otherwise mundane-level characters with much training and experience may operate at Elite level in their area of experience.

Mundane: All things absent of technological or mutated influence: wastelanders, smaller creatures, raiders, settlers, traders, etc.

Mega and Elite seem to be the areas where I'm finding it hardest to assign things a scale, and in Retrocalypse, this is actually 3-4 tiers depending on your perspective.

I can certainly see getting rid of the Apocalyptic level to free up space for another level between Elite and Mega. Dresden Files has the Godlike scale tier for a reason: Fallout may just not need the Apocalyptic equivalent.

Further noodling on a Fallout Fate game. In addition to Riley Crowder's ruleset (which incorporates Mega-Stunts and Collateral Consequences, as well as the Ammo in Fate rules), some other components I might want to integrate would be:

Rob Donoghue's Reputation rules from "Reputation & Authority on the World Train" could help encourage that "Fallout: New Vegas" political vibe. Would work best for a campaign, not a convention one-shot.

The rules for Communities from Sarah J. Newton's "Burn Shift" could also cover a "Fallout: New Vegas" port, but could also touch on "Fallout 4". Again, better for a campaign, not a convention one-shot.

Fate Codex 3.1 has a article section about adapting Apocalypse World's "Fronts" mechanism.

What other published mechanisms do you think might help recreate the Fallout setting for you?

"Off to See the Clockmaker": less coherent play report (for +Sophie Lagace)

I ran the adventure "Off to See the Clockmaker" (by +Bryanna Hitchcock) for some new players. I only had three hours to run the game, so I provided pregen characters (with some blanks for them to make up Parts), and these are who they selected:

Stetsuo V - Mekka: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES!
Scrounge +1, Smile -1, Strongarm +2
Transforming spaceship/robot
6 Parts: Laser light blaster arms, face, jet wings, stompy feet, anime-style theme song, something

Dougzilla - Sock: SOCK PUPPET
Scrounge -1, Smile +2, Strongarm +1
Rainbow toe-sock puppet with a single Jolly Rancher stuck to it.
7 Parts: Face, friendship bracelet, eyes, forked tongue, iridescent fabric paint scales, sugar obsession, gumball nose

Valentina - Softie: RAGDOLL
Scrounge -1, Smile +1, Strongarm +2
Bipedal fox doll dressed like Robin Hood
7 Parts: Head, Torso, Arms, Legs, Longbow, Medieval outfit, something else

Fang the Die-cast - Nemesis
Japanese anime style robot with stylized lion’s head chestpiece; one forearm is a metal fire truck toy with a working winch; wings are from a large Softie bird; supported by a squadron of die-cast cars, a platoon of retro-style die-cast cartoon soldiers (rejects from Wind-up City), and diverse clockwork automata.

I made the following pre-game checklist to go over the rules and set up the game:
1. Brief History (p58)
2. Boundaries, Tone, Safety (pp2-3)
3. Fluffy, Scruffy, or Dented? (p4) - Fluffy = Noncombat
4. Making Moves (p5)
5. Stuff vs Things (pp5-6) and Devices (p32-36)
6. Stitchpunk Bodies (pp6-7)
Parts, Damage, Repair, Shapelessness, Unbreakable
7. Hindrances (p29)
8. Upgrades (p30)
9. Glitches (p37)
10. Influencing Others (p7)
11. Basic Moves (pp8-10)
12. Montage for large-scale conflicts (p27-28)
13. Fight Song Montage - if combat is enabled (p27)
14. Pronouns
15. Pick Characters - use Playbook Choice to guide (p28-29)
16. Character Ties (p13) - one w/ each other PC
17. Tent Cards
18. Pick two regions
19. Begin


I made a few choices ahead of time to make things go more quickly. I detailed the realms, and we picked two.

Forest of Mechanical Bees - Need: Repairs to an important doorway
Empire of Dreams - Need: Friends to help them get home

The others realms would have been:
Card Nation - Need: Competitors for the toy Olympics
Frog Fairy Sea - Need: Someone to help them make decisions
Great Kingdom of Chess - Need: Contestants in a line dancing event

I also determined that:
The group is following signs in the clouds.
They are riding a very large toy dinosaur named Edie
They will start in the Forest of Mechanical Bees - the toys there need repairs to an important doorway - can’t access one of their factories.

So we started out at the border leading into the Forest of Mechanical Bees. I placed them in an immediate conflict trying to leave the previous realm, and it was a rocky start for this novice PbtA referee and three new-to-this-kinda-thing players. I honestly don't even remember what it was: it may have been an intimidation challenge with a bunch of Fang's toy soldiers.

We resolved the conflict: the players won, with some loss of Parts. The least-qualified Scrounger kept being the only one volunteering to fix anyone, and kept breaking his own parts in the process, which was a bummer, and this game's example of a player getting the unfortunate impression that bad things only happen when we roll for good things. I think the Mekka got upgraded to have an actual rocket pack.

The group proceeded onward. Grass gave way to trees, and I started narrating how the dinosaur they were riding could poke its head up through the forest so they could see the signs in the clouds leading them to the Clockmaker. It was at this point that I started having trouble reconciling that the players were toy-sized, but the world was people-sized. This would continue to be a challenge for my visualization. I snapped the dinosaur back down to large toy size, nowhere near the canopy of the forest.

Soon, the group happened upon the mechanical bees, making their way through a real forest. I ended up making the mechanical bees weird, clockwork creations. The players asked for guidance through the Forest, which the bees would provide in exchange for helping repair one of their factory doors.

By the time I got to the actual Queen bee’s court, I was comfortable enough to make her a big stuffed Plushie bee with a rubber head. The players ended up using the Queen's repository of Stuff to fix the factory door (while making off with some of their own). The players finally visited the Queen Bee's court to pay respects. I furnished her with a court made up of humanoid bee-themed toys and figures, of varying types, like that one He-Man character Buzz-Off (who would end up infatuated with the Transformer character), and a bee-themed Sectaur, one of those toys from the 80s which was a big plastic bug with a furry glove for its legs so kids could play with it like a puppet. The players came up with a flower-themed gift for the Queen, but it took a bit of prompting and a retroactive dice roll. The players ended up trying to take as many of the Queen's Court as they could for protection, and a few actually went.

Time was running short: I think we skipped the Dream Realm and went straight to the Clockwork City, but I kept the “people needing help getting home” bit.

On the border between the Forest of Mechanical Bees and the Clockwork City was an abandoned farmhouse, and from behind a stack of dilapidated haybales, a company of tin soldiers ambushed the party. I think Fang came out to fight them too. The players won with help from their bee-themed friends, and then heard some noises. There were about three toys: a Monster High doll, and two other doll-style toys, lost and disoriented and needed help getting home to the Clockwork City. The players let the lost toys join them, and they made their way to the Clockwork City. One by one, the other characters peeled away from the group as they made it home, or left to pursue a new crush.

We made it to the Clockwork City, and the Castle. I decided the Clockwork Queen was an articulated porcelain doll of some sort. Players made the rolls to see what they could get from the Queen, and we resolved them. The sock got a map to find a missing part, the Mekka got a cheap, non-union knock-off replacement part (instead of a map to an OEM part), and the Stuffy got... something.

Anyway: I felt disappointed in my improvisation ability, and I'm sure I could have adjudicated/explained the rules better.

Will be running the adventure "Off to See the Clockmaker" this weekend for some new players. I will be providing pregen characters (with some blanks for them to make up Parts), and have established Fang the die-Cast as their Nemesis. Wish me luck!

Stetsuo V - Mekka: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES!
Scrounge +1, Smile -1, Strongarm +2
Transforming spaceship/robot
6 Parts: Laser light blaster arms, face, jet wings, stompy feet, anime-style theme song, ____

Dougzilla - Sock: SOCK PUPPET
Scrounge -1, Smile +2, Strongarm +1
Reptilian sock puppet with felt flames coming out of its mouth
7 Parts: Face, cuff, eyes, forked tongue, iridescent fabric paint scales, sugar obsession, ____

Cheddar Charlie - Softie: CARNIVAL PRIZE
Scrounge +2, Smile +1, Strongarm -1
A rubber, foam, and cloth cheese wedge with arms, legs, and a face
9 Parts: Smiling face, floppy arms, rubber cheddar torso, styrofoam bead stuffing, “Let’s get cheesy!” pullstring phrase, “Get that CHEDDAR!” pullstring phrase, ____, ____, ____

Ruffy Tuffy Rasslers - Mekka: BUNCHA LITTLE GUYS
Scrounge +2, Smile -1, Strongarm +1
A collection of small rubber wrestling-themed creatures, each a different color (based on the old M.U.S.C.L.E. figurines)
12 Parts: Chestface, Four-Arms, Vinedude, Gatorsnout, King Robot, Screwhead, Gemini (two different Rassler halves glued together), Rocklord, Valkyrie, ____, ____, ____

Boxcat and Sniffles - Sock: TIGHTS
Scrounge +1, Smile +2, Strongarm -1
A pair of tights with a flying Nyancat design all over
4 Parts: right leg, left leg, waistband, ____

Valentina - Softie: RAGDOLL
Scrounge -1, Smile +1, Strongarm +2
Bipedal fox doll dressed like Robin Hood
7 Parts: Head, Torso, Arms, Legs, Longbow, Medieval outfit, ____

Fang the Die-cast - Nemesis
Japanese anime style robot with stylized lion’s head chestpiece; one forearm is a metal fire truck toy with a working winch; wings are from a large Softie bird; supported by a squadron of die-cast cars, a platoon of retro-style die-cast cartoon soldiers (rejects from Wind-up City), and diverse clockwork automata.

Being human means that one has crossed infinite distance, through an unknowable and forgotten dance of moments, having been cast so far adrift from safety, certainty, and warmth that it is no wonder one chooses to hold tight to the self, the ego, grasping a scratched and blurry glass rescued from an ever-shifting, half-remembered dream that falls away beneath our feet the longer we focus on it.

It is terrifying, sometimes debilitating, and the ease with which we stick it in a box and forget about it is at once a heartache and a blessing.

Being good... being good is watching this overwhelming equation spinning itself out, burning through you and into oblivion, knowing that the same fire burns through everyone you pass, and finding the strength to offer your arms so they know that they do not burn alone.

It hurts less when you can forget the cataclysm chewing its way through you and hold someone else together.

We burn for longer when we share our fire.
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I know some people like to fancy themselves a force of nature, but still: recusing oneself or one's gender from accountability for systemic inequality and abuse is wrong.
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Please share this image today. #transisbeautiful
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Arrived Monday! Monsterhearts 2 in the Bay Area!
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Dresden Files Accelerated hits the Bay Area!

Hopefully it doesn't jinx the BART train.

#dfae #evilhat
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