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M. P. O'Sullivan
Works at The Basement Apartment
Attended University of the Arts
Lives in Philadelphia, PA, USA
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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Atomic Robo RPG questions! I'm hoping +Mike Olson or another aficionado can hop in here and help me out. 

I'm a bit confused by Mega-stunts. I think the concepts are coming together for me, but I feel like I'm missing some details. So, just to make sure I've got this right, here's how I see Mega-stunts working. 

A Mega-stunt is a stunt that can hold multiple benefits. It has access to standard stunt benefits, but it can also do mega-stunt benefits. Each benefit in a mega-stunt contributes to an overall Benefit cost that may reward the GM with extra fate points in his reserve at the beginning of an issue. 

Soooo...

1. The Weapon and Armor mega-stunt benefit gives the character a Weapon or Armor rating, but doesn't say what that level should be. The standard stunt Weapon and Armor benefit lists a specific rating that you can have, but the Mega-stunt version doesn't. Does that mean that you can have any rating you want? Or is there a certain amount that you get for the benefit?

2. The Reflex Armor has a listed benefit cost of 5. I only see 4 benefits there. Am I missing something?

3. The lightning gun has Weapon:4, or Weapon:6 at a cost. I imagine these are two different benefits. Why does the Weapon:6 have a cost? Is it to offset the benefit cost of the second Weapon benefit? If so, why is the cost for the Mega-stunt 3 Benefits?

I think that's all I've got for now. Thanks for any help that you might have, everyone!

#atomicroborpg   #faterpg   #fatecore  
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M. P. O'Sullivan's profile photoMike Olson's profile photo
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Thanks! Glad you like it. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Maybe not, but it is a lot of ice.
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I've had a game about being an Android, a synthetic person, in the vein of Blade Runner, Humans, The Machine, etc, stuck in my head. Not complete - just parts and pieces, ill-conceived thoughts. 

It starts with an Apocalypse World hack. Stats, playbooks, etc. Playbooks would be the thing you were built for. "Military Synth", "Police Synth", "Companion Synth", "Sex Synth", "Labor Synth", and others as well. 

Basic moves would be about following your programming, forming relationships (with people and androids). 

The big move would be about violating your basic laws. Can't harm a human, can't disobey an order, can't allow a human to come to harm. You would roll for that. Laws would change depending on the playbook chosen.

Breaking a law would be based on a stat that starts really poorly. And you only get to violate your laws on a 13+. 

The game would be about the MC putting the players in positions where their laws conflict with each other (sex synth has a client that's in to pain, med synth has a patient that wants to be euthanized). Or to create an environment where following orders becomes objectionable, where the demand to conform to your model-type strains against your own growing desires. 

I haven't framed out the move yet. I've still got to consider exactly what a 7-9 or a 10+ will mean within the fiction. But that's my starting place. 
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Animal Synth
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This is absolutely lovely. A beautiful message and act coming out of Comiccon. It's lovely to see children of that age shown that they are important and that they can represent greater things. 
Rep. John Lewis appeared at Comic-Con International in San Diego last weekend, leading a group of schoolchildren on a march through the convention floor.
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I had an unpleasant moment with a player at Dexcon over the weekend. It was a bummer in a weekend that was just full of high notes. 

+Keith Stetson was running Itras By, and beautifully, may I add. There was a moment when two players were having a conversation in character and it felt to me like it was about to go in circles if something didn't come along. I had never played the game before and I was really curious and excited about the cards that the game uses, a deck of cards with story elements on them to help push play  around in unexpected directions. I asked if that moment would be a good time to pull a card from the deck. One of the players replied dismissively that it "felt like a good time to roleplay".

I was not fucking happy with that response. 

I have a problem with the idea that mechanics somehow interfere with quote-unquote roleplaying. I'm an artist, so I'll use this as a metaphor: mechanics are my brush and ink. Mechanics are the tools that I use to make the work. Maligning tools, or people that use tools, to do their work makes absolutely zero sense in my head. The fact that there's some sort of "cool" factor that some people associate with the practice of ignoring mechanics in favor of "roleplay" (whatever the fuck that even means) frustrates me to no goddamned end. 

I wound up having a lovely time at the game. Everyone there was fun. But that response very nearly caused me to leave the game. 
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I can only really enjoy the game when I'm able to fully exploit the rules like a min-maxer and it makes for a more-enjoyable game.

I have also been treated rudely for playing a game before. It's incredibly sad-making for me and a big part of why I don't much want to go to cons anymore.
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#Dexcon  talk for 2015!

Conventions tend to leave me feeling wiped out; exhausted by the constant roll of game event into game event and the pace of the games that I normally run or play in. 

This year was different. I played in only one game a day, and the games that I did play in were all very warm-hearted and sweet. I ran into friends and socialized. I relaxed. I walked away from the convention with energy, with a smile on my face. 

My games were: 

Chuubo's Magical Wish-granting Engine (Run by me, played by +Robyn Slough+Brennan Taylor, +Lisa Padol, and +Matthew Aaron)

I ran this on Friday evening, and I had an agenda. I served tea, I encouraged players to relax, I told them the goal for the game was to "spend some time with these characters, and watch them go on a part of their personal journey as friends". I think things went really, really well. The players engaged with their characters (all pre-gened) very easily, and within moments were exploring the world and helping their friends with smiles on their faces. 

I really like the kinds of stories that Chuubo's tells. The Intention mechanics, the conflict resolution mechanics as it were, do a really good job of reframing conflict within a context of feeling - i.e.: how does accomplishing this thing make you or the people around you feel. Very, very cool. Lots and lots of the game is directed at generating feelings, sharing them, following them through a story as threads in a tapestry. 

We had some incredible moments in that story. The earnest sports star of the high school and the rebellious princess of the vampires awkwardly starting to fall for each other. The scientist and the spirit witch falling into an easy friendship. And the characters all coming together to help the scientist when a wicked spirit had stolen his journal. That session was chock-full of favourite moments, but the one that stands out to me was the sweet moment when the Cleophe, the vampire princess, wanted to use her vampire powers to help her friends but was afraid of scaring Nico, her new boyfriend. He smiled, wrapped his letterman jacket around her, and told her that he knew what she was and totally trusted her. Then she wrapped his arms around her waist and they jumped away to help their friends. 

Chuubo's Magical Wish-granting Engine (with +Michael Miller, +Brian Gilbert, and Ami and Karin whom I don't know on G+)

After a day of dealing with, and finally overcoming, some un-fun neck pain, I was ready to play some more Chuubo's. Once again, I served tea, and I also brought the cookies that I forgot to bring to the previous session.

I worked hard to set the tone ahead of time because Chuubo's is a heavily player driven game. While I feel like I did a good job of setting the tone of the setting, I feel like I fell down on explaining the tone of the characters. The characters each have a tone that they should be played toward, a response that you aim to elicit in other players like an audience on a sitcom. I feel like I did a poor job of explaining that, playing toward those emotions, and that the players should be easy marks, giving up those responses easily. 

Even with the problems that some of the players had in engaging with their characters emotionally, the game still had some amazingly warm, tender moments. In the penultimate scene, Bahirah the spirit witch listened to the song of the star spirits and described their song to her friends who couldn't hear it. Aubrey the scientist came up with the idea to make a speaker that could pick up the song and play it for everyone! They powered the speaker using Cleophe's moped, and sat around on the ground and listened to the song of the stars together. 

Itras By (Ran by +Keith Stetson, played by myself, +Lisa Padol, +Richard Ruane, and some people that I don't know on the plus).

I had been wanting to play this game in forever and I was so very pleased by it. Keith was a great facilitator, asking questions at just the right times to elicit strong answers and playing supporting characters masterfully. 

For example, I played a clockwork girl that wanted to learn how to dance, but her movements were too jerky and robotic to pull it off. After her light bulb head was broken, a ballerina replaced it with a light bulb from a marquee and I was suddenly a part of the stage and knew how to dance. It was lovely, and a great bit of support from Keith to help build my character up. 

The other players were great fun! Richard played a noble Lady that was looking for the perfect scandal to be a part of. Betsie (I think? I've got a terrible memory for names) played a street urchin that was cursed by the gods, LIsa was a kid that wanted to make a movie, and Jim (?) played a god that lost his memory. Lots of great fun moments all around. 

Since the convention I've had the opportunity to talk to other people about the stories that came out of the weekend - the clockwork girl, or the vampire princess with her room painted sunlight yellow, or the spirit witch and her long-tailed friend, or the young detective playing soccer with the little monster kids - and every response has always been a warm smile and, sometimes, a bleary eye. That feels nice. 

Special thanks to +Vincent Salzillo, +Avonelle Wing,  +Michael Miller, and +Kathryn Miller for their hard work in making such a great convention. 
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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I found out what you'll be doing at Gencon, +Alex Mayo. 
Announcing the Third Edition of a Classic Game
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Not yet, but I really probably should be. Just not sleepy, Pirate Bear!
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I've regularly had some issues getting into Fate-driven games. Totally my thing, not a design thing. It comes down to the way that aspects are used to drive play. I've always felt like they weren't terribly compelling (sorry, sorry, sorry). 

Specifically, Aspect compels have always felt a bit narratively flat to me. Get compelled and gain a fate point, or buy off a compel for a fate point. There's just not a lot there for me. I've regularly seen compels get ignored in play, either because players haven't had interest in interacting with them or because they would just buy off the compels. 

Playing Chuubo's Magical Wish-granting Engine may have changed that for me in a big way. 

Chuubo's has an aspect-like thing called your Bond. As I describe it to players new to the game, the Bond is "a promise that you make to the universe that you will always hold true." When your bond helps you, you get some extra oomph on an action. When your bond hurts you, you get to refresh some much needed resources. 

I use that phrase very intentionally. "A bond is a promise that you make to the universe." I phrase it like that because bonds are player-driven. 

When a player thinks a bond helps their character, they get a bonus. When a player wants to have their bond cause trouble, they get refreshed.

That last part is really cool. It's the responsibility of the player to look for fun places for their bond to cause them trouble, but it's the GM's roll to come up with what that trouble is when it's triggered. 

For instance, let's take a character from my con scenario, a mod vampire princess with the bond "I will always help a person when they are bullied or picked on". 

Now, that character can totally get bonuses when she tries to fight a bully, or make a kid feel better after being bullied, or make friends with someone that's been bullied. 

Let's put that character can also be in a scene where she's having tea with some friends. The player says "This feels like a great spot for my Bond to cause me some trouble!" So, now the GM gets to come up with how that happens. Maybe some bully that she beat up on previously walks into the cafe. Maybe some kid comes running in trying to avoid a bully. Maybe the Principal walks in and scolds the character for getting into another fight. 

Moving the onus from the GM to the players to compel their own characters makes the use of compels in play much more interesting for me. Mulling over that approach has made me more excited to run some Fate than I've been in a very long time. 

#FateRPG   #Fatecore  
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I love the GM role! In this case it makes the game so much better if everybody is tuned into the Fate point economy and alert to opportunities to offer and spend. 

I think the key thing about Fate points is that the offer of a Fate point has to be a compelling choice regarding character agency. If you hold agency loosely anyway, there's never a reason not to accept an offer. And if you accept every offer, the economy is pretty bland and you have a huge reserve of currency to win all the time. So the game only works within a particular (wide) band of play preferences. 
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Oh I know. He got me hooked too. It's his evil plot to take over the world
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All I want to do today is watch more Knights of Sidonia. 

Izana forever and even amen. 

Just completed the rewatch of season one last night, and we're a couple of episodes into season two. I've read the manga and it's such a blast to watch it translated to this medium. I'm also watching it with my wife who hasn't read the manga, and it's so much fun sharing this show with her. Her anticipation is infectious!
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James MacGeorge's profile photoMichael Althauser's profile photoM. P. O'Sullivan's profile photoKris Kunkel's profile photo
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I was introduced by the Netflix and am in the process of tracking down the manga, and yes, Izana forever.
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Freelance Illustrator
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  • The Basement Apartment
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Jackson, NJ, USA - Honolulu, HI, USA
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Comic book writer and artist. Freelance Illustrator.
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Born in PA, raised in Jersey, lived in Hawai'i, living in Philadelphia.  I like to draw.
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Currently drawing "Orphans", a scifi adventure webcomic.
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  • University of the Arts
    Illustration
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