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Sergio Le Roux
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Sergio Le Roux

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I'm just one hour in and really digging this adventure. Just one observation tho: I don't think failing a Create Advantage has narrative consequence per rules, you either just don't create it, or the enemy gets the free invoke (the tradeoff is that you can still spend Fate points on it).
For Overcome, failing a roll means you don't succeed, or succeed at a cost. You could say failing has a narrative consequence but not as bad as the cost of succeeding (otherwise nobody would chose to just fail :P)
I would put the outcomes of Overcome in order of severity: Major Cost > Fail > Minor Cost. But that's just me.
(Actually, scratch that, I don't think Fail has any cost or "bad outcome", the book just says to make it interesting to fail or not roll at all, but not a real "cost"). So, unless you allow to succeed at a cost when C.A. I wouldn't have given it a narrative malus...
Also, at least from what I read in the Extras section in Core, if your Armor Rating absorbs all the damage of an attack then the attacker gets a boost as if it had tied (so an unarmed foe vs a DR 2 would get boosts from tie, 1 damage and 2 damage rolls).

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+Sergio Le Roux You are correct, sir! =) A relevant Aspect should be provided, in order to spend a Fate point, for a reroll or a +2 bonus. Mayhap I was too caught up in the moment?

Thanks, again.
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Sergio Le Roux

Settings, Worlds, Rules  - 
Looking for feedback on a couple of stunts.

* "Driven": Once per scene, when spending a Fate Point on a Drive or Crafts roll, increase the result by +4 instead of +2

(looks like the wording implies that there's already a relevant character aspect related to drive or crafts, but that's not relevant or required. but it can't stack, other than with free invocations).
Balancewise, does this seem overpowered? Should each of Drive or Crafts be picked as a separate stunt? (this however would result in using one of each per scene). Is +4 too much? +3?

* "Manual Adjustment": Once per scene you can reroll a failed Crafts roll for free
(by hitting in frustration whatever you were trying to fix, most likely)

* "Crash Course": +2 to Drive when using a specific kind of vehicle (i.e.: Personal Ground Vehicles, Standard Ground Vehicles, Heavy Ground Vehicles, Mounts and Animal-Drawn Vehicles, Personal Aircraft, Performance Aircraft, Service Aircraft, Rotary-Wing Aircraft, Personal Watercraft, Standard Watercraft, Ships, and Submarines)

Obviously, I took the list from an existing game, but it seems broad enough. Bikes, cars, trucks, animals... I probably would just reduce the aircraft and watercraft).
One type of vehicle per stunt slot seem ok? Maybe 2? Or maybe 2 vehicles with just a +1?
Sergio Le Roux's profile photoJack Gulick's profile photoSimon White's profile photo
Could be ok then.

That's the best goal I know of for stunt utility. Get used less than 2 times, probably needs loosening. Get used more than 5 times maybe needs tightening. Over many sessions, though. 
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Sergio Le Roux

Settings, Worlds, Rules  - 
Create Advantage in a Conflict, Opposed vs. Unopposed

This probably has been discussed before, but a quick search didnt turn out anything in the first few pages (other than maybe an offhand comment or two).

So, there's some big battle. The enemy is either a mob with decent defense, or a slightly big baddie. Anyway, a way to defeat that mob is to try to get some Advantages in so that future rolls don't miss.

Trying to place an aspect like "off balance" or "disarmed" on the baddie, means he gets a Defense roll, which is probably about the same roll he would get vs. a regular Attack. This seems counterproductive, unless his skill is zero, of course.

Trying to place an Aspect on the scene to accomplish the same gets unopposed rolls. This seems easier (or equivalent if your "default" difficulty is +1 instead of 0) than trying to place it on a NPC with a defense of +1. Higher defense is out of the question.

So, am I right that trying to place "combat maneuver" kinda aspects makes no sense vs. just trying to hit the guy (by "combat" I mean CA rolls that specifically use the same skills as physical Attack/Defense)? The chances to miss are about the same. Of course if I'm using Provoke vs Will this will probably go the other way, and creating scene Aspects would probably not use skills like Fight (there may be some uses of Shoot, tho).

Still, seems way safer to avoid trying to place aspects on opponents at all and always aiming to CA at the scene, am I right?
Sergio Le Roux's profile photoJack Gulick's profile photoRichard Bellingham (Skimble)'s profile photoDavid Goodwin's profile photo
I want to reinforce a minor point from earlier. Strictly mechanically, creating advantages works best when you can find a skill vs. skill  (or skill vs. nothing) that's easier than your straight-up attack roll.

There are plenty of dramatic and situational reasons to create an advantage even when evenly matched, but they really shine when they target a weak spot in your enemy's skill set - using Deceive against an ogre, Might against a fencer, Stealth against almost anybody, etc. 
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Sergio Le Roux

Samples, Examples & Actual Play  - 
Hello gang,

Today I'm going to play a second session of my "classic spycraft inspired" game, and I'm having trouble coming up with decent aspects for mobs/henchmen, I thought I'd ask for help here.

Here's the writeup from the module I'm using for inspiration (D20 stats are quite meaningless so I'm just using +2 shoot, +1 athletics and notice for the fair mobs, +1 fight for the poor mobs. Main NPC/henchmen are just your typical shooty boss NPC, I guess). I'm including some feats and gear just in case it can be considered relevant for an aspect or stunt (no weapon ratings, only effect of gear would be as aspect or stunt if gimmicky enough)

(references to some Philip Rhodes is an offscreen boss NPC for now)

Anthony Blake (main npc)
Anthony Blake relishes the idea of using technology against itself. Marathon conversations with Philip Rhodes about the decadence of modern society fuel his hatred of the developments he previously based his career around. Today, Blake is a willing tool of Philip Rhodes, developing ways to cause technology to implode, to collapse under it’s own weight. The plan showcased in this serial is only the beginning; Blake has provided Rhodes with dozens of alternate scenarios, any of which might help to bring about a new Stone Age.

gear: .45 ACP pistol, geiger counter, electronic & mechanic kits
gadget: grappling gun belt
feats: sidestep (during your action, you may select an opponent and receive a +2 dodge bonus to your Defense against attacks made by that opponent), surge of speed _(extra half action during your turn. may not be an attack. may be used once per game session)

Minions: Base Technicians (poor mobs)
These are the men and women who give shape to Blake’s fantasies of global technological deconstruction. They are brilliant, culled from the best universities, industrial combines, and research firms in the world, and have devoted their lives to Rhode’s vision.

gear: fists

Minions: Base Guards
These men also live on site, though small cadres of them travel to nearby towns for supplies twice a month — in disguise, of course.

gear: automatic rifles, kevlar vests

Logan Kinkaid (henchman / support/main npc?)
Logan spent many years as a “secret weapon” of the U.S. military in foreign territories, conducting sensitive missions that would cost the government face if they were discovered. He worked for the CIA, NSA, and the military (often all at once), and performed his job with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss. After he was nearly killed on an operation in Asia and nursed back to health at a reclusive monastery, he acquired a new perspective. He came to appreciate the perfect balance in nature — and the horrible threat modern technology posed against it. This mindset made him the perfect soldier for Philip Rhodes’ cause, which Logan has since adopted as his own.

gear: silenced .45 semi-automatic pistol, composite bow, headset radio
feats: point blank shot (+1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons against opponents within one range increment)
other: special forces tactics knowledge

Minions : Special Forces Troops (fair mobs)
These faithful men have all worked with Logan before, and have been hand picked by the mercenary because they are sensitive to his new agenda (or blindly loyal) and have the skills needed to pull off the dangerous undercover missions he assigns. All are consummate professionals who would die for him.

gear: smgs, kevlar vests, headset radios

I thought aspects like "loyalty" but I'm not sure how relevant or invokeable that is.
Jack Gulick's profile photoPierre Savoie's profile photoJedediah Coulson's profile photo
Watch venture bros! Sorry that's not really helpful. I second loyalty also team building exercises. Hopefully they trained and drilled together
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Sergio Le Roux

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Di classe! :D
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Sergio Le Roux

» In the News  - 
All the biblical domestic abuse instructions codified into one handy "Power and Control Wheel" in this article. The story itself is also quite depressing too.
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+Sierra Lynn Indeed,... and if the culture in the USA, atleast in some area's, stays so very much christian,... I think it will be a long time untill something will be done about things like this.
I mean,... sure there are many laws that can help women like that. But the problem is structural, and laws only attack certain issues, not the whole problem,... the culture.

So if the culture stays so very much christian, pushing through legislation that can attack the real problem, will never happen.

First you'd have to identify the problem.

Ofcourse religion is the problem there, but it it so intertwined with culture, it has become bigger and more, and identifying the problem than becomes much more difficult.

Tbh, I would not even know where to start doing that.
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Sergio Le Roux

» Discussion  - 
The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous
Everyone assumes that this "group" gets results because of its faith-based methods, and somehow that believing in a "higher-being" is necessary to recovery or avoiding being an addict.
Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.
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+Sergio Le Roux What evidence do you have of AA hiding stats or making up numbers?  I did a quick search and found this:  There is a wikipedia page about efficacy that seems balanced if not critical on efficacy, but I'm curious where you get this idea that AA is binary.  I've been to exactly 1 meeting out of curiosity, but have been in a different 12 step program for a different condition, so I was curious about the program that started all the 12 stepping.  I just don't see it as binary at all from the objective evidence.  As with any large organization there are going to be bad apples, but I don't see any evidence of institutionalization of binary thinking within AA. In my opinion AA's lack of efficacy is due to their lack of commitment to the Christian foundation that started it.  They tried to make it generically theistic which I think is dumb. What should be binary is committing to Christian theism or not.  And this forum is about those who have not, so I can see why you'd be critical of AA if you're an atheist.
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Sergio Le Roux

Settings, Worlds, Rules  - 
Link to the document:

Fate of the Spycraft... Spying... Spies. Whatever, Superspy Game using Fate

I'm working on my skill modes, I think the real meat of this game would be in "mode" Stunts, and spy gadgets as extras. But right now I'm just trying to get my "classes" into skill modes. This will, I hope, help my players when defining their characters using Mode Aspects, à la Robo.

I've found it gets easier if I insert a short explanation of why a skill is appropriate, in a sort of Buffyspeak...

This is what I have so far (I will update as it gets better defined):

- Drive: to perform feats of extreme driving
- Crafts: to fix the cars after being driven to the extreme
- Lore: to know where all the places are, and the best ways to get there
- Burglary: to procure a vehicle that already has an owner
(2 remaining points)

- Rapport: to earn the trust of the right people
- Deceive: to earn the trust of the wrong people (and put a knife in their back)
- Empathy: to know who to trust
- Will: to keep your cool when your cover might be blown
(2 remaining points)

- Resources: to obtain the things that are needed
- Contacts: knowing the right people for the job
- Rapport: to negotiate those hard to make deals
- Will: to resist adversarial negotiation attempts
(2 remaining points)

- Shoot: to fire at the things
- Fight: to dominate in close combat
- Physique: to live to fight another day
- Provoke: to instill fear or anger in the enemy
- Athletics: to dodge the bullets, and move about the battlefield
(0 remaining points)

- Burglary: to get into places where you're not wanted
- Stealth: to get by unnoticed
- Investigate: to find the things that the target has hidden
- Athletics: to get into the hard places, and flee when the ruse is up
(2 remaining points)

- Notice: to perceive that clue hidden in plain sight
- Investigate: to thoroughly inspect the places
- Lore: to know what to look for
- Empathy: to be able to tell from lies and just the facts, ma'am
(2 remaining points)

Martial Artist
- Fight: to hit the enemy in the soft areas
- Physique: to temper the body and withstand any harm
- Athletics: to quickly close the distance between fist and face
- Notice: to assess danger and act appropriately
- Lore: to sharpen the mind with ancient secrets
(0 remaining points)

The following mode is a special case: it can be taken only as an Average (+1) mode, but it contains 2 more skills for free than the other modes. It's highly recommended that novice agents (or players!) take this at least when starting up.

Action Spy
Mandatory Mode (for field agents)
- Shoot: to properly pass the field agent certification process and not become a liability
- Athletics: to move around easily and not be a burden to fellow agents
- Notice: to be alert to what's happening around
- Fight: to pass the basic self-defense qualification exam
- Investigate: to know how to look for stuff which is the objective of spying
- Drive: to drive good and do other stuff good too
- Deceive: to explain things to those who can't handle the truth
(0 remaining points, 2 freebie skills)

(Update 1: added Lore to Wheelman and Sleuth, Rapport to Fixer)
(Update 2: added mandatory mode "*Action Spy*")
(Update 3: added remaining skill points to each mode, also tentatively added Fight as a mandatory skill, and Will to the Faceman mode)
(Update 4: added Athletics to Soldier. He needs to be mobile in combat, after all)
(Update 5: added Investigate, Drive and Deceive to Action Spy because those seems like what an official spy would know how to do)
(Update 6: added Empathy to Sleuth)
(Update 7: added "*Martial Artist*" as a mode. made Action Spy not mandatory but recommended, and clarified that it had 2 freebies instead of 1)
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Agreed, I think the next step is gonna be to farm the rulebook for cool stunt names and ideas.
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Sergio Le Roux

Settings, Worlds, Rules  - 
I've started looking a bit more into Skill Modes to remake the "SpyCraft" characters in my current game (I've proposed to the players redoing them after finishing the current mission. The main problem was that we did the "leave most things blank and fill during play" thing and so far the characters have felt shallow and boring).

Anyway, I can understand the creation, but Advancement is giving me some doubts. Here's the info I got about how it's handled in some setting (Robo perhaps?):

Minor Milestone: Swap two skills within a single mode / replace stunt / rewrite aspect
The last two are straightforward and not different from Core. But swapping is not that clear, since whether a skill is Focused or Specialized depends on different reasons. 1) Whether it was a repeat skill from another mode, or 2) Whether the player spent points in it.
If, say, I got Specialized Athletics because all 3 modes had it, it feels weird to just swap Athletics with say, Burglary, which is trained because only my "Thieving" or whatever mode has it, and this feels problematic specially after you get to the next milestones.

Significant Milestone: Earn one point to spend on skills + Gain an experience
No problem here, I get points during creation too. However, should I keep track of which skills I actually spent points on, vs which skills just got upgraded because of repeats?

Major Milestone: Earn one point + Swap rating of 2 modes
Ok, here it starts to get a bit strange. Say, I swap my Fighty (Average) and my, um, Burgly (Good) modes. If I had spent points on any skills, these just get adjusted to fit within the new mode rating (so, a Focused skill is still +1 vs the default for that mode). BUT, if I had, say, Specialized Athletics at Superb because all my modes had Athletics, I shouldn't just lower it because now the highest mode went down two points, right?

What I'm saying, should all the "reinforced" skills get recalculated from the original Modes when I swap? I'm guessing this is the case but I don't think that's specified anywhere. I don't find it too difficult, but it makes it necessary to keep track of where you actually spent points to train. I'm guessing those points stay within that mode and not just get redistributed (unless the mode got removed altogether for a new one, somehow, maybe there's a Major_er_ Milestone?)
So mostly this is just a clarification question.
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What i meant was that reinforcing a level 3 skill with a level 2 skill gives a level 4 skill, in "net" value that's a decrease of 1. Reinforcing it with a level 1 skill gives the same result, with no net change. One +4 skill isn't necessarily worth more than two skills at +3 and +2 respectively, depends on POV.
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Sergio Le Roux

Discussion  - 
Sorry if this looks like a bit of a rant, but I guess I'm looking for feedback here, of a somewhat freeform nature instead of specific questions.

I'm starting to play with some friends a few modules "converted" to Fate Core (the original game is Spycraft, and by "converted" means keeping the story fluff of the modules and tossing all the rules, heh).

I want to focus a bit on the gameplay and simplify a lot the character creation (but not get rid of it completely such as providing premades). Since it's originally a d20 game, it has classes and BAB and Will Save and all that crap, I thought, well, I could provide "semi-premades" based on the base classes of the game.

My idea is to make an incomplete skill tree with skills that you "oughta have" for each class. One of my players suggested, make a partial pyramid with a peak on Good and let players complete the blank spaces. I think they could of course promote a skill to a higher level if they want. Since this is about Spies from a Spy Agency that go on Missions (not desk jobs), things like Shoot should be mandatory (and probably Fight to a lesser extent).

So... to "convert" the classes, I've classified BAB into three "types" (high Fight/Shoot for classes like soldiers, medium for specialists, and low for bookworm types such as hacker or scientist). Using Saving Throws to determine for example Athletics (Reflex) or Will (Will save) and a mix of hit points and Fortitude Save for Physique.

The skill list provided is typical for a D20 game, some skills are easy to translate to Fate and others have a lot of cross-over, but ultimately, unfortunately it gives me nothing to work with since a skill is either "class skill" or "cross-class", all or nothing and PCs are free to invest in some skills ignoring the others anyway. In the end, all I got to base this "premade pyramid" of skills is the blurb of a class, such as: Scientist has high Lore.

These games have tons of feats, of course... these are roughly equivalent to Stunts, but to "premake" those would be overkill. Again, at most I was thinking, I could provide ONE "sample stunt" for each "pregen" and let the player do whatever they want with it (discard it, use it), but they have to provide their aspects and remaining stunts. Of course, High Concept can be pre-filled with the class letting the player refine it the way he wants.

Ok so... I have a bunch of "classes" of specialists, or academics that specialize in things like Deceive, Burglary, Lore, and a couple "Fighter" classes who basically specialize in Fighting/Shooting/Athletics. Essentially I'll pre-fill 3-6 out of the 10 starting skills.

Any thoughts? Just wanted to point out that this was actually requested by the players themselves, they seem to get into a bit of "choice paralysis" when confronted with a blank character sheet. One of them has a bit of a tendency to "troll" games by intentionally making incompetent characters, so I hope this also can help us make him tone it down a bit.

Update: This is a summary of last night's session, what I think went right, what went wrong (IMO).

I used the free mission "Back to Basics" from this site

During the first Scene, the agents went to a military instalation to investigate a theft of rocket fuel. There was no map provided, just a list of "points of interest" and people, and a clue that would led players to the next scene.

The Good: having all this pre-written material really helps me with the stress of having to come up with stuff on the fly. When I've tried making my own adventure up or improvising, I tend to freeze and worry a lot and don't enjoy it too much. The descriptions are also general enough that you have to add all the flavor yourself.

The Bad: game lends itself too much to D&D style "exploration" if you play it straight. Too many places to go where "you find nothing unusual", NPCs that really have no hints to give to players. There was ONE place where a clue was located. Obviously, as a Fate GM I should have been pushing the action forward but I didn't prepare enough. Instead of playing it straight from the book, I should have converted the scene into "stuff that happens" instead of just saying "where do you want to investigate next" and blankly stare at the players. A scene that was meant for 30 minutes turned into 3 hours. At least there was no mapping.

The Ugly: While everyone left more or less pleased by their progress, I can't help feeling I sorta dropped the ball on this one. I didn't play Fate, I just played "D&D with spies and no rules or combat or anything really". It was almost freeform, mostly just trading actions and outcomes, I asked for a roll here and there to overcome a couple of puzzles (trace the hack in the security files, talk the guard into believing your cover story). There weren't enough aspects to compel and the ones that were there didn't really come up (or I forgot about them entirely). I should probably tailor the locations and situations to the players instead of just hoping that there's some place high enough to trigger a PC's "fear of heights".
Dan Hall's profile photoDanilo Jara's profile photoSergio Le Roux's profile photoChristopher Dolunt's profile photo
How to make an investigative scenario a fun story instead of a "dungeon crawl"? I'm going to quote Robin Laws at you from the Gumshoe SRD (

"You don’t see the forensic techies on CSI failing to successfully use their lab equipment, or Sherlock Holmes stymied and unable to move forward because he blew his Zoology roll. You don’t see this because, in a story failure to gain information is rarely more interesting than getting it. New information opens up new narrative possibilities, new choices and actions for the characters. Failure to get information is a null result that takes you nowhere."

Fate has a rule called "success at a cost" that can be used to make this happen ( Use this to make sure clues are discovered, but if they fail the roll, make them hurt somehow. They have to pay a bribe, get injured, break a law, or whatever. If you can't improvise this, come up with a list.

So they interrogate NPC 1. Make a roll, and then SOMETHING happens that either gets them a clue or points them at it. If NPC 1 has the clue, he spills it. What if NPC 1 is a red herring? Then maybe NPC 2 who has the clue walks in while the PCs are talking to NPC 1 and starts acting suspicious. Or if the clue is in a location, maybe NPC 1 says "Hey, did you guys search the lab?". Once again, if you can't improvise this, come up with the pointers in advance.

This way you can guarantee that the scene keeps moving until all the clues are discovered.
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Sergio Le Roux

Photos/Videos  - 
Saw this the other day, I thought it was pretty funny...

(I probably was one of the last persons to see it)

#GotG   #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy   #SNL   #SaturdayNightLive
Marvels Coming Attractions - SNL 40th
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Sergio Le Roux

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Hace una semana estrenó en la cadena Fox un dramatizado de esos  que buscan robarle el corazón a los jovenzuelos de hoy, hablo cumbia ninja, un programa cuya canción ya estaba cansado de escuchar c...
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