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Josh Culbertson

I was wondering about Conditions, and those who have more experience with them. Specifically, do they make conflicts move a lot more swiftly (and even brutally)? When you've got a stress track, those first few minor hits aren't immediately delivering invocations to your enemies like finally be forced to take a Consequence does, but my understanding of Conditions is that they're immediately available for invoke, meaning that even the most minor hit is going to throw that "+2 or reroll" option to your foes. Am I wrong about that?

I'm thinking specifically about "Fight Fire" and other "Conditions only" implementations (I'm aware that Dresden Accelerated, for instance, splits the difference by allowing both stress boxes and Conditions).

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"Because I had only read books that had foreigners in them, I became convinced that books had to have foreigners in them.” --Chimamanda Adichie , from her TED Talk, "The Danger of a Single Story"
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Villains: Because you just can't count on Batman to reliably choke out Hitler.
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I've been thinking about how discovering Trouble aspects hasn't provided quite the amount of oomph I want when they're found and used, and also some of the ideas which appear in the Shadow of the Century playtest (around how Trouble Aspects/Approaches work for the bad guys), and am considering the following rule:

Once a scene, a Trouble aspect can be invoked by spending a Fate Point (not by generating a free invocation through create advantage) to reduce the character in question's defense (or resistance, say, if it's against create advantage) to Mediocre (+0).

Now, a couple of caveats around this, and some of the thinking:
1. We don't keep all of an NPC's aspects just available for view at all times, so players are often using Create Advantage to discover aspects they don't know. Yes, yes, I know this is out-of-alignment with what Fate Core suggests, but the reality I've found, after running Fate games for over a decade now, is that it suits the play style for my players, and myself, much better. They LIKE the surprise of fishing for aspects, and knowing them ahead of time has ruined their excitement and sense of mystery. And, frankly, the vampire who's got the aspects Night Owl, and Drinking Problem and all that jazz sounds clever, but falls kind of flat for us in play. So going after that Trouble aspect has some appeal for our players.

2. Players who are looking for an Advantage might be more likely to just use their own go-to skills and face the environment than try to gain invokes on an opponent's aspect. The reality is that you stand a better shot at a success with style on an Athletics checks to do leaps and spins and such than you might the Empathy check which is trying to dig for the big bad boss's Trouble Aspect. But, sadly, that seems COUNTER to everything we know about story logic: it should be AMAZING to burn Dracula with sunlight or drive a stake through his heart, and the fact that it might be about half as tactically effective as that Athletics advantage describes above falls really flat to me. So, the hope is that this Trouble-invoke is going to capture the dramatic feeling of weaknesses REALLY being important. And also throw a little love to the skills that don't always seem as sexy as the others (Empathy, Investigate, I'm looking at you, and some of your friends).

3. In some ways, this is NOT that different than a PC compelling an opponent's aspects. But, try as I might, my players tend to forget that a Compel against me is even an option, no matter how often I Compel them, or remind them that Compelling me is an option. Hand-in-hand with that, Compels to inaction are really kind of boring, and my table tends to dislike them. So, this is sort of a sneaky variation on that, in that we're basically "compelling to be defenseless."

This is still in the early days of implementation for me, and I'm not married to it yet. It might well require some modification. Have other folks done things which are similar? I'm interested to see if other tables are using techniques like this, or variations.

In our Spirit of the Century game using Fate Core, Mysteries is the skill for supernatural sensitivity, hypnotism, seances, premonitions, faith-based powers, and a variety of other "weird" phenomena.

I've been thinking about developing a Past Lives stunt for the skill, which would allow you to use Mysteries as if it was Lore or Contacts by dredging up memories from your own past incarnations (or simply from the collective unconscious; characters can get into the metaphysical speculation about it at their leisure...). So, sometimes you'd know facts about a person because those facts have been true throughout their incarnations, which has got some of that lovely destiny/reincarnation stuff you see in some of the eerie pulps. This is why the guy who opens the tomb and finds the mummy princess was her lover 3,000 years ago. Yadda yadda.

I'm trying to figure out how to set the pricing for something like this just right, because a simple "at will" feature of the Stunt seems too generous (some players might make this check the first time they meet EVERYONE... yawn...), but I don't know if "for 1 Fate Point" is too steep a cost, considering what you get out of it (which is really just potential aspect discovery). So, I thought I'd poll the group, and see if anyone had any bright ideas. "Once per session"? "Twice per session" (seems arbitrary)? The GM cueing it seems cruel to the players; I prefer if they have more entitlement on when they're making active checks.

I guess one balance solution might be that, if it costs 1 Fate, it gives you something more than just aspect discovery, but I'm not sure quite what that should be. Interested to see if this gets anyone's creative juices flowing. 

I've been writing some stunts for the upcoming sword & sorcery game we'll be playing at my table, and I'm pleased with the flavor I'm getting. You'd think Resources was a hard skill to write stunts for, considering how it's used in the fiction--most sword & sorcery characters are flat broke most of the time, or money moves through their hands so quickly it hardly has an effect on them as characters. But, once you think about the purpose it actually serves in the fiction, it becomes a lot easier. To whit...

You Can’t Take It With You: You have +2 on Resources checks any time you’re spending money on purely temporary things, such as food, wine, entertainment, and companionship.

What I like about this is that plenty of characters might well not even bother to put Resources into a skill pyramid, but if they want to have a guaranteed way to be partying hard when they need to, this effectively provides a Resources 2 for those checks. Granted, a lot of times there'll be opportunities to just rely on the aspects created through checks with skills like Thievery, or the spoils of their other exploits. But somebody out there might want the party to never stop, and this kind of stunt permits it.

Spend Your Cares Away: Once per session, you can spend 1 Fate to treat a scene that you and others spend carousing as grounds for a recovery. Everyone present benefits from this, allowing you to treat Consequences (or lingering stress) with the results of your Resources check for the entire group.

Again, this provides some incentive to use wealth up once it's found, and might appeal to certain types of players who love to place some of their character's strengths in support roles that boost the rest of the party (I've had a number of them, over the years. I've certainly considered just making this a function of the game which doesn't even need a stunt. It's very much inspired by some stuff in Greg Stolze's "Reign" about why S&S characters are so "easy come, easy go" about their loot. And I do love that. But, until I decide firmly that I just want this to be a rules option available to anyone, it can get field-tested in stunt-land.

If I DO end up making this an option available for all characters, then this stunt will just end up getting modified so that it reduces difficulties, like some of the other "healer" stunts in Fate Core.

I'm a little confused around what's going on with Venture City. At one point, it was discussed that there was going to be a Venture City Powers supplement as a Patreon goal, but now that seems like it's become solely an expanded version of Venture City Stories available through the Fate More Kickstarter?

Will there be an option for those of us who just want a pdf, and already bought Venture City Stories on DriveThruRPG, and such? I'd happily pay again for another supplement, but would rather get it in pdf form if possible, and have the option of just buying what I need, as opposed to what I've already got.

Not sure if I ever posted this before, but thought I'd share this quick tidbit about how my table has been handling Initiative.

While I do like the MSH systems for initiative (like what shows up in Young Centurions), I also find also that they can be a touch slow, in that it adds another decision/deliberation moment at the end of each player's action. I'm pretty quick about knowing who I'll pass initiative to, when I'm done, but the other players sometimes hesitate.

As such, I'm often doing the conventional Notice rolls to determine initiative. It also sometimes turns into "side-based initiative" wherein the PC's are making Notice checks and the opposition will fall into one slot, sooner or later. If you can imagine that the PC's are moving at +6, +4, +2, and +1, and the bad guys are all at +3, we quickly get to a point by the second round where the enemies have acted, and now I don't mind what order the PC's go in, as they all get to act again before the bad guys do.

The one codicil I add to this is that initiative rolls are a little unsexy, as it goes, so that beating your opponent by 3 or more shifts adds a boost, just like any other Overcome check. So, now, the character who's all about Notice feels a tremendous benefit for being lightning fast: not only does he get to act first, be he acts first with a boost if he does really well. I've been liking it quite a bit at my table, and thought I'd pass it along as something others might enjoy.

There are LOTS of potential solutions to this question, but I'm wondering: "Do you do anything special to handle ambushes / being flat-footed / unaware of your attackers around your Fate table?"

For instance, I know some people would just allow the ambushers or whoever to Create Advantage which they could apply before they attacked, representing how they've "got the drop". And I know other tables which would say that the defenders can't defend--effectively, the difficulty to attack them is at Mediocre (+0). Some tables would let the defenders roll 4dF to modify that Mediocre trait, and some wouldn't. Some people might combine that with the Create Advantage option above, meaning attacking the person who's not aware of you is REALLY advantageous and deadly.

Some of this changes, I think, depending on whether we're talking about an outright planned ambush, or just a situation where suddenly one group can't see (say your opponent's been blinded suddenly). I'm just interested to see individual preferences.

I suspect some people's feelings on this are also going to depend very much on the type of feel you're creating for a game, so Fate horror might go one way, while a swashbuckling adventure might merit a different implementation.

What's your preference? Or do you go a different route?
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