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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Full steam ahead - the season finale of Engines of Progress

Last week saw the season finale of EoP.

The gang flew to Europe, defeating a crew of fiendish sky pirates en-route. From their they tracked the Austrian mercenaries to their Schloss by cunningly identifying the factory that had supplied the paper used by their scientists for the blueprints they had discovered earlier.

Seeing than an enemy airship was docked they jury rigged a harpoon with a grenade chaser and drew the attention of all the soldiers, allowing two of the team to sneak in though the sluice gate while Uncle Jack used the machine guns on their own airship to pin down the troops in the courtyard.

Shooting their way into the fortified main house past galvanic armoured opponents they were just in time to see shadowy figures disappear though a secret door. Chasing after them they nearly managed to catch up with them but the villans dropped the bar on the other side of a steel blast door to escape, but not before one of the figures dropped an encoded diary for the team to find.


Once again great participation from all the players who really found their feet with the system this week.

As GM I still feel like I could do better and will use the Christmas break to really grok Fate, especially now the new books have made their circuitous way into my grubby hands.

Zooming in and out of the story really allows you to pack a greater amount of story into a session than I would otherwise manage with a more traditional RPG while still giving choice and control to the players. Also having player involvement right up front with the issues and important features of the game is a great GM tool to help keep you on track in terms of the story. For instance there had been no real mention of the sky pirates that the group had on their "stuff we want in the game" list. As we knew this was the season finale we all knew that they would definitely be in this week which only made their eventual appearance better for the anticipation.

We'll be taking a break from EoP over the holiday season and restarting in the new year with a transhuman space game which may or may not be Fate based (Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis are the short list as I don't feel like homebrewing one from Core this time around).

Engines is definitely not over yet though - watch this space.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Saristossa - Brom

Pain like a ripsaw. The trickling taste of wet copper.

Now vomiting black, bloodstained bile, howling the full length of the spear as he uses the massive gamera trunk to force it through.

Finally, at the cusp of consciousness the weapon leaves his body and he collapses to his knees amid fallen foemen. Moments pass like hours and then the sound of hoarse laughter splits the silence like an axe braking logs.

"Alive! Still alive muija!"

Using the gamera as support he claws himself to his feet. Blood oozes though his tunic from the ragged edge of the spear wound with every heartbeat as it flakes from innumerable other gashes, gouges and cuts.

Gripping the knife sheath in his teeth Aatos' powder bubbles as it meets the wound. A white hot blast of pain sweeps though him, only the sweat stained leather preventing him biting though his own tongue. Finally spitting the ruined hide from his lips he checks his side to see the wound has already begun to close. The old man was right about that at least.

Thinking it likely that the scum around him may have companions that will eventually start a search for them he hauls himself to his feet and begins to trudge back toward the narrow mountain path.

The gamera is a large hardwood native to the upper slopes of Taivasleikkuri range, although it can be found at higher altitudes scattered across Saaristossa. It is slow growing with deciduous needle like leaves. The close grain and hardness of gamera wood would make it ideal for any number of tasks were it not for its overly knotty characteristics causing it to split irregularly once sawn.

Wise Women and Canny Men perform a number of important services to the villages and small towns of Saaristossa, treating wounds and healing the sick being one of them. Verenseis powder is one such remedy, prized by militias, sellswords and other naer-do-wells it can stop the bleeding of even the most serious wound in a few moments. Of course it the treatment can often be worse than the ailment and verenseis powders are no exception. While efficacious their application causes pain so acute that unprepared users have been known to bite though their own tongues or shatter teeth with its use.

Varenseis Powder
Removes the bleeding adjective from any consequence and begins the healing process. However use of the powder requires a superb willpower test to avoid passing out from the pain of using the powders.

Brom Halfspear

  • Core Aspect: Fearless warrior, down on his luck

  • Trouble: Never back down, never surrender

  • 3rd Aspect: The strong protect the weak

  • 4th Aspect: Pain is an illusion

  • 5th Aspect: Talk is wasted breath

Skills of Note

  • Fight

    • Stunt - Spearman: Long hours of practice with the spear have made you more proficient with it than most. +2 Fight when using a spear.

  • Physique

  • Willpower

    • Stunt - Didn't hurt a bit: You may make a willpower test versus the severity of a physical consequence to prevent it being compelled for the remainder of the scene. You may only do this once and my not do it again until the consequence is removed.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Engine under fire

So this session saw a bit of horse trading and a bit of combat.

Started a bit late and finished a bit early. Late start as I was still cramming down my dinner which is always a risk for mid week sessions and early finished as  I felt we had reached a good jumping off point for the penultimate episode.

Everyone wanted to play more which was fantastic and hopefully they will feel rewarded in the next session  as they head to Europe and exposition.

Fate handles crunch free, pulp firefights really well. Loads of good description. I would have liked a few more compound aspects placed but all in all very nice. Less sure about how it would work outside the genre however.

Now that the finale is written, time to focus on delivering a great blowout session and subsequently plotting the next game.

I'm going to pitch either an OSR type dungeon bash or transhuman space game.

Not brave enough to fly the flag for my pet projects yet. Maybe next time.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Wheels in motion. An interlude.

Translated from German.

"I am disappointed Herr Fischer. Not only am I not in receipt of the device but word reaches me the the boy has now seen it. I can only hope that you have a tight leash on the old man."

"How could we have anticipated the inconvenience of the American bootleggers Frau Lehrer? They are so unpredictable."

"Perhaps I could forgive you the Americans, but the my sources tell me that the British are also now involved somehow. If I discover that it is due to your carelessness then you will wish you had not disappointed me; for a very long time.

Take Herman and one of his Deutscher Orden. Find out where my machine. You may use any means necessary as long as the authorities trace it back to the bootleggers or some other criminal menace.

Do not make a mess of this like you did at the docks.

Oh, and Fischer, when you have located throughout device, you may find the airship and it's captain that so embarrassed you and make amends.

That is all."

"Yes Frau Lehrer. I will not fail you again."

Fischer departs. Moments later after a brief exchange of pass and counter pass phrases, bakelite receiver pressed to her ear, colour draining from her already pale features;

"Yes Mine Herr, Fischer has been dispatched to take care of the matter. It is a minor setback only. We still have the alchemist."

A short pause.

"No Mine Herr, It will not happen again."

Downtown Chicago at the pizzeria belonging to legitimate businessman Sal Stachetti.

"Whadda ya mean some jerry's shot up the Icepick 's warehouse? You wiseguys better not be messing with me."

"No boss, they was shouting in German and one of em has some kinda funky metal armour. Like that Ned Kelly guy."

"So who got Icepick's gear? If not these krauts who was it."

"We don't know Mr. Stachetti. Angelo's boys are looking into it. Trying to track down that airship. The Black Belly or something."

"Well when you find em you tell em they work for me. You got me? "

" Yes Mr. Stachetti sir."

"Good boy Tony. Good boy. Now get outta here!"

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Ticking over nicely

So this is a really late update. Sorry chaps but those of you involved know the score.

The most recent episode in the 20's dieselpunk adventure Engines of Progress started where we left off the previous session. Young Lester hanging precariously from a packing crate of unknown content amid a Chicago docklands warehouse inferno.

Luckily his companions managed to pin down the Austrian mercenaries (Amelia) and haul the crate out of harm's way (Jack) using the the might of the floating passion wagon the Black Betty.

It must be mentioned that during the daring escape and subsequently the "Uncle Jack's a Jerk Face" aspect of Lester 's got a fair amount of action as the flight to an air dock on the other side of the city is chilly when you are still hanging onto a crate. More so when the flight is faster due to the tuned up engines that you worked on. Some respite was gained by sticking his head into a somewhat jagged and splintery hole in the side of the crate.

Once Lester had warmed up and thawed out the team decided to bust open the crate which they had discovered bore the mark of the Austrian imperial eagle at one end.

On discovering that the content was some kind of advanced galvanic engine caution was thrown quickly to the wind and the the resultant sound effect of the thing starting up startled the cat who clawed my wife and spilled coffee across the gaming table.

Chastened and a bit sticky I decided to stick to using my words in future.

After some heated debate it was finally decided that the beautiful and fragrant Amelia should store the contraption in her vault until they could decide what to do with it. Leaving our heroes once again far more questions than answers a crate or two of liquid lightening fuel and a truckload of moonshine belonging to the evil and possible mad Icepick O'Brien.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Things get hot in the engine

This week was the first session of play in Engines of Progress. The 1920's dieselpunk postwar epic.

First up I'd like to say that to my shame very little preparation went into this week's session as it's been a hellish week at work. Taking that into account, however, I was really pleased with how it worked out.

The characters started in media res, trapped in a burning warehouse in the middle of Chicago's air docks, with only a pallet full of "moonshine" between them, some angry Austrian mercenaries and some angrier Irish mobsters.

From there we jumped five days back in time to find out how they got themselves into this mess.

There were loads of great ideas from the floor but we eventually settled on plausible stories that brought the needs of the characters together at the right time and in the right place.

This is a three hour session, which got moving a bit late so I was tweaking my ideas for the middle part of the session on the fly to ensure that we hit the end of session cliffhanger on time. A cliffhanger that sees Lester (our Crusher-esque junior protagonist) and Darcy/Amelia (Crown double double agent) swinging from a huge crate, dangling from a warehouse crane and trying to catch a tow line thrown by Captain Jack (Indiana Solo) as he dodges through a hail of gunfire, desperate to reach the airship Black Betty before the Austrians perforate his companions or the Irish scuttle his ship.

From donkeys years of experience I can fairly safely say that we would not have managed to fit all the preamble and the action scene into the time allowed in a satisfactory way with a more "traditional" RPG. So hats off to FATE for that. There was also a good flow of fate points across the table and the guys are starting to get into the swing of self compels and success at a cost.

The first part of the next session will probably be retooling characters slightly as, this being the first play for most of them some of their decisions at initial character creation don't quite fit with the way they want their characters to play.

This is the last time in this game that everyone will get the chance to juggle skills around for free though and no, a 1 point skill is not equal to a point of refresh or a stunt.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Starting the Engine

Character and world creation for EoP happened last Wednesday with Dougs x2 and Lorna.

Our protagonists are :

  • A dieselpunk homage to Harrison Ford's best roles with a dash of dashing airman thrown in.

  • The dieselpunk Wesley Crusher questing for his missing grandfather.

  • A Newbury and Hobbes inspired crown agent and purveyor of contraband Chicago liquor.

Tomorrow the adventure begins...

This is the first original world FATE game I've run so character creation was 100% vanilla. I'm hoping that this gives us the very best shot at shaking the dust out of the system and form a good baseline for the other original FATE projects I have in mind.

It's also a first time for me really pushing myself out of my comfort zone as a GM and trying some more cinematic approaches to storytelling. More on this in the next post as it would lead to spoilers.

As this is the first time for two players we agreed to fill in some skills and stunts in later sessions so that they were making more informed choices.

A later post will have the starting stat blocks for each player as well as some more on the world and major supporting cast.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The train now approaching

"The train now approaching platform six is the twenty five thirty seven from Santa Pris. All change for the Western Light Rail service to airship docking towers five to nine."

"Or at least that's what I thought she said. You know how those tannoy announcements sound." Bek scowled across the bakelite tabletop toward the police private diligently recording his every word.

"Go on", instructed the inspector, pacing steadily backwards and forwards behind the private.

"So anyway, that's how I know when it went down. The tannoy woman had just announced the Santa Pris train and then at the same time on platform four another one comes in. One of those new turbine jobs. Must've been private or something. Anyway, these four gents get off and a woman's with 'em. They're all wearing some kind of uniform, then the woman points over towards platform six to where the Santa Pris train has just come in and the four chaps start moving towards the front car. You could tell there was something going on by the way they walked. Deliberate, with their hands inside their jackets."

"And that's when the shooting started?"

"Not straight away. First the other crew came off the front car of the Santa Pris train. One of 'em was huge. One of them new men. You know, the bulky ones that need special clothes, and another one had some kind of special eyeglasses. They took one look at the four gents and took off down the platform towards the rear cars where the goods vans are. The big chap and the one with the glasses bundling along another bloke, kinda skinny looking with a big leather briefcase."

"What happened next Mr. Bek?"

"Well, first two of the four gents in uniform run right through the train and start headin' down the platform on the other side. Then the other two pull out the pistols they were obviously hidin' in their coats and start wavin' 'em around, shoutin' in some kind of foreign lingo. Anyway, folk see the shooters and start runnin' and shoutin' for the peelers and the like. The platform's clearin' pretty fast by now and so the two chaps on this side start poppin' away with their guns, real marksman like. One of 'em wings the big chap, which doesn't seem to bother 'im none 'cause he just keeps his back to 'em blockin' their view of the little bloke with the case. The chap with the weird glasses though looks pretty angry and pulls out a kinda boxy lookin' gun from somewhere. Then the shootin' really gets started."

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Saaristossa - Ambra

"This is pointless" thought Ambra, puffing up the hill. "There's never been a raid this far West.  For a start the Viidakko Kummituksia is enough to deter anyone who's ever heard of it and secondly they'd have to scale the cliffs and then march up and down these damned hills".

The weight of her armour was also beginning to chafe. Especially where she'd borrowed that left spaulder from Myrta. Where was the adventure and excitement that was supposed to be the meat and drink of the Vartija? Certainly not in stomping up hills in summer heat to inspect watchtarns that are never used because no invader is stupid enough to attempt a climb up sheer cliffs and a forest filled with hungry, vengeful ghosts.

Distracted as she was by thoughts such as these it came as an even greater shock to find herself not some half an ard later suspended by her heels from a tree.

The great kingdoms of the West are heavily forested. This is both blessing and curse. For while the forests provide vital lumber and charcoal as well as an abundance of wild game they also provide ample shelter for all manner of bandits, footpads and robbers. The exception to this is the Viidakko Kummituksia a great swathe of ancient woodland said to be grown on a long forgotten battlefield, the ground soaked in the blood of the fallen. Denied proper funerary rites the spirits of the ancient dead are said to prowl the forest, eternally seeking their enemies and the breath of the living. Strange creatures roam the forest and it is rare for a hunting party to enter its borders. Rarer still for one to return in full strength.

The Vartija are a large mercenary company retained at one time or another by most of the great kingdoms. Their main holding is the fortified town of Skjoldveggen, which was gifted to the company in reward for their defensive action during the first Isles War.

Ambra Madsdotir, Sheildhand of the Vartija

  • Core Aspect: Vartija shieldmaiden, with something to prove.

  • Trouble: Why do I never look where I'm going?

  • 3rd Aspect: If I say something's done, it's done.

  • 4th Aspect: Proud bearer of an honour ribbon.

  • 5th Aspect: One hand of many.

Skills of Note

  • Fight

    • Stunt - Shieldwork: You may use Fight to defend against Shoot. And you may also create advantages of a defensive nature with the key words shield or shielded as long as you have a shield.

  • Physique

  • Athletics

Saaristossa - Snorri

Snorri, gnarled hands gripping the rail, spat salt from his lips and stared out towards the blue gray pillars jutting from the foam in the distance as the Syojatar knifed through the choppy sea.

The crew would be pleased to get ashore after tense days escaping the dangers of a blockade run. Still, it paid to be vigilant. More than a few ships had run aground in the talons as minds wandered due to sleepless nights at sea.

He glanced astern to where the noita sat in a pool of skirts, legs coiled at her side.

"Mirja! Is the way clear?

Without looking up she reached into the seal hide bag at her side and drew out a handful of white shards. Scattering the sharks' teeth in front of her she turned her head towards the rail.

"Clear sailing and a following wind all the way to Olli's tavern you superstitious old walrus."

"Bah, I'll take my gut over your old bones any day. There's something in the wind, mark me. Something in the wind."

The numberless isles of Saaristossa are guarded in the northwestern reaches by an area of treacherous shoals, unnavigable without the services of an experienced pilot. They also bar the approach to any deep keeled vessel, such as company men-o-war. This makes the area a haven for all manner of disreputable seafarers. The perimeter of the shoals is marked by the appearance of the Talons. Colossal, jagged spires of blue-grey rock, jutting hundreds of feet into the sky. Although their lower surfaces are kept bare by the lashing of the seas, their tops are crowned by a lush covering of plant life.

Despite it's relative inaccessibility, especially from the ocean, the isles of the northwest reach are reasonably prosperous. Their more temperate climate affords access to different speciality crops than can be grown in the the coreward regions. The traders that ply the routes south and east favour shallow drafted skiffs with crab claw rigs. These are manoeuvrable enough to skirt the narrow inlets and treacherous coastlines with either a single master or small 2-3 man crew depending on the size of the vessel.

Snorri Greylock, Master of the Syojatar

  • Core Aspect: Salty seadog, and sometime pirate.

  • Trouble: There's something in the wind I tell you.

  • 3rd Aspect: Loyal crew

  • 4th Aspect: Love of the sea

  • 5th Aspect: Teller of tall tales

Skills of Note

  • Sailing

  • Rapport

    • Stunt - Ships Master: You may use Rapport create an advantage that can be used by others on Sailing tests by motivating your crew to better performance.

  • Notice

  • Provoke

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Psionics from Yesteryear

So on a long walk to the post office my brain dredged up to memories of a blade runner style game that I ran briefly back in the day. I can't even remember what system we had modified for it. Anyway that got me thinking about psionic powers as they had been a core concept of the game. Someone has probably thought of this for FATE already but here's my take, based on what I remember.


Psionic characters must have an aspect that describes the source of their mental powers. For example:

Traumatised Psi-ops Veteran


Psychic detective

From there on out it's stunts. If you have a psionic aspect but no psi stunts then you are a latent and may may manifest your powers in the fullness of time. Latents may experience or display phenomena based on their aspect(s) but are unable to actively utilise psi powers directly under their control.


ESP: Extra Sensory Perception is one of the more common psi abilities and also one of the most useful. This stunt allows you to use Notice to observe things beyond the range of the five mundane senses. For example you could use ESP to detect the presence of someone behind a closed door, to "hear" the thoughts of others or to find a needle in a haystack. Each use of ESP requires a fate point.

Mindstorm: With this stunt you can bombard your target with psychic white noise with the intent of overloading their senses to cause unconsciousness or, in extreme cases, death. In game terms you use Provoke Will to attack your opponent who defends with Will.

Phantasmagoria (requires Mindstorm): Your ability to affect your opponent's senses now allows you to cause your opponent to experience hallucinations. You use your Will as an attack to overpower your opponent's perceptions which they can defend against with Will. Success means that you cause them to perceive reality as you wish it and get to place a suitable aspect on them as an obstacle. Anyone affected by phantasmagoria can attempt to overcome with Notice, however if this fails they are more convinced that the fantasy is reality.

Etheric Body: With this stunt you may project the essence of your being beyond your physical body. When using this stunt you may are both invisible and immaterial so you may observe the world but not interact with it.

Manifest psi : Your psionic abilities can now take physical form. Mindstorm becomes a physically directed blast of energy, the Illusions of phantasmagoria are visible and audible to all and your etheric body can be seen and heard.
Footnote: Thanks to Porter Williams for his stunt feedback.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Mantis Clan Stunt Trees

The Mantis Clan

Yoritomo  Bushi School

Rank One - The Way of the Mantis
The Yoritomo have trained extensively with unconventional weapons as the daisho are not best suited for use aboard ship. You roll d8-d6 instead of d6-d6 when attacking with “peasant” weaponry.

Rank Two - Voice of the Storm
Fighting and training on the waves makes your lines of attack difficult to predict. Successfully attacking an opponent in melee (even if you cause no damage) allows you to ignore up to armour:2 on your next strike.

Rank Three - Strike of the Mantis
Striking with the swiftness and unpredictability of the savage storm the Yoritomo gain a second attack at the end of the end of the turn when fighting with a “peasant” weapon.

Rank Four - The Rolling Wave
The Yoritomo school teaches its students to flow in and out of combat as the waves lap against the sands. As long as you can move a within the current zone you gain +2 Fighting on defensive tests.

Rank Five - Hand of Osano-Wo
The descendants of Osano-Wo strike with the force of the storm. Once per scene you may spend a fate point to double the shifts of damage done on a successful attack.

Moshi Shugenja School

Affinity of Air (Shintao)
The Moshi school specialises in air magics; +2 when casting air based spells. However, your mastery of the element of earth is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

Favour of the Sun (Shintao)
The Moshi have always been devoted to the sun, whatever guise she may have been incarnated in. During the hours of daylight you gain +2 to casting fire spells.

Yoritomo Courtier School

Rank One - Duty Before Honour
The merchants of the Yoritomo clan are no stranger to dealing with the less savoury characters of Rokugani society. You gain +2 on Commerce rolls when trading with ronin, bandits, pirates or other honourless undesirables.

Rank Two - Storm Heart
Yoritomo courtiers use bullying and coercion, rather than the honeyed words of the crane or the subtlety of the scorpion. You gain +2 Provoke when using your skill to intimidate someone into accepting your position.

Rank Three - Command the Winds
Your training shows you how to use your boorish and aggressive behaviour to your advantage at court. Once per scene you may reroll a failed Sincerity or Deception test substituting Provoke for the other skill. You must accept the results of the rerolled test however. This re-roll does not cost a fate point.

Rank Four - Will of the Storm
Just as the fury of the storm resists all attempts to turn it aside, you may not be deterred from making your case, regardless of what fine words may be used to try to stop you. You gain a boost any time Etiquette is used to defend against you.

Rank Five - Strength in All Things
At this rank the Yoritomo school courtier has such an iron will and fearsome nature that even the strongest, most martial samurai pale before the onslaught of his words, while he in turn laughs in the face of the direst threats. Whenever you attempt to resist or inspire fear you gain a two invoke boost.

Tsuruchi Archer School

Rank One - Always be Ready
A Tsuruchi must be ready to face his foes without warning or notice. You may spend a fate point to interrupt initiative and attack at any time if you are armed with a bow.

Rank Two - The Arrow Knows the Way
It is not necessary for the Tsuruchi to aim, simply loose the arrow and it will strike true if the Kami wish it. Successful archery attacks do two additional shifts of damage.

Rank Three - The Wasp’s Sting
The Tsuruchi learn to draw and loose with uncanny speed. If the archer may spend a fate point to loose two arrows in a single action. These can target separate opponents.

Rank Four - Flight of No Mind
By centering himself, the archer can make the perfect shot guiding it unerringly to it’s target. Once per scene you may spend a fate point to make a shot that ignores all difficulty modifiers due to visibility, consequences or armour.

Rank Five - Tsuruchi’s Eye
Tsuruchi’s final lesson teaches the archer that there is no foe that cannot be felled by a single arrow. You gain +2 to all shoot rolls when using a bow.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wild Blue Something

Yesterday was character creation day for my midweek group. Followers of this blog and Google plus communities for fate core will know that I've produced a couple of fate mash ups but I wanted to run something fairly vanilla to see how everything shook out from the players perspective.

This is an experienced group and by mutual unspoken consent we've largely been running rules light games for a while.

We settled on wild blue for our first fate game (of hopefully many) and the story I'm running should take around four sessions to complete at a 2 hour session time.

So far we have two Wardens with very different outlooks and powers.

The first has a power inspired by Mack the Knife from Wild Cards. If he was of the Folk he might be a shaman but that destiny has found itself lodged in the body of an incomer. 
The second is the child of a forbidden union between an incomer and one of the Folk. Her power is a kind of object teleportation.
We will be adding a third Warden to the posse before they ride out.

Everyone seemed to get character creation under Fate pretty quickly and the out of game banter about the characters provided some great inspiration for some of the aspects.

"So you're a traitor, the first thing you said was traitorous."

"I'm not a traitor. I'm just misunderstood"

This is one of the things I think I like most about setting up a Fate game. The natural dynamic of the group really works for the players in anchoring them to their characters. I'm looking forward to seeing how the gang works together when we start play and how well they adapt to a more cooperative narrative style. Using the GNS classifications the group is probably two N's and a G so it will be especially interesting to see how our resident gamist takes to it. I expect quite well as, although Fate is a game about narrative it gives a lot of power back to the players to be good when they want to be.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nexus 7 bluetooth keyboard

Dear Google.

Your blogger app is rubbish.

So I have bought as bluetooth keyboard for my nexus 7 in order to use this the web version.

Even though I make loads of mistakes due to my fat man-fingers operating the tiny keys it is still way better than the app.

Please fix this.

Fat-fingered Blogger

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Lion Clan Stunt Trees

The Lion Clan

Akodo Bushi School

Rank One - The Way of the Lion
The fury of the Akodo is honed as sharp as any blade. You may ignore up to armour:2 on a successful strike.

Rank Two - Roar of the Lion
The Akodo samurai is both fearsome and glorious. You may use Provoke to inspire your comrades granting them a boost is successful.

Rank Three - Strength of My Ancestors
You strike twice in combat. Once for you and once for you ancestors as long as you are armed with a Bushi weapon. The second strike occurs at the end of the turn.

Rank Four - Triumph Before Battle
Before you engage in combat a successful Awareness roll grants you the knowledge of the weakness of your foe’s technique, granting you +2 Fighting against them for the duration of the encounter.

Rank Five - Akodo’s Final Lesson
Masters of the Akodo school know that victory is assured to them. You only need 2 shifts for success with style when Fighting.

Kitsu Shugenja School

Affinity of Water (Shintao)
The Tamori school specialises in earth magics; +2 when casting water based spells. However, your mastery of the element of fire is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

Eyes of the Ancestors (Shintao)
The Kitsu are descended from the fox spirits from whom they take their name. This gives them the ability to see the spirit of their opponents. If you succeed in a spellcasting test contested by your target’s will you may reveal all spiritual aspects of the character and for a void point you may prevent the character invoking this aspect for the remainder of the scene.

Ikoma Bard School

Rank One - The Herald of Glory
You are a master of the oral histories of the empire. Through your training you have gained the Precise Memory Aspect.

Rank Two - The Heart of the Lion
As a bard you are trained to display those emotions that others must keep in check. It is not a dishonorable act for you to show emotion, as long as you are doing so on behalf of another Lion or another honorable cause. You also gain a boost against any attempt to sway your emotions through provocation.

Rank Three - The Voice of the Ancestors
As well as historians, the Ikoma are the battle callers of the Lion. Before any battle or skirmish, you may roll to create an advantage with Artisan (Poetry) skill, inspiring your allies, exhorting them to uphold the honour of the clan. If successful you create a scene advantage with a free invoke for each of your allies within earshot.

Rank Four - The Strength of Tradition
The steadfast encouragement that the Ikoma give to their companions calls on the example of their noble ancestors for inspiration and lends their strength to that of their allies.
By inspiring an ally with tales of ancestral heroism on a successful Artisan (Poetry) test you may trade a fate point to that ally if they have no fate points of their own left.

Rank Five - Every Lion is Your Brother
The Ikoma carry with them the history of the whole Lion clan and their ages old knowledge of bushido, honour and courtly etiquette.
You may use your Artisan (Poetry) skill in place of Etiquette with a boost in any contested social test where you can cite historical precedent to back up your argument.

Matsu Berserker School

Rank One - The Lion’s Roar
While the Akodo strategize and plan, you simply overwhelm your opponents with the fury of you attacks. You do two additional shifts of damage on a successful melee attack when in the full attack stance.

Rank Two - Matsu’s Fury
Engaging in combat with an enraged Matsu is terrifying. Nominate an opponent in the same zone as you and if you successfully strike them in melee combat when in the full attack stance then you may spend a fate point to inflict mental damage on them with the same severity as the physical damage your attack caused.

Rank Three  - The Lion’s Charge
The Matsu charge fearlessly into battle. You may spend a fate point act first in combat.

Rank Four - Matsu’s Courage
Death before dishonour. A Matsu will never yield while she draws breath. You may cannot be compelled by any fear based aspect while you are in the attack stance.

Rank Five - The Lion’s Victory
The death of an enemy is the only victory the Matsu recognise. Once per scene you may spend a fate point on a successful attack to double the shifts of damage done.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Dragon Clan Tattoos

This is really a continuation of the last post on the Dragon Clan stunt trees. In it I outline the rules for tattoo use by the Ise Zumi and list up some of the tattoos.

All F5R tattoo effects last for a scene unless otherwise noted.

You are yin and yang, positive and negative in perfect harmony. On activating the tattoo you may choose for spells targeting you to be either +2 or -2 difficulty to cast.

Flexible yet resilient, gain a defensive boost at the start of each turn.

Your unarmed strikes are imbued with the power of flame as sparks dance and crackle around your fists. Gain an offensive boost at the start of each turn.

Unceasing movement. You may cross vast distances in minutes as long as you keep moving, and could cross the empire in a single day. As soon as you stop you fall to the ground exhausted and my take no physical actions for the next day.

The crab is protected by a thick shell. You gain armour: 2

As symbol of grace and beauty. Gain a boost with three free invokes for use in any social test.

Mighty and fearsome, activating the dragon tattoo enables you to breathe a cone of fire five feet across and ten feet plus your Shintao in length. You use your Shooting skill to hit opponents with the blast which has a weapon rating equal to your Shintao. Each use of this causes you two stress.

Light and agile, you may leap up to your Physique x 25 feet.

Noble and proud, the lion tattoo grants a boost to a Bugei skill of your choosing.

The mantis is small but fearless. This tattoo is active at all times and renders you immune to any effect that causes fear.

Unmoving and eternal, while active your minor consequence slot acts as a two point stress box instead. If you use this slot then when the tattoo is deactivated you suffer a consequence as normal.

The ocean is boundless and fruitful. When you receive this tattoo you no longer need to eat or drink to receive sustenance, although you may still partake for the pleasure of it. Activating the tattoo leaves you refreshed as if you had just had a full night’s sleep and a good meal. You may only activate this tattoo once every three days.

As soon as it is destroyed the phoenix rises anew. If you are taken out, this tattoo automatically activates and heals and amount of stress equal to your Shintao as long as you spend a fate point. This ability may only be used once per milestone.

While the scorpion tattoo is active you gain a boost to any stealth test and if you succeed with style on an unarmed combat test you gain an additional boost, dazing your opponent.

Activating the Spider tattoo grants you the ability to move over any terrain as if is was level ground and you may scale sheer, vertical or inverted surfaces as if it was normal terrain.

This tattoo imbues you with the fearsome power of the storm. When you make a successful unarmed attack you do two additional shifts of damage.

This tattoo, a bright black kanji, represents the void. When activated, you become aware of all life within a radius equal to your Shintao times ten feet, even if you cannot see it. You may use this power to recognise individuals that are well known to you.

On activation of this tattoo you gain the superhumanly sharp “Senses of the Wolf” for the remainder of the scene.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Dragon Clan Stunt Trees

Updated after feedback. 

Next up in F5R are the Dragon.

The tattoo list is pretty long so that's getting it's own post.

The master document is here: Fate of the Five Rings if you want to read more.

The Dragon Clan

Mirumoto Bushi Clan

Rank One - Tail of the Dragon
The Mirumoto school is the only school to focus training on the principles of Niten, Mirumoto’s two sword technique. Students at the school learn to use the Wakizashi to block strikes that would otherwise leave them open to attack if armed only with a Katana. You roll d8-d6 for your defence when wielding the both of your blades.

Rank Two - The Calm in the Midst of Thunder
As the traditional rivals of the the Mirumoto are the Kakita, students of the Mirumoto school study duelling alongside kenjutsu. When in the centre stance you gain +2 to duelling tests.

Rank Three - Strong and Swift
As the student progresses in their understanding of Niten they learn to overwhelm their opponent with a flurry of strikes seemingly coming from all directions at once. You roll d8-d6 for your attack when armed with both katana and wakizashi.

Rank Four - Furious Retaliation
The Mirumoto will not rest while an enemy stands before them. Gain a boost with a free invoke against any opponent who has attacked you in the previous round.

Rank Five - Heart of the Dragon
The master of Niten is a whirling tornado of steel. You may strike twice in the same turn when wielding a katana and wakizashi. Your second attack occurs at the end of the turn but you may interrupt the order of initiative to take it at an earlier time.

Tamori Shugenja School

Affinity of the Earth (Shintao)
The Tamori school specialises in earth magics; +2 when casting earth based spells. However, your mastery of the element of air is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

Flesh of the Elements (Shintao)
The Tamori have mastered the technique of containing the essence of magic within the liquid of specially prepared potions. You may cast a spell that has a self or one person/target area of effect and store that effect in a potion. This potion can then be activated later by anyone possessing it. Spells stored in this way last for a number of days equal to your Shintao modified by any shifts gained on your Shintao test.

Kitsuki Investigator School

Rank One - Kitsuki’s Method
The Kitsuki are trained in the unusual methods of investigation. They gain +2 to Awareness when examining a crime scene for evidence.

Rank Two - Wisdom the Wind Brings
It is exceptionally difficult to deceive a trained investigator. Kitsuki school investigators gain +2 to spotting attempts to lie to them, either through Sincerity or outright Deception.

Rank Three - Know the Rhythm of the Heart
Ichi Miru is the art of assessing someone at a glance. An investigator can, after only a short conversation learn key facts about their target. Gain +2 to Awareness when used to uncover someone else’s aspects.

Rank Four - Finding the Path
Investigators are adept at navigating the shifting currents at court, figuring out the complex networks of alliances and enmities. After a few minutes conversation with someone you may make an Awareness test to uncover the identity of either one of their allies or one of their enemies. You may choose choose whether an enemy or ally is revealed, but the GM decides on their identity.

Rank Five - The Eyes Betray the Heart
High rank investigators are almost impossible to lie to. Anyone knowingly attempting to deceive you must overcome an obstacle equal to your Awareness or give themselves away in some small way, even if you did not actively suspect them of lying.

Togashi Order

Rank One - Blood of the Kami
You have been tattooed using ink containing the blood of the Kami Togashi. You may select two tattoos.

Rank Two - Body of Stone
Mind and body acting together are the strength of the Ize Zumi. You roll 1d8-1d6 when engaging in unarmed combat.

Rank Three - Blessing of the Kami
Once again you have received the blessing of your patron Kami in the form of two additional tattoos.

Rank Four - Will of Stone
Mastering the flesh requires mastery of the will. You may make a second unarmed attack each round. This attack occurs at the end of the round.

Rank Five - Touch of the Kami
You are truly blessed by your patron Kami. The order has awarded you two additional tattoos.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Thirst

I'm about to start playing in a 20th Anniversary Vamipre game. 

This got me thinking about some of the house rules that we had for our live action vampire game Recrudescence. 

Then I saw a post in the he fate core community about skills acting as their own obstacles (apologies that I can't remember whose post it was to give them credit) and thought that I could address some of the issues from the game that we had had all those years ago. 

I like VtM although I must admit that I prefer VtR. Anyway our game was based on VtM but diverged significantly from canon in both system and history by the time the game finished. 

We (the guys who ran it) always said that if we did it again we would still do modern day vampire but we would divest it entirely from VtM to freshen up the whole concept. 

Then we all got jobs and moved away and nothing came of it. 

I can't say that I'll run another vampire larp but I feel the need to put down some of the thoughts I have on paper just to get them out of my head so I can move on.

So what are the main ideas? 


The dead have the same skills as they had when they were alive and most likely have kept them reasonably current unless serious ennui has set in and they have slept away the centuries. 

Blood Potency. 

Just like fine racehorses and royalty some bloodlines are more potent than others. This is measured by the non pyramid pseuo-skill Vitae. The higher your Vitae rating the funkier your mojo but it also acts as an obstacle at its rating for certain tasks. Thanks to +Michael Moceri for this suggestion.

The Thirst.

Why do the dead thirst? The power of blood sustains them and gives them life. But more than that, the dead do not feel. The passions of the living are now nothing but pale echoes. In the taking of blood they also take in something of the life of their victim, able to feel again after days of numbness. Human emotion is a powerful drug.

The power of the blood is not only in the vital and emotional link it provides to the world of the living. The vitality it provides can be eked out for days and weeks at a time, a candle flame in the darkness of a dead soul. It can also burn bright as the sun gifting the risen dead with power beyond that of mortals. 

In the game, thirst is measured by a custom stress track. Activating supernatural powers causes stress on this track as do some kinds of attacks. The track is healed by feeding. If you are taken out on this track you become the GM's plaything for the remainder of the scene.


To exist forever is a curse as well as a blessing. To exist without feeling doubly so. If the dead fail to feed or simply find themselves directionless for too long they can drift into a fuge state. Initially they just become withdrawn, but over time this becomes worse until they fall into an endless, deathlike sleep.

Player characters rarely suffer from ennui, however it is common enough amongst the elder dead. Staving off ennui is reason enough for them to create elaborate plots against each other. For the dead, boredom kills.

Sample Stunts

Unholy Prowess (Blood Potency)

This stunt can be activated to grant the dead supernatural speed, strength, endurance or any other physical attribute. Replace one of your fudge dice with a d4 for the relevant test or if using the MHR initiative variant gain a (speed) interrupt. Each activation only affects one attribute and causes stress on the thirst track if the Blood Potency test would otherwise fail.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Crane Clan Stunt Trees

More F5R, this time the stunt trees for the Crane Clan schools. These were much harder to translate than the Crab schools as there was more technical, system stuff to deal with. Particularly the Daidoji who got the most changes.

It's worth noting that I'm going to use a version of the MHR initiative system that was proposed in the G+ community for this game so there are a number of stunts that facilitate interruptions in the order of initiative.

There is also a reference to stances which will be discussed in a separate post.

The master document is here Fate of the Five Rings if you want to read more.

The Crane Clan

Kakita Bushi School

Rank One - The Way of the Crane
The Kakita duelling academy specialises in training samurai in the art of iaijutsu. You may spend a fate point to interrupt the order of initiative and act at any time.

Rank Two - Speed of Lightning
Slow enemies are weak enemies and easy prey for the Kakita, +2 to Fighting against opponents who act after you.

Rank Three - First and Last Strike
The Kakita school produces the most feared duellists in the Empire. Gain +2 to Fighting to your first strike when duelling.

Rank Four - One Strike, Two Cuts
Advanced students of Kakita’s techniques are able to change the direction of their cut mid strike to inflict even more damage to their opponents. You gain two additional shifts of damage on a successful strike with any weapon that has a Bushi aspect.

Rank Five - Strike With No Thought
Masters of Kakita’s teachings do not need to think about the strike, it is now instinctual. While in the centre stance you gain all the advantages of that stance in the current exchange. Additionally, you may take a single action while in the stance and maintain the stance for consecutive actions.

Asahina Shugenja School

Affinity of the Fire (Shintao)
The Asahina school specialises in air magics; +2 when casting air based spells. However, your mastery of the element of fire is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

The Soul’s Grace (Shintao)
The Asahina favour art over war, you may spend a fate point to reduce the number of shifts of damage done by your opponents by one for a number of turns equal to the number of shifts gained on your Shintao test.

Doji Courtier School

Rank One - The Voice of Honour
Courtiers of the Doji school rely on the strength of their honour when dealing with others. As long as you are not suffering from any honour based consequence you gain +2 to Sincerity tests when speaking the truth or dissembling, but not when outright lying.

Rank Two - Speaking in Silence
As as samurai progresses through the ranks of the courtier school they learn the art of cadence, the ability to communicate through body language and subtle gestures.

This is limited to simple ideas or instructions such as “in our favor”, “follow her” or “danger comes” and obviously only over line of sight. Others from the Doji school recognise your cadence. Other Crane may make an Etiquette test at Great (+4) difficulty to understand the message.

More complex conversations may also be carried out by especially skilled practitioners, although this requires a successful Etiquette roll by both parties to understand.

Rank Three - The Perfect Gift
The Doji are known for building relationships and networks through the giving and receiving of valued gifts in return for future favours. When in the city or at court you may use your Etiquette in place of Commerce to obtain suitably rare or fitting gifts. If the gift is accepted then the recipient “Owes you a favour” until it is repaid.

Rank Four - Soul of Honour
High ranking Doji courtiers are capable of pursuing carefully crafted arguments that are synonymous with honour making your opponent's arguments therefore, dishonorable. Gain two additional shifts of damage on a successful Etiquette attack.

Rank Five - The Gift of the Lady
You are now a master at influencing the emotions of others, capable of converting even the bitterest enemies into allies, at least for a time. As long as you can engage in conversation for even a few moments with an enemy or rival then they will act as your ally for the remainder of the scene, as long as you make a successful Sincerity test. They are not under your direct control however and will not actively betray their basic loyalties.

Daidoji Iron Warrior School

Rank One - The Force of Honour
The Daidoji are shield of the Crane, defenders of home, hearth and honour. You roll d8-d6 to defend in combat with any Bushi weapon.

Rank Two - The Shield of Faith
When you may declare that you are guarding someone then your charge gains the aspect “Guarded by …” with a free invoke. This lasts until your next turn.

Rank Three - Strike Beneath the Veil
An attacker reveals something of themselves during their attack. The Iron Warriors learn to exploit this weakness. Gain a boost against the last opponent to attack whoever you are guarding.

Rank Four - Vigilance of  Mind
The Daidoji school teaches its students to be alert to danger at all times. You may spend a fate point to act first even if surprised.

Rank Five - To Tread on the Sword
The Iron Warriors believe in the higher purpose of dedicating themselves to protect their charge. If you have not acted yet you may spend a fate point to interpose yourself between your protectee and their attacker, forcing them to attack you instead.