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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."