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Using FATE with SW: feasible? Drawbacks?

 
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manifold
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Using FATE with SW: feasible? Drawbacks? Reply with quote

OK, so I've been reading the SRD for Spirit of the Century and it's just the coolest thing ever.

The aspect/fate chip mechanic have me wondering if hindrances in SW aren't underutilized. Compelling and invoking aspects could find a home in SW, I think.

Let's look at Brawny. As an edge, it's pretty straightforward. If a Brawny character wants to slip through a tight spot, he makes an agility roll. Easy peasy.

Now, with an SotC type mechanic, the GM could hold up a bennie and say "This could be yours if your Brawny frame can't quite squeeze through."

This give the player something to think about, and gives him a little more control over the story in exchange for a complication.

Later, the player might be trying to force open a door. If he fails his roll by two or less, he can spend a bennie to make up the difference (rather than re-roll) because he's just so Brawny.

A character might also be able to earn bennies for invoking his or her hindrances his or herself. For instance, the Brawny character might suggest to the GM that he can't squeeze through in order to earn a bennie. (Ron, if you're reading this, is that more or less how SotC works? Does the player win the GM's Fate chips or is there an infinite pool like in SW?)

Another use for bennies: allowing useful items to be present or alllowing charcters to show up in time for events (minor story control.)

SW seems to lean toward a cooperative narrative rather than a Level Design model; giving the players a little more control of the narrative seems like a logical extention of the bennie mechanic. SotC seems to point to a fun way of doing this.

Thoughts?
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Count Zero
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like the idea of rewarding players for playing their hindrances. They've already been rewarded for taking them during character creation. The concept works in SotC because its built in from the ground up.
On the other hand, rewarding them for using their own Edges against them could be fun, but again, in SotC its built in. Why not just play SotC? That said, I'd be interested in hearing how it goes if someone tries it in SW. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Using FATE with SW: feasible? Drawbacks? Reply with quote

manifold wrote:
OK, so I've been reading the SRD for Spirit of the Century and it's just the coolest thing ever.

The aspect/fate chip mechanic have me wondering if hindrances in SW aren't underutilized. Compelling and invoking aspects could find a home in SW, I think.
Sharkbytes has a system for using aspects in Savage Worlds. That may help do what you're looking for.

That issue is here. The article's called "High Quality Characters" and begins on page 10.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Count, the problem with not rewarding their hindrances usually means they conveniently "forget" they have them!
It's a tradeoff, depends on your particular players.


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Clint
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

manifold wrote:
Let's look at Brawny. As an edge, it's pretty straightforward. If a Brawny character wants to slip through a tight spot, he makes an agility roll. Easy peasy.


One thing though, Brawny doesn't require a character to be any larger. As it says in the description, "Your hero is very large or perhaps just very fit."

Count Zero wrote:
I don't like the idea of rewarding players for playing their hindrances.


Well, the system does already kind of work that way. As it says in the introduction of Hindrances, some of them are kind of subjective and more roleplaying hooks that can then help the players earn bennies for good roleplaying. In the GM section, the book uses a specific example of a Loyal character jeopardizing his life to save a comrade.

Thing is, in a way, it's kind of a restriction. When a player takes a roleplaying Hindrance, they are effectively saying when they won't get a benny, which is any time they play opposed to that Hindrance.

For instance, depending on how it is played, a player could earn a benny for either walking away or facing a challenge, but a player with an Overconfident character is unlikely to earn one for walking away while it will be a bit easier to earn one by facing it.
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Storn
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my system that I've given some thought to, but have never play-tested.

Novice characters start with 6 Aspects, as per Spirit of the Century. For each "rank" veteran, hero etc... get 2 more.

I do away with Hinderances, not needed anymore. Just award the points at character creation.

At start of the evening/adventure, get 1 FATE pt (or Benny if you want to call it that) per Aspect.

Each Fate/Benny gets you a +1. You can use as many as you have applicable Aspects to a roll. Any roll. Note: I don't like more dice, as per the Shark Tales article... more dice to roll, more chances of exploding dice... just can get out of the range of the SW probabilities...

+1 may not seem like much... but the right +1 in SW can make a big difference... I have no problem with using "My father's ancient bastard sword" to get a +1 to damage and tip toe past the threshold from Stunned to a Wound or from 1 Wound to 2 Wounds etc.

With this basic concept in place, I expect GMs to give out at least 5 Bennies per episode/evening. fast, furious fun, right?

Significant NPCs could have 5 to 10 aspects, as could groups of mooks. I would only give a group of Mooks 3 Aspects (i.e. 3 Fate/Bennies)... but the right +1 will make the players counter in a bidding war with their own Bennies.

I love Sotc's compelling ability as a GM. I think giving players the freedom to "buy off" the compel is a powerful tool. It lets us all at the table know what the player's priorities are for their character.
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manifold
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Yes, yes. Yes. Reply with quote

Quote:
Thing is, in a way, it's kind of a restriction. When a player takes a roleplaying Hindrance, they are effectively saying when they won't get a benny, which is any time they play opposed to that Hindrance.


Ezzacly. The compel mechanic just gives the GM a way to force that as an issue.

And you're right, Clint, about brawny. You'd need an aspect like "Broad shoulders" or "Barrel chested" or "Corn-fed Nebraska boy" to pull a compel.

Count Zero asked, "why not play SotC?"

1. I don't want to change my current campaign, but I want to add more rping to it. I want the rping to be integral to how the game is played. Compels and invocations do this neatly, and in a way that is rewarded tangibly. Players will work for bennies, and this is the work I want them to do.

2. I don't yet own SotC. I've just read the SRD on line. And been totally floored, obviously.

3. I'm not too sure about the rest of the FATE/FUDGE package. I like aspects, but I also like the way SW handles combat and other challenges. I think fusing the two doesn't mean that I should be playing one or the other.


Thanks for the link to the Sharkbytes issue, btw. I have an article and two illustrations in that issue, but I hadn't read SotC when it came out so I didn't appreciate it so much.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Yes, yes. Yes. Reply with quote

manifold wrote:
Quote:
Thing is, in a way, it's kind of a restriction. When a player takes a roleplaying Hindrance, they are effectively saying when they won't get a benny, which is any time they play opposed to that Hindrance.


Ezzacly. The compel mechanic just gives the GM a way to force that as an issue.


Eh, I guess. I mean, most of that is in SW for me. The GM sets up a situation that plays to a character's Hindrances, and the player decides which way to play it.

The thing I'm uneasy with about compelling by the GM is that in one way it really costs the player double if they choose not to play their Hindrance. They don't just lose the benny (fate point) they could have earned, but they have to pay one to play the character how they want to. So in effect, it cost them two bennies/fate points.

I'm also uncomfortable with the potential to be compelled by the GM but not have a benny/fate point to pay if you don't want to play to that particular hindrance or aspect. I'd rather not have a system where the player could be forced to play their character a certain way because they can't pay for the ability to decide themselves.

I'm just a bit more of a carrot kind of guy, where they aren't losing anything for playing the character a certain way, they just aren't gaining something they could if they did play that way.

I don't mind saying in game, "A Curious person might wonder what's behind that door" while playing with a benny, but I wouldn't force the player to give me a benny just cause they choose not to open the door.

Still, that's just a play style thing, and my own two cents, nothing more.
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Emiricol
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the right group with the right pre-game understanding, this could be an excellent vehicle for improved roleplay. Not my style, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great houserule for your group Smile
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Storn
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Eh, I guess. I mean, most of that is in SW for me. The GM sets up a situation that plays to a character's Hindrances, and the player decides which way to play it.


My problem with Hindrances, as my co-host Judd would say, they are weak-sauce. SW's Hindrances are not as substantial as Hero Game's Disadvantages (the almost 30 year old source for this type of game mechanic), nor are they as integrated as Mutants and Mastermind's...which get you action points much more concretely and specifically than SW's language would lead me to think.

As for Compels... I often do not charge a Bennie/Fate pt if the player doesn't bite. I agree, prefer carrot over stick. But the important part of the Compel is the OFFERING of the Bennie/Fate chip. It still leaves a lot of choice in the Player's hands... do they take the chip now? And be cooler later? Or do they stay on "their" course?

Just last night, Jeff, Judd and I were discussing an "Assassin's game" that we want to play, I run. We talked about using SotC... but rejected it because it has no experience mechanic. So we are going to try SW with SotC Aspects... so a month down the road, I will get a chance to test this out!

Hindrance like Lame doesn't really offer that succulent choice IN GAME... it really is just an umbrella over the character that affects everything... which can be cool for those Players who want it.... but since they've limited themselves, in this case, greatly... I think they should get a chance to be rewarded for it, too!

But I have no problem with someone playing SW straight either, it is a great game system.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Hm. Reply with quote

Clint, I see your point. Being more proactive and offering bennies for particular actions might be more effective and less jarring in our current game.

In SotC, the game is built on the currency of fate points, which are compelled and invoked by both GM's and players. (a player can initiate a compel, by calling to the GM's attention that they are playing thier aspect in a way that complicates things. Essentially, he compells the GM: Let me make trouble for myself and give me a fate chip. Of course, the GM's fate chip supply is unlimited, so he simply has to agree to the compel to give the fate chip. So, compels aren't totally one-sided; the players can initiate them to try and earn fate chips as well.)

The thing that I like about the FATE system is that it give the player and GM a firmer foundation than just "The GM is in charge and hands out bennies as he sees fit." It also give the GM a way to control bennie inflation, meaning that if I want to give out a lot of bennies to reward a certain type of behavior, but I don't want the players to have twenty bennies by the end of the night, I have a mechanism to push that agenda.

That said, I agree that simply waving a bennie around and suggesting that accepting a certain complication might earn it is as good a motivator as any.

I'll start with that, anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storn wrote:
My problem with Hindrances, as my co-host Judd would say, they are weak-sauce. SW's Hindrances are not as substantial as Hero Game's Disadvantage...


Really? Most SW Hindrances strike me as more substantial than the equivalent Hero Disad. Certainly my players seem more reluctant to take them than in Hero.

A -6 to all physical Trait rolls and -2 to social Trait rolls are huge handicaps in SW, much more so than 1/2 OCV 1/2 DCV in HERO. That impression is reinforced by the fact that (at least for a superhero level game), characters are expected to take a whole bunch of them without being crippled: up to 150 points of them for a standard superhero game, with something like being Blind counting as 25 points (compared to 2 Major and 2 Minor in Necessary Evil, with Blind being Major). I think an SW character with 6 Major Hindrances (or the equivalent minor hindrances) would be in pretty sad shape, but it's normal in Hero.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamused wrote:
Storn wrote:
My problem with Hindrances, as my co-host Judd would say, they are weak-sauce. SW's Hindrances are not as substantial as Hero Game's Disadvantage...


Really? Most SW Hindrances strike me as more substantial than the equivalent Hero Disad. Certainly my players seem more reluctant to take them than in Hero.

A -6 to all physical Trait rolls and -2 to social Trait rolls are huge handicaps in SW, much more so than 1/2 OCV 1/2 DCV in HERO. That impression is reinforced by the fact that (at least for a superhero level game), characters are expected to take a whole bunch of them without being crippled: up to 150 points of them for a standard superhero game, with something like being Blind counting as 25 points (compared to 2 Major and 2 Minor in Necessary Evil, with Blind being Major). I think an SW character with 6 Major Hindrances (or the equivalent minor hindrances) would be in pretty sad shape, but it's normal in Hero.


Oooh... you are absolutely right. I didn't explain my case very well at all upon re-read. What I meant is that the width and breadth of HIndrances are weak sauce... there just not that many of them (although there may be more in supplements I do not have)... and they don't have the scalability of Hero... the sometimes, the common and the whole-lot-of-the-time scalability...so as a game mechanic utility... i feel, they are weaker on the whole than Hero. YMMV.

But game impact, yes, a -2 in SW is a big deal...not to mention at -4 or -6.
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