23 July 2007

Down and Out in the Far Future (preview/playtest run)

I played a test run of my FATE 3.0 old school Traveller adventure tonight. I went perfectly. The system ran very smoothly, although I had set the lethality very low (this will be adjusted for the ConFusion version next week).

The lack of stunts made the characters easier to get a handle on for the players, and we went crazy with compels for some awesome moments in play (including an intra-party gunfight at a very bad moment). In fact, the bulk of the game was spent in combat, but it never got to be boring. The use of compels and aspects kept things fresh all the time - one fight had three separate compels cause three characters to flee, leaving their comrade to the six bad guys left in there.

I was pleased to find that I had written more scene ideas than I required, and that all the enemies from characters' pasts could be fit into the time given.

Overall, my respect for the FATE 3.0 system (and, of course, its authors) has been increased... it really works very well indeed, especially for people too busy (or lazy) to do exhaustive preparation (which definitely includes me).


Munz said...

I play with a group that is stuck on d20 OGL. I've been interested in FATE for a while and am curious to know if your group liked crunchy rules before you tried FATE.

The Gamester At Large said...

No, we're the opposite. We've been playing lots of rules-light games with shared contribution to the narration all round.

We have been enjoying Agon, which is a certain sort of crunchy rule set, but it's not the same sort of thing as d20 (from what little I know of it - the warning here is that I have played exactly one con game using D&D 3+ rules, and a couple of the computer games based on them).

Tactically, FATE allows you to make it all pretty simple and abstract or fairly specific and detailed without changing the rules. Working off Spirit of the Century means that I needed to adapt from the pulpy ruleset a bit for a new setting, and I expect that the FATE 3.0 SRD, when it gets released, will make this a bit easier if you want another setting.

hix said...

I had a blast!

I reckon having a list on each character sheet of what you can do with aspects (tag, invoke for effect, be compelled, ask for a compel) would be sweet.

I also think the Captain needs one more aspect to lock him into the group a little bit. Nothing overt - maybe something likes "Navy flies, Infantry dies" or similar.

And I was amazed at how much better Fate played for me this time (my third).

The Gamester At Large said...

The sheets are intended to have a list of basic rules, but I ran out of time to put them in the test run character sheets.

I might revise Aspects so that every character has an extra one for the group, but I think I might need to add ones that encourage trust rather than more tension... on the other hand, the tension worked pretty well...

Jason Pollock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Pollock said...

I had a tonne of fun.

I thought it helped that it was pretty standard space opera, I'm a bit more familiar with the standard elements than I am with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type stories. :)

It flowed well, the rules were simple.

We were in combat a lot, but they weren't complicated fights, and we spent a lot of time interacting with each other in combat. It wasn't the tactical "I'm going to shoot Y in the leg" style combat. The aspects really allowed that change to happen, bringing the story and characters into everything.

As was commented, the combat did feel a little easy. I noticed that everything was a bit easy and reset after each fight, but I was just expecting to slowly accumulate damage and then get hammered at the end.

The Gamester At Large said...

I definitely agree regarding the tactical choices in combat. There's some maneuvering crunch in Spirit of the Century that I glossed over - basically every time I said 'it will take you until next round to get there' was an abstraction of how it's supposed to work.

I'm not sure exactly how I'll make the combats more brutal in the revised version, but there are a couple of good options:
1. Guns do damage equal to how much you won by, rather than spin (which is how much you won by divided by 3).
2. Military grade guns do 2 boxes.
3. Both 1 & 2

hix said...

Also, the Fate hack that Rob Donohue and buzz discuss here seems good for making combat more lethal ...


hix said...


Oops. Had to split the link in two.

The Gamester At Large said...

Yeah, I will probably use that too - I think it's more intuitive than the version in the book, anyhow.

The Gamester At Large said...

Ack, it turns out all damage should work as my 'hack' #1 suggested. So the game should have been notably more lethal than it was already. Oh well.