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Blades in the Dark: Undying Revenge

To prepare for running Blades in the Dark at conventions, I wrote up a few scores so that I'd have a few pre-prepared options for trouble the PCs could get into. In case it's useful to anyone else, I'm going to present one of my convention scores here.
Basil and Diera Courtland are respectable-looking con artists who've been running a scam on the wealthy and gullible inhabitants of Doskvol. They claimed they had developed a process for filtering electroplasm through prisms into different hues. Each hue of electroplasm was supposedly useful for a different purpose: green electroplasm would cure illnesses, while violet electroplasm would restore youth, and rose electroplasm induced a state of perfect bliss. They approached likely patrons, used a little chemical trickery to produce convincing effects, and asked for financial backing so they could perfect their process and move into mass production.

Their scam had started to show encouraging results when a spirit well erupt…
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Saving the Universe at Metatopia

Having survived the nine-hour drive to Metatopia, and the nine-hour drive back, I'm prepared to say that it was well worth the trip. I met all sorts of people I had only known from my computer screen, and I played a bunch of cool games and attended some enlightening panels. I also had the opportunity to test Save the Universe in a few short sessions.

The feedback I collected on Save the Universe was thorough and encouraging. It looks like my core mechanic is solid, the role sheets are entertaining, and the overall structure is valid. I think the most surprising thing for me is how much fun players seemed to have discussing their characters and their relationships. I would have loved to see every one of my playtest groups develop their connections and stories. I need to be sure that this aspect of the game remains engaging, no matter what changes I make.
It also became clear that my drama and emotion mechanics are still awkward. Certain rules that sounded good on paper were difficu…

I'm A Monster: Monstrous Conditions

I've been digging further into my old copy of the Nightlife RPG, and I've been thinking about how I would implement Nightlife's Humanity system in Fate.

In Nightlife, your character has a Humanity rating, which ranges from 0 to 100. It goes down when you perform violent or monstrous acts, and it goes up when you perform altruistic acts or try to retain your connection to the mundane human world. A low Humanity makes you more feral and irrational, and can alter your appearance and the effects of your powers.

A straight stress track would be the obvious way to move this to Fate. You could give PCs a ten-box track, and either mark or erase boxes depending on their actions. You could tie the amplitude of some stunts to the state of the PC's stress track, and you could invoke or compel it as an aspect at the extreme levels.

A more interesting solution might be to give PCs a special set of conditions to represent their declining Humanity. Like these:
Nervous (-1)Gloomy (-1)Sh…

I'm A Monster: Vulnerability Aspects

Hey, who else has a copy of Nightlife?

This is a little urban fantasy "you are the monster" RPG published by Stellar Games in 1990. It preceded Vampire: The Masquerade by a year, and whereas Vampire seemed focused on gothic angst, Nightlife has more of a hard-rocking punk vibe. I couldn't recommend Nightlife today--the writing is dodgy in spots, the cover is pandering to a straight male audience, and the Inuit monster type would require careful handling to keep it from becoming culturally toxic. But in honor of the season, I thought I'd try lifting a few of the urban horror elements out of Nightlife and converting them for use in a Fate campaign.

Nightlife presents a short catalog of monster types players can choose for their characters. All of these monsters share a framework of mechanisms for how they obtain their necessary life sustenance, how they convert humans into their own kind, and how they react to supernatural hazards.

In Fate, I'd write a rule that sa…

Test the Universe

In about a month, I'll be at Metatopia testing Save the Universe, my "create your own space opera" RPG. I've played exactly one session of this game so far, but it was a promising first session, and I'm sure I'll get more feedback at Metatopia.
Save the Universe was going to be a typical moves-and-playbooks Powered by the Apocalypse game, but it's drifted a bit. I think the foundation is still solid, but it's unclear to me how it will hang together over an extended campaign. Finding people to participate in a one-shot is easy; pulling together a group of strangers for a regular multi-session game is going to be harder. That's a challenge I'll take on after November.

I have no clear idea when this will be ready for publication, though I'd like to have it done sometime next year. It's just a simple little game, and even in its final form it might not be more than 15K words. I'll post more updates as I make progress.

So the Story Goes

Save the world through storytelling!

Generations ago, civil war shattered your homeland. Spears, fire, and blood destroyed any memories of prosperity and enlightenment. Although the land has healed, its people still struggle to understand themselves and the world they’ve inherited. As traveling storytellers, you and your companions walk the old roads, trying to recover the lost wisdom of your ancestors and reunite your society with your stories and songs.

So the Story Goes, a new world of adventure for Fate Core, is available now!

Hard Crime & Sweet Whispers

Since all the cool kids are hacking John Harper's Lasers & Feelings, here's my completely un-playtested attempt:
Download the PDF