Monday, November 9, 2015

SGAM 2015 – Freeformpalooza: Fate (part 5)


There’s a few things to plan. I came up with a big bad. Having done so quickly, I should make a more careful review. Also now that the phaerimm have appeared, I’d like to stat out a few of those in varying levels of challenge.

In Rysdan’s current plight, it seems that a new scenario presents itself here — that of escaping the dread lord’s dungeon. That means that session two really marked the end of scenario one, albeit a failed endeavor. That’s a significant milestone, so I’ll use the opportunity to raise our hero’s intelligence by one point. He’s got no consequences, so nothing to do there.

Now, I really should give Klothain some more specific stunts. Here’s what I might give him, more in line with the Fate Freeport Companion.

Accomplished Spellcaster (x5). pick 15 spells provided you have the requisites to cast them.

Arch-wizard. You have mastered all forms of wizardly magic. You may choose from the Abjuration, Curses, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation schools. This stunt doesn’t automatically grant knowledge of any spells.

Master of Repulsion. You know every spell of the Abjuration school. The cost for this stunt equals the cost one would normally spend on accomplished spellcaster minus one (one stunt). You must meet the requirements to be able to cast spells from this school.

Master of Vision. You know every spell of the Divination school. The cost for this stunt equals the cost one would normally spend on accomplished spellcaster minus one (two stunts). You must meet the requirements to be able to cast spells from this school.
Spells: animate dead, burning hands, charm, compulsion, curse of withering, death’s chill, disguise, evil eye, fireball, ghoul’s touch, ill fortune, magic missile, mind blast, mind shield, and provoke emotion.

That’s 9 stunts worth of potency. That’s a lot. There’s no way Rysdan can confront him directly…which is how scary a big bad should be.

Now for the phaerimm. Here’s a baseline for a fully-developed adult critter.

They get the following aspects: telepathic magical flying thorn grub, mad gibbering supra-intelligence, devious individualists in concert

Superb (+5): Intelligence

Great (+4): Constitution

Good (+3): Wisdom

Fair (+2): Strength

Average (+1): Dexterity

Mediocre (+0): Charisma

Magical Feeder (requires Magic Resistant). If a phaerimm succeeds with style on a defend action against any magic, they can remove a mild consequence or reduce a moderate consequence to a mild one.

Magic Resistant. Phaerimm get +2 to defend or oppose any spell.

No Magic Is Too Great. The phaerimm do not learn magic like mortals. Pick three spells from any school. They may know these without adhering to its prerequisites.

Innate Magic-User (Int). The phaerimm are innate spellcasters, using intelligence instead of charisma for their magical abilities.

Poisonous Stinger. If a phaerimm succeeds in a physical attack, the GM may opt to reduce the damage by one shift and place the poisoned aspect on the victim with a free invocation.

Attack (+2): bite or stinger

Defend (+4): thorny hide

Physical Stress: 3 boxes

Mental Stress: 3 boxes
Consequences: 1 moderate, plus 1 mental mild and 1 physical mild

Younger/immature larvae may be met as well. These have flying magical larva, feed me!, and can have either the magic resistant or poisonous stinger stunt, and skills arranged thusly:

Average (+1): Dexterity, Intelligence

Mediocre (+0): Constitution, Strength, Wisdom

Poor (-1): Charisma

Attack (+0): bite
Defend (+1): dodge
Stress: 2 boxes

The session will make use of Chris Stieha’s wonderful map detailing Rysdan’s detention. I will have a mini-game creation session, because our hero is now “off the grid”, and we need to know the environment’s issues, places & faces. I’ll also refine those story questions to focus this particular scenario, dealing with not only getting free, but finding out about our enemy and perhaps helping some other sympathetic prisoners.

I’ll roll a few cubes to get some random input: Floating Hive City; Medical Needle; Paleontology Tools

From this, I gather that this is not so much an underground area, but rather some pocket dimension in the form of floating islands bound together by lines in a formless aether. Something is causing the phaerimm to rely on a narcotic or chemical to survive (maybe it is magic depleted here?). Lastly, the prisoners of Klothain are put into work camps to mine one of these rocks for the necessary chemicals. That’s good stuff…

Next I get: Medical Drop, Laughing, and Scify Sliding Doors

The medical thing is that there’s a priest here. Somehow, they keep him suspended in a cage within the aether. Perhaps his/her priestly magic somehow bypasses the magic depleted area, but it is not energy that can be used to feed the phaerimm. This person is feared — and therefore, useful. Next, there’s a crazy person from which Rysdan can get info (another crazy one!). Finally, somewhere there is a portal between worlds.

More organized:

Realm of the Dread Lord

Floating in a Sea of Nothingness.

Rocks Moored Together.

There’s Nowhere To go!

Mining for Magnetite.

Magic Depleted Vortex.

The Phaerimm

Seeking a Source of Sustenance.

Bound To This Plane — For Now.

The Prisoners

Also refined from some Story Cubes. Our personages of interest:

Mack Grentz — Mad Gnome Miner; I Know This Place!
Mirina Prodwell — Mistress of the Morn; Isolated in Nothingness
The Broken Wizard — Master Planewalker; Kept Senseless on Void Lotus

Story Questions Revisited

1. That sounds like our new scenario-level questions are:
2. Can Rysdan avoid spilling any more secrets?
3. Can Rysdan find away to keep from appearing suspicious as he finds a way out?
4. Can he learn more about the enemy’s plan?
5. Can he find a way out?

Some exciting stuff to be worked out here! Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2015

SGAM 2015 – Freeformpalooza: Fate (part 4)

Session 2, continued

Heading Home with Head Hung Low

Note: I’m not happy with two aspects wasted on antipathy towards humans, so I’m revising his Trouble to solemn oath instead of hatred grown 100 years.

Compel. Random draw produces a mighty enemy broods.
Cubes Rolled. bridge over a brook, cutting paper, and sorcery!

Rysdan returned to his homeland days later after an arduous journey, entering the wooded hills of Evereska. The normally pristine primordial forest was filled with an uncommon apprehensiveness. The first thing out of place was Daffodil Bridge…the first such bridge crossing into the elven fastness.

It stood clearly before him.

Normally, the protective mythal created a fine perpetual mist around the landmarks of the elf nation, helping to veil them from unfriendly eyes.

He was soon approached by one of the Vale Guard, who was distraught that a evil thing had come to pass. He was rushed to the Sorcerer’s Grove, where a moot of the wizard enclave was taking place. He arrived as the discussion turned toward the unraveling of the mythal.

It was believed that the Phaerimm had found a way to eat at the living magic surrounding the kingdom. Once the magic was broken, it would lay open the elven vale to any hostile force. As Rysdan listened, he interrupted, laying out the story of his recent failure. After telling of Mourn and the theft of the crown, he asked the elders if that’s why the enemy was able find a vulnerability.

The consensus was affirmative. “It will only get worse,” forewarned Rosór Rendwater, the eldest of the council.

Note: trying to tie the story with some of the faces & places I’ve already outlined, I’m taking the liberty to throw some of those in.

Rysdan asked if this Mourn Braegan could be tracked. The wizards conferred together and decided to risk a ritual of divination to locate the renegade.

In the evening, they returned. “We know he is somewhere in the vicinity of Neverwinter,” reported Rosór. “Where precisely, we could not see.”

They warned Rysdan that it was important to find the crown quickly. The sands were quickly running out of the hourglass. Rysdan asked to be teleported to the human city. Rosór replied that it was too dangerous to do so while within Evereska, due to the unraveling of the mythal, which had the potential to disrupt the already risky spell. Instead, they instructed Rysdan to leave the realm, and take a magical scroll which he could use once he has left the boundaries of the mythal. It would provide him a one way trip to Neverwinter.

Rysdan accepted the gift and sword that he would bring the crown. As he left, he couldn’t help but feel the apprehension. The people were wary of attack. They could lend no aid to him. The tomb guardian was on his own.

Note: This scene was built purely from an event compel. A few new elements were introduced which will be updated on the list at the end of the session.

At the Fringes of the Realm

Note: Decided to flip another coin to see if something would interfere with Rysdan’s spell casting, even though I promised only to do so once per session. It was heads, so, I went with it.

Compel. I got Neverwinter’s Evereska’s closest ally — but too far to lend real aid. The distance thing stood out. Clearly, Rysdan had interference, and appears somewhere else.

Cubes Rolled. gears, puzzle piece, and blindly feeling a face.

Once in the twilight of the vastness beyond the elven hills, Rysdan performed the ritual. The magic spent on the scroll, he was enveloped by a swirling vortex of pure energy. He disappeared, and then found himself whole again…

He expected to hear the carriage wheels on the cobbles of Neverwinter, and he looked forward to seeing Juliet again. He did not hear any familiar sounds of the city. Instead, he heard cavernous echoes, and he was in an impenetrable darkness.

The sounds were of a gibbering insanity. Suddenly, he was frozen by an unbreakable vice grip. His blade slid free from his scabbard, leaving him without his main weapon. He was hoisted up off his feet and carried through the air.

He knew not how long he traveled this way. His screams were unheeded, and his struggles futile. When he regained his senses, he found himself in some subterranean nightmare. There was a strange fortress in a large cavern. Illuminated by magical fire, he saw the horrific forms of the writhing, serpent like Phaerimm — the completely alien race of magical floating slugs. At the top of their cone was a fanged mouth with surrounding arms. At the tail of the tapering monstrosity was a poisonous barb.

The Phaerimm were some of Faerun’s most powerful and feared creatures.

Two carried him via some incredible telekinetic magic to the fortress. There, he beheld a fell king with a mane of white hair and a crown of cold iron. The terrible king regarded him with dead blue eyes. Rysdan could not free himself, and he felt the strain on his sanity.

[ In the Fate Freeport Companion, this is a major sanity trigger — Rysdan gets a success on his overcome roll ]

The cold king introduced himself, calling himself Klothain the Black, lord of the Phaerimm. “Welcome to my refuge, Rysdan Nythil. How nice of you to pay me a visit before the fall of your people’s realm.”

Klothain asked Rysdan to join him — to be a worthy soldier like Mourn Braegan had become. Then the fell lord began to press Rysdan with questions about the many factions and strengths of Evereska. Rysdan refused, which angered the evil tyrant.

The dread lord rose up from his throne and began a ritual. Rysdan felt the workings of magic loosening his mind and tongue.

[ Klothain casts compulsion successfully, getting one answer ]

The elf resisted as long as he could. Some secrets came out after long hours of torment, but he could not remember which ones. In the end, he was a collapsed heap on the floor.

“Remove him,” said the lord. “Place him in the dungeons. He will answer more questions tomorrow.” [ Compel ]

End, Session 2

Ending this with 5 Fate Points.

This is another minor milestone. I’ll tweak his unforgiving of man’s ruthlessness to one kind act despite his antipathy for men to reflect the when he helped the mad drifter in the first scene of session 2.

For the game world, there’s a few changes. The unraveling of the mythal is a change from the last mythal as an issue for Evereska, as well as wary of attack. We have a new sympathizer, Rosór Rendwater, and a main baddy — Klothain, King of the Phaerimm.

Story Questions Revisited

1. Will Rysdan find the thief Mourn in time to help his kingdom? (Campaign Level)
2. Will Rysdan reconcile his own hatred of man and that of Juliet’s father? (Campaign Level)
3. Can he have any real future with Juliet? (Campaign Level)
4. Will Rysdan catch up to Mourn Braegan? (Scenario Level)
5. Will he win a confrontation with the traitor and wrest the crown from him? (Scenario Level)
6. Will Rysdan escape the clutches of Klothain to resume his quest? (Scenario Level)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SGAM 2015 – 1 page DIY Tool Challenge: Saga Creator

Introducing the Saga Creator, using Rory’s Story Cubes!

I can't take full credit for this one...most of this is included in the “Krongor and the Saga Creator” from the new Barbarians of Lemuria — Mythic Edition. It is here adapted to roll some cubes instead of roll on charts.

Use it to come up with scenario setups in solo games, or even to prep your evening in a traditional rpg with friends.

Sample saga creation:

SGAM 2015 – Freeformpalooza: Fate (part 3)

Session 2

Note: After some more consideration, I’ve decided that the Gray Reavers sounds like an interesting faction to get thrown into the mix. I’ve added this as an addendum to the last minor milestone, giving the issue, out to right past wrongs, reflecting the potential for retaliation as a result of Rysdan’s last conflict.

I’ll also be flipping a coin to find out if a random compel takes place and have generated a stack of cards with all aspects on them. If a relevant compel is unwanted, I will demand the payment of a Fate Point to make it go away. There can be a maximum of one of these random-type compels per session.

As per the usual rules, as a player, I can always choose to compel things…I may taper off the use of Rory’s Story Cubes to focus the manifestation of said compel. It seems necessary only if some complication doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Aspects already pack a lot of meaning, and trying to strong arm too much into a compel might be forcing things. I may roll a cube or two if I’m at a loss.

The Big Wide Open

Compel. The Lost Crown of Laenaya Nathoniel.

Cubes Rolled. wheelchair, hobo pack

The Big Wide Open.

After fetching his steed, Rysdan happily quit the all-too untidy human settlement of Scornubel. Rysdan, however, felt the dusty community smelling of livestock an apt reflection of the human race, and his brief dealings with them there only served to heighten his antagonism for mankind.

He hastened westward, flying like a bird of prey. He could see a distant speck on the road beyond, and kept following the signs. However, he was relentless, and his beast was spent, forcing him to rest. He resumed as soon as he dared.

Travelers were few and far between. When he did happen upon a small caravan or the odd family on pilgrimage, he inquired. The first of such groups confirmed seeing a scarred elf in a terrible haste, but the others he met later had not.

Vexed, he could do little but make a brief camp and water his horse. Elves required but little actual sleep. When they used beasts, however, they were subject to the needs and limitations of their companions.

Near a brook, Rysdan wandered a ways to scout the terrain for clues. The vastness of the western heartlands was daunting and discouraging. The odds of him finding anything were as good as finding a needle in a haystack.

The next morning dawned, and Rysdan wandered aimlessly, for some reason following the same brook. He heard noises and cautiously approached by foot. They were the mumblings of a aging drifter, with one lame leg who wandered a hillside picking dandelions which he proceeded to eat while arguing with himself.

Rysdan looked upon the man without remorse and pressed the man, who seemed at the edge of leaving his senses behind. The man was startled when he revealed himself, but answered the elf’s questions easily enough. The fact of the matter was that the man had seen the scarred elf a day before heading north into some hills.
“Seen him!” the old man said. “Know where he is!”

Rysdan promised to give the man a gold if he might lead him the direction to which he referred. The man accepted gleefully and wandered north. The way was slow what with the man’s constant mumblings, poor train of thought, and ambling gait. It tested Rysdan’s patience, but the elf would not deign to give his saddle to the poor man.

By nightfall, the pair crested some hills into a grassy depression dotted with strange lichen covered stones. The man led the elf between two leaning columns that nearly touched one another in an arch.

“Here!” said the man at last.

“Here, where?” Rysdan asked irritably. “Where, exactly?”

The man pointed to the ground between the stones. “Poof!” was all he could repeat as he flicked his fingers as an illustration of the word.

Rysdan nearly throttled the man, but realized in sudden dismay that these were ancient standing stones imbued with the power of teleportation. It was an inter-dimensional gate…one that Mourn knew how to use. Rysdan’s quarry was gods knew where.

Gates were capricious. Some were enchanted to activate from a simple password, while some were set to the celestial mechanics of the heavens. Some were one-directional, or set to a single destination. If one did not know the key or command spell, there was no hope of knowing how one worked or to where it led.

To make matters worse…

Compel. [ I’m choosing to do this one to make matters interesting: A Dangerous Frontier Full of Fell Beasts and Worse ]
Cubes. astronaut planting a flag, nest of dino eggs, “look over there”

Rysdan’s horse nickered nervously. A strange cracking sound caught the elf’s sensitive ears. He silenced the old man’s rambling. He followed the sound to the summit of the hill where, after a quick investigation, revealed an enormous nest. Inside were eggs as big as a pumpkin if not more. A shadow passed overhead, blocking out the first stars of the azure sky.

Mother Roc
Black Bird of Prey; Massive; Slow Flier; Territorial

Fantastic (+6) Constitution; Great (+3) Strength; Mediocre (+0) Dexterity, Charisma, Intelligence, Wisdom

Eyes of the Eagle (Wisdom). With eagle like eyes, the Roc gets +2 to overcome when spotting prey on the ground while in aerial flight.

Snatch (Strength). The roc can snatch creatures up to horse-sized. They gain +2 to create advantage actions to place the snatched aspect on their prey when airborne.

Physical: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]

Mental: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
Mild Physical:

Mild Physical:

The startling realization turned to terror. Rysdan turned and screamed, “Run!”

Contest: run this as a race.
* The roc gets airborne with 1 free invoke.
* The man has lame which provides a passive opposition threshold of 2 that must be overcome by Rysdan as long as he remains together with the old man.
* Strength governs this foot versus air race to evade the bird’s territory.

Exchange 1

[ 0 vs 4 — two victories for the roc ]

Rysdan pushed the man after his now fleeing (and sensible) horse. The man objected, hopping along like a mad hare with a limp. “What in the hells?!”

The dark shape of a monstrous bird wheeled around in the air and dove, gaining considerably on pair.

Exchange 2

[ Rysdan creates scared w/2 free invokes by casting a thunderclap; 0 vs 6 — both invokes used to even it up plus a 1 FP to invoke slow flier — a tie! Fencing! (The man gets adversarial — this ups the required success threshold to 4) ]

The elf risked a stop, turning to face the diving terror. A few gestures and a word of power, and he released a portion of his mighty lightning magic — it was impotent in actual devastation, but produced the loud roll of thunder for which he had hoped. The mighty bird was relentless, not at all perturbed by the sound.

“Sorcery!” cried the man. Rysdan caught up with him as they bounded down the hillside. He caught the man by the arm and began to pull him along.

“Let me go, dog!” the man screamed. He nearly pulled free and turned in the wrong direction.

Exchange 3

[ Rysdan slaps the rump of his horse to create a confused aspect with 2 free invokes; -3 (re-roll of 4 with 1 invoke) vs 2 — increase to 6 vs 2 with remaining invoke; 2 victory points for Rysdan ]

His white steed was not far ahead. Rysdan and the flailing invalid came up behind. The elf swatted the horse’s rump, sending him veering in a tangential direction. It was enough for the giant bird, that whistled dangerously close overhead to veer up in a corkscrew to regain altitude as it considered which target to focus.

Exchange 4

[ Rysdan puts on a burst of speed with 1 free invoke made with opposed roll due to man’s adversarial attitude; 0 vs. 2 — Rysdan uses free invoke and ties; Storm Cloud! ]

Rysdan didn’t wait to figure out what the massive blackbird would do next. He yanked the old man along, putting on a burst of speed that had the man stumbling to keep from toppling.

Just then, real lightning flickered from an approach storm in the distance. The elf felt a few raindrops stinging his left cheek as a powerful gust of wind nearly blew him over sideways. A sudden idea took form…

Exchange 5

[ Rysdan turns into the wind suddenly getting 2 free invokes on the gust of wind; 1 vs 6 — Rysdan boosts score to 5 with gust and spends a FP to finally evade with third victory point ]

Rysdan sharply veered into the wind and kept on as fast as his legs could pump, all the while dragging the cursing man along with him. In the skies above, the wind was no doubt even stronger. The giant roc tried to veer after the elf, but had trouble maintaining altitude against the erratic and swirling gusts.

Finally, the bird circled away as Rysdan made the base of the hill and beyond its immediate roost.

When it was safe, Rysdan let go of the man and fell in a heap gasping for breath. The madman continued a tirade fit to make a courtesan blush and wandered off at random in a limp.

“You’re welcome,” said Rysdan exhaled, silently admonishing himself for putting his beloved steed at risk to save a mentally unhinged human.

Note: much of the gains made here in the form of Fate Points were spent on getting out of trouble. Heh. He’s got two left. It was fun, though. Session two continues. Just posting this scene as a single post because it was longer, quite eventful, and made use of the contest mechanics.

Up next, part four...

Monday, November 2, 2015

SGAM 2015 – Freeformpalooza: Fate (part 2)

The Emerald Crown, part 2

Session 1: Scornubel

Bold and italicized phrases are aspects.

A Stranger in Scornubel

A slender cloaked figure entered the caravan city riding a magnificent white stallion. He quietly inquired as to the whereabouts of The Stilted Fop, a popular watering hole for less-savory elements.

Information was what the stranger needed. However, he was an elf in the domain of man, and the crowd quickly discovered the stranger’s secret.

“What have we got here?” said the leader of an group of low-lives. [Ave nameless w/+1 in Str]

The elven interloper was surrounded, and the men were itching for violence.

“Human scum!” Rysdan Nythil uttered under his breath. [Decision-based compel based on his Trouble]

Unfortunately, the men heard that. Soon, they were joined by several others.

Conflict, exchange 1
[ Thugs fail to grasp because Rysdan spends to invoke “hatred” / Rysdan takes a fighting stance with [ 1 ] free invoke ]

One went for Rysdan’s wrist, but a hatred-fueled burst of speed spun the elf out of reach. In the next breath, the vengeful elf had tossed back his cloak revealing himself in deadly light with his keen elvish blade drawn.

Exchange 2
[ R: mental attack; 1 shift / thugs fail their attack ]

“The next man who dares lay hands on me shall find himself handless,” he growled. That was all it took for the men to utter a growl of contempt and launch against him. Rysdan twirled out of reach, batting away the closest ones.

Exchange 3
[ R: attack tie produces boost: on their heels / Thugs do 1 shift ]

The elf laid into them with lightning fast arcs, keeping a sphere of potential whirling death about him. Still, some fists and chair legs found vulnerable points.

Exchange 4
[ Rysdan fails attack / Thugs do 2 shifts ]

He was getting worn down and had to change tactics.

Exchange 4
[ Rysdan overcomes a 2 vs. active opposition to go 2 zones / Thugs overcome ]

Rysdan leapt from a tabletop to a narrow terraced landing overlooking the taproom. The astonished vermin cried out and took to the stairs (the longer way), but now could only face the elf one at a time.

Exchange 5
[ Rysdan makes a Grab of the first w/ [ 1 ] free invoke / Thug fails to overcome ]

Rysdan leapt forward to meet the mass. He ducked under a reckless throw of a fist, coming up under his assailant’s guard to grab him by the throat. The unsavory harmlessly swatted at the elf’s left arm, but didn’t break the hold.

Exchange 6
[ Rysdan throws the victim to attack! 1 shift + 2 + 2 for invoking available stuff plus point expenses = 5 / Taken Out ]

The elf sent the leader flying. Down tumbled the entire bunch in a heap on the lower landing.

The elf stepped nonchalantly over the groaning group and sheathed his sword. He approached the bar and ordered a drink.

“I’m looking for a man who sold an elvish artifact,” he said in a low hiss when he had finished. “Point me where I can find someone in the business of exotic jewels.”

He left with the name, Jandar Iltazyara, a jewel merchant with a penchant for expensive ladies on the caravan side of the river.

The elven Tomb Guardian left.

Notes: ended this scene with only one Fate Point. Mental note to self — make mooks easier when their job is to make the hero look awesome.

Myra’s House of Pleasures

Domain of Man.

Darkened Den of Depravity.

Only Building in a Sea of Tents.

Rysdan entered the brothel. He immediately saw a quick-eyed matriarch finalizing a deal with a dried up old sot. When finished, the elf approached.

The woman — the proprietor of the brothel — immediately tried to coerce Rysdan to one of her girls. The elf dismissed her offers and charms, trying to drive the point to the whereabouts of Jandar.

Myra wasn’t about to divulge anything about one of her valued clients — at least not without a good price. She began her negotiations.

Myra, Matron of the House
Experienced Entrepreneur, You Can’t Fool Me

+2 Cha; +1 Int, Wsd
Womanly Charms (Charisma). You are a master of seduction. Gain +2 to create advantages when trying to conduct a deal with the opposite sex.
Stress: [ 1 ]

Compel. Of course Rysdan got all snarky, openly again revealing his hatred grown 100 years, as was his derision of man. Myra had him thrown out. Two toughs appeared out of a side room to chase the elf out. Rysdan thought better about making another scene after the debacle at the Stilted Fop. Myra promised to have the elf killed if ever he were to step in or near the brothel.

As he leaves, the city watch was witness to the scene. To the elf’s dismay, the city watch had their eyes peeled.

An Unexpected Meeting

[ Compel. Wanting to make use of magic and steel combined, I rolled some story cubes to get a complication here and fuel Rysdan’s points (he’s still depleted from scene 1). It’s time to make things more complicated… To attach a meaning, I rolled 3 cubes according to John Fiore’s method (using one action cube), getting a satellite, a crescent moon, and a man building a brick wall. ]

Quiet Back Street of Scornubel
Wall of Men with 1 free invoke.

Rysdan watched as the toughs departed. He wished to rip them apart, but knew that this would serve nothing. He stalked away, wondering what course of action to take next. That’s when he found himself walled in by dangerous-looking men. Rysdan stopped and cast one corner of his cloak away to free his sword hilt.

“Rysdan Nythil,” came a voice.

Behind the line of men was a thin moon elf with a scar across his left eye. The elf orbited behind the protective line. It was Mourn Braegen, a fellow tomb guardian thought dead in a skirmish defending the eastern reaches some years ago.

“So,” continued the elf, “that was you I saw in the tavern not long ago.”

Rysdan questioned what his counterpart was doing there. However, a jade-colored bit of jewelry protruding from the scarred elf’s belt told him almost everything. It was clear that Mourn was not working for the interests of Evereska.

“Take this elf somewhere,” the elf sneered. “See that he does not breathe again.”

“Can we count on a the usual bonus?” asked a particularly large and grizzled man.

“Twice that, master Kilnsworth,” answered Mourn. “This one may give you a bit of trouble.”

“None we cannot handle, master Braegen,” the man boasted.

“Touch me, and you’ll not be the first this day to suffer the consequences,” Rysdan promised.

He was sorely outnumbered. However, he wouldn’t give up without a fight. The fate of Evereska was not now far from him.

Two groups of mooks (treated as in FAE):

Hardened Mercenaries
Hardened Mercenaries; If the Price Is Right

Good at (+2): Tactics, Fighting, Cheating
Bad at (-2): Working Alone
Stress: two groups of four (two stress boxes each)

Ballard Kilnsworth
Rugged Leader of the Gray Reavers; Dead Inside; “Ain’t Nothin' I Ain’t Seen"

+2 Strength, Constitution; +1 Intelligence, Wisdom

At My Command. You have experience and the loyalty of proven men. Gain +2 to create advantages when issuing orders that result in tactical advantages on the field, provided there is time to prepare.
Physical: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]

Mental: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]


Mourn mounted a gelding and rode off. The man he called Kilnsworth bade Rysdan to lay down his arms. “Don’t do this!” pleaded Rysdan in a low voice taut with wariness. The big man ordered his men to advance.

Exchange 1
[ Rysdan spends a point and action, activating arcane shield and lightning shield / mercs Rush en masse, Rysdan succeeds w/style, gaining boost ]

Rysdan drew his blade with a salute and spoke a few arcane words. Magical energy crackled about him. The mercenaries suddenly rushed to cut the elf swordsman’s spell casting short. Rysdan was already in the rhythmic trance of bladesong, his sword whistling as it glided to take on the forceful and hasty blows of the surrounding attackers. They were awed by grace embodied.

Exchange 2
[ Rysdan casts chain lightning, spending a point, getting 7 shifts, and 3 shifts, and 6 shifts on each, respectively (the last reduced by one to get a boost), taking out all groups of men. Ballard spends a Fate Point to invoke “Ain’t Nothin' I Ain’t Seen” to reduce to 3 shifts / Ballard overcomes to shake off boost ]

The leader shouted another command and the fighters began to press. Still, there was no opening in Rysdan’s defenses. He went through another spell rote, musically at one with his melodious voice in combination with his seemingly slow, graceful movements. Then, bright electricity erupted from the elf’s fingertips, felling every man around him.

The mercenary leader was struck hard too, but had prepared for the worst, putting a knee on the ground to help funnel the expected energy down. His gamble worked, though he was knocked breathless.

Rysdan continued his defensive posture as, inconceivably, the large man shook off most of the powerful spell’s effects.

Exchange 2
[ Rysdan tries to get the fear of doubt into Ballard, but ties for a boost / Ballard tries to disarm Rysdan, but the elf increases the two shifts needed to oppose with the aforementioned boost ]

“You should have listened to your boss,” boasted the elf arrogantly as he swung his blade about. “You cannot defeat me!”

The man wrinkled his face, momentarily perturbed. He launched violently forward with his own sword, using his size and brute strength to overwhelm and knock the blade from his weaker opponent’s hands. The ploy nearly worked if not for the clumsier man’s slight misstep.

Exchange 3
[ Rysdan attacks, misses / Ballard tries body blow, misses ]

The two danced and twirled about one another.

Exchange 4
[ Rysdan casts magic missile, getting 9 shifts! — Ballard taken out ]

Rysdan continued his graceful parries as he spoke a word of magical command. Brilliant darts of pure energy shot forth into his opponent’s chest, dropping the giant with the sound and smell of charred flesh.

Rysdan had quickly dispatched his foes. He looked after the still dusty cloud stirred up from Mourn’s retreat. He had his quarry. He only needed to fetch his steed and give chase. His heart leapt at the thought he might soon return with the sacred elvish relic.

Note: That last scene’s compel was not as complicated as I might like, but I just went with it to move things along. Probably should have made the opposition tougher here. It was also my first time trying out Fate Freeport Companion’s magic system. It’s costly in terms of Fate Points, but quite potent!

End, Session 1

This signals a minor milestone. Rysdan now swaps his Charisma and Dexterity scores, since he’s trying to do more swinging than spell casting.

For the game world, we erase the Tomb Robber, since that seems irrelevant now. Added is:

Mourn Braegan. Traitor in Possession of the Crown. Former Tomb Guardian thought dead.

Story Questions Revisited

Will Rysdan find the thief in time to help his kingdom? (Campaign Level)
Will Rysdan reconcile his own hatred of man and that of Juliet’s father? (Campaign Level)
Can he have any real future with Juliet? (Campaign Level)
Will Rysdan catch up to Mourn Braegan? (Scenario Level)
Will he win a confrontation with the traitor and wrest the crown from him? (Scenario Level)

Next up, part three...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

SGAM 2015 – 1 page DIY Tool Challenge: Alien Culture Creator

For my second SGAM contribution, I am posting something under the 1-page DIY solo tool design area. This is a fun little one-page alien/fantasy culture creator using Rory’s Story Cubes. It's simple and speaks for itself. Admittedly, I cooked this one up before the actual start of SGAM. I still may do another one or two similar ones.

Here it is: Alien_Culture_CreatorAlien_Culture_Creator.pdf

SGAM 2015 – Freeformpalooza: Fate (part 1)

For my first project to run for the Solo Gaming Appreciaction Month in the freeformpalooza category, I have decided to run a game of Fate. As with many of my endeavors, I may not actually finish – this is not a one-shot idea, so may fizzle before completion. I've grown to be fine with long as it's interesting for me, I'll stick with it.

I'm going to reuse a few comfortable ideas that will help keep me motivated. First, this will be set in the Forgotten Realms, a setting that brings me nostalgic pleasure, and that I know. Second, I'll be basing this on an oft-used character concept (for me) – that of a bladesinger. I've decided to use the Fate Freeport Companion since it's a great way to have rather D&D-ish idioms right out of the box.

For setup, I randomly generated a title using Rory’s Story Cubes: “The Emerald Crown”. The next is setup using Fate Core’s rules for game and character creation:

Rysdan Nythil

High Concept: Vengeful Everskan Tomb Guardian
Trouble: Hatred Grown One Hundred Years

Phase One: Studying under his father, general-at-arms of the Tomb Guard, Rysdan was called to defend the realm from evil human raiders. Fate struck, and booby traps remained from the looters, killing many of Rysdan’s friends and brothers in arms. The mourning was great, and Rysdan was quickly cleared of wrongdoing.

Aspect: Unforgiving of the Ruthlessness of Men

Phase Two: Completing his training, Rysdan joined the Tomb Guard like his father. The elves were marshaled against an incursion seeking to plunder and burn. Using magic and steel, Rysdan helped win the day as he took out the leader of the enemy’s giant battalion, earning him great recognition and respect.

Aspect: Magic and Steel Conjoined

Phase Three: After many years of peace, Everska’s insulation from mankind grew, and with it, so did Rysdan’s malice and hatred. That is when the council of Everskan elders were summoned to a meeting of state heads in Neverwinter, and Rysdan asked to accompany the group of dignitaries. It was then that — despite every fiber of his being — Rysdan fell for a human noblewoman.

Aspect: Juliet, the Sun that Thaws the Heart

Good: Charisma
Fair: Dexterity, Wisdom
Average: Intelligence, Strength

Elvish Bladesong (Dexterity). Such is your grace and prowess with spell and steel that you gain +2 to Defend actions while casting spells when engaged in melee against blade-bearing foes.
War Wizard (accomplished x1). You know the following spells: Arcane Shield, Chain Lightning, Lightning Shield, Magic Missile, and Shatter.

Refresh: 3

Gear: elvish long sword (used as a finesse weapon), two fine daggers (concealed in boots), and fine elvish mesh mail (considered light), Fine Elven Steed, a cloak and light provisions.

Game Creation


The Lost Crown of Laenaya Nathoniel. An important artifact buried with the late Queen by the same name, it is said to be the key that seals an important ward attached to a powerful portal — one that bars the mighty Phaerim from entering and destroying Evereska. Recently discovered plundered, this is the current issue — our hero must find and return the crown to hold the seal.

A Mighty Enemy Broods. The mighty Phaerim, even now, work their potent ancient magics against the seals, hungry for conquest and domination. This is the impending issue.

Faces & Places

Note: All human lands and cities have the Domain of Man aspect, which can be compelled or invoked as needed.

Juliet Haston. “My Daughter Will Not Marry an Elf!” Daughter of Dominic Haston, a Lord of Neverwinter, and a tenuous but important ally of the Evereskan elders. She is the love interest of Rysdan, and under the thumb of her father.

Dominic Haston. Biding His Time To See What Leverage He Can Get. Juliet’s father and the facilitator between the men of Neverwinter and elves of Evereska. He is on friendly terms but definitely has some agenda.

Neverwinter. Evereska’s Closest Ally — But Too Far To Lend Real Aid. A human city in the Sword Coast north of Waterdeep. They are Evereska’s closest allies, and its rulers are very motivated for strong trade agreements with the elves. However, corruption is everywhere in the Domain of Man.

The Tomb Robber. The Trail Grows Cold. What is his (or her) identity?!

The Emerald Crown. The Key That Guards the Seals. In the Hands of a Grave Robber. This is a powerful talisman that amplifies the power of Evereska’s mythal to guard the seals that keep the Phaerims' gates inactive. Time is running out, and the mythal’s power wanes.

The Savage North. A Dangerous Frontier Full of Fell Beasts and Worse. The vast expanse of harsh wilderness surrounding the western heartlands. Travel by road and in the protection of other wary and armed travelers is still dangerous.

Evereska. The Last Mythal. Last Kingdom of Elvendom on Faerun. The last fastness of the Tel Quessir. It is our hero’s home.

Scornubel. Shifting Sea of Tents and Caravans. One of the first main outposts from Evereska, and our hero’s first place to search. It is a daunting and bustling place to seek the crown, and a perfect place for it to change hands.

Let's see where this goes. There's enough stuff here to generate some interesting things in the form of compels.

Initial Story Questions

1. Will Rysdan find the thief in time to help his kingdom? (Campaign Level)
2. Will Rysdan reconcile his own hatred of man and that of Juliet’s father? (Campaign Level)
3. Can he have any real future with Juliet? (Campaign Level)
4. Will he navigate the bustling cities of men to pick up the trail of the thief? (Scenario Level)

Game Play

Rory’s Story Cubes and a flip of a coin when things get slow or stuck. Otherwise, allow compels and create advantage actions to direct action. Keep notes terse and play as much with scratch paper as possible.

Fate Points will be a strong indicator for the direction of play. As the PC gets more points, scenes will zero in on the story questions at hand. As his store of points dwindles, compels will cause new story threads to unravel.

Sessions will be defined by things obvious in the story — a point of rest, a minor success (or failure) achieved in the context of a scenario.

Next up, session one...