Sunday, November 1, 2015

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...

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