The Toolbox

I will regularly post different things about the Fate Core RPG system by Evil Hat Productions. Look at the side bar for Links to other helpful web pages.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

World Building with Fate (Part 1)

There are as many ways to build game worlds as their are people in gaming, but here is one. Fate in general isn't as worried about the little things in the game world if it isn't really all that exciting as other games are. At the basics there really isn't any need for world building in Fate, unless you just want to. Personally I love to. I have built a ridiculous number of multiverses over my decade of gaming, just because I like to do it. Anything can be treated as a character, but that doesn't mean you have to. An interesting way to start is to define areas of the game world and then just give an aspect.

First let's define our genre. I will go with Sword & Sorcery. For races lets give the "classics" (from D&D) and add in feline race, werewolf race, then two similar races to each other, one that is descendant of demon and another descendant of angels. So our races are human, elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome, orc, felina, cano, daemon and angal. I left the half races out for now. In fate you don't need to give any type of stats or anything. Having the races in your aspects could give reason enough to automatically give the mechanics of what they give. Me I like to have the options, I just don't like huge lists to look through, like in D&D, Pathfinder, GURPS and other games. I am finding that I like to give suggestions, but also encourage the freedom to build more for your specific game. In the Fate Toolkit in the stunt section, there is a great section that I think goes great with building mechanics of races called "Broad Stunts". This would be the easiest thing to do.

Combining the Broad Stunts and Combined Stunts sections you can make easy race stats. Either of these stunt types in my games will only be available via some kind of permission and prerequisite, to keep it special. Also it can be reversed to symbolize a race's negative things, like an orc's intelligence. I must warn you though, and this applies to all games and not just Fate, the Zero Sum. The Zero Sum is a problem that happens when there is too many bonuses and it ends up just being an equal roll anyway, so all the adding up bonuses is for nothing. So don't go over board on the race building.

I will split up the blog posts in to different parts. I would appreciate it if you like and share please.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ulfgar Larg

Ulfgar Larg is a dwarven warlock in a general fantasy setting. In this build we will be using Stunt & Extra based magic to build him and refresh at 7 and 0 stunts.

High Concept
Dwarven Badass with a golden heart.

I always see to stick my foot in my mouth.

My warlock powers are for the greater good
I will take just about any job
Determined to stay out of prison

Refresh: 2


  • Superb: Rapport
  • Great: Notice, Empathy
  • Good: Physique, Shoot, Contacts
  • Fair: Investigate, Will, Deceive, Lore
  • Average: Fight, Crafts, Stealth, Drive, Provoke
Stunts & Extras
  • Eldritch Blast (-1 refresh): Use Shoot to make an attack using your warlock powers.
  • Arcane Resistance (-1 refresh): Take 2 less shifts when being attacked by magical attacks.
  • Ghostly Flight (-1 refresh): Pay a Fate point. For the rest of the scene you can fly at the speed you could normally move.
  • Eldritch Boom (-2 refresh): Pay 1 Fate point. Everyone except you in the same zone as you must roll Physique at a Fair opposition or take -2 Shifts.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Help with thinking of aspects

I read an article about thinking about aspects over on Red Dice Dairies. It is something I didn't think about until recently. People have trouble thinking about an aspect if they have a free slot. He proposes a small questionnaire of questions relevant to the current game. I brought up having a pool of questions and players get to pick which ones. This helps with aspect creating and keeping the aspects relevant to the story. You could start with some generic questions to add to your pool and then add in some more specific questions related to the game. Here are some examples.

What was your upbringing like?
Who were your closest loved ones?
What is your current life goal?
What are your dreams?
What is the reason you are doing this?

You can think of some too. No matter the question, stay away from 'yes & no' questions. Those type of questions don't give a substance and aspects are the spices and flavor of your Fate game. Personally I would stick to a pool roughly twice the size of the number of aspects you want for each character. So for your generic number of aspects of 5 you would want about 10 questions in the pool. This way the characters can be diverse, but still in a way to not confuse anyone. I will probably start using this method in the future and thanks to the Red Dice Dairies for bringing it up. Please +1 and share. You can also subscribe via email to get my regular updates.

Using side systems in Fate

Something I have learned from My FUDGE book is you can tack on other systems. All you have to do is stick it on and translate certain areas. Like a sub-system to only have a certain amount cyborg augmentations before you become a robot. Using this idea you could setup a bar and call it Humanity, this bar would tell you just how much robot you are and how close you are to losing your mind. Lets say you start with a Humanity of 5, then you would gain augmentations that would cost a number of those points to get. The next question would be "What stops me from just using all 5 points?" This is a great question. So now lets figure that out. You could say that every session each player must make 1 Humanity roll against Fair opposition or take a moderate consequence related to the machine trying to take over. The roll would be using the Humanity score like a skill. This example wasn't complicated and adds a bit more drama and tension to the players that want the upgrades. Alright that's it for now and thank you reading and sharing this blog.

Aspect Powers

Some people love to give the aspect more power in the game. I like that the rules were written so to allow that flexibility. One way to play with the aspects and fantasy settings, is just to use the aspects to grant the powers. No stunts or skills. If you are a Wizard of the 3rd Order then the aspects should come with all abilities of being a wizard and also being in the 3rd Order. Wizards are known for having to prepare their spells or at least take awhile to cast one. So you can play this in Fate many ways. One way you could do this is when the wizard wants to cast the GM could determine how many successes it takes in a Challenge to achieve that spell. Bob the Wizard of the 3rd Order wants to cast a spell to let him fly for a scene. The GM thinks about the character, setting and situation, then determines that it isn't too much so 1 success against a Fair rating would allow him to do this. He does this on his first try and the next turn he is able to fly. Another way is just to allow Bob to do it. Fate is great at flexibility and we can think of lots of ways to perform things. Keep checking in for things to put in your Fate toolbox.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Stunt & Extra Based Magic

Wizards, Sorcerers and Warlocks.
Each is the most known for it's type of magic. Wizards are known for their "science" look in learning certain spells. Sorcerers for learning by more of a feeling or more from an "arts" view point and force of will. The Warlock for being roughly the same as the sorcerer, but with fewer tricks but can outlast the arcane endurance. In Fate there is plenty of ways to perform magic in your world, depending how "crunchy" you want to be. For this specifically I will go with a stunt/extra based view.
First wizards. Out of the archetypes they are known to be the most potent and versatile, but with a severe lack of number of spells able to be cast with the time granted. Wizards and other "prepared" casters can have spells that have the extreme limits like "Once per..." or "Pay a Fate point..". Out of the ways you can give something a cost these types are the most limiting. Larry "the Evoker" could have a spell that says "Lighting Storm: Once session everyone in this zone, except you, takes a severe consequence showing electrocution." A severe consequence is a huge bit of damage, but 2 limits are placed on this. First being the obvious, he can only do this once per session, meaning he can only do once for each time the group has a game night. The second being it doesn't distinguish between friend or foe. If your party members are in the zone then they get fried too.

Sorcerers have a higher rate of use of magic. Most of their spells could us the "Invoke aspect to.... (this replaces the +2)." kind of extra. This limits them by how often they could perform the spell. They would have to power up by using Create an Advantage action to put invocations on their sorcerer related aspect, then cast. If Larry was a sorcerer then his lighting storm could be like "Invoke Badass Sorcerer to cause 2 shifts of electrical damage to target opponent, they may try to dodge using Athletics against opposition of Good. (this replaces the +2)."

Warlocks and other innate casters have a different style of powers. Usually it's a power that they could use in a unlimited fashion, or maybe tire them out if used at higher power levels. This can be done simply by just using the kind of stunts that add an ability to a skill. So let's make Larry a warlock. His power will read "Bolt Shot: Lightning comes shooting out of your hands to hit a target. You may use the skill Shoot to Attack and the attack is electrical."

Of course these are not the only ways to use magic. I will go over other ways in future posts.