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Author Topic: Satisfying the curious  (Read 4617 times)
tymotzues
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Posts: 37


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« on: March 23, 2012, 11:50:00 AM »

Hello folks
So I've recently published my first game Ascendancy - Rogue Marshal
It's doing ok so far, enough sales and interest to keep me happy, however, there are those out on there who are pressuring me to release game play exerts. While I understand their reasons for wanting to see a new system (FateStorm) put through its paces before laying down their hard won cash, I have reservations.

These mostly stem from two issues:
i)   The system has a lot of facets to it which would not be visible in a dry and technical analysis of (for example) the conflict system.
ii)   There are many things that may not be comprehensible to someone reading an example of play who hasn’t read the book and therefore cannot understand the various system influences or what they mean.

And so I am torn between wanting to satisfy their curiosity and ensuring that I don’t give an unreliable account of the system. Let me stress that my primary concern here is not the loss of sales from these people, but rather the creation of false assumptions which will misrepresent the system as a whole.
And so I need your help.

Ron made the suggestion that I post examples here for you to vet and give me your feedback on the above issues.
There is a bit more background on the issue here;
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=32847.0

And also a link to the example of play in the book which details a combat here;
http://www.fatestorm.com/fs_admin/FS_MechanicsExample.pdf

David Berg has already kindly read through the example and mentioned that it made his head hurt, I replied that much of that may be due to the fact that the example of play comes towards the back of the book as a guide to the GM and as such it is assumed that the majority of the book (and the system details) have already been read.
Your thoughts are welcome.

In addition I will follow on this post with the examples provided as part of the system chapter for you to compare with.
Obviously I want to show the system in the best light, and while neither of these examples shows the system to its full I am interested in your feedback as too whether:
i)   The examples make sense
ii)   Show the system in a positive light
iii)   Would satisfy the curious as to how the wager system of resolution works.
Kind regards
T
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 03:22:09 AM »

You should stop what you're doing on this right now and go read some successful actual play pieces. It's a form of essay writing with its own structural and stylistic tricks, and from your post it seems like you don't really have a lot of experience in reading or writing it. A good actual play report simply doesn't suffer from the problems you mention, because they're written with the appropriate amount of detail for the form and the audience.

I'll pick an arbitrary example of what to do and what not to do, and if it seems to you that this isn't something you're familiar with, then get thee hence and read how people do it successfully.
  • A typical failure in reporting actual play is to go into much too much detail, and to fail in moving your descriptive viewpoint between the various layers of meaning that a roleplaying game has. For example, the traditional pre-Internet format that too many continue to use is to write your description of play as an entirely in-fiction story that strives towards literary value. Equally awkward and wrong-headed is to write in dialogue form, trying to replicate the table talk and system use in excessive detail. This kind of writing is dull and does not work for the purpose of entertaining and informative actual play report because you're constrained to write besides your point by your chosen form.
  • The right way to dodge the above problems is to write with a clear agenda: this is what I want to say about this game, or this play experience I had. Then you start writing, and you write logically, remembering that your story is the story of what happened when people engaged in this creative task of playing the game. You will perhaps describe the fiction a bit, but mostly you'll concentrate on what the players are doing and why, what they're trying to accomplish and how they go about it. You will shift viewpoint as necessary: spend one paragraph to lay out what happened in the session before this one important scene, then another paragraph to explain some rules, then from the third paragraph onwards a detailed description of that one scene, and then some analysis to point out what you find remarkable in that interaction.
The point is not to somehow give a complete and full picture of what a given rules-system is capable of; rather, the actual play format is best used in pin-pointing some specific feature, and how it operates in the context of the rest of the game.

For examples of good actual play reports, go to the forums (the Forge included) and see what people are liking. I'll give you something to start with: in his series of actual play reports in 2003 Ron Edwards introduced me to Tunnels & Trolls, an excellent classic of the dungeoneering genre of gaming. I'm sure that this piece is not to everybody's tastes, but at the time I found Ron easy to understand, and he discussed issues that I found interesting and illuminative; his writing directly engaged me to dig up the rules-texts for the game from my brother's rpg book stash, and I've since then played the game on several occasions very successfully. (Also, this piece sparked my on-going interest in old-school Dungeons & Dragons, logically enough.) No guarantees that this'll be illuminative for you, but that's why you should read many different writers writing actual play reports in different styles and for different purposes to get hang of the possibilities of the form.

Here's Ron's T&T trilogy:
1st thread
2nd thread
3rd thread
For a follow-up, here's where I ended up with T&T five years later - also an actual play report, to contrast with Ron's style. (Not that my style is that different, I've learned to focus on the interesting creative issues specifically from Ron's writing, and the general ambience of the classic Forge actual play reports.)
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Chris_Chinn
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 03:56:14 PM »

Hi,

Ideas take time and energy to digest just like food- so when you're trying to introduce people to your new game, you need to start simple - paint the broad strokes of what the game is and how it works.   You can tie it to an Actual Play example of a single incident or two where a general set of rules helped produce something fun and how they did it.

Here's an example of me summarizing Burning Wheel and a similar description could do well for your game:

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?464106-Burning-Wheel-How-does-it-work&p=10665779#post10665779

Notice I haven't gotten into nitty gritty specifics about mechanics at all in that description.

When you do an Actual Play description, talk about the highlights of play and how the rules brought that into being and what was working for it.

(When people who are already playing your game ask for examples/advice, then you can get into detailed specifics.)

Chris
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tymotzues
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 12:33:47 PM »

Thanks Chris
an interesting take. I haven't read BW or played it, but it seems to have some underlying tones to FateStorm to it, will take a look.
Thanks for the description as well.
Cheers
T
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tymotzues
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 02:14:23 PM »

Ok, so I'd like to know what you all think of this.

Hello
So in trying to answer a few requests about the system I’ll break it down from the broader game to an actual example of how the system works.

Avatars
There are four main components that go to create an Avatar;
  • The Archetype – a universal template associated with a guiding figure (warrior, thief, orphan)
    Ruling Sign – similar to an astrological sign but more cosmological, influences fateful outcomes
    Egoid – a racial or cultural template that determines knowledge, skills and special attributes
    Vocation – a voluntary association with a particular role in society
Statistics
The Avatar has a range of statistics, but there are three main groups that go to determine most outcomes in the game;
  • Descriptors – these are base statistics of which there are four: Critical Effectiveness, Mental Agility, Personal Resonance, and Spiritual Resonance. They are associated with an element of Fire, Air, Earth and Water.
    Attributes – There are four attributes which govern an Avatar’s ability to interact with the physical environment around them; Grounding, Command, Assea and Acumen
    Aptitudes – these are the skills and knowledge that the Avatar has learnt
.
Other statistics include; Prowess, Talents and Personalities as well as resources and allies.

Fate
The underlying currents of FateStorm are about how there is very little ‘coincidence’ in the lives of an Avatar. While their destinies are not known, what is known is that they have a destiny – and the game is about discovering what that is.
The system provides tools which enable non-random determination of outcomes, but without the outcomes being obvious. In addition there are FatePoints, which the players gain, loose and expend in order to increase their Avatar’s aptitudes, prowess or talents, and to use various aspects of fate.
  • Buying Fate – the Avatar’s unlike normal people, are linked in with the universe in a way which allows them to actually cause the threads of fate to bend, either aiding or ailing their efforts to succeed. The system allows the Avatar to buy fateful influences, such as miracles, catastrophes, elemental influence or even summon their Archetype to possess them during times of great need.
    FateDeck – these cards are used in a multitude of ways, but they are generally used to allow the players and the fate a range of story options and to add an element of serendipity to play. Players can purchase a FateHand at any stage of play in order to influence events.
    FateSphere – the FateSphere appears in the middle of the Avatar record sheet. It is split into elemental arcs as well as their associated Ruling signs. Used as diagram, it can determine the underlying relationships between the Avatar and any other individual. It can be used by the Fate to determine a bias in a given situation towards the Avatar, and is used as the calendar for the HeroCycle of the Avatar.
    HeroCycle – the HeroCycle describes the underlying influences of the cosmos upon the life of the Avatar. At times the Avatar will have the favour of the cosmos, at other times they will be suffering from a lack of influence. The HeroCycle is unique for each Avatar, and as such, when Avatars work as a troupe, there will be times when some of them are more powerful than others in certain regards because their HeroCycle are waxing, while the others are waning. This forces all the players to have moments when their Avatar’s can achieve legendary feats without one Avatar overshadowing the rest. It creates a reliance on teamwork and memorable stories. The HeroCycle is considered an advanced tool in FateStorm and is therefore optional to the system
.

The Basic Mechanics
So the system boils down to a fairly standard mechanic.
  • There is an Activity Rating (AR) determined, and known only, by the Fate (GM) for a given task.
    The Avatar creates an Activity Pool (AP) which is then compared to the AR to determine the level of success. The typical AP is created by adding up a Descriptor+Attribute+Aptitude. Some AP such as the Combat Activity Pool (CAP), are pre-generated as they do not alter for their set purpose.
    In any instance where the outcome is actively opposed by another then this is a duelled activity. In duelled activities each side creates an AP, these are then expended in a tit-for-tat fashion to try to gain the upper hand in the competition; whether it is a game of chess, melee combat or a verbal debate. Duelled activities are modified through any use of a special ability, prowess, talent, and of course roleplay.
The use of AR and AP is not a simple black and white result (unless that is the Fate’s ruling), but there is room for partial successes to be achieved adding to the detail of the story.

Example of play
A troupe of Avatars have been pitted between an undead king and his similarly undead, estranged queen. The Avatars have returned from the queen and agreed to kill the king in return for a powerful magical artefact.

Returning to the king’s city, they intend to rest before confronting the king, who sent them to kill the queen and return with the artefact. As the troupe crosses a deserted market square the king, suspecting betrayal, has come out to meet them. The Avatar’s are powerful and the king, ever cautious decides to even the odds in his favour. From the shadows he executes a magical weave that causes the Archer Kalvar to become enthralled with the king.

The force of the weave is enough to beat Kalvar’s opposing activity pool, and so Kalvar becomes the kings unwitting pawn.

Halfway across the market square the king appears and challenges the troupe with sword drawn. The troupe try to bluff the king and there is a duelled conversation in which the king outwits the troupe and wins, thus showing the troupe mean to betray him.

Mal, the leader of the troupe, seeing that their ruse is over, agrees to hand over the artefact, a mask, and kneels down to retrieve it from his pack. But part of the deal the troupe made with the queen was to also gain a second artefact, the Sun Shard, which would help kill the king. Mal, makes an opposed activity check to hide the shard while retrieving the mask and approaches the king. While the rest of the troupe ready themselves.

The King anticipating a trap begins to cast a protection weave. Mando, the troupes tracker, shouts out a warning to Mal. Mal throws the mask before the king to try to distract him and combat begins.

Mal gains a small advantage over the king and gets initiative pulling the sun shard from its hiding place to dazzle the king. But the king has already finished his protection weave and while the shard’s light engulfs him in pain, he survives taking penalties and thus lowering his chance of initiative even further. Mal now firmly with the upper hand draws his sword and strikes the king across the chest. The king desperate not to abandon any hope of regaining momentum lets the blade strike, relying upon his armour to take the blow, which it does.
Meanwhile Roq, another of the troupe’s warriors has flanked the king and charges in from the side, his sword biting through the kings armour and into his shoulder.
Behind them all Mando and Qarim, the troupe’s healer, watch as Kelvar raises his bow and fires into the melee. Thinking that he was aiming for the king they yell out in horror as the arrow drives into Mal’s back.
 
Kelvar, under the king’s control, acts to aid the king. The king wants Kelvar to defend him, but this is as far as his instructions can go. With four companions to choose from to attack the Fate looks to Kelvar’s Ruling sign and compares it with those of the other troupe members. The leylines between Kelvar and Mal are strong, and opposed and so the Fate determines that Mal will be the focus of Kelvar’s attack. The king meanwhile takes the opportunity to level a fate catastrophe against Mal. This means that Kelvar’s attack will be immensely more powerful and cause a critical wound.

Qarim now has the initiative and races across the market square towards where Mal is falling to the ground. Kelvar’s arrow protruding through his chest.
The king meanwhile has been executing another weave ignoring the attacks from Mal and Roq in the process. His concentration good enough to focus even through the damage. Completing the weave a wave of fire blasts outwards across the troupe, bringing Roq and Qarim to a halt.
 
Mando, still awaiting a chance to act can only cry out helplessly as Kelvar levels another arrow and fires it at Qarim. Qarim, while running, isn’t such an easy target as Mal was however and he misses. Mando knows she is not physically capable of overpowering the archer so instead leaps infront of Kelvar and kisses him. She calls a fate miracle in order to break the charm the king had placed upon him and Kelvar staggers back in shock.

Roq, recovering from the fire blast raises his sword for a killing blow, the blade lances down but the king twists aside at the last moment and replies with a backward thrust.
Roq having used every once of strength and preparation he had in attempting the killer blow is left exposed and the kings blade bites through armour, skin and bone.
Mando and Qarim now at Mal’s side see that the arrow has pierced his heart and he will be dead in seconds. Qarim seeks to find a solution, magical or otherwise and decides upon a desperate plan. Using a fate miracle and her magic, she breaks off the front and back of the arrow and then heals Mal’s heart with a piece of the arrow shaft still inside.
He will live, but his close call with death will have a permanent effect, and he will suffer a loss to one of his attributes as a result.

Roq, grabs the kings sword and with his other hand swings his own sword into the kings side. This time the king has no where left to turn and is helpless to get away from the blade. It cuts deep into his abdomen and he is pinned.

Mando snatches up Mal’s dropped cutlass and thrusts it deep beneath the kings breastplate, with an all or nothing strike.

There is a moment of stillness as the king’s sword drops from his silk gloved hand to chime upon the tiled ground as the king collapsed forward. Dead.


Does it need more technical explainations?
Cheers
T
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David Berg
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 10:48:23 PM »

Hi Tim,

I think this is a big step forward in communicating some of the cool features of the game.  I don't think it successfully gets every point across, but I do think it gets close enough to where people can ask fairly specific questions for clarification.

I have a few:

If the niche of Attributes in play is to interact with the physical environment, what is the niche of Descriptors in play?  Is it to interact with the social, spiritual, or metaphysical environment?  Or do Descriptors and Attributes both get used in play for the same types of interactions, but simply derive from different sources?

FateSphere - do the "underlying relationships" have an impact in play?  No need to spell out details, but a hint or example would be nice!

Activity Rating - this measures difficulty, with higher being harder, right?  I suggest you include that info immediately upon introducing the term.

Duelled Activities - The last sentence about modifying confuses me.  Using an ability/prowess/talent doesn't just "modify", it helps, right?  As for roleplay, I'd say either clarify how it helps, procedurally (GM awards bonus, right?), or don't mention it.  Different readers will bring vastly different assumptions to your current phrasing (at first I thought you meant you couldn't use a special ability without roleplaying it in).

Thank you for introducing your acronyms in parentheses immediately after the full terms!  The material I've read that did not do that was much harder to follow.

By the way, I really like the HeroCycle.  From your description here, I can easily envision how it would impact the social landscape of play.  "Fred's our best warrior, and tomorrow the alignment of the planets will boost his power, so let's put off the fight until tomorrow, even though today's a good day for our best spell-caster."  Yay teamwork!

As for your example, a few suggestions:

1. I would start like this:

Quote
Here's something that happened in play a while back.

I was The Fate (GM).

My five friends played the following Avatars (player characters):
Roq - male assean weaver (spell-caster)
Qarim - female diplomat
Kelvar - male archer
Mal - male warrior
Mando - female warrior, the group's leader
(or however else you'd like to identify the characters in a handful of words; I labeled genders mainly because I got confused about them later)

2. Proofread!  Poor punctuation turns off a lot of readers.  I wouldn't buy a novel by a novelist whose descriptions of his book were missing vital commas and apostrophes.

3. "The king desperate not to abandon any hope of regaining momentum lets the blade strike, relying upon his armour to take the blow, which it does."

This sounds like a fun and consequential decision you made, so I'd lay it out as such.  Something like: 

"The king, desperate not to abandon any hope of regaining momentum, lets the blade strike.  I, playing the king, opt not to spend pips to oppose the slash, as I'd rather spend those pips to attack.  The king has good armor, so I spend from the armor's points to absorb the strike without lowering my Action Pool."

4. "With four companions to choose from to attack the Fate looks to Kelvar’s Ruling sign and compares it with those of the other troupe members. The leylines between Kelvar and Mal are strong, and opposed and so the Fate determines that Mal will be the focus of Kelvar’s attack."

Ooh!  Tell us whether the players get to know about it when such influences manifest, or whether the Fate determines and applies them in secret!  I know it doesn't matter to the outcome of Mal getting shot, but I think it's important in conveying what it's like to play the game, as player or GM.

5. "The king meanwhile takes the opportunity to level a fate catastrophe against Mal."

You might want to identify that you spend a precious and finite resource in order to do this, and that a Fate Catastrophe is one way to Buy Fate.  (This will help people connect the play example to the system you described earlier.)

6.  "Roq, having used every once of strength and preparation he had in attempting the killer blow, is left exposed, and the king's blade bites through armour, skin and bone.
. . .
Roq grabs the king's sword and with his other hand swings his own sword into the king's side. This time the king has nowhere left to turn and is helpless to get away from the blade. It cuts deep into his abdomen and he is pinned."  (I've corrected the punctuation here -D.B.)

This seems like the turning point in the scene.  I think it's an ideal chance to tell us how this came about, mechanically.  How did Roq go from "used it all up, exposed" to attacking an opponent who "has nowhere left to turn"?  Did the round end, thus refreshing Roq's Activity Pool, but for some reason the king's Activity Pool was not refreshed?

Hope this helps,
-David
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tymotzues
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 03:21:10 PM »

Thanks David
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, I'll try to address your questions now.

Attributes and Descriptors are used to resolve all activities, everything else is tertiary. Descriptors are the primary statistics of the Avatar, they represent physical, mental and spiritual strengths. The Attributes are much more personal in their nature; firstly they originate from the Avatar's Archetype so they are a direct influence of the Archetype on the Avatar's life. Also they are what increases and decreases with the flow of the HeroCycle, and as such play a much more dramatic role within the game. To try to distil down the difference; Descriptors are the Avatar's manifest natural abilities, Attributes are the Avatar's ability to influence the world around them conjoined with the metaphysical influences that drive the Avatar's life - they are what colour the Avatar's life, while the Descriptors provide the tone.

The FateSphere has two primary sources of influence on the game mechanics, firstly there are the quadrants of elemental affinity, which divide the descriptors and the ruling signs - these can be used to determine elemental affinity for many other aspects of play, such as a particular magic, aptitude, or special ability. It is also the wheel around which the Ruling Signs are devised (in a similar fashion to the zodiac), this is used to maintain the continuity of the HeroCycle and determine where an Avatar sits on the HeroCycle based on their aligned Ruling Sign. How the Ruling Signs are aligned between individuals is what 'suggests' bias, such as personal attraction or repulsion. This can be as simple as someone taking an unconscious like or dislike to a person as they enter a shop, to a combatant 'unconsciously' selecting a single target out of a mob of opponents to attack. This can form a huge influence on the game, not in a manner that prejudices a single Avatar but that also reveals hidden threads of fate and destiny.

Activity Rating - yes, higher is harder. The base mechanics of play are fairly simplistic, with the average Activity Pool being generated from the addition of a Descriptor, an Attribute and an Aptitude. Getting over 50% of the Activity Rating will usually garner a success of some form, but only 100%+ will achieve a full success of the activity being undertaken.

Thanks again for your suggestions David, I'm on the case.
T
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David Berg
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 10:04:37 PM »

I think I get Descriptors/Attributes now, but I'm not sure.  I'll try to word it in a way that makes sense to me; please check me on this!

Attributes describe your character's position within the metaphysical influences of the world.  They describe the aptitudes that you have due to the Archetype that manifests through you, as strengthened and weakened by the positions of the stars.

Descriptors describe the rest of your character's innate aptitudes.  This is who you are apart from your cosmic identity.  Regular old genetics and mundane environmental factors.

Yes?
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tymotzues
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 04:24:59 PM »

Ok, so I'm finally able to post this. It is a fairly simplified description of a combat sequence. Based on some of Eric's comments I'm curious as to whether people feel it needs more explanation of actual statistics or whether the more descriptive format presented here is ok. Looking forward to your comments before I post to the game forums.
Thanks in advance.
T

Example of play
The following example of combat takes place in the Ascendancy-Rogue Marshal setting. The avatars have egoids and vocations typical of that setting.
Avatars:
•   Mordoc – a brilliant melee specialist and tactician, he has a natural ability for hunting and killing. Mordoc (natural predator talent, precision strike prowess, hunting aptitude) is a powerful ally to have in a fight. His typically employs these skills in combination for an opening attack he nicknames ‘Icebreaker’. He is not egotistical about his skill and remains fatalistic, preferring to take down his opponents swiftly and efficiently. While he can be charming, he prefers to keep to himself and work alone when able. [Human, Martialist]
•   Athero – one of the world’s leading specialists in material composites, his passion is for developing new and astonishing explosives. He has a lack of respect for those of lesser intellect (which is the majority) and his love of explosives is only matched by his avarice. Loyal and methodical, he can be relied upon to keep a level head in a crisis – although his first reaction to any situation is to blow something up. [Nazagh, Materialist]
•   Raulk – a highly trained combatant, Raulk found himself forced to work as a Rogue Marshal within Ashendrya after leaving his ancestral home. Quickly making a name for himself in the Endless City he frequents the underground pit fighter circuit as this proved more exciting and financially rewarding than the warrants he had been collecting as a Marshal. Lightly armoured, he relies on his magical and specialist combat abilities to end fights quickly. (Lightning reflexes, lightning strike, stormfront assualt and whirlwind attack with a cloak of knives) [Avnasturmn, Sturmnwyrdn]
•   Lachlan – Bought up from birth in the Endless City, Lachlan studied arcane lore at the Domswart University, but always longed for the mountain heights of his family. Once he had graduated as an asseath, he spent years in the Eyries of his race before returning to Ashendrya as a hired spellsword. Specialising in elemental arcana, he has honed his combat weaves to a fine discipline. [Avnasturmn, Asseath]

Scene:
•   The avatars have reached the remote and devastated avnasturmn eyrie of Karnak’var. The eyrie was destroyed when a Nidarain warcage crashed into the main tower, toppling the crystal city down the side of the mountain thirty years ago. In the years that followed the ruins have become home to various inhabitants.
•   Raulk has returned to his home to recover the atema crystal, if it still exists. Each of the Avnasturmn eyries has an atema crystal from which the eyrie grows. If Raulk can recover the atema crystal the city can be rebuilt.
•   When the warcage crashed into the eyrie, the captain of the warcage survived the collision and subsequent battle, but was stranded on the mountain. He ate the dead to survive and in the process was transformed into a Gül, a living dead.
•   The avatars have made their way to Karnak’var and reached the remote tower of the Sturmnwyrdns, where Raulk thinks the crystal has been hidden. This is also where the captain has sought refuge, leaving only to hunt for food. The avatars discover the captain in an abandoned forge. Unsure of the crouched figure, they surround the captain.

The Fate decides that the captain, knowing he is surrounded will initiate combat. The Fate tells the players that they are in critical rounds. When the captain heard intruders in the tower he prepared by placing three weaves on himself: fatestrike, cowl of deflection and predator breed (agility).

The Fate checks the avatars’ ruling signs and that of the captain. Athero is under the water sign Well, while the captain is under the fire sign of Wild. With opposing elemental signs, the Fate determines that the captain has a natural bias against Athero (as the other avatars have fire ruling signs). The captain leaps up and flings a chakram at Athero, who has come through the eastern door to the forge.

Athero has the sixth sense talent, which warns him of impending danger, and the lightning reflexes prowess, which puts him on an equal footing with the captain. However, the captain placed a fatestrike weave on his chakram so Athero cannot dodge the attack. The chakram bites deeply through Athero’s armour and into his shoulder, shattering his collarbone and pinning him against the wall. The blow would have killed Athero, but he chose to expend a fate point to allow his armour to soak additional damage at the expense of future protection (reducing the armour’s bonus rating by 1). He survives the initial attack, but has suffered critical damage (troubling injury).

Mordoc, entering the forge through the western doorway, wields Athlieu, a magical blade imbued with the fatestrike weave, which he can use once per combat. Activating the weave he charges the captain planning a killing blow with his icebreaker combo attack.

The captain has the agility prowess (from Predator Breed weave) that negates the effects of the precision attack prowess, but the fatestrike weave on Athlieu means that he cannot dodge the strike and will take damage. The captain decides to use his sacrifice strike prowess to forgo an opportunity to dodge in order to strike his opponent. The captain also expends fatepoints in order to purchase a catastrophe against Mordoc, meaning that his attack will double against Mordoc’s defence.

As Mordoc strikes, the captain thrusts a short-hafted spear at Mordoc’s chest and finds a weak spot in Mordoc’s armour (from the catastrophe). Mordoc announces that his attack had been a feint, using the feint attack prowess (this will return half the expended CAP of the attack to Mordoc’s total combat pool), but the captain’s attack threatens to be fatal so Mordoc uses fatepoints to call a miracle to counter the captain’s catastrophe. Mordoc slips on the icy slate of the forge floor and twists his body. The captain’s spear shears under Mordoc’s armour and along the side of his ribs, opening a gashing wound. At the same time, Mordoc’s feint strikes the captain’s arm, followed by a hit that drives through the captain’s armour.

Raulk, moving into the room behind Mordoc, cannot attack the captain in melee and decides to use throwing knives. At such a short distance he feels confident in his aim (despite the dangers of firing missile weapons into a melee). Throwing a knife, Raulk’s first knife is turned aside with a spark as it hits the captain’s cowl of deflection weave.

Meanwhile, from the eastern doorway to the forge, Lachlan channels his assea in a healing weave, as he braces Athero and stops his wound from bleeding.

Mordoc, understanding the threat the captain poses to their progress, decides to wager 2 fatepoints on defeating the captain. The other avatars agree and make a similar wager. These fatepoints are removed from their total and the Fate makes note of the wager.

Mordoc, regaining the initiative (with the highest remaining CAP) attacks the captain, making use of his Punishing blow prowess to use Athlieu with devastating force on the captain’s injured arm, threatening to cut it off completely. In a desperate attempt to defend himself, the captain throws up his buckler shield. The only way he will avoid injury is to expend fatepoints and have the buckler soak the damage. He places three fatepoints to soak the blow. The damage is reduced a further three times by the armour bonus rating of the buckler (each time the bonus rating is reduced by 1). Athlieu hits the buckler, shattering it and delivering a numbing blow to the captain’s arm.

With CAP remaining, the captain has the initiative – knowing that he will not survive much longer faced with such powerful opponents – he executes a fear weave and uses his fierce talent to enhance the effect. As the captain screams, a wave of fear washes over the avatars. Each avatar attempts to overcome the fear (based on manifest integrity and gaining bonuses for personality traits such as courageous, determined, disciplined or loyal). Mordoc, Athero and Raulk all are overcome with fear from the gül captain and flee. Lachlan, not as strong as the others, is overwhelmed and passes into unconsciousness.

Combat is over. The Fate tells the players that they are no longer playing in critical rounds. The avatars have failed to defeat the captain and have lost their wagered fatepoints. Lachlan is unconscious on the floor of the forge, at the mercy of the wounded gül captain, while the remaining three avatars flee until the fear weave wears off.
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 04:34:00 PM »

Tim, nice!  I intend to come back and give this a more thorough read. 

For now, there is one missing element that I'd like to see included: the tracking of a Combat Activity Pool.  For just one character, I would like to see where it comes from, and where it's spent, numerically.  Shorthand is fine.

"Mordoc starts with CAP 12 (Crit Effec 5 + Melee 4 + Knife 3) . . . Mordoc spends 4 to strike with his sword (CAP down to 8) . . . Mordoc spends 5 to climb the wall (CAP down to 3) . . . Mordoc uses his final 3 CAP to dodge, meaning he can't act further this Critical Round without spending Fate Points . . . As the new CR begins, Mordoc's CAP refreshes to 12 . . ."  Y'know, that sort of thing.

The use of weaves makes it harder for me to quickly assess what's going on.  I think it's good to include at least one weave, but maybe trim others out to simplify the explanation and make it a quicker read?  Or maybe not, if this is indicative of standard play.  I dunno; just a thought.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 06:08:50 PM »

Thanks David
I'll do that and repost.
Cheers
T
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2012, 12:33:24 AM »

So here is the repost with CAP descriptions for Mordoc added. I'm not sure how much it adds but let me know what you think.
Cheers

The Fate decides that the captain, knowing he is surrounded will initiate combat. The Fate tells the players that they are in critical rounds and they will need to populate their CAPs. When the captain heard intruders in the tower he prepared by placing three weaves on himself: fatestrike, cowl of deflection and predator breed (agility).
The Fate checks the avatars’ ruling signs and that of the captain. Athero is under the water sign Well, while the captain is under the fire sign of Wild. With opposing elemental signs, the Fate determines that the captain has a natural bias against Athero (as the other avatars have fire ruling signs). The captain leaps up and flings a chakram at Athero, who has come through the eastern door to the forge.

Athero has the sixth sense talent, which warns him of impending danger, and the lightning reflexes prowess, which puts him on an equal footing with the captain. However, the captain placed a fatestrike weave on his chakram so Athero cannot dodge the attack. The chakram bites deeply through Athero’s armour and into his shoulder, shattering his collarbone and pinning him against the wall. The blow would have killed Athero, but he chose to expend a fate point to allow his armour to soak additional damage at the expense of future protection (reducing the armour’s bonus rating by 1). He survives the initial attack, but has suffered critical damage (troubling injury).

We will use Mordoc as an example to illustrate the use of Combat Activity Pool (CAP). Mordoc’s CAP is worked out as follows; CE:5 + Grounding: 3 + Tech.Combat: 5 + Athlieu (Longsword WBR 4) + Shield (Medium ABR 3) = 20 Total CAP.

Mordoc, entering the forge through the western doorway (CAP 20 -1 movement = 19), wields Athlieu, a magical blade imbued with the fatestrike weave, which he can use once per combat. Activating the weave (CAP -1 discourse action = 18) he charges the captain planning a killing blow with his icebreaker combo attack (CAP 18 – 10 attack = 8).
The captain has the agility prowess (from Predator Breed weave) that negates the effects of the precision attack prowess, but the fatestrike weave on Athlieu means that he cannot dodge the strike and will take damage. The captain decides to use his sacrifice strike prowess to forgo an opportunity to dodge in order to strike his opponent. The captain also expends fatepoints in order to purchase a catastrophe against Mordoc, meaning that his attack will double against Mordoc’s defence.

As Mordoc strikes, the captain thrusts a short-hafted spear at Mordoc’s chest and finds a weak spot in Mordoc’s armour (from the catastrophe). Mordoc announces that his attack had been a feint, using the feint attack prowess (this will return half the expended CAP of the attack to Mordoc’s total combat pool (CAP 8 + Feint (10/2) = 13, leaving an attack of 5 on the feint), but the captain’s attack threatens to be fatal so Mordoc uses fatepoints to call a miracle to counter the captain’s catastrophe. Mordoc slips on the icy slate of the forge floor and twists his body. The captain’s spear shears under Mordoc’s armour and along the side of his ribs, opening a gashing wound. At the same time, Mordoc’s feint  (Attack 5 + Athlieu weapon damage 4) strikes the captain’s arm, followed by a hit that drives through the captain’s armour (Armour bonus rating 4, subtracted from the damage leaving 5).

Raulk, moving into the room behind Mordoc, cannot attack the captain in melee and decides to use throwing knives. At such a short distance he feels confident in his aim (despite the dangers of firing missile weapons into a melee). Throwing a knife, Raulk’s first knife is turned aside with a spark as it hits the captain’s cowl of deflection weave.

Meanwhile, from the eastern doorway to the forge, Lachlan channels his assea in a healing weave, as he braces Athero and stops his wound from bleeding.

Mordoc, understanding the threat the captain poses to their progress, decides to wager 2 fatepoints on defeating the captain. The other avatars agree and make a similar wager. These fatepoints are removed from their total and the Fate makes note of the wager.

Mordoc, regaining the initiative (with the highest remaining CAP of 13) attacks the captain, making use of his Punishing blow prowess to use Athlieu with devastating force on the captain’s injured arm, threatening to cut it off completely (CAP 13 – 12 attack = 1). In a desperate attempt to defend himself, the captain throws up his buckler shield. The only way he will avoid injury is to expend fatepoints and have the buckler soak the damage. He places three fatepoints to soak the blow. The damage is reduced a further three times by the armour bonus rating of the buckler (each time the bonus rating is reduced by 1). Athlieu hits the buckler, shattering it and delivering a numbing blow to the captain’s arm.

With CAP remaining, the captain has the initiative – knowing that he will not survive much longer faced with such powerful opponents – he executes a fear weave and uses his fierce talent to enhance the effect. As the captain screams, a wave of fear washes over the avatars. Each avatar attempts to overcome the fear (based on manifest integrity and gaining bonuses for personality traits such as courageous, determined, disciplined or loyal). Mordoc, Athero and Raulk all are overcome with fear from the gül captain and flee. Lachlan, not as strong as the others, is overwhelmed and passes into unconsciousness.

Combat is over. The Fate tells the players that they are no longer playing in critical rounds. The avatars have failed to defeat the captain and have lost their wagered fatepoints. Lachlan is unconscious on the floor of the forge, at the mercy of the wounded gül captain, while the remaining three avatars flee until the fear weave wears off.
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 06:12:05 PM »

Any comments? Should I post this to the game forum? Just looking for an idea that what I've written makes sense as a stand alone play example.
Thanks
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 01:16:44 AM »

I like that!  I feel like now I know what it'd be like to play out a fight.  I can't quite follow everything, but I get the basics.  I think the FP spends for Catastrophe and Miracle, and the getting CAP back for the Feint, are all excellent choices to illustrate the system.

If you're planning to post this as a conversation-starter, inviting questions, I'd say it's good to go.  If you want it to stand alone somewhere without follow-up, you might want to tie up a few loose ends, like this:

Athero has the sixth sense talent, which warns him of impending danger, and the lightning reflexes prowess, which puts him on an equal footing with the captain. However, the captain placed a fatestrike weave on his chakram so Athero cannot dodge the attack. The chakram bites deeply through Athero’s armour and into his shoulder, shattering his collarbone and pinning him against the wall. The blow would have killed Athero, but he chose to expend a fate point to allow his armour to soak additional damage at the expense of future protection (reducing the armour’s bonus rating by 1). He survives the initial attack, but has suffered critical damage (troubling injury).

You don't spell out the formal quantities and rules here -- if they're redundant with rules you explain later, you might want to just omit this paragraph, to avoid starting out with readers confused.  If you do want to keep it, here's what I'd want to know:

What does "equal footing" mean, mechanically?  They take their first actions simultaneously?

Does a Fatestrike Weave simply mean "no one can dodge", period, or does it have a number that beats some number of Athero's?

What determines whether the attack (1) penetrates Athero's armor, (2) shatters his collarbone, and (3) pins him against the wall?  What calculations are involved here?

What allows Athero to spend an FP to have the armor take the hit but be damaged?  Is that a permanent rule that anyone can do that?  Is it a property of this particular suit of armor?  Is it on the list of things you can spend FPs on?

What numbers go into "critical damage"?

I am guessing that the main thing you've left out here is an attack damage calculation.

The captain has the agility prowess (from Predator Breed weave) that negates the effects of the precision attack prowess, but the fatestrike weave on Athlieu means that he cannot dodge the strike and will take damage. The captain decides to use his sacrifice strike prowess to forgo an opportunity to dodge in order to strike his opponent. The captain also expends fatepoints in order to purchase a catastrophe against Mordoc, meaning that his attack will double against Mordoc’s defence.

What would the effect of the Precision Attack prowess have been?  If it's not obvious, what about the Agility prowess allows it to negate this?

How many FPs did the Catastrophe cost?

Some of these may seem trivial to you.  Maybe they are trivial.  They're just the things that made me scratch my head and go, "Am I being told the whole story here or not?"
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David Berg
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 01:58:28 AM »

Oh!  And be sure to mention (at the beginning and then again the first time it comes up) that "the Fate" = "the GM".  Otherwise, that will confuse a lot of people!
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