September 7, 2013

A Collective Bout of Creative Craziness...

Just a quick update (something I'd promised myself I'd do more often).

Last night, we finally got characters set and ready for a Friday Night Skype game, this one being Evil Hat's FATE-based Dresden Files RPG.  Why was last night such a milestone you might ask?  Because that's when we tackled Phase 4 and Phase 5 of creating one's background aspects.

I kinda feel for our GM, Eric aka oghen, as there were points where it was very much like herding cats in trying to keep everyone on the same page as we bounced ideas for how each character interacted with another character's Phase 3 background aspect.  But he did a pretty good job of keeping a handle on things, and it was a lot of fun to discuss and suggest various ideas.

I must say, the early signs are showing this to be an interesting group, as we've got four players and most of the bases covered.

Dedicated wizard?  Check (though he's more of an apprentice really)
Divinely inspired/empowered channeller?  Check
Vanilla mortal? Check (though nowhere near as badass as Murph, but then who is?)

And me?  I'm playing a member of the Alphas, Chicago's very own resident pack of collegiate werewolves.  Though the game is set a fair distance away from Chicago, it's set to involve the early stages of the Paranet, which gives a reason for my character to have roamed so far from the Windy City and the rest of the pack.  Though I also entertain the personal idea that he tried to score with Andi (the very buxom redhead member of the Alphas that's been named in the Dresden Files series), moving away after a very harsh crash & burn; maybe Andi was still going through her "sexy" phase (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World film reference; check it out, it's an enjoyable decent movie in spite of Micheal Cera's rather lackluster performance).

Given the only other character I've really played in this game was himself a White Council Wizard (and was rightly called Dresden Lite), playing a non-caster in this game will be different, and a new experience.  What is interesting is how shape-shifting in this game works, namely in that it not only lets my college graduate werewolf access other supernatural powers, but it also lets me completely reshuffle his skill tree, making so that his human self is both smart and a capable investigator, but his fuzzy self is a nasty customer when things get violent.

Note to character: loose shirt, loose-ish pants, easy-to-slip off shoes, and going commando when you're expecting there to be trouble.  Going from one of Billy Borden's comments in the "Your Story" DF rulebook, getting your tighty-whiteys all tangled up when trying to shift into wolf-form doesn't sound like a fun experience.  Sadly, the Rite of Pants isn't an option (very old Werewolf: The Apocalypse joke).

I'm debating about doing a Heroes on Demand entry for Lucas (my investigator werewolf), much as I did with Danny Copperfield, the Young Wizard that I mentioned previously.

We're set to actually have our first session in a couple of weeks, and I must say that I'm looking forward to it.

And the Star Wars EotE Skype campaign has finally gotten rolling, with our next session being tomorrow night.  Valin is a fun character to play, as he's not a combat-heavy character and nothing about him really screams "leading man" material.  Yeah, he's Force-Sensitive, and the GM is letting me use the Jedi Initiate specialization, but Valin's Force-stuff right now is at the very minor level, so he won't be doing any spotlight hogging for a very, very, very long time, especially with the rather eclectic cast of characters that comprises the rest of the group.

September 2, 2013

Ways of the Force, version 1.1

Firstly, happy Labor Day for those of us enjoying a day off in the U.S.

Kind of fitting that after a couple month's worth of labor, consisting of a substantial amount of review and revision, I now present the latest version of my Ways of the Force fan supplement:

Ways of the Force v1.1

There's been some pretty substantial changes, the foremost of which is the restructuring of the Jedi Initiate talent tree.  The intent with the change was to allow for character with this specialization to not be overly penalized for not becoming an expert at using a lightsaber, though mastery of the lightsaber still remains a major focus of this specialization.  So if all you want to do with your Jedi Initiate is buff up their Force Rating and not once pick up a lightsaber, you can easily skip all those lightsaber-related talents.

I also removed and revised some of the Minor Force Powers, as well as removed a talent (Force Leap) from the Jedi Initiate.  If you've managed to snag a copy of the Age of Rebellion Beta, then you'll understand way.  If not, let us just say that my thoughts when developing some of these elements came very close to those of FFG's design team.

Part of the reason why there had been such a lengthy delay between versions was that back in July, I decided to develop the Force Leap talent and the "Search Your Feelings" minor power into full-fledged Force Powers, with a Basic Power and various Upgrades.  I actually had a decent layout for the power trees for what I was calling Enhancement and Farseeing.

Enhancement built upon my Force Leap talent by allow a Force Die to be rolled to add successes or advantage to various Brawn and Agility based checks, such as Athletics, Coordination, Stealth, and Resilience, as well as a movement-based effect that drew upon lessons learned from an ill-fated attempt at creating a "Force Speed" power tree in months prior.  The bulk of the power tree were Control Upgrades, with the base power starting at Athletics, and broadening the skills affected with each Control Upgrade on one side and a "Force Speed" effect on the other, with Range Upgrade to allow the user to cross additional Range Bands.

As for Farseeing, the basic power allowed a brief but fuzzy snapshot of events in the near future, with Strength Upgrades to allow more details, Duration Upgrades to look further into the future, and Control Upgrades to look into the past as well as to see the future/past of someone else, or multiple someones if you had enough Magnitude Upgrades.  A base framework, but one that needed a great deal more refinement before they were ready to publish.

Well, as I mentioned in my prior post, I wound up being very pleasantly surprised when I (finally) cracked open my copy of the Age of Rebellion Beta (had to wait until after an EotE run by Sam Stewart before I could retreat to the VIG lounge to actually read the book), and wound up laughing quite a bit at how close I'd gotten in most aspects to what FFG had published, a sentiment that GM Chris of the Order 66 podcast and lead designer Jay Little were both glad to share, and I'm sure a few other folks will too.  To paraphrase Jay, it says something about how simple and intuitive the design of their Star Wars system is when someone totally unrelated is able to independently design concepts that mirror those that the official design team has come up with.

So that fun little anecdote aside, a couple other changes you'll find is that I've broke the new weapons and new gear out into separate pages, adding a few more lightsaber variants such as the double-bladed lightsaber and training lightsaber to the weapons listing.  For the Force-related items, both of the new entries are very heavily slanted towards the Jedi, those being Adegan/Ilum crystals (useful for building one's lightsaber) and the coveted Jedi holocron (which can be damn handy both as an information resource and instructional aide to burgeoning Force-users).

The "Sense Force" minor power has been simplified, with the "sense disturbances" aspect broken out into a separate side bar and being something anyone with a Force Rating of 1 or better can do.  New to this section is the "Resist Force" power, which provides experienced Force-users a way to protect themselves from enemy powers.  That's probably the one element of this latest version that will most likely be in need of further revision or clarification, but I think the core functionality is solid even if it does add yet another measure of complexity to using the Force.

So, hopefully the changes and updates made in this latest version prove agreeable to your group.