Finally! Character Creation. It’s taken a while to get here but here we are at last. At the end of the Time and Tide Campaign, we spent a few hours discussing the campaign and then turned it over character generation ideas. So coming into the character creation session they had a general idea of what they wanted to play and what everyone else was thinking about playing.

With lessons learned from Time and Tide, I intended on this being equal in length to a regular session. Also, I prepared a few exercises to increase cohesiveness. First off, we discusses some skill list modifications. These changes were taken from a source I found that seemed to cater to exactly the kind of game I wanted to play. It adds some more science skills and removes notice. We also spent some time on expectations and the differences between D&D and Fate.

With the rules changes out of the way, we delved into the world itself. We changed the start date to September 1941 and I explained some basics about the current state of affairs in the United States. Before the session, some of my players expressed concern over the direction of the story and its drift towards the war. I took some time to assuage those fears and ensure that the focus would be on the mysticism and occult which is what differentiates our game world from the historical one. Also, this was not intended to be a dark campaign, were staying away from The Holocaust and other atrocities. With all that setup, I introduced the setting aspects, Knowledge is the Real and Tempting Power and Always an Imminent Crisis.

We spent the next hour setting up the characters, names, nationalities, high concepts and troubles. There was a lot of back and forth as each player tried to figure out how to express their characters in the new system. I don’t think there are any changes I’d want to make to the process. I feel as my group plays Fate more and more that they will get more comfortable.

For the next phase of character creation, I had them write one paragraph stories. The first story was about an assignment they went on for the Smithsonian. The second and third stories were where they played a key role in helping another one of the characters complete their assignment. Each story took a long time to complete but they turned out fantastic. They provided strong past associations between the characters. Now not every character connected to every other one. But each character had interacted with four of the other team members, which meant only two that they hadn’t. On the fly it took me a while to work out the connection map, so next time I’ll have it prepared ahead of time.

At the end, we wrapped up the session talking about skills, stunts and languages for everyone. They worked on those mostly between the character creation session and the launch of the campaign. The players are really good at writing and role-playing between sessions. But one player started every thread in Time and Tide, so I compelled another player to kick off the thread for this campaign. Speaking of which, we have a title, The Department of Collections.

2016-01-22 - Department of Collections

Today, I continue my journey towards my next RPG campaign. In my last post, I offered up my reasoning for leaving Dungeons & Dragons aside for a time and moving to Fate Core. A big part of that is wanting to tell stories that aren’t in a high fantasy setting. So now, I’ll expand on my one thought storylines and maybe figure out which one I’ll run.

Burned Spies

Originally, this started out as Cold War spies. As a big James Bond fan, I really like the idea of a spy thriller. However Bond is a solo character. He has supporting characters in M, Q, Felix and Moneypenny, but they don’t get the same camera time Bond does. And shared spotlight is important in role-playing. So this idea morphed from 60’s to the modern day and became a bit more like Mission Impossible or a mashup of RED and Burn Notice. The players are former intelligence agents burned by their former employers. After that it’s up in the air. Did they deserve the burning? What is bringing them back into action?

The prompt is good but I don’t have a good plot idea. I can fall back onto the tropes but I don’t think that’s where I’d like to explore at the moment. For this idea to work, I’d need to look for more inspiration and a plot outline that strikes me as interesting and fun.

Retired Adventurers

This story idea is mostly a vehicle for allowing high level play in Dungeons & Dragons. The players are characters that have long since retired from active adventuring. Their deeds are sung by bards. Their faces are known by even the most remote town. Their wealth was enough to buy large private spaces. They’ve spent the past decade (or more) enjoying the rewards of their service. But the apocalypse is here and it’s here to take everything that they treasure away. Now, the heroes must un-retire, unite the kingdoms and take on one last adventure to save the world.

I like this prompt a lot and it shouldn’t be difficult to design an apocalyptic threat worthy of drawing the characters back into the world. But this story brings me back to Dungeons & Dragons and I’m just not ready to return there yet. But this is an idea I’ll be keeping around.

Star Trek

One of my favorite settings. Space, futuristic society and technology, exploration, and teamwork. It has all the ingredients of a great TV show, which I find a lot of similarities in RPG storytelling. I doubt my ability to do the setting justice. And I’m just not sure my players would be interested. I know a few of them are fans, but enough that the setting would be compelling?

So it’s a setting prompt but not much beyond that. Perhaps waiting for next year’s Star Trek movie and the new TV series will ignite my imagination and help me come up with a plot that is fitting for a Trek-based game.

Star Wars

Another great science-fiction setting. And as Star Wars is more action oriented than Star Trek, probably a bit more fitting for my group. I think this one is a bit easier for me to get into because I don’t have the massive depth of knowledge that I do for Star Trek. I’m a fan but I haven’t consumed every possible piece of content that has been created.

I think it’d go over better with my players and it’s certainly boosted by Episode VII’s release in December. But, I’m currently playing in a Star Wars campaign and don’t think I’d enjoy running one simultaneously. Plus again, no plot ideas yet.

Lovecraftian Horror

While I’m not widely read in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, I have very much enjoyed playing Elder Sign and Eldritch Horror. I think my recent appreciation for the genre has grown from my brief time playing The Secret World and one of the recent D&D campaigns I was in. In addition, the few times I’ve run horror sessions in my D&D campaigns, I’ve found them to be some of my best work.

Fortunately, Lovecraftian Horror can work in any setting really and certainly could be paired with the Urban Fantasy idea below. But I feel like I’d need to spend some time reading up on Lovecraft before fully committing to a campaign like that. Also, I have concerns about Fate and horror, as Fate heroes are considered a cut above.

Superhero Team

My love of superheroes spans decades now. I fondly recall the days of the X-Men and the rise of the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises. Now we have the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While I haven’t read comicbooks until recently, the action has always captured my imagination. In addition, one of my favorite games, City of Heroes allowed me to be a superhero of my own design. I think I’d like to explore a street or small city scale story set in the MCU, like Daredevil or Jessica Jones.

The biggest strike against superheroes is that part of my group played Mutants & Masterminds with me a couple years ago. But this one is in contention for the top tier and I know a couple of my players would love it. But one of the players who would like it the most is taking a temporary hiatus. Might be best to shelve this one for a later date.

Urban Fantasy

Magic in the modern day. Obviously, The Dresden Files are a prime example but Constantine, Hellboy, and Buffy all present interesting takes. Could easily be combined with Lovecraftian Horror to give it more focus. But other than the setting, I don’t have any particular plot ideas that have stuck with me thus far.

Pulp Heroes

Early 20th Century adventuring. Heroes, villains and dungeons. Indiana Jones being the primary inspiration. It’s close enough to high fantasy that the transition would be hopefully smooth and comfortable. It also has a solid formula for a story that works. Granted it revolves around a Macguffin, but that is very much a in trope for the genre.

It doesn’t need a ton of planning, as the story can flow around travel and adventure centered on recovering the Macguffin. It’s a recently historical time that none of us lived through but everyone knows about. Stories set in this period are very action-oriented which seems like a natural fit for Fate.


After due consideration, I find the Pulp Heroes setting to be the best for my next story. It should provide a comfortable transition for the mechanics as the action will be very much like what you’d expect in Dungeons & Dragons. So, next time I’ll dig in to the resources I’m using and my preparation for this next campaign.

At the conclusion of last session, the GM awarded us all a skill point. It took a while to decide but eventually I settled on picking up Empathy at +1. I wasn’t super confident in this choice, but as a Jedi, it seemed appropriate. Being able to sense things about people should be useful. This was not the case, but that’s for later.

This session, we conclude the first story arc of the Star War campaign. The session opens with the remaining crew assembled in a small base in a canyon.1 Tarth Onasi, our rebel contact, has led us here after we freed him from the Imperial compound. We have a few challenges ahead of us:

  1. The U.S.S. Minnow needs a new coolant regulator to be space-worthy.2
  2. Our cargo, a couple dozen crates of proton torpedoes, are in Imperial hands
  3. There’s a blockade of the planet with three star destroyers

We don’t have much in the way of resources. There’s four of us, Phae, Cal, Cole and Liv.3 Plus two NPCs, Ulaa and Tarth. There’s the Minnow but it’s out for the count. We stole a lambda-class shuttle last time and we still have access to a swoop. Phae has some money and Tarth has some contacts. Cole has a gun and I have a lightsaber. We know there’s a custom XR-75 in the local Imperial hanger courtesy of our fallen companion. Cal believes that we can scrap it and grab the regulator. It’s not a perfect match but it’ll get us out of dodge. Fortunately, our stock of proton torpedoes is also likely at that location. The blockade will be troublesome but if we can’t even get our ship working, we won’t have to worry about the blockade. So we ignore that part and focus on the hanger.

Tarth can get someone to pick up the “abandoned” shuttle and get it into the hanger. There’s only four of us, and three of us are human. So we should be able to get in without issue. Once inside, we’ll locate the torpedoes and the XR-75. There’s likely another lambda in the hanger, so if we could steal it’s IFF codes, that be a nice bonus to try and break through the imperial blockade. Off we go.

Once inside the compound, we leave Cal behind on the shuttle to run some interference. We manage to locate the XR-75. Phae confirms the regulator will prove a decent, but temporary, replacement for the Minnow. Then she and Cole clear out the security systems Aquila left behind. Moving on from the impound lot, we locate the torpedoes. Unfortunately, our attempts to persuade the guard to let us through fail.

Phae acts quickly and squeeze off a shot into the glass, but it’s harmlessly absorbed and the alarms in the base go off. Cole breaks through the lock and Phae steps in and kills the guard. There’s a bunch of crates we load onto a repulsor lift and then we have a bit of a debate.

The compound has two walls that intersect in the middle of compound dividing it into quarters. At this point, we’re directly across from Cal and our shuttle. We’ve made plans for one of us to take the XR-75 and fly it out. But we could really use the IFF codes from the other shuttle. We can’t afford to run all the way around, so we’re going to blow open one of the walls. But we could set the charges in the middle and open up all four rooms at once. This could lead to bad things as we’re not certain how many imperials are in the unexplored room. Eventually, we settle on just blowing the wall to the impound lot and then gauging what we need to do next.

Phae sets the charge and we back away. But there’s not a lot of room to maneuver so the explosion messes with us a bit. Cole exchanges some gunfire with the two Imperials stationed in the impound lot while Phae sets up the next bomb. Originally, I was hoping to avoid breaking out the lightsaber again but we were in a bit of a crunch. So, Liv cut through another imperial. A few more show up and Liv cuts them down again. Phae opens up the wall again.

In the other room, Cal is powering up the shuttle for escape. He’s been helpful (and harmful) throughout our time in the compound. Shut of some cameras, locked some doors but also triggered some alarms. Cole pushes the repulsor lift filled with proton torpedoes towards the waiting Cal. But he gets absolutely rocked. A series of blasters fire upon him as he’s running and the blasts send him into a wall with a concussion. Cal manages to fire a few shots from the shuttle and opens the ramp for Cole who pushes the cargo on board and they head out to escape.

Just to make matters worse, two storm troopers arrive in the impound lot. These aren’t the movie storm troopers that can’t hit anything. These are guys that will make your day really, really bad. Liv has her glow stick of doom visible though and this is bad. Liv and Phae get onto the XR-75 and Phae pushes through to the cockpit to get it going. Liv deflects one of the shots from the trooper rifles, but the second one catches her pretty badly. In response, she force pushes one of them into the other and the ramp closes and the ship takes off.

We arrive at our makeshift base and strip the XR-75 for parts. Liv makes it very clear that they need to get off planet now. Two storm troopers have identified her lightsaber and that means the hunters will be coming soon. It takes a little to formulate a plan, but we decided to take the Minnow manned by Cal and Phae, the shuttle manned by Liv and Cole, and a pair of Z-95s manned by Ulaa and Tarth. The GM explains that the Z-95s are without astromechs, so they’ll be slaved to the Minnow for hyperspace jump. We capture the Z-95s without much issue, destroy a few towers and the other Z-95s to prevent pursuit.

Once off-planet, we find a group of six fighters, two bombers and two interceptors. We need to destroy the bombers to make sure we have enough time to jump. This is incredibly stressful. We engage the group hoping to take out the bombers quickly, but the long range makes it easy for them to avoid. Have the fighters and the two interceptors go for the Minnow, while the rest of the fighters head for the shuttle. The bombers both gain locks on the larger craft. Ulaa in her amazingly skilled piloting for a teenager manages to destroy the bomber locked on the Minnow. With my newly minted Pilot skill, I shake the lock from the other bomber.

Cal, a tactical genius, sends Tarth after the other bomber while the Minnow and the shuttle attack the fighters and interceptors. We manage to take a few out but the remaining bomber regains a lock on the shuttle that I’m unable to shake. Ulaa misses the bomber but Tarth saves the days. A few rounds have passed and we can see a second squadron coming in fast with more bombers. And so we bang on the consoles and prep for the jump. The fighters get in a few parting shots but the Minnow and the slaved Z-95s make the jump. Which leaves the shuttle with the interceptors and the second squadron coming in.

At this point the shuttle’s taken some hits though all of them have been absorbed by the shields. Cole manages to drop one of the remaining fighters. But then first interceptor strikes taking out the shuttle’s highest shield stress. That sucks but it’s not killer. And then the second interceptor fires hitting pretty hard also, but the shields absorb half the blow and the hull takes the rest. Fortunately, we’re locked in at this point and Liv hits the button and we jump out of there.

It’s a short jump. We check everything and then take a second longer jump. Tarth let’s everything settle down and explains that he’s got a new mission for us if we’re willing to accept. He needs us to get to the Mon Calamari homeworld and help them join the Rebellion. End scene.

Another good session and a nice wrap for the first story arc. I’m surprised at how well the GM juggles the NPCs. Especially having them interact with the group a lot. I know I tend to struggle when I have more than one NPC in the scene engaged with the PCs. I think his ability to give the NPCs distinct voices helps a lot. I just always feel foolish when I try different voices. But maybe I’ll give it a try in my next campaign.

  1. If you skipped the last recap, the bounty hunter died after some poor decisions and worse rolling. 
  2. Sorry Jen, I just can’t call it the CC Aqualove
  3. Cal A. Mon, the Mon Calamari. 

About a month or so ago, I realized that my current Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Time & Tide, was winding down. I was feeling creatively drained and done with fantasy role-playing and it was seeping out into my game mastering and the sessions and into my players.1 At the same time, I felt like I could keep game mastering if I started working with other ideas. I’ve spent considerable time examining my latest campaign and will likely be doing some posts on what worked and what didn’t. But for now, I’m preparing for my next campaign.

First, it was clear to me that a standard High Fantasy-based campaign was no longer in the cards for me to run. I love it and it’s certainly something I’ll continue to play in. But it’s not something I want to run right now. As a GM, I am very much a world builder and storyteller. But the stories I’ve wanted to tell haven’t been ones that make sense in a standard high fantasy world.

So my one thought storyline prompts for future campaigns:

  • Burned spies trying to get reactivated
  • Retired heroes stopping the apocalypse
  • Star Trek explorers
  • Star Wars rebels
  • Lovecraftian Horror
  • Superhero team-up
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Pulp Heroes

Now my next problem is that none of these can easily be played using the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. Ben used a session to send his group into a cyberpunk world using the D&D rules. Nothing broke per se, but it didn’t feel smooth. Sure, I could pull some of the stuff from the Dungeon Master’s Guide and I could house rule other parts. But that’s not a particularly elegant solution. So, that means we’ll be leaving D&D behind for a time.

Now, there are tons of RPG rulesets out there! Including systems that would cater well to each of these ideas. Spycraft, Star Trek, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Mutants and Masterminds, The Dresden Files. But changing systems every time I want to tell a new story is also inelegant. Learning new rules is time consuming. Even after a year of bi-weekly play, my group (and myself) still don’t have complete system mastery. In addition, buying new books2 every couple months is financially consuming. I love and willingly support the designers and makers of my hobby. But that doesn’t mean that every one of players can do the same. Not everyone is in a financially secure and stable point in their lives. Which means, whatever ruleset I recommend need to be flexible enough to support multiple types of games, cheap enough that it’s not a huge outlay for everyone, and simple enough that we don’t all stop playing and go running back to D&D.

Earlier this year, I ran a few sessions of Fate Accelerated Edition. I’m not 100% sure of how I heard of it, but it sounded interesting. The intent in picking up this system was to run an occasional session when the full D&D group couldn’t show up for whatever reason.3 I titled the campaign Code Chasers and it was a setup for a Matrix-based campaign. Players were red pills in the time between the first and second movies. Their primary directive was to gather resources for Zion. We had some great characters and great moments. I liked the streamlined approaches but in the end, I feel that the differences between FAE and D&D were just too much for my players to feel comfortable. Everyone felt weird constantly trying to describe things so that they could take advantage of their best approach. Everything felt a bit too nebulous, a bit too freeform.

So, that experience led me to Fate. Fate feels like a more rules-y based system. There is a wide selection of skills but the system is still flexible enough to fit into any genre. I also love the stress tracks. The fact that I can handle mental, physical, social combats exactly the same is amazing.4 It also makes the rules simple to learn. There’s only four actions, Attack, Overcome, Create an Advantage and Defend. There’s also only four results, Succeed with Style, Succeed, Succeed at a Cost, and Failure. But those actions and results (along with the skill system) give you a diverse set of things to do and things to happen. Also the dice mechanic is simple, roll the four dice, add the appropriate skill, compare the result. This never changes. You don’t roll more or less dice. Higher is always better. Your skill bonus doesn’t change.5

So, I’ve settled on using Fate for my next campaign. My recent experiences in a Star Wars-based Fate campaign has only reinforced my feeling that I’ve made the right decision. But I don’t know for sure yet. I can only hope it goes over well and that my players enjoy it. We’ll find out soon enough because we’re starting character creation in a few weeks and play will hopefully begin early next year.

  1. At the time I was running one D&D campaign and playing in three others. 
  2. Books that generally cost $20-$50 each. 
  3. Interestingly, I never ran it past the Memorial Day sessions. 
  4. While explaining this to one of my friends and players, I came up with a wealth stress track to use for a game of poker. 
  5. Except in the case of advancement. 

Before we get into the recap, I’d just like to take a moment to point out that you should always skip “International” trailers. I’m not sure why, but the international trailers always seem to reveal even more of the movie than the US domestic trailers. I bring this up because of the Star Wars international trailer release and the fact that my GM and I both agree on this point. So again, skip international trailers. Now onto the session recap!

We started the session back at our spaceship.1 Bringing Cal up to speed, we decide to head back into town, La Carra, to locate Tarth Onasi, the local Rebel recruiter. Ulaa, the Twi’lek teen hanging around, explains she’s met with Tarth before and offers up a location other than the bar we were to meet him at. We hop in the stolen militia speeder and head into town with everyone.2 Manage to pass the security checkpoint with some solid lying from Cole and a mind trick from Liv. Aquila decided to take one of the swoops into town separately.

We meet up at an old converted storage facility. We have some initial difficulty opening the door but manage to get in after a bit. Inside the building, there are crates, a small desk with incriminating papers. Aquila picks up on some blaster scorch marks around the door and finds a blaster clip that clearly likely belongs to militia members. There’s also a small pouch with an ID card and some credits.

At some point we picked up some tails and we’re able to get some information that Tarth was likely captured by the militia last night and taken to the Imperial compound outside of town. We formulate a plan that will involve Cole, Liv and Phae acting like militia members and bringing Aquila, Cal and Ulaa as prisoners.3 To do this we’ll need some black clothes. We radio Phae to see if she can acquire some. And then Liv, Cole and Aquila go to find some more.4

Earlier, Cal and Liv were unable to lose their tails. This worked to their advantage as Liv was able to distract a pair of militia men following her so that Cole and Aquila could get the drop on them. Worked perfectly both men were down before they knew what was happening. Disguises acquired, we headed off to the Imperial compound.

Arriving at the compound, we get a quick overview. The compound is a newer structure, hastily constructed. There’s a gate which is the only entry point and is flanked by two towers with sentries. Several buildings surrounding a landing pad where there’s currently a shuttle parked. We identify ourselves and our “cargo” and pass through the gate without issue. We park the speeder and get a lift to take the “unconscious” prisoners into the detention block.

Inside the commander center, we’re stopped by a secretary. After some brief identification and explanation about a dead radio, she explains that she’ll have to inform the station commander. We try to dissuade her but I ended up using some force points to get us past this scene.

Next, we arrive at the detention block. Guys inside ask us to swipe our ID cards. Fortunately, we picked a few of those up off the guys in town. They let us in. Two guards. One who gets up from his station to open up the cell. And one playing a game of sabacc. Liv moves over to the card player and chats him up a bit. The other guard opens the cell containing Tarth and everyone springs into action.

Cole gets the drop on the guard opening the cell and gets him into a fist fight by putting him into a headlock. Liv lifts and pushes the table towards the other guard but he gets out of the way quickly. I’m getting better at combat and after the first few misses, I start setting up maneuvers/advantages for the other characters. The camera in the room gets disabled and the guards are dropped but not before one of them triggers an alarm.

Cole hops on the intercom explaining that Tarth tried to attack the guards as they were trying to put in other prisoners but that everything is fine. But, a small group of guards are sent down anyways. We setup another ambush at the door. We mimic the procedure well, the doors slide open and another round of combat begins. Cal and Cole take some shots. Aquila and Liv finish off the two guards in front. The third guard turns and runs and starts screaming and everything goes to hell.

At this point, I’m out of Fate points and low on Force points. The GM asks if anyone has any aspects about running. Liv’s trouble is in fact, Always on the Run, which he compels, along with one of Aquila’s aspects. From my perspective, this was a great compel and one that I intentionally set up and prepared for. Liv is skittish. She’s a Jedi who’s been hiding and moving for most of her life. And her time spent with Cole, let’s her feel comfortable leaving him behind because he’s capable of handling himself. So as we execute this chase scene, Liv has to move the full distance she can cover by her Athletics checks. So, unfortunately for everyone else I roll high the entire time. Liv is out of the command center in like three rounds. Everyone else is lagging behind, Cole is trying to keep the rest of the group together while Cal struggles running at all.

So, Liv tears out of the command center and into the open compound. The GM had thought we would leave the same way we arrived. But ever since he mentioned the shuttle and four Z-95s, Liv had other ideas. She surveys the field but she’s moved so fast nobody suspects much from her. She darts onto the shuttle and starts firing it up. But some poor fool thinks he should check out what this chick is doing on the shuttle. Poor guy never stood a chance. He boards the shuttle and asks her what she’s doing. She flies out of her seat, ignites her lightsaber, slices him in half, powers down the lightsaber and clips it on her belt before he realizes he’s dead.

Returning to priming the shuttle for departure, the rest of her companions start to make it out of the command center. Phae kicks Liv aside to get the ship going. So she heads back to the ramp to check on the others. Cal has kick half of the severed body off the ramp and onto the ground. This is bad for Liv (and the rest of the party). Liv has been very careful not to leave survivors or evidence of her Jedi-ness. A nicely cauterized, half of a body in the middle of an imeperial compound is going to give that away.

Meanwhile, Cole, Tarth and Aquila finally get out of the command center. Aquila sees the Z-95s and makes a dash for them. Tarth has taken a beating and is slowed a lot at this point. The compound is coming alive, blaster bolts flying all over the place. Aquila takes a few shots as does Tarth. Deciding that the enemy fire is too much, Aquila turns around to head towards the shuttle but she’s got some distance to cover. Seeing that Cole and Tarth are going to make it to the ramp but it’ll be a few seconds, Liv decides to jump down and pull the other half of the body up to cover her tracks.

A brief aside about Fate points and compels before we continue. Fate points are the currency of doing cooler things or helping your success rate. Compels are ways to earn more fate points. Players can refuse compels if they seem out of line or the player just doesn’t want to deal with the new obstacles by paying the GM one of their Fate points to drop the compel. Above, the GM compelled some aspects that referenced running and made the chase more interesting. Two of the characters won’t stop and wait up for the rest. Cool. I, and Aquila, were out of Fate points so we had to accept the compels. But I would have accepted it anyways. Liv running out on the group would make things more difficult but not to the point where failure was guaranteed. Now back to the scene.

And this is where it gets worse. Liv, Phae, Cal and Ulaa are on the shuttle. Tarth and Cole are close. The compound is firing blasters all over the place, even a pair of stormtroopers are activating. Aquila’s already absorbed a moderate consequence and some stress. The GM does a quick Fate point check. I’ve got one, Aquila has one, everyone else is tapped out.

The GM offers a compel to Aquila, she won’t make it to the shuttle this round. Ouch. Now, this will complicate things for the party, we have to wait around another turn and deal with another volley of blasters. Tarth, Liv, Cole and Aquila are the only targets. Liv and Cole can absorb some shots but Tarth and Aquila are beaten up pretty bad. Plus, Aquila’s detour to the Z-95s has put her in another zone that will take an entirely different volley.

Aquila accepts the compel and dooms herself. I’ll reiterate that she could have refused the compel because she was sitting on a Fate point. Now, refusing the compel could have still led to the same conclusion we’re heading towards, but it would have involved one less blaster volley focused solely on her. The first volley goes. A few hits get spread out but everyone’s fine. Aquila closes the distance but takes a mild consequence. One more turn and she’ll be on the ship and we can get out of here before the Z-95s even get primed.

But the dice gods can be cruel. Or maybe they’re just vengeful. The final blaster volley fires upon Aquila. Three bolts will be close enough to warrant defense rolls.

Aquila’s first defense roll… [-] [-] [-] [-]. She spends one of her two Fate points to get a re-roll. [-] [-] [-]. Yikes. Somehow, some way, the first shot is off-course and Aquila manages to duck out of the way.

Second defense roll. [-] [-]. She again spends a Fate point getting it to a zero. But the shot connects filling up all of her physical stress boxes.

Final defense roll. [-] [-] [-] [-]. Down she goes.5

The ramp closes and the shuttle takes off. I ask to reach out using my force sensitivity to see if Aquila’s alive. The GM compels Liv’s Ice Queen aspect to prevent it. The Fate point won’t help because we’re just about wrapped up. But I accept the compel anyways as I feel the mystery off Aquila’s status is more interesting narratively.

Cal finally learns how to pilot a ship and we escape the rest of the blaster fire and the compound before they can get much going and we end the session.

The GM rewards us with a skill point. But we all can’t stop talking about Aquila’s death.6 It was a combination of poor decisions and bad rolls. But I feel as if it was entirely avoidable. Or at least, there were several decision points that could have led to a greater chance of a positive outcome. Regardless, the session was a blast. I’m getting better at the combat system and I’m feeling more comfortable with Liv as a character and her aspects. We’ve tagged most of them at this point through the three sessions.7

Overall, I’m really digging Fate. The pacing, narrative sequences and action are fun. I need to work on understanding my Force powers a bit better and work out some ideas on character growth for Liv. But I’m happy with where she is. My comprehension of the rules is getting pretty solid and my mastery of combat is getting better. I do think I need to work on getting better at describing my actions instead of describing my skills. But that’s mostly a comfort thing and since I’ve only played a grand total of three sessions, I’m willing to give myself some time to adjust.

  1. Previously the USS Minnow, now apparently the CC Aqualove
  2. Phae’s player was absent this week, but we needed her character to come along this time. 
  3. Solid plan to get in. Not so great for getting out. 
  4. There was a bit of miscommunication between the players and GM. We thought we needed to have helmets as part of the militia uniform. We didn’t. So we could’ve skipped this next part. 
  5. Besides refusing the compel, she could have possibly conceded. But that likely would’ve ended up in prison or death. I can’t remember if she could have taken a severe consequence or not. 
  6. We suspect she’s dead but get official confirmation at my birthday party on Saturday. 
  7. We haven’t used her gear aspect, Holobook from the Jedi Archives, or her background, Living on the Edge. The gear I intend on keeping. I may switch out the background. 

Another good session in the books. We’re still getting used to all of the mechanics. The GM is carefully setting up a bunch of different scenes so we can get used to all of it. I’m getting a better handle on my force powers. They’re pretty nebulous because they were all created by the GM. And while I’m familiar with the Star Wars universe, I don’t have the same in-depth knowledge that the GM and some of the other players have. So, I don’t always think about using my force powers to do stuff. That being said, I spent all of my Force points and all of my Fate points. I needed all of it but it worked out.

Oltar1, the Twi’lek mayor of Katrial has driven the group into town in a speeder. The imperial checkpoint involved a bit of Force to distract them. Oltar agrees to take Cal back to the USS Minnow while the rest of us go into La Carra.2 Our first stop is a bar called Mother’s Milk. Cole and Phae interview the bartender while Aquila distracts the local militia members in her own unique way.3 Liv kept an eye on Aquila just in case.

This led us to another bar, Skree for Skree? We met a red skinned Twi’lek, Phyzeek. He gave us a fair amount of information on where we might find Ulaa and sold us a pair of speeders. Ulaa was going to be shipped to spaceport in a speeder convoy that left an hour before dusk from the city.

We decided to setup an ambush. Aquila setup a sniper’s nest above the canyon while Liv and Cole were on a speeder and Phae was on the other. Unfortunately, there were four swoops and two speeders which negated Aquila’s position. We had to leave her behind as we pursued the convoy.

Liv really got a chance to shine in this scene. Riding with Cole, she force leapt to one of the enclosed speeders, cut through the roof with her lightsaber and peeked inside to find it filled with militia. Phae and Cole started shooting down the swoops and Liv leapt back to Cole’s speeder. Moving forward, she had to leap again to the other speeder. This time she started slicing off parts of the speeder itself without opening it up. Eventually, just before the point of no return, Liv managed to down the speeder and get the militia to surrender, rescuing Ulaa.

This was a tough battle for me and Liv. I used up every remaining Force point and all of my Fate points to keep the cinematics going. Liv was almost taken out of the fight but managed to stay upright but at the cost of a moderate consequence (hamstrung). It was a good fight but we were down two players that probably would have helped out significantly. But I like that the GM rolled with it and kept the encounter difficulty amped up.

The girl didn’t want to return to her father, but we didn’t have a good way of getting back into the city with her. So we returned to the USS Minnow to meet up with Cal and Oltar. We offered to take Ulaa with us if she helps us get off the planet.

  1. I’m not 100% on the spelling of any of these names. 
  2. Cal’s player, Jen, was away in Clearwater with my fiancĂ©e for wedding things. 
  3. Aquila wanted to see if there were any bounties. The militia just wanted to use her body. Got resolved when they started negotiating price. 

On Friday, I participated in my first session as a player in a Fate campaign and it was a mostly positive experience. Game system-wise, I learned a lot just from the two combats we were in. The mechanics are simple enough to master with just a few sessions. Still have a bit to go with the tactics but I’m starting to understand them from a GM perspective.

I think the transition from Dungeons and Dragons to Fate is smoother than the one from D&D to Fate Accelerated. While I enjoyed FAE, I think the skill system of Fate just feels more natural than FAE’s approaches. After playing on Friday, I think this using Fate instead of FAE will be good for my Time and Tide Campaign group. When we experimented with FAE on Memorial Day, it was good and fun, just difficult to adjust to, especially for a single session.

We started en route to the Twi’lek homeworld.1 We’re dropping of a cargo shipment of photon torpedoes for the Rebellion to one of Phae’s contacts, Tarth Onasi. As we’re preparing to exit hyperspace, Liv gets a bad feeling. Cole and her hop onto the turrets while Cal and Phae pilot the ship. We exit to find a star destroyer that hails us. We end up in a dogfight and two other star destroyers are closing to cut off our escape. Cole and Liv manage to take out both bombers and two of the six TIE fighters while getting beat up. Phae keeps bringing the shields up but it’s not enough. Our ship gets mauled and we’re forced down onto the surface.2

This hot and dusty planet is immediately hostile. We gather what supplies we can and head away from the crash site before reinforcements show up. During our trek, a gang of hunters show up and drop our team pretty quickly, but not before Cole manages to blast one of them dead.3 The two speeders we’re imprisoned in get ambushed by the local militia. The speeder without us keeps right on going while our’s hits a mine in the road. With the other hostile killed in the mine explosion, Aquila joins our group and we escape the ambush site before the militia can get down into the canyon.

We arrive at a small farming town, Katrial. The Twi’lek leader hides us from the militia and feeds the group before offering us assistance. He asks us to search for his daughter while we’re in town. We agree and head into town the next morning.

We need to get our ship fixed, or acquire a new one. Make contact with Tarth and find a way to run the imperial blockade comprised of three star destroyers. We’re in trouble.

The odds were a bit overwhelming and it led to a feeling a bit of a railroad but that’s okay. The GM has two (maybe three) new players to Fate and one of those players is new to role-playing games altogether. He’s doing a good job of trying to cover all the basic mechanics and get the group assembled. I have some concerns about Aquila just not being on the same page as the rest of the characters. I was also careful to make sure I didn’t reveal Liv’s force power just yet. But to maximize her effectiveness, I’ll definitely need to lean on her lightsaber, force powers and Fate points.

I’m also hoping to write one of these recaps a few days after every time we play.

  1. We being Liv, Cal, Cole and Phae. 
  2. Affectionately, and temporarily, named the USS Minnow
  3. Aquila is among their forces. 

I’m excited! Towards the end of last month, we wrapped up a story arc in a D&D campaign run by one of my friends. It was a pretty straight-forward dungeon crawl setup and I appreciated that. Pretty different from the other games I’m participating in. That said, I was glad for it to wrap up. I’m just doing a few too many D&D campaigns at the moment between that one (which was every Wednesday), Polite Company (every other Monday), Midnight Oil (every other Thursday) and Time and Tide (every other Sunday).

With Amber dropping and Jen adding, it gave us a chance to consider playing something other than Jesse’s D&D campaign. He suggested Star Wars. I’ve seen the beautiful Star Wars by Fantasy Flight Games in the comic stores and always wanted to play. I spent a few days perusing them and read a bookmarked review from the Alexandrian which came to the same conclusion that I did. The dice mechanic of FFG’s Star Wars is too complex. I shared these with Jesse and he opted to play a Fate-based Star Wars game.

We did some basic character creation a few weeks ago and submitted our backgrounds on Friday. We settled on a Rebellion Era game. I’m playing Olivia ‘Liv’ Eclipse, a Jedi Knight who currently works as a smuggler for the Rebellion. Yesterday, Jesse and I went over the Force powers and such.

Liv travels with Cole, her good friend and smuggling partner for the last decade; Cal, a Mon Calamari pilot; Phae, an weapons industrialist scion; and Aquila, a freelancing bounty hunter.

I’m kind of surprised no one else wanted to play a Jedi, or even a force sensitive character. At the same time, I’m glad that I’ll get to shine in that area but that we’re a fairly balanced party. It seems like we may have some difficulty with Aquila, who’s a bounty hunter and doesn’t have the same strong connections that the rest of the characters do.