Ferrymen: Galactic Factions Redux

A couple of years ago, I sat down with the players in my ongoing hard sci-fi Fate game Ferrymen, and agreed on a direction that we wanted to take the campaign going forwards. The players all agreed that after thirty-odd sessions of building contacts and making a name for themselves, it was time for their actions to start counting on a galactic political stage. I put together a ruleset for controlling galactic factions and waging political conflicts, which can still be reviewed here.

Since then, we’ve played enough games with those rules in play that I have a good understanding of their limitations. Continue reading

“This Goes Right When…”: Philosophy of Aspect Invocation in Fate

Fate is one of my all-time favourite RPG systems, but after a hundred or so games, there are plenty of things I’ve learned to dislike. Perhaps the thing I dislike about GM’ing it the most is how often you’re required to say “No” to players. There are so many calls to be made in Fate – stunt balance, compel penalties, the legitimacy of invoking an aspect – that the book gives a little guidance for, but mostly leaves for each gaming group to work out on their own. And whilst table consensus is usually the best way to make those calls, the players have a conflict of interest, because they always want their characters to be awesome. That pitches the GM into the position of naysayer, if any semblance of balance is to be preserved.

Antagonistic GM’ing isn’t my thing. I’d far rather manage storytelling collaboratively. So rather than shutting down players with a “No” over and over again, I’d far rather teach them how to get me to say “Yes” – to approach the distinct elements of Fate with the same mindset that I do. That way, everyone is on the same page, which makes telling a story together that much easier. Continue reading

Ferrymen: Attack on C5 (and other heists in Fate)

Been busy recently – partially with some exciting RPG stuff I unfortunately can’t talk about right now – so today’s Ferrymen post is long overdue. My subject is the player party’s break-in to the Carthaginian Consultancy’s fortified headquarters, a dramatic set-piece from the end of our last arc, that had been foreshadowed from literally the first session of the game.

Undoubtedly, the impact of this moment was derived from the shared history of the player party leading up to the encounter. But the mechanics used to evoke the unique challenges of the heist played their part, I think, and a lot of that could be equally applicable to any GM preparing a heist or similar set-piece for a Fate game. What follows is partly mechanics, partly GM advice, but mostly just extrapolation of material from Fate Core. I hope that having it all in one place will nonetheless be a useful reference. Continue reading

Ferrymen: Factions and Factional Conflicts

Over the last three dozen sessions of Ferrymen, the crew of The Erebus (aka the player party) have repeatedly run up against the legislative dominion of the Carthage system – the sole manufacturers of FTL “slipstream drives”, who limit this precious technology to those who pay tribute and abide their trading regulations.

From the harsh taxes that drive business owners into criminality, to the ruthless eradication of “piratical elements”, to the spies of the Carthaginian Consultancy that reside on every slipstreaming vessel… it’s difficult for the crew to escape the evidence of Carthage’s misdeeds. Continue reading

Ferrymen: Combat Interfacers in Space Conflicts

Previously in the Ferrymen series, I provided our rules for spaceship conflict in Fate Core, and promised it would be followed up with rules for interface vehicles – smaller spaceships that are used for conveyance between spaceships and planetary surfaces.

The first thing to do when imagining the function of interface vehicles in Ferrymen is to dispel all notions of Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica from your mind. Continue reading

Ferrymen: Spaceships and Space Conflicts

Last time I talked about my “Ferrymen” campaign, I teased the release of our spaceship combat rules, which I created following our translation from Diaspora to Fate Core.

These rules are designed to encompass the elements of Diaspora that resonated with us and had become the most essential parts of our setting, whilst we also embraced the stripped-out, streamlined ethos of Fate Core. Continue reading