The Third Horsemen: Final Thoughts on the Dystopian Universe Beta

Disclaimer: This post concerns the beta version of an unreleased game. The commentary below may not reflect the contents of the game’s released version.

Evil Hat’s Dystopian Universe beta is now closed, and the last of my feedback is submitted. Bound as I am by “disclosure pledge” obligations, it’d be remiss of me not to conclude our campaign story, and provide one final bit of feedback. Continue reading

The Third Horseman: Initial Feedback for the Dystopian Universe Beta

Disclaimer: This post concerns the beta version of an unreleased game. The commentary below may not reflect the contents of the game’s released version.

A tsunami of post-it notes. That’s my stand-out memory from the first two sessions of the Dystopian Universe RPG. One of the players (or more than one, or less than one MAYBE I’M BLUFFING) ended up with a secret that required them to pass on notes to the GM, and I guess everyone wanted in on the act. Continue reading

Dystopian Universe Beta: Character Generation

Disclaimer: This post concerns the beta version of an unreleased game. The commentary below may not reflect the contents of the game’s released version.

Last week we had our character creation session for the Dystopian Universe RPG. Whilst we were missing a player, that didn’t prevent us cracking on with a systems overview and setting generation. Our fifth player, a Fate veteran, didn’t require quite the same level of education, and has now mostly confirmed what his character is going to be too. 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

Person of Interest: A Fate Core Hack

A year and a half ago, I had an upsetting breakup, and got over it by crashing my friends’ house every few days whilst they breezed through Person of Interest. I couldn’t honestly call myself a fan of the show – I’ve seen no more than a dozen or so episodes, and have never felt motivated to go back and watch the rest. But I enjoyed it, and felt that the show was formulaic enough that I got the gist of what it was about. Well enough to half-arse a Fate adaptation anyway. Continue reading

2015 in Review: My Hobby

Last time I wrote about the RPG campaigns I played in this year (with an unflattering spotlight on Dungeons and Dragons), along with the conventions I attended, the gaming brunches I ate at, and the blog I’m currently writing for.

Today I’m aiming for something a bit less egotistical, with a review of 2015 for the roleplaying hobby as a whole. Though it might just be the bits of the hobby that I find interesting. My ego can’t be contained. Continue reading

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

Part 5 of the Ferrymen series, a long running home campaign adapting Diaspora to Fate Core.

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