So I finally got my wife to give Fate a try with me, using the lure of reviving her favorite character ever, Scarlet VonRosen, the flamboyant, fast-talking, swashbuckling she-pirate. I decided to use Gaedren Lamm and his waterfront headquarters from Pathfinder’s adventure Edge of Anarchy. This was mainly because I was rushed to whip something together very quickly, and I didn’t really have time to build anything fancier, not to mention that I tend to feel overwhelmed by world-building. I might be able to engage my wife in collaborative world-building (which she’s actually really good at…) later when she’s more invested in the system, but this session was all about convincing her that she would, in fact, enjoy this Fate thing I keep talking about. This will be part adventure journal entry, part reflection. I hope at least one of those parts is interesting to you.
It played fast, almost too fast for me to manage, to be honest. I realized that I had the same “hanging on by the skin of my teeth” feeling during my Night of the Ghoul scenario, so it wasn’t particular to just this session. I need to slow down just a little and keep my bearings. Things were extremely heroic and exciting, and my wife seemed very satisfied with her heroine, so I guess it was a victory from that standpoint. In my rush to keep things moving, I totally missed some stuff, both mechanically and in terms of obstacles and opportunities.
So here’s the part where I beat myself up over stuff I need to do better:
I didn’t pay good attention to opportunities for compels, so I don’t think she really got a feeling for the Fate Point economy. I didn’t throw nearly enough complication or drama in her way. She got a clear understanding of how Attack/Defend actions work, but I never got to actually land a hit on her, and any attacks she made were effective enough to remove opponents outright. So we didn’t really get into stress and consequences at all. Pretty much everything else was a simple Overcome or a contest, so I didn’t really showcase Create Advantage other than the single instance of the thug grappling her. So next time we play, I really want to make a point of clearly illustrating how those things work. Finally, in retrospect I really could have handled her social sparring as conflicts with stress being inflicted.
So I guess it’s not so bad that I was able to have a very fun and exciting first session where we covered some of the core elements, and my player is excited to play again. If I can ensure that next session introduces those other elements, I’ll feel a lot better. If you’re running your first game soon, those are a few pitfalls to keep in mind.
Scarlet Gets Herself into Trouble
Scarlet spent the next day casing Gaedren Lamm’s headquarters, watching people come and go through the day, until she had a sense of what she might be dealing with. She then proceeded to do something I totally did not expect. She went up to the front door, and KNOCKED! She then proceeds to socially overwhelm the poor brute answering the door with some story about her being Gaedren’s cousin (she took to calling him “Gaedy”, it was great!). It was two-parts fast talk, one part bulldozer. The poor sucker didn’t have a chance, and proceeded to escort her right to the crime boss himself!
When she got face to face with Gaedren, she kept the act up, kept insisting that she was Gaedren’s cousin right to his face, which had the scrawny old cuss almost as confused as his thug. He wasn’t buying it for one second though, and ordered the thug to grab her. He grabbed hold of her, and she proceeded to kick him in the balls. Some other goons came to his aid, but not before she quickly rushed Gaedren, stuffed a handkerchief in his mouth, and straddled him on his crime-lord power-chair (which he’d been sitting in this whole time) with a concealed knife at his throat. His pathetic attempts to buck her off just looked like pelvic thrusts to the goons who proceeded to rush in only to see them apparently up to some “naughty business,” and left them alone (dragging the one she kicked out with them). She then got off, and started offering Lamm a “business arrangement” to which his response was to quickly grab a knife stowed in his drawer and throw it at her, which she deflected with her cutlass, knocking it into the water hole in the center of Gaedran’s office. He then made a dash for the door, but she beat him there, and thumped him hard on the back of the head with her pommel, knocking him out (spending a fate point to push the stress way up).
She then trussed him up, dangling him from the chain over the water hole in his office where he often does the same to prisoners (letting his pet crocodile swimming below terrorize them). She then found his chambers, busted open the footlocker in there, and found what she was looking for. She took the loot, and escaped onto an outdoor walkway leading back up to the street level. Before she could reach the street, Gaedren’s lieutenant, Yargin, blocked her way and was ready for a fight. She managed to strike a fearsome dueling pose, and convince him that he really didn’t want to tangle with her.
So she got away with the loot, the carved skull in particular, without spilling a drop of blood! She was pretty proud of that.
Here are some threads that I can use going forward:
- She waltzed right into the headquarters of a very dangerous crime lord, and humiliated him. Gaedren and his crew are all still alive, and have good reason to come after her for revenge.
- She now has the skull-map. With it she can draw a crew and a ship (not her own…)
- She now has the skull-map. Surely some other party would be interested in taking it from her.
- She also picked up a Harrow deck in the loot, which I might decide is haunted by it’s owner’s spirit (exactly as is done during the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path).
- She is an infamous pirate, so surely some lawman would love to arrest her.
- She lost her old ship when her crew mutinied, so it would be awfully interesting to run into some of her old crew.
Also – I’m kind of operating on the assumption that she is currently in Korvosa, in the Golarion setting, but I haven’t actually said anything to nail that down, so if I want to snag another location, I still could very easily.
I hope this was enjoyable, and I welcome any thoughts or suggestions.