Monthly Archives: January 2014

Chupakabara

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This abomination, based on the Chupacabra, is a small gray or brown creature with a vaguely monkey-like appearance, a large head, long arms, and short legs. Its hands and feet end in vicious claws, and it has a round mouth filled with jagged teeth.

I converted this monster from the Deadlands Reloaded Marshals Guide. It is intended to challenge a party of 3 starting Fate PC’s. 

 

Chupakabara

Chupakabara

“Bloodthirsty Chupakabara” “Small Nocturnal Ambusher” “Too Fast to See” “Frenzied Whirlwind of tooth & Claw”

Skills

Fighting +4
Fearsome +3
Stealth +4
Athletics +3

Stunts

Frenzied Whirlwind – Gain a +2 to Fighting Attack without moving and target two or more targets
Blurred Movement – Gain a +2 to Athletic Defense if moved one zone this exchange
Fearsome Screech – Can make Fearsome Create Advantage rolls against all targets in the same zone without splitting shifts.

Stress: 3

Consequences: Mild & Moderate


Deadlands Fate – Session 3

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This play session was recorded and you can listen to it at theRPGAcademy.com. It was broken up over two episodes.

Episode 3 – The Quick and the Left for Dead

Episode 4 – Dances with Chupacabra

What Happened?

This session began right where the previous had left off, with our three heroes having just jumped off the train. Introductions finally occurred, but Jonah & Sebastian did not divulge the details about Sebastian’s fugitive situation to Martin. We got the beginnngs of a conflict between Martin’s spirtuality, and Jonah’s “I blame God” baggage, which continued to grow throughout the session.

They knew that there was nothing anywhere nearby along the rail to either the East or West, but that if they headed south a few days travel through the Arizona desert they could get to several places. They knew that they were not equipped at all for this expedition, and that the desert would present a dangerous trek.

At this point I explained to them how we would be handling the desert trek mechanically, so that they could weigh their options. The main point to understand was that it was dangerous to travel at the peak of day, and while the night was least lethal, progress and foraging would be difficult. See below for the full write-up on the Arizona Desert.

They chose to follow the train tracks back just a little ways to see if they could possibly find the horses that the Apache raiders had abandoned when they attacked the train. This took them into the evening, without the possibility of making any prrogress (since they were going the wrong way!)  but with the hope of the horses giving them a significant advantage in the conflict. When it got dark, Jonah, being a “City Slicker” had had enough travelling, and made camp for them, while Sebastian and Martin kept looking for the horses. Martin was able to Create Advantage using his Mysticism to call the horses to them. Once the two horses came, Sebastian pulled a jerk move and hopped on one and promptly rode away into the night. Martin, not knowing that Jonah had arrrested him, was surprised, but thought it mostly inconsiderate. We all agreed that this would be an excellent compel for him to get pathetically lost in the dark and wind up going in a circle and ending up back in camp. He made up story that he rode off to lead some critter away from Martin. Between their various interactions, Martin now thinks that Sebastian is a fabulous fellow, and there is some tension between Martin and Jonah’s views on spirituality.

In the night, the group was attacked by a fierce desert monster called a Cupakabara (see this write-up for the full stats). The fight was fast and fierce. I had a rough time knowing how hard to make the monster to challenge the group of 3 PC’s. It actually ended up conceding before it could do too much damage. Had it just been an encounter on it’s own, without the combined pressure from the desert, it wouldn’t have been terribly meaningful, but in that context it worked pretty well. I think it also did a good job of enforcing the predatory and exotic nature of the desert. Coincidentally, it also corroborated Sebastian’s story about leading away a dangerous critter from Martin when they were getting the horses. Between their various interactions, Martin now thinks that Sebastian is a fabulous fellow, and there is some tension between Martin and Jonah’s views on spirituality.

They continued their trek through the wilderness, opting to travel for the morning, taking shelter and resting midday, then travelling for the evening and into the first phase of night, then resting again for the rest of night. To try and keep things from stagnating, I declared that they couldn’t repeat the same combination of Approach and Ability in from one exchange to the next. This resulted in some good creative problem solving as they came up with ways to shuffle their various Approaches and Abilities for best results. Their power combo was Martin being Carefully Mystic to Create Advantage to create a bonus for travel (since he had a stunt that spoke to this), and Jonah being Carefully Athletic to make the actual travel progress roll (since he had a stunt that spoke to this). They had to manage when they used different A&A combinations to ensure they could use this potent combo during their travel phases. This occasionally resulted in some situations that were somewhat questionable, but ultimately entertaining, like Sebastian using his Social Ability to “warm” everyone’s spirits against the cold night.

As we got on into the second and third day, I started throwing pumping Fate Points into the desert to up the ante. For example – I invoked the desert’s “Prairie Storms” aspect to intensify the challenge. The conflict took it’s toll, and by the time they finally “took out” the desert, every single player had at least one Consequence of some kind, and they were really sweating. But, they persevered, and a settlement appeared in the distance, to everyone’s relief.

How Did It Work?

The Fractaled Desert

Narratively, I wanted this session to focus on them working their way through the punishing desert, like a montage scene in a movie. At first, I was going to run it as a challenge, but I really wanted the desert to grind them down, with a real risk of being “taken out” by the trial. Then I had another idea, thanks to the awesomeness that is the Fate Core Google+ Community. Making use of the “Bronze Rule of Fate,” (aka- the Fate Fractal) I built the Arizona Desert as a fully statted-out opponent. I treated the whole trek as an extended conflict against the desert. Intead of a violent conflict, this was a conflict about survival skills and endurance. The Travel Progress checks, which would normally be Overcome checks, would now be “Attacks,” in that any shifts in excess of the Desert’s active resistance would deal stress on the Travel Stress track. It was one long, ongoing scene, so the stress from any fights during the trek would not recover until the conflict with the desert was resolved. If they were taken out by the desert, they would be at my mercy, which I had a plan for, but if they successfully “beat” the desert, it would fade into the background and no longer present a major obstacle.
In retrospect, I could have done without the Hunger & Thirst attempt to Create Advantage each round. It ended up just generally complicating things, and I don’t think it added much in return. While I do think it was valuable tactically, it definitely added a level of complication that I’m not really convinced was worth it.
One thing that was interesting was that this session highlighted the difference between Teamwork and Create Advantage. Teamwork only adds a +1, but it’s a guaranteed +1. While Create Advantage is potentially much more beneficial, it is by no means guaranteed.

I really like how this all played out. My only complaint would be that towards the end the selection and rotation of Approaches & Abilities got a little more mechanistic, and a bit less narrative. I stopped pushing for detailed explanations of what they were actually doing. Part of this was that we were very pressed for time towards the end and needed to wrap up quickly, so we started cutting corners, but also just because I got lazy. Nonetheless, it created a very interesting tactical challenge, I got to explore some interesting new angles in the Fate system, and everyone had fun with it, so I’d say it was a victory!

The Arizona Desert

“Mercilessly scorching Desert”  “Stark rocky cliffs”  “Scrubby vegetation”  “Terrible things stalk the night”  “Praerie Storms”

Skills
Climate +3 (Attack)
Hunger & Thirst +3 (Create Advantage)
Travel Progress +3 (Defend)

Stunts

Scorching Days, Exposed Nights – During the peak of the day (Travel phase 2) gain a +2 to Climate Attacks (total of +5), and -2 during night time (Travel phase 4 & 5) (Total of +1)

Dark Night – Due to the intense dark, it is difficult safely travel at night, as well as to forage for food or water. During the night time (Travel phase 4 & 5) gain a +2 to Travel Progress “Defense” and Hunger & Thirst Create Advantage (total of +5 each).

Travel Stress [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Each day consists of five phases. Each phase will be an exchange in the conflict with the Desert.
1 – Morning
2 – Midday
3 – Evening
4 – Late Night
5 – Early Morning

Rules of Conflict

The party must rest at least 2 phases per day. During each phase, the Desert makes a Climate attack against all members of the party individually. In order to make progress, the party must make Travel Progress “Attacks” against the Desert. The Desert makes a single Hunger & Thirst attempt to Create Advantage against the group as a whole (single Defense roll for the group) only during the phases in which the party is active. The same members cannot contribute to both the Travel Progress attack, and the Hunger & Thirst active resistance, they must choose which they will contribute to.

If you use one combination of an Approach & Ability in a particular round, you may not use that same combination for the same action type in the following round. For example, if I used Cleverly Skilled to make a Travel Progress Attack this round, I could not do the same thing next round. I could, however, make a Carefully Skilled Progress Attack.

-Razorstorm


Deadlands Fate – Jonah Augustus

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

Jonah is one of the PC’s in our Deadlands Fate game.

Jonah Augustus

Jonah Augustus

High Concept: Gentleman Bounty Hunter
Trouble: City Slicker
I don’t take orders anymore!
I knew you would do that
I blame God
Approaches
Careful +1
Clever +2
Flashy
Forceful +1
Quick
Sneaky
Abilities
Athletic +1
Combative
Influential
Skilled +2
Social +1
Stunts

Because I was a sharpshooter in the Army, I can make a Skilled shot with my rifle when shooting from a distance

Because I am so trained at social interaction and predicting how people will act, I get a +2 when I make a Clever Social interaction to create an advantage.

Because I knew you would do that, I can spend a Fate Point to to take an NPC’s invokes for myself and deny them ability to make any further invokes themselves.

Because I was an Army scout, I get a +2 in physical activity when I Carefully Athleticly Overcome Obstacles.

Refresh: 2


Deadlands Fate – Sebastian Kane

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This is one of the PC’s from our Deadlands Fate game. I’m aware that he has an extra Aspect than normal.

Sebastian Kane

Sebastien Kane

High Concept: Silver Tongued Rascal
Trouble: I was Framed! (in Kansas City)
I “owe” the Witchita Witches
I’m worth more alive than dead
I’m faster than the other guy
Living the Saloon Life

Approaches

Careful
Clever +1
Flashy +1
Forceful
Quick +2
Sneaky

Abilities

Athletic
Combative +1
Influential
Skilled +1
Social +2

Stunts

Because I am a Silver Tongued Rascal I get a +2 to Sneakily Social Overcome Rolls.

Because I am faster than the other guy I get a +4 Quick Combat roll on the first action of each fight. Also, If I do lose initiative, I can trade this +4 in and go first instead.

Because I live the Saloon Life I can spend a fate point to ensure the assistance of any neutral or friendly female NPC’s

Refresh: 3

Stress: 3


Deadlands Fate – Simple Zombies

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This is the standard zombie I’m using in my Deadlands Fate game. I don’t want to reveal their cause yet, but they are very much styled on Walking Dead style zombies. They are meant to be easy to handle, unless they gang up on you. I may make them tougher down the line, if I need, but for now, they are doing their job in this simple form.

deadland_zombies_by_drstein-d4ilmuz

Zombies

Shambling Corpse
Ravenous Appetite
Scent for Blood

Good at: Tracking by smell (+1), Biting (+1)

-Razorstorm


Deadlands Fate – Session 2

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

We played the second session of our Deadlands Fate game right before the holidays. The recorded podcast of our session is up at theRPGAcademy.com.

Episode 2 – “The Good, the Bad, and the Zombie”

What Happened?

We jumped in right in where we left off the last time, with the dead train passengers rising from the dead. Martine fled from the zombie in his car, shutting him behind a door. He then moved through the train back towards the conductor’s car, where Jonah and Sebastian were. He reached a passenger car and saw the same scene of carnage that the others saw in the passengar car near them. Passengers rising from the dead, eyes glassy, their bodies twisted, attacking the other surviving passengers and Apache raiders alike. At this point the players suddenly thought to ask about the cowgirl they’d seen earlier. I got a big grin on my face as I let them know that in the confusion of the attack, she is nowhere to be seen.

Martine avoids the carnage by climbing on top of the passenger car, at which point he sees the cowgirl on top of the conductor car ahead of him. She swings over the edge of the train, kicking in through a window in a move that would make James Bond proud. She crashes through the window of the conductor car, where Jonah was, kicking the conductor square in the jaw, and immediately pulling her gun on Jonah. She insisted that he hand over Sebastian. To prove just how serious she is, she shoots the conductor in cold blood.

Sebastian was just outside the conductor car, and proceeds to pull a clever trick to send a stream of zombies from the nearby passenger car pouring to the conductor car, but not before Jonah managed to jump out of the way. The zombies attack the Wichita Witch assassin in the conductor car, and the last the group heard was a loud frantic chanting, and then a fiery explosion. Just outside the conductor car, Sebastian agilely makes his way up to the roof of the passenger car, where Martine has also ended up. Jonah was stuck down just outside the conductor car fending off the attacks from the zombies down there, with some assistance from covering fire from Martine up above. He turned a grapple to his advantage and leapt from the backs and shoulders of zombies up to join Martine and Sebastian on top of the passenger car. This whole sequence was pretty badass, and full of pulpy awesomeness.

At this point everyone realized that since the Witch’s explosion, the train was starting to slow down and would presumably stop, with them standing on top of a horde of zombies. Rather than get trapped up there, the heroes opted to leap from the train down a shrubby hill, with Martine’s mystically enhancing the vegetation to cushion their fall. Sebastian and Jonah had a little middair scuffle trying to make the other cushion their fall for them. It was pretty hilarious.

The train continued on down the tracks, carrying the zombies on down the line. We ended with the heroes realizing that they while they had escaped the immediate crisis, they now had a new problem on their hands. They were stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert and were completely unprepared for such a trek.

This was a super fun sequence. I felt like I invoked some legitimate horror at the beginning with the zombies, but things naturally took on a very cinematic and pulpy quality before long. The players started getting a better feel for how Creating Advantages can really be effective. The characters really started coming into sharp focus. And most importantly, everyone seemed to have a great time!

How Did It Work?

Through the train sequence, I established each car as a zone, with the platforms between them also creating another zone. We got into a bit of confusion when Sebastian tried to pull off his trick to sick the zombies from one car on the Wichita Witch Assassin in the other. I had to stop the action and sketch things out roughly (since I’m really not using tactical maps at all) to clear it up. I ended up letting Sebastian’s player, Michael, spend a Fate Point to declare that the doors opened up a certain way to pull it off. I probably made it too easy for his trick to neutralize the Witch, but it was clever, and I was just kinda rolling with stuff. In retrospect, I really like her as a recurring issue, so I’m kind of glad no one actually saw her die.

As Jonah found himself trapped on the platform with the zombies, I planned to ramp up the pressure by progressively stacking a growing teamwork bonus against him. However, he got out of that mess after the second round, so it didn’t really have time to build up that much pressure.

Frankly, there really hasn’t been anything too lethal yet. I’m still feeling my way out for how difficult different things are. A little stress was taken, and a few Fate Points were spent by the players, but there were no Consequences taken, and I didn’t spend any of my Fate Points. This was definitely a session where the “rule of cool” reigned.

I haven’t come up with a good method yet in Roll20.net to keep track visibly of PC stress, Fate Points, and aspects. The character sheets in Roll20 are just inaccessible enough, and awkward enough. Thus far, everyone has their characters on the same Google Doc, which I can easily toggle over to peak at. Not a great solution, but working… sort of.

-Razorstorm