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


Clever +1
Flashy +1
Quick +2


Combative +1
Skilled +1
Social +2


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.



Shambling Corpse
Ravenous Appetite
Scent for Blood

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


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

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 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.


A&A Early Playtest Reflections

I’ve been rather quiet both here on the blog and on social media lately, so I thought I’d give a quick update. Despite my lack of updates, I’ve actually had games happening! My Deadlands Fate game had it’s second session, which you can listen to a podcast of over at If you are interested in hearing this method in action, you really should give it a listen. I also recently started a once-a-week  lunchtime gaming group at my office. This one is a modern fantasy game heavily influenced by Dresden Files RPG and World of Darkness. I’ll get more info up on those soon!

Some Basic Reflections

 Both of those are using my Approaches & Abilities method (A&A), and thus far, I’ve been very pleased actually seeing it in action. My one disappointment is that neither campaign lend themselves to any sort of politicking, or power struggles, or even needing resources (yet), so no one in either game has made any use of the “Influential” ability. I think I can safely say that many campaigns will ignore this ability, but I don’t think I can safely say that it doesn’t matter yet. In particular, I have my eye on an Age of Arthur game using this method, which I imagine having a very Game of Thrones kind of feel, and I think that ability would see excellent use in that game. I also think my other games will see some value in it at some point, but not often.
One thing that I have really started loving about this system is that the abilities are all interpreted through the lens of the character’s aspects and Approaches. Two characters may both have Athletics at a +2, but between their different Approaches and their individual aspects, that ability means different things to each character. This is especially true for the Skilled ability.

Approaches, and Player Psychology

 One thing I’ve found myself doing is that a player will make a basic statement of what they want they want to do. I will respond with something like, “Great, that’ll be a Combative check, but HOW are you doing it?” Basically, I nail down the Ability that is being used, but let them determine the Approach. It seems to help provide helpful structure for the players. If they state an Approach without any further explanation, I usually say “What about how your doing this makes it [Approach]?” and at that point, I always get a good colorful description of what they’re doing. I feel like my original hypothesis of the A&A method is playing out as I predicted. The Abilities provide a clear anchor for the action, which makes it easier for the Approaches to drive flavor, description and characterization.

I am also occasionally finding myself saying, after they state a desired course of action, “based on what you’ve described, there’s no way you can use [Approach].” Or “if you try to do that using [Approach] then it will be harder, how else might you do it?” I usually only bother doing this to push them off of their peak Approach, to get some variety in things, and keep them on their toes. Also some things I just lock into a certain Approach. For example – I’m handling Initiative by always calling for a roll using their Quick Approach, plus an ability appropriate to the conflict. For combat (the most common example) they can use either Athletic or Combative, their choice. I’m finding that these factors keep players from always relying on their peak Approach.

To be honest, I’ve actually been surprised at how often players happily volunteer to use their secondary Approaches and Abilities instead of their peak approach. They pretty much NEVER use Approaches or Abilities that they have zeros in, but I’m honestly not surprised by this. My wife straight up said this after our first play session with her swashbuckler, Scarlet VonRosen. “Those other things may as well not exist, because I’m going to do my darndest to figure out how solve every problem using either Combative, Social, or Athletic, while being Flashy, Clever, or Sneaky.” To which I say, bravo! Instant character style and identity. There’s enough variation there to keep things interesting, but it also keeps characters focused on what makes them awesome.

I’ve also just updated the playtest doc with a few minor additions. You can get it here, if you want to give it a spin for your own game.

Deadlands Fate Collection

Deadlands Fate

This post is a collection of all posts and content related to my Deadlands Fate game.

Rules and Setting

  • We are playing in the setting of Deadlands, published by Pinnacle Entertainment for the Savage Worlds setting, but we are playing using the Fate RPG system by Evil Hat Productions.
  • This game is using my Approaches & Abilities FAE method. At this time I have not added any other special rules related to converting Deadlands, but I probably will in the future.

Session Writeups

Podcast Recordings at




  • We are playing the game over, using the Google Hangouts integration for audio/video.

Happy Geeky Holidays!

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever dead-of-winter holiday you celebrate. I sure did!

Geeky Gifts
Here are a few geeky gifts I got that I’ve been super excited about:

Dice Ring – This awesome dice ring by has a layered free-spinning band that simulates a d20. With odds on a silver background, and evens on a black background it also works really well for a 50/50 coin toss decision as well. Worn on my index finger, I can easily spin it with my thumb.  Quite possibly the best “fidget toy” ever invented! Oh, look, a natural 20!

photo 1

More Fate dice – This is the Winter Knight set. I really needed more for my office game. Besides, can you ever really have too many dice?

photo 2

Lords of Waterdeep and the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion – I recently started playing Lord of Waterdeep on the iPad, and I really like it. I haven’t had a chance to play with the expansion yet, but this is a phenomenal game. If you want to get a very true sense for the game without plopping down the full price, try it on the iPad first!

photo 3

Lost Cities – This is a two-player game for me and my wife to play alone. It seems that in order for a game to be actually good with only two players, it has to be designed as such, so my wife and I have started collecting 2 player games for use to play with each other. This one is simple in concept, but quite challenging. Highly recommend it!

photo (6)

Lazy Days – Video Games and Reading

I finally beat Mass Effect. No, not the series, the first game. Yeah, I know, I’m way behind… but this is a big deal for me! I can count on one hand the number of video games that I have actually beaten. So now I’m off on my way through Mass Effect 2, and loving it.


I also just finished reading the latest Dresden Files novel by Jim Butcher, Cold Days. I had gotten confused after finishing Changes, and thought I was up to date, and only recently realized that I still had one more book to read to be current. Fixed that! Also, if you enjoy Dresden, there is a great anthology called Dangerous Women full of short stories about badass heroines. Butcher has one in there about Molly, bridging her time in between Changes and Cold Days. It’s really quite fabulous and any Dresden aficionado should definitely pick it up!


Happy Holidays to y’all!


Scarlet VonRosen

NOTE – This is an updated version of this character based on the playtest version of my A&A FAE Method. You can find the original HERE.

Scarlet VonRosen

High Concept: Infamous Swashbuckling Captain of the Scarlet Corsairs

Trouble: Act First, Think Later
Crazy like a Fox
All Dressed Up and No Ship to Sail
Louder, Faster, Funnier, and ALWAYS with glitter!



Clever +1
Flashy +2
Sneaky +1
Athletic +1
Combative +2
Social +1


Shipmaster – Gain +2 to any rolls related to the operation of a ship or the coordination of it’s crew

Showy Swashbuckler – Gain +2 when Flashily using Athletics to Overcome Obstacles or Create Advantage against an opponent as long as it involves flashy acrobatics.

Riposte – If you succeed with style on a Flashy Combat Defense, you can choose to inflict a 2-shift hit rather than take a boost.

Fast Talk – Gain a +2 when Sneakily Socializing to Overcome Obstacles or Create Advantages as long as the situation does not involved more than a few sentences before blowing past the target.

Refresh: 2