Star Wars & FATE

I’ve had a Star Wars game in mind for some time that I have never gotten around to writing/running. I’ve toyed with the idea us using FATE to run it but that meant reading up on the various incarnation of the system, separating it from the settings it has been implemented in, and extracting what I needed. Now that FATE Core has crested the horizon, I have no excuse.

Here begins the process of laying out all the fragments so I can fill in the blanks.

THE PLOT (***AKA SPOILERS***)

As the Clone Wars blaze through the Republic, a Jedi general leaves the field for unknown reasons. The heroes are sent to track him down and pursuade him to return to the Jedi Council to explain his actions.

As the players unearth clues as to where the general has gone, they uncover some very un-Jedi-like behaviour that cast a shadow on his integrity and commitment to the Jedi Order. The conflicting reports reveal two very different portraits of a Jedi.

(The truth is that the General has a twin, also a Jedi, that has fallen to the Dark Side. He recognised his brother in battle and is attempting to track him down.)

The trail ultimately leads to and abandoned asteroid mining facility where the Jedi has gone into a self-imposed exile. The players have to determine which Jedi they have found.

(The truth is that they have found them both. The general attempted to redeem his brother but was drawn into a duel. The general lost the physical duel, but in dying he used his bond as a twin to bind his consciousness to his sibling’s resulting in a form of possession. The General is dominant, but his control is not perfect.)

If at any point I need ninjas to attack, Order 66 will be given. Although not an apprentice of the Emperor, the twin has been in his sights for some time. Agents of the Emperor are always nearby.

To Do: I need to lay a trail for the players to follow and generate clues. Ideally, at least one of the player’s troubles could come in to play at each stop. I’m thinking 2-4 locations.

I also want to nail down the timeline. I envision the players being sent out from Coruscant. The General has a considerable head start on them and, by the time they catch up to him at the mining facility, I envision them being 1-2 weeks behind events.

FAST CHARACTER CREATION

Because my players won’t be familiar with FATE and since this is not intended to last more than a session or three, I don’t want to spend the time to go through a full char-gen session.

My plan is to bring three stacks of 3×5 cards: High Concepts, Backgrounds (w/ Troubles), and Relationships. Each card will include 1-2 aspects and 3 skills. The players will take a card at random from each stack and describe how they fit together for their character and then copy the information to a separate character sheet.

Players will be encouraged to re-write their aspects and possible event to add new ones based on what happens here. The aspects on the cards may be somewhat generic, but the player’s vision of who the character is shouldn’t be!

To Do: Finalize the cards. I have lists of aspects for each, drawn from iconic characters in the original Star Wars Trilogy. (The idea is that playing with familiar concepts will take up less of the mental over-head while the players learn how Fate works.) The trick here is if and how to use aspects form these cards to ties the characters to locations and challenges in the game. I may be over-thinking this.

I’m avoiding stunts for the time being. I may create a few on the fly if play warrants it.

THE FORCE & FATE

Every time I approach a Star Wars RPG, I meditate on The Force. What is it? What can it do? What is the nature of the “light side”/”dark side” divide? I have a long history of playing with RPGs that like to quantify this stuff in game terms. I’m resisting that temptation and trying to stick to just a few guiding principles (as I do when I make play a character). As a DM, I’ve got a lot to un-learn in that respect.

For the most part, I’m ignoring the new trilogy. Here’s what I have so far:

THE FORCE

The Force is a mystical energy that flows from the life force of all living beings.

Like all power, the Force can only make you more like yourself–amplifying all the good and bad that comes with that. Therefore, anyone channeling this mysterious energy must take care because their use of the Force will define them.

An innumerable number of Force-traditions exist and they are as varied as the intra-galactic cultures that they hail from. The dominant tradition in the galaxy is the Jedi Order. However, most of the minor traditions do not have as black & white view of the Force use as the Jedi do.

For the Jedi Order, the Force is primarily used for knowledge and defense. The Order encourages compassion but wards against personal attachments that may cloud their judgement or tempt them to use their powers inappropriately.

For the Sith, the Force is a tool for imposing their will. Regardless of the good or ill intent behind their action, the Sith allow their passion to drive them to action and victory, occasionally at great cost to themselves or others.

THE MECHANICS

“The Force” is a game aspect that Force-users can invoke in order to augment their skills. For the purposes of this game, only the Jedi PC may invoke The Force.

The Force can be used to augment the following skills: Athletics, Empathy, Notice, Physique, and Will.

Spending a Fate Point to invoke The Force or to activate a related stunt can often draw the attention of nearby Force-users unless measures are taken to disguise its use (Notice vs your effort).

Stunts can allow you to use the Force with other skills, such as Crafts, Deceit, Drive, Fighting, Intimidate, Lore, Rapport, Shooting, & Stealth.

Telekinesis should probably be its own skill. It’s a mental attribute that functions like Physique but, for the moment, I’m treating it like a stunt that uses Will for the skill check.

Judging what you can and can’t do with the Force is still a “I’ll know it when I see it” thing.

I’m guessing that -2 refresh is an appropriate cost for access to such a versatile aspect with no true downside… I really have no idea.

To Do: Not much, really. At this point, I think that I’m pretty comfortable winging it. At most, I might want to design a few stunts but the guidelines for stunts are simple enough that I can probably wing that too.

THE DARKSIDE

This is a question of philosophy. I don’t believe that the Force has a light and a dark side. The “Will of the Force” is Destiny. Using the Force to change the course of Destiny is a dangerous business, fraught with unintended consequences… the sort of consequences that the Jedi Code is probably meant to prevent.

If you invoke The Force and it still isn’t enough, a Jedi may accept a consequence and add the equivalent number of shifts to his effort. A mild consequence adds +2 shifts, moderate +4, severe +6, and extreme +8.

Accepting a consequence to boost your Force use results in a aspect representing your turn to the Dark Side and can be used to compel further questionable behaviour.

Mild and moderate consequences can reflect a foul mood or a weakness of will that leaves you prove to overreacting in various ways. If you react out of fear or desire (or if you “give in to your hate”) your overruling passion will mark you. Not only will the GM make use of those compels to lure you into further transgressions, but you have little hope of preventing others from discovering that dark motivation.

A severe consequence represent a disturbing pattern of behaviour that all but guarantees repeat offenses. You have demonstrated a will to power and you aren’t afraid to use it.

An extreme consequence is only earned by a willingness to embrace success at any cost. The end justifies the means and anyone who forgets that are likely to meet a bad end around you.

Recovery from the mild and moderate consequences is mostly a matter of gaining some distance from your triggers and getting your head on straight. There may be some reparations to be made but this should be a fairly straightforward process.

Recovery from a severe or extreme consequences require a serious, concerted effort at reformation. Any new incidents of dark side use resets the recovery time for all consequences gained in this fashion. Thus, dedicated Dark Side practitioners might permanently lock their severe and extreme consequences. This makes them more vulnerable, after a fashion. (Maybe that’s why so many of them accumulate scars and disfigurations? They can’t soak the damage like other Jedi can.)


And that’s all I got. If I can pull this off, it would make a good introductory adventure to a longer-running game. For now, I just want to make it good enough to introduce new players to Fate and I think it has the potential to do just that. I just need to finish the damned thing!

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~ by Hunter Rose on January 9, 2013.

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