Playtest IRC and Game Scheduling

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Acatalepsy Acatalepsy's picture
Playtest IRC and Game Scheduling

First: I just registered a channel for us, on irc.sorcery.net, channel #TranshumanFate (link), as (hopefully) a place for those interested to discuss the Fate rules and run playtest games.

Second: I plan to run a playtest game! Tomorrow, Nov 8, at 3PM EST (2000 GMT), through that very channel. It's a standard Firewall game, set on Venus. I will be using all of the playtest rules as written because, well, playtest.

This isn't a war ordinary humans can win. This is the future. Death's an inconvenience, now. Nothing more.

Decimator Decimator's picture
I'm interested, but I wouldn

I'm interested, but I wouldn't be able to participate until 4:45 EST at the earliest. My wife is at a craft show till then, and I have the toddlers.

Decimator Decimator's picture
I will not be able to

I will not be able to participate tonight.

Decimator Decimator's picture
I'm eager to play again, what

I'm eager to play again, what's the word?

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
any new session planned?

I'd like to test it before I run it.
So far, I've been watching hours and hours of APs of Fate games (both normal and Accelerated) on Youtube, but I don't have practical experience of it yet.

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Acatalepsy Acatalepsy's picture
Link to the playtest log here

Link to the playtest log here. Apologies for the disappearance, but we're going to try this again. Different scenario, hopefully more action heavy to test out conflict rules (scenario and timing to go up shortly).

This isn't a war ordinary humans can win. This is the future. Death's an inconvenience, now. Nothing more.

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
any date yet?

At the moment, I'm on sick leave so I can text play all night long if needed
my time zone is CET, but I can play on EST or Central times no problem

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Acatalepsy Acatalepsy's picture
Scenario is "Death on Demand

Scenario is "Death on Demand the Impossible". Parameters are:

  • Characters are Firewall sentinels and follow the normal character creation process for Transhumanity's Fate. Please try to have a character that's complete except for your crossover adventures.

  • Your characters on board the Demand the Impossible, an Earth-Luna Cycler that's approaching perigee. They might live there (Demand the Impossible being a scum barge of sorts, with its own 'indigenous' population), or be a passenger in transit from the moon to MEO, or have been ordered to get on board by Firewall (for vaguely specified reasons).

  • This game will be relatively action-packed. There is room for investigative or social characters, but some basic combat or action abilities (or the ability to boost your teammates somehow) would not go amiss.

  • The IRC for this game (and any attempts to organize other games) will be #TranshumanFate on irc.sorcery.net ; I'm not on all day, but I tend to leave my IRC logged in so you can contact me there. There's also a link to a public google doc where you can store your character.

  • Character creation (including GM sanity check and crossover adventures) will take place on Saturday, December 13 (though any time between now and then is fine to message me for questions, comments). The game itself will be run on Sunday, December 14 with possible followup sessions on the following Wednesday or Thursday. Time is afternoon EST, with specific times negotiable depending on interested parties.

This isn't a war ordinary humans can win. This is the future. Death's an inconvenience, now. Nothing more.

Acatalepsy Acatalepsy's picture
So, my IRC game here morphed

So, my IRC game here morphed into a Roll20 game by mutual agreement. Our heroes prevented the hijacking and forced deorbiting of a lunar cycler by a group of radical reclaimers, taking back the command module of the cycler and re-engaging the defenses just in time to prevent the tugs that would have sent the cycler spiraling through the blockade. In the process, we learned some things.

One is that I'm not terribly great at Fate. It's too easy for me to think in terms of rules as emulating some underlying reality, when Fate is very much about not doing that. Fate is about emulating a narrative process, and I frequently stumbled on this count. It brings up the question of who, exactly, this conversion guide is for. Is it for people who are already familiar with Fate but want to get into Eclipse Phase (which seems like the most useful thing the devs could do, from a financial perspective if nothing else)? Then it's missing a lot of context, examples, and explanations - obviously you don't want to reproduce the core book, but I don't feel comfortable saying I could hand this off to one of my Fate-playing friends and have them ready to engage in Eclipse Phase or make a character. Is it for Eclipse Phase fans who want to try some narrative stuff with their games? In that case, it's missing a lot of context for that - examples of how to translate EP staples into Fate-y narratives.

In particular I had trouble translating situations where players were controlling drones and hacking systems by remote into Fate conflict - while I've got a handle on it now, I hope, it was really frustrating and jarring to end up in that situation with no idea how to handle it right off the bat. I'd strongly recommend at least some discussion on the use of telepresence and drones (especially drone durability and using them in conflicts) - it's a common situation in EP. There was also a basic inconsistency in that Firewall's function and place as the 'default campaign' in EP is ill-suited to Fate. Firewall acts as a way for characters from across the solar system who might otherwise never interact to join forces, and overcome (justified) paranoia by providing a layer of anonymity for agents. Firewall missions tend to be focused on accomplishing a specific task without personal complications, and the stakes a frequently so high as to default automatically to 'the ends justifies the means' (and the agents vetted to ensure that they're psychologically on board with that). This type of operation is the opposite of how Fate is designed to work, and it makes it hard to, for example, use a player's Trouble against them when they're trying to operate anonymously and maintaining a separation between their personal issues and the mission at hand. I actually had much more success in my previous game, prior to the playtest, using my homebrew Fate rules with a game set in 0.5 AF because it was much easier to connect the players and aspects to the world around them. Firewall is, in the context of Fate, a solution in search of a problem that causes more harm than it helps.

Another is that field skills and tags are annoying. Extremely so. It was so bad that I lost a player who, halfway through making a character, became so frustrated with the conversion that he quit, commenting that it had "structure where it needed to leave things loose and narrative" - I think his view was that in order to make the character he wanted, he needed to spend so much on fields it would leave him feeling crippled without actually giving him enough to really work with. Morph aspects and tags went essentially unused the entire game; part of that was my fault, but I think also that the players didn't feel comfortable messing with them (well, that, and one of the players was an infomorph).

Similarly, weaponry rules went unused; the players made every effort to never be in the same room with someone else with a gun who might want to use it. For veteran EP players, this is pretty much SOP when you're not wearing a Reaper, but it's also in a way of indictment of the weapon rules that the players weren't interested in using them at all - all players seemed to think that they were unnecessarily convoluted. The table of weapon lethality seems entirely unnecessary compared to simply have having a 'Damage' and 'Damage Reduction' numbers. All the table does is give you a table lookup in between figuring out what happens rather than just doing arithmetic.

tl;dr: EXAMPLES. If you don't have WORKED EXAMPLES, you have NOTHING. Tags and field skills need to be rethought completely, and you need context and examples to make actually using this stuff viable. Firewall's position as the default campaign should be be reconsidered.

Players: I will continue to be on #TranshumanFate on irc.sorcery.net, and I want to run another game on Sat or Sun, afternoon EST (obviously dependent on everyone's Xmas schedule). I'd also like to sit down and walk through your characters individually and make sure I have a complete record of everything and a more clear understanding of who the characters are - I'm considering running short individual sessions over the next few days if you have the time. The next game will probably be on the moon and we'll probably consider our previous game noncanonical or only loosely canonical.

I'm a bit disappointed we haven't had many people drop by for general EP Fate discussion - while I no longer intend to run pure IRC games, I'd love to have an active IRC channel. (I'd also love if someone else was willing to GM a game).

This isn't a war ordinary humans can win. This is the future. Death's an inconvenience, now. Nothing more.

GenUGenics GenUGenics's picture
Interesting results and

Interesting results and analysis.

My sense is FATE permits the glorious EP universe to be played in in a narrative sense, but it will be difficult to replicate the EP experience using FATE. Firewall missions are a top-down, deus ex machina way of controlling the player experience, but FATE players are apt to wander far afield of their mission. I'm not even really sure how you can replicate the "horror" aspects of EP, since horror implies a certain helplessness in the face of obstacle and conditions, and FATE enables exactly the opposite of helplessness to obstacle and condition. Feeling helpless? Pay a point, and redescribe the situation.

FATE sort of takes the confoundedness typical of the traditional RPG experience—GM sets up a situation and players do their most perverse to mess with its assumptions and have a joy doing it—and runs pretty far down the field with it. Takes the liability many games experience of the wheels coming off the cart and presents this as an asset. So again, the game is going to seem more like poking around all the really cool locales, exploring the game's wild underlying assumptions, than actually carrying out a described mission in the usual sense.

One piece of advice I might offer is to really drill down and make sure you are employing the FATE point economy to its maximum, such that points are really flashing back and forth across the table in successive transactions. I suspect that's the key to getting players to invoke their morph traits, they really can't get much done unless they are invoking and compeling. Just $0.02.