Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Island - Playing with Fate - Initial Thoughts

That's right, I am now officially working on two Fate products at once. While my Time Heroes adaptation is underway and has made decent progress, I'm going to be starting my "the Island" campaign soon via G+ Hangout and so I thought another design journal would help get me going.

A History of "the Island"

The Island is all the place is known by. It is a setting where the "worst of the worst" criminals from various realities are dumped. In a world where all is ocean save for this one single continent, it seemed the perfect place to have a penal colony. No work was required other than just dumping convicts there and returning to the home reality.

The point behind the concept of the Island is survival. The PCs are those convicted of their realities' most heinous crimes (though not necessarily actually guilty of said crimes) who have been left on the Island to fend for themselves. Not only must they fend off the creatures of the Island, they must also make alliances, prove themselves useful to whatever subcultures they choose to join in a day-to-day fashion and make sure they aren't stuck holding the short end of the stick when all is said and done. Oh, and the creature of the Island.

The Island was originally born as a D&D 4E setting. My players had fun in it but, like most 4E games I ran, it just didn't feel right to me. Here I had created a setting that was just perfect for political intrigue and backbiting, survival in the wilderness and plain old adventure. 4E does have its merits, but this game could be so much more than what 4E provided for.

The next thing I attempted was to run it using Burning Wheel, Revised. The system was intriguing to me and it seemed perfect for what I wanted to do with the Island. Between the unique fighting system and social mechanics to interesting skills, what could be better? Unfortunately, this was a bit too far on the other side of things for my players. Not used to such a system, it fell flat on its face before the end of the first session (combined with trying to game in a local store with the kiddos running around in an enclosed room for the first time, which didn't happen after that). After that, I set the Island aside.

Why Fate?
After getting a bit into the conversion of Time Heroes to Time Heroes of Fate, I found myself loving the system. It has a collaborative world-building to it that allows a GM to take a basic idea for a game and use the players to flesh it out to the benefit of everyone at the table. It has combat mechanics that can be used for more than just physically attacking someone. Players can work with GMs to create their own Stunts that can be used for most anything imaginable.

That is when the Island popped back into my head. While I still feel Burning Wheel would be a great system for the Island, I am finding that Fate might prove to work just as well, while being more player (well, MY player) friendly. I have decided to create a design journal as I attempt to turn the Island into a game of Fate. If it turns out, that's awesome. If not, it's a learning experience.

Here is what I am planning for Design Journal entries (there will likely be more and it may not happen in this order):

Skills - Time Heroes of Fate was fine just adding the Magic and Future Tech skills to the list. I think that in order to accomplish what I want to with the Island I'm going to have to rename/change/add skills moreso than in my last adaptation.

Magic - Magic in the Island is going to be of a different style than how I am doing things in Time Heroes. I'm not solid yet on how exactly it will work. This entry will be me exploring ideas I have an possibly settling on the one that will work best for how I envision magic on the Island working.

Stunts - As I did with Time Heroes, I will write at least one post devoted to Island Stunts. This may be based off of magic as well as other things about the Island that would work best as a Stunt.

Collaborative Creation - The Island, I think, is going to be created collaboratively under more of a "Microscope"-style system, allowing the players to assist in creating factions, areas of the continent, common problems, etc. This will certainly be a post to itself, although I may or may not add a second post with an example of collaborative world creation.

Faction Affiliation - I want to see if I can create some kind of affiliation system that will affect the players while they are interacting with one faction or another.

The Creature - There are a couple of ways I see the Creature working in the Island. I will be writing a post going into more detail on the various options I think could work and then explaining why I chose what I chose.

As I said, there may be more posts than just those touching on the topics I've just mentioned, but at the least these will certainly be addressed along the way.

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