Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time Heroes - Fate Adaptation - Game Creation

In creating the setting for Time Heroes, I'm going to attempt to move through each step of game creation as it is explained in the Fate Core book. Likely this will just give me a framework upon which to expand but it's a good place to start anyway.

The base setting for Time Heroes is going to be modern (or near-future) Earth. To quickly summarize, Morgan la Fey has come to a point in history where magic has long since died but before technology has evolved to completely replace it. She has torn open rips in the fabric of space and time to draw through armies from the past and future with which she intends to make the Earth her own. She has managed to place a kind of bubble around a few year block that has been separated from the normal passage of time. Tearing figures from the past will not affect anything in the bubble. Her goal is to take control of the planet, send people back and then drop the bubble, altering the course of history in on fell swoop.

The Great Merlini, last living descendent of Merlin has gone from simple stage magician to discovering the power of his ancestor within himself. He is using this power to draw his own people through time and space in order to hold back la Fey's ambitions. While the bubble around the time period allows la Fey to bring people through without repercussions, it also prevents going back to alter events that have already happened within the bubble itself. Essentially, if Merlin can keep Morgan la Fey at bay for a few years, the bubble will drop and normality will be restored.

So that's the basic lore behind the setting. But how do I see this play out in the game itself?
While the way I've presented it just now may not indicate it (although how sheerly ludicrous the idea itself is may), Time Heroes is meant to be a zany romp for a group of players. Ultimately, I envision it along the lines of a television show or cartoon where, though there may be arcs here and there, primarily each session is its own episode and - much like, Inspector Gadget, for example - Morgan la Fey will always barely slip away at the end of each "episode." Obviously the reasoning behind this is because if she's taken out completely, any campaign would be over. Also, she will be almost entirely in the background pulling strings and not in the thick of it herself. I want the world of Time Heroes to be one in which a sword-carrying barbarian, a laser mop-wielding space janitor and a Spam salesman are all equally likely as character concepts, even in one group.

 I envision the primary scale of Time Heroes to start out small-scale and possibly expand to large. Ideally the group will start based in one city and as they become more successful expand into different cities/states/countries, etc.

 I picture there being two world aspects in Time Heroes. The primary one for the world itself would probably be considered a "Current Issue" although its impact could also make it an "Impending Issue." I don't know much that the label matters. In either case, this aspect is called Warring Arthurian Wizards (WAW). I chose this aspect because I wanted to show that while both Merlini and la Fey keep to the shadows primarily, they have their eyes on things at all times. Compels of this would be situations where Morgan la Fey throws a curveball at a group out of the blue. On the flip side, a player could invoke the aspect at a time of great need to try and get some sort of miracle or save from the Great Merlini (the GM, I know, I'm too clever). The second aspect is being left blank as it would be a campaign-based world aspect, probably whatever "big bad" a given GM would throw the PCs up against in an arc or campaign.

So, who is important to the setting? Well, the two bigs are pretty obvious: the Great Merlini and Morgan la Fey. While eventually I'm probably going to want to fill in more blanks, for now I think I want to start with one Aspect each and go from there.

The Great Merlini - Unaware of Capabilities. This aspect is meant to show that while Merlini does have great power, he is still new to it. It could be invoked to make something work better than intended or compelled to have something "simple" fizzle completely or possibly even work TOO well.

Morgan la Fey - Unquenchable Ambition. Morgan la Fey's ultimate goal is world domination. This can make her an extremely dangerous foe (which it could be invoked for), but it can also make her ignore things that don't appear to pose an immediate threat to the long game (how one would use it as a compel).

Skills and Stunts
My initial thought is to keep the skill list primarily the same, although perhaps renaming some of the skills to indicate the feel of the game. I do intend on adding a Magic and Future Tech skill, although as I work on creating the game I may take a different route (for now they'll involve Stunts to pull anything particularly cool off). Here, then, is my current idea for the skill list for Time Heroes:

Athletics - For now I can't think of anything better to call this that would still get the idea across in regards to what it is used for.
Burglary - I'm torn on how useful this is going to be. Ideally the PCs are ultimately heroes. However, a cat burglar could be enlisted ot save the world just as easily as a knight.
Contacts - My guts say this skill might not be necessary, but my brain keeps coming back to 'Q' from Bond and PCs using this skill to get gadgets, cool cars, etc.
Crafts - Making stuff can always come in handy. This would probably primarily be used for characters making future tech objects or magic objects that wouldn't be available at the corner store.
Deceit - No commentary for this.
Drive - Definitely keeping this skill. However, this is going to be one of those skills one MUST have in order to drive a vehicle, I think. When the future past and present are mashed together, it's the only way I can think of to illustrate that there's no way a caveman would be able to hop behind the wheel of a car.
Future Tech - This will be the ability to make use of objects and weapons from future times. This skill requires training to use.
Magic - This is the ability to use magic, period. While some things could be done with this skill alone, Stunts are where any real magic ability will come in.

I'm not going to go into specific stunts for the basic skills here as the Fate Core book does a fine job. I will, however, give an example or two of stunts for Future Tech and Magic.

Future Tech
Self-Repair - This would be a Stunt that a robot character might take. Spend a Quantum Point (Fate Point) to make a Future Tech (Fair +2) roll. If successful, remove the lowest level of Physical Stress. Each shift removes the next level of stress.
Jetpack Mastery - +2 to Future Tech rolls to create an advantage via positioning (flying to flank an enemy, reach higher ground, etc).

Force Dart - You may use Magic to make attacks against an opponent at range.
Open - Spend a Quantum Point to bypass any lock.

Character Creation
This is the last step listed in the "When Creating your Game" sidebar on page 25 of the Fate Core rules. This will obviously not come into play until the group actually gets together.

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