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Author Topic: Let's Read: Fantasy Craft  (Read 69335 times)
Slashes-With-Claws
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« Reply #435 on: April 09, 2015, 12:53:55 PM »

Page 324: Luck Abounds (1 Action Die)
All Action Dice are one size larger.  Also you can spend multiple AD to boost a single check.  Normally you can only spend one, unless an ability says otherwise.

Important to note: Quite a fair number of Talents include abilities that lets you spend two AD to boost certain checks, and these constitute a pretty significant chunk of the design budget for those Talents, so if you're using Luck Abounds it'd probably be a good idea to advise players to steer clear of those Talents so they're not wasting a good part of their origin's value. Or perhaps come up with alternative benefits to replace the double boost abilities in those Talents.

Good point.  I had forgotten about those.
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #436 on: April 09, 2015, 05:40:24 PM »

"You have advantage on [Blah] rolls when you use one or more action dice" might be a reasonable substitute for the origin abilities in question.
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« Reply #437 on: April 15, 2015, 09:36:55 AM »

Page 325: Monty Haul (Permanent)
Let's Make a Deal!  If you pick the correct door you can keep twice the normal number of prizes, any number of artifacts, and Heavy Load encumbrance does not penalize you.  But, pick the wrong door and you get a zonk!  But the big question, should you stay or switch when asked?  Okay, yes, I know the spelling is different "Haul" instead of "Hall", but you know that is what they were referencing.

Page 325: Non-Scaling NPCs (Permanent)
Did you think one of the most frustrating things about The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion the NPC leveling?  Well if you do not like that about Fantasy Craft you can use this Campaign Quality to mod the game and turn that off.  The GM assigns fixed TLs to all enemies and monsters and they remain permanent from start to finish.  If you encounter the same type of monster that you fought earlier then they have the same TL as the ones you fought before.  This creates some problems, XP scales based on TL meaning it takes a lot longer to level up if you encounter weak enemies, and weak enemies become boring.  This also allows for really powerful enemies at low level as you can have an enemy with TL 14 while the players are Level 2.  But you can do that with enough grades of Veteran even without this.

Page 325: Paranoia (3 Action Dice)
Everyone is suspicious of everyone else.  This make influencing people much less effective and even your Contacts are less likely to help.

Page 325: Plentiful Magic Items (Permanent)
Magic items are much more common.  You get a bonus to treasure rolls on the magic item table and instead of rolling on the "Any" table when a creature has #A for treasure you may convert some, all, or none of those A to M.

Page 325: Rampant Corruption (1 Action Die)
Incentive bonuses are doubled!  And if you are bribing a court you get an addition bonus try.

Page 325: Rare Magic Items (Permanent)
The opposite of Plentiful Magic Items.  You get a penalty to magic treasure rolls and if the roll falls below 0 it converts to an "Any".

Page 325: Reputable Heroes (1 Action Die)
People really adore heroes.  They are champions and saviors of the people, they are the Avengers or Justice League.  Because of this you get double reputation!

Page 325: Reviled Heroes (2 Action Dice)
People hate the murder hobos that come around and always cause trouble.  Reputation rewards are halved.

Page 325: Savage Wilds (2 Action Dice)
Outside settled areas the world is untamed and wild.  The GM can cause a travel encounter for fewer AD and random encounters are more common.

Page 325-326: Sorcery (Permanent)
Enables magic ad arcane caster classes.  Without this you can still have divine magic, if you choose, but mages are disallowed.  Like Miracles, this Quality has customization options.
Corrupting Magic (3 Action Dice): Adds a new Graded Condition to the game called Tainted.  Tainted gives you a penalty to Will Saves and Charisma based Skill Checks that increases as you gain Grades.  If you reach Grade V you lose control, literally, you can no longer control your character, they become an NPC.  You risk gaining grades of Tainted every time you cast a spell.  You have to make a Will Save that has a base DC of 10 and increases by 1 per Spell Point spent on the spell you just cast.  And note that since Tainted penalizes Will you are more likely to get more Tainted when you already have some.  You lose a grade of Tainted at the end of each scene so I am not sure if the turning into an NPC condition ends at the end of the Scene as well, of if it is time to roll up a new character at that point.
Cyclical Magic (2 Action Dice): Every scene roll a d6, A low roll halves everyone's Spell Points, a high roll gives a 50% boost.  This lasts one Scene, then you roll again, assuming this Quality is still in play.
Difficult Magic (3 Action Dice): All Spellcasting DCs increase and casting time doubles.
Easy Magic (1 Action Die): The opposite of the above, decreased casting DC and half casting time, all the way down to a Free Action.
Lost Magic (Permanent): Particular magic spells are really hard to get your hands on.  The GM can pick any number of Schools or Disciplines.  For players to get that spell they also have to spend Reputation.
Potent Magic (2 Action Dice): Spells are more effective increasing Save DC and +50% to numerical effects, like damage.
Random Magic (Permanent): Spells are learned randomly.  The player only gets to pick the level then rolls randomly to see what they get.  They get to re-roll if they already know the spell.
Ubiquitous Magic (Permanent): Many people can do at least a little magic.  If you have at least a 12 in Wisdom, then you get free Level 0 spells equal to your Wis Mod (If you have 11 or less in Wisdom you get none).  These spells can be case without needing to roll a check, however, they can only be cast once per Session and have a Caster Level of 1.
Wild Magic (2 Action Dice): Higher Threat and Error Ranges.  And, in addition to the usual effects of a Crit there is also the Wild Magic Table.  This can do things ranging from boosting the damage the spell does, making saves auto-fail, giving the caster back all their Spell Points, or on the other end taking away all the casters Spell Points, hurting the caster, hitting the wrong target, etc.  We had this in effect recently, the result was that our mage had several Attunement results on the same spell letting him cast it for a lot less.

Page 326: Tense (2 Action Dice)
The tension of the situation doubles Stress Damage and prevents anyone from Taking 10.

Page 326: Thrifty Heroes (Permanent)
15% bonus to Prudence.

Page 326: Triumphant Heroes (Permanent)
Players gain Reputation for every Critical Hit or Success.  Spending more AD on the Crit increases this bonus.  But, you will get at least one even when you have the free crit abilities.

Page 327: Versatile Heroes (Permanent)
You can put points into Skills you could not otherwise (Because they are not class or origin), but it costs 2 Skill Points to do so.

Page 327: Wire Fu (1 Action Die)
You can run up walls, across water, even through the air.  But you still have to end your turn on solid ground or you fall or sink.  However, all fall damage is halved.  We used this quality once while in a dream world like situation.

Next time, how to make your first Adventure.
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TKDB
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« Reply #438 on: April 15, 2015, 09:56:00 AM »

Corrupting Magic (3 Action Dice): Adds a new Graded Condition to the game called Tainted.  Tainted gives you a penalty to Will Saves and Charisma based Skill Checks that increases as you gain Grades.  If you reach Grade V you lose control, literally, you can no longer control your character, they become an NPC.  You risk gaining grades of Tainted every time you cast a spell.  You have to make a Will Save that has a base DC of 10 and increases by 1 per Spell Point spent on the spell you just cast.  And note that since Tainted penalizes Will you are more likely to get more Tainted when you already have some.  You lose a grade of Tainted at the end of each scene so I am not sure if the turning into an NPC condition ends at the end of the Scene as well, of if it is time to roll up a new character at that point.

Probably up to the GM to decide based on what they have in mind for how the corrupting effects of magic are supposted to work in the setting. One thing I think might be neat would be to let a player Cheat Death to get their character back, with the Fate depending on how many times you've fallen to Taint before (Petty Fate your first time, Damaging Fate the second, etc.). So there's the immediate "oh shit" moment where the mage is completely taken over by corruption, with a lingering influence after he regains control.
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SilvercatMoonpaw
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« Reply #439 on: April 15, 2015, 11:36:38 AM »

Enables magic ad arcane caster classes.  Without this you can still have divine magic.....
I don't think this is a good way to describe the difference: it suggests FC magic class crunch and flavor work together like D&D, when they do not.  Sorcery enables spell-point casting, Miracles enables use-per-scene casting.  That is all.  Miracles does have sub-qualities that suggest divine shenanigans, but the type of casting itself has nothing to make it inherently divine-related.  And Sorcery certainly has nothing to suggest it cannot be "divine" magic.
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Slashes-With-Claws
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« Reply #440 on: April 16, 2015, 07:21:15 AM »

Enables magic ad arcane caster classes.  Without this you can still have divine magic.....
I don't think this is a good way to describe the difference: it suggests FC magic class crunch and flavor work together like D&D, when they do not.  Sorcery enables spell-point casting, Miracles enables use-per-scene casting.  That is all.  Miracles does have sub-qualities that suggest divine shenanigans, but the type of casting itself has nothing to make it inherently divine-related.  And Sorcery certainly has nothing to suggest it cannot be "divine" magic.

That is what the book calls them.  Page 110 uses the terms Arcane Casters and Divine Casters.

And I quote: "Arcane casters appear in campaigns with the sorcery quality..." and "Priests and other divine casters appear in campaign with the miracles quality..."
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SilvercatMoonpaw
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« Reply #441 on: April 16, 2015, 07:51:16 AM »

Then I will disagree with the book and call it even. Lips Sealed
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« Reply #442 on: April 16, 2015, 10:21:49 AM »

To be fair, it's not like the system is particularly strict about making you stick to the fluff implied by the default terminology. Pretty much every class has example character concepts that use the mechanics of the class without regard for the implications of the class name, so it's not like the fact that "arcane" and "divine" are used for ease of reference boxes you into having all "divine" casters drawing on godly powers and all "arcane" casters using secular means.
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SilvercatMoonpaw
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« Reply #443 on: April 16, 2015, 12:03:09 PM »

True, but there may be cases where you don't want to confuse someone coming from a source that does.

Or so I've been told. Roll Eyes It doesn't matter to me, I only mentioned it here because some people might come along, see the review, and make a wrong conclusion before buying the book.
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Slashes-With-Claws
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« Reply #444 on: April 21, 2015, 09:43:39 AM »

Page 327: Adventure Building
This section starts with a breakdown of how FC measures game time.  The Adventure is basically a single series of events with a beginning, middle, and end.  Such as going to the Dungeon of Dungeonyness and get the Artifact of Artifactyness from the Evil Necromancer of Evil Necromanceryness.  The Adventure can be part of a Campaign, like Lord of the Rings where you have the main Campaign of destroying the One Ring and stopping Sauron but it is composed of Adventures like the journey to Rivendell, the battle for Helm's Deep, getting through Cirith Ungol etc.  Each Adventure consists of several Scenes, like it might start in a tavern where you learn a rumor about something that needs doing, then the next scene could be an encounter along the way, then arriving at the location and dealing with stuff there.  In a big dungeon crawl you might have each floor be a Scene and the boos fight be its own Scene.  And finally each Scene is broken into Encounters, the challenges the party needs to overcome.  During Level 2 of Dungeon of Dungeonyness you might have Encounters with a bunch of orc guards, then later an ooze, then some traps, and so on.

How long all of this is should depend on what feels natural.  It makes sense to break Scenes for example if you change location.  Encounters are dependent on the party, how long it takes them to overcome it.

Page 327: Story Seeds
Adventure hooks.  These are the things that get the party's interest and get them actively going on the adventure.  Be it rumors, someone running up and asking for help, an attack by the Evil Necromancer of Evil Necromanceryness, etc.  The book even includes a handful of random story seeds if you just need a quick idea to get started.

Page 327: Your First Adventure: Keep it Simple
If this is your first time GMing, then you want to limit the scope so you do not get overwhelmed.  You can get more complex later as you get more experienced.  But, for now, start with just one story seed, some very clear goals, and just a few basic adversaries.  And remember, you cannot plan for everything, you will have to improvise at some point.

Page 327-328: PC Motivations
So, you have something for the players to do, but now comes the big question.  Why should they do it?  In character that is, why should their character get involved?  If your answer is, "Because that is the game" then you are doing it wrong.  The characters need a reason to get invested, be it anything from simple greed, to revenge, to defending those in need, to anything else that would logically motivate that individual character.  Look at the characters in the party and see what should motivate them and try to tailor your adventures around that.

It is also important to balance risk and reward.  If the players strongly role-play then something that is too risky for the reward might result in them refusing to do it.

Story time!  Had this happen in a game I was in.  I was a player in an Ironclaw game that died before the main quest even started.  Being Ironclaw, politics was a major part of the main quest; we were being hired by some nobody noble who insisted they had a line to the throne.  The noble wanted us to go steal some evidence and get captured in the process, forcing the evidence to be revealed in court.  So, right away, the plan was to go to jail.  And the reward?  The noble would, when he got the throne (Fat chance), allow us to work our way out of jail and become his servants.  We RPed along at first of course, figuring that the noble was just a jerk and we could come up with a better idea and get paid properly for it.  But, things did not work out and we refused to work with him, and left.  Game over.

A final thing that the book talks about is not to keep emotions high all the time, give the game peaks and valleys, otherwise it will become too stressful and taxing on the players if things are a constant emotional turmoil.

Page 328-329: Adversaries and other NPCs
Start with the most important NPCs to the Adventure.  We covered how to make NPCs in the previous chapter, so you should be able to handle that.  Remember to tailor the NPCs to the Adventure, giving them appropriate personality, quirks, abilities, and equipment.  For the most important characters you also need to think about their motivations and desires.  What does the bad guy want?  Why are they doing bad guy things?  And for enemies the players are likely to fight also consider their tactics in battle.  If the players are going to fight a group of orcs for example.  Consider are they a regimented group who have the Shield B/M/S chain and will form a phalanx and work well together?  Or are they just some mercenaries that are not the most organized.

And consider non-combat ways players can deal with enemies.  Maybe someone Impressive enough could talk the enemy down and work something out.  Or a sneaky character could slip in and take the quest item without having to fight anyone.

Page 329: Your First Adventure: Getting the Party Together
If you are playing with a group of people you already know and know each other's play styles it might be fine to simply start with the party already together and let them come up with their backstory as to how.  Or, it might be more fun to RP them meeting up and joining together, especially for strangers to the group as their character's introduction is also the player's introduction.  Learning about the character also introduces the player.

If you do not want to tackle it right away feel free to run a flashback later, which FC has rules for.

As to the exact how they got together, that is up to you.  Be sure it fits the story.  Maybe they were in the same city when the big bad attacked and ended up escaping together.  Or they are members of the same faction.  Or maybe they ended up taking a similar mission and end up working together.

My character, Sheskar, joined an already in progress Sunchaser Campaign over two years ago.  It had been going for about a year, plus or minus, by then.  So we came up with the story that he was, coincidentally, hired to basically do the same thing the party was doing.  They ended up working together for that mission and Sheskar stayed on for the money at first, then had character development and became a proper hero as the story went on, working to save the world from The Crone.  He is kind of like Han Solo in that way.

Page 329: Your First Adventure: Run What You Know
Need ideas?  Then look at movies, books, history, or even That Other Game.  Modify a module from TOG, build an Adventure around some ideas you got from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and make an NPC that is Darth Revan with a different name.  It is all good, as long as it is fun and makes sense.

Next time, location, location, location.  We get into a bit of cartography.
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SilvercatMoonpaw
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« Reply #445 on: April 21, 2015, 11:40:24 AM »

Easiest way to get the party together: they work for an organization and were assigned to the same group.  Provides a convenient explanation for replacements, too.
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Slashes-With-Claws
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« Reply #446 on: April 21, 2015, 08:59:31 PM »

Easiest way to get the party together: they work for an organization and were assigned to the same group.  Provides a convenient explanation for replacements, too.

Probably works even better in a game like Spycraft.  In FC it could work, but would depend on the story and setting.  Some fantasy settings may not work well with that.
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SilvercatMoonpaw
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« Reply #447 on: April 22, 2015, 05:45:05 AM »

Some fantasy settings may not work well with that.
Right.  I'm suggesting it's easiest, not best.
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« Reply #448 on: April 22, 2015, 09:17:52 AM »

Some fantasy settings may not work well with that.
Right.  I'm suggesting it's easiest, not best.

Actually, I don't see why not.
When I've run fantasy one-offs for conventions, I've always made the group to be members of a City Watch patrol.

Also if you're using a staple fantasy setting, what about a noble-sponsored adventuring party? That gives you a way to remove some of their hard-won cash and prizes.
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Slashes-With-Claws
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« Reply #449 on: April 23, 2015, 08:51:45 AM »

Page 329-330: Locations
Any Adventure is likely to cover a wide array of locations.  It might start in town at an inn, move on tot he open road, then head to an old ruin, then to deep underground caverns, and finally end in the hall of a local lord as you are awarded for your accomplishments.

Each location has its on uniqueness.  Not just that it is a completely different location (The inn vs the ruins) but that is different from other similar locations (What makes THIS ruin special?).  Let us start with the inn.  What is special about this inn?  What is its name?  Inns and taverns can have odd names, maybe its name is significant, or maybe just funny.  How old is it?  Has it been run by the same family for a hundred years or is it relatively new due to recent expansions into this area of the world from a recent gold rush?  What kind of people visit it?  Is it your typical middle class worker who goes there?  Or is it some dive by the docks?  Or maybe it is the fantasy Ritz-Carlton in the nation's capital and caters to visiting dignitaries and the super wealthy.  For the ruin, you have to consider what it was before it was a ruin.  Why was it abandoned?  Who or what is there now?

All these questions are important to flavor the world and immerse the players.  Obviously, you need to concentrate on the most important locations for your story.  For less important stuff you might just have one little fact that might be interesting, or just come up with something on the fly.  Definitely do not put too much into minor locations as how much detail you put into something is often a cue to the players of how important it is to the story.

When dealing with animals you have to consider their ability to live there.  There needs to be food, water, shelter, and mates.  So you will not find animals in a desolate waste if there is nothing to eat or drink, unless they are not natural, like undead.  It would be really odd to have the party attacked by tigers while in an abandoned castle without a good reason.

Also consider the location from a gameplay perspective.  Remember that the players have to get through the area and make use of it.  Consider ways they might try getting around the planned encounter.  Will they try and slip in through an upper window, find a back door, or be brazen and just knock on the front door?  You need to be ready to address all these possibilities; luckily you can improvise some of it.  Be careful not to accidentally give them a way to circumvent everything, unless you want them to be able to, and likewise do not make the way they need to go too obscure.  Sure, a hidden door is fine, but some clues to it could be useful.

When enemies own the location, consider how they would strategically use it, where they would set up traps and ambushes for example. 

And this book so seems to know players as it wars about the dangers of making a location too extravagant.  As you get into the "Take everything that isn't nailed down or too heavy and anything that can be pried loose is not considered nailed down."  So only put gold anything in a location if it is owned by someone the players want to be friends with, or you want them to stop and loot it.

Page 330: Map
While you can describe a location all you want, when it comes to actually engaging in combat somewhere then you will probably need a battle mat.  In FC each square on a map is 5' x 5' and diagonals use the 5/10 rule we talked about a while ago.  There are lots of ways to do the map be it physically with a mat and minis, or on the computer using a program like MapTool.

When making the map remember that default movement is 30' so take that into consideration when deciding how big some things should be as well as consider spell and bow range, especially if the enemy are setting up to use them.  Also consider how big the characters are.  You would not have ogres living in a place with very narrow corridors.  And also consider your party, if you have a drake, giant, or ogre in your party they need more space to move than other characters.

Page 330: Your First Adventure: Run What You've Got
Be like the characters in the party, and steal everything!  Applies to more than just the first adventure really.  Need a map and do not have tome to draw one?  Pull out an old module and use its map.  Need some artwork for NPC tokens in MapTool?  Head over to Deviant Art and get searching.  You can even use TOG modules and just change the stats to be FC compatible, we even covered the rules for doing that last chapter.  So be like the player character and steal.

The GM for the game I am in has done that.  He ran a TOG module with a few changes.  Worked great.  A little side story, we got a laugh when he goofed with naming the place in MapTool, calling it "Crevis Ruins" instead of "Crevice Ruins".  He left it that way and said it was called that for little crayfish that lived in the pond down there called crevis.  He he he.

Page 330-331: Scenes and Encounters
FC uses the term Scenes for a reason.  FC is not a fantasy simulator, it is about playing an interactive work of fiction.  As such, things follow a logical fictional progression, there is a beginning with the introduction and setup, a middle where things develop, and an end where it all concludes.

Opening Scene (Setup): This is where the Story Seeds we talked about come into play.  You get the players into the story.  Introduce what is going on, start the ball rolling, and head off to adventure.  This is where you can introduce important characters, plot points, objectives, etc.  And if you want a big opening you could start with the action already going by doing in media res; this is used a lot in action movies like James Bond.  It gives you a quick boot to the action and can also unite the players quickly as they have to deal with the action.

Middle Scenes (Pursuits and Confrontations): One or more scenes that build up the story and plot.  It could be an investigation in one, that leads to exploring a place in another, to finding plot in the next.  Or it could be a classic dungeon dive with travel, floor 1, floor 2, etc.  Things will likely ramp up as the story progresses, becoming more dangerous and challenging as the story reaches the climax.  You ca have the occasional rest scene too as the party regroups and goes over the situation.

Closing Scene (Resolution): The final boss!  The big confrontation in the inner sanctum of the evil clan as they perform their rituals of evilness to bring about the great evilness of evilness to do evil.  Or it could be the summation in an investigation where the guilty is revealed.  Regardless of the exact nature of your story's particular resolution this is what everything is leading to.  It should be the grandest and possibly toughest scene.  And if you really want to make it worth it, then avoid a Mass Effect 3 ending and have the party's actions up until then matter.  Maybe they talked to the orc warlord instead of fighting him and now he shows up to help.  Maybe they discovered and killed a powerful mage before the final battle, making it easier.  Or maybe they screwed up bad and alienated someone who now works for the big bad.

This is just a default structure and, like most things in FC, is subject to change.  Maybe you add in an epilogue scene, maybe the party takes care of a final minor thing after the resolution, maybe the middle scenes get jumbled around as they decide to pursue things different than you thought.

Next time, things to consider when building a Scene.
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