Friday, August 31, 2007

Fate: Dark and Stormy report #2

This is my second post about the roleplaying adventure I'm currently running, entitled "A Dark and Stormy Knight". Today was our second session of actual play. Prior to last week's session, we had our introductory session, which is a big part of the Fate system. During this first session, players share their character background in phases. If they want to, they can tie their stories together, and everyone at the table can give feedback during this process.

Before I go further, let me introduce you to the PCs involved in this adventure.

Leo Dravidha: a short, above-middle-aged Lufan (similar to gnomes or halflings) man who is a master of engineering, burglary, and thrown weapons. Played by a friend I will hereafter call "J".

Rwake: a 6-foot jungle-dweller from the northwestern Pandandang savanna region. A master of physical acrobatics and a deadly assassin. Played by a friend I will hereafter call "Llama".

Elros Celebrindal: a dashing ex-noble who travels around helping those in need. An expert swordsman, able to fit in with nobles and commoners alike. Played by a friend I will hereafter call "AC".

Last session, the PCs had dealt swiftly with some large rats who had been scared from their nets by a lightning blast outside the tor. Today, they chose to examine the doorway on the east side of the room. Torches in hand, they walked cautiously through the dark passage, finding a small, dusty room at the end. In the center of this room was a stone chest. From the look of it, the locking mechanism was already disconnected, hanging loosely.

They were immediately cautious, as any adventurer should be. Rwake carefully approached and prodded the chest with his 6-foot staff, seeing if he could move the chest. The heavy chest seemed to be sealed to the floor. Mechanically minded Leo stepped up and examined the locking mechanism, discovering a small hole behind it. Within the hole he could make out a set of gimmicks that appeared ready to spring, as some kind of trigger. Pulling our a couple custom lockpicking gadgets, he set to disabling the device. The difficulty I had set was Fair (+2), and his modified Burglary roll came out Fantastic (+6), giving him 4 shifts. He used his extra shifts (Overflow) to colorfully describe his actions as he placed his gadgets and carefully worked at the gimmicks, jamming the components without flipping the trigger.

Next, he lifted the heavy stone lid, safely opening the chest. Now that he had a better view of the apparent trap mechanism, he couldn't help but immediately set to studying it. Meanwhile, the other party members examined the contents of the chest: 2 pearls, 2 bags filled with copper pieces, and a Headband of the Stout Heart, which gives the wearer a +1 bonus on certain Resolve rolls. Leo, uninterested in the treasure, continued studying the room, trying to discover the trap they had avoided. Careful investigation revealed a circle of tiny holes in the ceiling surrounding the area of the chest below - perhaps a dart trap.

With loot stashed away, they wandered back to the room where they had entered and headed down the north passage - a long hallway leading to another room containing some old moldering tables. From the ceiling, there dangled a rope, leading up into a shaft. Rain was dripping down through the shaft and leaving the room through a grate in the floor. Just then, from the opposite side of the room, there entered some noggit raiders (noggits are big beastly humanoids). Everyone threw down their torches as the noggits charged. Rwake and Elros jumped onto tables, Rwake drawing his knife, and Elros grabbing the rope, ready to swing. One noggit attempted to put out the torches with a bucket of water, but made a Terrible (-2) attempt, only putting out 1 of the torches. The other stabbed at Rwake, which the tribesman easily avoided, rolling well enough to gain Overflow, allowing him to give a +1 to Leo's action, which is where we'll begin our next session.

(I'm sorry for my long-windedness. I'm hoping to find a way to keep important details while writing shorter session reports. Bear with me.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Current Fate adventure

I recently began GMing a new adventure for three buddies at work. We play at lunch each Friday. We've been creating a fantasy world as we've played. This world is called Dremnia. In our first adventure, I GMed as the players traveled from Verrath to Reicalis - two kingdoms on the eastern side of the continent. In our second adventure I played a character as the GM led us through the secret passageways of the city of Kalinoth in the southeast.

This is our third adventure as a roleplaying group, and I am once again in the GM seat. This time around, we are using the mechanics from Spirit of the Century instead of Fate 2e. We're just adapting the mechanics to our own fantasy setting. Because it is our first time using the Fate 3.0 mechanics, I am running a short adventure for getting our feet wet. After this, we will move on to an adventure of my own creation, which I'm looking forward to with eagerness. I really like some of the new mechanics in Fate 3.0, especially the significant use of Aspects.

For this short adventure I'm running now, I converted a free D&D adventure which I downloaded from the Wizards of the Coast website. The adventure is called "A Dark and Stormy Knight", by

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Treasures & Traps: Entry Bonuses

Today I had a chance to play Treasures & Traps with three buddies during our Boardgame Wednesday session. These sessions occur once a week during the lunch hour at work. I'll write more about Boardgame Wednesday in a later post. Today's post assumes you are familiar with the game. If you have not yet played the game, you should pick it up at Thoughthammer. If you would like to learn about the game, you can read reviews and look at pictures on BoardGameGeek

Treasures & Traps is a game by Aaron Kreader, who also did the fabulous cartoony artwork. Today, I am going to focus on one particular aspect of this game which I thought about after playing today: cards which add bonuses to entry rolls.

These cards seem to be one of, if not THE, most useful cards in the game. Here is a list of these cards in order of potency from least to greatest, as I see it.

  • Ability #1: +1 on entry rolls for TREASURE items
  • Ability #2: +1 or 2 on entry rolls for ITEMS
  • Ability #3: +1 on all entry rolls
  • Ability #4: +2, 3, or 4 on any roll of the die

Here are the cards which fit with each ability, in order of potency:

  • Ability #1: Dwarf
  • Ability #2: Trove, Treasury, Vault, Brooch
  • Ability #3: Princess
  • Ability #4: Luck Potion, Magic Potion, Hero's Potion

The reason this set of cards is so important is that they can aid you in getting treasure cards into your realm from your own hand. The most surefire way to acquire a treasure is by playing it successfully from your own hand. There are other ways, but they require more chance. The problem is, treasures are relatively difficult to play directly from your hand. In particular, gold treaures, which require a die roll of 5 or 6. It is not very often you have one of these in hand. When you play this card, you don't want to lose it on account of an unlucky roll. You need that gold treasure to win, after all.

This is where the bonus cards come in handy. Any card listed above will be useful in boosting your chances of successfully acquiring treasure cards. Clearly, the best card in the list is the Hero's Potion. With an entry requirement of 1, it's effectively a free placement unless countered by someone else. On top of that, it gives you +4 to any roll. On top of that, you can use it any time as a free action to mod one of your rolls. But there is one downside to this sweet card: because it's so powerful, people are likely to steal it or force it to exit (exit roll of 3). So even though it's the most powerful of the bonus cards, it's also the most sought after. In this case you may be better off with a less prominent card.

A more secure way to gain a bonus that can't be stolen is to use a PLACE or COMPANION card. Since I'm specifically talking about entering treasure cards here, I have to recommend using the Dwarf if you get him. His ability is the most specific of the listed bonus cards, but when you're after treasure, he fits the bill perfectly. The Dwarf is a companion, and therefore manages to attract less attention, in my experience. If someone has another card from higher on the list, they are probably a better target for hosage. Plus, the Dwarf's entry cost is 1. So, despite his limits, don't overlook him.

The last card I'll mention is a middle ground card - the Trove. Trove is a PLACE card. It has the same entry cost (2) as Vault, but a +2 compared to Vault's +1 when playing ITEM cards. For a 2-cost card that can't get stolen, this is a great ability, and very useful for playing treasure cards in your realm.

I might post about other cards in the future. For now, I advise you to keep your eye out for these bonus cards the next time you play Treasures & Traps!

About Games on the Table

Tabletop gaming is one of the greatest ways to enjoy time with family and friends. Games on the Table is about my experience and thoughts regarding the hobbies of boardgaming and pen-and-paper roleplaying.

The boardgames I play are mostly "eurogames". You can learn everything about boardgames at - the most comprehensive boardgaming database and information site on the Internet.

My roleplaying system of choice is Fate. It's a great system, and it's free. I am almost always involved in a roleplaying adventure, as a GM or player.

On the sidebar, I have a section called "Lingo". This is intended for those who are not familiar with terms or abbreviations I use.

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