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Author Topic: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate  (Read 765 times)

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Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« on: January 15, 2014, 12:02:43 PM »
So, in pouring over my newly acquired Fate Core rules and Toolkit, I've been exploring a way to make a Star Wars Game happen for some friends IRL or perhaps here on Elliquiy as well. I've been nothing but frustrated and confounded by Star Wars d20 and Star Wars Saga, particularly by the raw amount of material they make available without offering much support on the GM side of things, particularly where actually building campaigns and encounters and enemies are concerned. Furthermore the complications of various equipment systems, vehicles, and star-ship combat have always been an obstacle, bogging everyone down in yet another set of rules that I've hardly been able to muster the wherewithal to trawl through myself, let alone a group of 4-6 players.

Which is why I was so excited by the prospect of adapting the Fate system to play in a Galaxy Far Far Away, since Star Wars combines the best elements of sci-fi serials, pulp action, and classic romantic adventures all of which Fate is adept at portraying in any setting you should happen to use it for.

To that end, I'm appealing to you, my fellow tabletop gamers and GMs of Elliquiy to help me further detail, tease out and puzzle through how best to use the resources offered by Fate to create a Star Wars Campaign. Hope you'll enjoy the experience as much as myself!


tl;dr?
I want to make a Star Wars Campaign using Fate and need help with adapting certain rules.

Right off the bat, the Force; How to handle it in Fate? I don't want to treat it like any old magic system, and I want Force Users to be balanced against more mundane types (a constant struggle for any Star Wars game, as I know from experience).

To that end, my first inclination is to create a new skill: Use the Force, and give all players access to it, but only if they take certain stunts to represent whatever training, talents, or other personal characteristics allow them to tap into the Force more than the average Joe, Jane, or Jawa.

For a famous example, say I was to create one of the more famous non-Force wielding characters of the setting: Han Solo.

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Ignoring Aspects for the moment (Never Tell Me the Odds; Here me baby, Hold Together; Who's Scruffy Looking?), Han is first and foremost a Smuggler, so I'll be arranging the top 3 skills of his Pyramid around Pilot, Deceit, and Shoot, with the next tier down filling out Stealth, Rapport, etc. So what about this new Use the Force Skill I've created? Should Han have it at all?

Well Han is not a Jedi, he's not a Sith, he's never received any sort of training and he doesn't even really believe in the Force (No Match for a Good Blaster at your Side). All that said, Han does believe in his own luck, and has more than a little of a touch of destiny to him (hanging around with the likes of Luke et. al.) and on top of all that he's a Corellian, the most famously lucky and willful humans in the Galaxy, who as a people seem to have some connection to the Force even if they're not all walking around wielding lightsabers.

See, this is where I love the Fate System, because I can look at all the other nameless, faceless extras in the star wars universe who as default NPCs are going to Mediocre (+0) at just about everything and compare them to Han. Jedi or not, he's got to be a cut above the rest, just by virtue of being a Corellian, and on top of that he's characteristically lucky and canny in a given situation, very much making his own luck the way a Jedi does when actively channeling the Force. So I figure if the average Jedi/Sith NPC is going to probably have a rating between Good & Great, then I'm going to make sure Han's is at least above Average.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 12:40:48 PM by chaoslord29 »

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 03:34:55 PM »
I always struggle when running a campaign where some but not all players will have supernatural abilities.  How do you create a balance where those who have abilities still get to do real cool things without everyone else just being their minions?

I think if you can protect character niche and not let Force characters do too many more things than everyone else you should be fine.  A Force Skill should not be too much more powerful than all the other Skills.

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Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 03:55:27 PM »
Have you had a look at how magic is handled in the Dresden Files rules?

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2014, 04:04:31 PM »
I always struggle when running a campaign where some but not all players will have supernatural abilities.  How do you create a balance where those who have abilities still get to do real cool things without everyone else just being their minions?

I think if you can protect character niche and not let Force characters do too many more things than everyone else you should be fine.  A Force Skill should not be too much more powerful than all the other Skills.

Well the beauty of Fate is that all skills are only ever capable of the same four basic actions and results: Attack, Defend, Overcome, & Creating an Advantage. The way in which they're different is the time they are applicable and the favor they provide (and how to defend against them in turn) so having Use the Force as a Skill should be a very effective balancing measure in and of itself. If you have a blaster, and a Shoot of Great (+5) it's every bit as effective in bringing down foes as if you have Use the Force at the same level, and use it to unlease a wave of kinetic Force.

The real advantage of Use the Force would be that it's the single most Versatile skill on the list, since Force Powers can accomplish very nearly anything. Which is why I think you should have to take Stunts (like Feats) to define exactly how well and for what you can use it.

Say you've got a character whose force sensitive (i.e. has put ranks in Use the Force) but hasn't taken any Stunts related to being a Jedi, Sith, Force Adept, or anything else. Then they can only use the most basic functionality of the Force, the 'edge' or touch of fate that it gives you in any given situation. Like when Luke (spoilers?) destroys the Death Star using his instincts rather than the targeting computer; is he using a particular Force Technique there, or is he just Using the Force?

Have you had a look at how magic is handled in the Dresden Files rules?
I have, and I toyed with that, but the Force only ever really seems to be used for Evocation and while I like the distinction between Conviction and Discipline (and the implications that might have for balancing Light side and Dark in Star Wars) I decided to keep it simple, since the Force never really 'backfires' the way magic in Dresden always has the potential to. Moreover, while the Force obviously requires effort, it's rarely depicted as raw exertion or having 'drain' in some way or another (Unless the Force user is obviously using Extra Effort which is it's own thing).

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2014, 05:19:12 PM »
Say you've got a character whose force sensitive (i.e. has put ranks in Use the Force) but hasn't taken any Stunts related to being a Jedi, Sith, Force Adept, or anything else. Then they can only use the most basic functionality of the Force, the 'edge' or touch of fate that it gives you in any given situation. Like when Luke (spoilers?) destroys the Death Star using his instincts rather than the targeting computer; is he using a particular Force Technique there, or is he just Using the Force?
He's doing neither. He's invoking his "Trained by a wise old master" Aspect, his "My teacher is still with me" Aspect and stacking them together with the "I tried that once" Advantage which he created in the first attack :P.

IMO, it'd be much easier to do Star Wars using Fate Accelerated Edition, and just allow people to use Force narration if they have Stunts and Aspects for it >:).

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2014, 05:30:30 PM »
He's doing neither. He's invoking his "Trained by a wise old master" Aspect, his "My teacher is still with me" Aspect and stacking them together with the "I tried that once" Advantage which he created in the first attack :P.

IMO, it'd be much easier to do Star Wars using Fate Accelerated Edition, and just allow people to use Force narration if they have Stunts and Aspects for it >:).

Hmmm . . . that definitely has some merit, especially as a means to hook potential player's into the game.

But I know some of my irl friends are going to want a more expanded system for using the Force, so while I admire the simplicity of the solution, I'd like to try and flesh out the concept a little more without relegating all uses of the Force to flavor.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 05:21:00 AM »
Stunts are anything but "flavour", or they wouldn't cost Refresh. You can even have stunt trees, remember!
For that matter, Spirit of the Century might well give you some ideas for appropriate stunt trees.

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 03:18:42 PM »
Stunts are anything but "flavour", or they wouldn't cost Refresh. You can even have stunt trees, remember!
For that matter, Spirit of the Century might well give you some ideas for appropriate stunt trees.
Oh, I missed what you were saying. Actually yeah, I already have some Stunt Trees in mind which will allow players to use the Force in new and Creative Ways. But the question then is whether I link them to a particular skill or two or three, or two a new Use the Force Skill itself.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 03:12:19 PM »
Oh, I missed what you were saying. Actually yeah, I already have some Stunt Trees in mind which will allow players to use the Force in new and Creative Ways. But the question then is whether I link them to a particular skill or two or three, or two a new Use the Force Skill itself.
Well, in FAE, you can link three of the Approaches to the Dark Side and three to the Light side. So the question would be solved.

For Fate Core, creating a new skill and dispensing with stunt trees would make the most sense, IMO.

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 10:13:09 AM »
Well, in FAE, you can link three of the Approaches to the Dark Side and three to the Light side. So the question would be solved.

For Fate Core, creating a new skill and dispensing with stunt trees would make the most sense, IMO.
That's not a bad idea for FAE, but my deeper interest definitely lies in Fate Core.

You think I'm over complicating things with the stunt trees then? The way I envisioned it, Use the Force would allow potentially anyone to add a touch of 'Force' to whatever else they were doing and then Stunts would allow for the particular Force Techniques (Push, Choke, Lightning, etc.) based on various tiers.

It occurs to me though that in that function, Use the Force would basically just be like an additional use of Fate Points.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 04:14:12 PM »
That's not a bad idea for FAE, but my deeper interest definitely lies in Fate Core.
Fair enough.

Quote
You think I'm over complicating things with the stunt trees then? The way I envisioned it, Use the Force would allow potentially anyone to add a touch of 'Force' to whatever else they were doing and then Stunts would allow for the particular Force Techniques (Push, Choke, Lightning, etc.) based on various tiers.

It occurs to me though that in that function, Use the Force would basically just be like an additional use of Fate Points.
In a word, yes. Stunt trees would be at their place in FAE. They would be adding more differentiation there.
In Fate Core, you can have them, but don't need them. And I think Occam's Razor only improves a game.
Why are they unnecessary?
Because that's what Use The Force is for.
Lightning? UTF in Attack mode. Possibly with a Weapon Rating on top, if your game doesn't use Weapon Ratings. No, that's not a typo - Luke wasn't hurt by his father in the duel, long enough to win the Social Combat against his father, but then he was one-shotted by the Emperor. That is, until his father intervened. This might require a stunt at your discretion.
Push? UTF in Overcome mode, or possibly Create Advantage mode, depending on what you're using the push for. Definitely no need for a stunt, or maybe you can have a stunt that improves one of those modes. Anyone who names the stunt "Jedi Pusher" deserves to lose 1 Refresh on the spot, though ;D!
Choke? Attack that allows also to Create Advantage if it hits. Probably requires a stunt, because the defence is the target's own UTF, and non-Jedi suck at UTF. To better simulate its nature, the stunt might be specifying that you can use Mental and/or Physical boxes to absorb the Stress. A Force Choke isn't a fast one, and it can be almost harmless enough to be used as an argument. When your lack of faith is disturbing, it might be time for this!

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 04:33:12 PM »
See, that's along the lines of what I had in mind, except that in order to balance out Jedi and Sith against less Force Sensitive characters, I wanted to give Use the Force some underlying basic functionality, and then have associated Stunts if players wanted to use it to outright make Attack or Defense actions (and of course the more complicated/devastating uses of the Force like conjuring up Force Storms or Whirlwinds). That way non-Jedi/Sith might have a reason to pick up ranks in Use the Force representing a touch of luck or destiny, or even latent Force ability (setting them up for advancement into full blown Force User status down the line if they choose).

I like the idea that Lightning adds a weapon rating on top of the outright Attack action, I'm definitely going to use that.

I think though that being able to Force Push enough to do anything more than minor telekinesis (on par with Luke in Empire Strikes Back) should require a stunt. If you want to be tossing battle droids around or lifting X-Wings, you'll need a tier 1 or tier 3 stunt on the tree respectively.

The problem I'm running into is that any of the basic functionalities of the Force which might serve as it's underlying utility is all redundant with existing skills. If a player can Use the Force (without Stunts) to Sense Danger, Mind Trick NPCs, perform minor Telekinesis, or Enhance their reflexes, strength, & speed, they no longer have a reason to take skills like Notice, Empathy, Rapport, Physique, Athletics  at anything more than Average.

Edit:

Okay, suppose I limit the functionality of Use the Force to only some very specific Force related cases of Create an Advantage, like knowing just the right moment to duck for cover, knowing your opponent's move a split second before they do, or exactly the right second to fire those proton torpedoes. So you can use it in conjunction with any other skill, but only if you spend a Fate point and can roll to beat your previous result.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 04:38:56 PM by chaoslord29 »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 03:19:40 PM »
Well, yes, if you let one skill do anything, you end up with Linear Smugglers, Quadratic Jedi. If you don't want that, you should probably require Refresh buy-in, and give more Significant milestones than Major ones to keep in check the guy who puts UTF as a pinnacle skill.
Still don't see why you'd need more than one stunt for Force Push, though, harder task would have a higher Difficulty anyway.

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 03:29:16 PM »
Okay, here's an idea:

Use the Force can only be utilized to Create an Advantage representing a flash of insight, momentary burst of speed/strength, or stroke of luck that is at least within the bounds of believably. Only once you have taken the appropriate Force Stunts can you use it to transcend those bounds, and start leaping and running faster and further than a humanoid should be able to, gain preternatural knowledge of what your normal senses can't detect, or directly influence the environment through telekinesis or even the minds of others.

Force Stunts cannot however, allow you to Use the Force, in place of another skill. Force Jump & Force Speed is still the use of Athletics, Mind Trick and Dominate still require the use of Rapport or Provoke, and if you want to assense emotions or Force turbulence half-way across the galaxy, you still need to roll Notice or Empathy or whatever. Basically, the Stunts allow you to provide and refresh a Boost to your character which functions like a temporary Aspect but you can only maintain a certain number at one time in addition to more direct uses of The Force.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2014, 04:54:21 PM »
Why wouldn't I simply take the normal +2 to skill stunts for the same Refresh value, then?

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2014, 04:58:14 PM »
Why wouldn't I simply take the normal +2 to skill stunts for the same Refresh value, then?

Excellent question . . . I had something in mind that since it applies a Boost which can be invoked it was somehow better, but looking through the rules again, that is clearly not the case.

Damn, back to the drawing board on how to actually grant a 'bonus' other than the standard +2 to X Circumstances.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2014, 03:01:43 PM »
Excellent question . . . I had something in mind that since it applies a Boost which can be invoked it was somehow better, but looking through the rules again, that is clearly not the case.

Damn, back to the drawing board on how to actually grant a 'bonus' other than the standard +2 to X Circumstances.
Well then, before we lose you for the drawing board, have you considered running an all-jedi or no-force-users game ;D?

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2014, 03:18:20 PM »
Well then, before we lose you for the drawing board, have you considered running an all-jedi or no-force-users game ;D?

That was my standard solution for Star Wars d20 or Saga Edition. Scum & Villainy or Military Commando campaigns were great fun, but they put some serious restrictions on character creation all things concerned, and I'd hate to do that in Fate where the freeform character creation is so much of the appeal.

It does occur to me though . . . There's every reason that something like Force Leap or Force Speed should be built just like a normal Stunt, applying +2 under specific circumstances. I mean, that would be the ultimate balancing act, wouldn't it? They're not really all that exotic of abilities when you get right down to it, so I suppose making a Jedi pay a point of refresh for each would be taxing . . . Maybe I should just go with something like a Force Proficiency Feat which grants access to different effects, but only one of which can be used at a time . . .

Anyway, on to a new problem:
Someone wants to play a Droid, and I figure that's worthy of something approaching it's own character archetype like how the Dresden Files RPG does it.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2014, 03:30:23 PM »
That was my standard solution for Star Wars d20 or Saga Edition. Scum & Villainy or Military Commando campaigns were great fun, but they put some serious restrictions on character creation all things concerned, and I'd hate to do that in Fate where the freeform character creation is so much of the appeal.

It does occur to me though . . . There's every reason that something like Force Leap or Force Speed should be built just like a normal Stunt, applying +2 under specific circumstances. I mean, that would be the ultimate balancing act, wouldn't it? They're not really all that exotic of abilities when you get right down to it, so I suppose making a Jedi pay a point of refresh for each would be taxing . . . Maybe I should just go with something like a Force Proficiency Feat which grants access to different effects, but only one of which can be used at a time . . .

Anyway, on to a new problem:
Someone wants to play a Droid, and I figure that's worthy of something approaching it's own character archetype like how the Dresden Files RPG does it.
That's the solution I'd have picked as well. Well, guess that's settled ;D?

On to the new problem, how are Droids worthy of more narrative differentiation?

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2014, 03:33:20 PM »
That's the solution I'd have picked as well. Well, guess that's settled ;D?

On to the new problem, how are Droids worthy of more narrative differentiation?

Droids are never Force Sensitive, immune to biological factors (positive or negative), and apply all the zany technomagic stuff in the Star Wars universe to their actual bodies rather than just their gear.

Side note, a droid sidekick is easy. They're just particularly fancy/expensive gadgets xD

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2014, 03:48:35 AM »
Droids are never Force Sensitive, immune to biological factors (positive or negative), and apply all the zany technomagic stuff in the Star Wars universe to their actual bodies rather than just their gear.

Side note, a droid sidekick is easy. They're just particularly fancy/expensive gadgets xD
So they need a free stunt that says you can't roll UTF, but never need to roll for biological factors, and use repair-based abilities instead of healing centres?

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2014, 12:37:13 PM »
So they need a free stunt that says you can't roll UTF, but never need to roll for biological factors, and use repair-based abilities instead of healing centres?

All rolled in to one Stunt like that? I mean, I think I can definitely tie in some of that with the High Concept, maybe the Trouble as well.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2014, 02:51:35 PM »
All rolled in to one Stunt like that? I mean, I think I can definitely tie in some of that with the High Concept, maybe the Trouble as well.
Yes, although I think that's technically an Extra. But let's call it a stunt. Why not use an Aspect?

Well, nobody prevents it being part of the High Concept or Trouble, but I argue that this isn't enough. Let's consider why I'd rather use the Bronze Rule of Fate than use Aspects.
In two words, it's about a continuous effect. But it's easier to show if we consider how doing it with Aspects would work.
So, Unstoppable Battle Droid Stronger Than Mere Flesh is your High Concept, huh? And your trouble is Force Insensitive Tin Head?
All well and fine, until we need someone to Use The Force and only the droid is in position to do so. So the GM smiles and offers a Compel.
The player pays it off and UTFs the hell out of the opposition. Great, I like unexpected twists!
The only question is, is he a cyborg now or what?
Even worse, we're wading through a room that is built, game mechanics-wise, as an adversary attacking you with Sleep Gas. The droid's player is out of Fate points. Consequently, we're playing it out and he is Taken Out before he manages to cross it and unlock the door. What just happened? Did the room successfully use sleep gas on a droid? It's a cyborg, I'm telling you... ;D
OTOH, consider having this stunt/extra and the corresponding High Concept and Trouble. The guy is a droid, who can shrug off pain and attack unless Taken Out.
Since it's part of the extra, he's not getting any Fate points for being force insensitive, but that's fine. He can have the trouble Everybody Wants The Plans I'm Carrying In My Memory... and land on a desert planet running from those people.
Or, you know, something like that, since we don't want to repeat a well-known movie >:).

Offline chaoslord29Topic starter

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2014, 07:15:57 PM »
I can't tell you how much I appreciated those examples haha, but I really should have been more clear.

I meant to tie together the Aspects with the potential Stunts, so that you can only take them if you also have 'Droid' (or something like that) in your High Concept.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Star Wars Adaptation for Fate
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2014, 01:12:57 PM »
There's no drawback to it AFAICT. Well, unless you have someone who wants to play a droid who wants to be recognised as a person and not a machine.
But since you can put that as a high concept and it contains the word machine, why not?