I’ve spend the last few days up to my neck in D&D style games but with a Fate Accelerated session looming on the horizon. One thing I like to do to familiarise myself with the rules is to knock up a couple of characters and then put them through a combat. So here’s a FAE take on a D&D scrap.
I fancy a Paladin first. I’m going with basic blunt aspects that won’t win any prizes, but will get the job done. Here is what I think of when I think Paladin.
High concept: Elven Paladin of Justice
Trouble: Oathbound by Lawful Good code
Aspect: full shiny plate and shield
The others will be blank for now. On a proper character I imagine they’d tie into the world or relationships and that might not matter too much in a one off fight.
Because I can Lay on Hands I get +2 when I carefully overcome treating wounds
Because I can Smite Evil I get +2 when I forcefully attack evil things in melee
Because I’m highly regarded once per session I can obtain a favor for free from anyone in power
Nice! Next up, a Rogue
High concept: human city guild thief
Trouble: wanted in six city states
Aspect: slippery as a greased weasel
Because I can sneak attack, I get +2 when I sneakily attack from out of sight
Because I’ve got trap sense I get +2 when I carefully overcome triggers
Because I’m incredibly agile once per session I can automatically succeed when I defend against an attack
That will do for now. Everything could be tightened up or fleshed out post play if necessary. For now, I just need a simple situation for our pair of adventurers to find themselves in. The two of them are escaping a dungeon complex. The Paladin is supporting a wounded Fighter who has been badly hurt in a previous encounter. The Rogue lugs a sack full of gold and objets d’art behind her. They are being pursued by a pack of were rats, angry at their sewer temple being defiled by surface dwellers.
Aspects: sewer born; lycanthropes
Skilled (+2) at; swarming and chittering, swimming, climbing
Bad (-2) at; being brave, personal hygiene
Stress: OOO (6 rats, I’m going with the mob rules here)
Rules then. This looks like a chase, which FAE handles with its Contest rules. First to three successes is the victor. Everyone gets to make an Overcome check. So how does this work with groups? Is there one check for the rats and one for the PCs? There are no specific group checks so let’s play rules as written. I’ll set the target number at 0.
Paladin, rolling forceful as he drags the fighter. Gets -3, making the result a 0
Rogue, rolling quick (as GM I say the sack of loot will make that harder, the player doesn’t mind, what with being imaginary) She rolls a -1 getting a result of a 2, but I’m taking off another 1 for the sack, so that’s actually a final total of 1
Rats, rolling with a +2 for swarming. They get -2, for a total of 0
(My son Danny is in charge of rolling. He isn’t having much luck yet!)
As it stands, Rogue gets one success, and the Paladin and Rats tie, meaning no success for them, and a twist in the tale. Let’s say the Pally loses his grip on the Fighter who slumps to the floor behind him. As the rats close in behind, he says something noble like “go on without me! I’ll hold them off as long as I can!”. Pally isn’t having any of that and scoops him up, which we will call a self compel against the whole lawful good trouble aspect. Have a fate point.
Rogue sighs, and ushers them all on.
Next exchange, we stick with the same approaches, just because. I narrate some twisting and turning corridors and hurried map checking.
Ok, so the good guys tied with each other, but I can’t see how that makes for a twist, so let’s ignore that. Everyone succeeds, so that’s a second success for the Rogue, everyone else on 1. Interestingly, there hasn’t been a need to invoke any aspects yet.
Next exchange, and let’s keep going with the usual approaches. I consider turning and facing down the rats, or offering a choice of routes, or obstacles, but they are generated by ties, so let’s stay RAW. I think about how to encourage the Rogue to drop the loot, but there’s no obvious compel or invoke for that (I could maybe compel the Paladin to berate the greedy Rogue?)
Ok! Paladin catches up to Rogue (second success) but so do the rats. I narrate a were rat grabbing hold of the sack of loot by its teeth and ripping and tearing at it, pulling it away from the Rogue. This will also take that Rat out of the chase, after all, they failed too. Seems I found a way to deal with the loot after all.
Now the good guys are only one success away from escape, but I’m offering a fate point as I compel the thief to fight back for the dropped loot, and the paladin to never leave a woman behind (that Trouble aspect is turning into a fate point cash cow)
So we leave the Contest rules behind and move into Conflict. Setting the scene with a bit of description; a dark and shadowy chamber, with bones carelessly scattered across the rough hewn floor. Iron braziers give off a little heat from strangely smoking coals. Tapestries hang from the walls displaying demon worshipping frenzied beasts.
Situational aspects: dark shadows; scattered bones; hot smoking coals; heavy tapestries
This is all contained in one zone I think, with maybe further zones down the passageway they came in from, and down the abandoned escape route.
Turn order based on Quick, goes Rogue, Rats, Paladin (potentially the wounded fighter. I’ll use him to shout encouragement at the end of a round.
Rogue darts to the shadows to attempt to get out of sight. Create advantage based on the dark shadows aspect. Target number 0 off the top of my head. The word ‘darts’ implies a quick approach, but I’m insisting on sneaky. Gets a 3, which is success with style, so I note two free invokes on the sticky note with ‘dark shadows’ noted on it. I foresee the rogues next action already.
The rats surge forward toward the Paladin. They roll to attack, total 0. Paladin defends carefully (standing over prone body of Fighter), getting 4. Boom. That’s a boost for Pally. I’m tempted to simply pass over a +2 token for boosts to be honest, but if we had to scribble out a temporary aspect it would be… “Flurry of parries”
Paladin attacks back, with the boost, going with care again, for a total of 3. The rats defend comes up -2. Eek! Consider trying to invoke the shadows against the Paladin, but he’s already rolled so that seems churlish. That is a shift of 5, which blows through their stress in one sweep of a shiny long sword.
Ok. Wasn’t really expecting that! Invoke own GM fiat to avoid anti climactic scene by having massive Were Rat Mutant stagger into the chamber roaring a challenge
Massive muscles; filth carrier
Good (+2); rending, intimidating
Bad (-2); independent thought
Mild consequence slot (-2)
The Rogue takes her chance leaping from hiding with her short sword. She gets the two free invokes on dark shadows, and attacks sneakily with another +2 from her stunt. With the dice she comes up with a 7. The mutant defends with a poxy 0. There’s no comeback from that and the were rats lay defeated.
Thoughts? I guess mooks should go down like nine pins, but even so for the goodies to not have a claw laid on them is unexpected! I’d like to have seen consequences come up, but wasn’t to be on this occasion. I’m sure everyone would have their own take on tactics and aspect use, but I tried to keep it simple and plausible. Pleased with the way the story played out, but as yet not seeing a huge difference in the fiction between Fate and other systems.