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Everything posted by The13Fates

  1. The way I roleplay them in my games: the lower the rank, the more likely they are to be kind and help out Innocent members of Malifaux, sort of like friendly neighborhood policemen, upholding the law but not being too hard on the general public. Once you start going up the ranks however, that's where the bullies, the show-offs and the intimidation comes in, the way I see it, the upper ranks have to deal with so much; from "Arcanist Terrorists" to literal towers of paperwork, that trusting "innocent" people not to backstab them just isn't something they are going to risk anymore.
  2. For my last campaign, I started by simply flipping through the Bestiary to see what caught my eye. I landed on Void Wretch, then I started asking questions: * They are attracted by disturbances in time, what is attracting them? Some kind of artifact... * What is this artifact? A time prison maybe... * Who created it? An artist, possibly by mistake... * Why hasn't anyone found it? The artist separated and hid the artifact before his death * How does the antagonist know about it? She has been studying V-Wretches and has discovered a pattern. * How are the Fated involved? They are Relic Hunters and hired to search and clear out the last known resting place of the artist And then follow up questions. From the seed of Void Wretch sprang a year long campaign discovering the history of the Artist, the troubles of the noble lady and what happens when you mess with time and have to deal with Aionus. It was great to see the campaign grow and react to how the players responded to the growing event around them.
  3. For me, it's GM consistency on top of simple open communication and respect of people's time. If a player is going to make the time to clear their timetable and show up for a game every week/fortnight then the GM should be doing all they can to do the same. Sounds obvious but when a player is excited for a game but the GM makes a habit of not being in the mood or hasn't had the time to prep anything; it kills a person's enthusiasm. Story telling is another factor for keeping a stable player base, keep the shared story interesting, having player choices matter and the world react to those choices and so on and so forth. Being able to hear "I can't wait to see what happens next session" is the best reward a GM can get.
  4. Ran the first session tonight with a modified house-ruled chargen (Set numbers for Aspects/Skills, 1 trigger, talent from a small list of 12, default list of weapons/magic, no twist decks, control hands are drawn from main deck). Had one new player who played a bit of the miniwar game and was able to make a character within 10 minutes using this method and the game went very smoothly. Using the main Fate deck as the players control hands didn't make a noticeable impact and because the table had limited-yet-free-reign over their skills/trigger/talent, they made more invested decisions with their characters because they had a clearer idea of who they were. Drop-ins, who have a good experience at the table could well become fully fledged every-weekers. In my experience at least, this is more likely to happen if they have a character they have created themselves and become invested in seeing grow, rather than adding a name to a pre-gen. Treating a drop-in player as a chore or not committed enough to play in a weekly game does little to grow the player base of this hobby.
  5. Excellent suggestions Hellomurse. That would make it feel a lot more like what I imagine an Ongoing Challenge should look like, different skill sets working in tandem with one another and effecting the outcome. Thank you.
  6. Well that's the point, nothing has changed in these ongoing challenges apart from the end duration which the players (typically) have no knowledge of results wise. If it wasn't an Ongoing Challenge, would you ask for 2-3x Lockpicking checks from one player and 3-4 Notice checks to spot guards from 3 other players? Personally I wouldn't. In this Lockpicking situation it would be one check from the lock picker and one Notice check each from the others. Did the lock picker succeed? Yes, the lock opens in a matter of minutes. Margin of Success? It takes seconds, good work! Failure? It's taking longer than normal but you're getting there, the TN lowers by 2, try again. Margin of Failure? You've broken the pick and it's lodged in the lock, you'll need to find another way in. As Fatemaster, I've already got a feeling of when guards would appear on their patrols, so at that point it's just a case of 'do the players on watch see the patrol or not?' with their checks. To your "Cleaning your room" example, why, in an RPG mind you not real life, would I ever need 4 successful checks in order to clean it? Surely a single check noting any margins of results would be sufficient, right? I don't often get asked as a player "make 6 successful Notice checks and I'll tell you what you see in this room" do you? But I can see a good reason to use Ongoing Challenges for certain other things, asking for information around the district or navigating the Quarantine Zone without a guide for instance. Both of which would be a massive time sink otherwise BUT there would still be the issue of four players sitting at the table saying "yeah, that again" as I place a poker chip on it. How do I make this process of Ongoing Challenges more fulfilling and interesting? Rather than it being something "that should go by really fast". Because if it is something that's so dull and boring that it needs to go by "really fast" just to get it out of the way, why is it such a major part of almost all Penny Dreadfuls?
  7. Well let's take the One-shot "Into the Gutter" and it's "Clearing the Collapsed Building" Ongoing challenge. It has three skills at a moderate TN11 with baseline success/failure with 2 events for each duration and a clock at the end depending on duration. My players started this challenge and the first duration was: "I start by picking up debris and tossing it out" "I'll use Leadership to better get everyone organized" "I'll help with lifting too" "Yup same here" So first duration, we have 3 Successes, no failures and ran through the first event, no problems. But then the next duration begins: "I'll keep on tossing out debris I guess" "Still keeping everyone organized" "I don't have anything better in my skills, so keep working" "Same" New event, all good then the next duration starts and the players are just flipping cards saying they're doing the same thing. We finally reach the success threshold and the table finally wakes up and begins having fun again. The first duration is fun, the end of each duration is fun... after that first duration, it's like the players are waiting to play the game again and just want it to end.
  8. During various campaigns and one-shots an issue I come across time and time again is the implementation of the Ongoing Challenges. It's an almost audible break of player agency as their actions are boiled down to 'flip your best check and mark off success and failure' and no amount of artsy description can stop the feeling that they are stuck in the Ongoing Challenge box rather than being in control of their own actions. Is there a better way to handle these situations? Because I see their worth (on paper) as a great way to mark off passages of time and to have consequences for failure/red herrings but I'm struggling to keep the players interest up when I suddenly slap down 'the list of limited skills' and ask them to make check after check after check until it's over. How can I get Ongoing Challenges to work as intended rather than be a bore at the table?
  9. Some further brainstorming on the matter. Let's assume I have the numbers, so that they can choose skills and aspects with them, then say hand them a default weapon (something cheap from each weapon class for example) and the same for armor. For magic users, okay here's your "starter" grimoire w/ the unique school (which can be changed later if desired). Triggers shouldn't take long unless Johnny Powergamer has to evaluate each one separately. The issue now becomes Twist Decks and Talents, all of the above + choosing a pursuit is going to take <15minutes on a good day. Twist Decks are tricky depending on if the player in question has a trigger they want to see every flip or not, should I just prepare 4per/deck of cards I own and have the player choose or make it random? Talent wise, I need a MUCH shorter list if I'm going to keep things quick and would like to hear recommendations on what a good list of 8-12 starter Talents would look like (from all book sans Gremlins). Should I stick with simple stat-ups or have some more out-there options?
  10. My local gaming club has a slight problem (at least at the moment) it's very much a 'show up and hope there's a game available' type of situation. This leads to players not always having games, or even worst GMs having no players (due to them no longer showing up due to risk of no game). Player retention is another factor. I've ran one-shots and the one common feedback I receive is that the game went great but players really want to have their own characters, rather than pre-gens. Through the Breach isn't known for its 15min char-gen, Tarot - Skills - Aspects - Talent - Pursuit - Loadout - Magic. It's a massive time sink if a new player sits down at the table for the first time. My questions are this: What is the quickest way for a player to have their own character sheet in front of them and game ready in the shortest possible time? With the assumption that they can complete it to 100% later after that first session. What is the minimum they need in order to play without me just throwing them a pre-gen?
  11. What I'm curious about is the modus operandi / hierarchy of the Nephilim. Reading through the Penny Dreadfuls that feature them, they are depicted with a variety of aspects: Wild beasts, instinctual savages, cautious opportunists, Cunning masterminds or ruthless leaders. I mean, are they purple humans or is there something deeper? In one PD they are nameless enemies who crave nothing but blood and death and in another they are two lost souls just trying to get home in one piece, hesitant to ask for help. Are they a single unit or does one 'tribe' dislike another for their beliefs? It would be very interesting to find out.
  12. I've implemented a few one-shots into my homebrew campaign to great success. My Fated were part of an artifact collection agency which is really easy for slot-in penny dreadfuls. Where's the next piece? Well it should have shown up by now but we've just found out that a Ms Appleton has intercepted it and killed the delivery man. Infiltrate her mansion and get it back! (I take out the One-shot "Honor Among Thieves). Ms Colette du Bois has offered up one of her collection to be brought back to the agency to be shown in its museum. The catch is, she wants to have it as part of a last show and has invited the fated to be part of it. (I crack open "Night at the Star" one-shot). And so on, names get changed, reasons for being there are slightly off script but the essence of the feeling the penny dreadful is remains intact and really brings forward the idea that the world is massive and varied. It's also a way to get a last minute session prep'd and ready in under an hour haha.
  13. I've always been partial to Yan Lo and Chiaki's design and aesthetics. Great power hidden behind unassuming frailty. Plus the image of Zoraida cursing under her breath trying in vain to attach Yan Lo's beard makes me chuckle.
  14. I ran into this issue in my last campaign, my player had a goal for their character and didn't want to diverge into a different pursuit. This is where Destiny Steps can fill in the gaps. If your player is already dedicating time and advancement to the Torakage path, perhaps offer "Rapid Fire" or something like it as a Manifested Power. If power level is a concern, limit it to the 2nd or 3rd Destiny Step.
  15. I was wondering how Fatemasters and players alike describe Through the Breach to people who play RPGs but haven't heard of either Malifaux or Wyrd. I'm trying my best to get interest stirred up at my local store but my elevator pitch needs work. Other RPGs seem a lot easier to sum up to prospective players, for example: D&D: it's D&D... Blades in the Dark: You're a group of criminals who perform heists in order to establish themselves one-day as the kingpins of a haunted city against other criminal organizations. Feng Shui 2: You're a bunch of action movie archetypes who use movie logic to solve their problems, typically in the most over-the-top, wild and extreme way possible. But then I reach Through the Breach and I stumble: "You play as entities known as the Fated who can cheat their own fate. They travel into Malifaux... oh Malifaux is both the world and the name of the city... by means of a breach.. okay so in the late 1700s... closed for a hundred years... soulstones magic yadda yadda... big train... guild... it uses cards and... oh you have to be somewhere else, no problem, thanks for your time." How would I succinctly describe this game in a snappy interesting way to get new and experienced players alike curious and interested in playing?
  16. I would add "Above the Law" and "Northern Sedition". The former for much needed info on how the guild work; the latter for the continuation of the Northern saga.
  17. I have run Northern Aggression and rate it highly, there's a lot to do, tons to discover and caters to both combat primaries and social pursuits alike. As for one-shots, I've run Heart of Darkness and Honor Among Thieves. HoD reads well but I found it really really depends on table expectations to be set beforehand. If you have players who want to be big damn heroes who like epic combats, they aren't going to find it here. Players who enjoy role-playing underdogs who are challenged by a threat they can't just run up and attack are going to have a much better time of it. HaT features a heist which has players case out the location (a mansion party), talk to guests to find a way in and get them to help on the inside. Player agency is very high here, it could be a session of next to no combat, or could result in utter chaos depending on how the players go through it. Very enjoyable on both sides of the screen and I can't recommend it enough.
  18. With the exception of a few schools of magic and certain spells (for example, Elemental spells, which require at least one elemental immuto) you are free to cast spells without any Immutos attached. This is useful if you want to cast buffs on allied Fated as they can relent (count as flipping a black joker) on friendly spells thus meaning you only have to reach the unmodified TN+Suit.
  19. I'm very curious about the Ten Thunders secret 2nd Breach and more detail of how they keep it maintained and away from prying eyes. It makes sense Breachside due to its far-removed location but where is it Earthside? There's also the matter of the quantum mechanics of the breach portals themselves, the "main" breach runs a train through it and sometimes parts of the train don't appear on the other side. How much risk is involved taking a stroll on foot or smuggling goods through it?
  20. Mechanics wise is the unsatisfying answer of: When the FM says so. For my table I have a personal preference for having an enforcer rank + die/taken out of combat when they suffer a lasting Severe Crit. Sometimes it's less than that, sometimes it's the big 22+ Severe crit of it raining bloody chunks; it depending on the mood I'm trying to set. But yeah, a good FM will have an NPC die/taken out of combat when it makes sense to do so and every table is going to be different I'm afraid.
  21. 1./ A single (0)Ap ability can be used once per turn in dramatic time, if you have more than one (0)Ap ability, you will have to choose which one to use each turn. 2./ As worded, it just happens and that's how I've ruled it in my games. If that sounds like an issue, I'd say it sounds like a (0)Ap action if you're unsure. 3./ The flip would be the Fated's Willpower (WP) stat, if they fail against the Stalker's 11Av it would end ALL magical effects and conditions (including the bad ones). 4./ Yes. Pg182: "Protecting a character with Magical Shielding is a (1) Action." It ends when either the caster ends it with a (0) Action or when the target leaves Line of Sight. 5./ For Talents, it's the amount of ranks you have in the skill, not the total AV you get from Skill Rank + Aspect. 6./ Wounds are 4 + Ranks in Toughness. You only gain more Wounds if you have a Positive Resilience aspect.
  22. All great advice and that I followed in my homebrew campaign, I had 5 main faces with their own voices and quirks; my issue lies with spreading this over Innocence's much much larger roster of NPCs. How do I go about introducing them all without resulting in a mess of "The center of town is abuzz with activity, you see the butcher, the baker, the cobbler, the Smith, the other Smith, the boys, the guys, the girls, the gals, and who could miss the doctor, the surgeon and the candlestick maker next to the mysterious stranger...." Do I accept the reality that they would each have to individually walk towards the Fated with an #NPCSideQuest and then step back into their homes until approached again? Or is there a better way to handle this number of NPCs more naturally?
  23. In a couple of months I intend to run In Defense of Innocence with all the complications included, to make a 5-8 session campaign out of it. Could someone give good advice on how to roleplay the ~15 or so different major NPCs and how to include and introduce them all without it becoming a mess of names and voices?
  24. It's a case of personal time management over a universal guide. If you want a one shot to be a one session deal then it's up to you as Fatemaster to have scenes end, wrap up or be stretched out before your time runs out. At my table, I know I have 3 hours of "actually playing the game" time so during a one shot I'll keep an eye on the clock and if I feel the next scene needs to start I'll say something along the lines of "Mr NPC thanks you for your time and makes his farewells, for the rest of the day, nothing out of the ordinary happens, that is until..." With enough practice, it will seem like natural progression.
  25. My campaign of 23~ sessions has come to a close. My players really enjoyed it, saying how it was an epic journey, a shame that it's finished and all that good stuff. As a FM I'm both humbly proud of the story we all told together and looking forward to having a short break before starting another campaign. Comparing my first session to my last is like chalk and cheese, I've learned a lot and wanted to share with you the slight changes I do to run a smoother game: * Target numbers - TN10 for early game, TN12 for late game: For context this a skill challenge for a normal check, not too easy (a -2), not too hard(a +2 & onwards). Yes the guy with 2x 5+ skills is still on easy street but consider that not every check is going to be solved with only one or two skills. Which leads into: * Make varied encounters - What would a Mage/Fighter/Rogue do?: If every encounter can be solved by a social skill or violence, it will quickly become modus operandi to have skill with 5+ in those areas. Mix it up without it being a screw job. * Ignore the rank system... kinda - Just one good hit, or maybe two or three: The jump between minion and enforcer is a wide gap, 5 wound and KO'd compared to having to deal 10+ damage and a decent critical and getting past the 2 Fate points. For shorter fights, I have enforcers insta-fail a KO check, or just have them make the standard Unconsciousness check using their base skill+aspect. Rank shouldn't mean requiring a High Mod/Sev Crit in order to finish an NPC off. * Give your bosses a Deck - and a control hand: I had boss fights that were over in one round due to perfect knowledge, static TN will do that. If something feels like they should be a boss, I shuffle a separate deck and draw 2+number of players cards off the top for a control hand. It's a minor change that has been discussed to death at this point but the important part of why I do this is that it makes an encounter feel different and gives it an element of shock and surprise rather than the 'same guy but bigger' issue. Embrace the badass - Hug them tightly: Finally, I changed my attitude about the high AVs and nigh-indestructability and rolled with it. As early as midgame the Fated are a force to be reckoned with, let them be! The Sharpest Shooter should feel like they can shoot the wings off a fly at 50 yards, the Martial-est Artist should feel like they can take on 6 dudes solo no sweat; and so on. Embrace their strengths but also remind them of their weaknesses on occasion.
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