Fate Core is Awesome

Doesn't it just call out to you? Look at that. It's a kung-fu gorilla with frickin' cyberlimbs.

Fate Core System

If you like our podcast (which is coming soon, we swear, honest), chances are good that you may want to run one of the settings we come up with. A great resource to do that, and one we’ll probably be referencing frequently, is Fate Core, by Evil Hat Productions.

Fate is just a fantastic system. It’s clean, it’s highly adaptable, and it runs off the kind of Storyteller-Player engagement that we think games really run off of. Fate is designed to be almost infinitely adaptable to what you and your players (or me, Adam, and a bottle of scotch) come up with. Don’t believe me? Fine, I’ll prove it!

They’ve just completed a (very!) successful Kickstarter campaign and are making electronic versions of Fate available on a pay-what-you-want model here. Go download it and read through it – the basics of the system are all in the first 20 pages, and you can’t throw enough money at these guys. When you wind up buying it, spring for a physical book. The ePub looks great, but you just can’t beat having at least one physical book around your table.

You know what? Treat yourself. Buy two. You deserve it.

Designing a Setting for Maximum Conflict (part I)

On Monday, we learned that you need conflict for a game to be interesting to play. What does this have to do with setting?  Everything.  Your characters are going to be defined by the setting, so your setting needs to help the players create conflicts.  I’ll show you how.

Tigers Fighting by Tambako the Jaguar

What would be the most boring possible setting for a roleplaying game?  Probably a utopia, a perfect society without fear, hunger, or want.  You can see this if you’ve had the misfortune to read any classic utopian literature – it’s terrible.  Why?  No conflict.  If everyone can get whatever they want, there’s no stories to tell.  Good living tends to make bad gaming.

How can you build a roleplaying game setting to have lots of juicy, interesting conflicts in which player characters can get embroiled?   Continue reading

How to Make Your Setting Not Suck: Conflict

What makes a setting fun?

Conflict.

Conflict, conflict, conflict!

There are a lot of similarities between world-building for a roleplaying game and world-building for a story. Open up any book of advice for fiction writers and it will tell you that a conflict is essential for an interesting story – and the books are right. You can write a story without conflict, but it’s going to make the reader want to light the pages – or the author – on fire 99 times out of 100. This is one of the few times where the RPG designer has a harder time of it than the fiction author: if you design a roleplaying setting without conflict, it’s going to put your players to sleep 100 times out of 100.

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Conflict!

Your setting needs conflict. What is conflict? Conflict is what happens when one character wants something, and someone or something opposes that goal. Continue reading