When It Rains…
…It pours. And it rained on me last week. After Easter, I spent time with the Kids one day that week, but that Friday, the shit hit the fan. My mother ended up with another infection, which is common for those with diabetes. I ended up losing my morning to some stuff related to her, and then a chunk of the afternoon getting her to the hospital and admitted.
Later in the day, I tried to boot up my laptop, and it refused. I was able to do a couple of tests that led me to the conclusion that my boot sectors of my hard drive were hosed, a conclusion which has since been held out. So, I got out the original hard drive the laptop shipped with (which I had replaced after a couple of years as had too little storage), go out and buy a new hard drive, format it, and restore my system. As the HD that was broken hadn’t been backed up for a while, I had to hand restore the system (a long, slow process). I thought I finally had everything done Wednesday. However, this Thursday I discovered that I couldn’t print. After some poking around on the Net, I discovered that this is a common issue between Acrobat and HP printers, and seems to be an Adobe issue. Before the research, I assumed that it was issues with the HD changeover, and wasted a lot of time with trying to reinstall the drivers.
In the midst of the weekend of shit-fan impact was International Tabletop Day, to which I took the Girl (and only her, as the Boy was still working on homework he’d put off since his Spring Break had started). We had fun with the day, but of course, while you’re gaming, you’re not getting other things done.
So, I again broke my promise to myself to get some character building done. Really, the mix-up with the Bookwyrm convention left me with no impetus to actually meet the deadline of this weekend to have this stuff done. And worse, self-doubt and double-thinking has created reasons for me to distract myself as well.
I’ve considered going back to a more FAE-style character building system, and I can only see one reason not to: character progression. Friend Will pointed out to me that with only six skills, the advancement system of FAE (Fate Accelerated Edition) is going to allow players to raise their skills quite quickly (a +1 every 3 sessions approximately, on a +0 to +8 scale, starting between +0 and +3). However, part of me likes the idea of simplifying my skill list and getting rid of modes, as it allows a broader base for PC actions and abilities. That is, players will get bonuses to most rolls, and therefore can feel their character is competent at many things.
My thought is to redefine the six approaches of FAE as specializations that are comparable to classes. So, characters would have ratings in Soldier, Infiltrator, Loremaster, Commander, Artificer, and Cavalry (a catch-all which would include all sorts of vehicle usage), rather than Modes that are essentially the same things. Let me explain further: In my previous iteration, I using Modes, which are groups of skills that players rate their characters in. The Soldier mode included Athletics, Fight, Notice, Physique, and Provoke. Notice was added to give soldiers the ability to be watchful as guards, but everything else makes sense for a soldier and provides little mechanical benefit other than bonuses to certain rolls (except Physique, which provides a bonus to “hit points,” and that can be folded into Soldier). You choose to rate that mode, and all the skills in that mode are typically at the same level (there are exceptions, but not regularly). Those kinds of skill groups are more or less how Bare Bones Fantasy works, and it was an idea that really attracted me to that system. Buy one “skill,” get a host of related things you can do with it. Creating modes was becoming a wrestling match anyway, so this change simplifies things for me. I think it will also create a tidier character sheet, especially for any major NPCs I choose to present.
This system fits with the fictions that influence my setting. For example, in Star Wars, all of the Jedi and Sith are competent at more than just sword slinging. They have their use of the Force, but they are also often physically skilled, they can fly ships, might be good with computers, or have a host of other skills. That could easily be simulated more easily with a handful of broader skills than a list of 20 or more specific skills.
With magical healing available, the whole advancement system of Fate/FAE can be scrapped. Fate advancement works like it does to slow healing and advancement, as far as I can see. They deliberately do not include magical healing, and comment on this in the rulebook. You get opportunities every session to rename aspects, which is how you heal consequences, injuries to body and mind more serious than a bruise, and failing to take those opportunities to rename consequences mean they linger. I’d like a more Storyteller/Hero System/Cypher System XP system anyway, so this would be a chance to build it.
So, that’s where I’m at and where I’ve been for two weeks. Thanks for bearing with me.
Right now, I need to go. I’m tired, and I’ve exhausted my thinking for now. Later.