Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jadepunk Chrono Trigger: Millenial Fair Crono

A little shile back I attempted to start a Fate Core game remeniscent of all the Shonen Anime that I like. The game fell through, as they sometimes do, but I did realize something. I realized that what I wanted was this:

I love Chrono Trigger, I have loved it since I first played it when I was a lad, and it stands up as one of the greatest video game RPGs of all time. Seriously, it has multiple endings, everything you do or don't do matters. Visually and musically it is amazing. So I started replaying the game, and then it hit me. Jadepunk is a perfect match for this game. See, Chrono Trigger is mechanically based around having cool gear, techniques, and allies. Jadepunk's asset system does that so well. Whoo, buddy! I am excited. Are you excited? Yeah, I am going to go through the game and build all the characters from Chrono trigger as Jadepunk characters. Lets see how this goes. For each of these characters I will be building them as we first meet them. At the end of this I will probably do the characters at their peek as well, because why not?

Crono is the trickiest character to do in Fate, as he is a silent protagonist with little backstory and few real decisions. That said there are a bunch of things we can guess about his character based on the reactions of those around him. We start out by meeting his mother. She is not named in the game, so well will just call her, "Mom." Normally in an RPG like this she would be a throw away character. Just there for exposition and to get you out the door. Not so Mom. She has things to say, she has personality and she cares about Crono. When Crono disappeared and then was on trial, she was worried. So we know that Crono has a good relationship with his mom, Mom. We also know he was so excited about the Millenial Fair that he couldn't sleep. He is a martial artist, practiced with a sword. And he cares about people(well he does in my version). He helped a little girl find her lost cat, he helped Marle find her necklace, and he jumped into a time portal without thought for his own safety to rescue her. We know he has a best friend in Lucca. Also the way other talk to him seems to imply that he is not dumb. So there you go. Lets start working from there. Also I only have included his starting technique and I did not include his sword. I do not think any of his swords really matter, until you get to swords with special powers, and that does not happen until much later in the game. His wooden sword just doesn't add in any mechanical benefits at this point.

Portrayal: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Origin: A Good Son
Inciting Incident: Things Must Be Set Right
Belief: I See The Good In Others
Trouble: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Professions: Fighter +3, Explorer and Scoundrel +2, Aristocrat and Scholar +1, Engineer +0

Technique: Cyclone
Crono spins around and around, hitting everyone nearby with his awesome sword. Its pretty neat. Like the Tea Cup ride at Disneyland...only deadly-er, more deadly.

Guiding aspect: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Features: Exceptional(hits everything in the same zone as Crono), Harmful 2
Flaws: Demanding(need to roll a +2 fighter roll), Limited(can only be used once per scene)
Cost: 2 refresh

Stress: [1] [2] [3]
Refresh: 5

So there is the first of the series. Next up we will do Marle, followed by Lucca, Frog, Robo, Ayla, and Magus, in that order. After that I will be delving int each of teh time periods and building the monsters for each era. Its gonna be epic. Let me know what you think. Comments, Critiques, and Questions are all welcome.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cyber Jadepunk: Wherein we meet our hero

About a month ago, +Gary Anastasio brought up moving Jadepunk forward in time and mixing in the ideas and adventure seeds with Aeon Wave. As I  helped out on both projects(more so on Jadepunk than on Aeon Wave) I thought this was awesome. So we decided to do a game. And here is the best part, I get to play in this game. normally I only get to run games. So I am quite excited. Well, we had our character creation session on Friday and we all kind of nailed down our basic ideas on characters and our aspects. We had a good time, a lot of good conversation and discussion about what we wanted out of the game and the nature of the setting.

The Game will be set one hundred years in Kausao City's future. The Jade mines have begin to dry up and the future is looking grim. There are three main faction fighting for dominance in the city and the world. There are the Naturalist(we may change the names as we go along) who believe that people should reject technology and move back to subsistence level. They have become in tune with green jade and their eldest members are nearing something like immortality. There are the Deniers, who seek to ignore the problem. they represent the old guard, the status quo. Then there are those who seek to build an artificial jade substitute and alternate technologies. None of these groups get along, but they are all trying to retain control of the world. Our story starts out with someone having cracked the synthetic jade problem. They are now dead and one of the groups has hold of the research. Enter the PCs. No need to say, hi-jinks will ensue. 

Fade was born to a well to do family. He was commissioned into the army early on, making a name for himself as a brave and efficient leader. Upon leaving he moved into corporate security and was on the fast track to head of security for [name of corporation, haven't decided yet]. He was efficient and driven. Then one day he discovered a secret the company would rather remain buried. When he asked about it he was fired, and a price was placed on his head. Since that day he has been on the run, helping out those in need and trying to stay one step ahead of his corporate masters. One day, he will get his life back. Until that day, he fights injustice in all its forms.

Name: Fade Arakiin
Player: Jacob Possin
Portrayal: The Last Paladin
Background: Master of Martial Arts
Inciting Incident: I will get my life back
Belief: I can help them
Trouble: Knows too much

Professions: Fighter +3, Aristocrat and Explorer +2, Engineer and Scholar +1, Scoundrel +0

Twin Blue Jade Swords
Crafted of blue jade these weapon can become any hand weapon necessary for the situation. They also have the ability to get around most defenses and armors. When in use they glow blue the is always shifting slightly like light through water.

Function Aspect: Shifting Blue Jade Weapons
Features: Exceptional(defender cannot check stress boxes to reduce a hit), Exceptional(when using a created aspect related to a new weapon form of the weapon you gain a +3 rather than the normal +2), Numerous(twin weapons), Sturdy(it has a stress box)
Flaws: Demanding(requires a +2 fighter roll to activate the weapon, and it takes a turn to do so)
Cost: 3 refresh

Jade Multi Tool
A glove made of White, blue, and black jade that lets its user create whatever tool is required for the situation, and acts as a computer console.

Function aspect: Multi-Jade Multi-Tool
Features: Focus 2(+2 to Engineer), Focus 2(+2 to Scholar)
Flaws: Situational(Engineer can only be used when bypassing security), Situational(Scholar can only be used when dealing with computers or knowledge that can be gained from computers)
Cost: 1 refresh

Twin Sword Style
IN his youth he was taught many dangerous and powerful martial arts. His favorite was the twin sword style. Among the well to do of Kausao, dueling for honor and prestige was a way of life among the youths. Fade mastered the duel and Twin Sword Style was key to his victory.

Guiding Aspect: Master of the Martial Arts
Features: Focus 1(+1 to fighter rolls), Harmful 1(add one additional stress on a successful hit)
Flaws: Situational(only when using facing off against a a single opponent)
Cost: 1 refresh

Stress [1] [2] [3]
Refresh: 2

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Debt to Heaven: The Idea

Last night I finished up the first draft of the Green Jade Supplement for Jadepunk. I am quite proud of how it turned out, so I sat down to do a post as it has been a while. I was going to write a long post about Game Theory and dig deep into the depths of my GMing soul. I would talk of how there is no such thing as a munchkin, and how play styles interact in interesting ways. There would have been this wonderful moral and we would have all learned something. It was going to be the best post I had ever written. Then I read through it, and realized that it was self indulgent and pretentious. So instead I am going to do a post about superheroes...and the hundred years war.

"King of England, and you, duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of the kingdom of France... settle your debt to the king of Heaven; return to the Maiden, who is envoy of the king of Heaven, the keys to all the good towns you took and violated in France."

~Joan d'Arc

Nearly one hundred years ago, the hated British invaded. Ruled by the Witch King and his Demon Breed Aristos, the British rode their War Beasts out of Normandy into the peace loving countryside of the kingdom of France. For the longest time we could do nothing but retreat against the oppressive dark forces from across the channel. It has been a year since Joan d'Arc brought an alliance between le Herauts and the Sang de Sorciers to drive back the war beasts of the invaders. For the first time we hold them back. For the first time, we have pushed them back.

The idea for this started a long while back. I have always loved the Idea of super heroes at war. However I didn't know enough, and I didn't have the right medium to portray it. I'ma be real here, I still don't know enough. I will never know enough. Ever. I need to get past this. This idea is just a first go. It is not complete, but  it is something I have been working on for over a decade. It was a post by +Bruce Baugh that inspired me to start working on this in more than a merely contemplative manner.
And now, the Let's All Steal From +Cam Banks approach to light-weight superheroics in Fate.
* You have the usual five aspects.
* Instead of FAE approaches, you have the Smallville/Cortex Plus Dramatic values: Duty, Glory, Justice, Love, Power, and Truth. These have starting ratings of +2, +2, +1, +1, +1, and +0. Yes, the choice of two top-most scores is deliberate.
* Everybody gets a free sort of special bonus stunt dealing with the three affiliations from Marvel Heroic Roleplay: solo, buddy, and team. You get +2 when using one of them, +1 when using another, and +0 when using the third.
* Use Venture City Stories for powers, dropping out the skill linkages since this isn't Fate Core.

I am least sure about that last part and would need to tinker with it some to see how it is in practice.
 Here is a link to the original conversation, should you wish to engage it more directly.

This idea struck me as a good one. It reminded me a little of Greg Stafford's sublime King Arthur Pendragon. Pendragon was the game that taught me that a game could be about so much more than a ten-foot by ten-foot corridor(not that there is anything wrong with that, I lurves me some dungeon crawls). Pendragon is part of where this hack came from. I would love, love, to do something even half as good as Pendragon.

So this idea that Bruce had(by way of Cam), reminded me of Pendragon. That started me making connections between Superheroes, Pendragon, and the Hundred Years War. This inevitably lead me, as all things eventually do, to the Star Wars Prequels. Everyone has a theory as to why they fail, and most people are correct in their analyses, the movies fail on nearly every level that a movie can fail. For me, I dwell in the mind realms of action and battle. Where the prequels fail is the fights. The fights mean nothing. Nothing is at stake. Nothing is established. The things that were true before the fight are true after the fight. The bad guys don't talk, the good guys don't talk. its mindless, in every sense of the word. After walking out of the theatre after the Phantom Menace, this was what I walked away with. I will never, ever, ever, engage in a fictional fight that has no meaning. That is what I like about what Cam did with Smallville/Cortex Plus Dramatic.

I am sorry that I am meandering here, but this is one of those ideas you have. You know the ones, they sit in your head. They circle and circle for years. It starts as just a simple thought, but over the years of circling in your mind, it becomes more. It becomes high art(in your mind). You can just throw out your art, no. that would be crazy. People won't understand, not like you do. So you must explain, in stammering words and digressions. That is what this idea has become for me. Normally I just throw an idea out there. I have millions of ideas every day. Millions. However there are three or four that just circle. Mosquitoes of the mind.

So the idea. We have the basics of a mechanical framework. We have the seed idea: The Hundred Years War...but with Super Powers. But what are my influences and what are the specifics of of the setting.

Dresden Codak's X-Men Reboot
Marvel 1602
Solomon Kane
The Lion In Winter
Robin Hood
King Arthur Pendragon RPG
Ken Hite and Robin Laws
The Leviathan Series

I will just be touching on setting specifics. Mostly because much of what I have is still sort of nebulous. In writing them down I will be forcing the ideas to take a single shape. Here goes.

The Hated British: Ruled over by the Witch King and his cronies the Eight Demon Breed Lineages. IN this history the British figured out genetics and their manipulation. They have created beasts for all sorts of tasks. The British countryside is an alien and disturbing site for most of those born on the continent.
Witch King: The First Witch King was king Edward III, the current Witch King is his great-grandson Henry V, The Star of England.
Demon Breed: Some families are blessed(or cursed) with power in the blood. These were known during darker and more ignorant times as the Demon Breed. Eventually these families seized power in Britain, making of it a haven for their kind. Britain is ruled by the Witch King, a member of the Lancaster lineage, cadet branch of the Plantagenet Lineage, as well as the Seven lineages that support his rule. Each lineage has specific power within its blood. Mixing blood is viewed as a taboo.
War Beasts: The beasts the hated British ride are not horses, nor any other animal recognized. They ride beasts that are all claws and teeth and sinuous power. Some call them serpents or dragons, but to most they are just war beasts.
le Herauts: They claim to be messengers from the most high. They have the power and vision to back this claim. Joan is their leader, though she claims no claim to such. Their examples of Divine authority are often accompanied by stigmata or flashes of light. They all have an intensity to their movements and speech. It was Joan who brought them together, and through their alliance with the Sang de Sorciers, they have begun to drive the British forces from the rightful lands of the Kingdom of France.
Sang de Sorciers: The Demon Breed in France never separated into families, they were rounded up and barricaded into land that no one else wanted, with the hopes that they would die off. For the longest time they were seen as something like a leper colony. the Sang de Sorciers are what happens after a hundred years of mixing the bloodlines. They have great power, yes. They also are all deformed, becoming as to like demons and beasts, in form if not in mind. They are Loyal to Joan, not to France. Pray nothing ill befall her, for no other has any influence with the Sang de Sorciers.

So those are my basic ideas. I would welcome thoughts and conversation on how to do this. As I said, I am far too close to this project to do what it needs.