A couple of weeks ago at FATE Con (a game day event held at EndGame in Oakland, California), Edmund ran a game that used the FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE) system and the premise of John Wick’s game Cat: A little game about little heroes. He posted the character sheets here; we played Silent the stealthy feral (Amy), Ginger the wise oldster (Jefferson), Bearcat the clever rescue (John) and Snowflake the bouncy kitten (me). Here is what happened.
The rules for both FAE and FATE Core can be downloaded from the Evil Hat Productions site..
The premise: cats are the guardians of Humanity against goblins, boggins, demons and evil spirits of all kinds. When they appear to be sleeping and twitching in dreams, they may very well be on the Other Side (the spirit world), fighting off the bad guys.
The Cunning Cat Caper
One morning, Bearcat, Ginger and Snowflake woke up to discover their humans had disappeared. Bearcat went outside to explore and found the big metal box on wheels that takes you to the vet was still there. At their own house, Snowflake checked the Other Side but got quickly distracted, and ageing Ginger went back to sleep.
Silent, who lived without humans, noticed on his morning hunt that all rats and rat scents were entirely missing in the neighbourhood, though no other animals seemed affected. He caught a mouse and interrogated it on the rats’ whereabouts; Bearcat, still strolling, joined him. The mouse begged for mercy and lead the cats to a compost heap where rats were usually helping themselves to the buffet, but there were still none to be found today, nor and scent trails. As promised, Silent released the mouse — right into Bearcat’s waiting paws…
The mouse’s squeaking attracted Snowflake’s attention, so he woke his house mate Ginger and went outside to check on the fuss. Ginger, however, noticed a faint smell of rotting rat in the house and creakily started looking for the source. She told the other cats about this and they tracked the smell through the house from the cat door, to every bedroom and back to the door — but it stopped right outside.
While looking around for the trail, they met Yappy the neighbour’s dog, just as he and his human were coming out of the house. The dog furiously ran off from his leash and after the cats, so Bearcat roughed him up a bit, mostly taking it out on the dog’s little knitted sweater. This was a fine distraction which Snowflake used to sneak into the house through the wide open door. Yappy’s human squealed in horror and shooed at the bad cat. Ginger helpfully joined in to run interference, and while the human ran after Yappy, Bearcat also sneaked into the house. Unaware of the intrusion, the angry human caught Yappy and threw him back into the house, then drove off.
Snowflake and Bearcat explored the inside of Yappy’s house, but found no smells of rats, and clearly the human had been all right. Snowflake made a friend of of sorts of Yappy by knocking a bag of dog treats onto the floor. Yappy said he had smelled and heard rats around the house during the night but had barked at them, successfully protecting the house. But the two cats were now trapped inside, so Snowflake goaded Yappy into jumping at him and knocking open the window screen, allowing them to run off. Yappy was frantic but did not pursue because he knew his beloved master would be furious if he did.
Meanwhile, Ginger and Silent had gone to check out the other cat-friendly house in the neighbourhood, old Mrs. McMurtie’s house. She was always feeding cats and other stray animals, and taking in wounded squirrels and flightless baby birds. The lady was not there and had clearly not filled her birdfeeders that morning. A peek on the Other Side revealed that the house now looked like an enormous rat’s nest. In fact, Bearcat, Snowflake and Ginger’s houses had also turned into rat’s nests, though Mrs. McMurtie’s was the worst. Silent and Ginger discovered that on the Other Side, huge rats could walk on air!
Bearcat and Snowflake joined Ginger and Silent to exchange news, then they split up again. Bearcat and Silent went to check out the only other place in the neighbourhood where they could pick up rat scents, near the raccoon family’s nest. The stealthy cats peeked into the nest and saw the whole family — Fatma, Fatboy, Fatgirl and Skinny — tearfully gathered around Fatso; a smell of blood permeated the air.
At about this point, humans arrived in metal boxes on wheels and set traps around the neighbourhood — baited with cat food. Bearcat got caught while investigating, but thanks to his uncanny ability to figure out human contraptions, managed to escape. During his escapade, Silent also searched the neighbourhood and found himself facing the terrifyingly incontinent Mr. Stinky, a cantankerous old skunk. Mr. Stinky claimed to know something about the rats, but would only reveal it if Silent brought him some of the delicious cat food he could smell in the traps…
Bearcat and Silent went back to the raccoon nest but made noise. All the raccoons except Fatso rushed out, adopted attack postures and confronted Bearcat, while Silent sneaked in to go see Fatso. The big raccoon was covered in hundreds of oversized rat bites! Bearcat managed to get Fatso’s family to listen long enough to learn that the raccoon had been hurt during his nightly foray, just managing to crawl back home.
Meanwhile, Ginger and Snowflake went to Mrs. McMurtie’s backyard, talked to birds without learning much that was new, then ventured in after Ginger managed to open the door. Upstairs, they found Mrs. McMurtie unconscious on her bed. While Ginger tried to wake the human, Snowflake went to the Other Side and saw the woman covered in rats! He captured one of the big rats and dragged him back into the Real World.
Ginger interrogated the rat and learned that King Ratscallion had a plan to turn humans against cats! Ginger then told Snowflake to get rid of the rat. Snowflake dragged his big trophy to Yappy’s house to brag, and convinced the dog to come out through the busted screen and join the good fight.
Silent found some chow in Mrs. McMurtie’s house and took it to Mr. Stinky as a bribe. In exchange, the skunk told of hundred of rats last night, running on air and poking around the houses.
Bearcat found some “medicine” in Mrs. Mc Murtie’s house and brought it to Fatso, helping the raccoon regain consciousness. Bearcat told Fatso the whole story so far, and Fatso confirmed that the rats had taken the humans! The rats had come out of the houses that had cat doors, bringing as prisoners humans shrunk to rat-size who even started looking rodent-like themselves. The mini-humnas had been taken to Mrs. McMurtie’s house. Fatso had bitten a rat and in turn had been attacked by the swarm; rats usually were afraid of the big raccoon, but not this time!
Back at Mrs. McMurtie’s house, the cats then planned their move against the malevolent rats. Silent discreetly scouted the Other Side and saw that the masses of rats on Mrs. McMurtie’s bed were merging, coalescing into large rat-demons to either side of the human.
Bearcat took point on the raid, trying to tangle rats into an afghan [setting up an Advantage]. The rat-demons attacked! Despite his efforts, Snowflake failed to distract them [failed to set up an Advantage]. Ginger took an ambush position on the dresser, repelling flying rats [defend]. From there, she toppled a bottle of Mrs. McMurtie’s perfume to help revive her and confuse the rats [setting up an Advantage].
Snowflake shifted back to a previously successful trick, dragging a demon-rat into the Real World so Yappy could help fight it. Bearcat and Silent cut a swath through rats on the Other Side! [attacks.]
In the Real World, the rat-demon cut Yappy down to size! But Snowflake rallied the dog and with one last bite, Yappy finished off the rat-demon, his tail feedly wagging. Mrs. McMurtie woke up; all the rat things disappeared. For a moment, the cats thought they were victors.
But on the Other Side, Ginger, Bearcat and Silent saw King Ratscallion arrive, tall as a human and rat-headed. Around his head were little rat-faced humans, orbiting like tiny moons. When he used his powers, the cats could see Ratscallion drawing power from the mini-humans.
In the Real World, Mrs. McMurtie saw the wounded Yappy and hurried to get her first aid kit. Silent warned Snowflake about King Ratscallion and they hurried back to the Other Side just in time to see Ginger on the painful receiving end of the Rat King’s magical power. From a shelf of tchotchkes, Bearcat toppled a vase full of marbles in Ratscallion’s way, sending him stumbling for his balance.
Ginger figured out that catching the little human figures deprive Ratscallion of magical power [“His ioun stones,” said a player.] While Silent reached from the top of a dresser to bat at the little figures, Snowflake took a flying leap and landed in Ratscallion’s face like an alien face-hugger, distracting and blinding him. Ginger finished off Ratscallion!
In the aftermath, Mrs. McMurtie — oblivious to the battle that had raged on the Other Side — fixed up Yappy, and the humans started running out of Bearcat and Ginger and Snowflake’s houses, mumbling that they were late for work and the damn cats had not woken them today. Yappy did get in trouble for the busted screen, but such is a dog’s life…
[During the game, we used sticky notes to keep track of temporary aspects, boosts and consequences. Here are some.]