Continuing the brainstorming session for setting up an outline as I work on the War of Ashes RPG, to be powered by Fate Accelerated: today, I ask a bunch of questions.
Let’s think for a minute about who is likely to be interested by this game, who I really hope will want to take a look—in other words, my target audience:
(1) People of all ages and venues. The setting is whimsical enough to attract the young at heart, but not at all intended to be targeted at kids. I need to offer some flexibility in adjusting the grimness and whimsy dials within a certain range.
(2) Intro RPG for newcomers. It’s not only my strong personal preference but also my mandate to write a game that will not be targeted at grognards who buy every game that comes out, but at everyone who might enjoy the role-playing hobby and doesn’t know it yet.
(3) Sourcebook for the WoA:S miniatures gamers. Players of the War of Ashes: Shieldwall miniature game and its upcoming supplements should find background and setting value in this book even if they never play the RPG version.
(4) Gamers who might like a tongue-in-cheek take on fantasy. If you liked Glorantha, Low Life, HOL, Mouse Guard, or the earlier and wackier army lists for the Skaven, the Orks or the Squat, this might be for you.
(5) Fate and FAE fans. I hope that the ideas we use in terms of mechanics will be interesting and stimulating to Fate fans—for example, to connect Fate to miniatures and maps, thus going back to the roots of role-playing games, or in using the Fate fractal for group combat, or in creating Extras for the magic system.
What is it for?
I figure a role-playing game is not just a book to read for personal interest but a tool that will be used by people who need to find useful answers to specific questions. Offhand, there are three areas that tend to generate questions in a licensed game:
- Questions about the setting “canon”;
- Questions about how to use the setting material in a specific campaign;
- Questions about mechanics.
I’m going to jot down a bunch of such questions I might want to ask as a game master picking up this book. Additional questions are welcomed—I don’t have any reason to think the way I use game books is universal. ^_^
Questions about the Agaptus setting
- What does daily life look like for each faction?
- Are they diurnal?
- Do they sleep long nights or short naps?
- How does religion work off the battlefield?
- What do they eat and drink?
- What do their family and social structures look like?
- What do their economies look like?
- What do the spectrum of political ideas and social values look like for each faction, i.e., what does a rebellious young Jaarl or conservative old Vorix sound like?
- Are the narrators in WoA:S, especially the Elvorix scribe Seadros Bibulus, reliable—or would a different observer describe things very differently?
- What do the different languages sound like? Are the various Jaarl ranks and titles just the Elvorix words approximating the concepts, or do the Jaarl actually use them?
- Will there by an overarching explanation of the events of the Great Catastrophe as seen from various factions (linking the drop in solar radiation/cooling of the climate, the Murmadon volcano eruption, etc.) and of what is to be expected next?
Questions about running a game
- How do I set up a homogeneous party (all from one faction—Elvorix, Vidaar, or Jaarl)?
- How do I set up a heterogeneous party?
- What if one of my players really wants to play a Kuld, a Nhilde troll, or some other critter not intended to be a PC?
- Can the PCs be gods?
- How much can I fill in the setting? e.g. Can I create—
- new cultures or nations for the existing species?
- entirely new species?
- new wonders among the ruins left by the Ancient Elvorix?
- new islands and continents?
- new deities?
- new magic?
Questions about game mechanics
- [Edit] The basics, e.g.
- How do I create a character?
- How do the die rolls work?
- How does damage work?
- What’s the difference between Aspects and Consequences?
- How do I plug my RPG into the miniatures games? e.g.
- How do I create FAE stats for my WoA:S characters?
- How do I create WoA:S stats for my FAE characters?
- How do I run the personal stuff in the RPG and the big battles in WoA:S while keeping the storyline working?
- How do I use the Fate/FAE dials to:
- Replicate the feel of the WoA:S miniatures game?
- Make my game lighter or darker to suit my group?
- Create new spells or magic effects that are proportionate with the existing ones?
- Model the effects or characteristics of ancient, superior technology?
What are your questions?
Credits: Art ©ZombieSmith 2012-2013, used with permission.