War of Ashes RPG: Extras, Extras! – Part 3: Equipstuff

As I work on the system portions of the War of Ashes RPG I’m writing for Evil Hat Productions, I’ve reached the sections that are not ready just out of the box in the Fate Accelerated system.  In Fate parlance, these are the Extras, used to model some special features of the setting like magic, superpowers, advanced technology, etc. Part 1 of the discussion focused on magic and Part 2 on miniatures combat.

Also, if you concluded from the title that I’m a fan of the game HOL (Dirt Merchant Games), then you are correct. First print run copy, baby!

Elvorix GeneralToday I want to think a bit about gear: weapons, armour, and other useful stuff. Bear with me, it’s going to be a tad haphazard as I muse about loosely related concepts.

Weapons and Armour Ratings

Since we have a setting where it makes a big difference whether you hold in your hand a sword, a two-handed battle-axe or a potato peeler, I want to use some rules for equipment, and particularly weapons and armour. Once again, they will be completely optional; if worrying about armour rating versus weapon rating is not your cup of kogg, you can go right on with the basic rules for Fate Accelerated and live a happy, productive life.

I think the “Weapon and Armor Ratings” from Fate Core (p. 277) work well as a basis for the optional rules. I picture weapon ratings being about one point higher, on average, than armour ratings. Building from the examples in Fate Core for the equipment available in Agaptus:

  • Weapon:1 means a sap, or a broken bottle or other improvised weapon; Armour:1 is padded clothes, mostly used by the town watch and some ordinary infantry.
  • Weapon:2 means knife, dagger, truncheon, etc. Armour:2 is padding and mail.
  • Weapon:3 includes swords, axes, maces, and other one-handed weapons. Armour:3 is mail and plate, mostly used by Elvorix and Vidaar officers and by Jaarl elite troops and officers.
  • Weapon:4 covers large two-handed melee weapons, primarily used by large creatures like Nhilde and Marhn trolls. Armour:4 is the tough hide of certain creatures and really old Kuld.

So most warriors would be wearing Armour:2 but wielding Weapon:3. Brigands would be wearing Armour:1 and using Weapon:2 and Weapon:3.

Equipment “Slots”

Vorix skirmisherFred Hicks suggested stunt-based gear mechanics attached to specific locations:

So, suppose we were to decide that WoA’s a game where gear should matter. Here’s the thought I had: FAE’s gear is pretty much always either color or stunts. So what if your free stunt slots had *locations*, and you had to have the right piece of gear in order to put a stunt in a given slot? Example:

Suppose the gear stunt slots are: Head, Chest, Hands, Legs (implying 4 free stunt slots). You might take the “Sword and Board” stunt in your Hands slot to get a +1 when forcefully attacking with your sword and shield in hand, and a +1 when carefully defending, or what-have-you.

So, then, suppose that you could actually pick up other gear that’s suited for the Hands slot. You can’t use that gear’s stunt unless you equip the gear; so while your Hands slot would have more than one option, you’re only likely to have access to one option in a given fight.

All non-gear stunts would be the kind that costs you refresh, and would represent your innate specialized capabilities. Or, you could forego your ability to ever equip something in a particular slot in order to take an innate capability for free. Like, imagine the wizard who puts his spells in all those free slots and that’s why he’s wearing cloth. Or the monk whose barehanded martial arts technique lives in his hands slot.


(You could also keep those gear slots locked until you “level” or what-have-you; someone who starts out without a Hands slot would be limited to using basic weaponry that doesn’t give a stunt benefit.)

I like the idea—it was one of the things I liked in D&D 3.x for some reason, but I’m still musing on how to implement it. First, it’s pretty easy to conceptualize for object you carry, but I’m trying to picture how you’d ever have armour that protect your arms if you need to equip weapons in the same slot.

Second, I would like every one to have at least one innate ability because I think this type of stunt, along with aspects, makes the characters truly special. But someone in full armour and carrying weapons (possibly in their shirt sleeves…) would have no slots left for innate stunts. Sure, I could add more stunt slots, but three was already a lot for a gritty setting, now we’re at four and talking about adding more… And what happens to the Refresh? Do we drop it to 2 to start with four stunts?

One thing we could do would be to make some or all equipment stunts less powerful, giving the equivalent of a +1 shift instead of a +2 so you could have stunts that are worth essentially half a point of Refresh, two-for-the-price-of-one sort of bargain. Any thoughts?

Ships and Other Big Stuff

The setting has a piratical quality to it, what with all these islands, invading fleets, etc. so I fully expect sea-based campaigns or at least adventures. I plan on having a short section on how to design ships in Fate, based on the short overview in Fate Core (pages 286-287) and the Fate System Toolkit (pages 170-172), including group vehicles where you can pool your assets to create a ship that becomes a supporting character.

I’ll include builds of a few example ships and a discussion of ship-to-ship combat, something that has been a problem in many systems including AEG’s 7th Sea, Margaret Weis Productions’ Serenity RPG, etc. However, I think that thanks to the fractal rule in Fate, it should work fine here.

(The rule subset can also be used to create important locations such as a team HQ.)


Credits: Art ©ZombieSmith 2012-2013, used with permission.