Fate of Bayern: Spell “Skill”

castfalk_picMore on hacking Fate Core (Evil Hat Productions) to play Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games): some justification for the way I decided to assign spell difficulty. I’m trying to stick as close as possible to the stats used in CF so that instead of writing big conversion tables for every single elements—and especially spells—I can just use a simple rule.

I was trying to decide how to assign a spell “skill” or difficulty value.  I latched on to the base thaumic energy requirement values for Falkensteinian spells because they follow a ladder progression, which makes it possible to map to Fate values.

I decided to use half the base thaumic cost as the skill value because it meant that a typical starting player character, who could be expected to assign a Good [+3] or Great [+4] bonus to the Sorcery skill if they were building a Sorcerer, would have even odds or better against half to two-thirds of the spells available in the base books (Castle Falkenstein and Comme Il Faut). Here’s what it looks like:

Base Thaumic Cost Resulting Difficulty Number of Spells in CF and CIF As Percent
2 +1 1 1%
4 +2 13 17%
6 +3 17 22%
8 +4 24 32%
10 +5 7 9%
12 +6 7 9%
14 +7 1 1%
16 +8 6 8%
Total: 76 100%

By the way, the spells with a base cost of 16 (mapping to a difficulty of +8) are largely death spells and necromancy, so I’m OK making those difficult…

Image by William Eaken, 1994 from Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games). Used without permission, no copyright challenge intended.

Ooops! Harmonics in my spell…

Sample card from the Decl of Fate: +0, one moon, one sunSo I borked the Deck of Fate probabilities last night in my Fate of Bayern post, at least in terms of assigning thaumic energy types and harmonics. The way I wrote it, you would have much higher chances of some types of harmonics than others.

My bad: I couldn’t remember where I had read the number of each combination of sun and moon symbols (it was in this post from Fred Hicks) and I was too intent on writing to actually count them myself. But today I did count them (it’s much easier using the PDF than the deck for this).

Based on this, I assigned the thaumic energy flavours so they would all have the same probability: one sun = Material, multiple suns = Elemental, one moon = Spiritual/Dimensional, and multiple moons = Emotional/Mental. In addition one moon and one sun are at the GM’s discretion based on the fiction, and an eclipse means a wild spell.

That also means I have to change the final part of the example in the earlier post (see after the table).

No. Cards Motif Assigned Thaumic Type
18 Single sun Material
6 Two suns Elemental
6 Three suns
6 One moon, two suns
6 Two moons, one sun Emotional/Mental
6 Three moons
6 Two moons
18 Single moon Spiritual/Dimensional
6 One moon, one sun GM’s choice
3 Eclipse Wild

So the earlier example would produce the following harmonics:

  • Turn 1: O (Material)—properly aligned.
  • Turn 2: C (Spiritual/Dimensional).
  • Turn 3: O (Material)—properly aligned.
  • Turn 4: CCO (Emotional/Mental).
  • Turn 5: COO (Elemental).
  • Turn 6: OOO (Elemental), then CCO (Emotional/Mental).
  • Turn 7: O (Material)—properly aligned.
  • Turn 8: C (Spiritual/Dimensional).
  • Turn 9: O (Material)—properly aligned.
  • Turn 10: C (Spiritual/Dimensional).

For a total of 4 cards properly aligned with Material energy, 3 aligned with Spiritual/Dimensional, 2 with Emotional/Mental, and 2 with Elemental. Coincidentally, I don’t actually have to change my description!

Fate of Bayern: Castle Falkenstein for Fate Core

Castle Falkenstein coverA bit over two months ago, I was struck with the idea of converting  one of my favourite role-playing games of old, Castle Falkenstein (R.Talsorian Games) to Fate Core (Evil Hat Productions) and using the Deck of Fate. This is particularly apt because the original game used ordinary playing cards instead of dice.

And now it’s the holidays, so I’m taking time for frivolous pursuits! I spent some time this week thinking about how to do this conversion. The skills are easy, and the character creation packages too. The biggest challenge is Sorcery, so I cooked up a draft. You can read the entire Fate_of_Bayern-v2.1 (it looks scary long, but it’s mostly because of the list of skills); but I’ll paste the sorcery discussion and example here.

Edit: Ignore this link, there is a more recent, complete, and corrected version here.

I’ll appreciate useful feedback on all sections, not just sorcery, since I still have some work to do on the draft; when it’s complete, I’ll post it in PDF, ePub and mobi ebook formats, as usual. For people who are local to the San Francisco Bay Area: I’ll be testing these rules at EndGame in Oakland some time in January. Continue reading “Fate of Bayern: Castle Falkenstein for Fate Core”