More on hacking Fate Core (Evil Hat Productions) to play Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games): gear, weapons, and armour or lack thereof.
As I discussed a couple of days ago, I’m not enthusiastic about just assigning damage point values to weapons. While it’s a fitting approach for a number of games—David Goodwin gave us an overview of a D&D-type approach yesterday—I don’t think it fits with the spirit of the fiction of Castle Falkenstein, regardless of whether it fits with the feel of the system in CF.
The key, of course, is to go back to Fate’s Golden Rule:
Decide what you’re trying to accomplish first, then consult the rules to help you do it.
The meaning of weapon rules in New Europa is very different from what David used yesterday for his discussion, for example. They’re not about the players’ shopping experience (to use a simile from Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering), nor realism, nor even much about tactical play.
What are the reasons to differentiate weapons in the Falkensteinian world? As we might expect, they’re all about supporting the fiction.
- To provide the appropriate sense of danger whether threatened by a reciprocator pistol, a hatpin, or a sabre.
- To differentiate character concepts in action: the duellist from the suffragette from the anarchist, for example.
- To provide a sense of the disparity between the very large and the very small which marks the setting, from ancient Dragon Lords to gallant pixies and from weapons of mass warfare to single duels.
- To provide variety in the Grave Perils faced by the heroes.
Because of this, I want weapons to make a difference, but it must be swashbuckling and exciting. The best match I found was in the Fate System Toolkit‘s “Armor and Weapon Aspects” section; here is my adaptation to Fate of Falkenstein. Continue reading “Fate of Falkenstein: Hack and Slash”
A guest had brought some pre-packed elk ribs so I made this for dinner yesterday (and of course forgot to take a picture, so you get a stock picture of what the uncooked ribs look like). I adapted the base recipe from Brown Hollow using ingredients I had which inspired me. Yeah, it’s pretty shameless the way I tinker with recipes and ignore instructions nowadays; my mom, who does the same but doesn’t own up to it, shakes her head.
I served this with a baby spinach salad topped with some of Edmund’s cranberry-orange relish and chopped pecans, and a side of basmati rice cooked with Edmund’s Moroccan preserved lemons.
Slow-Cooker Braised Elk Ribs
- One slab of elk ribs (1.5 to 5 lbs or 0.7 to 2.2 kg)
- Montreal Steak Rub or just salt and pepper
- 8 ounces (250 mL) home-made cranberry-orange relish if you have it, or store-bought red currant jelly
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground mustard powder
- ¼ cup (60 mL) tawny port
- 4 cups (1 L) home-made chicken, turkey, pork, or beef stock (I used turkey)
- ½ tsp ground allspice or crushed allspice berries
- 1 tsp (5 mL) juniper berries (10 to 12), scorched and coarsely crushed (actually, I left them whole this time)
- 1 tsp ground cardamom or 4-5 pods, husks removed and finely crushed
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
- ½ cup (125 mL) apple brandy
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
- Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- In a slow-cooker set on High, whisk all braising liquid ingredients down to the cinnamon, being careful to liquefy the cranberry or currant jelly. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for a while; this can take up to an hour if your liquids were cold. Alternately, heat and reduce in a pan on the stovetop before pouring in the slow-cooker if you want to hurry things up.
- Meanwhile, pat the ribs dry with paper towels. Rub with the rub mix or just salt and pepper. Brown the ribs in a cast iron skillet.
- Place ribs in slow-cooker, with the liquid level coming up over ribs and about three-fourths of the way up. If you need more liquid, add more broth or just water. Rinse the skillet you browned the ribs in with some of the braising liquid to get all those meat juices, and return the liquid to the slow-cooker.
- Aromatic and root vegetables such as onion, potatoes, turnip, celery, and carrot may be added in an amount to loosely cover the meat. I added little red potatoes 2 hours later in the cooking so they would be just right by dinner time.
- Simmer for at least 4 hours. The longer they simmer, the more tender the ribs get. Six to eight hours brings them to falling-off-the bone, which is the desired level of doneness.
Don’t add salt or pepper until serving time, as this makes a fairly spicy broth thanks to the mustard and the rub on the ribs. I saved the leftover liquid to cook a piece of beef later this week, rather than waste it.
This recipe should work well with any game ribs as well as beef short ribs. A dark port would work as well as the tawny port and result in a deeper-coloured liquid.