Yesterday, I received the playtest document for Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, which will be one of the final stretch goals from Evil Hat Productions’ Kickstarter campaign for Fate Core.
Here is the official pitch for the game:
In Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, the Flying Temple has mysteriously drifted away from its home in the center of the sky. It’s up to the Pilgrims to explore the worlds of Do to uncover the mystery. Along the way, they must raise a young dragon left behind after the temple’s disappearance.
This game is intended to be friendly to family, kids, and new gamers without dumbing things down. Its inspirations include Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Little Prince, and How to Train Your Dragon. It will be written by Mark Diaz Truman using the Fate Accelerated system and the setting from Daniel Solis’ lovely storytelling game, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.
The playtest document is not the the full book that will be released later this year, but a short and sweet Fate Accelerated hack to play in the setting of the original story game, with simple but elegant additions. Most prominently, the Pilgrims (player characters) soon find themselves with a baby dragon to raise, and the dragon is treated as a sort of communal character thanks to the Fate Fractal, with everyone contributing dragon aspects a bit like group vehicles or organizations in Fate Core.
The dragon acts, changes, and grows to reflect the lessons learned with the Pilgrims; in this way, the GM gets to “show them what they did” to borrow the expression Elizabeth Sampat uses in her own game Blowback. I find this is always useful in role-playing games: convey to the players the changes their characters have effected on the game world. Here, the dragon becomes an embodiment of these changes, for good or ill. If the Pilgrims are careless, arbitrary, or unkind then their dragon will learn this behaviour from them and reflect it—resulting in consequences which the Pilgrims will have to deal with.
The other simple but useful refinement to FAE is instructions for the use of campaign and adventure aspects suggested by the fiction. Letters keep arriving for the Pilgrims, requesting help, and each letter suggests some temporary aspects. With the playtest rules came one of three sample letters to the Flying Temple (I believe these letters were randomly assigned to the 40 or so playtesters.) Ours is “The Worlds Collide” by Colin Fredericks (found on p. 34 in Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.)
Based on what I’m seeing, I expect that the full book will need to offer a good deal of advice to GMs on how to plan and run adventures based on letters to the Pilgrims. With any luck, this would be a useful feature for all Fate GMs, especially if helps with improvisation.
Barring surprises, I will be trying this adventure with a small group this weekend.
Images by Liz Radtke, first created for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Used without permission, no copyright challenge intended.