I’m back. Did you miss me?
I am in the midst of creating my own Jade Court vampires for my Dresdenized Hong Kong and I think Iâ€™ve got some great ideas for it. Iâ€™ve got their basic history, who they are and what they are doing â€“ even a reason why they are so secretive and why there are so few of them. Iâ€™ll actually stat them out later (when Iâ€™ve got all the books and all the material). But right now, the ideas have been flowing like water.
If I use this material (over 1,000 words so far) for a Dresden game, I would like it to be compatible (at least in background terms) with the DFRPG. While I am pumped about the game, I would like to see if I can complete the writeup for the Jade Court. But I canâ€™t complete that until I know what those few paragraphs on the Jade Court actually say.
Can you give me the lowdown on what those few paragraphs say about the Jade Court? Just summarize. Not word for word.
Well, you don’t have much to worry about, there. The section on the Jade Court says,Â basically, they’re based in Asia, they’re well-entrenched and well-hidden, like to stay out of the public eye, and may have significant political and social influence in the mortal world. No one who knows anything about them, including the other Vampire Courts, is willing to talk about them, and that they have had some interaction with Shiro Yoshimo (Knight of the Cross) and possibly Ancient Mai. Oh, and they’re not involved in the current Vampire War with the White Council.
That’s about it.
John Hawkins says:
Iâ€™m very interested in the toolkit aspects of the game (Iâ€™m super excited about DFRPG as a â€” for me â€” drop in replacement for White Wolf, but Iâ€™m also very excited about applying the rules in other genres). To what extent are more Marvel Comics style powers represented in the base game? (e.g. Mr. Fantasticâ€™s flexibility, or Icemanâ€™s ability to fire freeze beams.)
Assuming those things arenâ€™t represented directly, can you flex the toolkit a bit for us and examine how those might be constructed for a Flexible Freeze Monster in Dresdenâ€™s Chicago?
In particular Iâ€™m interested in how such a thing might function _outside_ the auspices of magic power per se. Presumably a creature that can spit acid doesnâ€™t need to take a 3-refresh (equiv. to Evocation) power and put points in three separate skills towards that end, but Iâ€™m not sure how that works in costing and creating systems for non-magical (i.e. less flexible) powers.
Well, this isn’t a generic game. It’s specifically tailored to produce a modern supernatural play experience. So pretty much everything is explained and described in terms of magic. That said, a lot of the Supernatural Powers can be described differently, with different origins and power sources, if that’s what you want. Spitting acid? Easy. Take the Breath Weapon power (-2) and up your Weapons skill. Ice Blasts? Still easy. Take the Channeling power (-2) and boost your Conviction and Discipline. Elasticity? That’s a little more difficult. I’d go with Modular Abilities from the Shapeshifting category, and dump 4-6 Refresh into it, which the player could then use to buy other powers as he shifts his body into the appropriate forms.
It’s doable, but it’ll take some prep work and judgment calls on the part of the GM to make it run smoothly. Of course, we could just bat our eyes and beg Evil Hat to make a Superhero Fate game, right? Or check out Truth & Justice, from Atomic Sock Monkey.
Thanks for doing this, you are very awesome indeed.
Aw, shucks. You’re gonna make me blush!
Two vampy questions:
â€œYou can recover one point of Hunger stress per scene that you skip to spend feedingâ€
Does this mean that your character sits out a scene without doing anything?
Essentially. You’re character is off-stage, doing the feeding thing, and not involved in the current scene. Now, before people get all steamed about that, they talk about sitting out scenes as a game mechanic in another spot – preparing for casting a Thaumaturgic ritual – and they bring up the fact that that’s kinda boring. They suggest using it only if it fits the mood, or if someone is going to pick up pizza, or something like that. Personally, I find that a lot of games have scenes where the characters scatter for a bit to take care of personal things, and that’s a good time for someone to take care of that little hunger thing. I’d also say that cut scenes (“Okay, so now you’re waiting for midnight. Now it’s midnight.”) are a perfect kind of scene for the character to miss without the player being left out of stuff. And downtime (“It’s been three days game-time since the last session.”) is a perfect excuse to clear out the Hunger stress track entirely. On the other hand, you’re getting a point of Refresh back for taking the Feeding Dependency, so it’s gotta cause you some difficulties, right?
And I don’t want to give you the impression that after every action scene a Red Court Infected character is going to need to sit out the next four scenes to feed. There’s a roll based on what powers you used during the scene to see if you take Hunger stress, so if your Discipline is strong, you’re going to be able to go a while before you need to feed. It’s a complication, not an eternal punishment.
For White Court Virgins what do they DO mechanically? In the book they seem like normal old vanilla humans except for the chance that they can turn into vampires if they kill someone, they donâ€™t seem to have any of the powers that Red Court Infected do.
White Court Virgins start with the powers Emotional Vampire and Incite Emotion (Touch). It’s not a whole lot, but it does leave more Refresh for Fate Points or other powers they buy outside of their template.
The Merlin sounds like heâ€™s pretty strong. But is there anyone tougher stated up in the book?
Rechan got this one in the comment thread. Thanks, Rechan!
Jon Hammersley says:
One more reason to go with preorder is to get the .pdf file so that you can eliminate (or at least reduce) the amount of page turning that you have to do. Cut and paste is your friend with electronic documents.
1. I know I keep going back to the well on this, but what does it cost to use a stunt in play (i.e. SotC has some that require a fate point and some that do not).
Most Mortal Stunts do not require anything to use in play except the correct circumstances. Some of the more powerful ones will require a Fate Point, though. There’s a nice list of stunts in the book, but these are more by way of example of how to build your own stunts using the guidelines they give you.
2. While Iâ€™m sure that there is quite a bit of information about the standard (Dresdenversse) magical forces and what you can do with them, Iâ€™m curious as to how much information is spent discussing other culturesâ€™ forms of magic (Voodoo, etc) and how they translate to the system. Do they all have members attached to the Whitel Council or are some magical traditions considered â€œoutsideâ€ their control (Fey sponsored magic for instance).
There are descriptions of what you can do with Seelie and Unseelie magic (the two flavours of faerie Sponsored Magic). Because of the allegiance to the Courts, these practitioners are outside the purview of the White Council. As for different magical traditions, there’s a discussion of how different Wizards will use their own cultural trappings for their magic, whether they are members of the White Council or not. The mechanics are all the same, but the types of ritual, focus items, and other trappings reflect the symbology and outlook of the originating culture.
Because the source material deals almost exclusively with the White Council as the governing body of magic in the world, there’s not a lot of information out there on other traditions of magic. Sponsored magic is outside the Council’s bailiwick, and minor talents are generally seen as beneath them. That said, the Circle has been rearing it’s head, and they get a mention, and there are some solo practitioners, though the Wardens try to hunt these down before they do any real damage. And they definitely hunt them down after they do real damage.
Well, at least before the war.
3. Will we see guidelines for playing Fey characters? Iâ€™ve been thinking of a concept that involves some poor mortal who was tricked into switching bodies with one of the Fey (who got killed while inhabiting the mortal body) and getâ€™s stuck that way (or vice versa). If nothing else it makes for a fun time trying to fix the situation (not to mention moral dilemma of where to get a body).
You bet. Some of the minor fey, as well as Changelings, make great characters at different power levels. And your concept could work very well even with a Pure Mortal, if you take the right Aspects.
Going with Sephilumâ€™s question: Are any of the high-level Fae statted? Aurora, Lily, Maeve? Leanansidhe, the Erlking, the Eldest Gruff? Mab or Titania *shudder*?
As noted above, the Evil Hat folks have (quite rightly, in my opinion) decided that most of the heavy hitters are more plot devices than characters for statting. They’ve statted up Aurora and Lily, but the Queens and Mothers, the Erlking and Lea, and the Eldest Gruff are powerful enough that giving them stats is kind of pointless. Even for the Ladies, they list their stats as a sort of starting point, implying that they may have more powers that people just don’t know about.
And what about Dragons?
Ferrovax is statted up, but again, it’s listed as a starting point.
1. What does the Scholarship skill do?
Bosh jumped on board with the answer to this one. Thanks, Bosh! Two things I want to add: first, Scholarship is what you generally use to do research. Second, Scholarship is one of the key skills for make Declarations and Assessments about things that your character may have no direct knowledge of. As such, it’s handy.
2. How do you do Hexenwolves or Hexenbears? Do they always carry serious consequences like madness or does it vary by the sponsor(A demon vs. a Great Wolf Spirit)?
Hexen-creatures are just like were-creatures, with the addition of Item of Power and Demonic Co-Pilot. Negotiation with the GM could change the spirit of Demonic Co-Pilot to something like a Great Wolf Spirit, as you suggest, but the main point is that the sponsor has an agenda, and you have made a commitment to help it in return for its gifts. So, not necessarily madness, but it does carry consequences. For the Wolf Spirit idea, I could see the character becoming alienated from the rest of humanity, caring less about human laws than the simple black and white of an animal’s mindset, and things like that.
3. How do you do an Ascension Rite like the one described in Welcome to The Jungle? What would be its in-game effects?
Had to re-read the comics before I could answer this one. (Oh, no! What a hardship! ;)) Here’s my take:
First of all, the hag took decades to gather what she needed. It also seemed to take place in stages. And it confers godlike power, but makes you “more of what you are.” Sounds like a stat-less plot device ritual to me. In a game, I wouldn’t work out stats for it, because the PCs would stop it before it gets completed. That’s the whole point, right? But I’ve got to plan for an interesting failure, as well, so I’d probably work out what the hag’s agenda was once she completed the ritual. And if she did complete the ritual, I’d give her power roughly on a par with the Faerie Queens, at least, meaning she becomes a plot device, as well.
But that doesn’t really answer the question, does it?
If I needed for some reason to make this ritual by the book, I’d set the complexity up around 76 (ruling that transforming oneself so completely means having to overcome the Physical, Mental, and Social stress tracks and consequences for the hag), which means that even the canny Hecatean Hag is going to have to spend some extensive time preparing the spell with researching the ritual, gathering the materials, and arranging the appropriate power sources. It also means the actual casting time is going to be quite extended, which is why it’s happening in stages (which the rules really don’t cover, but it makes sense to me).
And if the ritual is completed and goes off? Well, first of all, “becoming more of what you are” sounds a whole lot like losing a bunch of free will and becoming an NPC to me, so anyone completing it loses all unspent Refresh and Fate Points. And then they gain the power of a Faerie Queen, becoming a plot device character set on an agenda and set of goals dictated by the character’s Aspects.
(Well, if you really have to have some stats for this, let’s say they must immediately spend all their unspent Refresh on new powers, and then spend another amount equal to their new total of spent Refresh on more new powers. This’ll set them with a real Fate Point deficit, which means that they are constantly being compelled by their own Aspects. Great power, but more of what you are.)
How does that sound?
Keep ’em coming, folks. I’ve got an unrelated update that’s going to go up this afternoon or evening, but I’ll have another Q&A post tomorrow if I get more questions.