Unlucky 13! Black 13! Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged! Other obscure 13 references!

And away we go…

Bosh says:

The more I hear about the magic system the more I want this game, it’s the first time that I’ve EVER heard of a magic system in a game that functions like how magic generally does in fantasy novels. If the system actually works as it’s described that’ll be a massive step forward for the Fate system. I’m already having ideas floating around my head about how to hack it for other settings. For example in a more historical game it seems you could get an awesome magic system by just ripping most of evocation out.

I’m tremendously happy with the feel and mechanics of the magic system. And you’re right – the system is eminently lootable for other games where you want the same sort of feel from the magic system.

Atlatl Jones says:

You wrote about the spray attack as a “special action”. Are there other kinds of special actions detailed in the book?

First off, “special action” is my term, not a game term. It’s a special-case rule governing one narrow type of situation. There are a couple of other things, like special effect attacks (tasers and the like, for example), impact damage, explosions, environmental hazards, etc. The place they fit in the game is more as a side effect or special circumstance to a normal situation that requires a few extra rules to give it the proper feel.

I’m also curious how the extended conflicts rules work, the ones that were based on Spirit of the Century’s chase rules.

They work pretty much the same as in SotC, but are slightly simplified to cover more options without getting bogged down.

Bosh, I agree. If I felt like running a Buffy game, I would use this in a second (maybe with one or two extra boxes of stress). Buffy clearly has a low refresh, and Willow spent so much refresh on magic powers that she briefly became an NPC.

It would work very nicely for this.

Right now, though, I want to run a Victorian London version of the Dresdenverse. Maybe centered upon the upheval that Bram Stoker unwittingly unleashed upon the vampire courts’ balance of power.

Ooooooh… that sounds like a lot of fun! If you do run something like that, please let me know how it goes.

After taking another look at the power list, I’m convinced that the Dresden Files RPG would be a great fit for the Fading Suns setting. I’d just borrow the starship combat rules from Diaspora, and make all the motley aliens, theurgists, psychics, Changed, and symbiotes using the powers. There’s not much like evocation, but theurgy is basically thaumaturgy, and I could see some theurgists or psychics having channelling for a single element or type of force.

As I said, the magic system is eminently lootable for other settings. Fading Suns is a setting that I really like, though I always felt kind of let down by the system.

Bosh says:

Atatl: exactly, just like SotC unleashed a whole flood of people hacking SotC to different genres, I think we’ll see the same kind of flood with Dresden magic and creature creation rules (which are pretty generic/toolkit-ish) being adapted to all kinds of fantasy. For example the rules we’ve seen so far for statting out supernatural creatures seem like they’d be absolutely perfect for, say, Simarillion elves (too low refresh and you get on a boat ;) ) that can actually work in a party without either watering them down to humans with pointy ears or having them steal all the spotlight. Low refresh works beautifully for the sort of powerful but passive shtick we often see with Tolkein’s elves. And this is just one example, I could think of a dozen more just off the top of my head.

I love this take on Tolkien’s elves.

Ryan says:

I have been stalking your Q&A and I must say, WOW! Great info.

Thanks! Glad you’ve been enjoying it.

I have been loving Dresden Files for a couple years now and this game is driving me nuts with anticipation. I actually do have a question. I don’t think it has been asked yet….

I think it was Gard that was described as using runic magic, like the electrical serpent in the security locker. Would that function as a magic item (soda grenade?) or more like a spell with a conditional trigger? Sorry if this has already been touched on. There has been an incredible amount of awesome here.

Nope, it hasn’t been touched on. In the book, Sigrun Gard is statted up as having Sponsored Magic: Runes. The actual building of the electrical serpent thing would probably work best as a Thaumaturgical ritual, setting a conditional trigger as you suggest.

As for other cool worlds you could use this system on, I’m thinking Elric would be a great fit for the thaumaturgy rules, maybe even Evocation.

Definitely for the Thaumaturgy, though I don’t recall anything in the books about wizards blasting away with power. Still, it could work, if you do it right.

Rel Fexive says:

The good work continues. Um… that’s legally different from The Good Work that we leave to holy types. Anyway…

😉 Probably for the best.

Hi! Can you give us a real brief (like, X is +1 and Y is +3) comparison between weapons (melee and guns) as presented in the rules? I just want to see how they stack up compared to those +8 Earth Stomp spells… I gather much of their advantage is situational, though, so I understand if their ’stats’ aren’t defined enough for such a comparison. The situational stuff itself sounds pretty nifty, too, but I won’t ask you to go into detail on that ;)

Sure! Here’s the default breakdown:

  • Weapon:1 – small pocket weapons, knives, saps, and “belly guns”
  • Weapon:2 – Swords, baseball bats, batons, most pistols.
  • Weapon:3 – Two-handed weapons, oversized pistols (Desert Eagle and company), rifles and shotguns, most fully automatic weapons.
  • Weapon:4 – Anti-personnel weaponry, explosives.

As you note, though, this can play a bit fast and loose, depending on the situation. The advice is pretty light on this – basically, adjust up or down depending on how nasty the weapon is under the circumstances.


You’re welcome!

Exploding_brain says:

Regarding advancement, it sounds like the “deepest” suggested starting level is Submerged (10 Refresh, 35 Skill points, and Skills capped at Superb).


How much deeper does it look like the system lets you go, and how quickly do you acquire those Minor, Significant and Major Milestones?

There is no inherent limitation on advancement. A lot of it is going to depend on what sorts of stories you’re trying to tell. If you want the tale of big-league heroes fighting off the Outsiders and defending all of reality, that’s certainly doable as you increase in power. The real limitation is going to be the GM’s ability to generate interesting, challenging foes and circumstances as he players acquire more and more resources. And that doesn’t look too difficult, what with the build-it-yourself functionality of the Supernatural Powers and the way you can shift conflicts around in three different arenas. I’d say the system supports you right up to at least a Refresh of 20 or 30, after which the GM will have to start considering how to stat out some of the “plot device” foes.

As for how quickly you acquire the advancements, again that’s going to depend on the GM and the stories you’re trying to tell. The default recommendation – and they clearly state that it’s just a recommendation – is:

  • Minor Milestone – conclusion of a  session, or when a significant story piece is resolved.
  • Significant Milestone – conclusion of a scenario when a major plotline is resolved, or about every two or three sessions.
  • Major Milestone – only when something happens that really shakes up the campaign, after a few scenarios or a long, large-scale plotline is resolved.

Do they have guidelines for, say, Harry at the beginning of Small Favor? Any indication for how deep you can go before the system begins to break down? (insert clever submarine, nitrogen poisoning, crush depth, silly extension of analogy here).

They’ve actually got a full page discussing how Harry “levels up” at the end of each novel. By the end of Small Favor, they set him at -16 Refresh, starting from -9.

As for when the system breaks down, it looks pretty scalable and robust, as I mentioned above. I’d be leery of reaching beyond about Refresh 30, myself, but that’s just because I find it more interesting to have stories centered around people with more mortal concerns than you’d really have left at that level of power.

Calvin says:

Hi Rick. Thanks for all your Q&A. All your hard work is much appreciated.

Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Can you tell me about Martial Arts? Are there Martial Arts stunts and Skills? Can you let me know what kinds of stunts are in the book? Do they split things into Hard/Soft styles or types (ie Karate, Kung Fu, etc). And can you combine martial arts with Evocation (ie to create Chi fireballs a la Dragonball).

Lanodantheon got the core of this. Thanks, Lanodantheon! All martial arts would be handled by the skills Fists and Weapons (depending on the style), and then you’d use added Stunts to round them out. As the Stunts are basically do-it-yourself, you can decide the mix of hard/soft, internal/external you want. There are a few example Stunts, like Martial Artist, but this is an area where you get to brew up pretty much exactly the kind of martial artist you like.

And yeah, if you’ve got the Refresh to spend, I can’t see any problem with combining Evocation and martial arts. No problems, at all.

I am asking because I am going to run a Dresden game in Hong Kong and martial arts will be important. Thank you very much.

Sounds very cool. Let me know how it runs for you.

Popo says:

Thanks for these Rick. I’m definitely getting this book.

You’re welcome. And getting the books is, I believe, the proper way to thank Evil Hat for allowing this to happen.

“And can you combine martial arts with Evocation (ie to create Chi fireballs a la Dragonball). ”

Could Channeling accomplish this? I imagine that if you could have a fire channeler, you should be able to have a spirit or force channeler too.

Yup. That would work quite nicely.

I can’t wait to get this for a Buffy campaign I’m going to run. I might just merge the two worlds/stories… I can see many ways that a slayer might exist in the Dresdenverse and I prefer the Dresden File’s magic system. *fan squeal*

Chocolate, meet Peanut Butter.

Atlatl Jones says:

While I don’t expect the game to have detailed martial arts rules, I’m curious about how it represents Murphy’s Aikido.

Well, she’s got Good Fists, three stunts to represent different facets of her martial arts training, three different Aspects that could easily get pulled into a martial arts action, and a raft of Fate Points to use those Aspects.

Popo, I like the way you think. Buffy and the Dresdenverse fit together perfectly. The buffyverse was always rather vague about the nature of magic and the supernatural, so adding in the detail from the Dresden Files would help a GM out a lot. Buffyverse vampires and Black Court vampires have almost identical strengths and vulnerabilities, aside from Buffy vampires being much prettier, so you could just say that all Black Court vampires have the Human Guise power.

That’d work. Of course, it wouldn’t be that difficult to build Buffyverse vampires with the system, but then you either need to create a new Court, or get rid of the Dresdenverse idea of Courts, with all their wonderful rich politicking potential.

Having both the White Council and the Watchers in the same setting opens up a lot of interesting dramatic possibilities too.

It certainly could. Indeed, the Watcher Council could sort of fill in (or share) the niche currently occupied by the Venatori Umborum.

Exploding_brain says:

Can you give us a brief description of how defenses are addressed in the mechanics? For instance, Harry’s leather duster and shield bracelet?

They are produced by two different sub-systems of magic. The duster is an enchanted item that grants Harry armour, so that’s shifts of stress coming directly off attacks. The shield bracelet is a focus item that gives him a bonus to control with defensive Spirit evocations, which manifest using the block mechanic, which is kind of like less enduring armour.

If you wanted a character with bulletproof skin, would it be similar to Harry’d duster, or a supernatural stunt? Could a wizard/sorcerer/channeler/magic mortal take those kinds of supernatural stunts, or are some things like inhuman toughness limited to vampires/faeries/lycanthropes etc?

Inhuman (and higher levels) Toughness are the way to go in order to simulate bulletproof skin. Mythic Toughness gives you Armour:3, so that offsets the damage bonus of things like hunting rifles and Desert Eagles. Coupled with the extra stress boxes it gives you, it very nicely simulates someone who is just damned tough to hurt.

Inhuman Toughness is generally available, but the higher levels require having specific templates in order to take them. At least, by the book. That’s easy for the GM to handwave, but the high levels of all the stat boosting powers are awesome, and letting too many creatures have them would tend to water down their cool factor. Having said that, if I were running a game, and someone started with a lower level, I would be amenable if they wanted to upgrade later using the advancement system.

Knave says:

re: aikido


just try running a mock combat with a 12 refresh pure mortal with fists 5 and athletics 4 say and a few ‘murphylike’ aspects e.g. ‘aikido champion’, ‘cute as a button, but hard as stone’, and maybe even ‘Having another bad day’ (just for good measure) and try putting her up against a wizard… see how long the wizard lasts : p.

Well, she’s not rated quite that high by the book – Good Fists and Athletics. But then, she’s statted out as of Storm Front. As Rechan points out, she’s got a nice stunt that let’s her tag an opponent with the Aspect Thrown to the Ground with a successful defense roll using Fists, as well as a couple of other handy things. The applicable Aspects she has are Don’t Judge Me by my Size, Aikido Master, and Avenging Angel. And her Refresh Cost is -4, so she’s got a stack of Fate Points. It’ll come down to that old contest of whether she can lay hands on the Wizard before he can blast her with Evocation.

Very few things can stand up to a couple of rounds of +6 bonuses so a 12 refresh character is pretty much guaranteed a few rounds of shining brilliance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one lay the smackdown on a black courter – for a few rounds anyway… :p

My view of combat is that, contrary to something like D&D, where hitting for damage is of primary importance, using maneuvers to impose Aspects is paramount. If you set up a few of those, and pass the free tags to one character who can unload with a few Fate Points, things go splat in a very satisfying manner.

Knave says:

I have a Q about using magic- specifically evocatiion to add aspects to targets. If you want to do something like set a target’s clothes on fire or glue them to the floor how do you go about setting the spell’s power?

Good question! You do this by using Evocation to perform a Maneuver, imposing an Aspect on a successful targeting roll. Power required for a Maneuver defaults to three shifts, but if the target has a resisting Skill of Great +4 or better, then that’s how much power you’ll need. So, if you’re using an Air Evocation to put the Aspect Blown to the Ground against someone with a Might or Athletics of Superb +5, you’ll need five shifts of power. You can also channel extra power to make the Aspect persistent.

Also, how do magical defences/counters work? If, for e.g. Victor Sells hits Harry with his Killing Flame Rote for +7 damage with another +4 on the targeting, how does Harry go about defending himself from a potential 11 points of owie? Does he have to create a fire shield of power 11?

He has to create some sort of shield with a power of 11 if he wants to avoid getting crispy. Now, that said, hitting someone with 11 shifts of stress is gonna be moderately rare – Victor’s rote only lets him call up 5 shifts of power, so he’d have to beat Harry’s dodge by +6 to get that 11 shifts of damage. Considering Harry’s got Athletics equal to Victor’s Discipline, Harry would have to roll at least a -2, while Victor would need a perfect +4 roll. So, yeah, the example you cite looks pretty rough on the defender, but you need to understand the context of those numbers, and see that such a situation would be a real exception to the norm.

Thanks again for all the info!

You’re welcome!

Looks like that’s it for this penultimate edition of the DRPG Q&A. If you have any more questions, make sure you get them to me by Friday, ’cause that’s the last installment, and I will be deaf thereafter to your pleas! Mwahahahahaha!

Ahem. Sorry. See you Friday.

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38 Responses to DFRPG Q&A 13

  1. Rechan says:

    On the topic of using Evocation for maneuvers: Does the target get a defensive roll, or are you just trying to statically beat their defensive skill?

    So any word on your next Dresdenverse campaign? 🙂

    You can drop inhuman x or other supernatural powers into the Were-form right? Or is there anything else that symbolizes the “You have a form that you use to battle”? I’m actually pondering a “Dr Jeckyl/Mr Hyde” character.

  2. Christopher says:

    Regarding what you said about Buffy-verse vampires:

    That’d work. Of course, it wouldn’t be that difficult to build Buffyverse vampires with the system, but then you either need to create a new Court, or get rid of the Dresdenverse idea of Courts, with all their wonderful rich politicking potential.

    Maybe vampires are like humans — and some of them just plain HATE politics. The Buffy-verse vampires, what with their long history of “impulse control,” could well be just a breed who “hate all that donkeys and elephants crap,” and are looked down on (IE “never mentioned”) by the vampires of the various courts. After all, there are renegade wizards and wild fey– why not some “rogue vampires?”

    Just a thought.

  3. Bosh says:

    Question: how supernatural something is seems to scale with how powerful they are (more supernatural = lower refresh blah blah), how then does the game handle critters that are very supernatural but not very powerful at all such as Toot Toot?

  4. Sephilum says:

    What stunts must a ghoul take according to the template? And what is the base refresh cost for each?

    ‘Thanks for doing all of this. You’re awesome! 🙂

  5. Fred Hicks says:


    When Evocation targets someone, whether it’s an attack or a maneuver, they get a defense roll.


    I’m looking at the discussion of a pure mortal being able to fight a wizard, above — talking about an expert martial artist with a few stunts and a ton of fate points going up against a wizard, and “see how long that wizard lasts”… Well, right! Wizards are potent when they get a chance to prepare — or, if they have a solid talent at Evocation, when they get a chance to see you coming. But they’re squishy, too, which is very true to the source material. In Storm Front, Harry gets taken down by a relatively common thug with a baseball bat at one point.

    How someone will fare in a conflict in our system is highly, highly dependent on how much control they have over what battles they get into and what circumstances and preparation they can bring to bear. It’s definitely a “planner’s” system in that respect — which again, we feel resembles the source material pretty well. Combo that with our advice to GMs to put the PCs under time pressure, always driving things forward, the ability to make those choices will certainly be constrained at times. That’s the tension of the novels, and that’s the tension I want to see in a game.

  6. Fred Hicks says:

    Bosh, the supernaturality when you’re seeing it is only a side-effect of the power in some circumstances. The system’s perspective on refresh — and free will — is about power more than it’s about supernaturality. Consider the Marcone example: one of the discussions we have in the pages is that Marcone *might* just be an example of a non-supernatural but high-power character — a pure mortal with so many stunts going for him that he doesn’t, in fact, have free will. The power that corrupts does not have to be supernatural in nature for it to potentially turn you into a monster.

    (Then again, maybe Marcone is still on the willful side of things, just barely… much like Harry.)

  7. Fred Hicks says:

    Sephilium — Ain’t no ghoul template. We’ve got a ghoul *creature* written up in the second book, but we don’t necessarily come right out and recommend it as a playable character type (even though you could look at the creature’s statblock and derive a template if you wanted that). A late addition to the party has been to give them a Feeding Dependency… on vast quantities of meat. Solving that problem (much as Thomas must solve his own feeding needs in a way that’s PC-acceptable) is going to be the first part of making a viable ghoul PC, I figure.

  8. Rel Fexive says:


    Numero uno – Evocation can be used for an attack OR a manoeuvre – um, maneuver – but it takes a bit more power to do both? So a ‘firebolt’ could burn someone or set them “on fire”, but more power will do both at the same time?

    Numero, uh, duo? – I like the ‘rogue’ or ‘wild’ vampire idea for a Dresden/Buffy mashup, but if I were bringing the two together somehow I think I would concentrate more on bringing a Slayer-like character into a Dresden game then trying to force the two to mostly coexist somehow. To me there are too many disparities (the Courts, the nature of vampires, etc) for it to be a smooth blend. Others might have other ideas of course 🙂

    Only one more Q&A?!? How will we cope?! 😉

  9. James says:

    When can I buy it and how much will it cost?

  10. Knave says:

    @Fred re: Wizards vs Pure Mortals

    Agree and loving it. It both follows the source material and ‘balances’ brilliantly. I am just going to have to lol when a ‘Murphy’ bounces a ‘Mavra”s head off a wall, before things like supernatural recovery turn the tables back the other way… assuming she doesn’t pull something like ‘I may have lost my faith, but I still carry my cross’.

    My earlier point was more that the beauty of the thing is that clever aspects and a stack of fate chips to use them gives a character as much flexibility/spotlight as serious power does so packing in the stunts is certainly not the only way to skin this particular cat.

  11. Tim "Your Personal Undead" Popelier says:

    I don’t think this has come up yet, but I might be wrong. (gosh you should be sick of people saying that by now, no wonder your stopping)

    Anyhow, could you give us a idea of how true names as handled in the game. And perhaps also, how are they used as a bartering offer like harry does, do they add a special tag for the demon, (know part of your true name) or something like that?

  12. Knave says:

    @Rick re: Harry v Victor S.

    Thanks for the info : ) – I’m guessing that Victor’s statblock has had a tune up since it was published in the October Status update on the dresdenfilesrpg.com where it had both his conviction and discipline as Great and Killing Flame as 7 shifts ( conviction + rod + lawbreaker bonus ). – I assumed he’d cast it with a roll of 0 for an effective Weapon:7 + 4 targeting. (assuming he managed to soak up the 4 shifts of mental stress that would cause him – granted)

    which would mean Harry with an athletics of Fair (again by the character sheet from the site) would need to roll better than +2 to make the dodge and avoid taking a hit of at least 7 shifts of fire damage… which basically brought me back to the magical defence, and my clarification question:

    How much damage does the defence prevent? Assume that Harry does have 7 shifts of damage and 4 shifts of targeting coming at him, in order to take no damage does he need to summon up a defence of power 11 with no targeting element, only control? Or is it power + targeting of 11? i.e. in an attack the discipline ‘finesse’ element (sort of) counts twice – once for control of the power and once for targeting and in that targeting capacity as a bonus to your effectiveness – the ‘what makes Luccio so dangerous element’ – but from what you said that targeting element isn’t present in defence. Is that right?

    Because if it is right Harry sure as heck better win initiatiative and shoot first, or just creating the shield he’ll be taking (superb conviction(5) 1 shift + an additional 6 shifts of mental stress to get the power to 11 plus 11 – (good discipline(3) + roll) mental stress to control it -> which works out at 15 +- 4 to defend against 11 damage… which can’t be right?

    If the targeting roll does count toward the total he’d need to make a shield of power 8 (4 stress) + take 5 stress on the control (assuming he rolled 0) to control the shield… in which case he needs to soak 9 mental stress to prevent 11 physical damage… which still seems wrong.

    The last possibility I can think of is that he only needs to defend against the power of the spell -> i.e. 7 damage. In which case he’d need to spend 3 stress getting the power to put up the shield and 4 to control it (again assuming a 0 roll) for a total of 7 mental stress to avoid 11 physical stress, which is at least better than dodging with an athletics of fair.

    I’m probably way off base though.

    Thanks again, and sorry for getting all mathematical on you :p

  13. Fred Hicks says:

    Let’s not forget that Victor had been beating himself up in order to get his rituals cast prior to Harry showing up at his doorstep; that Harry had nailed him through a manifestation in a way Victor couldn’t comprehend; that Victor was not sure what kind of an opponent he was up against; that Victor preferred to have constructs and demons do the job for him. That wasn’t a straight up fire-fight. Victor could sling firebolts at Harry, sure, and he did a few — though it was while Harry was behind cover in a kitchen (tag that scene aspect) and after Victor’d gotten slapped upside the head with a blown ritual. He was NOT on his best footing. Neither was Harry, but Harry ultimately knew more about what to do with himself going into that fight than Victor did.

  14. John Hawkins says:

    @James At some point between April and Origins (which is June 23) you’ll be able to pre-order the game. That will immediately get you the .pdf. The hard copy will premier at Origins, and you can either pick yours up there or get it shipped to you (I don’t know whether it would ship to arrive on the launch date, or ship out on the launch date).

  15. John Hawkins says:

    @Rel Fexive regarding dual-purpose evocations, I think if I were your GM I’d be _willing_ to let you split your evocation across multiple purposes, though the rules don’t expressly cover that, since it’s not terribly different from a Spray Attack. But it would be a terrible idea, from an efficacy standpoint. Suppose you’re prepared to break your brain and eat the backlash for a power 8 evocation (let’s assume generously that you have a 5 Conviction and a 5 Discipline because you squeezed every skill point you could muster into magic skills). Let’s assume further that you manage to burn enough fate points and get a decent enough roll that you can actually just barely control that sucker, or that you take ANOTHER hit from backlash. And let’s assume your target has Good Athletics (+3).

    Case 1: 8 shift attack. Weapon:8 at a roll of 8, assume defender rolls a zero. 8 – (3 + 0) + 8 = 13. OUCH! He takes lots of consequences, ticks of a stress box ANYWAY, and immediately concedes.

    Case 2: 4 shift attack, 4 shift maneuver. Weapon:4 at 4, and a 4 power Maneuver at 4. Again we’ll assume a roll of +0 on a Good Athletics. 4 – (3 + 0) + 4 is 5. He takes a mild “Singed” consequence, gets an aspect of “On Fire” that you get a single free Tag on, and growls at you. Flashy, but it hurt you about as bad as it hurt him, and now it’s his turn.

  16. Rel Fexive says:

    @John: Ah, so either burn the guy down or light him up – try to do both and you’ll just annoy the critter. Gotchya 🙂

  17. Lucart says:

    If someone has an aspect on them like ‘Thrown to the Ground’ on them, does that aspect have to be tagged in order to impair their movement? Are they still free to move at will (with the aspect still there) as long as nobody has tagged it trying to stop them?

  18. Rechan says:

    Christoper: one way to treat the Buffyverse vampires is actually to look at the lore of those vampires.

    In that world, a vampire is literally a demon possessing the body where the soul used to be. This is why the older the vampire gets, the more monstrous they look; the demonic interior is slowly warping the body to show its form. (The oldest vampire on record in the show had cloven feet for instance).

    So it could be that Buffyverse vamps are just Something Else. Possibly undead possessed by those Down Below.

    Or, since the Buffyverse vamps are so similar to Black Court vamps (walking corpses, weak to all the typical vamp stuff), and it takes a LONG WHILE for a black court vamp to become a Master Blackcourt Vamp, that you could just substitute the Black Court. The Black Court is the smallest, and their vamps are the weakest (first starting out). So Buffy vamps are just fresh Blackcourt vamps that don’t veil their very Dead nature.

  19. Rechan says:

    If DFRPG is about an enemy’s prep, how do you avoid the pitfall of “The PCs kick in the door of the villain’s hideout, and pretty much walk into a death trap because the villain has prepped his lair/has all his toys right on hand”? It’s rather easy to imagine any villain being fairly prepped for a frontal assault. And as the DM, you can give your villain as much prep as you want – so how do you justify LESS prep on his behalf?

  20. Knave says:

    @Lucart re: being affected by ‘Thrown to the ground’

    Yes and no.
    Option 1) If the aspect isn’t tagged then it’s not relevant, so the face plantee gets up and walks off thereby removing the aspect.
    Option 2) Someone has tagged the aspect – so it matters. The first tag on an aspect you add through a maneuver is free (or at least is in Spirit of the Century – and we’ve been given no reason to believe DF is different) and may be passed to someone else to take advantage of. However the aspect is fragile – i.e. the target can get rid of it by spending an action getting up – but the action they spend doing that is an action they’re not beating on you.

  21. Knave says:

    @Rechan re: prep

    A few possibilities spring to mind – either the Big Bad has underestimated the characters and/or is magnificently confident in their own abilities, or the PCs have help from other parties who help disable some of his defences, or you don’t, and it is a nightmare. You let the attack go badly, but you allow the PCs to escape – and my favorite tactic there is to have an ally rush in and help at an unexpected moment and be hurt or killed to allow them to escape/survive. The PCs then suffer a real loss – and are forced to follow other less direct avenues of attack.

  22. Tim "Your Personal Undead" Popelier says:

    Should the players act without preparation where they really should have by all accounts, (in some cases they went with a; we need to hit fast before things get out of hand, mentality, that fine by me) I always have them beaten back, hard. Perhaps one of the most fun parts of this is making sure they are permanently marked by this stupid action, for instance should one of the players be particularly fundamental in the ‘go first think second’ mentality he will probably o around bearing a big scar. Actually, I had a old NPC come round in a DND game, he told the new character of the same player something along the lines of “acting as brash as you do now got me this scar, you want one?”

    I think in any case when stuff goes bad, try to think of how it may enhance the story, rather than damage it, especially with the faith system!

  23. Knave says:


    No question – Harry beat Victor by out wizarding him with better Lore and by generally being all protagonisty. I’m just trying to establish the feasibility of using evocation for a defense rather than the dive behind fridge option.

    I guess if a wizard does add ‘targeting’ to defence magic and only chooses to take up to conviction on the power then the above example with 11 shifts of damage would be blocked by 5 power + 3 targeting = 8 defence – resulting in 1 mental stress power summoning fatigue + 2 backlash mental stress and 3 burny physical stress. In that case it would never pay to go over your conviction because the damage you take in power summoning fatigue and potential backlash could easily be worse than the damage you mitigate.

    But, as I said, I’m just trying to figure out how it works. : p

  24. Matthew says:

    (new to Fate/DFRPG discussions; be gentle)

    Regarding the Victor vs Harry discussion:

    Doesn’t the attack have to ‘hit’ (control roll >= defense roll) in order to do any damage at all? So wouldn’t it make sense to use your defensive magic to ‘deflect’ the incoming attack (via a Block) instead of trying to ‘soak’ the damage? In the example given (Weapon: 7 with 4 control) a block strength of 5 would be enough, rather than 11 shifts to negate the damage. This might entail simply using Discipline as a Block (possibly powered by Fate points) rather than formally casting a spell. Or perhaps an actual spell would add shifts to the defensive control roll, making it easier to block attacks at the cost of stress to cast the defensive evocation.

    Then again, I won’t pretend to fully understand the system. Perhaps one of the experts can clarify?

  25. Exploding_brain says:

    Could Bob be made into a playable character? Maybe only when he’s riding Mister (who obviously has an ample supply of free will to loan him). I have this image of B-squad adventure, in which Bob (with Mister’s help), Toot-Toot, and Mouse, (and maybe Billy?, or would it be more fun to add Butters or Molly?) have to deal with something in Harry’s absence.

    What kind of game mechanics reflect Little Chicago?

    How hard would it be to remove the problems that wizards have with post-WWII technology? Maybe you want to drift the game into something that would allow Mage style Sons of Ether, or Ghostbusters tech. Or possibly you want that one-of-a-kind wizard who has found a way to prevent that particular complication.

    Do other types of magic mess up modern tech? Could Harry use Toot-toot to wipe the hard drives of his enemies?

    One last time, thanks so much for the (deep and extended) peek at the game. It makes me more confident that ever to say the following:

    @Evil Hat, now I know how some folks feel about the iPad. To misquote Ryan Sohmer, I dearly want to transfer money from my bank account into yours, and I’m OK with that. 🙂

  26. Bosh says:

    AFAIK the tech problems are just compelling of the high concept aspect of “wizard blah blah” so it’d be easy to remove.

  27. Murph (No,not that one) says:

    Just found out about the upcoming DFRPG a few weeks ago and have greatly enjoyed reading this Q&A, so a big CHEERS to Rick and all the contributors.
    Anyways, a quick question if you don’t mind. How much refresh does Physical Immunity cost during character creation? (I have a descendant of Balder concept for an NPC I would mind solidifying up a little)

    Thanks for all your effort Rick, it must have been quite taxing at times.

    @Fred It’s been close to 13 years since I’ve done the whole P&P gaming thing,but this has seriously relit the fire so to speak and I can’t wait to get my hands on the books. The fate system sounds awesome and much more along the lines of how I prefer to play than the old systems I did indeed play. I think I will have to buy SOTC to get a general feel for the system while waiting for DFRPG. (not to mention it sounds pretty damn cool itself!)
    So, thanks for the hard work and the openness about the development of the game. I, and I’m sure many,many others, really appreciate it.

  28. Murph (No,not that one) says:

    Oh, also, from a previous Q&A session someone was asking which element lightning came under air or earth. I don’t have it with me, but I seem to remember in Storm Front (novel or comic) that Harry was talking about all five elements being present within the storm while squaring off against the toad demon. I swear he states that lightning represented fire, just in case anyone was still wondering. I’m probably wrong, stupidity runs in the family.

  29. John Hawkins says:

    @Murph SotC is totally worth picking up, if only because the differences between it and DFRPG will give you some strong ideas about how flexible the Fate system is (in particular they do very very different things with stress tracks and NPC power levels, and the consequent pace/feel of combat). It’s a fun read. I also recommend you pick up and read Truth & Justice, Mouse Guard, and possibly Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies while you wait. None of them use the Fate system, but as another old-school gamer who has just stumbled wide-eyed back into the realm of P&P thanks to the really brilliant directions of “Indie Gaming” I can tell you with some confidence that each of them will add ideas and structure to your toolkit. For example each of these systems does something different with the cost of failure, but they all present very strong ways to make failure cool, participatory, and mechanically rewarding (check out T&J’s Plot Hooks via damage and Mouse Guard’s Twists). I feel like after flipping through those other games I have a much richer appreciation for what’s going on in the Fate 3 approach.

    All that said DFRPG is, to my eye, really the jewel of the bunch.

    Physical Immunity is extremely expensive, and taken at its fullest cost would be unavailable to any but the most powerful starting characters (it would put a chest-deep character at zero). But it is in effect just the next step beyond Mythic Toughness/Recovery. And since it’s a toughness power, you have to choose a Catch (weakness). Thus, nothing is truly invincible, once you know what you’re up against. If you choose a Catch that’s sufficiently strong, it can be a pretty huge cost savings. So for example if you are ONLY immune to acid damage (Physical Immunity with the Catch as “anything other than acid”) that actually isn’t very expensive at all. In other words it varies a lot.

  30. Knave says:

    @Matthew – re: magic defence

    That’s possible, but my understanding is that a fire evocation produces actual fire, so it doesn’t really track to be able to deflect it just by rolling discipline without casting – unless you can do the same thing against a flame thrower.

    But you do raise an interesting point – I’m sure in the novels that Harry says some wizards deflect, but he tends to stop attacks dead (he seriously needs an aspect of ‘always the hard way’). So, maybe it’s a case of cast a spell that beats the power, or cast a spell that deflects the attack – beat the targeting or match the power rather than both.

    But I’m with you – no idea how it acually works, just speculating. : p

  31. Rel Fexive says:

    RE: magic defence — such a defence, like with Harry’s shield bracelet, is apparently done as a Block that can be eroded by every attack it blocks (or so I’ve deduced from previous comments). I’ve not got ‘the book’ but I reckon that means that a character would cast a spell in the normal way (power/Conviction, then control/Discipline) to end up with a number of shifts that represents the strength of the Block/shield. This would probably then be matched against the number of shifts used in the attack – any attack – and probably with the “damage bonus” added on; so shifts + Weapon:X vs Block shifts, because heavier hits are harder to stop.

    I imagine the Block then either stops the attack cold (by having more shifts) or lets some through (by not having enough), and can be reduced by the hit in some fashion. This would seem to reflect the source.


  32. Rechan says:

    I imagine the Block then either stops the attack cold (by having more shifts) or lets some through (by not having enough), and can be reduced by the hit in some fashion. This would seem to reflect the source.

    Yeah. The Shield Bracelet works as either a Block or Armor. Harry has a Rote spell for the shield bracelet (4 shifts). It says he often uses one shift to make it more persistent. So you’re looking at a block 3 (or Armor:1). Harry’s duster is also an Armor:2.

    A much better block spell is Carlos’s Water Sphere. That’s a 6 shift block (or Armor:3).

  33. Murph (No,not that one) says:

    @John Hawkins Thanks for the reply and info, I’m definitely getting SOTC and will look at the other three options you mentioned.
    I was already going to apply a catch, (didn’t realize it was mandatory) Balder was immune to anything but mistletoe (I think) but I was thinking more along the lines of wood or some other natural material. I think that might work, unless it was along the lines of the Fae’s catch with cold iron then there goes the kids tree house and wife’s lovely hard wood floor.
    Again, cheers.

  34. vultur says:

    Are there stats for fungus demons?

    In general, asking for a complete list would probably be too much; but we’ve seen previews of the character types, but not really anything on the monsters. Can you give an idea of what monsters are included?

  35. Rechan says:

    Can you give an idea of what monsters are included?

    Everything that has been “on screen”.

    Seriously. Everything.

    Ghouls, vampires (of every stripe), those temple statues that sniff out magic, demons (Toad Demon, Chancy), Ghosts (Kravos, the other ghost from Grave Peril), Hecatian Hags, the Flying Flaming Poo Monkey Demons, Gruffs, pixies, nixies (the water nymphs that like to drown folks), sylphs, goblins, hobs (the things in the Train Station from Small Favor), Plant Monster (Summer Knight)… you get the idea.

    Anything that has ever posed a threat, said a line, or been described in detail. Including pretty much Every Single Named NPC.

    Fungus demons (and the slime golem that was mentioned in passing) are not in the book, I’m willing to bet because they weren’t described and we don’t know what they can “do”.

  36. Lanodantheon says:

    Awesome Q&A!!!

    Probably the last question I’ll be able to ask before just doing it myself when the game comes out.

    How would I give someone a “Spirit Sword ” ala Yu Yu Hakusho. Basically it’s a conjured sword made of Spirit energy. My first blush is Claws.

    If anyone else with access to the material cares to weigh in, please do.

  37. John Hawkins says:

    @Lanodantheon: Interesting. First of all, you can in fact literally use Thaumaturgy to summon a spirit sword, though you can also go buy a sword, so it’s kind of silly, and it’s probably not quite the feel you’re going for. Second of all, Claws would work fine, though note that technically you only get +1 stress from Claws, and you can’t take the power multiple times. You could take an aspect for the item, and invoke it to declare that you’ve summoned the sword for a scene (I’m not sure how firmly that would hold up, but it’s probably viable). You could negotiate a new power with your GM (-2 refresh gives you Breath Weapon which does Weapon:2 damage at range, so it might be reasonable to trade the range for ability to use it defensively). You could make it an Item of Power, if it’s a physical object. The “conjured spirit” part of the sword would just be color, and could be reinforced with an aspect (like above). Actually I think maybe you have to take an aspect for any Item of Power, in any case.

    I’ll be interested to hear others weigh in with their thoughts on this one.

    My understanding of what you want is the ability to have constant, irrevocable access to a sword that is otherwise notable only for being a thing of pure Spirit (which perhaps means it could also be used against spirits) and can vanish when its presence is inconvenient (airport security). That’s fairly potent, and so if I were your GM I might be inclined to allow it for some refresh cost in the ballpark of -2 or -3, but it would somehow impact your Mental stress track/consequences to use it…

  38. John Hawkins says:

    A couple of things that I implied but didn’t outright state, here:

    Claws use Fists, so you wouldn’t be able to defend against an opposing sword, which isn’t quite what you want.

    Swords use Weapons, and a weapon that you always have access to makes Weapons strictly better than Fists. See the problem? So this should definitely not be super cheap.

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