Unlucky 13! Black 13! Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged! Other obscure 13 references!
And away we go…
The more I hear about the magic system the more I want this game, itâ€™s the first time that Iâ€™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 itâ€™s described thatâ€™ll be a massive step forward for the Fate system. Iâ€™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 â€œspecial actionâ€. 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.
Iâ€™m also curious how the extended conflicts rules work, the ones that were based on Spirit of the Centuryâ€™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 courtsâ€™ 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, Iâ€™m convinced that the Dresden Files RPG would be a great fit for the Fading Suns setting. Iâ€™d just borrow the starship combat rules from Diaspora, and make all the motley aliens, theurgists, psychics, Changed, and symbiotes using the powers. Thereâ€™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.
Atatl: exactly, just like SotC unleashed a whole flood of people hacking SotC to different genres, I think weâ€™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 weâ€™ve seen so far for statting out supernatural creatures seem like theyâ€™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 Tolkeinâ€™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.
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 donâ€™t think it has been asked yetâ€¦.
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, Iâ€™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. Umâ€¦ thatâ€™s legally different from The Good Work that we leave to holy types. Anywayâ€¦
😉 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 spellsâ€¦ I gather much of their advantage is situational, though, so I understand if their â€™statsâ€™ arenâ€™t defined enough for such a comparison. The situational stuff itself sounds pretty nifty, too, but I wonâ€™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.
Regarding advancement, it sounds like the â€œdeepestâ€ 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 aÂ 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.
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.
Thanks for these Rick. Iâ€™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.
â€œAnd can you combine martial arts with Evocation (ie to create Chi fireballs a la Dragonball). â€
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 canâ€™t wait to get this for a Buffy campaign Iâ€™m going to run. I might just merge the two worlds/storiesâ€¦ I can see many ways that a slayer might exist in the Dresdenverse and I prefer the Dresden Fileâ€™s magic system. *fan squeal*
Chocolate, meet Peanut Butter.
Atlatl Jones says:
While I donâ€™t expect the game to have detailed martial arts rules, Iâ€™m curious about how it represents Murphyâ€™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.
Can you give us a brief description of how defenses are addressed in the mechanics? For instance, Harryâ€™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 Harryâ€™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.
just try running a mock combat with a 12 refresh pure mortal with fists 5 and athletics 4 say and a few â€˜murphylikeâ€™ aspects e.g. â€˜aikido championâ€™, â€˜cute as a button, but hard as stoneâ€™, and maybe even â€˜Having another bad dayâ€™ (just for good measure) and try putting her up against a wizardâ€¦ 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 wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see one lay the smackdown on a black courter â€“ for a few rounds anywayâ€¦ :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.
I have a Q about using magic- specifically evocatiion to add aspects to targets. If you want to do something like set a targetâ€™s clothes on fire or glue them to the floor how do you go about setting the spellâ€™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!
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.