Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

Lanodantheon says:

Thanks again. I read your write-up of Magical Winnipeg again and it is cool. :)

Thanks! We had a great time doing it, and were surprised at how gameable the result was, considering that Winnipeg is fairly small and boring.

What I mean by “RPG-specific” stuff is material that is made specifically in the RPG that isn’t in the books. Things like…new monsters, new powers, and new organizations/nations. But from what I can see, it is an open enough system that if it doesn’t exist in game you can make up your own stuff.

It is very easy to kit-bash your own stuff, even on the fly. We found it became even easier as we gained familiarity with the system and the options.

Stuff like, Jade Court stats.

They’ve got a couple of paragraphs on the Jade Court – no stats, though. And a nice sidebar on the possibility of other Vampire Courts.

The only other constructive questions I have relate to Wardens.

1. I assume a Warden’s Sword is an item of power. How much does it cost?

Actually, it’s statted up as an enchanted item, taking up two enchanted item slots. This means that only spellcasters can have one, but it doesn’t cost them any extra Refresh.

2. How do you simulate characters with authority (Like Wardens or Chiefs of Police) in the game? I would assume through Aspects for general authority and Stunts for people with game affecting authority. That Warden can call for help, but is on his own most of the time. That Chief of Police can order a SWAT Team to help take down that warlock.

I can’t see anything that deals with this question specifically, but I would say that it would require an Aspect for either – after all, the Chief of Police can’t order in a SWAT Team with impunity; he needs to be able to justify it within the bounds of the law. That said, for more readily-usable facets of authority, you could couple the Aspect with a Mortal Stunt or two,probably based on Contacts or Presence, but maybe on other skills to represent skilled people reporting to you.

Ihadris says:

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog with interest and had a blast checking out what you guys did during the play-test. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!

You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the playtest stuff; we really enjoyed doing it.

Whilst I’ve read all the write-ups I could find for the play-tests, I can’t find much regarding the vampire templates. How do you feel that the feeding dependency affects the play of the White Court Vampire, White Court Virgin and Red Court Infected templates? For instance, how would the Virgin and Infected deal with the need to feed and would it only be a problem to them if they over strained themselves?

The Feeding Dependency “power” actually give you another stress track (in addition to Physical, Mental, and Social) called Hunger. This is where you track how hungry your use of powers makes you. At the end of a scene where you’ve used powers, you need to make a Discipline roll against the Refresh cost of the powers you’ve used, or take Hunger stress. You can buy this off by taking Physical or Mental consequences. If you don’t buy off the stress hit with consequences, you lose access to some of your power. If you lose access to all of your powers and take another Hunger stress hit, you are taken out. So, basically, this means that, playing someone with a Feeding Dependency, you really have to husband your powers during play if you don’t think you can take the time to feed. As with Wizard players and spellcasting, this won’t sneak up and bite you in normal situations, but when you’re feeding the time pressure and everything’s on the line (i.e. in a situation like you might find in an RPG adventure), it becomes something you need to consider. How far can you push yourself without becoming useless or worse?

Sephilum says:

Are there any guidelines given for how you would make a shifter who can turn into multiple animals? I’m pretty sure something like that was mentioned to exist in the books. But since we haven’t seen something like that in the books first hand yet, I’m wondering if it made its way into the rpg.

When I say multiple animals I mean multiple types of animals.

Yup. If you’ve got three or fewer forms you want to be able to shift into, then it’s cheaper to take the Beast Change power multiple times. If you have four or more forms, then True Shapeshifting is a better bargain.

Rechan says:

Chad, NPC ally is why I mentioned Companions. That means that they, an NPC ally, can be nabbed by enemies. :)

There have been some more comments on this on the previous post. Thanks to Chad and Fred, once again, for pitching in and keeping me honest!

Rick, we’ve been told that Evocation is divided into Control, Power, and Complexity. Discipline handles Control, Conviction handles Power, Lore handles Complexity.

How does Complexity come into play? What is its role in evocation or Thaumaturgy? For instance, we know that Molly has lots of Finesse and can do complex stuff. How is this represented mechanically?

Fred answers part of this in the same comment thread, but here’s a little more detail. Complexity is basically how hard it is to do something with Thaumaturgy – it’s sort of a combination of how much time it takes to design the ritual and the power necessary to enact it. Once the Complexity of a Thaumaturgical ritual is set (based on a number of factors, including if you’re trying to affect another person, duration, and overall effect), you compare it to your Lore. If your Lore is equal to or higher than the Complexity, then you basically just know how to do the ritual, and can start casting it. If the Complexity is higher, then you need to do some research and preparation, which involves trying to make up the difference in levels. Here’s were you want to tap into Aspects and Mortal Stunts and use Skills to make declarations to try and boost you up to the necessary Complexity.

When they say that Molly has lots of finesse, they’re talking about her Discipline. She can do a lot of complex stuff, but not necessarily handle a lot of Complexity, if you get my meaning – her Discipline is moderately high, while her Lore and Convction are lower. And some types of magic are just easier for some people – Molly, in the game, has an Aspect called Subtlety Is Its Own Power, that can work great things for her sneakier magic.

Also, aside from making you invisible, what can whatever magic “veils” fall under do? Typical Illusion stuff? Is that Evocation or Thaumaturgy?

Veils in game terms have a fairly narrow definition: they are special Spirit Evocations. The power of the Evocation sets the difficulty for perceiving things through it. However, Thaumaturgy can make more permanent or more varied veil effects, including illusions and multiple senses.

Finally, you’ve had the books a while. Have you read anything that’s really surprised you? Aside from just “This is how mechanics work”, anything that made you go “Damn, that’s neat” that you didn’t expect?

Good question. I’ve been doing a lot of, shall we say, directed reading to answer these questions, and I haven’t been thinking much about it.

Well, let’s see. I can’t say enough good things about the new City Creation chapter. The Nevermore/Baltimore stuff is also very cool, and packed with neat ideas – makes me want to blend Dresden Files with The Wire. The Faces From the Cases section of Who’s Who keeps making me go, “Yeah! I remember that guy now!”

Probably the thing that gives me the most fannish glee, though, are the sidebars by Harry, Billy, and Bob, especially a few wonderful geeky gamer references, including to TSR’s old Marvel Superheros game. The guys got the tone pretty much just right, and use it in a brilliant way to provide colour, insight into the game world, and answers to some questions that might arise in reading the rules. It’s very well done, and makes me smile as I read it.

Tush Hog says:

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!

You’re welcome!

I found the different starting power levels interesting. If you have a cap at Superb, must you have a Superb stat? Also, must your skills form a pyramid (1 at 5, 2 at 4, 3 at 3, etc…)?

And Lenny jumped all over this one with a very complete answer in the comment thread. Thanks, Lenny!

Iorwerth says:

I noticed on Harry’s character sheet that he has an extra mental minor consequence – is this from his Wizard’s Constitution?

Fred got this one.

Tim “Your Personal Undead” Popelier says:

First off, I am looking forward to this, I have always been somewhat adverse to playing games based on anything, but something written by such a fellow geek as Jim really can’t evade my “want to play need.”

I’m kinda with you on playing licensed games based on a well-known property – we already know the “big story” of that universe, so what’s the point of playing someone other than the main characters? And why would your actions even matter? In most such games I’ve run, I’ve changed the specifics of the era to make sure there’s room for the PCs to make their own epic stories. With the Dresdenverse, though, it’s not as tough, because the novels are very much personal stories for the main character. Sure, there may be larger ramifications to Harry’s actions, but the stories are about Harry and his friends (and enemies), not about the ongoing Red Court War. So it’s much easier to find room for the characters your players create.

Plus, the Dresden stuff is just so damn cool!

Anyhow, gushing aside, I was wondering how well the more dangerous surroundings are handled. The top of speeding trains, sinking boats, and harries favourite: burning buildings!

I am only vaguely acquainted with the faith system so I was wondering how variedly the system can depicts these hazards and perils without them feeling the same.

These sorts of things are most easily handled by Aspects placed on the scene that the characters (PCs and NPCs) can invoke with Fate Points for bonuses to their actions or as consequences for their enemies. For example, in a burning building, the scene might have Aspects like Unsafe Floor, Smoke-Filled Air, Crumbling Ceiling, and of course, On Fire. A character could use the Smoke-Filled Air Aspect to aid on stealth, or the Unsafe Floor to help with a maneuver to put the Foot Stuck Aspect on an opponent, or use the On Fire Aspect to aid with an attack by pushing the opponent into the flames for extra damage.

It’s a very flexible way of creating widely varied environments that work well in play, allowing for some of the great action scenes we get in the novels, and giving the GM a lot of control on the different feel of different environments. It also means that the characters will be looking for neat ways to use the Aspects to do very cool things, which makes the scene even more exciting and memorable.

Selenio says:

Hi Rick, thanks a lot for all this work your are doing, it’s like a birthday gift for us all.

You’re welcome. I’m glad so many people seem to be enjoying it.

I’ve decided to run one or two games of Dresden Files RPG in the biggest game convention in my city (Barnaludica it’s the name). Unfortunately the convention is on late May so it’s pretty unlikely for me to have the books already on that dates (even with possible preorders). Therefore I’m going to try and run it with a simplified system based on the FATE I know through SoTC and the details you, Fred and Lenny Balsera are giving us. I suppose I can sort something out of all your posts. :)

Wow. That’s ambitious. Good luck with that. I’d be interested in hearing about how it goes.

One piece of advice: keep the characters simple. Stick with people who have one or two magical tricks, rather than full-blown spellcasters. That should keep things easily managed without the full ruleset.

The only thing I don’t know how to do is the city creation thing (I want to Dresdenize the city of Barcelona for the local players). Can you please explain more about the City Creation steps (not all the details obviously, just some kind of steps list or anything). Thanks in advance.

You got it. Here’s the sequence from the chapter:

  1. Choose the city. Self-explanatory.
  2. Familiarize and discuss. Of course, this is only important if you’re building the city co-operatively.
  3. Reasearch. Only do as much of this as is fun. Find cool things, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
  4. Come to a consensus. Again, important mainly in the co-operative process.
  5. Come up with Themes. A theme is a statement about something that recurs in the stories you tell about your city, like (from the Baltimore example) The Tourist Veneer Masks the Blight.
  6. Come up with Threats. These are people, monsters, and groups who make life worse for the mortal inhabitants of the city – one example they give is The Red Court is Secretly Expanding Their Territory Into This City.
  7. Get the high-level view. Start thinking about the power groups in the city. Who are they? What do they want? The rules recommend finding someone(s) who care(s) about the city, about the status quo (good or bad), and finding someone to rock the boat.
  8. Figure out the mortal response to the supernatural. Who’s clued in? Who’s keeping magic under wraps? How much do the cops know? Things like that.
  9. Locations. Break the city into neighbourhoods and other locations, trying to make sure that each location has something to contribute to the overall story and ties into the Themes and Threats. See where it fits in with the high-level view.
  10. Start tying it all together. This is where you see how the locations tie together, and how they contribute to the overall city. Season liberally with the fantastical. You may want to come up with individual Themes and Threats for each location.
  11. People your world. Start laying down the important NPCs – who they are, what they want, where their interests lie. Come up with names and a high concept Aspect for each NPC.
  12. Tie in the people. Start looking at how the people relate to your Themes and Threats and to each other.
  13. Create the PCs. This is the point at which the book suggests doing character creation, now that you have a solid setting foundation.
  14. Finalize the city. Turn the Themes and Threats into Aspects and stat up the NPCs. You don’t need a complete character write-up for each NPC – just a few Aspects and any important Stunts, Skills, or Powers.

And there it is. Now, in the game book, there are some forms to help you track various stages and record your decisions, as well as a lot more detailed advice, but that’s the skeleton.

Hope that helps.

And that’s it for tonight. If you folks have more questions, I’ll get to them tomorrow evening.

Cry “God for Harry, Chicago, and Michael Carpenter!”


Here we go.

Lanodantheon says:

When I asked my question earlier I never got around to mentioning that your playtest campaign greatly amused me 2-fold. I loved the characters and the stories and because my family’s originally from Winnipeg. Reading about it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Cool! You may have already seen it, but this is what we did with Magical Winnipeg, using the original playtest chapter on city building.

Anyway, I got some more questions I hope you could answer:

1. You mentioned that Conviction determines the power you can draw in and Discipline determines your control of backlash, but what does Lore do? I read somewhere that it has something to do with your spell selection.

Lore is very important in Thaumaturgy, because it lets you build the ritual you need for the effect you want. Basically, you can perform rituals with a complexity of your Lore rating or lower off the cuff, but you need to spend time researching, experimenting, and setting up symbolic connections (i.e. make a Lore check) for rituals of greater complexity. For Evocation, your Lore rating determines how many rote Evocation spells you know – these are dependable, relatively safe applications of power. Lore also determines the base power of any enchanted items you create.

2. Items of Power, magical foci and intellect spirits in skulls. How much are these things? I know that crafted items like blasting rods are slot based from the magical abilities you have but what do you use to buy them(in system)?

There are different ways to handle different kinds of enchanted items. Characters with Evocation or Thaumaturgy get a number of slots to spend on focus items (for things like staves and blasting rods). You can trade those in for double the number of enchanted item slots (for things like Harry’s force rings). If you’re looking for something substantially more powerful (like a Sword of the Cross, for example), you can take the Item of Power supernatural power. And you can add some extra flexibility to items that you really depend on by making them Aspects, as well, which makes it easier to spend Fate Points on them when you need to. For something free-willed like an intellect spirit in a skull, to model that in the game, I’d recommend taking it as an Aspect, and maybe a Mortal Stunt or two to have it help you with Lore checks or Investigation. You could still invoke the Aspect with a Fate Point to get it to do some other stuff – like possessing your cat, or whatever.

3. related to 2: Say I’m a 2-bit Sorcerer character who hit it big and scored a major magical item. How expensive are the major magical items like a Shadow Cloak and a broom…no Hockey Stick of Flying.

Well, if you just have Thaumaturgy at the basic level, with no Refinements spent on extra slots, you could have up to four enchanted item slots if you didn’t want any focus items. A Shadow Cloak that adds your Lore to your Stealth skill once per session would cost one slot. If you want it to be always on, it would still cost one slot, but would only add half your Lore to your Stealth. You can bump up the power by one level per extra slot you spend on it.

Now, if you want something with a little more oomph to it, you probably want to take the Item of Power ability from Supernatural Powers. That gives you something a little bit beyond the basics, but it costs Refresh, just like any other Supernatural Power. A Hockey Stick of Flying that lets you fly at will would probably run at -1 Refresh, based on the cost of the Wings ability.

4. I’ve asked this in other places and the typical response is, “Wait and see”. Any sign of RPG-specific material aside from Magical Baltimore, etc?

I’m not sure what you mean by “RPG-specific” material. If you mean source material for the game, then the entire second volume and some good chunks of the first all qualify. If you mean stuff that isn’t drawn directly from the novels, then there’s less of that – mainly just the Baltimore stuff and the real-world Chicago weirdness from that master of the weird, Ken Hite. That said, a lot of the characters and creature types from the novels have large amounts of information about them that didn’t really make it to centre stage in the novels. A quick glance shows entries on Nick Christian, Gowan Commando, Lisa Boughton, and Mickey Malone, so there’s a lot of stuff that might not be familiar to the casual reader of the series.

5. What advice do the books give on putting the supernatural into the Mundane? I’d like to get a head start on vetting Magical Spokane before the game comes out.

The main advice in the City Building chapter is all about coming up with themes and threats for your city – what aspects of the city are you going to focus on for story purposes, and what things are threatening them. The advice on adding the supernatural to the mundane is sprinkled through it, with one specific section called Locations and the Supernatural: Making the Connection. The advice is generally to look at the city from the point of view of magical beings, and see what would interest them. Draw on real-world ideas and geography to help make things work. For example, when we did Magical Winnipeg, we looked at the junction of the Red River and the Assiniboine River. This confluence is why there’s a settlement in this spot. So, looking at these two rivers, and the idea of a meeting and trading place for the First Nations people, and the fact that Winnipeg is a primary destination for recent immigrants in Canada, we came up with the idea of the Consecration of the Two Waters to give those themes and ideas a supernatural resonance.

That’s the kind of advice you’ll find in the book.

6. What is the base starting level for campaigns? At what refresh rate do things get stupid power?

Good question! There are four suggested starting levels, named for how far you wade into the supernatural world, ranging from Feet in the Water to Submerged. Each sets a starting Refresh, number of Skill points, and cap on Skill levels. Feet in the Water is 6 Refresh, 20 Skill points, and Skills capped at Great. Up to Your Waist is 7 Refresh, 25 Skill points, and Skills capped at Great. Chest-Deep is 8 Refresh, 30 Skill points, and Skills capped at Superb. Submerged is 10 Refresh, 35 Skill points, and Skills capped at Superb. To give you some idea of what that means, it takes a minimum of 7 Refresh to build a starting Wizard. At Submerged, you could build someone at about the level Harry was at the beginning of Storm Front.

Stupid power? I dunno. You definitely need to ratchet up the opposition as the characters advance through the power levels, but because of the way the Aspects tie into the character, and the flexibility of building opposition, I don’t really see there being much of a problem with things creeping up too high. Of course, your mileage may vary; we all have our own favourite power-level sweet spot where we like to game. It depends on the kinds of stories you want to tell.

Iorwerth says:

Thank you for answering my questions – much appreciated!!

You’re more than welcome. Glad to do it.

When attacking someone with an evocation spell, such as some sort of a fireball, would do stress damage equal to the difference between your Discipline roll and the defence roll, or the difference between the power level and the defence roll? Is there a defence roll at all?

e.g. Randalf has a conviction level of Good, so calls down a goodly amount of power. He then rolls his Discipline and gets a superb result, meaning he can easily control the power. The target tries to jump out of the way and achieves a fair result. Does Randalf do 3 stress with the fireball (Superb minus fair defence) or 1 stess (Good amount of power minus defence of fair)? Or am i missing something crucial somewhere?

Fred jumped on the comments of my last post and answered this. Thanks Fred! Good to know that you’re keeping an eye on this process – it means I can trust you folks to jump in and correct me if I miss something or get it wrong.

Rechan says:

So Rick, here’s my questions:

What’s the book say about Companions (ala SotC)? I’m curious about things like Spirit Companions (something like Bob, but you take it with you and use it), or refluffing it as a familiar. Or other uses.

Nothing explicitly. It doesn’t have anything akin to the Companions stunts of SotC. That said, it’s easy to figure out how to handle such things. For example, they talk about taking Aspects to reflect relationships, so you could take an Aspect like My Familiar, Hecubus. A little negotiation with the GM means that you can tap him to help with magic, either the performance of it or the preparation of it, and maybe to help with certain other things like Investigation by having him spy on your enemies. If you want a more reliable source of information, you can round this out with a Mortal Stunt or two, so that your familiar also gives you a regular bonus to your Lore skill, say. If I were creating Bob as something my character has, for instance, I would probably do both, with an Aspect like Keeper of Bob the Talking Skull, and a Mortal Stunt like Occultist (Magical Theory (Potion Recipes)).

Does the book talk about Spirits at all? Bob is a Spirit of Intellect. We know that Lycanthropes channel spirits of rage. But those are the only “spirits” we’ve seen. Monsters from the Nevernever, sure, but not straight up “Spirits” that just encompass concepts.

There’s close to two pages of discussion on Spirits in the Goes Bump chapter, and a very detailed write-up on Bob specifically in the Who’s Who chapter. Probably a few more, but I still haven’t made it through both books. Stupid day job.

Fred has said that spellcasting can create an “infinite” amount of spells. So, how is this done? Is it more “Effect based spellcasting”, or what? For instance, there are several elements out there for specialization we’ve not seen used (or barely used). There exists Water magic, but the only “Water” spell we’ve seen was the Water Bubble that Carlos cast in White Night. So if I wanted to play a Water-specialized mage, how would I make my spells? How would I make them on the fly?

Okay. There’s two flavours of spellcasting in the game, just as in the books. Evocation tosses around energy and elemental forces – this is Harry’s use of fire and air and Carlos’s use of water. There is a detailed discussion of the different elemental versions of Evocation, including talking about how water magic was also what Carlos was using to shoot out his bolts that turned the targets to dust (using the erosive properties of water). There are limited things you can do with Evocation – attack, block, maneuver, and counterspell. That said, there’s a good discussion of determining the visuals of the spell, and how you can use such bits of colour to your advantage. For example, it talks about Carlos’s water bubble shield that he then turned into an attack, using it to disintegrate an attacker.

It’s Thaumaturgy where you really get into the infinite variety of spells. This is very much effect-based magic: you figure out what you want to do, the GM sets the complexity based on how the effect is modeled by the game rules, you prepare the spell, and then cast it. It’s a very flexible system that becomes pretty intuitive after you’ve worked through it a couple of times.

Bosh says:

On the Jim Butcher boards, Fred Hicks said that damage can be situational (knives are better in some situations than in others) how does this work with what you’re talking about here? I’m very curious about what they’ve cooked up for the weapon/damage system since that’s been either not addressed or been implemented in ways that I’ve had some problems with in other FATE games.

Huh. I’ve just reread the section on weapons, and I can’t find anything like that. Indeed, the advice is to avoid getting bogged down by creating detailed weapon and armour lists, and make subjective judgments based on the situation. The combat system, as in other FATE games, leans toward the rules-light, high-trust, cinematic end. Really, with the structure of the Ladder, there’s not a whole lot of room for lots of minor variations on weapons and armour that are meaningful. That said, it’s perfectly reasonable for the GM to adjust things on the fly, or for characters to make Declarations about the weapons or armour of themselves or their opponents to gain advantage.

That’s it for tonight, folks. If you’ve got more questions, I’ll get to them tomorrow evening.


Just one set of questions today:

Iorwerth says:

How do weapons and armour work? Do they just add stress levels / subtract stress levels?

Yup. The system is pretty chunky – what I mean is, there aren’t extensive weapons and armour lists. Each has four categories, rated from one to four, that tells you how many stress levels it adds or mitigates. Given how much difference a single level can sometimes make, this is about as detailed as you really need in the game. And with the idea of setting up the kinds of cinematic, rollicking action scenes you see in the novels, that’s about the level of detail you want to keep things simple and fast.

As to magic, when drawing down power do you need to roll, or do you just draw down a level equal to the relevant skill, whatever that skill is?

Once you have drawn down the power I believe you roll your control. Do you need to get a score above the power level to control it? if you don’t, I presume it spills out and has unforseen effects, and may do the caster damage?

With a stress inducing spell, does it do the power level in stress points, or the level of control you have, or something else?

Okay. Quick-and-dirty breakdown of spellcasting. First, you decide how much power you want to use. If this is an evocation, you take one point of mental stress for drawing up to your Conviction skill rating, then an extra point for each level above your Conviction.If this is a thaumaturgical ritual, you don’t take that first level of mental stress, so if you stick to using power equal to or less than or equal to your conviction, actually calling the power doesn’t give you any stress for thaumaturgy.

Then, you need to beat that power down with the strength of your sovereign will and force it to do what you want. This is a Discipline roll, where you have to equal or exceed the levels of power you have called. If you don’t, you either take the difference as backlash (hurting you as either mental or physical stress) or give it to the GM as fallout (hurting the environment and maybe your buddies – this is how Harry manages to burn down buildings). How things are split up is your choice – you can be selfless and take all the damage, selfish and take none, or somewhere in between.

There are, of course, other factors, like focus items and preparation and taking extra time, that can come into the mix, but those are the basics. Basically, even a minor spellcaster with plenty of time to research and prepare can accomplish a great deal safely, while even a fully tricked-out badass wizard caught offguard can push himself over the edge pretty quickly, wearing himself out and melting his brain.

Just like in the novels.

That’s today’s questions. Keep ’em coming.


First off, a clarification from Chad Underkoffler, one of the authors of the game:

Point of fact: Chicago is not fully game-statted as Baltimore is, but it’s got a METRIC TON of cool, real-world (not necessarily series-based) weirdness in it.

My bad, folks. I was skimming the sections for the previous post, and missed this. Thanks to Chad for setting me straight.

Now, on to questions:

Lanodantheon says:

Question: Does the magic section talk about the limits of magic’s interaction with technology?
What I’m talking about is the magic items/foci/whatever-they’re-called that interact with technology to work.
(Specifically, Elaine’s chain thingie that she charges in a light socket.)

Well, there are rules for hexing, which covers the basics of magic and technology interacting. Elaine’s chain would be an enchanted item, like Harry’s force rings, I believe. There are no explicit rules for how it charges up in the light socket, just like there are no explicit rules for how Harry’s force ring charges from him moving his arms, because really it’s just jazz. Looking at the guidelines in the section on hexing, though, I would rule that it might cause problems around sensitive electronics, but not more than Elaine herself would. That is, unless I was using it to throw a complication at the player, in which case I’d give him or her a Fate Point to go with it.

Rechan says:

Hey Rick! I lost the URL for your site, I’m really glad to be back. :)

Welcome back! You’ve been missed.

The DM chapter, does it talk about how to make adventures? To be honest, the DFRPG scares me in terms of GMing, because coming up with a cohesive mystery every “week” is really daunting! I know “Tie it to your players aspects”, but for instance if they smoke one PC’s nemesis, that aspect – that avenue – is gone. Same thing if they shut down something one player is very concerned about, then it’s hard to bring back. Not to mention other matters of maintaining a good Noir/Mystery/whatnot feel to the game, like clues and how to make things not obvious, does it address this well?

Lenny Balsera actually posted a really good answer to this in the comments of the post. Thanks, Lenny! About all I can add to what he says there is that, at the end of the city creation process, you will have so many good locations, themes, threats, and NPCs that ideas for adventures are fairly squirting out of your ears. And if you get the players involved, then they’re going to have a lot invested in those things, and their own agendas – more rich and fertile ground for adventures. Also, the section on advancing cities talks about how to deal with changes to the established environment like killing off a nemesis or solving a major problem in the city. In short, the advice in the book is very good on this subject, but the rest of the book supports the idea of making good stories so well that really it’s just the icing on the cake.

Are Pure Mortals the only ones that can take mortal stunts?

Anyone can take mortal stunts. They’re called that because there’s no supernatural powers involved. Having said that, supernatural characters are less likely to have mortal stunts because they’ve spent their Refresh on supernatural powers instead.

How is Sponsored Magic different? Is it a template that can be dropped onto any PC? Or access to new stunts/powers? It handles stuff like deals with Fey too, right? Or is that just “Hey, look at Emissary”.

Fluff-wise, Sponsored Magic is different because it’s something that originates with an outside power source, like an angel, demon, dragon, magic talking sword, or, yes, one of the Fey. Emissarys are one of the templates that have the option of taking Sponsored Magic, but Changelings and Knights of Faerie also have it. Crunch-wise, you get a little extra oomph in some of your spells, but you are subject to the whims of your patron – if they don’t want you to work a spell, it just don’t work. And they can attach any strings they want to it. For example, if you’re the Winter Knight, and you want to use your Unseelie Magic in a manner that your Lady disagrees with, she can just not let the magic work. Or, she may allow it to work, but demand a favour in payment.

This is also a general question for you. You talk about multiple character creation sessions. How do you deal with players who want to Get to the Game RIght Now? A lot of people I know would not be patient enough for spending more than x hours doing that sort of thing. And, doing City AND character creation simultaneously sounds very… ADD. How do you organize that?

Good questions. There are options for quick play, when you don’t want to spend the time up front building the city or the characters. In these cases, the characters and city get built during play, on the fly, adding Aspects and Skills and whatnot as they come up in the story, and paying any Refresh cost then. If you’ve seen the quick play options in Spirit of the Century, then you’ve got the basics.

Now, as for the time involved, character creation goes pretty quickly – the sessions I’ve run have all taken less than three hours, and that includes explaining the system to the players. And the character creation system is fun, in itself; in fact, the game takes the point of view that making the city and the characters should be part of the play, and as much fun as all the other parts.

Doing city and character creation together would be a little taxing, I agree. The way it’s spelled out in the book, you work it in stages: once you get to a certain point in creating the city, you have enough of a framework to build characters that really fit in with what you’re doing with the city. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a single session, either; I can see doing portions of the city creation (like, say, research) independently, getting together in a session to work up to the point where you’re ready to build characters, then having another session to build characters and finish off the city stuff. Two sessions.

James Cartwright says:

Great write-up, can’t wait for these books.

Thanks! I’m anxious to get my hands on the physical versions, myself.

Are there stats for ‘Mouse’ in the books and is there the ability to make your own temple animals like ‘mouse’?


Yes, there are stats for Mouse. There’s also an extensive write-up – almost a full page – on Temple Dogs, that would make it very easy to create other Temple Animals. There’s also a note in the in-characters notes that, as statted, Mouse is a viable player character, if you choose the right power level.

Jon Hammersley says:

So how are enchanted items handled? Some (potions) are obviously single use items but how do you limit something like Harry’s ring that stores kinetic energy?

Each crafter has a number of slots allowed to them, based on the kinds of powers you’ve taken, which they can fill with enchanted items. By default, enchanted items have a limited number of uses per session. You can remove that limitation by having it take up more than one slot. Expending extra slots can also increase the power and flexibility of items.

Does using a specific created foci (ritual knife, blasting rod, staff, etc) decrease the difficulty of controlling magical forces and how does it do so?

Okay. Magic is comprised of two phases: gathering the energy and controlling the energy. When you create a focus, you choose whether it will help you gather energy or control it. If it helps you gather energy, then you can safely call in one more level of power than you would otherwise be able to. You can still exceed this amount, but then it starts causing problems, like fatigue. If you choose to make a focus that helps you control energy, then it gives you a bonus level to the skill that you roll to control the power. And if you fail that roll, bad things happen to you, your surroundings, or both.

So, that’s all the questions I’ve received so far. I hope the answers are helpful.

Let me know if there are other questions I can answer, but I won’t get to them before tomorrow evening.