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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 07:08 AM
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Fate + Wildermyth

I wouldn't have time to actually go forward with anything here for quite a while, but a couple of ideas on rules and design have been rattling in my brain so I figured I'd put them out there now. It's still rough and probably has some gaps but I'm happy to discuss any of it with those who are interested.

For those unaware, Wildermyth is a PC game that follows heroes on epic campaigns. It's predominantly a tactical RPG, but places a lot of emphasis in the evolving myth and story of the heroes; they go through changes, pop up as playable characters or bygone legends in other campaign files, and campaigns can span enough time that a hero can retire and see their offspring carry on the fight as a new adventurer.

The lore isn't super-deep but it drops a lot of seeds for a mythic fantasy setting with small gods, ancient secrets, and good old fashioned adventuring parties crusading against insidious threats.

I would use Fate (most likely Condensed), with some house rules to accommodate some of Wildermyth's flavour.

PCS AND HEROES

Wildermyth assumes that the roster of heroes across one campaign, and forming a legacy across multiple campaigns, is constantly evolving. The children of the original adventuring party may be the ones to end the campaign.

-PCs would not have a single character. They would potentially control several different heroes across one or more campaigns.

My current thought is that PCs coming to the game, instead of creating a PC wholly for themselves, contribute a PC to a 'pool' of hero characters. Before every campaign, everyone selects a hero to run with from the pool.

The typical Wildermyth rhythm of campaign play is a block of adventuring against current threats or new plot machinations, then several years of peace before a resurgence, until a final crusade to end the threat once and for all. Playing through Fate wouldn't need to be so formulaic all the time, but the cycle can still be useful. These 'intermissions' would provide opportunities to advance hero abilities, switch in different heroes from the pool, or conceptualise new relevant PCs such as a hero's offspring. PCs might also retire from active adventuring during these periods if appropriate.

Heroes will retain their developed abilities and legacy equipment from their time within a campaign, for other adventures. They will acquire 'ranks' based on their accumulated adventures, as a basic comparison metric. By default finishing or majorly participating in a campaign will give them a new rank. Does this party want to have a Rank-5 mythic legend leading a couple of Rank-1 rookies against a new threat? If they think it'll be fun, at least the party balance is quantifiable.

(Note: This swap-and-change of heroes against each other may create some narrative contradictions if you tried to map everything into a single neat timeline. How can Radgar the Red be in so many places at once, with such a long list of deeds? Well, that's mythic heroes in a nutshell, right? They become less actual flesh-and-blood human and more a figure of legend that arises when the world has need for them.)


INFUSING

Magic is based on infusion; mystics attune themselves with a small piece of the world and compel it to their will. A bookshelf may become a barrage of projectiles; fire may be fanned through a room; stone may be shaped into armour; shrapnel may become deadly lances. More powerful mystics may be able to ignite their own flames, grow trees from nothing or compel enemies in small ways.

-Infuse would be a new skill. It would primarily be used to Create an Advantage. However, there would be conditions to its usage.
  • The character would need an aspect that reflects expertise or training as a mystic.
  • Moves using infuse to Create an Advantage can change or act on existing aspects only. Infuse can never create a new aspect. Stunts may create exceptions to this rule (e.g. '[X] may Create and Advantage using Infuse to create a magical fire').


TRANSFORMATIONS

Heroes in Wildermyth often don't stay human for long. They commonly encounter ways to transform into something else - they may have a mystic stone embedded in them that turns them more crystalline, they may acquire a cursed dagger that turns them into a skeletal figure, or an ancient hunter god may awaken bestial blood to make someone more wolf-like. Case in point, I have a character who's wholly skeletal thanks to that dagger ... except for great black wings given from a tryst with a raven spirit, and a scorpion tail from a random event. Oh, and she has a fire-chicken for a pet.It's even possible to mix and match these transformations based on circumstance.

-Transformations would be summed up by special aspects added on to a character. Events that can trigger transformations may occur due to appropriate circumstances or a suitable compel acting as a set-up. Abilities granted by a transformation would be represented by stunts. The character would likely get a free stunt upon gaining a transformation. Any further stunts can be created as per normal, by taking them on advancement or by spending Refresh.


OTHER ADJUSTMENTS

-
  • The options available when taken out of a conflict would be broadened slightly to allow more incentive for player death, in exchange for a 'heroic end' (i.e. making a final blow against an enemy, or changing the narrative significantly as a final act).
  • Gear would be predominantly narrative, but special artifact or enchanted weapons, armour and accessories may be represented by unique aspects. These would be transferable depending on who wields/wears the item.
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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 09:31 PM
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I mean, Hotsusama+FATE+GMing a game they love=instant appeal.

I'm not a fan of super-hero games though; would love if each successive manifestation wasn't necessarily the next immediate generation, but a reincarnation/transformation of the player in a different world and setting. Fantasy, sci-fi, super-hero, bunny-world, etc.

But, I'm sure the game will be stupendous if it is something you want to GM
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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 10:52 PM
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The genre-hopping idea is interesting - not something I'd do here, but as a side note I have a homebrew system I've been working on that's all about travelling through the multiverse, so it kinda ends up feeling like that. Was hoping to run some playtesting here one day.
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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 10:53 PM
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"One day" ... I'll be here when you do!
(I tried a universe-swapping when I crashed and burned out in last year's Iron DM ... always been fascinated to try something like that as well. I think you could pull it off.)
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 12:34 AM
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Would blood be a factor for children? Thinking DNA and/or hereditary powers. Perhaps certain dynasty guard their purity or those with gifts prefer to breed with those with other gifts?

Power attracts power and shapes its institutions.

Still a great idea and neatly solves character death/retirement.
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 09:39 AM
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Well, if I'm speaking purely by Wildermyth's mechanics, transformations and powers aren't passed on, although that could be changed for this set-up. I think it would probably be a personal concern for certain heroes at any rate.
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 09:22 AM
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I love this concept, especially the idea of a campaign taking place over multiple generations for a civilization-level view of the situation. Big Asimov's Foundation vibes. That's a brilliant premise for a really innovative RPG experience.

There is one little thing bothering me about the character turnover bit. If switching to a new, lower-powered character is optional, and some players will opt not to, what incentive is there to downgrade? I get the narrative power of this style, but if player X just keeps leveling up and his character keeps showing up while player Y keeps starting over with a new character... then it's mostly just a generous player losing out on narrative agency for the sake of showing how cool player X's character is by comparison.

That said, things like that are a matter of spotlight-sharing and can be mitigated. You might think about capping the number of times a character can be carried over. For example, if a character could only be carried over once, then player X's character would look awesome in comparison to player Y's new character for the second chapter. But then when player X starts a new character for chapter 3, player's Y's character carried over from chapter 2 will be the one that looks comparatively awesome.

You could also take a trick from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG's white hat. Since there can only be 1 slayer, and that character needs to be sufficiently badass, the non-Slayer characters get bonus single-use tokens of cool stuff-doing (action dice, bennies, what-have-you). That could be applied here to ensure a more even trade-off between starting a new character and keeping a legacy character.

I can't wait to see where you take this, Hotsu! It's a great idea and could produce a ground-breaking RPG!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 12:23 AM
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Yeah, I suppose there would need to be more incentive to swap around with characters at least part of the time. My 'freedom to do whatever!' nerve twitches at the idea of capping character carry-over but it's a sound solution. Maybe it could just be as light as not using the same character for consecutive 'chapters'?

I would envisage this being a more lethal version of Fate too, where there would more incentive for character death to come from being taken out in conflict (the PC game, for example, typically offers survival in exchange for a lasting debility, or making a final massive hit against the opposition as a last stand strike). After death, I imagine that fallen character would enter a kind of 'mythological figure' status depending on their rank when they went down.

The balancing tokens could work too. Maybe bonus Fate Points on top of starting refresh equal to the difference between that PC and the highest participating rank?
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 06:48 AM
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My apologies for the delayed response.

I'm with you at the frustration over having to put rules on things like that. I want to design storytelling freedom into everything I make. Maybe carry-over cap doesn't need to be a hard rule, but more of a GM aside that suggests putting some limitations in place if it appears necessary.

That said, since this game hinges on that generational page-turning to some degree, the mechanics will need to encourage it.

Yes, I think bonus Fate Points could be a reasonable solution. I like your idea of death-grandeur, too.

It could also serve as a mode to something like "Mythological Potential." I'm thinking of it as a resource you can only spend when a character dies and spending Mythological Potential is used in an attempt to secure the character's place in the canon of their society. It could be that when a player retires a character they get a number of Points based on how advanced their character is. They can spend however many they want try to secure that's character's legend, and any that they choose not to spend can then later be applied to their next character's ending. This would mean you've got a resource that is only accessed through character turnover, and might help encourage that aspect of the game to be volunteered up.

There's also an in-between of allowing the player's next character to start at a higher-than-starting power. If the character they retire had had two breakthroughs (I'm kind of foggy on Fate advancement), the player could either take 2 Mythological Potential and create a starter-grade character or take 1 Mythological Potential and create a character with 1 Breakthrough to begin the next chapter at an elevated (but not AS elevated) state of heroics.

All of this is completely off the cuff and not well thought out.
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