A Fate Core Campaign in a Weird World

Each hex is about 50 miles across, and takes two or three days to cross on a good road.

Commonly known history:

600/11 Right after the 85th Company takes Fort Baurun, an elder dragon awoke, turning a great swath of land in the middle of the Spine into a great canyon. Since then, the Horde incursions into the Krissa Plains are reduced to a small fraction of what it was before.

600/5 Companies 82-88 are formally entered into the ranks of the Imperial Army, and leave for the northern front.

599/10 The Archbishop announces an increase in the war-effort to buttress against the incursions into the Krissa plains, which often still sees incursions by Horde forces.

578 After many bitter battles, the empire largely controls the Krissa plains, and has pushed back the bulk of the Horde to the Spine. Sadly, the raiders manage to hide well in the mountains, and imperial forces have a hard time pressing the enemy further back. The stalemate turns into a peace treaty with many clans of the Horde. The Krissa plains see an influx of newly anointed citizens, mostly veterans of the war coming to their newly acquired land and to a mixed reception.

576 At the end of the former's mandate, and the Emperor elects a new Archbishop, and determines that her mandate will last 25 years.

568 A clan of the Horde attacks an important mining operation in the middle of the Krisa plains. The Edengard counterattacks quickly, and the Empire agrees to join their effort, fulfilling promises made under the old alliance. The promise of citizenship and land calls thousands to the banner of the Imperial Army.

200 Since the Emperor conquered the areas west of Old Orleth, south of Edengard and about Aster, reduced Yrsken to a vassal state, and drawn a tight alliance with Edengard, guilds begin growing, and eventually take on the administration of much of the empire with the consensus of the Archbishop. They decide who becomes a citizen, the nominate magistrates, and constitute the only real legislative body. Commerce with Edengard and through the Arcipelago grow. New agricultural technologies acquired by the Emperor are implemented, guaranteeing plenty of food, and immense growth both among citizens and not.

0/1/1 The Emperor, who at this time still had a name, convinces the Sun to rise again. Other planes of existence remain closed, but civilizations that shrunk during the Long Night begin to grow again. The Emperor guides his people towards a sure goal in the middle of the Tharian continent.

? The ancients toyed with the fabric of the world, and produced uncounted magical marvels that nobody today is capable of reproducing. It is unknown what stopped the Yellow Sun from rising or why the ancients disappeared. But a variety of abominations drove humanity almost to extinction during the Darkness, during which living was a chaotic and terrifying experience.

Fate Core Rules Summary:

Aspects are phrases that describe some significant detail about a character. They are the reasons why your character matters, why someone is interested in seeing your character in the game. Aspects can cover a wide range of elements, such as personality or descriptive traits, beliefs, relationships, issues and problems, or anything else that helps us invest in the character as a person, rather than just a collection of stats.

Aspects come into play in conjunction with fate points. When an aspect benefits you, you can spend fate points to invoke that aspect for a bonus. When your aspects complicate your character’s life, you gain fate points back—this is called accepting a compel.

Aspects can describe things that are beneficial or detrimental—in fact, the best aspects are both. And aspects don’t just belong to characters; the environment your characters are in can have aspects attached to it as well.

Skills are what you use during the game to do complicated or interesting actions with the dice. Each character has a number of skills that represent his or her basic capabilities, including things like perceptiveness, physical prowess, professional training, education, and other measures of ability.

At the beginning of the game, the player characters have skills rated in steps from Average (+1) to Great (+4). Higher is better, meaning that the character is more capable or succeeds more often when using that skill.

If for some reason you need to make a roll using a skill your character doesn’t have, you can always roll it at Mediocre (+0). There are a couple exceptions to this, like magic skills that most people don’t have at all. Learn about skills in greater detail.

Stunts are special tricks that your character knows that allow you to get an extra benefit out of a skill or alter some other game rule to work in your favor. Stunts are like special moves in a video game, letting you do something unique or distinctive compared to other characters. Two characters can have the same rating in a skill, but their stunts might give them vastly different benefits.

Stress is one of the two options you have to avoid losing a conflict—it represents temporary fatigue, getting winded, superficial injuries, and so on. You have a number of stress levels you can burn off to help keep you in a fight, and they reset at the end of a conflict, once you’ve had a moment to rest and catch your breath.

Consequences are the other option you have to stay in a conflict, but they have a more lasting impact. Every time you take a consequence, it puts a new aspect on your sheet describing your injuries. Unlike stress, you have to take time to recover from a consequence, and it’s stuck on your character sheet in the meantime, which leaves your character vulnerable to complications or others wishing to take advantage of your new weakness.

Refresh is the number of fate points you get at the start of every game session to spend for your character. Your total resets to this number unless you had more fate points at the end of the last session.

Taking Actions
Players, some of the things you’ll do in a Fate game require you to roll dice to see if your character succeeds or not. You will always roll the dice when you’re opposing another character with your efforts, or when there’s a significant obstacle in the way of your effort. Otherwise, just say what your character does and assume it happens.

Fate Dice:
When you need to roll dice in Fate, pick up four Fate dice and roll them. When you read the dice, read every +as +1, every 0 as 0, and every -as –1. Add them all together. You’ll get a result from –4 to +4, most often between –2 and +2. The result on the dice isn’t your final total, however. If your character has a skill that’s appropriate to the action, you get to add your character’s rating in that skill to whatever you rolled. Here are some adjectives to give you a sense of what you achieve:
  • +8 Legendary
  • +7 epic
  • +6 Fantastic
  • +5 Superb
  • +4 great
  • +3 good
  • +2 Fair
  • +1 average
  • +0 mediocre
  • –1 poor
  • –2 terrible

If you don’t beat the opposition, either you don’t succeed at your action, you succeed at a cost, or something else happens to complicate the outcome. Some game actions have special results when you fail at the roll.

When you beat a roll or a set obstacle, the difference between your opposition and your result is what we call shifts. When you roll equal to the opposition, you have zero shifts. Roll one over your opposition, and you have one shift. Two over means two shifts, and so on.

Fate Points
You use tokens to represent how many fate points you have at any given time during play. Fate points are one of your most important resources in Fate—they’re a measure of how much influence you have to make the story go in your character’s favor. You can spend fate points to invoke an aspect, to declare a story detail, or to activate certain powerful stunts. You earn fate points by accepting a compel on one of your aspects.

Invoking an Aspect
Whenever you’re making a skill roll, and you’re in a situation where an aspect might be able to help you, you can spend a fate point to invoke it in order to change the dice result. This allows you to either reroll the dice or add +2 to your roll, whichever is more helpful.(Typically, +2 is a good choice if you rolled –2 or higher, but sometimes you want to risk a reroll to get that +4.) You do this after you’ve rolled the dice—if you aren’t happy with your total.

You also have to explain or justify how the aspect is helpful in order to get the bonus—sometimes it’ll be self-evident, and sometimes it might require some creative narrating. You can spend more than one fate point on a single roll, gaining another reroll or an additional +2, as long as each point you spend invokes a different aspect.

Declaring a Story Detail
Sometimes, you want to add a detail that works to your character’s advantage in a scene. For example, you might use this to narrate a convenient coincidence, like retroactively having the right supplies for a certain job (“Of course I brought that along!”), showing up at a dramatically appropriate moment, or suggesting that you and the NPC you just met have mutual clients in common.

To do this, you’ll spend a fate point. You should try to justify your story details by relating them to your aspects. GMs, you have the right to veto any suggestions that seem out of scope or ask the player to revise them, especially if the rest of the group isn’t buying into it.

Sometimes (in fact, probably often), you’ll find yourself in a situation where an aspect complicates your character’s life and creates unexpected drama. When that happens, the GM will suggest a potential complication that might arise. This is called a compel.

Sometimes, a compel means your character automatically fails at some goal, or your character’s choices are restricted, or simply that unintended consequences cloud whatever your character does. You might negotiate back and forth on the details a little, to arrive at what would be most appropriate and dramatic in the moment.

Once you’ve agreed to accept the complication, you get a fate point for your troubles. If you want, you can pay a fate point to prevent the complication from happening, but we don’t recommend you do that very often—you’ll probably need that fate point later, and getting compelled brings drama (and hence, fun) into your game’s story.

Players, you’re going to call for a compel when you want there to be a complication in a decision you’ve just made, if it’s related to one of your aspects. GMs, you’re going to call for a compel when you make the world respond to the characters in a complicated or dramatic way.

Anyone at the table is free to suggest when a compel might be appropriate for any character (including their own). GMs, you have the final word on whether or not a compel is valid. And speak up if you see that a compel happened naturally as a result of play, but no fate points were awarded.

Link to the Fate Core SRD.

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