Wednesday, December 19, 2012

R.A.T: Racer Archaeologist Thief (Fate Core Musings)

R.A.T is something my brain has been cooking for a while, even if I haven't always known it. It is intended to be a pulp style game, in the same vein as Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, and Uncharted. Basically, high octane action games where there is exploration and tomb raiding alongside everything else. Lately, my brain has clicked into over-drive with this, and I figured I may as well put some thoughts down on the blog here.

What is RAT?
The idea for RAT, as I said above, is for a game that has the action-adventure feel of some of the old pulp style adventures, taking some serious nods from the very specific niche/genre used for games/movies such as Tomb Raider, Uncharted, and Indiana Jones.

Beyond that, the idea is for the game to be very quick to set up, get into, and play. Designed for either beer and pretzel nights, one shot diversions, or just something to do on the holidays when you're with your gamer cousins and no one wants to spend 2 hours rolling up level 15 characters to play a fun adventure.

Game play would be set to be like a movie (or a video game truncated to the story bits) with the PCs trying to recover or otherwise acquire some artifact for whomever was backing them or their own intellectual concerns. Opposition would of course be present, and thats where you get the action and adventure.

Currently I'm thinking Fate Core. Why? Because Fate Core has the unique ability to do something that a lot of other systems don't. Namely, you can make templates for a character (i.e. thieves get these skills) while still leaving the player a lot of room for making the character their own via aspects.

Basically the idea is that all the player has to do is give the character a name, aspects, and maybe a paragraph of history (if even that) and the game starts. Since Aspects are powerful and personalize the character very strongly, that makes the character the players. However, it also makes things easier for the GM because the skills can be locked down to the character type and challenges can be made ahead of time. For example, it'd be easy to have a "this door requires a Burglary check versus a threshold of 4 to open" when you know that at least two people in the group will have the Burglary skill available to them.

Beyond this, Fate Core is a very simple but flexible system that enables a lot of activity without breaking some of the core old school success issues such as checking for success/failure as opposed to narrative control. The narrative focus however should help keep the focus on cinematic action/adventure easier.

Racer is a temporary name, but basically they're the vehicle guy. They'll be able to drive anything, likely have a mean left hook, and knowledge about mechanics. Of the three they'll be the most physical (strong/tough type physical) and cover those aspects of the game. Most pulp style adventures have at least one sequence involving vehicles, if not more, and that is where this character will really shine. Their background in mechanics and other mechanical expertise will also come in handy when raiding tombs and trying to figure out just how to get those ancient contraptions working again.

You can't have a game where one of the core things is digging around tombs and NOT have an archaeologist, can you? This is going to be the least for the scholastic areas. The lores, the riddles, the clues, the tricks, and most likely the person who wants to recover the artifacts for the more educational purposes of putting them in a museum - and of course getting their name in the history books. Outside of the lores they will bring, the archaeologist will likely be the mid ground between the Racer and the Thief. Capable of backing up either one in a pinch, but not being quite as good as either of them in their areas of specialty.

Thief? Why a thief? Well, because I like thieves dag nabbit! Besides that, thieves feature in a lot of the stories we're talking about. The thief will be the finesse for the group, both socially and physically. Less of a fighter and more of a runner, the thief will excel at bypassing traps, getting through sticky situations, and acquiring items that the group may need for their endeavors. The goal here is for the more artistic thief, someone who does it for the thrill and has made a name for themselves - and possibly a small fortune - by being a thief. Of course, that doesn't mean they're not looking for something more to put in the private collection, or to fence for some more money.

Beyond this everything is still in theory. I'm thinking of test running the idea at one of my regular games soon as we may not be able to go forward with our regularly scheduled programming. If it works out, I'll probably put more work into it and see about maybe stapling it onto the website as a free fun game to do with Fate Core. Time will tell I suppose.

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