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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fate Heroes - Part 1 - Bank Robbery

The adventure proper! All mechanics will be in italics. Descriptions/narration will be in regular text.

To start this adventure, I wanted a quick set up to immediately get into something fun. Mythic (and even Fate actually) works with Scenes. Since I had an idea for how it would start, I just established it and went with it :

Freedom Force (the team of superheroes of this setting) has detected a bank robbery in progress downtown. Minuteman has been sent to deal with it.

That's it. That's my input. From now on, I use Mythic to know what happens. So I start with a bunch of questions to get an idea of the surroundings. How do Mythic questions work? You ask a yes/no question and establish a probability (Likely, No way!, etc...) Then you roll a d100 and look up the results on the Fate Chart (not related to the Fate v3 system). If the number falls under the middle point, it's a Yes. Over it's a No. And to spice things up, extreme results (very close to 0 or 100) get you an Absolutely! and a Not at all!
Let's see how it goes.

Are the bandits already leaving? (50/50) No -> They're still in the building
Is the Police here? (likely) No (double) -> The Police is not here yet!

Here I get a double (rolled 88). Usually you'd compare 8 to a "Chaos Factor" but I don't use it. For me, double = random event, always. Random events are rolled on specific tables. They give you the type and then they give you very vague words that you interpret given the context.

Random event : PC Positive, Be careful / Enemies -> The bandits haven't heard any sirens yet, so they are focusing on gathering money and not looking outside at all. They don't notice Minuteman one bit.

Are the glass doors tinted? (not sure of the word here : I mean hard to see through glass) Not at all -> got an extreme result here. The glass is crystal clear and one can perfectly see what's going on inside.

Are there many bandits in there? Yes. I roll a 2d6 and get 5, 1 = 6 bandits inside.

Do they have an apparent leader? Not at all! -> another extreme result I take as the bandits being terribly disorganized. Some of them might be tempted to turn on their pals if need be.

I get another double (99) on this question which means another random event!

Random event : Remote event, Betray / Investment -> One of the clerks, noticing how disorganized they are, tries to trick them with fake paper money.

(note : I didn't use "Remove event" properly here, as it's supposed to be something taking place quite elsewhere.... but hey, when it fires up your imagination, I call it fair game)

Do the bandits notice this? Absolutely! (double) -> Nearby bandits immediately notice it.

Random event : Ambiguous event, Create / Notoriety -> ambiguous events are meant to be "something rather irrelevant". Also, here I decided to pick a random word from a dictionary (some Mythic players use an encyclopedia or thesaurus) to get an idea about what it was. I ended up with "tour"
-> Out of nowhere, an advertisement van drives past the bank, with a booming announcement of some music band's next tour in town.

Not sure how the bandits might react to this, I ask a Mythic complex question (the Verb/Subject type you've seen for most random events so far) :
How do the bandits react? Oppress / Dreams -> The loud noise makes them jump and puts them on edge. Turning back to the clerk who tried to trick them, they get very threatening.

And that's my cue to act...

Minuteman, seeing things are getting ugly, decides to intervene, and quick! He will try to get the effect of surprise by charging through the glass doors.

Are the doors reinforced? (somewhat likely) Yes -> I use this to decide the glass Quality is not Poor (-1) but Mediocre (0)

Here I finally use FATE to roll skills and such. Crashing through glass doors will be Might (+3) vs Door Quality (0). I roll a +2 (FATE uses Fudge dice and you roll four of them, which gets you a result like so : + . . +, a plus, nothing, nothing, a plus = two plusses). This makes Minuteman's Might at +5 for this roll, against the Mediocre 0... It's a clear success and I even get spin (+3 shifts or higher over the target). Spin means it was a frank success!

Minuteman jumps through the doors bursting into many pieces, with a loud crash. He ends up in the middle of the room, met by a shocked silence. The bandits are so stunned they don't even react.

Minuteman gets a free surprise round thanks to his great roll (my decision).

He charges the thug nearest to the threatened clerk and smacks him with his staff, the Patriot.

Melee (+4) vs Thug's Quality (0) : roll -1 +4 = +3 vs 0

(note : I decided the thugs were just Mediocre, having 0 at all their stats for now)

The thug has no time to react one bit and is struck by the staff, sent rolling over the counter, on the clerk's side, knocked out. The five remaining bandits are finally getting out of their stupor.

(note : I also decided thugs would be Minions, which means they have no stress track ; one hit and they're gone)

Do some of the thugs have machineguns? Not at all! -> Actually, two of them only have knives. The others have regular guns.
Note : I decided guns would be "on par" with superheroes, while machineguns would start giving bonuses. A human with a knife, though, would get a damage malus.

So that makes one group of 2 thugs with knives and one group of 3 thugs with guns.

I roll init and get this order : Minuteman, Knives, Guns

Is one group at a distance? Yes -> random choice : the gun guys are further away

Minuteman runs towards the gun-equipped thugs, judging them more threatening for the citizens in the room.

Melee (+4) -1 (I moved to their zone) VS thug's quality (0) +1 (group bonus) : I get 4 vs -2, which gives 6 shifts for me, which is a spin (and even a double spin!).

The protector of the country moves lightning fast, no giving the thugs any time to defend. The strikes are overwhelming and three bodies drop to the ground, grunting in pain.

Note : when such weak Minions are grouped together, each stress you inflict takes one of them out. With 6 shifts, I could have beaten them up twice :)

Do the remaining thugs insist on taking on Minuteman? No

They look at each other... look at their pitiful blades... and decide a bunch of fresh air would suit them well.

End of fight.

Has the Police arrived since then? (Likely) No

But the Police isn't there yet and Minuteman can't just let these criminals run away : he goes after them immediately.

Since I had double spin on my last action and it couldn't be used in combat, I use it here to say Minuteman is already close on their heels before I even roll for pursuit.

Athletics (+3) vs Athletics (0) : 0 vs 0

The bandits run as if it was their last day on Earth... so much that even Minuteman can only keep up with them. Of course, Minuteman could hold this speed for quite a long time and wait until they tire, but there's no sense in wasting time this way. He raises his staff and energy crackles at the tip. In a wide sway, he launches the projectile, an energy eagle, towards the fleeing criminals.

Minute Missile power (+2) vs Athletics (0) : 4 vs 2 -> 2 shifts
Amusingly, the Minute Missile attack in Freedom Force is a chain one, and so it perfectly makes sense I would get two knock outs from this attack (they're Minions and even though it's not a proper battle, we can consider them grouped, thus damage "goes through" the whole group).

The eagle speeds through the air, smacking the first thug in the head before ricocheting to the second one. Both stumble from the shock and roll to the ground, out. Minuteman unhurriedly catches up and brings them back to the bank after taking off their weapons.

How much time does the Police take to come? I use a base of 1 minute and use the absolute value of 4 Fudge dice (they can yield -4 to +4, so 0 to 4 with the absolute value, with 4 being very rare). I get +3, which means 3 shifts on the time ladder, which gives half an hour.

Since the Police has not yet arrived after five minutes, Minuteman asks the bank employees for help in tying up the bad guys. It's only half an hour later that the first Police car makes an appearance.

"Glad to see you officer! But if you don't mind my asking... what took you so long?"

Complex question : Emprison / Freedom

"We would have been here earlier if we hadn't had to deal with yet another lunatic! One of your teammates got captured as he was fighting him off!"

I asked "is it a man or woman" to know if I should type "him" or "her". Also, I must note here that I first interpreted the complex question differently, thinking "some villain put most of the town cops in their own cells" or something. And then I noticed how "Freedom" could just be "Freedom Force", the team of superheroes... and it seemed much more interesting ;)

"One of my teammates? Who?!"

Here I made a list of heroes from Freedom Force and randomly picked one : Man-o-War. He's a gruff ex-sailor who got super powers as he was dealing with a stowaway on his fishboat, the Man-o-War. Both him and the stowaway, a young girl, got hit by Energy X and gained powers from it (which saved them from a large wave in a timely manner, of course). In the game, he has a Sean Connery like voice.

"It's the old man, err... Mano... Manu...?" replies the officer, unsure
"Man-o-War! I must help him at once! Where did this happen?" asks Minuteman, alarmed.

Complex question : Create / Love

"In front of the St Johns church!"

And so, Minuteman runs to the church, hopping from building to building, after leaving the bank robbers to the care of the Police. Man-o-War captured?! And who is this new villain? All will be revealed... in the next episode!

That's where I decide to end the first scene of the game. And thus, that's when I need to note down a list of open threads and NPCs. The lists are used by Mythic to define who or what is involved in some random events.

Threads : Investigate at St Johns church, Save Man-o-War!, Discover who the new villain is
NPCs : The Police force, Man-o-War, the new villain, the bank robbers

And that's where I'll stop for this post. I'll write up the second scene sometime soon!

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