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Skills for Harry Potter in Fate

I love Harry Potter! At home we talked about the idea of a Harry Potter game, inspired by Mark Plourde as mentioned on the Cypher Speak Podcast. So here's 2 ways to handle it: as a Fate skill system.

In Fate Core, the game expects 18 skills. Here's a trial of mapping Hogwarts school subjects to skills.
Apparition
Astronomy
Arithmancy
Care of Magical Creatures
Charms
Defense Against the Dark Arts
Divination
Dueling - replace Fight and Shoot
Flying Lessons - replace Drive
Herbology
History of Magic - replace Lore
Muggle Studies
Potions - replace Crafts
Transfiguration
also non-school subjects
Contacts
Provoke
Rapport
Resources

The school subjects cover almost everything I'd want in a Harry Potter game, but I wanted to be able to explain why the Malfoys are so well-known and connected without using school subjects, so Contacts and Resources stayed in from Fate Core. Additionally, Provoke and Rapport seem important for dealing with other wizards (and perhaps House Elves). …
Recent posts

GM Intrusions for Character Depth

One of the best ways to keep a Cypher System game interesting is to use GM Intrusions! I've found that they take the place of random/wandering monster encounters, add dramatic or comedic moments to games and give GMs an opportunity to reward or challenge players when a session demands it.

To explain the idea to the unfamiliar, Experience Points are a currency in the Cypher System. You use them to re-roll and to declare story details, similar to FATE or FFG's Star Wars RPGs. In a GM Intrusion, the GM gives a player 2 XP - 1 is a reward the player keeps for themself, the other they give to another player.

As a GM, you need to give out a couple of XP during a game, otherwise your players may not be able to make character advances at the end of a session. Those XP can be crucial for re-rolling failed rolls and keeping the story favoring the characters! As a GM, your reward for helping your players gain this crucial currency is to craft an exciting moment for the game in the form o…

Story Ideas for FATE

I've been interested in FATE for a while. It's a great premise for a game system but so different from games like D&D that I'm really taking some time to wrap my head around it.

One of the great things about FATE is that there are so many great ideas in the base material! The Evil Hat Patreon/Worlds of Fate series has amazing ideas. The Fate System Toolkit and Adversary Toolkit are awesome products - in fact, the Regency Romance spread in the Adversary Toolkit will probably be the first FATE game I run, because it's something my wife has wanted for a long time.

The hardest thing to understand how to do well in FATE is aspects. Suggestions in Fate Core is that aspects have both positive and negative connotations as well as boundaries. Instead of 'Strongest Man Alive', a good aspect would be 'Strongest Man in the State'.

That final quality defines the possibility of conflict with other 'strong men' in other states. There are many other things …

Cypher System - GM prep

Game Master (GM or in D&D, DM) prep is a chore. No matter how much you love world building and creating stories, there is a lot to get done in order to play a game. Generally, GMs end up handling scheduling, educating players about the game, creating stories and maintaining the flow of the game.

To make things as easy as possible, the Cypher System uses a simple level system to determine difficulties and levels of effect. This can be a wonderful thing when you want to focus your prep time on stories and interactions.

The level system is very simple and applies to everything the GM is responsible for. The difficulty of a task is given a level from 1-10 (sometimes greater). To achieve success, a player needs to roll equal to or higher than the difficulty * 3 on a 2-sided die (d20). So a level 10 difficulty requires a 30 (which is impossible) and a level 1 is a 3. Anything that is a difficulty 0 is automatically successful.

To create Non-Player Characters (NPCs), traps, Cyphers (spec…

Cyberpunk Concepts for D&D 5e

After a fun conversation with my friend Allison (@moonstruckmaid) I started thinking about a cyberpunk mod for D&D 5e. It has a fair amount of crunch like Shadowrun and I think that cyberpunk would do well with a level-based system.

Concept 1: Character classes modded from D&D 5e
More on this soon, but in short, mod the classes to reflect a cyberpunk setting.

Concept 2: Characters exist in an Augmented Reality (AR) version of the world that replaces reality. No one walks around outside of AR; doing so is a cultural taboo. Therefore, the incredible effects of hackers that mimic spells are a part of the reality people experience. Additionally, the disconnect between physical meat people and cyber avatars makes cultural norms change.

Concept 3: Cyber death is a result of system shock in AR. When a person's avatar is destroyed, they find themselves locked out of the System, trapped in meatspace. This is potentially deadly in real life because there are no offline services for …

Cypher System for new players

Some of my general favorite things about Cypher System games versus other RPGs:
The game plays fast. I very rarely find myself looking things up. I typically prefer to bookmark pages I think I need on the PDF rule books and keep the books off the table. It works really well!The players have all the agency. They can decide what things to spend Effort on and what to ignore. Players take a little bit of convincing that an expendable resource like the Pools or cyphers should be used, but by the end of a first session, I find most acclimate to the system.The DM doesn't roll dice. It's a lot easier to act like the players' friend and advocate when you don't try to kill them with hot dice. Predation in particular is awesome because it has dinosaurs. It's even better because it combines dinosaurs with future technology. We played the whole game grinning and having a good time.

Character creation was fast! With 3 players, we created a Karn (warrior), Tec (adept) a…

Previously...

I'm already writing in 2 other blogs about games!
I have a weekly blog post to reflect on my Infinity Tower D&D game on Time2Tabletop (twitch.tv/time2tabletop). That blog is about my thoughts and feelings about the game, the way that the players and game unfolded and any other thoughts that have resulted. You can find it at https://infintitytowerdm.blogspot.com/
The other blog is a collection of thoughts on a modern-day-with-magic campaign setting for Open Legend RPG, a fun multi-genre RPG system that is available for free online (openlegendrpg.com). It has character archetypes, adventure ideas, creatures, items and more. You can find it at https://legendsoftodayrpg.blogspot.com/