Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Using a Toolkit feature to make Imperial Trained Characters for my Star Wars Fate Core Hack

First of all I want to start this post of with a thank you to +Wil Hutton for giving me a peek at the Toolkit. It is fantastic and offers a grip of options that make Fate even MORE customizable. It offered some options that made some sense to me for some of the stuff I was working on with this Hack.

In my Star Wars Fate Core hack I am starting off with a bunch of characters that defected from the Empire. I wanted to have something set these characters apart since they started off as not only trained soldiers from a large military but as officers of that military. These characters would enjoy a high level of training in some fairly focused skill sets depending on their Military Occupational Specialty or MOS. I decided that I am going to use my own version of Skill Modes as detailed in the Fate System Toolkit. Skill Modes are “a bundle of several skills that represents a broad area of competence.” This allows me to give players skill packages that represent their military training.  Of course, this will somewhat limit the options a character has as far as skill selection, but I am going this route for thematic reasons more than anything else.

Characters that will come in later on who are not military trained will not benefit from these skill packages or “modes” and will follow the pyramid as laid out in basic Fate Core. I want to balance it out in a way that allows characters who have not been educated or trained formally to have access to a broader range of skills, but perhaps not have as high a level of proficiency with military skills as would those who spent time training to be a professional soldier.

My only issue with this is that it goes against my whole rail against “archetypes”, but I don't feel like I am going that direction since I am going to represent the modes in separate MOS’ that will represent training and cross training. Not necessarily and archetype but more of a representation of focus in training that all members of an organized military would go through.

I am not going to apply my Specialization idea to the MOS’ since they will already lead to characters having some pretty high level skills and it doesn't seem to fit thematically. I am going to have characters that use the standard Fate Core generation system use this option. I find it thematically better since it represents highly individualized training that would be the result of learning things the hard way.

Imperial MOS

Officer Training: Empathy, Investigate, Notice, Rapport, Resources, Tactics

Fleet Training: Engineering, Pilot, Education (Astrogation, Core Worlds, Starfighters, Capital Ships, Outer Rim Worlds), Notice, Shoot, Rapport

Storm Trooper Training: Athletics, Fight, Notice, Physique, Provoke, Shoot

Scout Trooper Training: Athletics, Pilot, Fight, Notice, Shoot, Stealth

Intelligence Training: Burglary, Deceive, Empathy, Investigate, Notice, Rapport

* Note that some of these MOS’ are particular to the Imperial Army/Navy. I will come up with some MOS’ that will cover Rebel Alliance military training, but since this game takes place right after the rise of the Empire and at this time there is no formal Rebel Alliance, I am going to leave that for later.

There are six relevant skills for each MOS. There will be some considerable overlap within some of the MOS roles, but overlap will be covered a little later. Players will choose a primary and two cross trained MOS’. Their Primary MOS will give them a +3 (Good) rating in all the skills in that MOS. One cross trained MOS will be at +2 (Fair) for all the skills in that MOS and the second cross trained MOS will provide a +1 (Average) level of training. The cool thing about this is that combining these MOS’ can lead to some very interesting combos that can give the player some great ideas to modify their High Concept or other Aspects.  For example Characters with Storm Trooper, Scout and Intelligence MOS’ can be considered a Commando. Or a character with Fleet, Officer and Storm Trooper MOS’ can be considered an Assault Officer in charge of a Storm Trooper squad that specializes in boarding enemy ships. Please excuse my bouncing back and forth between the term MOS and Mode. They are completely interchangeable for the purposes of this context.

“Usual Fate Core skill pyramid doesn't apply to skills in modes. Instead, each player picks three modes and rates them—one at Good (+3), one at Fair (+2), and one at Average (+1)—and the mode's rating becomes the default rating for all of its skills. Skills at this rating are trained. Skills one step above their mode’s level are focused, and skills two steps above are specialized.

If a skill is reinforced once—meaning it's shared by two modes—improve it from trained to focused. If it's reinforced twice—shared by all three modes—improve it from trained to specialized.”

The fact that these characters have been trained by the Empire should be reflected in either their High Concept or in their Trouble, depending on whether they are in good standing with the Empire or not. It can be applied to both, depending on what the character has going on. This is not a hard and fast rule and depends on how creative the character is in the description of their background, but the fact that they are or were once part of the Imperial Army should have some bearing on the characters background.

The rules for Modes in the Toolkit then allow you to upgrade skills within the Modes you have chosen. Giving the player 7 points to upgrade skills from Trained to Focused (1) or Specialized (3) and Focused to Specialized (2). I am going to add another category. Players may choose to spend one point to buy a skill at Average (+1). That skill can then be improved as if it belonged to your Average (+1) mode. Any number of points can be spent on acquiring new skills. This will allow characters to fill in some blanks in skills that are not represented in the Modes provided.


Another quick change is to Lore. I changed Lore to Education. I am also adding Education Concentrations. Each level of Education the character has will allow them a Concentration. This would be a specific kind of “Lore” they have studied. When using the Education skill within the parameters of a Concentration, they get to Invoke the Concentration like an Aspect for free. It’s a kind of meta Aspect.  I am not really sure if this is the best way to go about this since I have a feeling that I am going back to my old school gaming comfort zone on this.

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