Here are some ideas for extras to add to Fate of Aldis to cover certain topics and issues from that game and setting in more detail. Extras are discussed in detail on pp. 270-299 of FATE Core.
When considering extras, bear in mind that all extras add two things – depth and complexity – and that it is important to balance these out so that depth is primary. Adding in a bunch of extra rules that do not serve the purpose of your campaign “feel” just because they emulate some portion of the original Blue Rose setting isn’t going to make your game better, only more complex. If you want your characters to be light-aligned and to stay that way throughout the campaign, don’t add in rules for falling into shadow. Such rules will simply add needless complexity to the campaign, and will likely be used so seldom that in the few cases you do bring them up you will have to stop play in order to reference them because you probably won’t remember how they work. Some good rules of thumb for extras –
- If it isn’t some aspect of the setting or metaplot that has real interest for you or your players – if it doesn’t drive plots, influence player decisions, and/or give you neat ideas for conflicts/situation aspects/scenes/NPCs then don’t add it.
- If it isn’t going to come up at LEAST once every adventure, and preferably once per session, then don’t add it.
- If it results in a zero sum situation for the game (such as all the PCs getting heavy [+4] armor to counter the heavy [+4] weapons carried by NPCs) don’t add it.
ADD ADDITIONAL STRESS AND CONSEQUENCES
You can add an additional damage and consequence track to characters to simulate a variety of things such as
- Add an additional stress and consequences track for users of the arcane abilities to simulate limited availability of magic. Roll Arcane against an increasing difficulty set by the GM, Failure accumulates stress and then consequences. Once all the stress and consequences boxes are marked off, the character can’t use arcane abilities anymore until there is a chance to study spells, meditate, and replenish magical energy.
- Add an additional stress and consequences track to monitor character alignment. In most Blue Rose games characters start out light aligned and stay that way, but for those GMs who want to keep track of how their characters are tempted, for those players who want to skirt the darkness, and for times when you have players who don’t necessarily understand the whole “burning villages, raping women, and slaying children all have CONSEQUENCES” thing, When a character performs some morally shadowy activity, check off a box. If you want less certainty, make a roll using an appropriate skill like empathy, rapport, or will against a target number set by the GM based on how heinous and shadow-like the activity is, and take the failure ranks as damage. You will need to decide if and how such stress and consequences might heal – anything from public service to meditation to “it flat out never goes away.”
MAGICAL WEAPONS, ARMOR, AND ITEMS
Blue Rose isn’t really a gear oriented game, so I would hesitate to add these rules in for normal weapons. But the Weapons and armor mods rules (listed on p. 277 of Fate Core) would work well as a simple means of simulating master quality or magical weapons and armor of the “+1 sword” variety. The more powerful the magic, the higher the bonus – a +4 weapon would be extremely rare and absolutely terrifying to most people, whereas +4 armor would make the one wearing it some sort of monster tank. invulnerable to most damage. I’d stick with +1 or +2 at most – anything more should be an artifact.
Arcane elixirs are just one of the four actions in a bottle with the limitation that they only work for the imbiber. Most potions would Create an Advantage, but some might boost a skill or allow a roll to Overcome, Attack, or Defend. Such elixirs can be created using a stunt like “Create Arcane Elixir” and rolling using an Arcane or Lore skill against a target number determined by the GM. My recommendation is to not roll for the success of the creation until someone actually drinks the potion – then they can find out precisely how successful the creation process was.
Arcane stones are probably best represented by an aspect or stunt since their effects are permanent. Think carefully about allowing these items into your campaign – and particularly about allowing characters to create them – since this could seriously unbalance things or make characters quite powerful. Most importantly, so long as they are manufactured items rather than something that is inherent to the character itself, be prepared to steal or break them (and incidentally, as a GM there is little more satisfying than the look on your player’s face when their arch-rival shows up wearing their stolen arcane stones. Cherish those moments.)
There isn’t much in Blue Rose discussing high-powered magic items – romantic fantasy just isn’t the sort of genre where you care a lot about gear. Still, there are great possibilities for storylines revolving around powerful artifacts left over from the Old Kingdom or the Shadow Wars, or given by the gods for their own purposes. Such items should be built using the Fate Fractal rules, with their own skills, aspects, stunts, and even stress and consequences tracks.
Example: the Quill of Hiathas
HIGH CONCEPT: Divine Artistic Quill
TROUBLE: See the poetry of everything
ASPECT: Expression of Divine Poetry
SKILLS: Lore (Poetry) +6, Lore (Hiathas) +4, Lore (Gods of Light) +2
STUNTS: Quill Dance – gain +2 to defend against Sorcery and creatures of Shadow while wielding the Quill
Poetry of the Dawn – if the wielder is a lover of the dawn, once per session the character may send a message, in the form of a couplet, to his or her love – no matter how far away they may be from one another.
STRESS AND CONSEQUENCES: each time the character fails a roll while using one of the Quill’s aspects, skills, or stunts, take the difference between the roll and the Difficulty Number as stress/consequences.
Stress: 1, 2, 3
Mild (2): the character falls in love with the person or persons of his or her choice. If already in love, the love becomes particularly intense, as if the character had only just fallen in love.
Moderate (4): the character becomes driven to create poetry and may pause, even in the most dire of circumstances, to compose a poem when inspiration strikes.
Severe (6): Hiathas reclaims the quill. At some point in the very near future, Hiathas will reclaim the quill. The character will know that this is about to happen, and will have a short time to finish any current works in progress, or to send a message to a loved one.
In Blue Rose, as in most romantic fantasy, most characters will not be lone wolves or chance adventurers, but characters who associate with one another as part of a community or organization, such as the Sovereign’s Finest, the Sovereign’s Guard, the Knights of the Blue Rose, agents of the Merchants Council or the retinue of a travelling noble. To simulate this, create one or more Organization extras that characters can draw on so long as they are a member in good standing.
Example: Retinue of Lord Sayvin
Permissions: none; it is assumed that all characters are part of Lord Sayvin’s retinue
Costs: part of the character’s High Concept, skill requirements
Characters are all part of the retinue and/or retainers of Lord Sayvin. Though Lord Sayvin himself is on the brink of falling into Shadow, this is unknown at the moment, and he retains a large number of light-aligned individuals who serve him.
Aspects: Sayvin should be the Sovereign!, Old Alliances, Favors Owed and Favors Bestowed
Skill Requirements: must take one of the following at a minimum of Good, one at a minimum of Fair, and the rest at a minimum of Average –
You may substitute “Arcane: Sorcery” for any one of the above.
Stunts: Strength of your convictions: once per session you may reduce one of your consequences by one level by making a Will check against a difficulty (+2) for Mild, (+3) for Moderate, or (+4) for Severe consequences.
In previous posts, I have discussed the possibility of adding in extras for the various professions and arcane skills in Blue Rose. My own feeling is that it isn’t necessary and adds a lot of work for the GM and players, but if it is something that the individual GM wants to do, and you think that it will add to your game to have racial, professional, and arcane packages for each race, profession, and arcane skill then by all means do so. There are lots of good rules for creating magical packages in the FATE System Toolkit pp 76-145.
Extras are there to allow you to really personalize your particular FATE campaign, and allow you to add complexity to your game in exchange for treating the most important aspects (for both you and your players) with more depth than the core FATE mechanics allow. Once you know what interests you, develop some Extras that help cover those areas that you want to emphasize or focus on. Try to keep extras simple, and don’t over-complicate your game with them – to use a cooking metaphor, treat them like seasoning to bring out the full flavor of your campaign and show off the most interesting parts to their full effect.