Tag Archives: Skype


I am starting up a game of Bulldogs on Friday nights via Skype.  I am going to be using FATE Core, and have given some thought to converting the game from the previous edition of FATE that it was originally written in.

The big thing that needed converting was the racial* packages, since they were based on a version of FATE that had a higher stock Refresh rate than the current version.  Alien races also came with both positive aspects (which cost refresh) and negative aspects (that reduced the refresh cost of the package).  I could have gone that way too, but I decided that I wanted to keep things to FATE Core as closely as possible for the conversion since it would be easier for me to reference, and easier for the players to understand and follow

Each race has a number of Aspects common to that race, and I decided to allow players to pick two and to consider them extras subsumed under their High Concept.  Adding a couple of aspects isn’t going to break the character in FATE because aspects are driven by the FATE Point economy – a player with additional aspects might be able to squeeze out the odd additional FATE Point from compels, but overall there is just so much screen time that any given character can get to earn FATE points in.   Initially I thought of giving the characters all of the Aspects listed, but in the end I decided that a) that would make all the races  more stereotypical than I wanted, and b) it would make it too easy to compel aspects.

Racial packages also include a number of stunts.  Some of these stunts are optional and some aren’t.  Some are closer to what the new FATE Core considers trouble.  Some races have relatively few, but some races have a lot.  I gave some thought to how to handle this and considered a few options –

  1. Increasing the characters Refresh and making all stunts cost 1 Refresh.  So, for example, increasing the Refresh to 6 and allowing characters to take up to 5 stunts at 1 Refresh each.  I decided not to do this because I didn’t think it really solved the problem, and I didn’t want players to have the option of having a Refresh of 6.
  2. Giving racial stunts as Extras.  I decided not to do this because the number of racial stunts varied considerably from one race to another.
  3. Just subsuming the racial stunts under characters High Concept.   Again I decided not to do this because of the considerable variability in the number of stunts.

Ultimately I decided that I would just require characters who wanted to be a specific race to take all of the required racial stunts, and give up to three stunt slots for free with two more available at the cost of one Refresh each.  I felt that this was the most reasonable way of doing things, and would give players with lots of ideas about character stunts to have the freedom to indulge their creativity by taking a race with few or no required stunts, while allowing players who weren’t interested in giving a lot of thought to their character stunts a chance to take one of the races with lots of racial stunts and not have to make many choices.

For the stunts themselves, I tried to follow the standard FATE Core format of either “+2 to [skill] to do [thing] under [circumstance]” or “once per session [something cool]”.  Not all of the stunts translated directly over to one or another of these formats, however, for some stunts I made the decision to remove one of the conditions and reduce the modifier to +1, or to simply ignore the stunt entirely if it seemed to have less utility than a standard FATE Core stunt and I couldn’t think of a way to jazz it up.

Urseminite-01.pngI considered adding a “Racial Trouble” category to the alien packages, but in the end decided not to, again because of variability – some races had a racial trouble and some didn’t and I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time and effort balancing things out.  Where they existed, I decided that racial troubles would be incorporated into the “compel” side of High Concept.

My conversion process feels “right” to me, and I think that it balances well while getting the feel of each of the alien races in Bulldogs right.  We’ll be having our first game on Friday, and if there are no questions by the players or revisions I need to do, I will post the various packages this weekend.


*By “race” I mean “species”.  It’s a long and hallowed tradition in role-playing to use “race”, but that’s not really what we are talking about here.

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It was a Fiasco!

Tonight I ran Fiasco for the Monday night Skype game.  It was…  interesting.

We recently got a whole bunch of Fiasco PDFs for Christmas (thanks John!) and the low/no prep characteristic of the game appealed to me for “hip pocket” games run at the last minute.  Because our Monday Night Skype group was having some scheduling problems, I thought I would try setting up a room in Vyew with a quick start version of one of the scenarios so that I would have something to offer on a night when the regular game couldn’t run.

I decided to go with the Dragon Slayers playset for Fiasco because, well, it was a pretty standard trope and looked rather funny.  Because I wanted it to be a game that I could pull out and run quickly, I did some of the groundwork that is normally left to the players by rolling for some of their relationships.  Here are the characters for the session –

B’hludd (Half-Ork Ranger) – B’hludd joined the adventuring party with his friend Dies to try to raise money to buy and open a tavern.  He was bound by a blood ritual to Elshara, and was trying to track down Lilith for a bounty, but was unaware that Lilith wasn’t a woman.  He was also questing for the legendary Blade of Calamity, rumored to be in the dungeon.  Unbeknownst to him, his old master, now a mummy, was the big bad in the dungeon.

Dies-Between-Battles (Kobold Monk) – Dies had joined the adventuring group seeking loot with which to purchase a tavern with his friend B’hludd.  Mike the Fighter had killed his father, though he doesn’t know that.  He had won Elshara in a poker game and she now served him as a thrall.

Elshara (Elf Cleric/Mage) – brought along by Dies, she arranged for Lilith to join the party and hired him to assassinate Dies.  She was bound by a blood oath to B’hludd.  She was also seeking a magical ring on the finger of the big bad, a mummy who was her old master.

Lilith (Human Assassin) – hired by Elshara to assassinate Dies-Between-Battles.  Trying to show up Mike the Fighter and take over leadership of the group, and outdo him in heroics.  Unbeknownst to him, B’hludd is pursuing him for a bounty.  Claims to be a rogue.

Mike the Fighter (Human Fighter) – leader of the group, trying to fend off attempts by Lilith to take over.  Wants to outdo everyone, particularly Lilith, in heroics.  Wants the Blade of Calamity because he thinks it will make him look badass.  Dies-Between-Battles killed his father, though he doesn’t know it.

The adventurers met in a tavern and heard rumors of a terrifying and powerful mummy powerfully terrifying a rural community, which had offered a reward for the creature’s demise.  The game opened with them staring at a small crypt containing stairs…  leading down.

Well – it was a Fiasco.  The party got together and then separated, fell down chutes, fought mummies, spied on one another, got stuck in a gelatinous cube, and just generally behaved like a typical dungeon party.  Act I was going through the dungeon, with Act II planned to be the aftermath.  We got as far as the Tilt and Act II without finding out who had the magic ring, though it  seemed likely that B’hludd would start Act II with the Blade of Calamity in his possession.

Everyone had one heck of a good time, including me.  The Vyew set up allowed us to keep track of all the vital information, dice, and relationships even though we were far apart, and the game ran smoothly.

I am looking forward to Act II next week.


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