Saturday, January 5, 2013

Year of FATE: The Thief campaign

I've been thinking of the various games I'd like to try to kick off this year, and I've decided I want a handful of FATE games. Aside from running my Strands of Fate version of Tribe 8, I've wanted to do a Thief-style game for a very long time - and playing Dishonored is just adding fuel to the fire. The upcoming FATE Core might be just the thing.

The biggest challenge I see is thief-style characters - for example, Garrett in Thief or Corvo in Dishonored - are generally solitary. Sure, they may have allies or other characters they rely on, but they can't have a large team when they're actually working. A good parallel are netrunners in Cyberpunk. The netruns could take a decent amount of time to resolve, but only the netrunner character's player was involved. To make matters worse, netruns took only seconds or minutes of game time, leaving the other players very little time to have their characters accomplish something else. My thinking for this type of game is each player has a thief as their main character and another secondary character such as a fence, captain of the guard, gang leader, wheelman, guild enforcer, recurring patron, etc. This allows for the player to stay engaged at least part of the time when another player's character is going solo. Like in The Dresden Files the city where the characters are based would be created collaboratively.

Another important element is the feeling of creeping from room to room, avoiding guards, overcoming obstacles, etc. that video games like Thief or Dishonored excel at. Skill rolls alone sound pretty unsatisfactory. Players in either of the two video games who are cautious, observant, and take the time to plan things out typically find getting through a mission much easier. One way to handle this (aside from the Stealth tracks I mentioned in my previous post) it to treat each zone as an adversary that must be defeated. The zones would have Aspects representing things important to or of concern to a thief - lighting, hiding places, sound, visibility, alternate routes, locks, etc. The thief would then have to develop the best strategy to "defeat" each zone. My understanding is that FATE Core may have some elements that would help out with creating the zones as adversaries; even if it doesn't, the FATE fractal would already handle it. If need be specialized rules for "building" locations could be developed easy enough. Similar to city creation, it might be really cool if the other players, beside the player who will be attempting the job or mission. collaborate on creating the location.

So for my "Year of Fate", my second game is definitely going to be Thief/Dishonored inspired. I think it would be a really awesome campaign if done correctly.