Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rusted Sky - Fate Core Tribe 8

I'm starting to put some tentative processing cycles toward how I would redo my Tribe 8 conversion for Fate Core, and I'd like some thoughts. The Strands of Fate adaptation, as I've mentioned before, I think is solid and a good step away from the ill-fitting Silhouette mechanics. There were still a lot of mechanical fiddly bits - multiple stress tracks for different things, it sticks fairly closely to the way the powers were modeled in Silhouette, and it skews more toward a more "down to earth" tone.

For Fate Core, I want to make the step in the direction of how Tribe 8 has always existed in my head and break even further from its semi-realistic roots. More surreal and dreamlike, more mythological, more Robert Holdstock, more Neil Gaiman, more Clive Barker, more dark fairy tale and legend.

The first thing I want to do is get a rough idea of the skills. I want them to be archetypical, in name and function. One idea I had was to name them after the Fatimas, the other was to take the Eminences and use those in some way. There are multiple paths to go down, and I just need to find the right fit.

For those unfamiliar with Tribe 8, the survivors of our world have been broken into what amounts to five camps: the Tribes, the Fallen, the Keepers, the Squats and the Serfs. The Tribes are descendants of the humans that were enslaved by supernatural beings called the Z'bri. Each Tribe is led by a demigod-like being called a Fatima, who freed the Tribes from the Z'bri. The Fallen are those that have been banished from Tribal society. The Keepers are those who are descended from survivors who tried to preserve knowledge of our world. The Squats for all intents and purposes are savages. The Serfs the tainted servants of the Z'bri who were not liberated.

Each Fatima represents a pair of specific concept or archetype (called Eminences). These are:

Agnes the Child: Capriciousness, Inspiration Baba Yaga the Crone: Death, Fate
Dahlia the Trickster: Illusion, Motion
Eva the Mother: Empathy, Life
Joan the Warrior: Devotion, Fury
Magdalen the Lover: Conflict, Sensuality
Tera Sheba the Judge: Truth, Wisdom

In addition,  there are two more Fatimas, who were destroyed:

Joshua the Ravager: Force, Magnum
Mary the Forgiver (Agnes took her place): Purity, Recognition

In addition, the Fallen have four Outlooks: Doomsayer, Herite, Jacker, Lightbringer with their own pair of Eminences. There are four Z'bri Houses, mapping to alchemical humours: Flemis, Koleris, Melanis and Sangis. There are three types of "magic" in the setting: Synthesis (for Tribals and Fallen), Technosmithing (for Keepers) and Sundering (for Z'bri).

I want a skill selection that isn't quite as dry as the default skill list. I also want to avoid having a large number of aspects - because I was treating the Tribe, Outlook, or other affiliation as an aspect, plus each Eminence was its own Aspect, along with using Strands of Power. I think it all fits together nicely, but I can see it could get unwieldy.

Now, the Eminences map pretty nicely to each Fatima's sphere of influence so it might be possible to collapse those to their archetypes and get rid of the individual descriptors entirely. That would give us: Child, Crone, Trickster, Mother, Warrior, Lover, Judge, Ravager, Forgiver. The same holds true for the Fallen. The Z'bri Sundering powers are easily represented by their House. Each archetype would occupy, and aspect slot, and the use of any powers would hinge on that aspect.

Another possibility is to make each of the collapsed archetypes a skill. I'm somewhat unsure how that would work given the Squats, Keepers and Z'bri - it makes no sense for a Koleris to have the Child skill, even at 0 ranks.

Once I have some idea of how I want to handle the archetypes and skills, I'll also know what direction to take with Synthesis. Even in Strands of Flesh and Spirit, Synthesis is free-form but still mechanical. It enables the character to "control" whatever is within the realm of either Eminence. By collapsing the archetypes, I think it would be much more wide open. Instead of Capriciousness and Inspiration being two separate things, it becomes encompassed by "The Child" (plus a whole lot more).

I'm just not sure what direction I want to go with it yet. I'm certainly open to suggestions.

As an aside, the name for the Fate Core version (Rusted Sky) is a homage to the website run by one of the early Tribe 8 fans and a contributor to the line, Edwyn Kumar. Even after all of these years, his insights and contributions to the game left a lasting impression on me.