Current Blades in the Dark - Machination

Current Campaign: "Blades in the Dark - Machination"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Episode #245 - Is that how you wake a Dwarf?

Can the group make it through a nights rest without something disturbing them? Don't be silly!

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  1. *novel-length post alert*

    Game time was fun as always, but I've enjoyed your feedback discussion this and last week about the merits and pitfalls of using pre-gen characters for Fate games. It reminded me of two frequent debates I have with my best friend about convention games.
    The first (and most relevant) is to pre-gen, or not to pre-gen. That, as they say is the question. I will admit that making new characters is probably one of my most favorite aspects of any RPG, and it can be particularly fun trying it out in a system I've never played (which is often times how I use my convention rpg time; to try out new game systems). While making your own character gives you a great deal more investment in the game, however, most con slots are only four hours long, and character creation can take 25-50% of your game time. I generally think that time is more productively spent diving into the game, even if it means playing with pre-gens.

    Fate can be a tricky exception, since SO MUCH of your experience (and even mechanics) depends in your familiarity and investment in the character. I played in multiple Fate games at Origins this year, and mileage varied with the pre-gens, with one notable exception. For this game, the GM had pre-genned stats and the first three Aspects (high concept, trouble, and background aspect), which gave us a good grounding in the character concept, but we spend the first part of the game completing the last two aspects in the Fate story-sharing fashion. This added SO MUCH to the game. It got us to not only invest in our pre-generated characters because we got to make them our own, but it also gave us invested connections to other characters (and players) at the table, which can be difficult to come by at a convention game where you are conceivably at an entire table full of strangers. We quickly developed a more home-game camaraderie thanks to our pre-game shared experiences, and in just 40 minutes, we were able to feel like we'd made the characters our own and had almost a pre-game game to build party unity before heading in. It definitely heightened my interests and emotional investment in the game, and made us play together (or against each other, as appropriate) in more interesting and informed ways. If I ever ran a convention Fate game, I would use this method!

    The other (more tangential) debate we have that I'd be interested to get your take on is regarding convention games in franchise universes (Star Wars, Avatar, Dresden Files, etc) and whether to use the canon characters as PCs. I usually share the general attitude against canon characters in ongoing campaigns (canon conflict, etc), but I tend to think of convention one-shots are the perfect exception to this rule. If you don't have time to make your own character, getting to play Han Solo or Avatar Aang or Harry Dresden is a great, unique experience, characters are already familiar with and invested in the characters, and you avoid canonical conflicts in planning a simple one-shot. My friends counterpoint is that, as someone who is still a fan but may not know as much about a given universe or character as other players at the table, he feels it too pressure to live up to the exact character instead of playing his own style.

    Anyhow, love the show; your 5th Ed campaign has prompted me to finally crack my copy of the PHB and start reading up so I can follow along at home. I hope you are getting kickbacks!


  2. what level are these characters?