Sunday, August 3, 2014

Avengers Accelerated: The Sacrifice Play (part 5/5)


Joss has six players who want to participate in a supers game, called Avengers Accelerated, that uses the Fate Accelerated Edition rules. They've finished the conflict and are moving to the final phase of the Battle of New York. The participants are TonySteveClintNatashaBruce, and Thor. Joss's adversary character Loki, backed up by the invading Chitauri force (created as a character using the Fate fractal). New York City is also built as a character.

I'm using FAE stats for all the Avengers, posted here. The sheets include aspects, approaches, and stunts.

You can reread Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the session.

The conflict between the Avengers, Loki, the Chitauri invasion force, and New York City was resolved. Loki conceded, and New York City escaped without taking Consequences.

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I could play through the final moments with Tony and the warhead, but that could as easily be a matter of pure roleplaying. So instead, I wanted to talk about the decisions that went into this mock game session. 

Use of the Fate fractal for the Chitauri and New York City. This was one of the most remarked-upon choices in Part 1. I did it for two major reasons: first, it simplifies the combat by minimizing the number of actors; and second, it presents the players with a clear success-or-failure indicator ("New York City has to survive"). Ryan Macklin talks about when not to use the Fractal here; I hope that my staging of this combat was a good example of when to do so.

Use of the basic Fate Accelerated rules for a big superhero battle. Why didn't I use Atomic Robo, or Venture City Stories, or whatever? Because I didn't need to. You can make Fate Core and FAE work for supers with the right set of assumptions. Here are mine:
  • The PCs and NPCs can roll on any action that's reasonable for their origin and powers.
  • As long as everyone has something interesting to do, differences in power level are fine.
That's it! Now: is this for everybody? Absolutely not. Many people like more crunch. For them, crunchier rules are the right thing. But for a fast, fluid, engaging supers game, Fate by itself works fine.

Use of Fate Accelerated vs. Fate Core. FAE's approaches are less granular than Fate Core's skills, and the risk of approach spamming is a reality in any game. In trade, I don't need to add new skills or anything else to account for all the things these characters can accomplish. Thor doesn't need high levels of Physique, Fight, and Shoot to do what he does; he's Forceful by nature, and he's good at it. Everything Tony's great at is Clever or Flashy, from his plans to his weapon attacks. And so on.

Use the right rules, and only the right rules, to do what you want. I skipped zones entirely for the fight - I only made location significant at one point of the fight (Natasha getting to the portal device), and since location didn't add any value, neither did the zones rules. Similarly, I pulled in the Marvel-style initiative system posted here by Ryan M. Danks. For Fate in particular, I personally prefer this to rolling initiative since it gives the PCs power to orchestrate interesting fights.

This is basically how Mike Lindsey runs his supers game. You can read more of his thoughts, collected here, under the label "Four-Color FAE".

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This series of posts wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of the following people:
  • +Mike Lindsey for writing a series of excellent articles on running superhero games in Fate Accelerated, and actually running such a game.
  • +Reagan Taplin for getting the ball rolling on the idea of depicting Fate mechanics via the Avengers movie, and for supplying several page images.
  • Ryan M. Danks for the Avengers pregens which helped me write my own, and for the initiative rules used in the conflict.
  • William Keller for spurring me to write full sheets for everyone, which gave us Natasha's Wounded Gazelle Gambit and made Clint Barton an advantage-generating machine.
  • Luca Bonisoli, Samuel Purdy, and Avram Grumer for some feedback on Part 1 that helped clarify parts of the text.
Thanks for reading Avengers Accelerated! Now, go forth and game!