I just got the super sexy VSF Seamaster 300M Diver in Ceramic and Titanium from Trusty and it's truly amazing. This may one day fall into the "Superclone" category. The clear case-back is like peeking through a window at the Louvre. There are a few small "tells" but they're pretty easy to get over. The look on the wrist is super classy, clean, and elegant. It's like putting on James Bond's tuxedo from Casino Royale. At 43.5 x 14.5 it's a pretty big tool watch but it wears much smaller than it's actual dimensions. It's very light and the soft rubber strap keeps it super-secure on the wrist.submitted by exotic_collector to RepTime [link] [comments]
Super Sexy Seamaster 300M Diver in Ceramic and Titanium Replica from VSF
https://preview.redd.it/etwwsf4r6tl51.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=52152d82c722ad3510de6d219415d3a574133b43submitted by Cyborg800_2004 to JamesBond [link] [comments]
A film that wasted a lot of potential. Like Dalton’s second film, Craig’s second was to be a revenge thriller with a stronger focus on character while providing hard-hitting action. Unfortunately, Quantum is a bit underwhelming. Licence To Kill and Tomorrow Never Dies both suffered from production issues, with the latter also having its script still be written during filming. I feel that Quantum’s issues are much more evident than Dalton and Brosnan’s second films, which is a shame considering the plot could have been even more compelling than Licence To Kill’s. Craig’s performance is not as good as his debut. A lot of this is due to the underwritten script. The intention was to show Bond at his coldest with him channeling his rage into his kills. Unlike Licence To Kill, which had Bond truly snap and forgo his duty to her majesty’s secret service, Bond remains dutiful with the ending have him state that the “dead don’t care about vengeance.” It is an interesting contrast between the two Bonds, but Bond’s character does not feel as developed as it should have been. He faces punishment for his actions, as well as killings he did not commit, but Bond never defends himself or opens up to M, resulting in her forcing him to hand over his weapon. It is understandable that Bond would be so driven to continue the mission, but the plot thread of Bond losing his licence to kill feels more forced compared to Licence To Kill or Die Another Day. Like Dalton, Craig gets to show more physicality and grit, but Dalton seemed to show more range in Licence To Kill.
Olga Kurylenko’s Camille is another character hellbent on revenge, but the comparison between her and Bond seems lost since Bond was ultimately not seeking revenge. Mathieu Amaric’s Dominic Greene is good on paper, being a wimpier, less terrifying villain; however, he fails to leave an impact like previous villains did. The action scenes are quite good, with the opening car and foot chases being the highlights. On a side note, I appreciate some of the references to previous films. The opening car chase in a cliffside is reminiscent of Dr. No and The Spy Who Loved Me, with the connection to the former being strengthened by the presence of construction and the chase ending with a car falling off the cliff and exploding. Another callback to Bond’s first film is Craig wearing a tuxedo almost identical to the one Connery wore in his first scene. Craig looked his best here, with a leaner body than in his first and a younger appearance than in the last three films. However, the callback to Goldfinger’s golden girl with Strawberry Fields, your typical sacrificial lion, being drowned in oil felt less like a tribute and more of a reminder of a better film, something Die Another Day had previously done.
A major criticism of Quantum of Solace is the poor editing. It is too haphazard and definitely prevents the action from being great. This carries through with the rest of the film, which is the shortest in the franchise. The relentless pace, which would have made more sense if Bond were truly out for revenge. The short length also adds more credence to the unfinished feel of the film. Marc Forster’s artistic aspirations can be seen with moments like the Tosca scene, but the poor script and editing prevent his vision from truly being realized. David Arnold’s final score for the franchise is a great one, possibly his best. “Night at the Opera” is an atmospheric tune and the action cues are exciting. Arnold’s scores for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are criticized for lacking the Bond theme, but I would say that earlier films such as A View To A Kill were guilty of this as well.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Licence To Kill were two Bond films that tried to distinguish themselves from their predecessors, but received mixed reviews. They were reevaluated by critics and fans and have received the praise they deserve. To be honest, I do not think Quantum of Solace will receive the same change in opinion. The aforementioned films had received some unfair criticism. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service will always be more remembered for being Lazenby’s sole film rather than being an impressively shot and scored film. Licence To Kill received criticism for being too different than previous films, despite the direction trying to go back to the source material and after critics and fans criticized the repetitive nature of previous film, and for feeling like an eighties action film, despite Bond always being a franchise that followed trends since the seventies. Quantum of Solace is fairly criticized for having an underbaked script and poor editing. The film resolves very little from Casino Royale, with the Quantum organization remaining an enigma. Spectre made the mistake of merging Quantum with SPECTRE which Quantum contrasted with in some ways. Bond seeking revenge for Vesper’s death also feels disconnected from the rest of the story. To conclude, a comparison between Dalton and Craig’s second films must be made. Licence to Kill is a film that was greater than the sum of its parts due to strong performances from Dalton and Davi and a great story and action. Quantum of Solace is a film whose elements fail to add up due to a seriously undercooked script.
"When the cards are down, I'm always on top."Profile
"When the cards are down, I'm always on top."Profile
|Spade Shot||Club Rounds||Diamond Bullet||Heart of Lead|
|Firing type||Hitscan||Arcing projectiles||Hitscan||Linear projectile|
|Ammo consumption||1 shot only||3 per shot, out of 21||1 per shot, out of 13||1 per shot, out of 6|
|Fire rate||1 shot per second (only in custom games with increased ammo)||1 shot per 0.8 seconds||2 shots per seconds||1 shot per 0.75 seconds|
|Damage||120-90||25 damage per round||50-30||65|
|Falloff Range||30-45m||No range limit||25-45||No range limit|
|Description||His Ace in the hole, the Spade Shot is a massive round that deals heavy damage.||The most unique type, the Clubs Rounds split into three pieces on fire.||Standard issue ammunition, stylized just for Ace.||Powerful at any range, his Hearts of Lead are illegal in many countries.|
"Time to roll the odds."Ace pulls out one of his abilities, and uses a souped-up version of it.
Hey folks. I’m pretty new to reddit and I haven’t seen a post like this on this subreddit yet, so I hope I’m not violating any unspoken norms, but here goes. A little while back, I ran a FATE Core game based on the premise of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. It ran weekly for about a year, a total of around 40 sessions around 3 hours apiece. I’m feeling an urge to talk about it, so I thought I’d post a debrief-style summary of the game here. I’ll start with a quick rundown of the way the game was constructed, then a (admittedly probably pretty long) summary of the game itself, and then finish up with what I learned from the experience and hope to apply in the future. I’m presenting this for a moment’s entertainment, inspiration, constructive criticism and suggestions. And of course, for vanity. Always vanity.submitted by gscrap to FATErpg [link] [comments]
This post is going to be a monster… it has taken about five hours to write and is sitting at around 12 pages on the google doc that I wrote it in, and I can’t find an option for collapsible spoiler blocks. So… sorry about that? TL;DR: It’s okay if you don’t want to read it all. We’re cool.
I may also crosspost it on other sites, because it was a lot of work. Haven't decided yet.
Constructing the Game
For a bit of background, this was a game I ran offline for three friends. It was our third game as a group, our second with me as the GM. I’ve been running games for a long time, mostly D&D but some White Wolf as well. I had never used FATE or really anything like it before, either as a player or GM, so it was pretty much all new to me. I chose FATE for this game because I wanted a generic roleplaying system that could encompass fantasy, sci-fi and realism-esque scenarios without too much modification. I was also looking for a rules-light system because my experiments with more complicated generic systems like GURPS and BESM had showed me that it was hard to maintain any kind of balance when players have different levels of experience and optimization ability.
The Kingdom Hearts video game franchise by Square Enix and Disney was, as I mentioned, the basic source for this game. If you’re not familiar with it, this post might not be of much interest to you, but I’ll give you a quick summary of the series anyway. The main characters travel between different worlds (most of which are based on Disney films like Aladdin and The Nightmare Before Christmas), meeting the characters of those worlds, exploring the settings, and battling an invading force of darkness (called the Heartless) while trying to find their friends and solve the mystery of the Heartless. Obviously there’s more to it than that, but that’s the basic premise.
The player characters in this game were meant to be the last survivors of worlds that had already been invaded and destroyed by the Heartless. The players were given the instruction to create an original character from an existing fictional or fictionalized world. I told them to imagine a certain level of power (think more Spider-Man and less Superman), but counted on the game system to keep all the characters balanced regardless of what their supposed power level might be. The game proper was to begin with their first meeting, after the destruction of their home worlds.
(As an aside, a world in this concept is essentially an entire separate universe with its own physics, technology and magic, but it’s really only as expansive as the story that gets told in it. So a world may be as large as a galaxy or as small as a building.)
As you might be able to tell from the setup, I was abandoning some of the central devices used in FATE and creating FATE characters. Since the characters had lost their home worlds and were going to be travelling between worlds, skills like Contacts and Resources didn’t really apply. Likewise, since they were meeting for the first time and all came from separate worlds, using tools like the Phase Trio to come with aspects also felt like a poor fit. So I made some modifications to the base system. These are presented as they actually happened, both ideas that worked out well and the ones that worked out poorly. So take them with a grain of salt.
For the player characters (as well as major helpful NPCs they met along the way), I set aside the usual ways of devising aspects and set the up like this. In addition to the High Concept, one aspect was devoted to the character’s World of Origin. This seemed like a good idea, because it could be invoked or compelled when a character was in or out of their element (so a character from a low fantasy world could invoke it when they were in a low-fantasy world to be familiar with the tropes of that genre, but it could be used against them if they’re in a futuristic space opera surrounded by technology they know nothing about). Instead of a Trouble, each character had a Darkness and a Light. This was a reference to one of the themes of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, the idea that every Heart has both light and darkness, and we are defined by what we choose to follow. In practice, these looked a lot like the World of Darkness’ Virtue and Vice traits: the best and worst aspects of the character’s nature. Because the first four aspects were pretty narrowly defined, the fifth aspect was left open for the player to use as they liked.
For Skills, I dropped Resources and Contacts for the reasons I mentioned above, and made a couple other alterations to suit a game that hops among vastly different universes. I changed Crafts to Tech (a more-or-less purely aesthetic change) and split Lore into Magic and Science. I think I also added Expression, as the skill of creating art. These weren’t really great moves-- Science (as distinct from Tech) and Expression were pretty much wastes of space as no one ever really used them. The Magic skill on its own would allow characters to understand and use magic that they encountered in their travels, and specific effects (i.e., casting spells) required stunts.
I also renamed Fate Points to Heart Points, a purely cosmetic change that brought the game a little closer to its Kingdom Hearts inspiration.
One of the other fundamental premises of FATE was also dropped: player collaboration in the creation of the world. I’m not a monster, and of course when players had suggestions about things they wanted, I would do my best to make them happen, but ultimately I was making all of the decisions about where they were going and what they were doing. Realistically, this was a pretty railroady game, but it was fun so I don’t think the players minded much.
One of the centerpieces of the game was a set of modular equipment that the player characters obtained around the end of the second session: the Keyblade that is emblematic of the Kingdom Hearts series, as well as a Magic Shield and Magic Staff. Each of these granted one stunt and one aspect (for example, the Keyblade could unlock things at the cost of a Heart Point, and had the aspect “A Sword of Terrible Destruction”). In addition, each of these items could be modified by attaching a Keychain, which altered its name and in-game appearance and granted either an additional aspect or (more often) an additional stunt. Each player started with a single Keychain representing their world of origin, and additional keychains were earned as story rewards, a new one each time the players defeated a boss and completed a world. In practice, this was represented by three envelopes with holes cut into them in different places so that different parts of an index card showed through depending on which envelope they went into.
I definitely made some alterations to the Kingdom Hearts premise as well. The Keyblade wielder was not automatically the central character of the story; all three characters got to share equally in the glory. I dropped Gummi Ship travel and Summoning, and most of the way magic worked. I also expanded the range of world options well beyond Disney films, as you’ll see in the summary. I retained a lot of series’ premises and conceits as well, like meeting an ally and teaming up with a native of each world. Some of the retentions were really poor choices in hindsight (notably, to the irritation of all you true FATE afficionados, I retained the combat focus of the video games, getting the player characters into Win-or-Die combats almost every session) but more on that in the “what I learned” section at the end.
The premise of the game, hopping around among different fictional worlds, allowed me a lot of opportunity to have fun with players. Sometimes they got to explore worlds they were familiar with and sometimes I got to introduce them to a new property they had never encountered before. I got to build in little jokes, in the names of aspects and stunts for NPCs, and use lots of media like music and pictures to set the appropriate tone (at one point, I even got to use a short excerpt of an audiobook). I even got to use my fairly meagre photo-editing skills to create some fun images (usually, transforming familiar villains into Heartless). I’ll include one of the cooler images in the summary below.
Also I got to do impressions. A lot of impressions.
For this summary, I’ll cite the many sources that I drew on in parentheses and italics.
To begin with, the characters that my players came up with were, in no special order:
Meky, an Ork Mekboy from the world The Grim, Dark Future (Warhammer 40,000). Meky’s backstory included that he had been created in an Eldar Lab with some sort of cognitive enhancement, such that he was moderately less of a mindless killing machine than most of his Ork brethren.
Imara, a guardian angel from the world of Innistrad (Magic: The Gathering); and
Rhiannon Blackwell, a young Ravenclaw student witch from the world of Hogwarts (Harry Potter series).
World 0: The Ocean Beyond Space and Time (Marvel’s Exiles comics)
After the destruction of their individual worlds, the characters fell through the space between worlds for an indefinite time, before suddenly appearing over an infinite ocean and landing in a little yellow life raft. After getting their bearings, discovering the mysterious Keychains they are each holding for some reason, and meeting each other, they spot a kitchen floating on surface of the water. Traveling to it, they meet the enigmatic Timebroker who explains that each of their worlds was destroyed when the Heartless consumed its heart, but they were saved from destruction because of their strong hearts, and he brought them to this Ocean outside of time and space to send them on their important mission. Before they can begin, however, they need to retrieve the treasures of this realm from another whose strong heart brought him to the Ocean after his world was destroyed, the pirate king Captain Bloth (The Pirates of Dark Water). He also gives them the Tallus Card, an artifact that will help him to guide their travels.
The PCs infiltrate Bloth’s pirate ship, fight the monstrous Constrictus in the hold, and ultimately kill Bloth and retrieve the treasures: a Key, a Rod and a Disc made of green crystal. By attaching their Keychains, they transform the treasures into the Keyblade (Meky), the Magic Staff (Rhiannon) and the Magic Shield (Imara). Meky also claims the gigantic pirate ship as his own, but he doesn’t have any time to enjoy it because the Timebroker’s magic whisks the group away to their first real world.
World 1: Monstropolis (Monsters Inc.)
The team appears in a bathroom stall. They encounter a furry blue monster, Sully, who is trying to find the creature he accidentally let into his workplace while working late. He is doubly freaked out when he sees Rhiannon, since she’s a child and children are toxic to monsters. After sorting out that mess, they search the building together and find the creature: one of the Heartless! They dispatch it, then retreat to Sully’s apartment to plan. They learn that the monsters of Monsters Inc. use special doors to travel to the human world to harvest the screams of children to power their city. Imara is not at all comfortable with this, but Rhiannon, who is used to magic working in strange and macabre ways, is weirdly OK with it.
Along with Sully’s roommate Mike, they infiltrate Monsters Inc. in disguise to look for a “special door” that will take them to another world. On the “scare floor” they battle a group of the Heartless along with the invisible evil monster Randall Boggs, which causes the rest of the monsters to flee and quarantine the floor. Using the Tallus Card, they make contact with the Timebroker who calls up two doors to other worlds, instructing them to travel to each world, defeat the Heartless there, and use the Keyblade to open the path back to this world. Mike and Sully stand guard as the PCs enter the first door.
World 2: Frank (Osmosis Jones)
The team arrives in what they quickly determine to be a colossal human mouth. They meet Osmosis Jones, a white blood cell charged with serving and protecting the world of Frank. Realizing that the Heartless are probably looking for the heart of Frank, they travel to his actual heart. There, in what is essentially a giant highway interchange, they do encounter the Heartless in the form of three viruses: Fever, Chill and Weird (Dr. Mario). They defeat the Heartless, but in the process do significant damage to the structure, getting all the PCs and Jones in trouble with the Mayor of Frank. They pretty promptly get out of trouble when the Heartless attack City Hall (a clever move by a player invoking one of the game aspects: “The Heartless are invading!”). The PCs finally find the Heartless leader, an original creation of mine called Opprobrius, guarding the world’s exit in the filthiest slum of Frank, the rectum. The combat is appropriately hilarious and gross, but the PCs prevail and destroy Opprobrius, opening the way to leave and try the second door.
World 3: Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, duh.)
They players arrive in a jungle. Searching around they find a triceratops being set upon by tiny Heartless dinosaurs. In the midst of battle, they have a tense encounter with a velociraptor, but ultimately it helps them to defeat the Dark Compsognathi. They carefully befriend the velociraptor, whom Meky names Red Shredda. Along with Red Shredda, they explore the island, avoiding most of the big dinosaurs, and finding the remains of human structures but no evidence of people. They locate food and get the computers and security cameras up and running, and locate where the Heartless are thickest. Meky takes the time to soup up a gas-powered jeep and they charge into battle, Meky at the wheel of his jeep, Rhiannon riding on Red Shredda and Imara flying above. They defeat the leader of the Heartless, another creation of mine called the Idolasaurus Rex, and move on again.
World 3.5: Back to Monstropolis
Back in Monstropolis, they meet Roz, a high-ranking government official. She informs them that the owner of Monsters Inc., Mr. Waternoose, is in league with the Heartless and has barricaded himself in another scare floor. The PCs agree to take out Waternoose in exchange for some supplies and unlimited use of the scare floor. They break into the backup scare floor and encounter Waternoose, empowered by the Heartless and backed by a couple of flying Heartless called Screamers. It’s a tough battle, but they triumph, earning the right to continue using the scare floor as long as they need it. Obligingly, the Timebroker retrieves two more special doors for them to use to access other worlds.
World 4: Hyrule (The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time)
The PCs arrive in a dark, spooky subterranean temple. They work their way through some puzzles, face some monsters, and learn that they are in the Shadow Temple (whatever that is). They encounter Navi, the fairy, who informs them that she was here with her ally Link, the Hero of Time, but that he was snatched up by a powerful Wallmaster (floating grabby hand). As they proceed through the Temple, Rhiannon also gets snatched up by a Wallmaster and finds Link trapped in a hidden chamber. Together they defeat the Wallmaster and work their way back to the others. More puzzles (basically, they just played through the Shadow Temple as in the video game, with a few of the less interesting puzzles removed), and face Bongo Bongo, a malevolent ghost that has been powered up by the Heartless. Defeating him, they unlock the path out. Rhiannon develops a teensy crush on Link, which Imara blows way out of proportion and never lets her forget about.
World 5: Royale-les-Eaux (Casino Royale)
The team comes upon a scene of destruction after a bomb has gone off in a French resort town. They battle the Heartless and rescue one of the bombing’s victims, a suave Englishman who introduces himself as Bond. James Bond. (This included one of my favorite moments in the game, when after the combat James approaches the angel Imara saying “My God, were you hurt? No, I don’t mean in the fight… I mean when you fell from Heaven.”)
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that another convention that I kept from the Kingdom Hearts series is that folks are pretty flexible about the weird strangers showing up in their midst.. Like, in the original games, no one seems particularly distressed by a giant anthropomorphic duck suddenly being a thing in their world. In this world, which is so like our own real world, no one was really troubled by the giant slavering green ork… they just figured he was “probably American.”
Anyway, the PCs team up with James Bond to take down his foe, the evil Le Chiffre. They learn to play baccarat, don appropriate evening wear (Meky modified his tuxedo to shoot a smokescreen when required), and take on Le Chiffre in a game of Chemin de Fer baccarat. They lose badly, partly because none of the players really understand baccarat yet, partly due to bad luck, and partly because Le Chiffre cheated with the help of the Heartless. On the way home from the humiliating defeat, they encounter two more Heartless foes in the form of the White Spy and Black Spy (Spy vs. Spy comics created by Antonio Prohias). They defeat the Heartless (or rather, trick them into defeating each other) and regroup. CIA operative Felix Leiter fronts them the money for another go at Le Chiffre (“It’s the least I could do, for a fellow American.”)
Thanks to some good luck and slightly less cheating on my part, the group manages to bankrupt Le Chiffre. At that point, a blonde woman in a pink dress offers to empower Le Chiffre with the power of the Heartless, and then disappears while Bond and the player characters take on the powered up gambler. They win, unseal the path, etc. etc.
World 7: Red Dwarf (Red Dwarf)
Back in Monstropolis, the Timebroker provides them with only one door and insists they must hurry as he senses the next world is on the brink. Arriving in a spaceship corridor amid an inky black haze, the PCs encounter first an Eldar warrior, then a Planeswalker and finally the great Harry Potter himself. The three inform the team that the Timebroker had made a mistake and they were never supposed to have been sent on this mission. To punctuate the point, they magically steal the characters’ magic weapons and abandon them in this empty world where they will be “safe.” The PCs explore the world, finding that it is a vast, empty spaceship with nothing to do, nothing in the vending machines but sprout soup, sprout salad and sprout surprise, and no company but a senile computer.
Gradually they are able to put together that they are being affected by a hallucinogenic toxin and find a way to counteract it. Together they rouse the other occupants of the ship and lead them into battle against the Heartless Despair Squid in the ship’s water supply. Another victory! Back in Monstropolis, the Timebroker provides them with two more doors, but cautions that in these worlds, the Heartless have been at work for some time and are rather entrenched.
World 8: Etheria (She-Ra, Princess of Power)
(For what it’s worth, this game ran before the She-Ra reboot was even announced. I was drawing inspiration entirely from the classic 80s Filmation series.)
The characters find themselves in a fantasy world that has been occupied by a Heartless army called the Horde. They take on a squad of troopers with the help of a princess called Adora who is a leader of the rebellion against the Horde. Together with Adora and another surprise ally, She-Ra (who is weirdly never seen at the same time as Adora. Weird.) they raid the fortress of the evil witch Shadow Weaver and her Heartless allies to rescue the rest of the rebellion. Then they lead the rebellion in a raid on the Horde’s headquarters in the Fright Zone, and clear another world of the Heartless menace.
(I know it reads fairly quickly, but this world took at least five or six sessions of game time as the players explored, roleplayed interesting encounters, built and repaired equipment and strategized their battle plans.)
World 9: Beach City (Steven Universe)
This time, the PCs arrive in a quiet beach town which is largely abandoned because it’s been under siege by the Heartless for some time. The usual defenders of the town, the alien Crystal Gems, are nowhere to be seen. The team meets young Steven Universe, a ward of the Gems, who explains that the Gems disappeared into their temple weeks ago and have not been seen since. Together, Steven and the PCs navigate the temple and find the Gems generating a shield to protect the heart of the temple (which is also the heart of the world) from Heartless attackers, led by the blonde in pink that they saw in Royale-les-Eaux (who has switched her dress for a bodysuit). The PCs square off two original creations I called Onyx and Obsidian. Just when victory seemed assured, Onyx and Obsidian fused together into Black Diamond, and the fight started over (this was my first use of the multi-stage bad guy trope (THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM)). Anyway, tough as Black Diamond was, the good guys won, although once again the woman in pink slipped away.
Instead of earning a Keychain with this victory, the heart of the world expressed itself in a different way: Each PC was embedded with a gemstone that allowed them to fuse together. This was a combination of the fusion used in the Steven Universe series and the Drive Formes from Kingdom Hearts II. Basically, how it worked was that any two PCs could spend a Heart Point each and combine together into one body. Each new form (every possible pairing of the three characters) had its own character sheet with a description, new aspects and better skills, and all of the two characters’ stunts plus a special superstunt. For example, Meky and Rhiannon combined into the Curiosity Forme, a four-armed giant who can use magic and technology interchangeably thanks to a stunt called “Clarke’s Third Law.” The major drawback is that the players both have control of the combined Forme and need to stay in synch: if they disagree too much, or if one player takes too much control, they automatically break apart. This was a fun mechanic to play with.
World 9.5: Back to Hyrule
Upon returning to Monsters Inc., the PCs learn that their ally Link is about to raid the fortress of the leader of the Heartless in Hyrule: the Great King of Evil, Ganondorf! This one played a little like the Shadow Temple, only the heroes had to navigate six chambers with different kinds of challenges before facing Ganondorf. There were riddles, a platforming challenge (being chased by a wall of fire!), and that sort of thing. They also faced off against not only a Heartless Shadow Link, but Shadow versions of Imara, Rhiannon and Meky as well. As those who have played Ocarina of Time might well imagine, Ganondorf was also a two-stage boss, first facing the Great King of Evil then the Heartless-empowered Ganon. At the end of this fight, having already gained the Keychain of this world the last time they were here, they got a power-up from the Triforce itself, earning the ability to fuse all three together into the completely badass Master Forme.
World 10: Dead Manhattan (Marvel Zombies)
They find themselves in a city that has been torn apart, with apparently no one left alive. The PCs are attacked by cannibalistic zombie versions of Angel and Beast of the X-Men, realizing to their horror that these creatures aren’t being influenced by the Heartless, they’re just the awful inhabitants of this world. They destroy Angel and decapitate Beast, keeping the helpless but still animate head of Hank McCoy as a fun prop for the rest of this world. Proceeding through the city, they meet the Black Panther, protector of a small handful of human survivors hiding out beneath the city (again, for what it’s worth, this campaign was run before the global phenomenon that was the Black Panther movie. I chose the character because he featured in the Marvel Zombies comics, and because he’s the best Marvel hero (Fight Me)). Getting back to the survivors, the PCs meet the mutant Forge, but also realize that they have led Zombie Spider-Man and a gang of Zombie Heartless right to the survivors. There follows a brief and bloody battle, and then the team heads off to raid Avengers Tower.
There, with help from Forge and Black Panther, Meky modifies one of Spider-Man’s tracer beacons to work between worlds. Afterward, on the top floor, they encounter the woman in pink. She’s weirdly calm and gracious as she introduces herself as Dr. Blight (Captain Planet and the Planeteers) and tells them that she has been working as an agent for the Heartless ever since they helped her destroy her own planet. The reason she’s so chill now is that on this world she has created her ultimate weapon, and after it’s gone she’ll just keep moving it from world to world consuming as she goes. She leaves, but not before they plant the interdimensional tracer on her, and not before she sees the arrival of the ultimate consumer of worlds… a Heartless Zombie Galactus.
Modified from an image I found on google. Unfortunately I can't find an artist to credit. Anyone know who did the original?
The players have to scramble to create some kind of weapon capable of neutralizing Galactus, but after an epic battle with the help of Black Panther and some surprise help from Zombie Hulk, they bring him down. And then they get the heck out of that blighted and terrible world.
Back in Monstropolis, the Timebroker informs them that the tracer has worked and he knows where Dr. Blight is based a world called The Universal Library. Trouble is, like the Ocean Beyond Space and Time, it’s “not a real world,” and they can’t travel to it by means of the doors. They finally come up with a plan so crazy it might work, to travel to a world that is on the brink of destruction, and then let it fall so they can travel to the Library through the space between worlds. The trouble is, they would have no way of getting back to Monstropolis. Hmmm.
World 11: Fantasia (The Neverending Story)
This world is presented as one where the Heartless have already succeeded in consuming its heart, and it exists now only as a few stones spinning through space until they finally disappear. The PCs spot a gleaming white tower and make their way to it, and they meet the last survivor of this world, the Childlike Empress. She explains that she can give them a tiny fragment of the heart of her world, and that it is the seed from which the world can be made again. She extracts a promise that they will find a way to make her world anew, then gives them the seed which transforms into a Keychain. This is, incidentally, a big step toward resolving some of the lingering mysteries of the game-- the Keychains are a piece of the world’s heart, and any piece of the world’s heart can be used to make the world anew. So the characters have been carrying around the means to rebuild their worlds from the very beginning. Pathos!
Then the last of Fantasia disappears and the characters spend a little time floating melancholically in space. Then, Meky’s pirate ship from the beginning of the game sweeps in to conduct them to their final challenge. (Soundtrack: https://youtu.be/uaadF_VSvIE?t=137)
World 12: The Universal Library (original-ish)
So, after breaking through the Heartless defenses around the Universal Library, the characters navigate a maze of bookshelves and have some book-related encounters (Rhiannon finds a copy of the Monster Book of Monsters from her own world, then they fight a Heartless version of the Library Ghost from Ghostbusters). They first take on Dr. Blight and her evil computer M.A.L., then press past her chamber to find the real mastermind behind it all. He introduces himself as Gehn (Myst series) and explains that using his power he created all of the worlds the characters visited by writing them into his special linking books. Determining that he is evil and insane, the team takes on Gehn. To achieve his second stage, Gehn draws on the power of the books he has written and combines himself with bosses that the characters already faced, the Idolasaurus Rex, the Despair Squid and the evil gems Onyx and Obsidian, to become Giga Gehn. He was an impressively powerful baddie, but the PCs pulled out all the stops and combined into Master Forme with carefully selected Keychains on all their weapons, and basically thrashed him easily.
After the defeat of Gehn, the characters encounter the true master of the Universal Library, the old wizard The Pagemaster (The Pagemaster). He explains that the books can be used to travel among worlds as easily as the doors (“For what is a book, besides a doorway to another world?”), and then explains that the process of restoring a world from a Keychain-seed is different for every world. He helps them to restore Fantasia by giving the Childlike Empress a new name (to my eternal shame, I didn’t write down what name the players chose, and I cannot remember it), and helps Rhiannon to restore her own world. He tells her that she can return to her world now and give up the quest, but she decides she can’t go home until she’s helped Meky and Imara restore their worlds as well. Thus endeth the game.
Secret World 13: Who-Ville (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
The Christmas season after the game ended, my players and I got together with our partners for a Christmas party. Had a nice dinner, played some board games. Y’know, the stuff mature adult nerds do. As a special treat for the players, I read out a poem I wrote for them featuring their characters battling the Heartless in the Seussian world of the Grinch. It was mostly for laughs, making good use of the in-jokes we developed over the year, but it deserves a mention here because I declared it canon and gave them a Keychain at the end. Basically, they harass the Grinch and then fight a giant Heartless using the power of Christmas. If you’re curious, I have the whole thing in a google doc.
What I Learned, and Will Hopefully Apply If I Run It Again or Run a Sequel Game
So, yeah, that was the game. The door has been left intentionally open for a sequel, but there are some bugs I need to work out first. The game was tremendously fun, don’t get me wrong, but there were some issues of ill-fit between the system and the way I was trying to use it that became annoyances and I’m hoping to address those before I venture back in.
I don’t mind that I abandoned the collaborative world-building elements that are typical for FATE. Taking charge of what worlds they were entering allowed me to surprise and delight my players and challenge them to think creatively in ways that I think would be more difficult if they had more input into where things were going. Moving forward, I would like things to be a little more open-world(s) where they’re not just following rails through the story, but I’m still putting thought into how to achieve that.
The biggest issue I could perceive in the game was the issue of frequent combat. This is largely my own fault for basing it on a game where combat is the main gameplay element, and in which the collective enemy is explicitly a force bent on the mindless destruction of everything that exists. That made it really hard to escape from Win-or-Die combats occurring at almost much every major plot event. Add to that that the most interesting feature of this game is modular weapons, and deathmatches felt pretty inescapable. Although probably the right answer is modifying the premises of the game and universe such that combat is a less central feature, most of the thinking I’ve been doing around it has been how to keep the combat and fix the other issues.
As far as I have been able to tell, the most fundamental problem with frequent Win-or-Die combat is that it gets boring. Although the way conflicts are run in FATE makes for combats that are narrative and cinematic, tactically there seems to be very little difference from one to the next. I did my best, especially later in the game, to provide settings and bad guys that required the players to think laterally rather than just charge in swinging (several of the later bosses like Ganondorf and Galactus were technically invincible, so the players had to find ways to bend the rules in order to win), but the mechanics of the game are so simple that this is hard to achieve mechanically. I like the idea of incorporating sets of rules for more tactical combat, so I’m interested in suggestions around this. I’m also thinking about ways to engage in conflicts beyond the physical and mental, like having to take someone down in a financial conflict in a world like Royale-les-Eaux, or a music-based world where the enemy is defeated with the Power of Rock.
Relatively early on, we stopped using Boosts in conflicts. I like the idea of them, but when combat takes up a significant percentage of your play time and you have to come up with ideas for a dozen boosts every session, it gets either very repetitive or very frustrating, or both. Instead, I just introduced the idea of Momentum where, if you would gain a boost instead you gained Momentum which gave you +2 on your next roll. You can’t stockpile Momentum, you use it on the next roll whether you need it or not. It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s way less creative but quicker and easier.
Another issue that came up from the combination of frequent combat and regular worldhopping is this: the only real consequences that the players had to deal with long-term were the ones that they carried with them. An injury travels from world to world, but if you mess up something in the world, you can just move onto the next and forget about it. As a result, my players hoarded their Heart Points for more or less exclusive use in combat. The best I’ve been able to come up with to address this issue is to have separate pools of points for battle and non-battle purposes, although now that I think of it, it would probably also be a good idea to move away from the trope of hitting each world once. If the characters actually have to revisit worlds they’ve already messed up, they might have more investment in making sure things go smoothly outside of combat too.
I also would probably switch to a model where refresh happens at story points rather than at the start of each session. At least once (maybe more than once?) I can recall the players saying “Let’s stop here for tonight. I want to refresh my Heart Points before the next scene.” And I’d rather avoid that being a thing.
A final issue that I noticed with the frequency of conflicts (and also exacerbated by worldhopping lack of consequences, I guess) is the fact that certain skills wound up being a LOT more useful than others. Meky and Imara had nearly identical skill pyramids by the end of the game, and the only real difference for Rhiannon was emphasizing Magic instead of Fight. If I stick with frequent combat in future iterations of this idea, I’ll probably want to subdivide some of the more combat-relevant skills so that at least each one is less obviously more important than the non-combat skills. Coming up with combat uses for non-combat skills is also on my drawing board, probably as one piece of introducing more tactical rules.
Another thing that I noticed in running this game was that aspects weren’t working quite the way I expect them to. There was very little compelling of aspects-- it came up maybe ten times over the span of the whole campaign. I think partly this was the lack of investment in any given world, but also I probably wasn’t encouraging the players to generate aspects that were sufficiently double-edged. I certainly wasn’t giving the NPC’s interesting enough aspects… to be honest, I mostly used their aspects as a chance for wordplay and referential jokes. The players didn’t really invoke aspects outside of combat either (see above re: hoarding points), which led them to go for mostly combat-relevant aspects. I suppose using separate pools would be one solution to this, but I’m open to ideas for others.
So, that’s the story. If you actually read the whole thing, I am both grateful and impressed. I warmly welcome any questions and constructive comments. Destructive comments I will welcome less warmly, but I’m pretty easy-going so feel free to rip me a new one if that would bring you joy.
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