Wednesday, 16 July 2014

FATE Dixie 2: episode 01, chargen

As mentioned quite a while ago, I ran a sample game of FATE Core this year to test out the ruleset. The game rather shook my optimistic view as I discovered that my initial difficulty getting my head around some concepts hadn't, as I thought, melted away with reading. But we'll get onto that later.

Here, we do chargen, which FATE Core is at pains to point out is part of the gameplay. This sounds kind of cheesy but (leaving aside things like how it's very different from everything you do once you start on stuff most people would consider "playing the game") is broadly true, in the sense that it's fun and helps establish what's actually going on. The game as described expects players to be guiding events quite substantially, so rather than turning up to a game and being presented with a pre-crafted world of the GM's devising, you collaborate on it.

Episode 1

The Episode

I had a fair bit of fun with this session, despite being plagued by insecurity (as per usual) about whether I was doing it right, and how much to steer things. There was definitely a bit of heavy-handedness at times, such as me basically picking the setting we'd use, but in my defence this was largely a reaction to ideas being proposed that I couldn't possibly do, and in some cases I'm not sure anyone could do. Games about cyberpunk copyright lawyers could well be interesting and is presumably technically doable with FATE, but it's a major departure from the basic "action adventure" premise and not very suited to first contact with the system.

Arthur, Dan and I actually have pretty substantial differences in what media we're familiar with, which means in these situations we end up proposing things each other don't really know anything about. This is very largely down to me having watched very little TV; I saw the odd thing at other people's houses, there was a narrow window from about 1993-1998 when I watched a lot of Saturday morning TV, then I basically watched the odd episode of Buffy and drifted back out of the habit.

It's not like we were anti-TV in our house, it's just my brother broke the set when I was a mere babe, and we couldn't afford a replacement until I was about 7 or 8, by which point nobody in our family had a TV-watching habit; we read or listened to the radio instead. And that TV was black-and-white and fuzzy, so it wasn't exactly amazing viewing, it was maybe 1995 before we had a colour model. So yeah, I've never really had the attention span to sit for long periods and just watch a screen - I need more active entertainment. At least with the radio you can do other stuff at the same time.

It's not like I think TV is bad or anything, and in fact I've missed out on a lot of shared pop culture and worthwhile stuff by not watching it, which I sometimes regret. A lot of my pop culture comes second-hand, and I make some effort to catch up on the odd thing, but mostly films (manageable) rather than TV (watching 20+ hours of something is pretty much beyond me). A lot of what I did end up watching was documentaries, because that's what the family bothered tuning into. And Doctor Who, of course. The old version.

Once we settled on the premise, pinning down the details was fairly straightforward. Again, I've seen remarkably few Westerns and almost all of those were parodies or post-Westerns (I think everything but The Magnificent Seven, in fact) so even this was a little tricky for me. Luckily, I have seen Bravestarr.

I'm occasionally concerned about how much of my media consumption is parodies. It may well exceed the amount of non-parody stuff I read/watch/listen to. There are probably genres I've only encountered in parody.

I ended up really liking this world, so I vaguely hope to one day get back to it and kick up some more mischief.

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