Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fate, Blood & Seven Sins: The Seven Sins

The core of Fate, Blood & Sevens Sins are of course the Seven Sins. They describe vampire player characters and what they are capable of doing. They replace the approaches of FAE.

The Seven Sins

Each sin is described from the perspective of someone having a high rating in that particular sin.
  • Envy: Wanting, needing, taking. Envy is used to get things, to take stuff away, to get it into your possession. The impulse to grab, to steal, to cheat and to swindle.
  • Gluttony: Hunger and thirst. Gluttony is used to drink, to feed, to supply you with blood and thus power. The impulse to gorge yourself, because tomorrow there might be nothing left.
  • Greed: Keeping things, defending what is yours. Greed represents your hoarded possessions and your knowledge. You keep them in a tight grip, refusing to let go. Like a spider in a web or a dragon on his hoard, you let nothing escape.
  • Lust: Turning someone on, getting them to do what you want, getting them to want you. Lust is used to have your way with people. You are walking desire. They starve for your attention. You are the flame, they are the moths.
  • Pride: Turning someone down, refusing them. Pride is your armor. Let others bend knee, let them bow. You are too good for that. You will not bend. You will not do as you are told and fulfill other people's desires at your own cost.
  • Sloth: Age cools your blood. With age comes power. Sloth represents that. Your blood  turns cold in your veins. It runs heavy, not easily roused. You are a rock, secure in your own abilities. Let them come, you will prevail.
  • Wrath: Violence and the inclination for using violence. Wrath gets you in a fight and sees you emerge victorious. You are uncontrollable, rash, hair-triggered. Always ready to pounce on your opponents and tear their throat out. You don't stop when your opponent is down. You go all the way in your red-hot rage.
I'll post a more detailed description of the Seven Sins later, including the four actions: overcome, create advantage, attack, defend for each.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fate, Blood & Seven Sins: Taking Stock

It's been a long time since I took a look at Fate, Blood & Seven Sins my planned Fate Hack (dare I say game?) about vampires. Last I did a lengthy write up in German and had one test game. After that game I shelved the project again. My last attempt included options for building mythology, gifts of the blood and most importantly a definition of the seven sins as approaches/skills and how they interact in a pretty specific way. Play testing went reasonably well. Players were complaining that getting blood was too easy mechanical-wise and didn't feel right (basically, it was just a scene played out without any rolls).

By now I had some time to think about what I am trying to achieve and why:

  • I want a game that appeals to those of my players who like Fate.
  • I want to have a replacement for the current rules set of Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem available because I find VtM deeply flawed system- and setting-wise, and I don't really like the changes to VtR 2.0. On top of that I find both systems cumbersome.
  • I want a game about vampires, because they continue to fascinate me, and they are the Urban Fantasy I am most comfortable with.
  • I want to use Fate because it is an OGL/Create Commons licensed game engine that easier to hack compared to PtbA. Also Fate is enjoying quite the popularity.

After defining what I want and why, let's take a look at the Vampire games (Masquerade and Requiem) and see what I think their strengths are:

  • A rich and deep mythology, especially VtM shines with its Caine myth.
  • Turning vampirism in a struggle vs. self through mechanics (namely humanity and frenzy).
  • Emphasizing the dependency of a vampire on blood; portraying the vampire as an addict.
  • Faction wars (or rather intrigues) that put the actions of a single character into a greater context.

But I still wanted my game to be different. Therefore I introduced things like mythology and city creation, etc. That was an attempt to differentiate Fate, Blood & Sevens Sins as a toolbox for building your own unique vampire game (kind of like Vampire City). But I realize now that I already have a strong vision of things I want in a vampire game and things I don't want to be there. So, instead of a toolbox the next time around it will be mythology of my own devising. Probably there'll be parallels to existing mythology, but mostly it's planned as a grounding for the game to give it a stronger hook.

What also needs to be differentiated is the genre of the game. VtM and VtR both lean heavily in the direction of horror and intrigue. I know that both games often hit the table as "superheroes with fangs" or an intrigue-load that turns people off. Also, Gothic music still shows its influences heavily in the games. So I am not sure yet, if Fate, Blood & Seven Sins should do things differently. Personally, I like the slick and stylish aesthetics of movies like Blade, Underworld and We are the Night, or the creepy horror of Byzantium and Let the Right One In, or the languid atmosphere of Only Lovers Left Alive.

At the moment, the only thing I have nailed down firmly in my opinion are the Seven Sins. They replace the FAE approaches for doing things. Their definition seems to be valid, in so far that they all do very specific things. Expect to see them here soonish.

That's it. This where I stand, and where my ideas are taking me.