Ultimately this will be a hybrid forum RP using the FATE mechanics. The mechanics are rather light, but they do provide some structure for character building and roleplay, which is nice because I feel the main thing that drags down freeform RPs is people doing things they probably shouldn't be able to do, and FATE's main advantage is that it gives you rules around doing incredibly awesome things or even adding your own touches to the story... every once in awhile. Instead of in every post. Because we are using FATE, this will be a bit slower and possibly a bit more GM oriented than some RPs in the past, but I will try to give you situations where you don't have to wait for my confirmation every post.
What you need:
~A way to roll 6 sided dice. I like http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm, though it's a bit more complicated than you need. Random.org works too. We'll be using the honor system here because we're all mature adults... well, most of us anyway. If you have a problem with the honor system we could use Roll20 so I can check that rolls are valid, but I don't want to force people to sign up for a site to play.
~ A word processor, notepad, some sort of system to keep track of your character's few vital statistics and Fate Points. The numbers are low, generally 2 to 4 for each stat, so yeah.
~ Enough time to check in at least once or twice a day and post. This is important so that we can go at a sane click.
Yeah, that's it.
~A character sheet. I'll be providing a text based form, but if you want to look up and download the actual sheet, I find that is always helpful for visualizing the game.
~The FATE Core book. It's a free download, and reading it will always help. However, the game is honestly so simple that this is optional. And there's some stuff that I might even ignore or change around a bit. But if anything confuses you, or you want a head start on character creation, this is where to go.
How the Game Will Work
First, we'll determine a setting and the premise of the setting. That's this topic. (Yeah, there's rules for group setting creation in the book!) Then, knowing what the game will actually be about, we'll create characters in a seperate topic. Finally, we'll start playing in the last topic.
Here's how I envision play- this is technically a tabletop game, so it'll be slightly different than a 100% freeform RP because I'm going to be the storyteller, and give you guys things to do and situations to overcome. So, I give you a scenario, you react to it, etc. Occasionally I'll tell you to make a roll if you want to do certain actions, you roll, I tell you the level of success or failure, maybe add in a little bit of detail of my own, and then you can respond to that result... or just say “yep that happened” and continue on. If you fail, you might get hurt. If you get hurt too much, you might suffer a Consequence, which will be defined based on situation.
There's one other mechanic you should know about. Basically, there's Fate Points that you can use when Stuff is Happening and you want a boost to rolls, or the ability to reroll, or just the go-ahead to do something really cool. As long as you can justify it by linking it to your character's Aspects (Aspects are important character traits, I will explain what these are in more detail when we create characters), you can then spend a Fate Point to do that thing. You can also spend a FATE point when you want to bring in a story element that otherwise you might have to ask the GM about, like saying "oh hey look there's an path deeper into the dungeon here". (just don't abuse this, lol). Basically, FATE points are your currency for doing otherwise gamebreaking things. You start with 3 and you'll get more at a pretty good click. Just say you're spending them at the beginning of the post.
This might seem a little mechanic heavy, but do keep in mind that I've basically just explained the entire game in a nutshell. Sure, I skipped a few details here and there, and yes there's a few more mechanics involved with character creation. Still, this should be a pretty loose game, which makes it pretty easy for forum play, I'd think.
The game will be a play-by-post game, and it might be slightly slow because of timezones and such. This is better than trying to get all our seperate time zones into a game at the same time. I will attempt to define certain times each day that I will be available on the IRC, so you can know that I'll be around during those times if you plan on doing anything dramatic.
So what now?
Well, first, if you're interested, feel free to sign up. Due to the nature of the game, I'm looking from anywhere from 3 to 8 players (8 might be a bit much, but I think if it's forum based I can handle it, and I don't want to turn down anyone if I can avoid it.
Since I haven't yet posted the exact character creation rules, I will understand if you see them and withdraw your sign up. Ideally this won't happen but nevertheless I do understand >_>
Second, I need some details on what we're going to play. If you have any particular ideas on what you'd like to play, I'd be happy if you could chime in on these factors:
Basic Setting: Anything from modern day to fantasy, and anything between.Other ideas: Steampunk, Modern Fantasy, Sci Fi, etc. I'd like everyone to at least chime in on this bit.
Scale: Would you prefer an epic scale, traveling the world, fighting world-changing events? Or would you like something smaller scaled, like surviving in a hostile town?
Issues: More detailed conflicts that the players might face. Are they going to fight a mob boss? A dark lord? An alliance of superpowered soccer moms? Or maybe they need to just pass the most difficult class in the school. Issues are basically the actual premise of the game.
Those three are the main things needed for a game, any other details are also appreciated.
You could also just point to someone else's ideas and say “hey that's good”. Feel free to object to someone else's ideas as well, I don't want to run a game that certain players just wouldn't have fun in.
If I don't get any interesting ideas and people are generally ambivalent to picking a setting, we're just going to do generic fantasy. But if you want to do something more interesting than that, now is the time to make suggestions!
((Finally, this is an experimental game. If this doesn't work, I'll host a 100% freeform RP instead. Though the stuff about picking the setting stands, I don't have any preferences to what we type of game we play.))
Dice Rolls in FATE
So whenever you have to roll something, you roll 4 6 sided dice. If you get a 1 or 2, that's a -1( or just a "minus", if it's easier to think of it that way.). If you get a 3 or 4, that's a 0. If you get a 5 or 6, that's a +1 (or just a "plus"). Then you add up the results. That should give you anywhere from -4 (all 1s or 2s) to +4 (all 5s or 6s). Then you add to that number the corresponding "Skill", and any other bonuses you've got from "stunts" or "aspects".
So if you got a 0, -1, +1, and +1, you'd have a total of +1, which is considered fair. But if you were rolling a skill that you're trained in at a +2 level, that would be a +3 total, which is pretty awesome.
Alternatively, you roll a 0, -1, -1, -1. That's a -3, and even with all your training you only bring it up to a -1. But then you can decide that's balls, and that you're going to be cooler than that because this check relates to your character in some way, and you "invoke an aspect" to play a fate point. You then can add another +2 from the Fate point to get a +1 in total. Not bad for one of the worst dice rolls possible.
So yeah. Roll 4 6 sided dice, add up the result according to the standard above, add bonuses from skills (and stunts, but we'll talk about those later), and if you can justify it maybe spend a fate point.
Sometime you'll be rolling against an arbitrary DC, other times you'll be rolling against an enemy's rolls. But that's gameplay in a nutshell. There's one more major thing I want to go into, and that's exactly what an Aspect is and you use them, but I'm going to do that in the character creation topic.
OK guys, I apologize, one more bit of rules, this time about FATE POINTS. This is mostly all stuff I've mentioned before, but I wanted to be explicit and have it all in one place. Also, mentioning compels for the first time, which is a great feature, but also a box of worms, which is why I've waited so long to bring it up.
Fate Points are basically wildcards that your characters can use to truly excel in specific situations. You start with 3, and you will gain FATE points for reaching major points in the story, accomplishing major goals, accepting Compels (see the end of this post), and anything else that I find worth rewarding.
Invoking an Aspect
This is the numerical, mechanical way to use a Fate Point. Basically, when making a skill check, you can get a +2 boost to your roll, IF you can explain how it's relevant to your character's aspects or the situational aspects.
Example: You've got “Hatred of Midgets”. You are fighting a Midget. You use a FATE point to give yourself a +2 to Fight that midget, because he really pisses you off. ((Disclaimer: This is just an example, please do not hate on midgets and beat them up.))
Example: It's rainy. Situational aspect is “Low Visibility”. Normally this would be a problem for you, but you can also use it to your advantage by spending a FATE point and using it to enhance your sneak roll. That would represent going out of the way to use the rainy environment to your advantage while sneaking.
Declaring a story detail
Now, this is where things get interesting. Well, I'll just start by actually pulling out the relevant page.
Paying for Stunts
Some stunts are powerful and require an active FATE point to be payed to use them. I think we've covered that pretty well.
If you're asking for a favor, I may very well say “hey bro, spend a FATE point and you can do that”. Or I may not. Depends on the request. But again, FATE points are a wildcard and a bargaining chip. For example, asking me to throw certain vehicles or equipment your way, I'm totally willing to do so if you're willing to spend a FATE point for it!
Ok, there's one more important FATE concept that I haven't talked about yet, mostly because they're really tricky to adapt to the forum setting. But basically, something particularly bad happens to you and you get a FATE point out of it to use later.
For example, I might PM you “hey do you want to fall into this pit, even though you passed your notice check? I'll give you a FATE point”.
And you can say “hell yeah sweet FATE point!” or “hell no I don't know what's down there”. You might even say “wait a second... just how deep is the pit?”
So that part is something you don't have to concern yourself with. It's mostly on my end. HOWEVER, there's one other thing to be aware of:
You have the right to suggest a compel for your character. You can ask me “Hey can I fall into this trap even though I passed this check with flying colors?” and I will probably say “Sure” and give you a FATE point. This is completely 100% optional, but it is a way to get FATE points, as well as enhance the drama of the story.
The main take-away here really is that FATE points (and Compels) can be used to change the story in unexpected ways. There's a lot of room for creativity here, so don't be afraid to ask.
As far as I know, there's only one segment of rules I need to introduce, and that's Combat. Because there is a structure to combat, and I think it's best just to explain when we get there. It's not that hard though, and is mostly just a variation on the standard mechanics.