Thursday, 7 April 2011

F is for Fate and Fortune

You may begin to see a trend with Blogging A to Z entries in that I'll mix liberally observations of a game mechanic with player and gamemaster experience along with ideas for game fiction. It's a sweet potion that sometimes burns like a good American Whiskey!

Fate and Fortune might just be an example of this very brew.

Before FFG released Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 3rd Edition (curse you FFG), the new lead designer for WFRP, Jay Little, posted an open solicitation to players of WFRP 2e (while FFG still harbored any plans of 2e support I suppose) on how the community at large used the game mechanics of Fate and Fortune. Unfortunately, the post appears to be lost to time (following a major relaunch of both the FFG website and the new edition of WFRP), as well as any conclusions Jay may have reached from the community.

The fate and fortune mechanic is simple: player characters (PCs) are a cut above the scum earning pennies on the street begging or slogging through life on barely subsistence wages. The "gods" have granted them a greater purpose. This purpose is expressed in Fate Points. They kind of act akin to a cat's "nine lives." The PC only has a limited number, at most three for humans, less for demi-humans (elves, dwarves, and halflings). The number of Fate Points a PC has also equals the number of Fortune Points a PCs has. Fortune Points are a renewable resource and represent the small ways "fortune smiles" on the PCs. In game, this might be just a re-rolled test or a faster riposte.

The rules for both are pretty clear and abuse is limited. Thus players are advised in the core rules to use Fate carefully, and Fortune liberally. You don't get more, except as advised to the GM later, and as Fate diminishes so does Fortune.

I've only had Fate Points played twice--maybe my game is not grim and perilous enough! The first time occurred with a new player in his first combat with a goblin: critical hit death blow. Fate spent, he was unconscious the rest of the combat and suffered with a sore jaw (mechanically insignificant). Recalling this session makes me cringe a bit: I let a die roll potentially sour a new player to the game by robbing the character of a very finite resource in an encounter that should have been fun. Truly a "teachable moment."

The second time: a veteran PC faced two gruesome outcomes in reaching for an amulet made of pure warpstone. Either have his head shrink by half (think about the concussion) or lose his arm to a withering mutation. The player panicked at both outcomes and spent a Fate Point. I dealt with it as recommended by the book: took his Fate Point and gave him a vomiting sickness that lasted through out the day. He was unapproachable, surrounded by an air of sour bile, crusty clothing, and dry heaving for 24 hours. It made him vulnerable in combat as the dry heaves left him unable to Dodge or Parry. The PC later earned a Fate Point for performing a heroic act literally shielding several merchants from a zealot holding an explosive device...maybe there'll be an entry later about stealing present day horrors and using them in your WFRP game.
Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10

 

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