Thursday, March 3, 2011

Session Roundup #6

This week was less intense-- character creation for Shieldhaven's upcoming Mage:The Awakening game, and a second round of Samhaine's Dresden Files game, which turned out to be a contextless combat run. So, onto the stuff:

Mage: I found World of Darkness style character creation kind of frustrating. They try very hard to make stuff available-- most of what you need to know is printed right on the character sheet-- but at the same time, WoD's got some entry barriers, which I've not fully sorted through. I think it's largely that they have this huge and shifting lexicon of terms you need to know, and it can sort-of short out your brain. Also, Virtues and Vices, unlike Aspects, seem to be created to simply screw you over, instead of ever being useful. That said, I really like the Orders of mages and am curious to see how it plays. I am re-upping an older character to be a Mastigos (Mind/Space) Mage. This will also be my first time actively playing a male character with this bunch, though for a very long time, I'd played nothing but. Now, to come up with a Shadow Name.

Dresden Files: Covered also here. Shieldhaven's Wizard and my Serial Killah at a GA state park, fighting Hounds and Goblins. I'm equipped with a broken soda bottle and my re-goddamn-diculous weapon score, plus 2 for using an improvised weapon. Samhaine pointed out that by taking this stunt and using the hell out of it, I was potentially scrapping the chance of getting better weapons that would do more consistent damage, but I pointed out that with my 8 Refresh remaining, I could probably buy a new stunt that gave me +2 to weapons when I got a specific Favored Weapon.

I picked up two new stunts, incidentally-- "On the Scent," which gives me +2 to investigation when stalking 'prey'; and "Grady Hospital Visitor's Room" which gives me +2 to Athletics when attempting to dodge gunfire. Niether of these were of any use in this fight, where I spent some ugly rounds trying to dodge arrow fire. Not awesome. I am going to have to cycle my Athletics up, probably dropping my Rapport to 2. But to the task at hand.

As Haven mentioned in the above-linked post, it's hard out there for a Wizard who wants to blow shit up in a sudden scrap. From what I understand, Wizards have the following big things they want to be awesome in combat: a) magic items, b) time to charge up with rituals before any fighting happens, or c) both. Otherwise, they're looking at about 4 rounds of functionality before they really start hurting. So I learned that it's important for the bruiser to keep bad guys off the Wizard, but not for the reasons I thought. The Wizard is bloody tough, and can take some damage-- if only he weren't damaging himself by casting his spells. He can't afford to also take hits from the bad guys.

Fortunately, I was very happy to spend fate points on my Aspect: The Marked Condition. The idea here is that I draw the bad guys into pummeling me, rather than trying to hit anyone else. This is a bad time for anyone whose attack is opposed by my Weapons roll (ie, anyone making a melee attack), and just fine for anyone whose attack is opposed by Athletics (ie, ranged fuckers. With arrows). As it stood, I was pretty much clocking a Hound a round with my busted up bottle, as they didn't have much in the way of armor.

The Goblins, however, were tough to tear up, as their armor prevented a lot of my damage. However, since they are fey, Cold Iron (in this universe, anything made of iron or steel) would ignore their armor entirely. Once this occurred to us, Sam (Shieldhaven's Wizard) used Alertness to declare that there was a fireplace poker hanging out by the, well, fireplace in the back of the building, what I could grab. Don't get me wrong, the -1 circumstance hit for having taken a supplemental action is a big deal, but being able to burn these dudes alive with Iron made up for it.

Now, about that circumstance stuff. You can only do one thing in a round of combat, whether it is move, attack, Declare something, or whatever. That is, unless you want to move into a zone right next to you, or say, pick up an iron poker in your zone and then swing it. If you want to do one of these, then you can take a -1 penalty to your next action, usually an attack roll.

Due to the nature of FATE dice, this is not insignificant. +/- 1 is a pretty big deal, +/- 2 is an even bigger deal. Fortunately, Consequences don't exactly hand out permanent penalties to rolls-- what they do is give the bad guys "tags" they can use against you on their next turn. Luckily, when I took consequences, Samhaine forgot to use the tags towards the end of the fight; otherwise we would have just been murdered, and it would have been very sad. And I took all 4 Consequences I had available (Reg Mild, Moderate, and Severe, plus an extra mild physical) without taking the Extreme conseqence. What this looked like in-game was a little hispanic girl with an arrow sticking out of her thigh, an arrow sticking through her left hand, glass abrasions all over her (from diving through a window to get next to the final goblin-- I spent a fate point on Buffy The Serial Killer to accomplish that trick), and numerous other small wounds. Festive!

We did win, but just barely, and Sam was a curled up little ball of gibbering wizard in the corner, having conceded the fight after taking both Fugue State and Hallucinations for moderate and severe consequences, not to mention a couple of mild consequences (one mental and one physical). Good times.

I'm very curious to see how social combat works, and also how combat with a) more than just 2 players and b) against enemies that are also taking consequences instead of dying once they run out of stress boxes.

On another note, I was surprised by the number of people interested in the Middle Earth game I mentioned yesterday (from the lj poll). I'll probably be exploring both that idea and the Changeling game in future posts here.