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Evil Hat Productions, LLC
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Don't Rest Your Head
von Andrew P. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/27/2014 21:47:18
Originally published at http://screenmonkey.blog.com/?p=43.
DRYH is a fascinating little indie game that really brings it's theme out with the mechanics of the system.  It's one of the first Indie games I ever bought, and remains one of the few I've actually had a chance to run.  The PDF is fairly short, being only 87 pages long, including the cover.  But they manage to pack a lot of game in there.

The art in the book is pretty decent, all black on white photo's of really people, very grainy and evocative of the setting.  That setting is the Mad City, which is a lot like our cities, turned up to ten and seen on an acid trip.  It's always night there, and you can find things that just could not exist in the real world, like a marketplace where you can buy and sell memories.  Or the Tacks man, an entity that will take you apart piece by piece, not just physically but also metaphorically.  Maybe this time he wants your ability to laugh, or the way you feel about music, and he can take it from you, a little at a time.

The game centers around the Awake, people who were once garden variety insomniacs who have been sleepless so long that now they no longer have a choice about being awake anymore, they've lost the ability to sleep voluntarily.  In exchange they've found their way into an impossible place that butts up against our world, and they've also found power that defies reason.

Mechanically the game is very simple.  You start with your Discipline dice pool, which is always three to start.  Any roll of 1,2 or 3 is a success.  You roll against the Director, who rolls a Pain pool based on what you are facing.  This pool can run from a single die up to over a dozen.  Seems like the player has a distinct disadvantage, but they also have two other pools that help out.  The first is Exhaustion, which they can add to any roll.  It starts out at zero, but in any scene you can voluntarily increase it once, even right before you roll.  Once you have an exhaustion die going though it sticks around.  Once you hit seven exhaustion in your pool you are going to crash, falling asleep and becoming a helpless victim.  There is also the Madness pool, and you can add up to 6 dice of Madness to any roll, and they do not stick around like exhaustion.

Another part of the die mechanics is that you also look at your highest die, in all pool.  That tells you which aspect dominates the action.  If it's Discipline, skill dominates and you have no downside to the roll.  Exhaustion dominating means that you taxed your resources and you add another exhaustion die to your pool.  If Madness dominates you give up a bit of control and things get more chaotic.  You have a number of responses available to you, either fight or flight.  If Madness is dominant you check off a response and act accordingly.  If you choose flight, you try to get away, huddle in a corner or generally flee the area if able. If you choose fight then you stick around and get aggressive, which may not be a good thing when you are outnumbered.  And finally, if the Directors Pain pool is dominant then things get a little worse for you.  Maybe reinforcements show up or a stairway gives out under you and you loose track of the person you were following.  All of these are independent of the success or failure of the roll, so you can succeed and still have it be a hollow victory if pain is dominant.

The awake also have talents, one exhaustion and one madness.  Exhaustion talents are things that normal people can do, but for some reason you excel at.  You might be a master gambler, an amazing shot or just so smooth you can talk your way out of trouble.  Madness talents on the other hand are things that are flat out impossible.  Teleportation, Mind Reading, Flight, all are on the table for Madness talents.  The thing is, to use either type of talent you have to roll the appropriate dice as part of your pool, and they get more effective as you increase the number of dice rolled.

Another thing to note in the system is the way they handle the typical character creation 20 questions thing.  In DRYH there are only five questions, but they define your character and what they are trying to do, as well as their past.  The questions are what's been keeping you awake. what just happened, whats on the surface, what lies beneath and what's your path.

The first is why you are even one of the Awake to begin with.  The second deals with what happened to push you over the edge into being awake.  What's on the surface shows the way people view you, and what lies beneath is the hidden aspect of your personality or past.  What's your path is your ultimate end goal, what you are trying to accomplish overall.  These are used by the Director to shape your own personal plot.  In most games these questions, if answered at all, would be going into back story and might come up once in a great while.  In DRYH, they are the central reason and motivation for everything you do.  The characters of this game are not necessarily going to be hunting for treasure or lost secrets, and their reasons for doing what they do should be much more personal and visceral than the typical adventurer in a fantasy or modern game.

This is one of the two indie games that I always mention to people who are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, and I highly recommend it.

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Don't Rest Your Head
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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von David M. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/27/2014 05:48:35
Amazing artwork, world concept and layout, for a Pay What You Want product. All thanks to the Evil Hat's Patreon funding, this product made me decide to join it. While I might have done the super powers slightly differently they are another good example of a different approach from the Fate Core System Toolkit.

I like how the sample adventure is worked into the text, but the book gives you additional ideas as well. The only problem if it can be considered one is it is too short, but that is due to the nature of the funding. Hopefully Venture City might be returned to and expanded at a later date.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Paul M. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/23/2014 04:10:00
So I've been a fan of the Fate system for a few months now, and have successfully ran/played in cyberpunk,steampunk, and fantasy using Fate. My group was starting to get into a slump after a less then stellar attempt at a scifi game. Then I saw Venture City Stories, and man the ideas started to flow. I don't think a product with such a small page count has inspired my gaming creativity so much. I hope the author releases more content in the future. Just sayin' , if you like the Fate system, Shadowrun, or gritty supers you should support the author and pick this up.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Sky C. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/16/2014 16:37:22
A OUTSTANDING module from Evil Hat for your Fate Core collection....the artwork is very solid, some of the best that I have seen!

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Allan B. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/15/2014 10:18:24
Excellent first offering from Evil Hat for building up your Fate Core collection. I've read through the Venture City Stories and found it very well laid out to set up and run a story from Venture City. Really enjoyable Too!

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Gustavo C. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/15/2014 10:17:30
This is a short setting for FATE CORE, part of it's patreon project, around 30 pages long. It has inside some developed adventure hooks and some setting with hooks for your own and a lot of meat for developing it further. As for the feel of the setting, it's a lot like shadowrun, but replacing the magic and magic races with low to medium power (more on this ahead) superheores and you have the right feel. It's ciberpunk heroes. The powers are implemented by unbalanced stunts, and as per Fate design they are narrative in nature. They can pack quite a punch, but only if you concentrate on a single group of tighltly related powers. If you diversify you get a little more variety, but weaker. In other words, you can create powerfull heroes, but not ALL ARROUND ALL POWERFULL ALL IMPOSSIBLE SUPER PEOPLE. And that's good, because otherwise the ciberpunk setting wouldn't click with the superheores. Each power also has drawbacks and consequences for missuse built in, so it's great to work with them and against them.

Also of note, besides the replayability because of the way the setting still exists after the main adventure presented, is that the mechanics it implements for powers are excellent for other kind of powers in other settings. I've already seen talks about using it for supernatural powers in a mistyc setting. The Fate community Already knows this, you can break some parts of FATE and still have a playable game that still feels like FATE.

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Fate Accelerated Edition
von Christopher D C. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/13/2014 15:05:39
FATE Accelerated Edition, or FAE, is a good introduction to Evil Hat's FATE game engine. While it's different enough from FATE Core to be a stand-alone RPG in its own right, FATE Accelerated is similar enough to its parent so that once you feel you're ready to tackle the more advanced mechanics of FATE Core, you should be able to make the transition with little effort.

FAE is extremely liberating from other RPGs, in that there are no Character Points to spend, no endless lists of skills, powers, talents, traits, or extras to choose from, no defects/disadvantages/flaws to burden your hero or heroine with just for the sake of balancing out a character's point totals. Character creation is simple and easy: you choose a "high concept" (a phrase that sums up your character's role in the game setting), a "trouble" (another phrase that identifies a primary weakness of the character), and one to three other "aspects" (additional concepts that help round out the character's background). You then set six "approach ratings," which represent how your character deals with various challenges (Cleverly, Sneakily, Forcefully, and so on). If desired, you can choose anywhere from one to three "stunts" (things your character can do extremely well). In a matter of minutes, you have a fully defined character with a general suite of abilities which have been established by his or her approach ratings, high concept, trouble, and other aspects. All without the numbers crunch you have to deal with from other RPG systems.

The task resolution system follows the general path of "roll-high-and-hit-a-Target-Number," only in FAE, you roll four Fudge/Fate dice and apply the result to whatever approach rating you're using for a particular task. Having an appropriate stunt can improve your chance of success, as can the expenditure of Fate Points. If you're trying to accomplish something that fits your character's high concept (or other aspects), you can spend a Fate Point, which either gives you a bonus to your roll or allows you to roll again (this second option is best if you initial roll was very poor). You gain Fate Points during the game by accepting "compels," which is when your character's adversaries find a way to use your trouble (or even your other aspects) against you; if you give in to your weaknesses, you're rewarded with a Fate Point, which is a great way to encourage good roleplaying.

Combat is quick and easy to run. Instead of worrying about how much damage this weapon does against that sort of armor, everything is resolved with a single pair of attack/defense rolls; the greater the attacker's margin of success (or "shifts"), the more damage done to the target. A target can stave off defeat by checking off stress boxes or accepting "consequences" (penalties which give the attacker additional weaknesses to exploit); when the target can take no more stress or consequences, he or she is at the mercy of their attacker. A neat option allows a would-be victim to escape this fate by voluntarily conceding the fight before the coup-de-grace is actually delivered, allowing them to exit the scene with at least a modicum of dignity--and they also get a Fate Point for doing so.

Overall, the system is very free-form, with all kinds of room for innovation by both the players and the gamemaster. This is arguably the most cooperative RPG system ever created: everyone works together to weave an exciting narrative, using aspects, troubles, and the like to take an adventure in all kinds of unexpected and enjoyable directions. This can be a bit daunting for gamers who are used to more rigid systems, but once you get into the spirit of the thing, you'll find yourself having more fun than you could have imagined.

FATE Accelerated Edition is a terrific game, and definitely worth checking out. The list price for the published edition is $5.00; I recommend paying something in that neighborhood for the electronic edition, as it's well worth it!

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Fate Accelerated Edition
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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Joseph F. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/13/2014 13:29:10
Really solid offering -- if you've been wanting to run a gritty supers campaign in Fate Core, this is a great place to start looking. The power creation system holds fairly closely to "stock" Fate Core, so there's not a bunch of fiddly subsystem details to try to remember. The setting is evocative, with numerous opportunities for creating tension within the team, or between the team and the world.

I think the setting was referred to as "superpunk," though maybe "metapunk" would be better. As in many dark future settings, the odds are stacked against you; sure, you may have super-speed and X-ray vision, but the corps all have supers working for *them*, too, and you're a deniable asset -- get in over your head, and there's *nobody* coming to rescue you.

It's amazing how much awesome is packed into 30 pages, and that indeed is another virtue -- you can read the whole setting book and (especially if you like the adventure that comes in it) be ready to roll in an hour. You really can't go wrong with this one.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Brett R. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 23:53:23
(Note: I've not yet run anything with Venture City, so this review is based of of reading it only, though I have done a few games that relied on the system presented in Wild Blue)

A great (thin, but fat for the price) toolkit for supers and an original setting that provides plenty of flavor. Venture City provides a different approach to powers than the Wild Blue setting (by the same author and in Fate Worlds Vol 1) while retaining the non-crunchy approach (powers are a collection of Stunts with some flavor tweaks to allow for special effects, drawbacks/limitations, and/or Collateral Damage for additional effectiveness).

There are no arbitrary limitations on how many powers you can have or what mechanics are appropriate (though it does suggest that no one character have more than two distinct powersets, each powerset can cover multiple effects). Compared to Wild Blue this is distinctly more flexible and feels more "supers".

A 30-page supplement can only go into so much depth, but here's what you get:
* A setting that provides for morally-gray hero/villain face-offs and normal people trying to get by.
* A system to build powersets that relies on Fate Core fundamentals with only a tiny tick up in complexity.
* Some sample pre-built powersets (5 basic templates that offer suggestions on variations)
* a pre-written adventure in the setting, including NPC supers.

Each of these is covered enough to pick up and run (the adventure, being Fate, is more a basic plot and the desires of various NPCs than a linear set of encounters), but those looking for exhaustive answers or a book of power stunts to pick from will be disappointed.

The setting itself is modern-day, and covers the superhero power origin, but each individual hero is allowed a lot of leeway in determining how they unlocked their powers. It has a distinctly cyberpunk, dystopian feel (minus the cyber). Aside from the existence of corporate-managed supers, fans of the TV show Arrow will find many similarities in the setting feel.

On the whole, the product is well-worth the suggested price for those looking for a system to run Supers in Fate or those looking for a gritty supers setting that is easy to inspire stories from, and you get both in Venture City.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Johnathan W. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 23:37:37
I love a good setting, and "Venture City" is a thoroughly modern backdrop for a super hero game. Corporate heroes vs freelancers makes the question of who's a hero or a villain nebulous, which makes it fun.

The power system is 100% Fate, with each power being essentially a collection of stunts. This keeps the numbers at about the same scale as other Fate games, but allows players a breadth of abilities. Think Marvel power level rather than DC.

And that's what I thought of when I was reading this book. It reminds me of the straightforward simplicity of the old TSR Marvel Superhero game (the one with the universal table and the FASERIP stats). That system was fast, simple, and infinitely hackable - just like Fate.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Wayne P. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 19:04:48
Venture City Stories is a setting/framework for an adventure and a collection of systems and templates for creating supers. It does an excellent job of both. If you are looking for the FATE Core version of Champions or GURPS, this is not your product. (FATE Core isn't of their ilk, IMHO.) If you are looking for a valid, and most importantly FUN way of "doing supers" in FATE Core, I think this well worth your lunch money and your time.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Simon G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 15:39:40
This product has some great art. Unfortunately, the superpower content is inadequate. There are two major problems:

1. It's not so much a system as a group of templates with amped-up heroic advantages attached. Bricks are Bricks, Psychics are Psychics, Speedsters are Speedsters; there's no mixing and matching of powers here.

2. There's no sense of scale. Psychics get Telepathy, which comes packaged with ESP, reading minds, probing minds, melting brains and mind control. Speedsters get a flat +6 on certain checks in certain circumstances involving running.

Sure, you can argue that this is true of comic books but this is the difference between comics and running a game people play together. There's no cost to being a Psychic over a Speedster and anyone who has ever played an RPG should know that mind control is one of the uber-abilities that needs to be handled with utmost care at the table. It's given to Psychics in an off-hand comment.

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[1 von 5 Sternen!]
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Antwort des Verlags:
1. Those are the sample PC builds provided at the end of the product (pages 26-30). They were built using the character creation information on the pages immediately prior (pages 23-25). 2. Those powers were built according to the methodology outlined on pages 23-25. You could build psychic or speedsters with an entirely different range of effects, at different scales, if you care to.
Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Daniel P. E. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 13:17:56
A really interesting guide for FATE Core superheroes. Very nice reading and drawings, with a lot of example characters. If you like FATE, read this.

The special effects, the drawbacks and the collateral damage effects are really wonderful.

Anyway, I wonder why isn't there a complete list of superpowers. Yes, there's a lot of examples, but they are scattered through the book as sample characters. And no, I don't want to invent them myself because that's why I buy a handbook ;)

I thought it was useful to mention it, because I really think it reduces the usefulness of this book (that is otherwise great, btw).

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[3 von 5 Sternen!]
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Antwort des Verlags:
This is a 30-page adventure/game-starter, not a full-blown (and likely to be much higher in page count) sourcebook in that regard. If folks like this enough, maybe we\'ll push for more... :)
Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Christopher R. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 13:15:17
Venture City is exactly what Fate needed for a supers suppliment! It has a solid framework for buliding super powers as a collection of stunts, with rules for power drawbacks and even more powerful versions that cause collateral damage.

In addition, it has a vibrant and decidedly grey world for the supers to llive in. It's populated with places and faces, current and impending issues, and organizaitons with their own write-up and stats! It even comes with an into adventure to run that draws upon two of the given issues and all of the places and faces.

All in all, it's a beautifully done supers game that is just begging for play.

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Venture City Stories • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
von Koji N. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/11/2014 12:01:04
Pros:

It's a fast and solid setting that's easy to jump into and easy to make characters for. The idea of Collateral Damage and Special Effect systems are really fun and cool. Heroes have big numbers that make them feel suitably heroic.

Cons:

On the mechanical side, there is a bit of bad design. With Powers, you have some stunts that are going to be extremely powerful;The speedster is always going to defend against nearly every attack at +10, always succeed with style when they create advantages, and fight at +5, which breaks the math. And some that are just useless The pyromancer has to pay a stunt to be able to shoot fire with their Shooting skill, even though the fire they shoot is no more effective than a pistol, or throwing knives, or anything, since the equipment to use a skill is always provided with a skill. Even worse is the Psychic, who pays three stunts just to be able to use their Empathy to tell what someone is feeling, their Notice detect people hiding from them, and their Investigate to interrogate and find out what someone knows...all things that those skills already do! Basically, powers blur the line on what should be represented by skills, stunts, and aspects. Being a pyromancer who shoots flames from their hand can easily be handled with the Shooting skill and a Pyromancer aspect.

It would be helpful to have some guidelines so that players don't fall into these trap options. As well, maybe a cap on the bonus that stunts can provide, like +7 or so.

Most importantly, it would be good to have some guidelines on creating the opposition. If players are going to be this super, then a bit of help for the GM on creating interesting encounters with gangsters, supervillains, and giant threats would be good.

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Antwort des Verlags:
I prefer \"design decision I don\'t agree with\" rather than the more condemning \"bad design\", but thanks for the feedback — I\'ve passed it along. :)
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