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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Universalis + PDQ + FATE  (Read 13469 times)
Bill Burdick
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Posts: 31


« on: December 05, 2007, 08:53:06 AM »

We've combined all three in our current campaign and it's working out swell!  I posted about it on the FATE group, but here are some more details.  As GMs (there are two of us), we seeded the tenets with 1920s, Spirit of the Century setting material and these three gimmicks:

1) for one coin, a GM can veto any fact when it is introduced.  Once vetoed, that fact may not be reintroduced in any form.
2) a GM can give or take away a coin to/from any player at any time
3) for one coin, a player can veto any fact about or significantly involving their character when it is introduced.  Once vetoed, that fact may not be reintroduced in any form.

We ran a Universalis session to create each character.  This allowed all the players and the GMs to participate in the creation, with gimmick #3 keeping the players comfy about what was going on.  We  were able to get a good deal of pathos from those sessions, about how each of the PCs hit rock bottom and then picked up the pieces before they "made it."  Their scars make good pulp.  Now that the PCs are created, at the beginning of each game session we run a one-scene Universalis game, framed by a GM (we're starting with 10 coins).  Universalis lets the players participate in cut-scenes, etc. that "elite GMs" normally do solo.  Using PDQ for the mechanics, when characters take damage on their first quality in a conflich, it generates a "story hook".  At this point, we will either immediately have the player in question frame a mini scene or queue one up for right after the conflict.  FATE provides aspecty goodness according to my current mashup: http://evilhat.wikidot.com/fate-pdq-take-2 This includes all of the aspect rules from SotC, with assessment and declaration, a pyramid of qualities, and SotC's car chase rules (gotta love 'em).  All of this adds up to a HUGE amount of story control for the players within a "traditional RPG format".  Universalis facts and traits translate well into PDQ qualities and FATE aspects and the current history of the campaign serves as a collection of facts to support Universalis challenges.


Bill
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 10:15:55 AM »

Cool, I'll have to check out your SotC + PDQ mash-up rules.  Both of those are systems on my "want to play" list.

What's the vision behind Gimmick #2?  The "give a coin" part I can see...I imagine its something like GM controlled fan-mail.  But is the "take a coin" part meant to be a Fine variant? 
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Bill Burdick
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 11:06:47 AM »

yep -- to preserve GMmy powers, but now that I think about it, the same could be accomplished through selective vetoes or inflation (giving coins to everyone except for the offender).  It's probably too heavy handed -- I'll take that part out.

Bill
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Bill Burdick
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 11:17:06 AM »

To clarify: the vision behind #2 was to supplement GM powers from #1 (so that GMs can still have unlimited story molding power if it's needed), but I really just put "take a coin" in there for completeness.  I think letting GMs issue coins is more than sufficient, so I'll take out the "take a coin" part.

So far, we've had three sessions and only issued 1 coin and not taken any away.  We have had some character vetoes and GM vetos though and that worked well.  The first two sessions were character creation and entirely Universalis.  The third had the initial Universalis scene and the rest of the session was FATE/PDQ.  No PCs took any damage of any sort, so no miniscenes yet.
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Bill Burdick
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2008, 09:34:30 AM »

Here's an update:  this combination is really rocking right now.  We've been running this for several months and we've seen that Universalis DOES integrate very well with regular role playing games.  We've been bookending each session with Universalis -- usually starting with a cut-scene to introduce the story for the session and ending with the plot-hooks from conflicts in the FATE/PQD middle chunk.  Information transfers very well between Universalis and PDQ/FATE, because both PDQ and FATE are very qualitative (PDQ's scale is small enough that you can translate PDQ characters easily to Universalis; master qualities can just translate as 3x traits).

The players have really started to steer the plot around with Universalis, sometimes making major twists that we hadn't considered.  We've used veto power several times, but not very often.  It has actually served as a communication device, allowing us to stay within our plot arc without actually revealing it to the players.  So they have incredible creative control over the story, but we can still leverage all the work we put into designing the metastory.  One player has requested that we keep using Universalis for all of our future campaigns, so I'd call that a win.

Bill
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Valamir
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2008, 03:14:17 PM »

Bill, thanks for the update!

I think one of Uni's strengths is its ability to "ride-along-side" other games.

If you'd be interested in submitting an article on how you put it together, how its worked, and how Uni has contributed to the fun, I'd love to feature that on the website*



*Time constraints have prevented me from fully transitioning to my new Ramshead Site, and in the meantime the old site has been languishing.  But this might be motivation I need to get a move on.  Great stuff.
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David Artman
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 01:44:54 PM »

Interesting timing: we were going to use Uni Tenets Phase to "world burn" for Burning Wheels, as we have just formed a newish group to try it out.

Of course, we had an individual who--shall we say--didn't quite grok Player Authority. He was there to catch the train, not design the carriage and plains over which is rolls. In addition, one individual's Tenet proposals might be very granular while another's shakes the world's foundation--i.e., we had trouble setting the value of a Coin. As such, it died in the womb, as a method, but in no way due to it being flawed (rather, due to stubbornness of player(s)).

It's good to see confirmation of what I already sensed (and, now, know): Uni is sufficiently modules to break out some mechanical systems and make use of them in inferior games that leave one floundering for initial premises...which is a LOT of them, as I am realizing, the more GMless games I play and the more I see how much of "trad" gaming is mired in a huge "do it all" GM burden.

This thread roxxor the boxxor (2 Coins).
David
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Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages
Bill Burdick
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2008, 11:53:22 AM »

I think the other GM and I can put something together for your site.  Sorry for the delay responding -- RL constraints have been heavy.


Quote
Posted by: Valamir
Bill, thanks for the update!

I think one of Uni's strengths is its ability to "ride-along-side" other games.

If you'd be interested in submitting an article on how you put it together, how its worked, and how Uni has contributed to the fun, I'd love to feature that on the website*
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