Cortex Fridays: Knight, Spellsword, Cloaker, and Orcs

Here are the Cortex Prime versions of the Human Knight, Orc Spellsword, Cloaker, and the Orc Warband. Again, there were some stunts and effects in this group that were rather tricky to translate, given the differences between Fate Accelerated and Cortex Prime.


Human Knight

Distinctions:

  • I Must Restore My Family’s Honor
  • Nothing Like A Good Ax By Your Side
  • Seen Everything Twice

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d4

Roles:

  • Holy One d6
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d4
  • Warrior d12

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d12 may be split into 2d10, 3d8, or 4d6, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Small Group Tactics (Warrior) d6
  • Heraldry (Mage) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • My Mother’s Heavy Plate Armor d8
  • Two-Handed Battle Axe d6

Stunts:

  • Built Like a Tank: Because I can shrug off wounds, once per session I can
    remove a complication representing physical damage or injury from myself. The GM adds a die to the doom pool equal to the size of the complication cleared this way.
  • Eye For Battle: Because I can instantly assess a charged situation, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Quickly create an asset representing a superior tactical position in both mental and physical conflicts.
  • Stunning Blow: Because I strike with such tremendous force, whenever I
    Forcefully attack with a physical weapon and achieve a heroic success, I may turn an additional die from my pool into a Stunned complication attached to my target instead of stepping up my effect die.

Orc Spellsword

Distinctions:

  • I Must Attract the Notice of The Tusked Mother
  • Failed Initiate of the Ebon Circle
  • Everything Has A Price

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d6
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d8
  • Scoundrel d8
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Dirty Fighting (Warrior) d6
  • Pyromancy (Mage) d6
  • Tracking (Scoundrel) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Wickedly Sharp Arahk d8

Stunts:

  • Arcane Siphon: Because I drain magical energy from my opponents, whenever I achieve a heroic success on a Sneaky attack, I may choose one of the following options: step down an asset representing some sort of beneficial magical effect on that opponent; or step up an asset representing some sort of beneficial magical effect on myself.
  • Cunning Offense: Because I am always looking for ways to take advantage of the situation, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Cleverly create an asset representing flaws, weaknesses, or oversights in an opponent’s plans or arguments.
  • Overcharge: Because I put more power than necessary into my spells, whenever I attempt to Flashily overcome an obstacle using magic, I may include a third die in my total without spending a plot point. If I do, I add a Dangerous Arcane Feedback d8 distinction to the scene.

Cloaker (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Large Flying Manta-like Aberration
  • I Must Eliminate Mortals from This Plane
  • Xenophobic Subterranean Lurker

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d12
  • Quick d10
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Brute d6
  • Controller d8
  • Lurker d10
  • Reviver d4

Specialties:

  • Camoflague (Lurker) d6
  • Shadowmancy (Controller) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Razor-Sharp Tail Spike d6

Stunts:

  • Engulf: Because my wings hold victims in place while I bite them, I step up my Forceful die when attacking someone whom I’ve trapped this way, represented by a complication such as EnsnaredSuffocating!, or Wrapped Up.
  • Phantasms: Because I can magically create mirror images of myself, I double my Clever die when defend against attacks while an asset such as Mirror ImagesIllusory Duplicates, or Dancing Images is present.
  • Subsonic Moan: Because I can emit a nauseating moan, I can spend a plot point to Sneakily attack every other character in my zone, turning my effect die into an Unsettled complication on each defender I succeed against.

 

Scale:

The Cloaker is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps an extra die in its total for every time it weighs twice its opponent.


Orc Javelineer/Warrior (Minor NPC)

  • Medium Savage Humanoid d8
  • Scavenged Weapons and Armor d6
  • Robust Physique d8
  • Incredibly Short Temper d4

Stunts:

  • Opportunist (Javelineer):
    Because I am armed with javelins, I can attack opponents in adjacent zones. I also double the largest die in my pool when actively opposing anyone attempting to move into my zone.
  • Heavy Hitter (Warrior):
    Because I carry a big honking axe, I step up my effect die on a successful Forceful attack.

Orc Chieftan (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Medium Savage Humanoid
  • I Must Lead the Warband to Victory
  • Only the Strong Deserve to Rule

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d6

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d6
  • Lurker d4
  • Reviver d8

Stunts:

  • Breaker: Because my blows leave my opponent’s’ defenses in ruins, add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Forcefully create an asset related to destroying armor, such as BrokenDestroyed, or Rent Asunder.
  • Summon the Horde!: Because I keep most of my force in reserve, I can spend a plot point to bring two orc javelineers/warriors into the scene.

The character illustration are the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Cortex Fridays: Knight, Spellsword, Cloaker, and Orcs

FAE Fantasy: Updates

I hadn’t intended to make a Friday post. For the time being, Monday is monsters, Wednesday is adventurers, and every other Saturday (or so) is going to be something special. But I’ve made some changes to the character sheets, so I thought an update was in order.

First up: the Hardy Human Knight from Wednesday. I got some very good feedback on the character over on the Fate Accelerated Fantasy Google Plus site. Markus Wagner suggested that having to spend a Fate point and limiting the effect to once a session was too steep a cost for the “reduce a consequence” stunt. After some discussion I agreed and came up with an alternative; a second mild consequence slot.

In Fate Accelerated Edition, stress clears at the end of each scene. Stress represents exhaustion, scrapes and bruises, and other minor things that go away after a few minutes of rest. Consequences are more lasting effects. Mild consequence (those that mitigate 2-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of the scene, provided the character has had a chance to rest. Moderate consequences (those that mitigate 4-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of the next session, as long as it makes sense in the story. Severe consequences (those that mitigate 6-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of a scenario, again provided it makes sense in the story.

When a character takes a hit, the player can mark a single stress box and any number of consequence to absorb the stress. So, a character who takes a 4-shift hit could mark their 2-shift stress box and take a mild consequence to avoid being taken out. Both of those will clear up at the end of the scene, but they wouldn’t have many stress boxes left. Or they could take a moderate consequence instead. That will take longer to go away, but all three of their stress boxes are clear. A character with two mild consequences who takes a 4-shift hit could mark both mild consequences, still has all their stress boxes clear, and will clear both consequences (and any stress taken) at the end of the scene. Having a second mild consequence is obviously very useful.

The downside of consequences is that they are aspects, and like all other aspects, they can be compelled by the GM and invoked by other characters. When a player marks a consequence for their character, whomever landed the attack gets a free invoke on that consequence, just as if they’d made a new aspect. Because, in a sense, they have. So while having more consequence slots means you can absorb more stress, it also means you’ll have more aspects for your opponents to take advantage of.

But Fate points flowing around the table as players create, invoke, and compel aspects is a big part of the Fate game. So rather than a “fancy” stunt, I’m fine with giving the Hardy Human Knight a second mild consequence slot as one of her stunts. The character sheet has been updated, and all the old links should point to the correct place. But just in case, here are the links to the A4-sized PDF and the letter-sized PDF again.

Hardy_Human_Knight_A4-(1)

Next, I’ve updated all the previous character and monster sheets so that aspects are shown in dark blue text. I like how that makes them quick to identify when looking at the sheets. All the original links on the original blog  posts and on the collected list page should have updated.

As I said, I doubt that Friday posts will be a common occurrence. Two posts per week, plus one or two special Saturday posts is keeping me busy enough already. I’ll reserve Fridays for updates and corrections, which will hopefully be few and far between.

FAE Fantasy: Updates

FAE Fantasy: Human Knight

In previous posts (the High Elf Minstrel and Changeling Rogue) I’ve talked about the five categories of aspects I use for these Fate Accelerated Edition fantasy adventurers; a high concept, a motivation, a background aspect, a personal aspect, and an equipment aspect. So today I’m going to talk about stunts.

To keep things simple, I give all the characters three stunts and three refresh. (I did consider spending a point of refresh so that the Human Wizard had a fourth stunt representing their increased magical ability, but ultimately decided against it.) When creating stunts for each of the characters, I have three goals in mind:

  • each stunt should be flavorful and say something about the character;
  • each stunt should be interesting and encourage the player to do different things;
  • each stunt should be mechanically balanced.

Aspects are a great way to add flavor to a Fate character, but you can also do that with stunts. A stunt related to a particular fighting style, casting spells from a certain school of magic, or overcoming obstacles in a specific way are all examples of how they can help define a character. I want each stunt I give these adventurers to add depth and personality to the character.

I also try to make sure a character’s stunts are all tied to a different action. Create an advantage. Overcome an obstacle. Attack. Defend. While it would be appropriate for some characters to have multiple stunts attached to the same type of action, I think that would end up being rather boring. The knight below is a good example. I could have given her two, or even three stunts tied to the attack action. She’s a fighter, and so that would make perfect sense.

But that means the player would only get to show off their character’s abilities in combat scenes. I didn’t think that would be all that much fun, and it means they might not feel all that effective in non-combat scenes. That goes for any action type. Tying multiple stunts to the same type of action pushes the character, and the player, in a specific direction. Now, I would have no problem if a player at my table made a character like that, because it would be their choice to do so. But as I am making these fantasy adventurers sort of like pre-gens, I don’t want to pigeonhole potential players. So I try to give these characters one stunt per action type.

Balancing stunts mechanically is generally pretty easy. There is a general formula for Fate Accelerated stunts, and I follow it pretty often. I tend to stay away from “once per session” stunts though. A “session” is a nebulous amount of time. While four hours seems to be the standard, it might be anything from a single hour all the way uf to six or even eight hours of play. I want people playing these characters to feel awesome, and limiting the number of times they can pull of their “special thing” goes against that in my opinion. The longer a session goes, the fewer times a player will get to use their “once per session” stunt. Worse, they may hold onto it, waiting for the “perfect” time to use it. But if that time never comes? Then the player missed their one chance to do something cool, and that is never fun.

If a stunt does need a limit to the number of times it can be used, I much prefer “once per scene” or “spend a Fate point” costs. Even a short session is going to have multiple scenes, giving the player more chances to use their stunts. Stunts that require a Fate point encourage the player to interact with the Fate point economy, often by accepting a compel or by having an aspect invoked against them, and that is really the heart of the game.

To be honest though, the stunts for today’s fantasy adventurer were some of the hardest to come up with. Two of them are combat-related, and the other is a “once per session” stunt.


Human Knight

High Concept: Hardy Human Knight
Motivation: I Must Restore My Family’s Honor
Aspect: Nothing Like A Good Ax By Your Side
Aspect: Seen Everything Twice
Aspect: My Mother’s Heavy Plate Armor

Approaches:

  • Careful: Average (+1)
  • Clever: Average (+1)
  • Flashy: Fair (+2)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Mediocre (+0)

Stunts:

  • Built Like a Tank: Because I can shrug off wounds, once per session I can
    spend a Fate point to reduce the severity of a moderate consequence that’s
    physical in nature to a mild consequence (if my mild consequence slot is
    free), or erase a mild consequence altogether.
  • Eye For Battle: Because I can instantly assess a charged situation, I get
    +2 to Quickly create an advantage to seize a superior tactical position in
    both mental and physical conflicts.
  • Stunning Blow: Because I strike with such tremendous force, whenever I
    Forcefully attack with a physical weapon and succeed with style, I can give
    my opponent a Stunned aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.

Refresh: 3
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢


You can download the character as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Hardy_Human_Knight_A4

The character illustration is one of the free paper minis made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you back the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

FAE Fantasy: Human Knight