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New Fire FATE Mechanic Discussion

New Fire

Retired User
Hello, everybody! My name is Jason, and I am the lead designer of the published game, New Fire. It's an Aztec/Mesoamerican inspired RPG with heavily narrative mechanics that was funded through Kickstarter and assisted tremendously by the community here at RPG.net--I made contact with a wonderful team of artists from Outland Entertainment here who really made the game come alive, and found a great deal of help in some of the threads that emerged here about the game! If you are interested in checking it out, you can visit the New Fire website here and the Facebook page here. You can also find it for sale at DriveThruRPG.

Anyway, enough talking about the past--let's talk future, and why I am starting this thread!

The native mechanics for New Fire are, as previously stated, heavily narrative. I am very happy with them, and overall I think they accomplish what I want them to accomplish. But recently I have found myself craving something a little more straight forward and action oriented in my games. This lead me to start experimenting with adapting the FATE system to New Fire. FATE was very influential to me in designing New Fire initially, and is one of the most flexible and consistently fun systems I have encountered. It is also a marvelous blend of action and drama-driven mechanics, so it seemed like a good fit. At first, I figured it would just be a short little project that I would use for a few games in my own groups and nothing more, but it ended up kind of taking on a life of its own. Before I knew it, I had a pretty thorough write up that almost seemed presentable to the outside world!

At this point, my plan is this: release (for free) an alternate FATE rule system for New Fire by January or February of next year.

With that in mind, I am looking to test and refine my FATE adaptation a bit more to get it really nice and polished. I would love to get some thoughts and feedback on what I have so far, and have a discussion about how to put forth the best set of FATE rules possible. I also know that some people have spoken of using FATE to run games in the New Fire setting already--if you've done this, I would love to hear about how you did certain things to see if they might be good to include in this!

You can find the rules doc I have so far right here.

Note that this is definitely BETA stage stuff, so expect a few typos and perhaps some overly-long sections. I will definitely be trying to tighten up the explanations before formal release. Also, be aware that these rules are currently written for an audience that is at least somewhat familiar with the New Fire setting--I originally wrote this for the players in my group, so I didn't include recaps of stuff found in the released manual. I'm of course happy to provide setting clarification in this thread for anyone unfamiliar with the game but interested in this project, so if you have trouble following any of it, feel free to ask for an explanation! Note that the rules shouldn't require any previous familiarity with the FATE system--I wrote them pretty completely in that regard.

So feel free to read through them and let me know what you think! I'll also be sharing some of my thoughts as I continue working and testing, and would appreciate any responses anyone cares to offer.

And of course, if anybody is interested in taking these rules for a test run, please feel free! As I mentioned, I plan on making the finished product available for free anyway, so there's no hoops to jump through--if you like what you see and would like to try it, go for it (and of course share your impressions here so we can benefit from them and improve the ultimate offering)!
 

The Scribbler

A Flash of Hope
Validated User
Looking forward to this, hoping it gives this amazing game book and setting a bit more exposure. :)
 

New Fire

Retired User
RULES UPDATE: I have added some more detail on Healing in the game, after a few test sessions revealed that the original Power rules for healing were definitely unworkable. There are now ways to heal both using Powers and not using Powers. If you re-download the rules doc in the original post, it should have the new healing rules included.

Thoughts on the Matter: Injury and Healing systems are always a challenge for me when I'm making up a game, and recently I have been spending a lot of time messing with various ideas. One of the challenges is finding a way to represent a character who is tough (hard to knock down) but not also hard to heal.

In most hitpoint-based games, a tough character is one who has lots of hitpoints--example, Grog the Sturdy has 100 hp max, while Steve the Squishy only has 20 hp max. That means that Grog could take 20 points of damage and still be at greater than 50% health, while Steve would be down. Grog would have to take 5 times as much damage to be reduced to a similar level of injury as Steve. However, there is often a tendency to represent healing as simply "restore X hitpoints." This can be a big problem, because it will affect characters in ludicrously unbalanced ways. Example, say Grog and Steve are both down--Grog has taken 100 hp of damage, and Steve has taken 20 hp of damage--and Marv the Medic has a healing spell that can restore 20 hp. If he casts that on Grog, Grog will still be pretty badly hurt--20 hp out of his max of 100 hp places him well under 50%. But if Marv casts that same healing spell on Steve, Steve will be back up to full. This doesn't make sense--if Steve truly is Squishy, he shouldn't be easier to heal that Grog. A spell that can heal Steve back up to full (20 hp) should also heal Grog back up to full (100 hp).

Fortunately, FATE has an excellent way of handling this: there are 5 levels of hurt, each represented by a row of Stress Boxes. The number of Stress Boxes you have per row is variable--tougher characters will have more, and weaker characters will have less. But all characters have those 5 set levels of injury. As you take damage, you fill up Stress Boxes, and once a row is full you take an injury Consequence. If a row is not filled, accumulated Stress Boxes vanish after the scene. Healing then consists of removing a Consequence, rather than removing X number of Stress Boxes.

In New Fire FATE, you must make a healing roll to administer healing, against a set difficulty for each level of injury--the worse the level of injury, the higher the difficulty. In order to begin that healing roll, you must call up an Aspect that has to do with healing, and/or you must use a new item I've created called a "Healing Bundle," a collection of medicinal herbs and magical elements that can mend injuries. Healing Bundles have a set number of uses (after which they have to be refilled), and each use adds to your healing roll result. Using Powers for healing is treated like any other roll, which is nice, because it streamlines the mechanics a bit more. I have deliberately set the difficulties high in order to incentive use of Powers or Healing Bundles, especially for higher levels of injury, but it remains to be seen if these difficulties need to be adjusted or not. I would certainly appreciate any feedback on this!

My next big design challenge: refining the Power system to clarify the "flavor" of Powers for Warriors as opposed to those for Priests. One of the pieces of feedback I have gotten from my testing group is that Warrior Powers and Priest Powers "feel" too much alike. I am not sure if this is an element of the mechanics, or if it simply requires some greater explanation of each. I'll post as soon as I have some further thoughts on this, and/or some additional rules to put up on the subject.
 

Spottednoble

New member
I hope this hasn't been given up on. If I get funded (fingers crossed), I will be playing this game with a bunch of grad students while working in Chiapas this summer. :) Will be great fun playing a Mesoamerican tabletop rpg with fellow archaeology students.
 

New Fire

Retired User
Definitely hasn't been given up on! The current rules version is available via the link in this thread. I am still testing those rules internally, and will do my best to put out a final version as soon as possible (there are a few questions that I am still fiddling with). However, I think the current version should definitely be usable as-is--I welcome any thoughts and any impressions, and wish you luck in getting funded (I am currently engaged to a grad student, so I know how dicey that can be!).
 

EonTrinity

Registered User
Validated User
Big fan of new fire - purchased the color hardback, but would really love to do it again with FATE. It is a beautiful product.

This still chugging along? Any idea when this will hit rpgnow for purchase?

ET
 
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