Fate Accelerated Edition Supers – Part 1

I originally stumbled across the Fate RPG back when it was an acronym that stood for “Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment.” It’s a great game, and later iterations only got better.

And while Fate Core is wonderful, Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) is even better. It boils down what I want in a game to its very essence, and for fast, daring gameplay, I’m not sure there is anything better out there.

I’ve read some great posts on other blogs on using FAE for a superheroes game. Four-Color FAE is a nice series that talks about how to do it, and Ryan M. Danks has created pregens for the the Avengers and JLA on his blog.

Now, I’m not really a system guy, and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel. What I’m doing here is simply FAE “as is” and adding one element—a description of the character’s powers that give a general idea of what they can do with the permissions granted by their Aspects.

This week, I’m going to start off with some sample characters, to show what I mean. Next week, I’m going to post a summary of the big adventure I’m working on, and then on June 25th I’ll put it up for sale on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, just like I did with my Draconem Sub-Sector last month.

Clarifying Aspects

Aspects are a key part of Fate Core and FAE, and I still see some confusion about how they really work. And while the rule books are generally great, they don’t always do a perfect job of clarifying things for players who have never played a previous version of Fate before.

One thing that often comes up is the interaction between Aspects and Fate Points. And I realize that I tend to look at that interaction from the opposite direction than do many people.

I’ve heard (and read) people’s misunderstanding that an Aspect is only “active” when you spend a Fate Point to invoke it. And I can certainly why this seems like it could be the case, based on how the relationship is described in the rule books.

But I feel that’s actually the reverse of how it should work.

Think of Fate Points as just points that act in a similar manner to bennies in Savage Worlds and Hero Points in HeroQuest (and other games), in that they add a mechanical bonus to your rolls. (I know that there is more to Fate Points than that, but I’m specifically talking about their interaction with Aspects here).

If you spend a Fate Point, you can re-roll your dice or add a flat +2 to your roll. However, unlike bennies in Savage Worlds, you can’t just spend Fate Points whenever you want. You need permission to spend them, and this is where Aspects come in.

Aspects as Permission

This is the case in any Fate-based game, but it’s super-important in superhero games. As per the rules, Aspects are always true, not just when you spend Fate Points.

So, if I have the Aspect “Cybernetic Wings,” then (assuming my GM and I have agreed on what that Aspect means) I have narrative permission to fly. Period.  This means that I can move into zones that non-flying characters cannot access, and many barriers (such as a pit or river) are no issue for me. None of these things require a Fate Point to be spent, because Fate Points do not enable Aspects to be true.

Now, let’s say my flying character wants to attack someone on the ground by swooping down at high speed and slamming my body into theirs. Because of my Cybernetic Wings Aspect, I can state I’m doing this. The GM tells me to roll Forceful for my attack, and everything proceeds as normal.

But what if I roll poorly and want to spend a Fate Point to bump up my result by 2 points? My narration has included the fact that I’m flying, so it’s appropriate that I invoke my “Cybernetic Wings” Aspect, which gives me permission to spend that Fate Point.

I wouldn’t narrate that I’m tackling someone, roll poorly, spend a Fate Point, invoke my “Cybernetic Wings” Aspect, and retroactively say that I’m flying at the person. To my way of thinking, that gets the whole sequence backwards.

The permission to spend the Fate Point to improve my roll comes from my Aspect, and what makes that Aspect appropriate to the situation is how I’ve narrated my attack in the first place.

The Aspect enables the Fate Point expenditure. The Fate Point doesn’t enable the Aspect.

And by starting with the player’s narration, it actually makes everything a lot easier to figure out in the sequence.

Sample Characters for FAE Supers

Back in 2007, I ran a play-by-post game on RPG.NET (In-Character thread, Out-Of-Character thread) that lasted for about a year. It was set in the Marvel Universe (hence the references to Weapon X). At the time, Fate Core hadn’t been released yet, and I decided to use Mutants & Masterminds for the system. Now, I do still love M&M (especially 2nd Edition), but I’m going for a simpler option here.

I bring this up because I’m going to take the characters that were played in my PBP game and stat them up using FAE. These characters were originally created by the players in my PBP game, so they get all the credit for coming up with the names and powers and descriptions.

In fact, I’m going to quote the original descriptions of these characters that were written by the players themselves.

You’ll note that my stats for each superhero includes a basic description of his powers. This description comes from the understanding and agreement of what he can do between the player and the GM, and the Aspects reflect that understanding/agreement and provide the narrative permission to use those powers in the actual game.

(I’ve taken a few liberties in the FAE stats to make it better translate over. If you want to see the original M&M stats, you can click on the links above to see the actual threads on RPG.NET.)

Corrosion (Michael Armsen)

Played by “nick whalley”

Micheal Armsen never really was particulalry lucky in life. The fact that his parents divorced when he was still a child was the first sign that things were not going to go well for him. Then his mother got into alcohol in a rather big way. Finally to round off his teenage years he developed mutant powers. And not the cool kind of flight, or invisibility, but the rather less pleasent experience of taking on the appearance of a lizard-like being that constantly dripped corrosive acid from its palms.

Unsurprisingly this did not go down well with mother and Micheal took off at great speed.

After a few months wandering town and surving off various variaties of garbage Micheal encountered the Morlocks. These people were actually folks he could get along with and he spent a number of years with them, growing older and learning some degree of control over his powers. Whilst he still could not supress the constant presence of the acid on his palms he was able to learn better uses of it, such as the ability to spint a different form of acid that erroded objects, burn himself handholds in walls to climb them and so on. He was not exactly in the best of worlds but nor was it hell.

Then the good folk from Weapon X found him, after he was caught on a routine food hunt. In the struggle he had severly burnt a shopkeeper and the public were calling for his head. With no other option he did not resist when Weapon X picked him up for their job, merely gritting his teeth and working as best he can. Whilst he does not really have the stomach to kill someone if it is them or him he has learnt to shut the realisation of what he is doing out.

High Concept: Caustic Lizard Man
Trouble: I’m not human, so why act like one?
Other Aspects: Fickle luck; I never tire; I do what I need to do

Approaches

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

Stunts

Can’t Keep Me Down: If Corrosion spends a round doing nothing, he can automatically heal either 2 Stress or eliminate a minor complication that is physical in nature.
Fortune/Misfortune: Because I have Fickle luck, once per scene I can automatically regain a spent fate point, but the GM also gets a fate point.
Burning Touch: Because I generate acid from my palms, with a successful touch attack I can spend a fate point and permanently reduce a target’s armor rating by 2 points.

Powers

Acid Generation: Corrosion constantly generates acid from his palms. This allows him to make corrosive touch attacks, burn through any substance by touching it, and climb walls by using his acid to create handholds.
Lizard Man: Corrosion has the ability to make super-leaps of great distance, and regenerates any physical damage.

Ex0 (Charles Briggs)

Played by “blackthought”

Charles Briggs is a 28 year old African American male. He is 6’3”, wiry, and shaves his head with a straight razor.

Until he was inducted into the Weapon X program, Briggs had never left the New York metropolitan area. He was raised in Brooklyn and dropped out of school at age 16. Although Briggs had obtained few skills from the schooling process, he was already a quite skilled metal worker. Shortly after dropping out, Briggs obtained a job at a local construction company that built skyscrapers in Manhattan.

Because of his natural aptitude with metal and ability to lead a crew, Briggs was quickly promoted to foreman. Weapon X obtained his services after an accident that began 51 stories above the city in the open steel skeleton of a skyscraper. Although the available evidence and all interpretations with a greater than .96 confidence rating indicate that Briggs’ crew had properly constructed the frame, the frame suddenly collapsed. The collapse appears to have begun precisely in Briggs’ position and quickly radiated outward to encompass the entire frame. Briggs claims to have blacked out, and his subsequent biochemical indicators confirm this. He also claims to have awoken in an “air bubble” inside the steel wreckage with his entire crew sprawled dead around him. There is no evidence with a sufficient confidence rating to confirm how long Briggs remained unconscious immediately after the collapse…

Shortly after being inducted into the Weapon X program, Briggs began training with a personalized liquid metal exo-suit constructed from a **BLACKED OUT** alloy to maximize the effectiveness of his limited magnetic control abilities. When Briggs engages on missions, he generally molds the suit into a skintight battlesuit. The suit affords him protection, can be manipulated into various forms, and can be used as ammunition for metal projectiles. Briggs often creates razor sharp “claws” to capitalize on his growing hand-to-hand combat and stealth skills…

Psychological Profile:
Although 7 years have passed since the emergence of his powers, Briggs still seems to feel responsible for the death of his crew. This psychological trauma has surfaced in various ways with other members of the Weapon X program… Briggs has a forceful personality and, though imprisoned, has become a militant supporter of mutant rights. He has successfully converted three young Weapon X agents to his cause. Each appeared to sacrifice himself unnecessarily on a mission that involved a large amount of human collateral damage… Although Briggs is only of average intelligence, he is quite calculating and patient. Still, he has not attempted to escape since his induction into the Weapon X program…

High Concept: Master of Magnetism
Trouble: Militant mutant-rights activist
Other Aspects: Liquid-metal bodysuit; I’m very persuasive; Close-combat training

Approaches

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

Stunts

Metal Claws: Because I have a Liquid-metal bodysuit, I get a +2 when I Forcefully attack in hand-to-hand combat.
Fast-Talk: Because I’m very persuasive, I get a +2 when I Cleverly overcome a person’s resistance to convince them of something that isn’t true.
Create Objects: Because I’m a Master of Magnetism, once per scene I can create a small metal object (as complicated as a handgun) that fits in my hand using any metal that is around me, including my own suit.

Powers

Magnetic Control: Ex0 has control over magnetic force, allowing him to telekinetically move metal objects, cause radio static, generate an electro-magnetic pulse in an area, and fly at up to running speed.
Liquid-Metal Suit: Ex0’s suit allows him to extrude elongated metal tentacles, form metal hand-blades, blast metal spikes out from his body, and resist attacks.

Ghost (William “Mac” MacIntyre)

Played by “Ghost_rider”

Mac is possibly the most prolific hacker of his age group. An only child with little in the way of social skills, he found the data and structure of computer systems to be the one environment where he could be in control.

When dealing with computers, Mac is supremely confident. In every other aspect of life, he is somewhat gauche and inept. He has never had a girlfriend, and is very shy with women. He can fight, a little, and has a basic grasp of self defence.As a consequence, he is very good at lateral thinking in order to use what’s around him to his advantage and whilst his street smarts are improving every day with Weapon X, he still has a lot to learn.

He usually wears jeans, a t-shirt and a crumpled old black leather jacket when not in uniform.

High Concept: Cyborg Technopath
Trouble: I wish people were more like machines
Other Aspects: If I don’t have it now, I can make it; Metal cyberwings; Special forces training

Approaches

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

Stunts

Ultimate Hacker: Because I am a Cyborg Technopath, I get a +2 to Cleverly overcome resistance to gain access to a secure computer system.
Sniper: Because I have Special Forces Training, I get a +2 to Carefully make ranged attacks with a long-range firearm.
Shield Me: Because I have Metal Cyberwings, I get a +2 to Quickly defend myself against ranged attacks.

Powers

Technopathy: Ghost can mentally hack into computer systems he can see directly and can eavesdrop on digital communications in his area, thus giving him continuous access to communications and the internet. If he has access to the raw materials, he can assemble nearly any electronic device (trackers, jammers, communications, etc.) in minutes.
Cyberwings: Ghost’s wings enable him to fly at speeds up to 100 mph. He can use the wings to protect his body against ranged attacks, and the wings are bullet-proof, (though not immune to energy-based attacks).

Major (Phineous Harper)

Played by “tobygrandjean”

Phineous Harper was born to Sabrina Harper in Boston, PA. Father unknown. Apparantly raised by his grandfather, Max Harper. Presumeably ‘Max’ was a veteren of some service. No records exist of person of that name. Put up for adoption on 4/08/2000 after death of mother. Site: Saint Augustus Hospital. Psych record begins at such time- problems presumeably undiagnosed previous to admittance. 6/20/2002- murders one child and escapes site. Apprehended 10/06/2002 after analysis of videotape of the killing and escape. *Target exhibits unusual mobility and combat ability. Instinctive fighting skill?*

Phineous’s mutations are very subtle. He’s hyper-aware of the environment; a sort of ‘radar’ sense, and increased musculature allowing great speed and dexterity. He’s turned his inability to cope with the increased stimuli inward and spawned an additional personality which he refers to as ‘Major Max’. ‘Max’ as he puts it, is responsible for any misconduct he does. In short, ‘Max’ is a sociopath and only cares for his survival; constantly evaluating the situation in terms of threats and opportunities – to the point in which virtually anything is considered as a weapon. Phineous on the other hand, wants only to be liked and not to be hurt. He has been trained in close quarters combat, small arms, and stealth. His techniques however, appear primarily instinctive. He could be useful if Phineous is sufficiently cowed and ‘Max’ is persuaded that his best interests lay with us.

High Concept: Perfect Killing-Machine
Trouble: Split Personality
Other Aspects: Enhanced senses; I’m just a teenager; Ex0’s my mentor

Approaches

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

Stunts

Close-Combat Master: Because I’m a Perfect killing-machine, I get a +2 bonus to Forcefully attack in hand-to-hand combat.
Innocent Appearance: Because I’m just a teenager, once per scene before any combat begins, I can force any opponents in the scene to automatically overlook me as a threat, allowing me to move to whatever position is most advantageous.
I See All: Because I have an enhanced brain, I get a +2 to Quickly create an advantage whenever my danger sense or blind sight would be relevant.

Powers

Perfect Musculature: Major has perfect musculature and balance, making him sure-footed on any terrain, giving him enhanced reflexes and agility, and allowing him to run at maximum human speed.
Enhanced Brain: Major’s brain has an additional lobe that gives him blind sight, danger sense, the ability to accurately gauge distances, and resistance to any mental attacks.

Polymath (Greg Ullman)

Played by “Mr. Golden Deal”

Greg Ullman was always a bright student. Honour roll, top of his class, the works. Things only got better when he hit puberty. He started testing off of the charts for intelligence. People started talking to him about Harvard, Oxford, MIT. But the greater the height, the harder the fall.

He started hearing the voices when he was 16. At first he wrote it off as an over-active imagination. His grades started slipping and he became increasingly isolated from his peers, none of whom believed him. The doctors diagnosed it as paranoid schizophrenia, yet strangely none of their medications worked, not even a bit. His parents were at their wits’ end, and signed off to send him to an institution. Before the next morning, Greg was gone.

He spent the next 2 years on the streets, wandering from alley to alley, begging for food and the bare essentials. He had a knack for staying out of trouble, and knowing when things were about to get ugly, as they so often did.

Weapon X eventually found him and abducted him for use in their program. He wasn’t missed.

Greg has a highly developed brain, allowing him heightened senses, improved reaction time, an eidetic memory, immense intelligence, and telepathy. He can read people like a book and quickly calculate the best course of action.

High Concept: Brilliant Telepath
Trouble: Without my powers, I’m nothing
Other Aspects: As fast as thought; Espionage training; Slippery mind

Approaches

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

Stunts

I know what you’re thinking: Because I’m As fast as thought, I get a +2 to Quickly create advantages in combat by reacting to opponents’ actions before they occur.
Wrong Target: Once per scene, Polymath can redirect an opponent’s attack to a different target by making a Clever overcome roll. The attack is otherwise handled as normal.
You can’t catch me: Because I have a Slippery mind, I get a +2 to Sneakily resist mental attacks, negative emotions, and other mind effect.

Powers

Telepathy: Polymath’s telepathy power allows him to read surface thoughts, make mental attacks, and cloak his presence from living beings.
Hyper-Intelligence: Polymath is a super-genius, with perfect memory, enhanced senses, and the ability to accurately predict the actions of others by observing their behavior.

The Golem (Sam Sergioni)

Played by “EpicHero”

Sam Sergioni was on top of the world. He was young, strong, and popular. By 16 he was easily the best defensive lineman in the state, and by the time graduation rolled around he’d be going to the college of his choice.

His performance in the championship game only seemed to confirm his promising future. He finished the game by bursting through the offensive line with more strength than he thought had and forcing the quarterback to fumble.

Unfortunately, everything went bad afterwards. As he was walking with his girlfriend to his car, he passed by a few members of the other team. Upset over the loss, they tossed insults his way as they passed by.

To this day Sam isn’t exactly sure why he did it. He could have just walked away. Maybe it was the adrenaline or maybe he just wanted to look tough infront of his girl. For whatever the reason, Sam exploded. He attacked the three of them while they were still laughing at their own jokes. It felt great, he still felt that same strength he felt back in the game. He figured he’d teach these three a lesson and than head to the victory party.

But Sam didn’t know his own strength, before he knew what he was doing the three were dead and he was covered in blood. His girlfriend stared, shocked and sobbing, while the other bystandards either hid or quickly worked the keypads of their cellphones to call authorities.

Sam never made it to the victory party, he was in custody that very night. The parents of the victems were left with the impression he would be locked up for life, and Sam’s parents were somewhat relieved to have the embarassment of a mutant son hidden away.

Sam’s powers have developed even further since joining Weapon X. Though he hates his conditions, and his handlers, he isn’t sure what he could do in the outside world. His incredible density has made him so heavy that he wonders how well he could function outside of Weapon X. He also worries that he wouldn’t be able to control his own strength. Even so, his primary motivation is to escape so that he can see his girlfriend again (though she’ll probably be horrified after what she saw him do).

High Concept: Invulnerable Giant
Trouble: Just a normal guy in a hulking body
Other Aspects: Still don’t know my own strength; The team is my responsibility; Don’t know how to give up

Approaches

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

Stunts

Ground Pound: Because I Still don’t know my own strength, I get a +2 to Forcefully attack in hand-to-hand combat.
Heart of the Team: Because I believe The team is my responsibility, I can spend a Fate Point on behalf of another team member if they are in the same scene.
Intimidating: Because I am an Invulnerable Giant, I get a +2 to Flashily create advantages whenever my size would come into play.

Powers

Invulnerable: The Golem is completely invulnerable to any attacks less powerful than tank shells—he simply shrugs off any damage caused by these weapons.
Super-Strength: The Golem’s strength is high enough to pick up and throw battle tanks and other items of similar weight.

Trip (Subject 30; real name unknown)

Played by “Toras”

He grew up as an orphan in mutant town, bouncing from foster care, shelters, and the street. It was slightly ironic when he hit puberty and his power manifested. It was quite the couple of months. He bounced around the world, making money in less than honest ways. He did drug running for a little while and even managed pick up a few languages along the way. That all changed one night, when he was sleeping. They found him, took him, and placed a device in his chest that will explode if not reset on a variable timer based on the time allotted for the mission. He’s been running for them ever since, providing transport for missions, infiltrating and disposing of unwanted things. They’ve even used him to place satellites in orbit, allowing them unparalleled deniability.

High Concept: Stealthy Teleporter
Trouble: Too cautious for my own good
Other Aspects: I’ve been literally everywhere; Armchair Sherlock; I’ve got all the angles

Approaches

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

Stunts

Every Angle: Because I’ve got all the angles, I get a +2 to Quickly Overcome an opponent’s resistance when trying to teleport an unwilling target.
I Know That Face: Because I’ve been literally everywhere, once per scene I can narrate that I recognize an NPC and know basic facts about them.
Deduction: Because I am an Armchair Sherlock, I get a +2 to Carefully create advantages when I spend time to examine a crime scene or similar location.

Powers

Teleport Self: Once per turn, Trip can instantly and noiselessly teleport himself from one location to any other within the solar system. If he’s traveling at great speed when he teleports, he does not need to maintain direction or velocity when he arrives.
Teleport Others: If Trip touches another person, he can bring them along when he teleports (maximum of 8 other people). If the person is unwilling, Trip must make an Overcome roll to bring them along.

Vector (Subject 55; real name unknown)

Played by “Big-Claw”

Subject 55 has control over kinetic energy. He can shoot blasts of kinetic energy, fly, and generate a kinetic force field. He is a young man (16 years old).

High Concept: Young Blaster
Trouble: I’m a follower, not a leader
Other Aspects: Taunting remarks; Inaccurate but powerful; Beginner’s luck

Approaches

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

Stunts

When I Hit: Because I’m Inaccurate but powerful, when I Flashily make a successful attack with my kinetic energy bolts, I automatically gain a +3 bonus on my effect.
Irritating: Because I know how to make Taunting remarks, I gain a +2 to Flashily create advantages by using words to anger an opponent.
I’ll Protect You: Because I can create kinetic shields, once per scene I can automatically succeed at a defense roll for of any other character in the same location against any attack that uses kinetic force to do damage.

Powers

Kinetic Energy: Vector can generate blasts of kinetic energy, can fly at speeds up to 100 mph, and can create force fields that protect an area up to 10 yards x 10 yards x 10 yards.


This work is based on Fate Core System and Fate Accelerated Edition (found at http://www.faterpg.com/), products of Evil Hat Productions, LLC, developed, authored, and edited by Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks, and Rob Donoghue, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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