Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Divine Blood - Character Advancement

Divine Blood advances by the acquisition of experience points as with Strands of Fate, but the way those points are acquired is more similar to how you would advance in Fate Core. I make use of Milestone advancement with the same basic criteria and names as you find in Fate Core. However, instead of the benefits Fate Core would provide you the reward is experience points. A Minor Milestone grants 1 XP, a Significant Milestone grants 11 XP, and a Major Milestone grants 26 XP. These amounts were chosen by looking at what the Fate Core milestones granted as a benefit and then modeling that in the Strands of Fate point buy.


In comparing Divine Blood and Strands of Fate character advancement, I have seen a lot more changing of Aspects and shuffling of points in Divine Blood RPG than Strands of Fate. Part of this is because I also tend to wave the 1 XP cost for changing Aspects in cases where it is abundantly obvious to everyone on the table that the older Aspect no longer matches the story, but it also is due to the way I approach running these games. Also, the fact that XP is more tightly connected to major events in the story via the Milestone mechanic seems to also guide this tendency. The first playtest used the basic Strands of Fate XP award at the end of every session and those characters advanced much more like the characters I've seen and played in standard Strands of Fate games.

I am going to run a theoretical of eighteen sessions here with a pacing model borrowed from the way I did the Fate Core theoretical.


Advancement


Session 1 - The group is hired to investigate a curse in an isolated Community population. They find that the curse is not deliberate but occurring as a result of changes in the environment from a recent earthquake. There was a small conflict with a pack of wolves, but no real combat and nothing to inspire character changes. - Minor Milestone (1 XP - banked)

Session 2 - The group investigates a series of killings in a rural area. The killings prove to be a result of something with psychic abilities. They initially assume it is a sentient behind the killings, but then discover that there is actually a beast, a size-shifting snake with precognitive abilities (the example beast in the core book). There first encounter with the snake provides clues to its abilities but it manages to escape. None of the events provide inspiration to make character changes. Minor Milestone (1 XP - banked. 2 Total) 

Session 3 - The group tracks down the serpent and manages to kill it. Investigating the body, they find signs that the serpent is a result of some sort of experimentation. As they're trying to take it in to be looked at by experts with Pysche and allied Families they are ambushed by paramilitary soldiers with top-line genetic modifications and the corpse is burned. Significant Milestone. When they reach their contact, the gorgon decides to talk to the Breholm Family about training her abilities, getting help in convincing them from one of the other PCs, a sidhe belonging to the Breholm family. Significant Milestone (11 XP - 5 Spent / 8 banked.)

New Specialty Aspect - Training with the Breholm (Metabolic) (5 XP)

Session 4 - The characters deal with their own lives as they don't currently have a job assigned to them from Psyche. The gorgon discovers the National Archery Commission is holding a charity event where the competitors appear in costume as famous or mythical archers. She decides to attend in costume as Medusa. She wins the competition. The characters are then officially hired to investigate the matter of the paramilitary soldiers. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 5 spent / 9 banked)

Session 5 - The characters investigate and manage to track down a secret facility and get permission to carry out a raid. They arrange for combat support from Psyche or Brehelm at need. They begin the assault and face booby traps and soldiers. The session ends with them getting into the building. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 5 spent / 10 banked)

Session 6 - The raid on the facility continues and it becomes increasingly obvious that the people behind the lab are not familiar with proper sorcery or magic and are approaching the research from a technological direction. This explains why their enemies are more heavily armed with conventional weaponry than they're used to. They find signs of a company name "M5:9" and also uncover a small number of nearly identical human homonculi girls each of whom is an active talent. Significant Milestone (11 XP - 26 spent / 0 banked)

Character Aspect Changed - Gorgon with a bow --> Gorgon Channeler with a Bow (1 XP)
Power Advantage - Channeling: Breholm Trained Channeler, two rotes: Imbue Creature: Subtle Swiftness(P) (Self-Only); Enhanced Sight: Vigilance of the Holly (Selective Sight), (20 XP) 

(Explanation, Breholm sort of translates to "the hill with the holly trees" and the Breholm Family bloodlines are collectively more formally referred to as "the dwellers on the hill where the holly grows.")

Session 7 - The characters deal with the three akira (untrained psychics) that they rescued from the M5:9 facility. They are temporarily housed in the gorgon's warded house. They appear to be aged eight to sixteen but may have been aged at an accelerated pace. There powers include superhuman hearing, enhanced metabolism to the point of not needing sleep, and light generation. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 27 Spent / 0 banked)

Character Aspect Changed - Bitter Attitude --> Suddenly Full House

Session 8 - The characters are called back to the first town and find that another earthquake has caused the return of the curse. While the party exorcist treats those cursed, the rest of the group investigates to find if there's any reason for these increasingly frequent seismic events. In looking around, they find a young man bearing red facial marks siting in the center of an extensive network of circles glowing red with Vitae. Due to the association of Vitae and Demons with evil, the characters attack. After a short fight, the apparent magus surrenders with a claim that he's trying to stop something. An earthquake begins. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 27 spent / 1 banked)

Session 9 - The characters find that they are standing on the seal of a Nameless Thing. After surviving the Earthquake The young magus claims to be the Demon of Photography and that he stumbled on the seal while on vacation sometime since the PCs were last there. He's been trying to contact other Immortals to come help seal it, but the monster is interfering with his link to other Gods and Demons. The monster starts breaking through forcing the characters to try and contain it while help comes. The gorgon's telekinetic potential erupts and an earlier trick of infusing her Entity into arrows becomes more reliable.  Major Milestone (26 XP - 53 spent / 1 banked)

Manipulative increased to 2 (20 XP)
New rote purchased for Breholm Trained Channeler - Imbue Weapon: Silver Arrows(P), (Ranged Weapons Only) (5 XP)
Specialty Aspect changed - Training with the Breholm (Metabolic) --> Breholm Techniques (Metabolic)

Session 10 - The characters continue the battle with the Nameless Thing, keeping it contained to the wilds while Psyche and Breholm field numerous Seal specialists to hurriedly craft a prison for it with one of the other party members at the lead. In the end, they are able to reseal the monster. The Demon of Photography vanishes during the confusion. The PC sidhe agrees to a date with the gorgon. Minor Milestone - (1 XP - 53 spent /2 banked)

Session 11 - Someone tries to track down the three akira that are living in the gorgon's house. The gorgon and the sidhe manage to keep them from finding the kids and hold back from attacking them to avoid drawing attention. They relay information about the event to Psyche and Breholm. Minor Milestone - (1 XP - 54 spent /2 banked)

Character Aspect changed - Return to Competitive Archery ---> A Happy Family

Session 12 - Psyche, the Coel Family, and the Siskind Family suggest moving the akira girls from the gorgon's custody. The gorgon goes to the Breholm family looking for support in keeping the girls with her, but they are hesitant to involve themselves until the sidhe and gorgon announce intention to marry and adopt the girls, bringing them within the Breholm family. The other families and Psyche reluctantly back off. The gorgon has to agree to move their house to a more secure location. Significant Milestone (11 XP - 66 spent / 1 banked)

Headquarters Expert Advantage - Obstacle Facility, Rating 5 preventing finding the house through paperwork or records. Warded Home Facility is rebuilt at the new house. (10 XP)

Character Aspect changed - Suddenly Full House ---> Family Politics (1 XP)

Session 13 - The characters are hired to look into reports of a Van Helsing (anti-supernatural serial killer) a few towns over. They start to investigate the matter and find that federal agents are also looking into the situation. Minor Milestone - (1 XP - 66 Spent / 2 banked)

Session 14 - The characters continue trying to track the serial killer without letting on to the investigating government agents that they are working for other organizations. The human and human-passing members of the party are able to pass themselves off as freelance psychics to work with the agents. Minor Milestone - (1 XP - 66 spent / 3 banked)

Session 15 - The characters discover that the agents are far more aware of the supernatural than usual government agents and are working for Socrates Group, a segment of the US Navy that often hires Psyche freelancers to recover usually uninteresting artifacts. However, it becomes obvious that one of the two SG agents isn't even human but a presumed extinct succubus. Significant Milestone - (11 XP - 76 spent / 4 banked)

Metabolic improved to 3 (10 XP)
New Channeling Rote due to Metabolic improvement - Wind in the Trees: Enhanced Reflexes

Session 16 - The characters cooperate with Socrates Group to track down and arrest the killer who turns out to be a member of the fading hate group originally started by Lovecraft. There is an argument about jurisdiction but the word comes down from Psyche to give SG the jurisdiction. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 76 spent / 5 banked)

Session 17 - The sidhe and the gorgon have their wedding and officially adopt the akira girls. Minor Milestone (1 XP - 82 spent / 0 banked)

Power Aspect Changed: Breholm Trained Channeller --> Breholm Channeler
New Specialty Aspect: My Husband and My Children (Willpower)
Session 18 - Mass number of Gods and Demons begin appearing on earth fleeing from a sudden revolution and mass prison break in Yomi and Nirvana. The world is irrevocably exposed to the full brunt of the supernatural presence. The characters are forced to defend multiple refugees and local civilians from rampaging attackers. (I really need to advance the fiction further...I'm still maybe 2 books behind this event happening). Major Milestone (26 XP - 108 spent / 0 banked)

Change Character Aspect: Secrecy No Longer Protects Us ---> "We're here, deal with it."
Refresh improved to 2 (15 XP)
Metabolic improved to 4 (10 XP)
New Rote due to Metabolic improvement - Feast Upon the Hill: Accelerate Metabolism: (Self-Acceleration, does not rule out accelerating metabolism on others)

Gorgon Archer - Ring 11 Professional


Defining Aspect: A Gorgon Channeler with a Bow
Ambition Aspect: A Happy Family
Background Aspect: Awakened in Crisis
Conviction Aspect: "We're here, deal with it."
Disadvantage Aspect: Family Politics

Physical: Agility: 3, Endurance: 2, Perception: 2, Strength: 2
Mental: Craft: 2, Knowledge: 2, Reasoning: 2, Willpower:3
Social: Deception: 1, Empathy: 2, Persuasion: 3, Resources: 2
Psychic Manipulative: 2, Metabolic: 4, Sensitive:1

Health Stress Track: OOOO
Mind Stress Track: OOOOO
Reputation Stress Track: OOOO
Entity (Life-Force) Stress Track: OOOOOOO (Highest Psychic + Persuasion)

Extraordinary Skill: "I used to win Archery tournaments..." (Agility)
Foe: "...now I track criminals and monsters." (Persuasion)
Gear: Torque of Lapis Lazuli (Resources)
Help: One of Psyche's Butterflies (Persuasion)
Inferior Skill: I have no patience for fools. (Willpower)
Extraordinary Skill: Breholm Techniques (Metabolic)
Specialty Aspect: My Husband and My Children (Willpower) 

Expert Advantages
Weapon Specialist: Bows - +1 to Attack rolls with Bows
Sniper - +2 bonus to Perception rolls to make maneuvers related to taking careful aim
Occultist - +1 bonus to Knowledge rolls related to the supernatural.
Eye for Crime - +2 to Perception bonus for noticing someone committing a criminal act.
Headquarters - Gain a new facility of rating Resources +1 for general, Resources +2 for specialized, or Resources +3 for obstacle.

Heroic Advantages
Easy Mindscape - You can defend yourself in a mindscape while remaining aware and active in the physical world. You have the Aspect Mind and Body are Split while doing this.
Favored Visualization - When forced into a mindscape, she automatically forms a Visualization of her "Gorgon with a Bow" Aspect as a WR: 2 Weapon Visualization.
Experienced (20 XP +2 Ability Points)
 
Power Advantages
A Fluid Shape: Transmogrification, 6(8 in emotional extreme) Shapeshifting Points, Momentary (Transformations only last 1 Scene, Master of the Flesh (+2 Metabolic only for activating this power), Flowing Flesh (+2 shapeshifting points when forming transformations, Activation Roll: +6 vs a difficulty of 6. (+8 during an emotional extreme), Free Action in Emotional Extreme

A Gorgon's Passion: Emotional Link: Transmogrification (Swift Shape: Transmogrification is a Free Action, Master of the Flesh, Flowing Flesh), Emotional Extreme (no specific type of emotion, but it must be extreme), Emotional Limits (your use of the power must be tied to the current emotion. Fear will result in changes toward defense or escape, rage will result in changes toward attack). Auto-Trigger (The GM can cause your power to trigger on its own as a compel)

Breholm Channeler: Channeling, 5 Rotes 
Imbue Weapon: Silver Arrows(P), (Ranged Weapons Only) - Manipulative Activation Difficulty: 4
Enhanced Sight: Vigilance of the Holly, (Selective Sight) - Metabolic Activation Difficulty: 4
Imbue Creature: Subtle Swiftness(P), (Self-Only) - Metabolic Activation Difficulty: 4
Enhanced Reflexes: Wind in the Trees, - Metabolic Activation Difficulty: 5
Accelerate Metabolism: Feast Upon the Hill, (Self-Acceleration Capable) - Metabolic Activation Difficulty: 6

Refresh: 2

Gear
Torque of Lapis-Lazuli - Life-Force Armor versus deliberate attacks only, AR: 2, Stress: OOOO - A Torque of Lapis-Lazuli

Life-Force Reactive Beads - Glow in presence of recently high-use of Life-Force. Glow in appropriate color. - One of  Psyche's Butterflies

Manual on Common Curses - +1 bonus made to Knowledge rolls for discerning whether a curse is a natural affliction or the result of an attack. - "...now I hunt criminals and beasts."

Compound Bow - WR: 3 - Gorgon Channeler with a Bow

Bullet-Proof Vest - AR: 2, Stress: OOO - Family Politics

Facility 
Warded Home - Rating: 4, +4 to all difficulties to find her home via psychic means.
Off the Books House - Rating 5, +5 to all difficulties to find her home via paperwork and research.

Further Notes


There is not much else to really say as most of the differences between Divine Blood and Strands of Fate have been discussed above. The fact that Divine Blood is a specific setting with a lot of its own terminology also produces some differences but those are largely psychological as previously mentioned in the Character Creation post. As I said above, I have seen more activity and shifting in Aspects using this variety of Fate than I have with pure Strands of Fate. Again, that might be due to psychological issues and the way I assign experience points as a milestone situation. Or it might be due to the playstyle and preferences of my particularly gaming group. I am also hesitant to analyze my own game in this format since the perspective is not that of an outsider.

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