Fred and I ran something of a secret playtest at Metatopia. Yes, we had copies of the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game to playtest, and that went swimmingly, but we had packed something else – It’s Not My Fault
There is a particular style of game that I’ve run a number of times for friend where chargen involved drawing cards containing archetypes. Fred took that idea and ran it through a filter of FAE, then combined it with Two Guys with Swords and added a great kickoff mechanism to produce a small deck of cards with which to make an on-the-fly RPG.
The model is very simple. There are 20 cards with archetypes like Barbarian, Swashbuckler or Illusionist on them. They have +1 to three FAE approaches, and a stunt on the back. Each players choose 2, and is dealt a third randomly. The result is a character with three aspects (like Alchemist, Merchant & Sharpshooter), a set of stats and 3 stunts.
The GM then draw from 3 piles: “Where are you” “How did you get here?” and “How’s it about to get worse?” Which might well be “In an arena before a chanting crowd”, “Lost a bet” and “The poison is already in your system”. With that framing, the GM points to a player and says, “Who is to blame?” and the player explains “It’s not my fault, because…” and blames another player. That player repeats the process, and repeats again, until the last player blames the first player. With each successive explanation, the GM is adding an aspect to the table, and the players are getting a sense of their dynamic.
And that’s it. You then start playing.
We ran chargen a few times, just to show the cards, but I also got toe run a session well past my bedtime on Saturday night, and it was just the kind of Lieber-esque madness it was supposed to be. Describing it cannot do it justice, but it should be known that a marriage was not consummated, the bar was burned down, and inthe words of the hanged man, “He’s a dick”.
There were one or two tweaks that still need t0 be made to the decks, but they’re mostly graphical stuff that Fred will fix in no time, plus maybe one or two tweakes , then we’ll probably put these up for sale, and consider future expansions of the line, if only for our own use. It’s not my fault…In Spaaaaace and such.
I also used this as an excuse to try another rule. Rather than giving out fate points, I grabbed 7 othello chips and tossed them onto the table. Any time players would gain a fate point or I would spend one, I flipped a black side to white. Any time the players spent one, I flipped a white to black. If they ever went all black, I would draw another “How’s it about to get worse?” card. If they ever went all white, the player’s once-per-session stunts would reset. It worked very well, though neither end was ever triggered. As expected, the tension was more rewarding than the actual threat. I’ll definitely try that again, though I may fiddle with the “all positive” reward, since it’s hard for the players to get that unless I really push.