Tag Archives: FATE

Adventures of the Space Patrol Playtest Version 2

It’s been a while since I did anything new with Adventures of the Space Patrol, but I’ve always been fond of the game. It’s got some of the heartwarming fun of Golden Sky Stories, and not unlike GSS it has its own aesthetic, not quite like other entries in the same genre.

I originally designed the game as a very simple custom build of Fate. When I started working on it, Spirit of the Century was the definitive version of Fate, and Awesome Adventures was the about the only simpler version out there. I really like the core concepts of Fate, but these days I’m generally not a fan of 300-page RPG rulebooks. There are also issues like how SotC gave characters a full TEN Aspects, which to my mind is about three times too many. I saw an awesome rules-light game lurking inside of Fate, and Space Patrol was in part my best attempt at creating that. More recently, Evil Hat had their explosively popular Fate Core Kickstarter. Along with a zillion other things, it brought Fate Accelerated Edition into the world. There was suddenly a 48-page version of Fate (available in print for a mere $5), which kept the essence of Fate and included the slick refinements of Fate Core.

You can probably see where this is going, but it was pretty much a no-brainer to revise Space Patrol to take full advantage of FAE. The way it handles the four actions, the rules for challenges/contests/conflicts, and so on do a lot to address the few things about my game that I had been trying to figure out how to smooth over. With OGL and Creative Commons licensing options, readily available SRDs, and the Fate Core Glyphs font, Evil Hat has made Fate pretty awesome to use from a publishing standpoint. Otherwise I didn’t change Space Patrol all that much. I tweaked a few things here and there (like making it so the GM just gets a flat 10 Atom Points per episode), adjusted some things to fit the new rules, and added a new character to the lineup (Cosmo the Wonder Dog). I also finished up the two sample scenarios I’d been planning to write. It’s all very first draft, but it should be totally playable. I’m hoping to get in some playtesting before too long, and to more thoroughly read Fate Core with an eye for finding elements to adapt to Space Patrol.

Me being the way I am I’m thinking about possibly doing a Kickstarter for it at some point. It’d have to wait until a lot more Golden Sky Stories stuff is out of the way, and if I do it I’m definitely going to keep it a lot simpler and sleeker than what we did with GSS. Also, I’m looking forward to having the excuse to get a bunch of cute, stylish retro sci-fi art done.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the current playtest draft PDF:

Adventures of the Space Patrol Playtest Version 2 PDF

Destiny Dice

A while ago I tried out the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, and a while before that I tried out WFRP3e too. Warhammer was downright overwhelming for its preponderance of board game style components, more in line with one of FFG’s Lovecraftian board games than any prior RPG, but as unconventional as it was, I really liked the dice mechanic. The basic idea is that you roll a pool of various types of special dice representing different factors in the game, including not only your character’s abilities, but the difficulties you’re facing as well. The dice have different symbols that you use to figure out the outcome of the roll, with a number of possible side effects. The Star Wars game presents a more refined version of that. The selection of symbols and dice is a little simpler, and it has this nice aspect where the more potent dice have more sides. (The Star Wars symbols aren’t quite as intuitive as the Warhammer ones though.) Apart from those dice and some Star Wars flavor, Edge of the Empire is basically just a fairly solid, rules-medium traditional RPG.


For a while I’ve been wanting to put together my own genericized version of this style of dice, and I finally sat down and did just that. I call these “Destiny Dice” (like they’re some weird, elaborate cousin of Fate dice). I don’t really expect to establish a new standard, not even on the level of Fudge/Fate dice, but I do expect to make something that’ll at least be fun for me to play with. For practical reasons, at least for this initial iteration, I’m using only six-sided dice. Chessex charges by the side for custom dice, which makes prototyping a bunch of dice where every side is custom prohibitively expensive. Q-Workshop also does custom dice, but they want fancy designs and the it’s not really at that stage yet. But what I can do is get blank six-sided dice and custom-printed stickers from The Game Crafter. I stuck pretty close to the Edge of the Empire version otherwise, so the dice produce both Successes/Failures and Advantage/Disadvantage, plus the occasional Hope and Despair symbol. Success/Failure determines whether a given task succeeds, while Advantage/Disadvantage lets other good or bad things potentially spin off from it (the simplest being mechanical stuff like giving an ally a bonus die), and Hope/Despair is basically a more potent version of Advantage/Disadvantage.


In order to actually have a system to play it with, I put together a hack of Fate Accelerated. With the new Fate Core the Evil Hat team has done an incredible job of refining the Fate rules, and with FAE they’ve really distilled the essence of it down to the sleek little game that’s been buried inside of Fate’s usual bricklike books all along. This is going to necessarily change the feel of the game a bit. For more rolls than not you’re going to be figuring out how to spend the Advantage/Disadvantage symbols that come up, plus Aspects aren’t quite as powerful as in standard Fate. I’m thinking I’ll make the dice available for purchase through TGC in case anyone is interested in trying it themselves (and willing to spend an hour or so applying stickers to dice), but not until I’ve done some playtesting and refined the whole thing a bit in terms of both game design and graphic design. In the meantime here’s what I have so far for the rules:

Destiny Dice Rules (PDF)

Yaruki Zero Podcast #12: More Random Thoughts

Much like Episode 7, this time around I briefly talk about a number of different topics, notably Nechronica (Ryo Kamiya’s forthcoming game), A-Kon (an anime con I’ll be attending as a guest of honor), Neko Machi (the webcomic I write for), and Adventures of the Space Patrol (a game I’m working on).

Yaruki Zero Podcast #12 (40 minutes, 1 second)

Show Notes

  1. Nechronica: The Long, Long Epilogue is a forthcoming game by Maid RPG designer Ryo Kamiya.
  2. I’m going to be a guest at A-Kon 2010!
  3. Neko Machi, my webcomic
  4. Adventures of the Space Patrol is a game I’m working on currently, and nearly ready to playtest.

This podcast uses selections from the song “Click Click” by Grünemusik, available for free from Jamendo.com. If you like the song, consider buying some CDs from Nankado’s website.

Very awesome caricature of Ewen courtesy of the talented C. Ellis.


Adventures of the Space Patrol

For whatever reason I’ve been very inspired to put a lot of work into Adventures of the Space Patrol. I think it’s partly because I’ve been thinking about shorter games in general (and I hope to have some exciting news to share before too long!), and (in MS Word with normal margins and 12-point type) AotSP is likely to top out at around 40 pages maximum.

I’ve posted about it before, but Adventures of the Space Patrol is a game about “Space Agents” trying to help ordinary people with problems from outer space. The setting is inspired by a mixture of the art of Shane Glines and other illustrators/animators, and a mishmash of cheesy old sci-fi as seen through that general kind of lens. The rules are a very light implementation of FATE 3.0, with a little bit of a Japanese TRPG sensibility added, and a whole lot of influence and attitude derived from Yuuyake Koyake. Thus, it’s a game of bold, stylized, heartwarming adventure, with cute girls, beautiful women, square-jawed heroes, and strange aliens. Unlike a lot of my other games, it’s not based on a particular genre or range of actual titles (though My Life as a Teenage Robot is probably the closest to what I’m going for) so much as a general attitude and aesthetic. That also means that getting the right artwork–with some of that amazing confidence and fluidity of line–is going to be critical for making the final product work.

The biggest change I’ve made to the game in my renewed enthusiasm for this game is to make all of the characters be pregens. It saves me some work making up extra Shticks (basically the same thing as Stunts in SotC), it reinforces the “pick-up role-playing” aspect of the game, and they’re just plain fun to work on (especially when I can give them names like Jenny Jetstream and Rick Fireball). Each character also has only three Aspects and three Shticks, to keep the character concepts simple and tight and give PCs a few interesting tricks to try. Billy Smith, the Plucky Kid who’s a Deputy Space Agent, has my favorite Aspect in the game so far: “Hey, mister, what’re you doing?” Coming up with Shticks that are flavorful and useful yet don’t at all relate to anything violent is really fun but very challenging too, as it runs against the grain of what we’re used to for RPGs. (Yuuyake Koyake is quite impressive in this regard, and I’m going to spare you the whining I could be doing about how hard it’s been to come up with clique-based Talents for Slime Story.)

I also finally finished the episode creation tables. The idea is that in order to very quickly plan out a scenario, the GM can use playing cards to get elements from three different oracle-like tables (Who’s in trouble? What’s their problem? What space thing is involved?), which of course meant I had to come up with 156 different story elements. The tables are packed with references that range from obscure (“Mo-Ran, a Robot Monster”) to silly (“Stephen, an arrogant talk show host”) to personal (a few people I know are subtly mentioned in there). On the whole I’m really happy with the result. I tried it out to make a sample scenario, and I got “Cindy, a veterinarian who loves animals very much,” “Something important has gone missing,” and “The Men In Black, secret agents that try to cover up weird stuff.” Hence, the MIBs carried off one of Cindy’s patients because they mistook him for a missing alien diplomat.

I still need to think more about the overall rules. In particular, the game is meant to be mostly non-violent, and while I’ve made a point to avoid Shticks that serve violent purposes (hence I’ve gotten rid of Jenny Jetstream’s “Ray Gun” shtick), I’ve left in Conflict rules (albeit a very simplified version of the Awesome Adventures version of FATE), I’m not sure how or even if I could/should enforce nonviolence in the rules. Yuuyake Koyake strongly cautions against violence, and I think the rules make it uninteresting and unrewarding.

Anyway, all of that means that playtesting won’t be too far off, and I’m really looking forward to giving the game a try.