Apophenia Evolved

Please visit my other blog: Apophenia Evolved.

Friday, December 4, 2009

City in the Dark Campaign

When I went to Neoncon I got to play a game of Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. I really enjoyed it and decided to get a copy of the book because of that. I am really liking the PDQ# system and I think that it and FATE are two of my favorite systems.

Now I am going to start running a new campaign using an adaption of PDQ#. Earlier I posted my City in the Darkness setting idea and now I am going to run a campaign using that setting and PDQ#.

There are several rules that I am going to be adding to help bring in the flavor of the setting. The first is I am going to use Survival Resources which I am borrowing from The Blog of Justice. Since the city is effectively shut off from the rest of the world things like that are going to matter, maybe not immediately but they will eventually.

Currently the resources I am going to be using are Food, Water, Medicine, and Munitions (Protection) although I am might add more if I think of good ones. Resource Depletion is going to work differently, Food and Water reduce by one per day per person. Medicine does not automatically deplete but characters can spend points of medicine to heal a d6 damage ranks (More about healing later). Munitions also does not automatically deplete, they are spend whenever a character uses modern weapons (Guns) and it generally represents ammo supplies. Guns however are more powerful then other weapons (like Knives) because Munitions points that are spend give the player bonus dice just like Style Dice do in S7S.

I'll post more things as I think of them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FATE - Court Cases

A court cases is a conflict between two lawyers. This is still really rough, one of the players in my game is a lawyer and I wanted to make sure there would be an interesting Court Case for him to take part in.

They lawyers take turns presenting their arguments and then refuting their opponent’s argument.

The lawyer declares the difficulty of his argument and described the argument he is making. He then makes a roll against that difficulty.

If he succeeds, he manages to convince the jury. If he fails then the jury fails to find your argument convincing and the Case takes stress equal to the number of shifts the character missed the difficulty by.

Next, the other lawyer rolls against the same difficulty. If successful, their Case takes no stress and inflicts stress to the first lawyer’s Case according to the shifts on its roll as he manages to convince the Jury of the flaws in his opponent’s argument. If he fails then his Case takes stress equal to the number of shift the character missed the difficulty by.

Eventually one party of the other will have taken three consequences. Once this has happened the case is almost over and it is time for the closing arguments.

Closing Arguments

Each Lawyer makes one final argument. They both make their argument and then the judge and jury retreat to make their decision. After deliberations they return and both players make a Rapport roll. However unlike a normal roll, all Aspects must be invoked before the roll is made and all the consequences of the opponent’s Case may be tagged at no cost. Once all both players are done invoking aspects then they both roll. The winner of the roll and won the Court Case, although they must still abide by any consequences that they might have taken.


Witnesses, both NPC and PC, are a common component in a Court Case. Each exchange the first lawyer may call out a witness to be examined. A witness may assist the lawyer, provided he wants to and has a means to do so. This allows the witness to contribute to the court case, as long as he finds a way to describe it, such as explaining the forensic report (Science). The witness rolls his skill while the lawyer rolls his Rapport (Leadership can not be rolled for examining witnesses), and the lawyer may use the higher of the two results. A single Witness may only be called once per Court Case. Obviously, a Witness may not be called on during the Closing Arguments.

Jury Bias

The Jury is unfortunately sometimes biased. They tend to already have an idea about who is innocent and who is guilty. By default, a Case has 5 boxes for their stress track. The Rapport of the defendant (or plaintiff) increases the number of stress boxes the same way as Resolve or Endurance.


Evidence takes the form of aspects. Each piece of important evidence that the lawyer has gets one free invoke, after that the lawyer is forced to spend a FATE point as usual. Evidence is usually accrued before the Court Case has begun and the opponent Lawyer usually has evidence as well.


Lawyers use Rapport to convince the Judge and Jury that his position is correct. They can also use the Bureaucracy trapping of Leadership to remember laws and precedent set in previous court cases.

Designer Notes

Court Cases are modeled after the Chases in the core rules.

The closing arguments mechanic is added to provide some of the uncertainty of fictional court cases. Neither side really knows what the result will finally be until the judge finally delivers the line about the person’s guilt. Even if one side is winning there shouldn’t be complete certainty until the very end.

Witnesses is an adaptation of the Passengers rules.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Setting Idea - City in the Darkness

I often have different setting ideas floating around in my head and I decided I should give them a little bit of fleshing out and then post some of them. Maybe they can give somebody else some inspiration.

As a setting idea it is just a rough outline, a little bit of detail. It should be just enough to get a feel for what the setting should be like while leaving enough space to fill in whatever else you want.

NPCs and Organizations have beliefs which are taken from the Burning Wheel RPG. Beliefs are a great way of bringing direction to a character and are there to show what the character is trying to accomplish.

Scenes are ideas of what could be done with character/location/organization. They are something that might happen in the game that strikes me as interesting. Use them (or not) as you see fit.


City In The Darkness

The sun sets on a city, but it doesn’t rise. No stars shine of the city, only the lights from the buildings fill the night. TVs and radios broadcast only static and the phones lines and the internet sit dead.

Nuclear Power Plant

The city has its own power plant near the outskirts which produces most of the city’s power. It is a next generation nuclear power plant. Without the power plant the city would be completely without power, which would draw in the Lightless.

Outside The City

Outside the city there is only black stretched of darkness, and monsters. The creatures that are too repulsed by the light from the city live there and they devour those who attempt to leave. It is unknown how many might actually find a way out of the darkness but the horror stories of those who return are enough to frighten even the bravest of people.

The Lightless

The Lightless are pure white, having no pigment, and blind, though they have no trouble detecting their prey. They are repulsed by bright light which will slowly burn their skin. They hunt and eat each other but humans seem to be their favorite food. They come in various shapes, sizes, and intelligences though it is unknown if any are as smart as humans.


The Other You, The you that has no morals and who will do anything to accomplish its desires, your desires.

Shadows & Beliefs

Shadows have beliefs that are corrupted versions of the character’s beliefs. The shadow might be willing to follow through with the beliefs no matter the cost or they might be flipped trying to accomplish the opposite of the character.


A Shadow ruthlessly following through with its believe, killing obstacles that the character wouldn’t.


A mysterious woman who dresses in a black robe. She has some strange power and the demons seem to fear her. She lives in a broken clock tower that didn’t exist in the real town.


Trial brings out the best and worse in people, I must push them to reach their limits.
If the Sun rises then I will be alone again, I will mislead anyone who attempts to make it happen.


Midnight prevents the party from causing Sun to rise unless they give her someone to keep for ever and ever.

Darkness Comes Cult

They were only viewed as another random doom’s day cult, claiming that the world will be plunged into darkness. When the darkness finally did fall their ranks grew and they began taking control of the city.

Cult Beliefs

The Darkness is all, those who seek the rising of the sun must be killed.
The Power Plant is all that protects us from the monsters outside the city, it must be protected at all costs.
We will rule the City of the Darkness, we need any support we can get to accomplish it.


The Cult begins holding parts of the city hostage using the Power Plant in an attempt to solidify their control over the city.


Silent Hill

Shin Megami Tensei (Nocturne, Devil Survivor, and Persona)

The World Ends With You

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Xcode 3.2 Search

When using Xcode 3.2 the first thing that I noticed that changed was the text font, the second thing I noticed was that the search was inline, just like it is in Safari. It really makes things much easier.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A different role-playing campaign

My Spirit of the Code campaign is on hold for the moment because school is starting up and one of my players is far too busy to do anything.

So instead I'm going to try to run a modern fantasy with two players using the Mutants and Masterminds rules. I'm going to sit my players down and explain to them the setting and what to expect during the game.

The story is about the battle for the King of Demons which is going to happen on Earth, however a Demon can't exist on Earth without first making a contract with a Wizard. So one of the players is going to play the human and the other is going to be a demon.

Now once I have explained the concept I'm going to tell them that most humans and demons are going to be between Power Level 5 and 10 with most of them being on the lower end. Then I'm going to have them create their character using however many points they like and at whatever Power Level they want. The players don't even have similar point totals because how powerful the characters are isn't going to make things easier.

I've recently been reading John Wick's Play Dirty, which is an excellent book, so you can be rest assured that the characters will still suffer no matter how powerful they are.

One thing I want to do for this game is have 'Secrets'. These are things that the other character (not player) isn't going to know and which the character wants to keep from them.

The second thing I want to player goals, which are things that the player want to happen to their character.

I'll post again once I play and tell people how it turned out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Apophenia Evolved

Recently I have created another website called Apophenia Evolved. Please take a look at it. I'm still not certain how I'm going to divide my posts between here and there, however I'm probably still going to post some role-playing things here for a while along with any other tidbits.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Toward the Sky

I don't know if this will go anywhere. Maybe this will turn into a story or a role-playing setting. However right now I just had the idea so I'm writing it and people can use it how they will.


Humans once had wings. They used to fly through the sky as free as birds. Everything their hearts desired was theirs and a great civilization flourished. Yet they were not content but they knew not what they were missing.

The King of the Sky search far and low, across the reaches of the earth searching for what they desired. Many years he searched until he had almost given up all hope of ever finding it. It was then that he discovered what he had been missing in the most unlikely place. However the price would be his glorious wings. He and the rest of the humans willing traded their wings away for this prize of prizes.

But not all ends well, humans have long since forgotten what it was that they received for their lost wings. Now they reach for the sky grasping for even a moment true flight. For the penniless commoner who can only dream of what it might be like to fly to the Princess of the Sky in her floating castle who wishes to be free of her gilded cage, all of them reach for the sky and that one moment where their feet leave the ground.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A very different FATE Idea

I know it has been a while, but I have just finished by finals and by the end of this week I will be a completely free man with a Bachelors of Computer Science. My freedom will last just as long as it takes me to find a full time job. However that has absolutely nothing to do with FATE.

Now for the topic I am actually talking about. I have been having thoughts about a fairly different style of FATE adaptation. Really, it is more of an overhaul of the system that I just wanted to mention my thoughts on.

(*) For purposes of this document the GM is considered a player who controls as many characters as he wants and has no fate point limit. Unless the GM is specifically mentioned then assume a rule applies equally to the GM.


Skills are rated from -1 to +3 instead of from +0 to +5.


Superb +3
Great +2
Good +1
Average +0
Terrible -1

A character will probably have One Superb, Two Great, Three Good, and probably Two Terrible. Every other skill is Average.

The distinction between levels on the ladder is mainly cinematic.

Terrible means the character routinely fails at that type of task.

Average means that just that, the character is no better or worse then most people.

Good means the character professionally good at something. Most people are Good at what they do for a living.

Great means you are seriously accomplished in your field. Professionals who have been working for years generally reach this level eventually.

Superb is the best of the best. They are the geniuses that everybody knows about. You simply can’t get better then this.

Simple Actions:

The player rolls the appropriate skill against a difficulty chosen by the GM (Usually Average or Good). If the player meets or exceeds the difficulty then the player gets Privilege, otherwise the GM gets Privilege.


Both sides roll the appropriate skill and the player who gets the highest roll gets Privilege. If there is a tie then both players get Privilege.

[[I’ll get into conflicts in a later post.]]


(Name taken from the Houses of the Blooded)

The player(s) with Privilege gets to determine what happens as a result of the action. They get to determine who succeeded and failed and what happened as a result. Their decision must be appropriate for the skills rolled and the situation.

Multiple Players with Privilege

If there are multiple players with Privilege and they can’t jointly decide what should happen then those with privilege will roll the skills again until there is only one person with privilege or those remaining can agree on a result.

GM and Privilege

While a GM is supposed to move along the story and make things happen, a GM is NOT considered to have Privilege unless the players fail to match or beat the difficulty of a Simple Action or a GM controlled character wins a Contest. This is because Privilege allows a player to determine what happens to other players characters.

A GM can put a pit along the players path but he can’t dump them down it unless he gains Privilege. Though if one of the players has an aspect like ‘Falls down holes’ then the GM can try compelling that even without Privilege.

Spending Fate Points

First, fate points aren’t used to boost your skill. Whatever you roll that is what you get and the person with Privilege is decided. However after Privilege is decided but before that person decides what happens the other players can spend fate points (Even the players what weren’t involved in the roll).

Starting with the players that failed their roll, all the players without Privilege can spend fate points to Invoke or Compel aspects. They can continue to do this until they wish to stop or run out of fate points.


A player can invoke any of their aspects or any aspect not belonging to another character. The fate point spent is returned to the fate point pool.
When a player invokes an aspect then they declare something that must happen because of that aspect. If this happens during an action then the player(s) with Privilege must work that into their description of what happened.

Swordsman A is having a quick dual with his rival but he lost a roll. He can spend a fate point and say he is an ‘Unrivaled Swordsman’ so he couldn’t have lost in a fair fight. The player with Privilege now has to find a different way to beat the character. Maybe the rival used dirty tricks to win or maybe something happened in the middle of the fight that interrupted it.


A player can compel any aspect belonging to another character. A compel is the same as an invoke except that the owner of compelled character gains the fate point instead of it returning to the fate point pool. Also the owner of the compelled character can spend one of their own fate points to refuse the compel. If that happens then both the spend fate points are given to the compelling character and that particular aspect can not be compelled for the rest of the scene.

GM Invoke

Outside of an action the GM doesn’t need to worry about invokes. If he wants something to happen then it happens. However when another player has Privilege then this isn’t true. In that case the GM can Invoke aspects by giving fate points to the player with Privilege. If multiple players have Privilege then they need to decide which of them gets the fate point.

Earning Fate Points

There are currently three main ways of earning fate points. Rolling a Terrible skill and Compels, and GM Invoke.


When you roll one of your Terrible skills you gain a fate point. Since you will probably lose any roll where you use a terrible skill you get a fate point in return. This serves the purpose of showing that the character is actually bad at things and it gives them a bonus for occasionally failing deliberately.


When another player compels your character then you gain a fate point (Unless you refuse it). You can not compel yourself, however you can suggest compels to the other players.

GM Invoke

When a player has Privilege and the GM chooses to Invoke an aspect then that player gains a fate point.

[[I might think of more ways to get fate points later.]]


Folly of Fools

This is when two or players try to roll using a Terrible skill. When this happens only the player who rolled the lowest gets the fate point. However if there is a tie for lowest then every player who rolled gains a fate point and the GM is considered to have Privilege instead of whoever rolled highest.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Something about the FATE conflict system...

I've finished the fourth session of my Spirit of the Code game and have come to some conclusion about how the conflict system is working for me. First, I'm having trouble finding good ways do give compels in the middle of a conflict and since this is when the character needs FATE points the most
My second problem is that I want to give consequences when characters aren't in a conflict. I tied that in session 3 when I told a character that they needed to add a consequence for failing a resources roll. Taking the consequence allowed the player to succeed at the resources roll. So the character managed to find enough money to pay but they are now 'Eating Ramen' as a result.

So I am thinking of first completely removing stress but allow the players to take more consequences. Maybe allow them to have 4 minor, 3 moderate, 2 major, and 1 extreme consequences. Sure this means that a character can take an extreme beating before being beaten but I don't mind that as much. In a conflict the question become more about how far they are willing to go to succeed because if they go too far then that might mean that next time they have no chance of winning.

Anyway, that is my initial thought on the matter, I'll probably talk to my players about the idea next time we get together.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spirit of the Code Session 1

My first session of Spirit of the Code happened three weeks ago and the second session is tomorrow. Since I made a recording of the session I finally decided to finish transcribing the recording.

(??:??) Outside School

A Lovely Monday Afternoon. School has just gotten out and Ariel receives a call from Lieutenant Carter from the Department of Digital Mysteries. They request her assistance in a crime which happened at Woodlands Cross Family Center, a strip mall. Lieutenant Carter mentions what Ariel is probably the most important Sentio Employee for this case.

(??:??) Crime Scene

When she arrives at Woodlands Cross Family Center to find a digital police wall surrounding the crime scene. Lieutenant Carter apologies for calling Ariel in and tells her that the crime is a homicide. Lieutenant Carter tells Ariel that the victim is Julieta Moore, a student at the same school that Ariel goes to. He says that the reason that a Sentio Technician was brought in was because nobody saw Julieta die and her estimated time of death was approximately two hours ago. Lieutenant Carter mentions that there was a witness who heard something during the time that Julieta died.

(??:??) - First Life, Two Hours Ago

Two hours ago… Rostan Yamazaki was trimming his bonsai in his shop ‘First Life’ which is located in the Woodlands Cross Family Center. Like he sometimes did Rostan wasn’t wearing his augmented reality glasses. It wasn’t a very busy day for him, like usual. Suddenly he hears a scream from outside of the shop, in the strip-mall. Rostan has a single earbud in case he gets called when his glasses are off and strangely he only hears the scream from his free ear. The scream causes him to accidentally clip a branch he didn’t mean to. He lets out a small profanity and puts on his glasses. As he does he hears a rustling from the Corruption, almost like it is nervous, if that is even possible.

Rostan doesn’t seen anything strange. Only the usual like the Program street hawker trying to sell digital necklaces. He looks around and asks the old guy who was hanging outside his shop if he heard anything. The old man said that he hadn’t heard anything. He takes off his glasses and looks around again, this time to find the corpse of a young girl who couldn’t be more then fifteen or sixteen laying near the center of the strip-mall. She is sprawled out on the ground and blood is spreading out around her. He remembered having seen her visit his shop a couple of times before. When he puts on the glasses again the corpse disappears. He quickly puts his glasses back on and calls the police.

(23:35) - Crime Scene

Lieutenant Carter finished recounted in report made by Rostan Yamazaki, which included everything but the information about the Corruption. Ariel says that it isn’t much to go and and Lieutenant Carter agrees. Carter then draws out a dead girl’s glasses and gives them to Ariel. He Ariel that they found some text messages on the glasses. The recording on the glasses of the events of the last couple of days are deleted and there is large amount of corrupted data and applications. Cockie McGraw, one of the officers of the Department of Digital Mysteries, mentions that some of the delete data might be recoverable.

Ariel looks at the text messages. They were recorded audibly and then converted to text. They were sent to the girl Velia who also goes to Ariel’s school. Ariel hides away but she also has the reputation of having reputation of being a good programmer. Ariel thinks that she is a bitch. There were four recent messages to Velia. “Help me, they have discovered me.”, “He has a knife, a real one.”, “The King, in the image of the King.”, “Zero….”. There are no record of responses to the text messages though Cockie thought they sounded like responses to questions.

Lieutentant Carter then mentions that the cause of death was from the two stab wounds on the corpse, probably caused by the knife mentioned in the text messages. One of them was in the back of the shoulder and the other was in the center of the back. The second wound was the one that killed her. The wounds were clumsy work by an unskilled assailant who probably chased Julieta. Also while the corpse was initially invisible to anyone wearing glasses, about an hour ago that stopped being true and the security cameras started detecting the body.

Ariel asked if there were recordings of Julieta in the mall before the assault but the cameras just have her suddenly appear where she died. However, on previous days there were recordings of her visiting the strip-mall and First Life, as per Rostan’s memories of having seen her. Tapolski, another officer in the Department of Digital Mysteries, mentioned that there was some record of where she has been recently. Lieutentant Carter continued, saying that Julieta has been missing for several days before her death.

(31:53) - Kardif’s Office, Yesterday

Yesterday, Kardif Melovera was sitting in his office drinking coffee when a fairly wealthily dressed woman comes in. She says that she believes that her Ex-husband had done something to her daughter. The woman’s name is Laura Fox (she changed back to her maiden name after the divorce) and her daughter is Julieta Moore. Julieta was supposed to have visited her father, Tony Moore, yesterday and stay for a day but Julieta never returned. Laura says that Tony Moore is a fairly shady person who works for a protection agency (The Firm) which is engaged in many criminal activities. Laura wants to start bringing charges to Tony Moore to help get her daughter back and his out of her daughter’s life.

Kardif wanted to know if Tony showed tendencies toward violence and Laura said that he could be a violent person, although he wasn’t an abusive husband. When Kardif asked if Julieta had been taking drugs, Laura responded that she wasn’t but that she had been playing a lot of games recently, but Laura didn’t know which games. Julieta had also been coming home late from school recently, especially over the last couple of weeks. Laura then provides Kardif the address of Tony Moore before leaving. Kardif then calls one of his contacts, Jerry, to shadow Tony Moore and to find any information he can about the girl by talking to her friends and the police. Then Kardif began to start drafting the sapena. Unfortunatly while he was drafting the sapena and gathering information the poor little girl got killed.

(40:40) - Crime Scene

Lieutenant Carter finished explaining how Laura Fox had hired a lawyer to press charges against the father a day before the body was found. Carter says that that is most of the information that he has. Carter told Ariel that he wants her to figure out how this happened because invisibility programs are against the law. He also wanted her to gather information about her from school because they both go to the same school. Carter then said that he would contact her again if they had any other information. Lieutenant Carter let Ariel keep Julieta’s glasses because they had already made a backup of the information on it.

(43:21) - Kardif’s Office

Kardif was in his office, he had learned that the girl was dead when the police had interviewed him earlier. Kardif called Jerry to find what information he had found since yesterday. Jerry said that he have been trailing the father but so far there was no too unusual activity. Tony met with some people but there was no sighting of Julieta. Her friends haven’t seen her over the last couple of days, which isn’t too unusual because it has been the weekend. Kardif asked if Jerry managed to listen in on any conversations but several rules prevented him from extending his listening distance. Jerry however is still trailing the father and during the conversation with Kardif he mentions Tony is currently heading toward the scene of the crime. Kardif asks Jerry to continue trailing him and to call back when something is found.

(46:32) - First Life

There is a knocking on the door into Rostan’s shop. Rostan greets the tall big man wearing a black suit and a bowler hat. The man returns the greeting and Rostan thinks he remembers seeing the man before, the man is an employee of The Firm. He greets Rostan calling him Mr. Yamazaki and he introduces himself as Mr. Moore. Rostan mentions that the man seems familiar and Mr. Moore says that they have met a couple of times before. Mr. Moore says he is having a problem, that he needs to arrange a funeral. He seems totally placid and he says it is a very sad business. Moore tells Rostan that his shop seems to be doing well and inquires if he has paid his protection fee this month. (Successful Resolve vs Moore’s intimidate) Rostan says that he has and that Ilrosch collected it the other day.

Moore mentions that he is very busy. He is planning for a funeral and before that he and the boys had to deal with several big viruses attacking some protected property. Moore says that he also noticed that Rostan had been busy recently. Rostan responds that there was a murder earlier today and Moore growls that that is the funeral he is planning. Rostan says he suspected that was the case and says he is sorry for Moore’s lose.

Moore says that despite how busy it is he has come to give Rostan some advice. “You want to know the thing about viruses. All viruses are made by someone.” Rostan agrees and Moore says they are still trying to figure out who is making the viruses the boys and him encountered. “Now keep in mind my advice about viruses, Virus Tamer.” Moore then turned and walked out. Rostan swore and then made some tea to calm himself.

(51:34) - Ariel, Near Crime Scene

Ariel checked the time that the messages were sent. They were sent monday at around noon.

(51:53) - Kardif’s Office

Kardif’s contact Jerry contacts Kardif and informs him that Tony Moore just meet with the man that found the body (Rostan).

(52:36) - Ariel, Near Crime Scene

Ariel remembers that Velia’s last name is Briel. Using this information she looks up Velia’s contact information and calls her. Velia answers sarcastically saying “To think I would get a call from the great president Ariel, to what do I own the pleasure.” Ariel however is not amused and says that she is calling for business. Ariel asks if Velia knows why Julieta was absent that day and Velia replies vaguely. When pressed for more information Velia says that Julieta has been playing a game quite a lot recently. When asked what the game’s name was Velia dodges around the question and says that it was part of a club. After some mumbling Velia says that the club’s name is ‘The Kingdom Club’. The club had some other members but Velia wasn’t friends with any of the others. Velia also isn’t a member of the club.

Ariel tried interrogating Velia for more information and asked if she knew why Julieta had missed school that day and if she had gotten any messages from her. Velia mentions that she received several disturbing messages from her. But when pressed for more information she evades the question in a way that implied that she didn’t really know what they meant. Ariel hangs up but not before a passing cutting remark.

Ariel thought about the Kingdom Club, wondering when they might meet and if there was a way for her to join. She spend a couple of minutes pocking around the Internet looking for information about the Kingdom Club before she was able to contact the server. The server AI materializes in front of her, it is in the form of a female wearing a medieval dress and pointed elven ears. She also has the standard AI symbol branded on her forehead like all human AIs. The AI cordially greets Ariel and Ariel requests to join the Kingdom Club. The AI said it would request approval from the King but it wasn’t able to make contact and asked if Ariel would like to be contacted when the request has been made. Ariel then asked the AI what it could tell her about the King but was only able to find out that the King was the leader of the club, everything else was private information.

Unable to get the information she needed, Ariel pulled out an override module and use it to hack into the Kingdom Club server. Once in control of the server AI Ariel began requesting confidential information. The first information is that the King’s name is Erich Awking. She thought she remembered the name so she compared the name to the school records and found a match. Ariel then requested a members list which Erich, Julieta, and half a dozen other people are listed. Julieta’s name is the last on the list. The only strange name on the list is the second one, whose name is simply listed as Function. When asked for more information about Function the AI wasn’t able to provide any other information.

Ariel then asked when Julia joined and found that it was ten days ago. Content with the information she had gathered, Ariel asked the AI to let her know when her request to join had been received. The AI was about to dematerialize when it stopped and told Ariel that she should forward her request for information about Function to Nel. When Ariel asked who Nel is she was told that Nel is a question, answer and data search AI. The Kingdom Club AI then gives Ariel a server address before dematerializing.

(1:04:25) - Rostan, Inside First Life

Rostan, currently checking his stock and sipping tea, is still bothered by the worried sounds the Corruption is making. He can’t really figure out why it is asking like that because the Corruption doesn’t have a normal AI, more like a dog or other pet. He tries questioning the Corruption, but it doesn’t give him any intelligible response. It was then that, through the windows in his shop, he sees six floating black objects circling around the police wall. It was pretty easy for Rostan to tell that they were probably viruses and there appearance seems eerily familiar to his own corruption used to be, though the are more scaled down. However these viruses seemed more simplistic, probably nothing more then mindless automatons [Ruthless Automatons].

The viruses were attacking and deleting the police line. They also seemed to be emitting green search beams. Rostan rushed out of his shop to deal with the viruses [Compel Virus Tamer]. His corruption leaps toward the viruses but they notice to before it can get to them and the more quickly out of the way. The viruses zoom up to Rostan and their green search beams play over him, beginning to hack through his firewall. Apparently unable to find what they were looking for the begin to pull away from Rostan.

Rostan begins calling the police to tell them that the viruses are attacking their police line. While doing that he continues his assault on the viruses. The viruses begin evading his tendrils again but his understanding of viruses gives him just enough of an edge for him to grab one of them before it avoids the attack [Invoke Virus Tamer]. Strange planty tendrils begin to sprout from the virus that was grabbed and it falls to the ground.

Still on the phone trying to contact the police, Rostan only gets an AI answering machine which asks where the call should be directed. Rostan manages to yell that viruses are attacking the police line for the recent homicide investigation at Woodlands Cross Family Center and that they should get down there as soon as possible. The AI responds that it is connect him to the department of mysteries and that he should please hold.

While this is happening the viruses turn and begin zooming off away from the crime scene. Rostan chooses not to follow them and hangs up the call to the police. He goes over to the fallen virus to figure out what it was used for. It was a fairly simplistic virus, it was a search and destroy program and its target was Julieta Moore’ glasses. Once it had destroyed the data in the glasses it was supposed to self distruct. With closer examination of the virus he was also able to determine that it had the same sort of style at the virus he had. This confused Rostan because he thought that his virus was self-organizing corruption with not maker, however it still seemed similar to his virus. Uncertain Rostan triggers the virus’s self-destruct and blue digital gook splatters across the ground.

In light of the attack on the police line, the nearby people seem uncertain and scared. The salesman which had been selling cheap digital programs and jewelry was cowering behind a trash-can. Rostan tried questioning the man however the man was only able to say that there were the black things and then he hide behind the trash-can. Then once Rostan came out of his shop the viruses ran away.

(1:20:10) Kardif, His Office

Jerry calls up Kardif to bring him up on the situation. Jerry tells Kardif that they have brought a high-school Sentio technician in on the case, much to Kardif’s surpise. Jerry explains that the girl seems to be employed part-time and that her father also works for Sentio. She was brought in because she goes to the same school as the victim. Jerry says that he hasn’t contacted her yet because he wanted to tell Kardif first. Kardif tells Jerry to contact Ariel because is she is working on the case she might know something.

Kardif then asked Jerry is he managed to contact any of Julieta’s friends and Jerry said that he tried contacting Velia, however Velia refused to give him any information. Kardif then asks if Jerry found anything about the game that Laura said her daughter played. Jerry says that the game has a server and is called the Kingdom Club and the leader is called the King but he wasn’t able to get any other information out of the server.

Thinking through the facts, Kardif decides he only really has two leads, the girl working on the case and the only witness to the crime. Kardif tells Jerry to go check those two people out. Jerry agrees and says he will leave an AI trailing Mr. Moore. Before hanging up Jerry forwards some of Julieta’s bank records which he managed to acquire from Laura Fox.

Looking through the bank records Kardif finds that there are several meal purchases dated for during the time that Julieta was missing. All of the meals are from The Woods, which is several blocks away from the location of the murder. Kardif forwards the records to the police.

(1:26:35) Ariel, On the Streets

Ariel contacts Nel and the AI materializes. Nel is wearing an all white dress. Her hair and dress seem like they are flowing, except they are frozen in place. She is almost completely still, like she doesn’t have many of the socialization programs used to make AIs act more naturally. Ariel relates to the AI that he found the name Function on the list of members in the Kingdom Club and he wants to know who Function is. Nel responds that the request is authorize and that Ariel should first submit payment. When asked how much the payment is Nel responds that the payment is something that she doesn’t know.

Ariel asks if Nel knows his shoe size only to find that it is listed in school records. Nel also seems to be aware the the King of the Kingdom Club is Erich Awking, Julieta Moore is dead, that Ariel’s last name is Arlington, Ariel’s glasses frames are from Sweden, and that Ariel skipped two grades. After numerous attempts Nel informs Ariel that personal information is usually the best payment. Eventually Ariel says that she likes coffee and that she goes to The Woods on a regular basis. Nel accepts that knowledge as payment.

Nel responds that Function is an alias and asks what other information Ariel wishes to know about Function. When asked who Function really is Nel isn’t able to answer, saying only that the glasses are unregistered. Nel then says that Function is the alias of a well know virus author, who is sometimes known as the father of all modern viruses. When asked if Function is a student Nel says that his activities suggest that he isn’t, the times and locations of his virus attacks don’t match with the expects times and locations of a student.

Ariel asks Nel when have Function’s viruses appeared most recently at the Woodlands Cross Family Center just a little while ago. Nel says that the precise activity of those viruses is currently unknown and that the inquiry is pending. When asked how Nel know this she responded that it was taken from surveillance camera records. The viruses were simple search and destroy automatons but their goal is still unknown.
Ariel’s questioning completed, the inquiry ends and Nel dematerializes.

(1:37:30) Rostan, First Life

Rostan had just finished drinking a cup of tea. However with viruses around town and the corruption acting strange he couldn’t simply sit around his shop (Compel Virus Tamer) He starts by checking the network for information about the homicide. However since the case was still open he wasn’t able to find too much on the internet. Instead he decided to contact Mr. Moore to see what the Firm knows.

Mr. Moore greeting Rostan cordially. When asked if he was busy Mr. Moore said that he wasn’t too busy, he only had a funeral to plan. They arrange to have a meeting at The Wood to talk over coffee.

(1:41:30) Kardif, The Woods Coffee Shop

Kardif was asks the person at the counter who was working on one of the days Julieta had ordered something. The employee said that is was probably Stevenson who have been working during that time. When the employee asked why Kardif wanted to know he bushed it off with a simple line that he was investigating something. Kardif asks when Stevenson will be in and finds that he will probably arrive in a couple of hours. Kardif grabs a coffee to sit down and wait.

Then a big man in a black suit and a bowler hat enters the coffee shop. He takes a seat and tells one of the waitresses that he is expecting someone and he orders two coffees. Kardif compares the man to some of the pictures he had to discover that the man was Mr. Moore. A couple of minutes later Rostan enters the Woods. Mr. Moore doesn’t seem to touch his coffee as if it is only a formality to order coffee at a coffee shop. Rostan sits down next to Moore and sips his coffee.

Moore asks why Rostan wanted to meet with him. Rostan asked Moore about the viruses he encountered earlier but Moore seemed to have no knowledge of the attack. Meanwhile Kardif takes out a small listening program and sends it toward the two talking. It skitters across the ground and hides under the table without either of the talking men noticing. Rostan explained that several viruses attacked the police line to find Julieta’s glasses. Moore was unfortunately not helpful in identifying who sent the viruses or why. Rostan says that he is uncertain if the police are dragging their asses because the have a high-school girl helping the investigation, though Moore points out that her record is good.

Moore is able to tell Rostan something though, while Julieta was supposed to come to his house on Saturday she never arrived. Moore also says that she had been acting strange for a couple weeks before that and she had been playing a game which isn’t a game. He doesn’t know much about it but he knows that some of the higher ups in the Firm know something but they are refusing to tell him. Moore doesn’t even know what the game is called, he has been trying to get a copy of Julieta’s operation system through the police network but it has been hard work. He does know that the girl investigator (Ariel) has the physical glasses. Rostan offered to help with the funeral however Moore passed on that offer. He also leaves Rostan with the information that Julieta wasn’t just involved in the Kingdom Club, there was something else that she was involved in, but he didn’t know what. When Rostan asks if there are any friends of Julieta’s who he could contact, the only name that Moore could give him was Velia. Then Mr. Moore got up and bid Rostan a good day. He left the coffee shop, his coffee still completely untouched.

(1:57:40) Ariel, After Getting the information from Nel

Ariel, having finished contacting Nel, decided to try contacting the Kingdom Club server again. She asked the server when the Kingdom Club meets and found that there are currently no scheduled meetings. Previous meetings have been in the morning before school, after school, and during the weekends. Club meetings tend to run long. When comparing the event schedule and the student’s attendance records, Ariel finds that days when the are club meetings in the morning tend to be when they are late for school or miss it completely. In particular Ariel checked Julieta’s attendance for the club. Hers is about the same as the other students except that she only joined the club a week ago.

In an attempt to dig up more information Ariel decides to try contacting the witness Rostan that Lieutenant Carter mentioned.

(2:03:18) Kardif and Rostan, The Woods

While sitting in coffee shop, Rostan gets a phone call. Rostan answers the phone and Ariel confirms his identity before making a snide comment. Annoyed, Rostan decides to hang up. Not to long after Ariel calls again, this time revealing her identity and that she is investigating for the Department of Mysteries. They pass comments about how Rostan says that she sounds fairly young. Ariel forwards Rostan a copy of her credentials to prove her identity and they arrange a meeting at The Woods.

It isn’t long before Ariel arrives. Rostan pours out Mr. Moore’s un-drunk coffee into a plant pot and gets the waitress to give Ariel a refill. Ariel askes who Rostan met with, the one that had the coffee before she got there. Rostan waves it off saying it was someone he was getting rather tired of meeting.

Then five black viruses break in through the window, causing pieces of digital glass to scatter across the floor (The physical window is still undamaged). Rostan shouts at Ariel telling her to get behind him and to not let the viruses have the glasses. He sends whips of corrupt out toward the viruses, catching one and causing flowers to bloom across it, bringing it to the ground.

Ariel materialized a demolition program in the form of a rocket launcher to use as a weapon against the viruses. She wasn’t too concerned about collateral damage because it would probably be covered by the Sentio warrantee. The rocket exploded into one of the viruses [Invoke You Don’t Know What I Had To Go Through To Get This!] causing digital shrapnel into the viruses around it.

Kardif, unable to sit by pulls out a digital self-defence mechanism, used for protection against viruses and hackers, in the form of a pistol. It has the distinct orange digital tag showing it isn’t a real weapon. Unfortunately for Kardif, the viruses were easily able to avoid his protection measures.

The viruses move around Rostan and begin attempting to latch onto Ariel and searching through her pockets for the glasses. Ariel tries using a repulsion program that she had to keep them away but the viruses concentrated efforts managed to break through it. The shattered repulsion program sprayed digital goop across Ariel, clouding her vision.

Kardif’s corruption vines wrap around the viruses latched on to Ariel and rip them off. Unable to defend themselves, digital plants begin growing out of the viruses and Kardif’s organic corruption begins eating into them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spirit of the Code Characters

These are the three characters that are in my game. They run the gambit of strangeness but I think they generally play off each other fairly well.

Rostan Yamazaki

 Avatar of Organic Corruption
First Life
Flower Child
Debt of the Firm
Virus Tamer
First Life is the name of his plant shop.
The Firm is a Mafia like organization.

 Superb Hacking
Great Science
Good Athletics, Rapport, Stealth Resolve, Leadership
Fair Self-Defence, Resources, Alertness, Empathy
Average Systems Operations, Academics, Programming
 Organic Corruption - Allows Hacking to be corruptive
Corruptive Attack - Substitute Hacking instead of Digital Warfare for offensive actions

Kardif Melovera

 Defender of Innocence
Restrained Virtual Predator
Childhood Scars
Continued Bad Family Relations
Brutal Justice
 Superb Rapport
Great Resolve, Empathy
Good Resources, Contacting, Deceit
Fair Academics, Leadership, Intimidation, Systems Operations
Average Investigation, Alertness, Digital Warfare, Self Defense, Art

Ariel Arlington

 Part-Time Sentio Technician
High School Student Body President
Master of the House
Programmed the School Computer
You Don't Know What I Went Through To Get This!
 Superb Programming, Engineering
Great Leadership
Good Academics, Empathy, Rapport
Fair Digital Warfare, Hacking, Systems Operation, Athletics
Average Resources, Alertness, Resolve, Science

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spirit of the Code - Metagame Rules

The metagame rules are just some of the table rules I want my players to follow. One has to do with character creation and the other is a rule of play.

Player’s Aren’t the Bad-Guys

The player characters are the protagonists of the mystery and should not be murderers or other morally bankrupt characters. That doesn’t preclude the character from having been (past tense) a bad-guy but they shouldn't be one anymore.

Friendly Game

Players can’t keep secrets from each other. Characters can keep secrets from each other but the players are old enough to be an adult about this sort of thing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How the Digital World Works, Part 1

An important part of a story is how the world works, especially if the story is a mystery. So before I actually started I wanted to get a few ground rules down about how the Digital World Works.

I do want to take my players opinions into account and get there opinions about how they think the world should work. However there needed to be some core setting assumptions, a few of which are listed below.

Rule 1: Digital Actions Leave Evidence

Hacking into a system leaves evidence that can later be found. All digital actions leave about as much evidence as their physical counterparts and can be similarly investigated. All digital actions follow Locard’s Exchange Principle.

Rule 10: Digital Actions Can Not Kill

People can not be killed directly by the visual and audio caused by the augmented world. The only exception is for rare cases like people who suffer from seizures.

Rule 11: Digital Information Takes Form In Cyberspace

All data not in local storage, takes a form in Cyberspace. This means the data can then be passed around or stolen. Example: A digital book would appear as book when not in storage.

Explanations, Why These Rules

Rule 1 was invented to make sure a mystery story could actually exist. Since the rule ensures that there will always be evidence of digital tampering to can provide clues and evidence for the players

Rule 10 was so that the players have an understanding of the limits of the digital world. They need to know the dangers of the digital world and if it can be the cause of death. I made the decision I did because that was the type of story I felt was most applicable and deaths must still have personal dangerous action by an individual to pull off.

Rule 11 is more of a general rule about how everything works and is more of an ecstatic choice then anything else. My inspiration for this decision is from the Dennou Coil anime.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spirit of the Code - Character Creation

Phase One - Concept

Concept Phase is the creation of the character’s core aspects. This is who your character is on the base level. You choose two aspects. The first is your Digital Aspect, who your character is in the digital worlds, the second is your Real Aspect which is who your character is in the real world. Together they create a dichotomy for your character.

Choose Two Aspects:

Digital Concept

Real Concept

Phase Two - Background

The background phase concerns what happened in your character’s past. This is captured with two aspects, the Background Aspect covers your character’s past while the Conflict aspect deals with an ongoing conflict if your character’s life.

Choose Two Aspects:



Phase Three - First Case

The character’s first case. A mystery they were involved in. They don’t need to take a prominent roll in solving the mystery but they must have been involved.

Choose One Aspect:

First Case Aspect

Phase Four - Guest Star in Case

This is your character's involvement in another character's case. Obviously you can't choose this until the other players finish their first three phases. So once you have an idea for your first three phases email it to everyone so that they can guest star in it.

Choose One Aspect:

Guest Case Aspect


You get 35 points of skills. This is enough to get 1 Superb, 2 Great, 3 Good, 4 Fair, and 5 Average, however you can get more lower rank skill instead of getting your higher rank skills because of the point buy.

Also the span of 1-5 represents a smaller range of talent then in Spirit of the Century. In Spirit of the Century Superb is really really good, while in this System Superb is a high professional level of skill. A good comparison is that a Spirit of the Century Good (+3) is about equivalent to this systems Superb (+5).

Skill List

Academics [Knowledge]


Art [Knowledge]

Athletics [Physical]


Deceit [Social]

Digital Warfare [Digital]

Empathy [Social]

Endurance [Physical]

Engineering [Knowledge]

Hacking [Digital]

Intimidation [Social]



Might [Physical]

Programming [Digital]

Rapport [Social]

Resolve [Social]

Resources [General]

Science [Knowledge]

Self Defense [Physical]


Systems Operation [Digital]


I'm doing a simpler version of stunts. A character has a refresh of 6 which is how many Fate Points you start an adventure with. However you may reduce your refresh to give your character stunts (To a maximum of 5 stunts). Stunts come in one of 4 types.

Focus - +1 [Skill] with a broad category of action. (Like +1 Art with music)

Specialty - +2 [Skill] with a narrow category of action. (Like +2 Art with classical music)

Substitution - Use [Skill] instead of [Skill] with a broad category of action. (Use Art instead of Rapport when dealing with musicians)

Advanced Trapping - Use [Skill] and spend a Fate point to perform an unusual action. (Use Deceit to disguise yourself as someone else, i.e. Master of Disguise)


I would like thank many of the great FATE resources out there for many of the ideas that went into this. Including the FateRPG Yahoo Group and the Spirit of the Blank website.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spirit of the Code - Skill List

My skill list for Spirit of the Code is currently as follows. There are currently 23 different skills. I'm still working through them so this is not a final list and any feedback (If anyone reads this) would be welcome.

Academics [Knowledge]
Art [Knowledge]
Athletics [Physical]
Deceit [Social]
Digital Warfare [Digital]
Empathy [Social]
Endurance [Physical]
Engineering [Knowledge]
Hacking [Digital]
Intimidation [Social]
Might [Physical]
Programming [Digital]
Rapport [Social]
Resolve [Social]
Resources [General]
Science [Knowledge]
Self Defense [Physical]
Systems Operation [Digital]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spirit of the Code - Stress & Consequences

When I played Spirit of the Century I felt that the conflicts were too long because of the way that Stress and Consequences worked. Since I didn't want the conflicts to take most of the session in Spirit of the Code I decided to use some of the faster conflict rules. I decided to make stress work like minion stress and had consequences reduce the amount of stress taken. Since I pre-ordered Starblazer Adventures and got the pdf, I basically am just taking their stress system.

The second question I worked on for stress and consequences is what different stress tracks I wanted. Eventually I boiled it down to three tracks: Physical, Digital, and Social. They each work pretty much how you would expect them to work, except for Physical. Because I wanted Physical combat to be the last resort and a sign that everything has sudden gotten serious, there is no Physical stress boxes. That means that every single requires that the character take a consequence (or more then one) or be taken out. I hope that this makes physical conflicts seem very dangerous and help make my players avoid them, which is something I want.

Anyway, those are my first thoughts on how Stress & Consequences should work in Spirit of the Code.

Spirit of the Code

I've decided to run a FATE adaption with my local group, which I'm colloquially calling Spirit of the Code. It is a mystery genre conversion which is set in the near future when Augmented Reality has completely taken over the digital world to the point that anyone could be plugged in all 24/7.

Right now I'm working on how character creation should work and I should have that done by next week when I plan on having my players create characters. I'll post the character phases and skill list when I have them done and put up the characters when they are made.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Recently I've been watching some RideBack, an Anime series that is starting to come out in Japan. The show is about a young Ballet dance who suffers a bad injury and is unable to dance anymore, she then goes to collage with her best friend and joins the motorcycle club. However, in the futuristic setting motorcycles have been replaced with humanoid like robots that can change between cycle and mech forms.

It is a really interesting and unique way of presenting the story and I recommend that you at least check it out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Defund NCCAM

There is a proposal at Change.gov (The website of The Barack Obama transition team) to Defund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

I suggesting reading a little bit about it on this blog.

You can vote to defund NCCAM and help save $225 million dollars that are wasted researching completely useless pseudoscience.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm a Skeptic

Recently I've been starting to get into the Skeptical movement. It started off in my interest with the Skeptoid podcast. I then spread out my interest by reading a bunch of different blogs such as Respectful Insolence and Science-Based Medicine.

The various sites have helped improve my critical thinking skills and have shown me a bunch of ways I had already been mislead. I have also learned a great deal about science and evolution over the last couple of weeks because my travels have lead me to several different scientific sites. All in all it has been a very education week, maybe being off from school has made my desire to learn go off in different tangents.