Apophenia Evolved

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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