airellian
 member, 384 posts
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 07:51
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I was watching Tabletop on Geek and Sundry, and they were showcasing Fate Core. Researching more online, I found out that apparently, the setting skeleton they used in the episode is based on an idea that Ryan Macklin's been developing for years, called the Emerging Threats Unit, a blend of action, investigation, horror, and urban fantasy. "ETU agents are outsiders, folks who arrive at a hot spot that’s broken out, fighting to contain it before the powers that be write that city or place off as a lost cause and destroy it."

Here are some relevant elements from Ryan Macklin's site:

  • There’s a secret group in the Centers for Disease Control called the Emerging Threats Unit.
  • ETU tackles unnatural dangers.
  • The world at-large doesn’t know about the unnatural.
  • There was some sort of unnatural incident a couple years ago that is more or less public knowledge—it was impossible to cover up, thanks to how information works on the Internet.
  • ETU is founded; an argument is made for the CDC handling it as unnatural memetic contagion rather than attempting to use law enforcement for something law enforcement wasn’t designed to handle.
  • Legislation & DHS directives exists that gives the CDC certain authority (in that they have access and can make certain jurisdiction calls), though not unilateral or unchecked authority.
  • ETU agents may carry guns, but they can’t exactly arrest people. They’re like park rangers or animal control more than cops, in certain regards.
  • There is a necessary mandate of secrecy in what ETU does, because containing memetic contagion is a directive.
  • FEMA is somehow involved, which makes sense given what FEMA’s role would have been in those incidents. (This was true in the beginning of ETU’s development, but fell by the wayside.)
  • Unfortunately, because the populace knows that the unnatural is possible, civilians are willing to jump to conclusions and do horrible things when they suspect the unnatural. This puts ETU in the position to be able to clear people as much as being a containment force.

Some typical protagonists might include soldiers, spies, scientists, computer hackers, those warped by the "unnatural" and gifted with special abilities. Or anything, really. I think it could be open to some pretty bizarre character concepts.

I don't know if I'll use all of the setting elements, but it sounds pretty fun. I'm wondering if there should be some small amount of collaboration, like game creation, or if I should come up with the setting elements myself, given the slowness of PBP Fate-style game creation. Let me know your thoughts.

System: I will be using Fate Accelerated Edition and some tweaks from the Dresden Files Accelerated ruleset. Please do not suggest another system.
badpenny
 member, 324 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 14:26
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
The more active your players, the more likely it'll survive.  All too often players come to a game and then find that it's not for them and they beg off.

I'd suggest you all create the game together.  That would also tie in with Create Advantage and the players creating facts for the setting.  Some GMs want more control than that, but I've played in a FAE game where players were invested and it was a blast.

For the more "magic-y" elements, you could look at Fate Codex v2n2 for the Corruption rules.  That might be a nice dark element for humans tampering with unknown forces.  The mechanics, if you don't have the Codex (which I highly suggest) is that when you Succeed at Great Cost, you can choose Corruption for one of your Approaches, which then changes, e.g. Forceful becomes Aggressive.  When all your Approaches become Corrupted, you become an NPC (as you've completely gone over to the Dark Side, if you will).  You can redeem yourself, naturally, so it's not a one way street, and, of course, there's more to it than that.

While you say not to suggest another system, Fate Core might allow for more distinction between players "specialties," e.g. Lore/Knowledge, in that a Cryptozoologist should be quite different in their niche than a Parapsychologist.  While I love FAE, two characters with Clever +3 and similar higher education backgrounds will provide quite a lot of overlap.  That doesn't happen so much, say, in the supers genre where Aspects/Power Facts give different permissions.
airellian
 member, 385 posts
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 17:56
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I didn't really start this thread in order to get into a debate about system, but rather to gather interest on the game pitch, the Emerging Threats Unit. However, I suppose it's instructive for potential players to understand my philosophy on system. Keep in mind though that I'm not here to change any minds, and I doubt anyone can change mine.

Fate already provides all the tools you need to reflect things like Corruption (or even magic) in aspects (with invokes and compels); in the four actions (Overcome, Create Advantage, Attack, and Defend); and in the three Cs (Challenges, Contests, and Conflicts). These can then be spun out with proper use of the Fate Fractal.

Depending on the fiction, you can handle it in a variety of ways. If a sorcerer is trying to control your mind, the GM can offer a compel to the player. Or it could be a Conflict, and if the player is Taken Out or Concedes, they're mind controlled. If an evil artifact is exerting a dark influence on your character, it could mean a Challenge, a Contest, or a simple Overcome. It depends on the circumstances of the fiction.

I liken it to Alton Brown's disdain for single-use kitchen tools. Rather than go to the shopping channel and buying tools that only do one thing, you just need to pick the right tool for the job. Will it be absolutely perfect? Maybe, maybe not, but the point of Fate is to get the system mechanics out of the way, not look up more mechanics for one-off situations.

Regarding having characters with too similar specialties, I would instead address the problem at its root, rather than switch systems or diversify with Skills. If two players are wanting to play similar concepts, I would ask one or both to change their concept so that they're different enough from each other that they don't overlap. Having two scientists in this game would be like having Superman and Captain Marvel in the same superhero game. The characters would start taking the spotlight away from each other, because they're doing similar things.

Or perhaps the potential zoologist and psychologist could agree to have their separate domains and never the twain shall meet. Studying physical evidence could be the domain of the zoologist, while interpreting facets of the mind could belong to the psychologist. This could be accomplished very easily with collaborative discussion, the right wording on the players' aspects, and selecting appropriate approaches.

This will be my final word on the subject. Please only reply if you're interested in the concept. If you are, then great! Otherwise, no hard feelings, and good luck to you. :)
lady_pantheress05
 member, 68 posts
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 18:27
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
It definitely sounds interesting! I normally only play freeform on Roll, but this seems interesting enough I'd be willing to try a system game again.
mintgreeen
 member, 28 posts
 I GM a lot
 I wish I could play > GM
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 18:33
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I like this, it sounds very XCOM.

Too bad you're not using FATE Core though (I know, I know), since it's much more expansive than FAE and has the Squad rules supplement.

I personally dislike FAE, but do like FATE, so unless you are changing the system, I'd have to pass.


All that said, expansive concept that I'd generally be interested in playing :)
Alyse
 member, 552 posts
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 23:37
IC: Emerging Threats Unit

This message was deleted by the user at 23:37, Fri 24 Feb.

Sojobo
 member, 40 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 18:49
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'm totally down, including using FAE.  And the mantles/conditions tweaks from Dresden Accelerated are awesome, I hope you'll be importing them in some form or another.
Dirigible
 member, 174 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 20:02
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
quote:
If two players are wanting to play similar concepts, I would ask one or both to change their concept so that they're different enough from each other that they don't overlap.


Does that mean you'll only allow one military/combatant type character as well, for example? How many roles/niches/specialities to you envision there being?

edit: Ah, I see it now: "soldiers, spies, scientists, computer hackers, those warped by the "unnatural" and gifted with special abilities." Fair enough.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:55, Mon 27 Feb.

airellian
 member, 386 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 20:34
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
It really depends on the concept, I suppose, and the things the players are wanting to do with the character. There's a difference between a rough and tumble bruiser and a sniper, for example. Both of those are different from a CIA operator. All three are a bit different from a character reminiscent of the Thing.

My basic rule of thumb is to have each character be the best at a unique approach. Sometimes that's not possible, but it at least gives a good starting point. If one military type is best at Forceful, and the other is best at Sneaky, for example, that informs a whole lot on their character.
Dirigible
 member, 175 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 20:56
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
 What's the flavour of the unnatural? Paranormal? Lovecraftian? Mad/fringe science?
airellian
 member, 387 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 21:00
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'm not sure yet. I was either going to have it be part of game creation, or figure something out for myself. The initial post is just the setting skeleton devised by Ryan Macklin.
Dirigible
 member, 176 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 21:06
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
Sounds good to me. I'm down with FAE (though like some of the others, I prefer Fate Core).
Quasar_42
 member, 15 posts
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 21:19
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'd be down for this. Never played with Fate Accelerated, but it looks simple enough. Count me in.
Sojobo
 member, 41 posts
Tue 28 Feb 2017
at 03:03
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
Personally, I don't think niche/concept protection happens at the level of Approaches... it happens at the level of High Concept.  You've got Harry Dresden and John Reese from Person of Interest both having Forceful as their highest rated Approach... but there is absolutely no mistaking Reese encroaching on Harry's niche or vice versa.
airellian
 member, 388 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 00:51
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
In reply to Sojobo (msg # 14):

You're right, of course. I just use Approaches as an easy shorthand for players unfamiliar with Fate. Sounds like you wouldn't have that problem though. :)
Dirigible
 member, 177 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 00:57
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
That looks like four expressions of interest to me. Enough for you, airellian? 8-]
airellian
 member, 389 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 00:58
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
Yes, I think so. Were you wanting to participate in game creation, or are you okay with me deciding a few setting-related things beforehand?
Dirigible
 member, 178 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 01:00
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'm up for game creation. I know Fate games can stumble at that point in PbP format, but I'm excited to give it a shot from the player's side - and we can always poach ideas from Macklin's blog if we get stuck.
airellian
 member, 390 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 01:13
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
One enthusiastic player for game creation. Still not sure that's enough to keep full steam ahead.

I'm still in the process of setting up a different game, but once I've settled with that, I can get this one up and running.
Quasar_42
 member, 16 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 01:33
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'd pitch in with world creation if you want, though I've never really done something like this from the player's side.
thrask
 member, 9 posts
Wed 1 Mar 2017
at 14:04
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
I'm interested in playing and creation, though Fate Core would be even better.
Will enthusiastically participate with FAE.
airellian
 member, 393 posts
Tue 14 Mar 2017
at 01:51
IC: Emerging Threats Unit
Come one, come all! :)

link to a message in another game
Dirigible
 member, 181 posts
Tue 14 Mar 2017
at 02:09
IC: Emerging Threats Unit

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 05:19, Tue 14 Mar.