Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Dresden Files: Northwest Arkansas

We had our setting and character generation session for our Magpie Night Dresden Files game about a week ago. We have a lot of interest in this game, so we're doing things a bit different. Instead of our usual one shot, we're doing two adventures for Dresden Files. Our regular Magpie Night attendees (Josh, Liz and Jonathan in this case) will be playing in both sessions, while the four other people who expressed interest are going to play in one session each, two in each session.

I wasn't sure if this was going to be completely necessary, but after our first session with all seven players and me, I'm glad we decided to do it this way. We got most of the stuff done that we needed to do, but it took longer than I expected, and we had to take a couple of minor short cuts. I was also so busy managing things that I really didn't get a good grasp on anyone's character, which is a big deal for a GM in a Fate game, since pretty much everything revolves around the characters.

I think there should be fewer problems with only five players instead of seven, and I'm looking forward to putting together the adventure once everyone posts their finalized characters to the thread on the NWARPG Forums.

As to the game itself, the overall process of setting creation seems a lot more involved than in Diaspora. There's no random element to give you a starting point. Fortunately, we'd already decided we were going to set it here in Northwest Arkansas, so I did a little research into legends of the area. Having spent about two thirds of my life in the area didn't hurt either.

Some of the players came to the table with ideas as well, so we had a decent starting point. If this hadn't been the case, then I don't think we'd have gotten very far. As it was, getting this all down into three overall themes and threats, plus nine locations and twelve aspects and faces to represent all of the above still took some time. We're still short an aspect or two, but most of the work got done.

At this point we'd already used more than half the time I'd expected the entire process to take, and we still needed to make characters.

Most of the players had a better idea of what they wanted to see from their characters than they did from the setting, and that helped things somewhat. A couple had no concept or only a partial concept, and that slowed things down a bit, but not too much. I couldn't complain about it either, because I'd made a point about not being too committed to character concepts in case the communal setting ended up not supporting a concept, or suggesting a better one.

We did end up having at least one concept changed by the setting and the contributions of the other players, and the one player that didn't come to the table with a concept was able to develop one largely from some elements of the setting. In fact, his ended up being the only PC that is also a "face" in the setting.

Another item of interest that came out of our session included our decision to go for the "submerged" power level, which is the highest starting level, and equivalent to Harry Dresden in the first book in the series. I had wondered whether this area would justify such a high powered group, but the threats and themes we ended up creating developed a supernatural presence for the area that is quite strong.

For example, in the Dresden books there's a bar that is considered neutral ground among the supernatural. We established an entire town that is neutral ground, complete with a ruling council made up of representatives from all the supernatural factions, including those currently at war with each other outside the town.

Now I just need to get everyone to turn in their finished characters so I can create the first adventure.


Jabbott said...

Just want to point out that mine was the first character to be posted. I AM pretty awesome like that.

Liz Rogers said...

I just want to point out, that I will post my character soon. I just haven't had time. :(

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