Tuesday, April 22, 2014

[Valanas] Starting Setup

The last couple of posts I have detailed have touched based on my local games here. While I continue to iron out my "magic" for my GURPS conversion, I will turn some attention to how the setup and character creation for Valanas will typically run.

The Inspirational image for the Kukouri Temple
& the Lightbringer prodigies taught within.

Starting Resources

To start off, I will be using FATE Accelerated which individuals can "Pay what you want" from their direct website located here:

FATE Core Pay-what-you-want

"What do you mean 'Pay what you want,' what if I don't want to pay anything?" one may ask. Well, the people who have brought us FATE have followed the FUDGE tradition and brought to us the same Open Gaming License and Creative Commons bit that many have come to love. Even if one does get their books for free, the community is so rich and supportive that it provides income on many other levels. Does that mean that I feel you shouldn't pay? No, instead I would rather you not only invest in the books (which are in extremely good quality) but also encourage others to do the same as they feel comfortable.

What does this mean for Valanas? It means that players can get access to the FATE Accelerated book for free, grab two different colored 6 sided dice, a collection of note cards, paper, and some writing utensils. If the GM is hosting and feeling industrious, a copy of the "A Spark in Fate Core" which can be found at either of the two below links:

Community Documentation for "A Spark in Fate"
Official PDF for "A Spark in Fate"

And above all else, access or at least some knowledge of the Valanas setting, which can be found at the very top of this page, or at:

The Valanaswiki

Keep in mind, with all these resources the game requires more time than money, and the money can be invested to make the experience more enjoyable. As it should be.

So what now?

Well to start things off, as the Game Master I need to declare what my expectations are. +Mike Lindsey has provided a great bit of inspiration on his blog on how to go about it. To start off, I'll be using the Spark in Fate Core as a guideline for everyone to help build the setting into something everyone enjoys. This follows the following steps:

  1. Start by listing your favorite Media. - Each player finds a piece of media they enjoy that they feel the whole table will enjoy as well. In this case, the GM (myself) has chosen XMen, Harry Potter, Naruto, and in general any other media revolving around the "Supernatural Institute" Trope.
  2. Explain the Inspirations from your media. - Every player then gets to chose what elements of their media they find inspirational. I have chosen "Super-powered youths trying to find their place in the world while training under the guidance of dramatically conflicted teachers (and the weirdness that falls in between)".
  3. Use those inspirations to Describe the Genre. - Given that Valanas lends itself well to Heroic Fantasy (Personal Story/Drama driven), I will suggest we focus on that, or at least Super (dare I say legendary) style troubled youths in a Fantasy world.
  4. Establish Facts about the Setting. - The Valanas wiki is full of these facts. Though as players focus in on their character concepts, their aspects will fill in the parts they find most interesting. The Facts I will establish will be the Temple's Headmaster, heads for each realm of study, as well as two primary antagonists (Headmaster Cain and his chosen apprentice, the overconfident Skyde).
    The temple will be in a remote, Japanese-style landscape removed from all but the supporting citizens of the Hidden Village. Unless the players chose otherwise, each player's character should have a gift or talent and have a troubled past or devoted origin that explains their arrival to the secretive and hidden Kukouri Temple. Additional relationships, mysterious power elements, and fellow "students" will be open for players to expand on!
  5. Create a Title to focus your vision. - For the moment, this is up to all. The Working title for now will be "Lost Redemption" which hints to the potential of many of the players motivations as well as those implied by the NPC's I have listed as facts.
  6. Create a list of potential Issues for the setting. - This is somewhat implied with "Skyde and his posse are up to no good..." and "What is Cain really up to?" As each player adds in their piece, this will either change or be added on to as they make the world their own.
  7. Create an Aspect for each Issue. - Once each aspect the players have decided on comes into focus, the group will then decide on which three most inspire them, to which the first scenario/adventure will revolve around.
  8. Create two Faces for each Aspect. - For the moment, Cain and Skyde are primary motivators in the story, though as players find their own conflicts to build on they can greatly impact and influence the starting Faces for each conflict and player aspect.

Right now, this setting will act as the work in progress for many of the new players. As part of any heroic take on FATE Accelerated, players will get to add their own aspects to their personal character that reflect many of the pieces not already listed above. Each Aspect will then allow the player to declare even more facts that the world revolves around, to which their character can invoke or compel when the fact favors or limits their progression.

The facts that come with each aspect is especially important to remember with style of setup, as it helps to define what alchemical abilities, powers, or mystical talents they have and how they work. It will also provide insight as to what political, action oriented, or mysterious aspects of the world they will have the greatest influence in.

Where the Legends of many are reforged
into epic tales of Glory and Tragedy!

In Conclusion

Players will of course have at this point a solid world to build their characters in the only remaining questions involve how to build their character. They will have had plenty of details to build from, inspiration that they can tie into other players, and provide fuel for the first set of encounters.

I can easily put this all together in short order, and since many of the existing world facts that I have at default it is simply a mater of preference to see what players want to focus on the most! And all it required is either a digital copy of the game, physical copy purchased from the game store, some six sided dice, paper, pencil, and I am good to go!

In the coming week I'll be spotlighting one of the first major NPCs and an example character, with some fun bits as I ramp up for the first game in May. I hope this has helped clarify some pieces for both readers and potential players alike!