Spirit of the Century: Eberron Adventures 3

Continuing with my notes for running an Eberron game using Spirit of the Century’s rules…

Aspects

Aspects are the core of your character in Spirit of the Century. The are colorful descriptors that let you do extraordinary things and also get you into trouble, which earns you Fate Points. And you want Fate Points. So the best Aspects are Aspects that will be descriptive, interesting, useful at times, and will also get you in trouble at times. They don’t all have to be that good – some can just be trouble (Raging Alcoholic) or can just be advantages (Legendary Elven Accuracy). Its up to you. But if you have none that are trouble, you won’t get nearly as many Fate Points, and that means you won’t get to use those advantageous Aspects nearly as often.

Race or Racial ability: Dwarven Stonecunning, Luck of the Halfling, Warforged Don’t Breathe, “I am Most Certainly Not a Changeling”, “My! What Big Claws You Have”,

Class or class ability: Faith in the Silver Flame, Monastic Training, Animal Companion, Cleave!, Lay on Hands, Extreme! Explorer, Eldeen Ranger, “I’m an Inquisitive Sort of Girl”, “I’m the Warforged Juggernaut, Bitch!”, Secrets of Elemental Binding, Servitor of the Blood of Vol, Exorcist of the Silver Flame

Dragonmarked House: Mark of Detection, Mark of Finding, Mark of Handling, Mark of Healing, Mark of Hospitality, Mark of Making, Mark of Passage, Mark of Scribing, Mark of Sentinel, Mark of Shadow, Mark of Storm, Mark of Warding, Dragonmark Heir (requires Mark Aspect)

Dragonmark Aspects will allow you to gain the magical benefit that is basically the equivalent of a couple related spells of lower power. You also gain the social connections that the Mark implies – marked members of Dragonmarked Houses get priviliges because of their birthright. So it isn’t as powerful as, say, Spellcraft with the Necromancy Stunt, and it isn’t as influential as other Aspects might be socially, but its a very strong hybrid, and will probably be useful with Fate Points pretty often in Eberron.

Magic item: Boots of Striding and Springing, “Look at My Rod of Wonders”, Clunky Magical Armor, The Sword of my Fathers, Bag of Holding

Ally: I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy,

Relationship to the world: “I Serve the Brelish Crown”, Dread Lord of Karrnath, Blooded Elf of Valenar, Gatekeeper Initiate, Member of the Wayfinder Foundation, Fellow of Morgrave University, “What Emerald Claw Tatoo?”

Personality/RP: Fly off the Handle, “Oh, is that My Blood?”, Don’t Ruin it by Thinking, Barbarian Rage!

Some Character Creation Suggestions
Its a good idea to include at least one skill that you can use in combat. In pulp, fights come fast and furious. With SotC they aren’t deadly that often, but they do carry consequences (some are listed below). Athletics is used to dodge attacks, Fists and Weaponry are used to block and parry attacks, Spellcraft and Religion and Art with their connected Aspects are obviously useful, Bows is an obvious choice as well, and so on.

You can also try to use social skills to defend yourself – though this isn’t a sure way to avoid getting your ass kicked, it might save you. Deceit, Intimidation and Leadership might all be useful in a fight. Endurance and Resolve will also come up often against things you don’t get a chance to try to block or avoid.

You might want to think of our character’s approximate “class”. The top one should be what your “class” and character do best. What’s their core competency, the thing you want to use a lot during the course of the game? Put that there.

***

And that’s what I think is useful to copy – most of the rest of what I had was taken directly from the book and pretty obvious.

For me, the key points are the changes in the Skill list and how I handled Stunts to encapsulate Arcane and Divine magic for caster types, including some of the musical abilities of Bards, and the unique Dragonmarks. The stuff about Aspects and so on is pretty obvious, really – just something you need to work out.

I found that SotC was well-suited to Eberron (which one would expect) – it definitely broke away from that D&D “feel”, but you can keep the feel in a limited way if you want to by limiting the choices you make with the system.

Obviously, if you really want that D&D “feel”, then, you know, play D&D.

9 thoughts on “Spirit of the Century: Eberron Adventures 3

  1. Hello!

    This was an interesting read as I'm looking for a way to adapt SotC/Fate to a medieval fantasy setting such as D&D.

    One thing that I wonder when reading is this : are aspects and stunts really numerous enough to represent the kind of things you can end up with in D&D proper?
    You have gone with a very wide scope for magic (one stunt = one school) and it seems it might be useful for other classes to avoid running out of “room”.

    Also, you implied that you got inspiration for this from elsewhere and I'm also interesting in seeing other examples of such implementations. If anything, I'd love to see a complete example of a D&D character turned into SotC.

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  2. Leokhorn:

    I'm glad this was interesting. As for whose work I drew on, I've only expanded what he worked out for when he runs Eberron with SotC, so I don't think he'd have anything to add. (If I get the chance I'll ask, but I don't see him on a regular basis)

    When I get a chance I'll post one of the characters from my SotC Eberron game (assuming I can find them – I probably can) so you can see a concrete example of what I'm talking about. That's a good idea regardless, and something I neglected to think of, so thanks πŸ™‚

    The nice thing about Aspects and Stunts is that you get 10 Aspects and 5 Stunts as a basic character. I found that this covered a lot of ground, and SotC is designed such that you can tweak those numbers at will if it leads to a better game. There are a lot of Stunts in the SotC book that are similar to Feats (though there is a *much* wider variety of abilities than is found in D&D, not even counting making up your own) and Aspects are…basically whatever you want them to be.

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  3. No problem with the lateness; no worries.

    I actually wasn't aware of Spirit of Iron Kingdom. I just got ideas from an acquaintance at the friendly local game store.

    I'm still looking for my old notes for an example – if I can't find one, then I'll write up an example.

    For me, AoE stuff is the limit, but I didn't have any high-powered casters, so I didn't do much thinking beyond that. I was basically trying to balance spells with other stunts, and I'd recommend that. If a comparable stunt costs an FP, have a use of a spell cost an FP too. If I was in doubt as GM, I'd err on the side of charging FPs.

    The players weren't in favor of breaking the spellcasting stunts down into Lesser and Greater versions for low-level spell effects (say 0-3ish) and high-level effects, but that would be another way to go if you expect to have a lot of magic.

    It is a freeform system – for differences I'd just rely on Aspects. For example, a Wizard must have the Aspect “Spell Component Pouch” – so that Aspect can be compelled by the GM or used in other fun ways. For Sorcerers, the required Aspect could be “Innate Magical Gift” or something. Those could both fit under the part of Aspect-creation that is theoretically bound to your class – the Last War section as I have it written up I believe.

    I'd say that a roll to remove a poison would be contested against the poison-creator's roll. So the original poison attack is Spellcraft vs. Endurance (for example) with the necromancy stunt for the magical poison and then the magical removal might be Religion vs. Poison with a curing stunt.

    I'm personally a fan of freeform magic systems, but I can see ways where you might add rules to what I have up. In the group this was written for, there were no characters with much magical skill, so I didn't go into much detail in my thinking…but keep up the questions if you still have them πŸ™‚ Its good to return to this and think about it.

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  4. I'm glad you don't mind the questions as I tend to have a lot of them when it comes to SotC… It boggles my mind as much as it feels me with glee πŸ™‚

    To explain the context a bit, I'm currently trying to have rules to play D&D things using SotC. I'd rather err on the side of heroics and pulp rather than gritty happenings, which would seem to be Eberron-like, but I'll go setting-less for now, though, for the sake of simplicity. I'm playtesting things solo for now, until I get a good grasp of everything and feel I'm ready to GM a game. I believe that if I can get D&D to work with this, any other setting should also be easy to adapt. Magic (or other such powers) is among the difficulties, but I'm also still trying to really *get* the Fate concepts when it comes to Aspects and their effects.

    I'm not against a freeform system at all, but I'm not sure how balanced it would be and how complex it might make converting existing creatures/characters. And I also feel it's a challenge to actually retain facets of how D&D magic works. I've thought of simply keeping the spellbook management as it is, but I can already see many problems (how to know which levels of spells are available and how many you should get, will ray of frost and fireball work the same? They clearly won't affect people the same way and they probably shouldn't even do the same damage… yet they would all be governed under the same skill roll).
    In that regard, the freeform idea looks very appealing but it seems almost too powerful at first glance. How did it fare in actual play?

    This poison system seems good.

    One magic thing I could see as abuseable without a FP cost is being able to cast some healing spell multiple times. Or is it one of these things that would *always* cost 1 FP?

    Ah it's so confusing! So many possibilities πŸ™‚

    – Moni

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  5. If you're concerned about balance, I'd just make more things cost a Fate Point. Fate Points are the real limiting factor in SotC, and players have to earn them by getting their characters into trouble, so they become an engine for drama, basically, as long as you make sure you're compelling.

    Also, I recommend that you encourage players to 'compel' their own characters, offering possible compels when they feel they need more FPs. Basically, give them enough rope…

    In the game I ran, magic honestly didn't get much play. It functioned as a low-magic fantasy pulp game for all intents and purposes, except one character had wands instead of guns. But if magic became a problem, I'd just charge FPs to use it for anything but basic attacks and incidental effects, the same way any skill can be used to accomplish a maneuver for example, or almost any skill can be used in combat if you're creative enough.

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  6. Apparently it keeps not sending me notification of your replies :/ (or they get spammed maybe ?_?)

    Anyway, since then I've somehow rediscovered the Steam & Sorcery magic system which is freeform with rules (contradictory?) and in the end it's a lot better than trying to convert existing spells which don't seem all too well balanced to begin with.

    The S&S system (well, one of the earlier versions) is a 1 stunt = 1 magic domain (fire, plants, death, …) which is quite similar to yours.
    From there, it goes from a basic spell template (1 zone away max, instant duration, 1 target, etc…) and has you raise the difficulty by one rank for each attribute you want to boost. Want 2 targets? Difficulty +1 (so it goes from Mediocre to Average).

    It makes for a rather well balanced spell creation system and doesn't remove the use of FPs since most of the big spells tend to be Fantastic spells or more, which means only the very good magic users will have a chance of casting them, and they will probably need to use a FP to ensure it works.

    I'm still playtesting it but so far I like it. I'd say it's nice for when magic is an integral part of combat, as it is in the game I'm planning.

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  7. Sorry for the long delay – that definitely looks like a good solution to me. Let me know how it turns out, if you don't mind, since I might want to run SotC Eberron another time and I could use the insight πŸ™‚

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  8. Thanks for the questions Zip – it's honestly been a while since I ran this campaign, and it only lasted for about a half dozen sessions or so. I think what I have here is a good beginning to build on, but I've basically posted all of what I have. Good luck! If you have more specific questions about anything, feel free to ask and I'll do what I can to help out.

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