Tron, FATE Core and Fantasy Grounds

In an effort to test out Fantasy Grounds in a live game I set up a game of FATE Core in the Tron universe.  I sought interest from players in the G+ Asia-Pacific Tabletop Games community and got three interested parties of which two showed up on the night.  Both of the players were new to FATE and both were new to Fantasy Grounds.  While I am not new to either I am new to actually gaming with Fantasy Grounds after having splurged with the Ultimate GM licence last week.

The only Tron related non-copyrighted photo I have… I made
this for my Son’s 8th birthday…

First off I want to say I had a great deal of fun.  The night for me was a trial of Fantasy Grounds under actual play conditions.  I am pretty good at the whole FATE Core system now and am comfortable running the game.  We spent the night first explaining FATE to the new players, then explaining Fantasy Grounds.  From there we played and discussed FATE and Fantasy Grounds interchangeably for around four hours.  One of the players I had not gamed with for a while and the other I had not gamed with at all, although we have had some near misses over the past year or so.

As to the Tron portion of the game.  I love Tron.  Always have.  Loved the 80’s movie of it and still think that it slightly edges out the newer movie.  The 2011 movie though is a really good return to the series and I spent a couple of hours watching this movie again and I have to say it gets better with every watching.  There are a lot of subtleties to that movie that are a beautiful nod to the first movie and also to computing history in general.  But I have to say while I love the setting, not a lot of people do.

The game was set at the point where CLU turns on Flynn and begins killing the ISO’s as aberrants against his perfect system.  I planned to have the players involved in protecting an ISO and trying to get her out of Grid City.  The girl was Cora (from the movie) and the pair of players took her to Zeus to lay low and get out of the city.  Zeus got a service in return (taking out a security protocol program called Lash) for him organising the trip.  The players saved a bunch of ISO’s and took out Lash and that was pretty much where the story ended.  The players got to meet key people from the movies, throw some discs and drive some Light Cycles!  In my eyes a good game.

I love my book…

There was some in depth system talk shared about the FATE system.  I was keen to see how they were getting along with the concepts.  We agreed that it was not a hugely crunchy game but they were very quick to adapt to the concepts which were largely new to them.  They came up with aspects, joined in the story telling and were invoking and compelling the aspects like I wish I did when I first learnt to play.  I got a message from one of the players after the game who thanked me for the fun introduction to FATE.  I think both may one day try it again.

I used Fantasy Grounds with the FATE build for it that is not complete yet and not available with the tool just yet.  I had a sneak peek so to speak and I liked it.  I have to say that in game running I would hands down prefer to run Fantasy Grounds rather than other systems.  However, the prep time had me a little confused and it needs more fancy effects like line of sight fog of war to really get my WOW factor up.  But the sleekness of the design and the ease of finding anything within only a few clicks was absolutely brilliant.

Running the system online we had absolutely no issues at all.  Fantasy Grounds performed flawlessly.  I fully expected though that the players would be able to see all of my tabletop and they could not which was very cool.  I had to share material with them.  Also, though they could see that I was rolling dice, they could not see the results of what I rolled which again was brilliant.  I loved it.

Sharing stuff with players was way easier than it has been in any other virtual tabletop I have spent a lot of time with up until now.  It really is two to three clicks and you have found an image and shared it.  The combat tracker worked really well and kept me well on task.  Also, I used the changing colours based on theme and whilst I thought it was going to be laughable it actually had palpable effects on the game that had the players thinking so great work!

Fantasy Grounds: FATE at work 🙂

Overall I found Fantasy Grounds an absolute pleasure to use.  As I mentioned above, there is some stuff I would like to see in it but I will be using it again.  In fact, I am fairly certain that I will be translating all of my Traveller games onto this system as there is a community built package for the game and it has some really nice touches.  I am playing Traveller via it for the first time on Wednesday night.  The game will go up online so make sure you check it out as you will see Fantasy Grounds displayed.

When talking to the players about the system, they were both happy with it but the cost was the limiting factor for them.  They have access to a free tool which they can use as a GM so they do not see the value in it.  They liked the look and feel but found the up front fees perhaps a bit limiting for them.  Maybe a subscription option would be a valuable addition for those that cannot afford the up front fee?  I am not sure but they both liked it.  One of them going so far to repeatedly mention how slick and professional it was whilst the other would often break into the game to point out a feature they had found.  Some of which helped me learn about the system too!

Overall, last nights game went really well.  I spent 4 hours at the computer and it felt only like a couple.  So I spent the evening in good company playing a good game on some good software.  If you read this blog for the Tron reference you have impeccable taste.  If you read it for the FATE reference, get into it, it is a good game that is best learnt while playing.  If you are interested in the Fantasy Grounds virtual table top then investigate it.  Get the demo and have a play around with it.  Bother me for a game and I will see what I can set up!  Until next time, keep rolling!

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