Welcome back, dice fondlers! I hope you enjoyed a myriad of holidays over the last month, including the end of the year— at least, as far as the Gregorian Calendar is concerned. We are back with FATE this week, so let’s spread our wings and take to the skies!
What incredible world are we traipsing off to with the help of FATE today, you ask? Why settle for one world when we can visit thousands? We’re setting sail on the Aether Sea this week, so get ready to leave onboard on a magical (space ship) ride.
Lots to See in the Aether Sea
The Aether Sea will be immediately familiar to old school Dungeon and Dragons fans who remember the original emergence of the Spelljammer setting. Magic-powered sailing ships ferry the different fantasy folk of the universe between the countless worlds. If you’ve ever wanted to mix your fantasy and science fiction like a soft-serve chocolate-vanilla twist cone, this a pretty easy way to do it. With each of the players taking on the role of a person living in the setting where planets stand in for islands in classic seafaring stories.
Your characters could certainly spend the majority of their time planetside, but the setting comes alive once they set out on the eponymous Aether Sea to make their fortune.
Bureaucracy Even Here?
In the center of the Aether Sea’s known universe is the Royal Hegemony, which is run by humans. As such, it’s the source of all bureaucracy, including documents that insist that all variety of species must organize themselves according to human naming conventions.
Beyond the reaches of the Royal Hegemony, bureaucracy begins to slow down and lawlessness rears its head more freely. Operating and monitoring the Aethercraft that sail the Aether Sea is the Spellcaster’s Union. Their original founder had the foresight to keep the patents on all aethercraft in his name and became a member of the Royal Hegemony by proxy. This bureaucratic integration has ensured that all heads of The Spellcaster’s Union are ranking members of the Royal family, even though the Union swears that their system is merit-based.
Begin Your Voyage
In regards to mechanics, The Aether Sea is designed to work with Fate Accelerated. As such, it uses the standard character format of each having aspects, including a High Concept (ex. Surly Aether Pirate), a Trouble ( ex. Once attempted to steal from a Royal Hegemony treasury ship), and a Species (ex. Human) aspect. You then distribute points across the six Approaches of Fate Accelerated (Careful, Clever, Forceful, Flashy, Quick, and Sneaky). Depending on your choice of Species, you even get a little bonus to one of your Approaches that keeps you from ever getting a result below Mediocre.
After setting up your Approaches, you get to choose three more Aspects. These are your Background (found orphaned on Xanthas 7), a trait you and the group’s ship have in common (Built Like A Tank), and one free Aspect of your choice (my father’s laser cutlass). After that, you get to choose 3 stunts and have a Refresh of 3 to start. That’s it. You’re done!
If you’ve ever wanted to reach into the older genre of Sword
and Planet, or dabble in the ideas made popular in RPGs by Spelljammer, and
prefer the flexibility of the Fate Accelerated, you’ll definitely want to scoop
this one up. That’s all I have for you lovely folks this week. We’ll reconvene
next week and see where fate and the aether winds have led us. Until then,