Update (2016): In the years since I posted this, I’ve changed my methods. You can find the new series of posts here.
Old Revision: This has been updated. Click here to see a more thorough description of this concept.
In my endless journey to simplify things for GMs, I’ve come up with an idea I’m going to play test in my next game: adventure fractals.
How’s it work?
When creating an adventure, first write it out narratively as you otherwise would, but take each scene and make an aspect out of it – as though each scene were an area of the phase trio. Then, create a difficulty pyramid using the PC’s apex skill as the middle stat and going up and down from there. Difficulties are probably best recorded in a manner similar to FAE, “Good at/Bad at”.
To add NPCs, simply give each one (or group of them) an aspect or two to set them apart (this could potentially come from the adventure aspects), and one or more stunts (+2 version, most likely) to show where they are particularly proficient. Everything else they do rolls with the adventure stats. Oh, and don’t forget their vitals: stress/consequences!
Here’s an example adventure built using this method (if you play test it, let me know how it went):
Raiding the Temple of Narem-Sha
Number of Scenes: 4 (nearby village for resources, gaining entry and exploring, fighting past tomb defenders, pilfering the tomb)
Aspects: Odd and Cryptic Villagers; Dark and Dangerous; Animated Skeleton Horde; Cursed Tomb of Narem-Sha!
Difficulties (PC Apex skill = +4)
- Hard (+6): Exploration/Discovery
- Average (+4): Combat/Lore
- Easy (+2): Social
Aspects: Borrowing Animated Skeleton Horde
- Horde. Add your current stress to your combat rolls when attacking due to your superior numbers. Each point of stress damage you take equals one individual of the horde getting taken out.
- Animated Undead. Gain +2 when provoking emotions of fear, but you are incapable of taking any other social action. You are also immune to social actions taken against you.
Vitals: Stress: 2 groups at 4 stress each; Consequences: None
Aspects: Undead Lich; Master Sorcerer
- King of the Undead. Once per scene, you can summon a group of 4 Animated Skeletons.
- Ancient Sorcerer. Your magic has unusual potency. Add +2 to your combat rolls when using a spell to attack or create advantages.
- Undead. Gain +2 when provoking emotions of fear.
Vitals: Stress: 5; Consequences: One Mild, One Moderate