My role-playing group and I just finished a one-year Fate campaign set in Edward Turner’s “The Aether Sea,” for which I was the gamemaster. In a previous article, I shared some of the resources I used to improvise my way through the game. Over the next few articles, I thought I would share some of the detailed characters, places, and items we created while playing.
For easy playing, “The Aether Sea” has an adventure included, complete with detailed characters and backstory. Following that, it sketches out some possible adventures, but it really only gives you the bones; it’s up to the group to make the suggestions into full adventures. In the following few articles, I will focus on one important place at a time, and share the ‘meat’ that our group put on the bones suggested by Ed Turner, hopefully providing a ready-to-play adventure with each article.
The descriptions and characters are our group’s take on the adventures suggested in the book. That being said, Fate lends itself very easily to creating your own characters and details. Take what I write here and play them as full-on adventures - or simply take some inspiration from them and build your own adventures from the suggestions!
Tun is an abandoned desert world. An attempt at habiforming didn’t take beyond creating a breathable atmosphere. After establishing one medium and several small settlements, most sensible folk abandoned the project. Since then, the planet has become a smuggler’s den - there’s just enough business, both legitimate and not, that the planet has become a stopover for nearly every cargo carrier operating in this part of the Sea.
Sector Aspect: A wretched hive of scum and villainy
The towns on Tun are very much in the style of the Wild West; one main street of important one- and two-storey buildings with a few scattered dwellings beyond. Horses are used to get around on land, though there aren’t many of them.
A medium-sized town with a small population, Dumas is known for nice old-fashioned buildings and cutthroat smuggling. In spite of occasional trouble from the Hegemony, they operate very successfully. That being said, everyone in town is bad news.
High Concept: Nicest crumbling town in the sector
Trouble: One horse town
A greasy, sneering man with a charming smile, a vest, and a bowler hat. If the Firefly reference isn’t clear enough, let me spell it out for you.
High Concept: Smuggling Baron
Trouble: Sleazy bugger
+4 Deceive, +3 Empathy, +2 Rapport, +1 Notice
Another medium-sized town, this one with a medium-sized population. Where Dumas is for smugglers only, Gaber conducts a share of legitimate business too. It serves as a trading post for the (mostly crazy) subsistence farmers who still believe there’s hope for the habiforming, and a stopover for most anyone from the surrounding sectors who needs to transport goods, but can’t do it themselves.
High Concept: Centre of the dust bowl
Trouble: Better than Dumas… right?
Shit Outta Luck Bar
The local watering hole. Features a swinging saloon door, rough clientele, Mudder’s Milk beer, and a poker table. They don’t get the snarf races broadcast, but you can place a bet with Shin if you’re willing to wait for the news.
High Concept: Small-time bookie
Trouble: The race happened last week...
4) Katin Field
If characters are looking for a job, folks will direct them to Katin Field. He lives not too far out of town in an artificial oasis that keeps the sand at bay with a ring of retaining walls. It was a homestead, abandoned when the habiforming failed. He is protected by a retinue of Fair to Good nameless non-player characters. He is also the “contact” for the first job the characters find.
High Concept: Smuggling Lord
Trouble: Under house arrest
+4 Empathy, +3 Deceive, +2 Fight, +1 Notice
5) Klehnaki Chaos
Contact: Katin Field
Cargo: Himself. He has information to deliver to an ‘information specialist’ who will pay him for it. He will not reveal what his cargo is willingly. Players may use an overcome roll (any reasonable skill) to learn more about the cargo:
Average (+1) - the cargo is information.
Fair (+2) - The information is secret.
Good (+3) - It is secret information about the Klehnaki.
Great (+4) - The cargo is the location of the Klehnak, the Orc pirate leader.
Destination: Margaret, a well-protected hamlet run by Margaret “Maggie” Darkblade, a goblin informant.
Complication: Since the information Katin has is the whereabouts/existence of Klehnak, the Klehnaki pirates don’t want it to be known. The pirates know that Katin has the information, and his house is being watched. When he leaves his house, an informant leaves in a magical rowboat (Good (+3) Notice to see it leaving). An ambush of two Klehnaki pirate ships is set up on route to Margaret. The pirates will attack the players and show no mercy.
Leaving the towns is dangerous to begin with. Pirate ships roam the desert landscape, looking for transport ships foolish enough to venture too far from safety. Katin will suggest that the crew take a route through a canyon to stay hidden, providing the group with an advantage called Lay of the land. He will be up front about having something that the pirates want.
Klehnaki Pirate Ships
It’s said that the Klehnaki are merciless orc supremicists. An altogether nasty group.
High Concept: Klehnaki Pirate Ship
Trouble: Repurposed Junker
+3 Fight OR Shoot, +2 Physique, +1 Athletics AND Provoke
Moderate Consequence Slot
Fear of the Klehnaki. Automatic Provoke attack on sight.
Grapple stations: On successful Fight attack, place Grappled aspect on enemy ship Good (+3) overcome + shifts to remove the condition.
The pirates may board the ship when the aspect is in play.
5 Pirates will board if given the opportunity.
High Concept: Filthy Pirate
Trouble: Vicious, not bright
+2 Fight OR Shoot, +1 Physique
There you go! I hope you make use of these sketches for your own game. If you have any feedback, please share it in the comments!
Landrew is a full-time educator, part-time art enthusiast. He applies his background in literature and fine arts to his favourite hobby (role-playing games) because the market for a background in the Fine Arts is very limited. He writes this blog on company time under a pseudonym. Long live the Corporation!
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.