This is the third of a series of articles where I share some of the detailed characters, places, and things created during a recent campaign. The campaign used Evil Hat’s Fate system, and took place in Edward Turner’s “The Aether Sea” world. We decided as a group to use Fate Core rather than Fate Accelerated Edition, so the subjects presented here will work better with Fate Core.
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 really only gives you the bones; it’s up to the group to make the suggestions into full adventures. Here is the ‘meat’ that our group put on the bones suggested by Ed Turner; the game items presented here were spun out of an adventure prompt at the end of the Aether Sea book, which I’ll quote later. First, let’s describe the setting of the adventure, then give a description of how prompt might play out.
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!
1) Julian’s Bluff
A moderate distance from Tun, Julian’s Bluff is on the border between Hegemony-controlled space and the rest of the aether. It is aptly named. The habiformed part of the planet is made of rocky red sandstone bluffs, cliffs, gorges, and mountains. Glaciers in the mountains feed high misty waterfalls and roaring blue and white rivers. Tamarack and pine trees cover every level surface, their green boughs contrasting with the red colour of the native landscape.
Sector Aspect: Currently in civil war.
Planetary Aspect: Guerrilla colonials vs underfunded Hegemony
2) Refugee ShipAs the player characters approach the sector, they will come across a ship travelling in the opposite direction. Its sails are torn, and there is a dwarf-sized hole in the starboard bow. A Good (+3) Overcome will allow characters to know that this ship is dangerous to fly in the Aether. There is no one visible on deck; a Good (+3) Notice will allow a character to see movement through the hole in the hull. It is, or was, a Royal Navy vessel. The ship will avoid them, not interacting unless physically stopped. If it is stopped, characters will discover it is an overcrowded ship of refugees that will give detailed information about the sector, creating an advantage with a free invocation on the sector aspect for the players. The townsfolk are average nameless non-player characters.
High Concept: Damaged Navy Ship
If the characters ignore the ship, set a Great (+4) Overcome for them to figure out something about what is going on.
3) Civil War…
Here is the text of the adventure, taken from The Aether Sea. We changed the contact to Katin Field; but it could be anyone giving the characters a job. Verdanteye is the moon colony from the adventure included in the sourcebook.
Contact: Grun’s Third Arkus Darkblade. (The Aether Sea, page 44.)
Cargo: A box full of plants and other alchemical material grown down on Verdanteye.
Destination: Julian’s Bluff, a human world a moderate distance away. The customer is the Royal Alchemical Society.
Complication: Julian’s Bluff is currently in the midst of a civil war, and the Royal Alchemical Society is in the midst of a battlefield.
As the crew approaches the coordinates, a blanket of white clouds covers the ground, another sign of well-established habiforming. As they approach the site, they dip below the clouds and see the landscape below is being pelted with a drenching rain. They fly over a collection of siege engines being wheeled up a muddy track to the top of one of the bluffs. The light is dim, but occasional flashes of lightning reveal a forested gully full of torch light, hundreds of people, and over the sound of the rain can be heard the clash of weapons and the cries of the wounded. In the distance, a Royal Navy ship is firing a hail of arrows down on the forces below. Some of the lightning flashes are coming from a lightning gun aboard the ship.
4) The Dominion
A voice from your magic mirror crackles throughout the cabin.
“This is Captain ____ of the Dominion. Surrender your vessel or be destroyed.”
His image winks out immediately, and you hear a bass twang. A ballista bolt sails into view, a rope unwinding quickly behind it.
High Concept: New Battlecruiser Prototype
Trouble: Still working out the bugs.
I’ll get you!!!
Building a deadly reputation.
+8 Fight, +7 Shoot, +5 Athletics, Sail
+4 Stealth, Craft, +3 Notice, Provoke, Resources
5) It’s a trap!!
If the characters escape or avoid the Dominion, the coordinates the player characters were given lead to a deserted outpost just slightly behind the rebels’ line. Rebel forces attempt to capture the ship & crew. Any attempts at magical communication will lead them into a trap at this location: Fair (+2) Deceive.
Lieutenant Precious Graves
Lieutenant in the rebel forces: handsome, strong, and dumb as a bag of hammers. Precious is a diplomatic concession - the general in charge of the rebel forces lets him stay around to keep his powerful family ties happy. He leads the ambush.
High Concept: Just a Soldier
Trouble: Easy Mark
Can't wait to be with Annabel again
+5 Athletics, +4 Shoot, +3 Fight, +2 Rapport, +1 Physique
3 Physical Stress, 2 Mental Stress, Consequence slots as normal
Honest Abe: Charming and innocent - use Rapport to inflict mental stress on people trying to harm him in social situations.
5 groups of 5 Average Soldiers under Lieutenant Graves’ command.
High Concept: Impoverished Guerilla Soldier.
+2 Fight OR Shoot
Grappling Ground Ballista: +2 to create Grappled advantage on Aether vessels, using Shoot vs Athletics. To remove the advantage requires a Good (+3) Overcome action.
If the player characters are defeated, they are captured. If victorious (i.e. they take out 10 or more soldiers), Lieutenant. Graves seeks to parley with them, unsure of what to do. He will ask them to come see General Miller, the leader of the rebel forces.
This was the first instalment of our session at Julian’s Bluff; I hope that you can have fun with it, too. If you decide to make use of these resources, please leave a comment to let me know how it goes!
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!
Picture Reference: http://www.acrosstheboardgames.net/luke/sailing-the-vast-aether-sea/
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.