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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Our group is quite close to starting our first run of the Dresden Files RPG. Not only our first foray into it, but into any Fate system (as a group, truly first for about half of us).
    Are there any nuances or quirks to the game that would not be obvious to a first time player/reader, or any pitfalls you could warn us of? Do's and do not's?

    Thanksies!

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    What you have to learn about Fate that a lot of more classical RPGs don't do is that sometimes, you have to want to fail a check. Because you profit from that and the story is better. In fact, you need players who can get used to the idea of saying "DM, I'm really angry in this situation, can I take a -2 from my Righteous Wrath aspect to fail this diplomacy check" or similar.

    THat's how you start out, at least. Once the group is used to the idea, it's more "I tell the Captain where he can stick his badge" - "He sputters in anger and shows you the door, have a fate point".
    Last edited by Eldan; 2018-10-25 at 03:02 AM.
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    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Are you using the classic version, or the Accelerated version?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    To avoid the most damaging pitfalls:

    Followthe "build Characters and City together" Rule part. It helps a LOT, even if its rather frontloaded.

    Make sure everybody truly understands Aspects, and chooses them wisely, and as DM remember that without compels, Aspects, Fate Point flow etc the Game DOES NOT WORK.

    The rest should develop easily while playing. :)
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Are you using the classic version, or the Accelerated version?
    Classic. I am also NOT the GM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Make the characters/city together in session 0. Do not skip this step.

    Beware the possibility of an entire plot bending around magic; if you have a Wizard PC, it's easy for magic to be the solution to every problem. That makes the Wizard the main character, and everyone else their sidekicks.

    4dF v 4dF makes for incredibly swingy results. We found it better for the GM not to roll for the opposition, treating them as getting a 0 so only the players rolled.

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    Last edited by Kiero; 2018-10-25 at 05:07 PM.
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Buy in, Buy in, Buy in. Make sure that everybody buys in to any assumptions you are making. I've played a couple of different games and when players buy in, are engaged, and actively want to interact with the city, its a blast. When players want a D&D dungeon crawl, its a slog.
    Therefore, I would second, third, whatever, the city creation suggestion. Make sure a location is selected that everybody wants to engage with.
    Secondly, I would suggest that when making initial character stories, do it cooperatively. The book suggests a little more discrete steps that can be a little clunky. I've had more success when everybody helps out and there is a lot of conversation about the stories.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    We are all kind of from rural areas, so we thought we'd use a premade setting from the paranet papers as none of us really have cities we strongly associate with.

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Even if you use a premade setting or a rural one, I strongly recommend adapting the city and group creation processes for it. This is game that strongly lives from your character's ties to the group and the group's ties to the area.

    It doesn't have to be a city. But it's very worthwhile for everyone to create a few NPCs and power groups together.
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Indeed, that cannot be stretched enough.

    DF lives only if you do it together from the start.

    Also, DM or not, make sure everybody understands how Aspects work, remembers using them and Fate Points a lot, and dont forget that your opposition often ahs them too. ;)
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Classic. I am also NOT the GM.
    In contrast with some of the others, my experience has been that the game actually functions decently well without much in the way of Fate point flow at all. The rules for supernatural powers and magic are quite crunchy (occasionally to the game's detriment; my last DFRPG game got bogged down a lot trying to translate "I do X" into mechanical terms), and things are still fun even if fate points devolve into rarely-used hero points. The main difference is that the more fate points are moving around, the more the game feels character-driven, rather than mechanic-driven.

    The most important piece of Fate advice, which seemed blindingly obvious when I first was told it but never seemed to be emphasized in the books, is that aspects are real. They're not just tags to hang on the scene that only matter if you spend fate points. If you use a maneuver to place a "THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE" aspect on the scene, the place is actually on *%@$ fire, and people should react and take damage accordingly. If you slap an "ARMS BOUND" aspect on someone, they don't get to use their @$%! arms, even if no-one spends a fate point. If you don't do that, things wind up pretty cookie cutter.

    That's kinda GM-side, though. On the player side... In the DFRPG, you'll usually be fighting things with health bars way bigger than yours. Sometimes because of armor, and sometimes because they just have a ton of extra #$%^@ stress boxes. But especially with the latter, mid-range hits are...kinda useless. If someone has 12 stress boxes, hitting them three times for 7, 5, and 9 stress accomplishes essentially nothing. Your most effective tactic will almost always be to have most of your party spend their actions Maneuvering to give your heavy hitter* a bunch of fresh aspects to tag.


    *Who, let's be honest, will be your party wizard. Evokers in the DFRPG stall out after a few rounds of combat, but before then they're more dangerous than anyone else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    I'm also of the belief that City Creation is important. It sets the themes of the game, gets the players buying in, and makes sure that you have characters that match the setting. If your group doesn't feel they know enough about a particular city, why not set it in a fictional one that matches up vaguely with a real world one?

    I'm sure you've all seen enough movies set in New York or LA to have an idea of the high points of the city, and if you make the city "Metropolia" instead of Movie New York, you don't have to worry about the specifics.

    As to pitfalls, Wizard PCs are amazingly, scarily competent. They can solve any combat related problem (they start to burn out of resources at around Round 4 of the combat, but by that stage most everything's dead anyway), and any out of combat problem can be solved as long as you have time to use your Thaumathurgy. They effectively replace a party, to the point where our Wizard PC had to go well out of their way and mumble about magic being complicated to allow other PCs to do things. If I ran it again, I'd ban Wizard PCs altogether and replace them with specialist magic users.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    I'd recommend at least looking at Dresden Files Accelerated...
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    *Who, let's be honest, will be your party wizard. Evokers in the DFRPG stall out after a few rounds of combat, but before then they're more dangerous than anyone else.
    We've just been told that the power level/refresh peak of our game will be medium to low - so no wizards will be possible. Evokers may even be a reach.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I'd recommend at least looking at Dresden Files Accelerated...
    Why?

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Why?
    I feel that, in general, the Fate Core-era stuff is much more elegantly designed. You can tell they learned a TON from the 3.0 era products and brought that into Core. DFA has the advantage of being fairly late into the Core cycle as well, so there was a lot of learning from even Core that made it into DFA. Mantles and Conditions are great tech in the game, and do things super elegantly.
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    We've just been told that the power level/refresh peak of our game will be medium to low - so no wizards will be possible. Evokers may even be a reach
    The minimum suggested power level ("feet in the water") is Refresh 6, which is admittedly not enough for a capital-w Wizard, but all you really need is two points of spare Refresh to pick up Channeling-- one element's worth of Evocation is more than enough to get the ball rolling.

    Why?
    I've not played the Accelerated edition, but I have played the original quite a bit, and...it's not really a Fate game. It's much more Fudge; Aspects aren't always well-integrated outside roleplaying. There's a lot of emphasis on mechanical elements-- blocks and borders and armor and weapons and modifying skills and round-to-round durations and a whole host of stuff that later versions of the game mostly handwave or fold into core Aspect mechanics.

    Which you prefer is up to your group. The DFRPG if you want a mostly-simulationist ruleset with some a sound mechanical framework for roleplaying; the Accelerated edition if you'd prefer a lighter, more narrativist ruleset.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    In my experience...

    Classic Dresden Files RPG is quite playable, in contrast to some other contemporary FATE games.

    The city-building session is awesome and helps everyone at the table -- both the players and the DM, which was unexpectedly nice for me since I'm usually the DM. I highly recommend doing that city-building session, and if you're anything like me you'll end up stealing the basics for every future game in every other system.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    We are all kind of from rural areas, so we thought we'd use a premade setting from the paranet papers as none of us really have cities we strongly associate with.
    We live in rural France, and our group chose to play our campaign in Boston because one of us thought it might be a cool occult-adventure location (and boy, it is!). We hit Wikipedia and Google about the city, its history, its urban legends, any cool-looking locations that we might want to include in our campaign.

    And since no one of us ever went to the place, we could repurpose or slightly change anything without feeling like we were "betraying" a familiar location : The Boston Athenaeum library became the homebase of our Prometheus-scion PC, the bostonian Society was "upgraded" from an historical society maintaining the Old State House museum to a full-fledged occult city council, the peculiar achitecture of several key buildings became part of a Ward against an ancient horror, the Patriarca crime syndicate and the mayor are pawns to rival vampire clans, several urban redevelopment project never happened because we felt the older neighborhoods were cooler campaign location, etc...

    The city creation rule is awesome because it builds the city around the characters and adventures the players want to play, rather than trying to fit the characters into an existing framework (for example, the occult city council came into being because 2 players wanted politics in the game, and several key locations and factions directly relates to characters backstories)

    and I get to use real maps, tourist leaflets, location pictures... as game material and inspiration. For a lazy GM, it's a huge bonus
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2018-10-29 at 05:52 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    We are having session 0 tomorrow evening. Thus far there's not really any character concepts being thrown around, but at least everyone appears to have read the basic rules.

    GMs the only one to have read any of the novels, so this could be interesting.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    We are having session 0 tomorrow evening. Thus far there's not really any character concepts being thrown around, but at least everyone appears to have read the basic rules.

    GMs the only one to have read any of the novels, so this could be interesting.
    People not coming with fully-formed ideas to session 0 is not necessarily a bad thing. It means there can be some genuine collaboration and shared creation, which is generally to the good for the game.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    We are having session 0 tomorrow evening. Thus far there's not really any character concepts being thrown around, but at least everyone appears to have read the basic rules.

    GMs the only one to have read any of the novels, so this could be interesting.
    For a Fate game, it´s really positive to not come to the session zero with having made any concrete thoughts about characters. The city building session will more or less set the tone and mood for what characters, their aspects and high concept really fit in and what are really wanted.

    I don´t find the novels to be important for playing dresden files. Yes, they explain the different concepts you can chose from, but in a way also lock you in. When playing the DFA variant, we actually dropped most of the ones based on the later novels and created lot of new ones to fit our more call of cthulhu inspired city.

    Speaking of which, we played that campaign online and couldn't agree on an existing city, so we grabbed "Lovecraft Country" and adventured in Arkham and such. ;)

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    So we had the city creation session. Was really fun. One person had to leave early so we're doing a part 2 next week. Looks like we're playing teens in a highschool setting with no real magical talent among us, at the refresh 6 point.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Experience with the Dresden Files RPG?

    Sounds cool ^^

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