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[Opinions Wanted!] Converting Hot Springs Island, a hexcrawl campaign, to FAGE

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  • [Opinions Wanted!] Converting Hot Springs Island, a hexcrawl campaign, to FAGE

    Hey all!

    Long time lurker, first time caller. I've had Hot Springs Island for a few months and I'd really like to run it as the next campaign for one of my groups. For those who may not know, Hot Springs Island is a volcanic tropical island hexcrawl with half a dozen factions, dozens of NPCs, a variety of beasts and plantlife, and a smattering of ruins and dungeons.

    It's a system-agnostic thing and folk seem to be inclined, understandably, to run it with their favorite OSR game. And I thought about that (Monsters & Magic, specifically), but my group likes modern, unified mechanics, and I like FAGE. With it's subsystems to cover most any eventuality I might run into, and the fun Stunt mechanics, I figure it'll be a nice fit.

    I am, however, looking for some feedback about how I'd like to implement the system here.

    Types of Characters: The setting has a sort of Fantasy East India Company in The Martel Company, with a strong interest in and presence on the Island. I'm going to have the PCs be either criminals who's sentences have been bought, desperate folk looking for a much needed windfall, eccentric collectors, researches, all brought on by Martel.

    Health: The island is supposed to be a dangerous, if profitable, place. I'd like to use the "Con Only" Health variant from the FAGE Companion. I also really like the idea of using The Expanse's Fortune & Conditions system, and am thinking about pairing it with Con Only. I don't think the Expanse preview has the full system, just enough to run the included adventure, but the bones are there. I want the PCs taking Acid/Fire burns, broken bones, gut wounds, and poisoning Conditions so they need to use alchemical concoctions, more advanced Arcana, and varying Skill Foci to remove them, giving them reason to further engage with the various beasts and plants they can find.

    I also want to use Fatigue from Blue Rose, though not for spellcasting.

    Equipment: The Island's creatures all have useful parts for trade and crafting. With that in mind Iím going to use the optional Trade Foci. Martel may have better than the basic equipment and supplies they'll provide at the outset, but it's overly expensive. In this way, the PCs may go on excursions to harvest materials for better armor, weapons, alchemical goodies, and magic item crafting. They may not have all the skills to do all of these things, which will keep them engaged with Martel personnel/associates to an extent.

    Experience: I definitely want to use Experience Points. What I'm trying to figure out is how I'd like to reward them. Encounter-based XP rewards are fine and good, and I may go that way. But I'm also thinking about stealing another HIS GM's idea of going oldschool and rewarding XP for gold returned to the Martel Company (either to pay off their criminal sentence, or the cost of bringing them along on the expedition). This could be interesting and keep Martel a force in the campaign whether the PCs stay aligned with them or they become antagonistic in some way.

    Monsters/Beasts: I want experience (not necessarily XP) to be important. I'm thinking of giving most of the bestiary (outside of major NPCs and Boss Monster types) a Minion Rating. This would only come into play after the PCs had encountered and defeated an example of the creature in combat, and maybe having specifically uncovered a weakness to exploit. This will make being familiar with their opponents a benefit, and maybe take some of the deadliness out of encounters they know how to deal with and offset the lowered PC Health.

    Other: I'm going to let anyone who takes Alchemist Talents craft potions and elixirs in addition to grenades. In fact, I may remove grenades entirely, but probably not.

    I'm pretty excited to adapt Hot Springs Island to FAGE. I've put a little work into converting the bestiary already, and I think things are coming along nicely. But honestly, does this sound fun if the campaign's conceits are explained and expectations set ahead of time, or am I serving up a hot disaster on wheels here?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by HexMachine; 04-11-2019, 06:08 AM.

  • #2
    Re: [Opinions Wanted!] Converting Hot Springs Island, a hexcrawl campaign, to FAGE

    This sounds great! A lot of thought was definitely put into this and good prep more often than not leads to good games. I just had a few questions/comments.

    How are you planning on handling the hex crawl (sorry, did not look over the link you sent too thoroughly)? I am currently running Tomb of Annihilation, which has pre-baked rules for traversal and exploration. A good source for mining ideas, as well as Kingmaker for Pathfinder.

    Originally posted by HexMachine View Post
    Types of Characters: The setting has a sort of Fantasy East India Company in The Martel Company, with a strong interest in and presence on the Island. I'm going to have the PCs be either criminals who's sentences have been bought, desperate folk looking for a much needed windfall, eccentric collectors, researches, all brought on by Martel.
    Later on you mention about keeping this pretty low magic. Are you going to allow mages at all? If not, are you going to replace them with another class. From running AGE games, I have found that the 3 classes are great but players definitely enjoyed having more options at the start (i.e. more classes).

    Originally posted by HexMachine View Post
    Health: The island is supposed to be a dangerous, if profitable, place. I'd like to use the "Con Only" Health variant from the FAGE Companion. I also really like the idea of using The Expanse's Fortune & Conditions system, and am thinking about pairing it with Con Only. I don't think the Expanse preview has the full system, just enough to run the included adventure, but the bones are there. I want the PCs taking Acid/Fire burns, broken bones, gut wounds, and poisoning Conditions so they need to use alchemical concoctions, more advanced Arcana, and varying Skill Foci to remove them, giving them reason to further engage with the various beasts and plants they can find.
    Also pretty interesting as I am running ToA, which does not inherently put in restrictions for heavy armor but definitely stresses the GM to imply just how oppressive the climate can be. I have never tried the "Con Only" rule but it looks good on paper. Just be prepared that character types that are meant to take a lot of punishment all not being quite as tanky as before.

    Originally posted by HexMachine View Post
    Other: I'm going to let anyone who takes Alchemist Talents craft potions and elixirs in addition to grenades. In fact, I may remove grenades entirely, but probably not.
    I would advice against making this, as it would make the Alchemy Talent a little too OP. I came across this when I ran Star Wars where Force Sensitivity was WAY too powerful. Instead, I would make potions and elixirs their own thing, maybe Apothecary talent?

    Anyway, sounds like a really fun game and it really speaks to the versatility of AGE to see how many ways it can be adapted. Good luck and happy gaming!
    Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

    Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

    Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

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    • #3
      Re: [Opinions Wanted!] Converting Hot Springs Island, a hexcrawl campaign, to FAGE

      Originally posted by Otog View Post
      This sounds great! A lot of thought was definitely put into this and good prep more often than not leads to good games. I just had a few questions/comments.

      How are you planning on handling the hex crawl (sorry, did not look over the link you sent too thoroughly)? I am currently running Tomb of Annihilation, which has pre-baked rules for traversal and exploration. A good source for mining ideas, as well as Kingmaker for Pathfinder.
      The setting materials address this in a way I've seen GMs handle hexcrawls in the past. Days are broken up into six four hour Watches. Exploring a hex to discover one of its points of interests takes a Watch, as does crossing one, etc. One of the reasons I ultimately went with FAGE was because the Exploration Stunts interact favorably with the assumed traversal and exploration mechanics. A friend of mine is running ToA as well, I may poke around at his books and check it out!

      Later on you mention about keeping this pretty low magic. Are you going to allow mages at all? If not, are you going to replace them with another class. From running AGE games, I have found that the 3 classes are great but players definitely enjoyed having more options at the start (i.e. more classes).
      I hadn't intended to to suggest I was going to go low magic. I'm going to keep FAGE's default magic system. Quite a few of the NPCs are spellcasters as well. I very much intend to show the group how they might use the system, and the various supplemental material, to emulate classic classes!

      Also pretty interesting as I am running ToA, which does not inherently put in restrictions for heavy armor but definitely stresses the GM to imply just how oppressive the climate can be. I have never tried the "Con Only" rule but it looks good on paper. Just be prepared that character types that are meant to take a lot of punishment all not being quite as tanky as before.
      Definitely. I very much intend for encounters to be dangerous until the PCs have experience with various adversaries, which is why I'll slowly introduce Minion Ratings as they learn things about the inhabitants of the island. That's the aim, anyway. I am also being very clear that death will be a real possibility. Everyone seems to be onboard with the idea. I'll also be using Fatigue from Blue Rose to emulate how much it can suck trapesing around a tropical climate heavily armored, haha!

      I would advice against making this, as it would make the Alchemy Talent a little too OP. I came across this when I ran Star Wars where Force Sensitivity was WAY too powerful. Instead, I would make potions and elixirs their own thing, maybe Apothecary talent?
      Hm. Certainly worth considering breaking it out like that. Here's my instinct about why not to: Materials for potions, and grenades as well, will either be very expensive through the Martel Company, or dangerous to collect from the flora and fauna. In the case of grenades, characters would probably need to harvest elemental cores to craft grenades, and that would have the potential to set off an entire faction or two if not handled with stealth or diplomacy. The setting is pretty much set up with the assumption that crafting is something PCs might get up to, and that it has risks and rewards. So I think that may be a good enough balancing factor to keep it. It's definitely a thing to keep an eye on, though.

      Anyway, sounds like a really fun game and it really speaks to the versatility of AGE to see how many ways it can be adapted. Good luck and happy gaming!

      Thanks! I think it's going to be a good fit, and a lot of fun. Once I'm done with the conversion, I plan on making it available to others in some appropriate way.

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