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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    My group just started to play with Fate, in a post apocalyptic setting, and one of the characters has resource as his Great skill. He seems to come up with some gadget, instrument, vehicke and such for nearly every situation. This has got the other players (And also me a bit as GM) a bit worried. This skill feels a bit "too good", but more than that- it feels a bit ridiculeous, like he's carrying a great big bag of endless surprises which he springs things from.

    I must note that the player isn't trying to power game or disturb the game, just contribute as most of his other skills haven't been that useful. (He's a good liar and driver, but that came up quite sparingly).

    On the one hand, it feels like this skill can almost be considered a "create an advantage" for nearly every other skill (He improved vehicles, had beter ammunitions and weapons, crafting kits, sighting instruments, stealth kits and so on), and it might also garner all kind of special resources we think to add with extras (grenades, explosives, possibly robotic appliances, armor, rocket launchers and so on).

    On the other hand- I think this works so well because the character has this as it's great skill, and it's the main thing it does. I didn't try to hamper the great shooter for hitting nearly every time, or the rapport guy for making amazing speeches. Still, resources seem to come up far more often, and possibly affect the game more?

    How do you deal with this? I read the two suggestions in the core book, under the resource skill, but they feel like they are going to far, to the point of crippling the skill I think. I'm looking for other ideas- I'm looking for a fun use of resources, but without feeling like the player is "pulling out shinies" from his never ending bag of surprises.

    Thanks in advance,
    Kol.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Well, in a post-apocalyptic game I would probably either have dropped the Resources skill or set target numbers appropriately high (getting a functional car no strings attached might be difficulty +8, for example).

    Now, those changes might be appropriate, but the player might feel that his toys are being taken away, because he uses them well. In that case, there's two other options.

    Succeeding with a cost. Depending on the nature and extent of the apocalypse, gasoline might be somewhere between ridiculously hard to impossible to find, so a successful resources roll might only get you partway there; you'll still need to do someone a favour or something similar.

    Compelling campaign aspects. If it's a post-apocalyptic setting, then the storyteller can always compel that to say "Hey, this is a Post-Apocalyptic World, so it would make sense for you to not be able to buy this stuff at the drop of a hat. Damn your luck. *offers FP*"

    Honestly, I'd be more worried about people with crafting/repairing skills; they've got every bit as many options as the resources guy, if not more.
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    So, the problem is that the player with the high Resources skill is breaking your suspension of disbelief by pulling things out of seemingly nowhere?

    Seems to me the solution is simple: don't let them pull things out of nowhere. Evaluate each use of the skill. Make it less "what I have" and more "what I can get." He wants to use Resources to get a vehicle? Sure, but you're going to need to find somebody who has one, and it's going to take time. He wants to use it to have some super awesome gun? Again, he's going to need to find somebody who has it... and that might be better represented by having an extra for equipment or a better shooting skill, anyway. Fixing up the car? Well, you might have the part, but that doesn't mean you know how to hook it up.

    Don't make it too hard for him to use it for easy stuff, but more difficult to find stuff should be scaled appropriately, either with a higher difficulty or other complications with getting it.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    I'm with DarkFiddler here. If you rule that any uses of the skill have to make sense, the potential for abuse drops. Also, resources essentially means that the player has access to a lot of stuff. That does not necessarily mean that he has that stuff in his pockets. Rather, if he wants a sweet new car and succeeds in the resources roll, that could mean that he suddenly remembers that he owns a garage in the area and your party now has to trek to that garage (and possibly fight a wave of thugs) in order to actually get that car.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Resources isn't supposed to be about what they have on hand but about what they can get their hands on which can lead to role playing opportunities. As I understand it to just pull something out of a bag like this he would need an appropriate "Lots of useful stuff in a bag" aspect and need to spend a fate point to produce an item out of thin air.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    If you're using the base game's "Resources" skill, then I think you've actually completely misinterpreted what it does. It doesn't do anything remotely like what you're describing. It lets you purchase things that are available for purchase, or bribe people.

    This isn't using the optional "limiting resources" sidebar or anything, that's actually just what the skill does.

    Now, if you're hacking Fate (which is what it's for!) to have the Resources skill be the super always-applicable skill that solves everything, then that's your own fault. And kind of an odd choice for a post-apocalypse setting.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2013-07-20 at 11:12 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Yeah, Resources allows you to purchase stuff that's available ... it's honestly a skill I would have dropped in a post-apocalyptic world.

    Now, I also have a PC with a Great Resources skill, but we're playing investigators working for a secret organization that deals with extraterrestrial and paranormal occurrences. So, his background is that he's the son of a fantastically wealthy family. He has a fair amount of wealth, but it's not like he can buy his way out of any situation.

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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Bear in mind, skills need to be interpreted in the context of the setting. Great Athletics in a high school game probably means you can get a football scholarship, while the same skill in a wuxia game would let you run along ceilings and fly.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Sorry for the late response, these have been busy few days.
    So, to sum it up you all say that Resources should be used to buy stuff, instead of have stuff, and many of you think that Resources probably is ill suited for a post apocalyptic play?

    We're brand new to fate, these were our first two sessions, so perhaps we've got a few things wrong. I guess what stuck to memory from reading the skill was the part in "create an advantage" about saying you have an item for the job.

    Ok, so a few follow up questions:
    1) I'm thinking that dropping resources might be the way to go, however the character is based about being a wealthy merchant tough bastard who'll do anything for profit. Being the rich guy (he has several farms, warehouses with goods, two caravan trade routes) is kind of central to him. How do I compensate not having resources? Any ideas? Some thoughts of my own:
    - He can use his aspects to declare he has some sort of item, by spending a fate point. "making a declaration". This would make it less abusable?
    - Since he no longer has the resource skill, he might be able to upgrade a few other skills. I think that Contacts might be appropriate here? Any other skill that fits the grade?
    - Or maybe add some other skill? I'm thinking about "Survival", which sounds very fitting to the setting. The merchant has been going on the wilderness a lot, so this might be a nice way to spice things up.

    2) Or maybe to keep the resource skill, just use it as you guys suggested? My only concern is that in this setting the resources are tied to actual material possessions, and not a bank account or liquid funds. Meaning that when out in the wilderness, or far from his home town, the skill becomes ineffective.

    Also, suppose they want to go on a journey through the wasteland, how realistically can I limit the skills from being used to purchase lots of stuff. (This happened in game, and we just said that he gets lots of stuff, and we'll roll if he got the right stuff when the time comes. Still- lots of stuff!)

    Thanks for helping a Fate Noob out!

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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Scow2's Avatar

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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Sorry for the late response, these have been busy few days.
    So, to sum it up you all say that Resources should be used to buy stuff, instead of have stuff, and many of you think that Resources probably is ill suited for a post apocalyptic play?

    We're brand new to fate, these were our first two sessions, so perhaps we've got a few things wrong. I guess what stuck to memory from reading the skill was the part in "create an advantage" about saying you have an item for the job.

    Ok, so a few follow up questions:
    1) I'm thinking that dropping resources might be the way to go, however the character is based about being a wealthy merchant tough bastard who'll do anything for profit. Being the rich guy (he has several farms, warehouses with goods, two caravan trade routes) is kind of central to him. How do I compensate not having resources? Any ideas? Some thoughts of my own:
    - He can use his aspects to declare he has some sort of item, by spending a fate point. "making a declaration". This would make it less abusable?
    - Since he no longer has the resource skill, he might be able to upgrade a few other skills. I think that Contacts might be appropriate here? Any other skill that fits the grade?
    - Or maybe add some other skill? I'm thinking about "Survival", which sounds very fitting to the setting. The merchant has been going on the wilderness a lot, so this might be a nice way to spice things up.

    2) Or maybe to keep the resource skill, just use it as you guys suggested? My only concern is that in this setting the resources are tied to actual material possessions, and not a bank account or liquid funds. Meaning that when out in the wilderness, or far from his home town, the skill becomes ineffective.

    Also, suppose they want to go on a journey through the wasteland, how realistically can I limit the skills from being used to purchase lots of stuff. (This happened in game, and we just said that he gets lots of stuff, and we'll roll if he got the right stuff when the time comes. Still- lots of stuff!)

    Thanks for helping a Fate Noob out!
    If he's a merchant, why doesn't he have a caravan to hold all his goods? I'd just suggest increasing the target number of goods (At least slightly). In a low-resource world, every little bit can be powerful. When starvation's around the corner, a box of Hot Pockets is a saving grace.

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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    - He can use his aspects to declare he has some sort of item, by spending a fate point. "making a declaration". This would make it less abusable?
    Even if you don't get rid of Resources, something like this isn't a bad idea. The Fate Accelerated Edition book has a sample character with a Stunt that works like this, sort of; as a gadgeteer, she can declare she has just what she needs once per sessions.
    It's been a bit, GitP. If you're reading this, you're either digging through old stuff, or I've posted for the first time in forever.

    If you want to stay in touch, reach out to me on twitter (same username).

    The best answer is always to ask your DM.
    Unless you're the DM, in which case you should talk to your players.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    My 2 cents:

    I personally would never remove such an important Skill. It's central to how the game works (removing the need for a ton of tedious book keeping and/or a secondary treasure subsystem by rolling all of your resources into one Skill), and it's central to this character as you've described him. And in general, you don't want to nerf something a player enjoys doing. The point of the game is to have fun, not run a balanced simulation.

    Having said that, as others have said, Resources is primarily about being able to buy stuff, not magically carry everything he might need. He needs to make some sort of reasonable list of the stuff he normally carries, and then stick to that list unless there is an in game reason not to. If he wants something that is not on that list, he has to go and take the time to get it, to prepare for a fight against a certain enemy or buy the explosives he needs or whatever. But he can't just Batman his way out of every problem by saying he has everything he could ever possibly need in a utility belt.

    I would also say that its fully possible that he can buy all the best weapons that are available, buy highly trained mercenaries to carry them, buy a team of trained engineers and scientists to work for him, buy a fleet of specialized armor vehicles, etc. But then the player has to make an important decision - does he want to be the type of person who is always surrounded by a huge entourage of people - or does he want to live a more traditional adventuring life?

    If he does opt for the entourage path, then he has to deal with the ramifications. His enemies will bring similarly large and dangerous groups, some of his entourage might be backstabbing opportunists and/or spies, his vehicles might need scarce fuel that needs to be quested for, his caravan is regularly targeted by raiders, the other players might resent him for his wealth, and so on.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    It's central to how the game works (removing the need for a ton of tedious book keeping and/or a secondary treasure subsystem by rolling all of your resources into one Skill)...
    I think you're thinking about this backward. "Resources" doesn't remove a more tedious method of tracking wealth. The existence of a "Resources" skill adds a form of wealth-tracking as a meaningful fixture of whatever game you're playing in.

    The skills given in the book are example skills (see pg100). Ideally, a group should come up with skills for their particular game. If one's purchasing ability is an important feature of the game you want to play, then you add Resources as a skill. If it's not, then you don't.

    In particular, if I was doing the horrible charred wasteland type of Post-Apocalypse, I'd probably roll "acquiring things" in with the functions of "Contacts". The idea being, money is worthless - it's all about knowing who has what and how to get it from them. If the idea was to have lots of traveling, I'd probably further roll it into some of the aspects of "Drive", and then give it a snappy name, like "Weary" - to go with "Beaten" (fighting stuff), "Jaded" (social stuff), "Mad" (knowledge stuff), and assorted other things of that nature.

    If I was doing a Borderlands~esque gunporn explosionganza type of Post-Apocalypse, I'd probably add some form of straight Resources skill just so players and/or characters can fight over who can buy the biggest gonzo bazooka-that-shoots-rockets-that-explode-into-clouds-of-bees-that-are-equipped-with-lasers. There'd be whole buying-war conflicts based on throwing the loot from thousands of dead bandits into a worthless pissing contest. It would be amazing. Hell, you could make a whole game about that, and just ditch the fighting!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: FATE core: How to deal with the resources skill?

    Three things on Resources:

    1) As others have said, it's not generally a magical "Hey, look what's in my back pocket!" skill. It's a "hrm, can I acquire this?" skill. Acquisition can often take a period of time, and should generally be tied to some actual action or sequence in the narrative.

    2) Make sure you set difficulties appropriately, and with an understanding of how common something is. If something is incredibly rare, you're not going to be able to just easily find it, even with a great Resources roll.

    3) Engage in interesting consequences for failure. Fail the roll? Maybe the <thing> you used as payment turns out (unknown to you) to be fake, and now the seller is after you. Maybe you get into an altercation from being in the wrong part of town. Maybe you flashed too much cash and get robbed. Each roll in Fate should be a story branch - it's strongly recommended to not have failures just mean "nothing happens." That's boring.

    Remember: "Fiction first." Figure out what's happening in the fiction, *then* figure out how the rules apply. Fate is a pretty bad game when approached from a "systems first" angle.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2013-07-24 at 06:23 PM.

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