Classic Fantasy [Fate Core] Magic Returns
I'm interested in giving RPGSolo a spin, but also this is a good way to playtest my Fate Core extras/changes for a fantasy campaign I'm about to start running for my kids. The essential premise is that there used to be magic in the world, but roughly eight centuries ago it mysteriously went away, causing human society to collapse into a dark age and more magical creatures to vanish or go into hibernation. Society dragged itself out of its dark age some centuries ago and things are pretty stable today, but now magic has started to return, and human society is about to undergo another upheaval.

My character:
Quote:Pedr, sociable young student of Jaktus the Sage.

High Concept: Cocky Apprentice Sage
Trouble: Glib Tongue
* Grew Up on the Streets

Great: Rapport
Good: Lore, Will
Fair: Athletics, Deceive, Empathy
Average: Physique, Ride, Notice, Fight

* Best Foot Forward. Twice per session, you may upgrade a boost you receive with Rapport into a full situation aspect with a free invocation.
* Indomitable. +2 to defend against Provoke attacks specifically related to intimidation and fear.
Refresh: 3

Physical Stress: _ _ _
Mental Stress: _ _ _ _

So, the starting situation is just after a siege of Greenwall town by an unprecedented army of trolls. Trolls aren't especially magical and survived fine without it, but they're usually just an isolated hazard, very strong and dangerous but never well organised. The forest rangers usually keep the occasional individual who wanders in from the wilderness from getting too close to the civilized lands. This is a full-on army, however, and it appears to be the vanguard of some sort of mass-migration.

During the attack a troll shaman used magic to attack the gates, showing that magic has suddenly started working again after centuries of it just being a myth. Jaktus used his own studies to attempt a spell, which backfired on him, although seeing evidence that the humans had magic caused the army to break off the siege and retreat into the wilderness to the south-east.

A delegation has been formed to take word of these unsettling events to the capital, but Jaktus (from his sick-bed) has a different task for Pedr - he wants the young man to head south to the coast to the city of Cadarnle, the oldest human settlement in the kingdom. There, Pedr is to contact Gareth (an associate of Jaktus'), warn him of the dangers of using magic, and ensure that any magical lore that has survived the dark age isn't destroyed or misused.

Does Jaktus allow Pedr to learn some of the magic he has uncovered before he leaves?

(Likely) No.

Is Pedr to travel to Cadarnle alone?

(Unlikely) No, and...

... his companion is Deri, a childhood friend of Pedr's who also grew up on the streets before joining the town's military.

The two young men head off south on horseback with supplies for the week-long journey. Is the trip uneventful?

(Very Unlikely) No.

Mindless horde.

As they travel they find the roads filled with *panicked villagers* (situation aspect). Wild rumours of magic and mythical monsters are running about.

Does anyone attempt to steal their horses?

(50/50) Yes.

One evening as the lads camp by the side of the road, some desperate locals attempt to sneak off with the horses.
Peasants: Average nameless NPCs, Average Stealth, *Farm hand*
Roll their stealth: average +

1 = +1 +0 +1 -1

= Fair. Pedr rolls Notice (Average, +1 for Deri's assistance)

-2 = -1 +0 +0 -1

= Mediocre. Huh. Well, Pedr *grew up on the streets*, he's not going to miss something like this. Spend a FP for +2 = Fair - a tie.

The peasants get what they want, but at a minor cost - they get to the horses and jump on them bareback, but they're off to a *shaky start* and Pedr and Deri have a chance to grab them.

Pedr tries to grab the leg of the one on his horse and haul him off. Athletics (Fair) vs. the peasant's Ride (Average).

Pedr rolls

-2 = -1 -1 -1 +1

Mediocre vs. the peasant's

1 = +0 -1 +1 +1

Fair. I'm going to treat the *shaky start* as a boost, so I can invoke it for free for +2 and tie again - success with minor cost. Pedr pulls the peasant off the horse, but they collapse together and the horse runs off a short way.

I guess I need to create Deri as a supporting character at this point.

Arrogant Dwarf musician.

Well, he's not a dwarf, but I can work with the rest.

High Concept: Musical young soldier
Trouble: Arrogant
* Pedr and I go way back.

Skills: Great Fight, Good Athletics, Fair Ride, Average Notice
* Heavy Hitter. When you succeed with style on a Fight attack and choose to reduce the result by one to gain a boost, you gain a full situation aspect with a free invocation instead.

So, Deri's Good Athletics vs. the peasant's Average Ride. Deri rolls

-2 = -1 -1 -1 +1

Average vs. the peasant's

0 = -1 +1 -1 +1

Average. Deri likewise pulls the farmhand off his horse. Do the two farmers have accomplices?

(50/50) No.

Phew - the horses aren't about to be nabbed by their friends then. Do the two just want to escape now?

(Likely) Yes, and...

... they not only don't steal our horses, they drop something as well.


One of them was wearing some sort of lucky charm on a thong around his neck, and the thong broke in the scuffle. We'll find it some time before we break camp.

Does Deri want to hunt down the farmhands?

(Likely) Yes.

Pedr tries to calm Deri down, pointing out that no lasting harm was done. Using Rapport vs. Deri's... what? Will? Rapport? He has no social skills, so it's Mediocre either way. Pedr rolls

-2 = -1 -1 -1 +1

= Fair vs. Deri's

1 = -1 +1 +1 +0

Average - success. Pedr calms Deri down and they re-capture their horses. They tether them with ropes this time. Does anything else happen that night?

(Unlikely) No. +Event: Open / Love

The next morning they find the lucky charm in the daylight before they head on their way. It appears to be a locket with some sort of trick opening. Did the farmhands ever work out how to open it?

(50/50) No, and...

... it's very tricky, and probably hasn't been opened for a very long time. Pedr briefly tries to figure it out - say it's a Superb difficulty Lore roll, to explain why it hasn't been opened. Roll Good Lore

2 = +1 +1 +0 +0

= Superb - woo! Pedr opens the locket to find it contains an amazingly realistic-looking painting of a lovely woman's face. After showing Deri, Pedr closes and pockets the locket and they carry on to Cadarnle.

When we arrive, we find that the city is also abuzz with rumors of the supernatural. Are people from the surrounding settlements taking refuge in the town?

(50/50) Yes, but...

... not so many that the town is choked. Probably only a few people have seen anything definitive, and most people don't quite believe the rumours?

(50/50) Yes.

Is Cadarnle a walled city?

(50/50) No, but...

... there's an old city that was walled which the city has grown beyond. The old archives where Gareth is most likely to be found would be inside the old city, of course.

(Sure Thing) Yes.

The two young men ride through the somewhat crowded streets towards the gates to the old city. Are they guarded and barred to casual traffic?

(50/50) No, and...

... in fact there are no gates any more. This is the northern approach, so perhaps the townsfolk don't consider attacks by sea raiders a big danger from this direction.

(Likely) Yes, and...

... Cadarnle has a well-defended and naturally defensible port - they haven't been a target of sea raids in living memory.

Did Jaktus give Pedr sufficiently detailed instructions to find Gareth without asking for directions?

(Likely) No, but...

... their destination is obvious once they enter the old city. The City Archives is an impressive building, pre-dark age like the rest of the old city, and such buildings somehow completely ignore the ravages of time.

We ride up to the entrance. Is it going to be straightforward to gain admittance?

(50/50) Yes.

We dismount and tie our horses, giving them a grain bag each. Pedr asks Deri if he had any particular job here in Cadarnle that he needed to attend to.

(50/50) Yes, and...

... we'll need to separate at this point, going our own ways. "We'll see each other around, I'm sure - I expect I'll be here for a long time" I tell him, eyeing the huge building. Deri mounts up again and waves as he heads off to complete his mission.

I head up the stairs and through the unattended doors of the archive building, peering around in the cool dimness within. I call out "is anyone here?"

(Likely) Yes, but...

"Yes, but keep your voice down!" comes an annoyed response.

Shrewd troubled youth.

A young man in apprentice sage's robes almost identical to Pedr's emerges from a back room and eyes him shrewdly. He then sniffs dismissively and returns to whatever he was doing. I head over to the door and look inside the room.

Quietly / Beautiful.

A copying table is set up in a room lined with bookshelves. The apprentice has returned to copying out a manuscript onto fresh paper. I enter and gaze around at the archives... not as many books as the archives at Greenwall, but this is just one room in this building.

Assuming that the young man is not Gareth, I wait for him to finish a page, and then while he's waiting for the ink to dry say "I have a message for Garath the sage - where can I find him?"

Does the apprentice tell me Gareth is in the archive building?

(Likely) Yes.

The youth waves vaguely to the western wing of the building, saying "he's down there with the unreadable metal books - you know about them?" Indeed I do - many of the tomes left behind by the ancients are beautifully made of some metallic substance, but are either completely blank or full of gibberish that no-one has ever managed to decipher.

I respond in such a way to attempt to show that I know about such things, and also to compliment him on his copying hand, attempting to make a good impression. Rolling Great Rapport:

0 = -1 -1 +1 +1

= Great. Not sure what Will or Rapport this guy has, but let's just roll...

1 = +0 +0 +1 +0

I'd say that's probably a success. He says his name is Cei, and I introduce myself and wish him well as a I head to the west wing.

An older man who is probably Garath is poring over one of the metal books as I enter the room at the end. He glances up, and then back down to his book, saying "Ah, Cei, look - I've managed to catch this one in the act!" I come up and peer, and can see faded text on the metallic pages slowly becoming more distinct. I respond "Fascinating - this book was completely blank before, I presume? But I'm not Cei, I'm Pedr, an apprentice of Jaktus up in Greenwall town. He sent me here to speak with you about recent events."

I relate the events of the troll attack on Greenwall, and the discoveries of magic (that it works, and that it can blow up in your face). At some point during the story Cei joins us. I'm going to roll Rapport to try to convince my audience of the importance and truth of the story. Assume a Fair passive opposition - it's incredible, but they've seen some strange things happening already.

1 = +1 -1 +0 +1

That's a Superb result, success with style - I get a boost. I'm going to use my Best Foot Forward stunt to upgrade the boost to a full situation aspect with one free invocation - let's say Gareth and Cei are *Impressed by Pedr's Account*.

Gareth wants to know if I can cast one of these spells, but I don't know any. Are there any books in this room that resemble the ones that Jaktus was studying in Greenwall town?

(Likely) Yes.

I point out some of the books on the shelves that look similar to the ones Jaktus had found spells in. Will Gareth let me study one?

(50/50) Yes.

I pull a few off the shelves, and we three sit down to pore over them. From my setting decisions I know that higher-rank spells are "locked", unreadable unless you know the spell to unlock them, to keep more dangerous and powerful spells out of the hands of the man in the street. What's the lowest rank of spell in the book I'm studying?


Hmm, Great is quite powerful. Normally, only Mediocre and Average spells are unlocked... only careless or criminally lazy types wrote down higher-power spells without locking them. Is the Great-rank spell locked?

(Very Likely) Yes.

I make no progress trying to decypher the text. I return to the shelves and look for another book. Are the other two making any progress?

(50/50) No.

I start skimming books looking for anything that seems to make sense. Do I find an unlocked spell?

(50/50) Yes.

What rank?


Ok, so I find a book that seems to make a bit more sense than the others, and sit down with it to study. That will require a Good Lore roll to figure out.

-1 = -1 +1 +0 -1

= Fair... but I'm a *cocky apprentice sage*, so I'm not going to give up that easily on a matter of Lore. I spend a FP (1 FP left) to take +2 and master the spell. I really should have spent some time preparing (creating advantages) to get some free invocations...

What elemental school is the spell from?


And what action?

Create an Advantage.

Hmm, ok. Let's say it's some sort of Bull's Strength spell: Effect 1, Duration 3, Targets + → power 4+, rank Good. Creates a situation aspect of "Bull's Strength" on the target(s) with two free invocations between them.

(Forgive the unexplained magic system - it's similar to DFRPG except the spells are more predefined)

Naturally, being cocky, I'm immediately going to attempt to cast this spell. I gather the minimum power (1 effect, 1 duration, 0 target (self)) = 2 (Fair) which is less than my Will. I need to make a Fair Lore roll to control the power.

-1 = +1 +0 -1 -1

... which is a tie - I lose 1 point from the power I gathered, I'll reduce duration to 0. I leap up from studying the book and cast the spell, and feel the brief surge of strength running through me. Because I effectively spent 0 for duration I only get "Bull's Strength" as a boost. I show off briefly by picking up something very heavy.

I expect my Glib Tongue gets the better of me and I crow something about mastering a spell before the other two. Garath picks up the book I found and coldly points out that according to my story, Jaktus blew up a section of the city's wall and almost killed himself when casting his first spell. I could have hurt myself, them and the priceless books in this room with my antics. He sends me away for the day - "go find somewhere to stay while you're in the city". [Self-compel on my Glib Tongue aspect to cut me off from the archive full of spells and replenish my FP store - now on 2 FP].

Abashed, I leave Garath and Cei studying the magic of the ancients while I slink off into the city. I'm looking for an inn of some sort. Do I find one without incident?

(50/50) No.

Evil cleric.

Ha, I have a planned plot element for that. I get some directions to an inn, but as I head towards it I notice a group of people gathered in a square, listening to someone ranting on a raised platform. There's a man declaring to the crowd that the chaos and collapse that caused the dark age was a punishment from the Gods because the ancients used magic, and now we see the temptation is returning again. "Magic is coming back! All the unnatural creatures and evil wizards from your fairy-tales are about to come to life, and only the Gods can save us! We must be pure! We must not succumb to the foul temptations of magic like our fallen ancestors!"

Do my sage's robes attract his attention?

(50/50) Yes, and...

... he immediately points me out and accuses me of being the sort of person who would use magic. "Sages! So-called men of learning, heads full of knowledge divorced from the wisdom of the Gods!" Is he managing to influence the crowd to his point of view?

(50/50) Yes, but...

... they're not completely sold yet. I'm going to attempt to rebuff his accusations and heckle to try to defuse his support. Rolling Great Rapport

1 = +0 -1 +1 +1

= Superb vs. his (say) Good Rapport

-1 = +0 +0 -1 +0

= Fair. A success with style. I manage to inject enough humour and wit into my rebuttals that most of the crowd laughs the sermon off and start to disperse. I'll take a boost of *funny guy* with the folks heading from the square to the inn I was aiming for. The ranting priest glares daggers at me as we head away.

It's probably only an Average Resources roll to secure a room at the inn for the night, since the city isn't too crowded. Rolling my Mediocre Resources:

2 = +0 +1 +0 +1

= Fair. Success, but I'm going to say that some of the folks from the square shout me a drink and we carouse a bit in the common room that evening, so I'm invoking *funny guy* to get +2 on the Resources roll to boost it to Great in order to succeed with style and get a different boost: *Well-contented Innkeeper*. Due to my general camaraderie with locals and my ability to pay, the inn-keeper is happy to offer me a room for a while.

That's probably a good place to call it a session. That means I get a minor milestone, but I still have two empty aspect slots and an undefined stunt, and I'm happy with my skills, so I'll leave everything alone.

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