jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

"Capsule Contingency" is the working title of a play-by-post roleplaying game which [personal profile] jewelfox is now recruiting for. You may play as a character of almost any kind, from any historical or fictional setting, including ones of your own making. The one thing they all have in common is that they are waking up from cryogenic stasis, in an unfamiliar high-tech facility, and that their bodies have been invasively altered ... whether or not it appears that way at first glance.

Read on to find out how to play, and how to submit a character application.

Who am I?

Your character can be an original creation, an existing fictional character, a fan character based on a fictional setting, or even yourself in real life. They will have "stats," like in other tabletop or console role-playing games, but they might not look like the stats you are used to.

This is because Capsule Contingency is powered by the Fate Core System, which is a free online set of rules that anyone can use for RP. There are no classes, levels, hit points, or oddly-shaped dice. What you have instead are skills, aspects, and extras.

  • Skills are the things that your character is good at. They are expressed as a name followed by a bonus you add to your dice roll, like "Drive +4" or "Shoot +1." The higher the bonus, the better your character is at doing that thing.

  • Aspects are like Tropes, if you're familiar with the TV Tropes wiki. They're pithy descriptive phrases that give you insight into what they're describing, like Last of Her Kind or Chosen by Destiny.

  • Extras are anything else that your character has that no one else does. They could be stunts that you know how to pull; gear that you've managed to salvage; or strange magical or psionic powers.

Your character sheet is a list of all the skills, aspects, and extras your character has. It's sort of a condensed version of your character's bio and backstory, with just the details that the other players and the GM (Game Moderator) need to know. The GM will help you put it together, and help you choose things to represent your character's abilities, based on your ideas for what they are like.

Making a Character

At the start of the game, your character has just woken up from cryogenic stasis, in an unknown location. They don't know how they got there; their brain is foggy and their memory is kind of hazy. They might not remember all of the things that they're known for, or capable of. So character creation works as follows:

  1. Write down some things that they're good at; at least the top three. These could be as mundane as "baking cakes," or as exotic as "channeling fire magic." They will become your starting skills and extras. Don't worry about making them work with Fate Core's rules, if you are familiar with them. The rules are designed to be reshaped to fit your character, not the other way around.

  2. Describe your character's neurotype. This is who they are, on the inside. It's what they remember their past life as. Their neurotype will become one of their starting aspects.

  3. Describe your character's phenotype. This is who they are on the outside. It might be the shape that they're used to, or they might wake up as an animal-person, an enormous dragon, a telepathic whale, or pretty much anything else you can think of. Your character's phenotype will be their other starting aspect.

Be sure to note what this kind of creature is good at doing, if it differs from what your character's used to, and how well your character can control its abilities (or use the ones they're used to having). Your description may unlock certain extras for your character to use, like rules for spellcasting, superpowers, or unusual skills, if those end up being needed. If your character remembers their name, write that down as well, along with any other details (religious affiliation, gender identity and presentation, etc.) that you feel are important.

If you have, or can draw, artwork of your character, go ahead and include that too. If your character is based on existing art, please credit the original artist, and link to where they host the picture. Try to avoid using pictures that the artist has explicitly said are off-limits for use in RP.

What if my character is over- or underpowered?

Don't worry too much about your character's "power level." Each character has a set number of skills, aspects, and extras that they are allowed to take. If yours requires fewer than the starting amount, you will be able to spend them later on during gameplay, to suddenly remember or develop new abilities.

If your character needs more than the starting amount, the GM will simply take away from your available Fate Points to compensate (see "Fate Points, Invokes, and Compels," below), or inform you that some of your abilities are locked until your character has gained some experience. Maintaining this kind of balance is her job, as the game's moderator.

What you need to do is try your best to make your character interesting, with abilities and disadvantages that speak to you personally and make you want to find out what happens to them. Them, and their friends and companions.

One more thing (Optional)

Besides who your character is and what they are good at, you might find it fun to imagine what their goals and dreams for the future are ... in the world that they came from. What did they always want to do or become? Is there someone they're hoping to reconcile with? Something that they have to prove?

It may turn out to be difficult to pursue some of these goals. But if you can create at least one, that will become an additional aspect, which you can invoke to gain a bonus when your character is motivated by it ... and which the GM can compel, giving you extra Fate Points when your goal brings conflict and frustration.

Your character's new form may bring them closer to their goal ... or further away from it. You may want to take this into account.

How to Play

When you post in an RP thread, describe what your character is doing or thinking, in as much detail as you like. Try to make it clear which words are being said and which are just internal monologue. Use something like parentheses, (( and )), to offset OOC, or Out Of Character, dialogue, such as asking a question or complimenting another player.

If your character tries to do something where the outcome is in doubt, like pulling a lever on a strange console or firing chain guns at an intruder, just say what your character's trying to do. Don't describe the results of your action. The GM may roll dice to see if it works (and how well it works), or they may just tell you. The GM controls and describes the game world for your characters, and they say what happens when you interact with it.

How do dice rolls work?

Fate uses a set of "Fate Dice," which are six-sided dice that have symbols on them. Two of the sides have plus signs (+), two of them have minus signs (-), and two of the sides are blank.

When the GM rolls dice for you, she rolls four of these dice at once, and counts up the plus and minus signs. If there are more pluses than minuses, your character gets a bonus to whatever they attempted. Otherwise, they get nothing (or worse).

Exceptionally good or bad results are possible, but rare. Usually, the dice rolls just add a bit of randomness to your actions. But they can mean the difference between hanging on by the proverbial skin of your teeth, and achieving dramatic success.

Fate Points, Invokes, and Compels

Your character's neurotype and phenotype can be advantages. They can also get in the way, though. An enormous, fire-breathing dragon might be a terror on fantasy battlefields, but getting them to squeeze through a space station's hallways might be a challenge, and they might freeze to death within seconds on an arctic planet.

To represent this, you have a pool of Fate Points that you can spend to invoke these aspects. Just say, for instance, that "because I'm a Fire-Breathing Dragon I should be able to get that frozen-shut door open one way or another," and spend one of your Fate Points. Based on the story behind that aspect, the GM will give you a bonus to represent the advantage it gives you, which might be a straight numerical bonus on a dice roll or might mean re-rolling the dice (or bypassing a dice roll entirely).

You refresh your Fate Points at the start of each chapter, which works exactly like the chapters of a story or the episodes of a TV show. You can also earn more through gameplay when the GM compels one of your aspects. She might point out, for instance, that telepathic whales aren't known for their manual dexterity, and rather than forbidding an action (like turning the wheel on an underwater hatch) she might offer you a Fate Point in exchange for your aspect making things complicated.

At this point, you have the choice to either accept the compel (and the additional Fate Point) or refuse, by spending one of your remaining Fate Points to do so. If you have no more Fate Points remaining, you have to accept the compel, no matter how inconvenient.

Hazards and Fight Scenes

At some point, your character is going to be put into physical or mental danger. This can cause damage to them, in two ways.

  1. It might inflict a consequence on them, which is a new aspect (like "Broken Leg") that is part of who they are for as long as it takes to heal. This aspect is almost completely negative, and you don't get Fate Points when it's compelled.

  2. Even if it leaves no lasting consequences, an attack or hazard can still cause stress for your character, whether it's the physical stress of dodging bullets or the emotional stress of facing a cosmic horror.

Depending on how physically and mentally tough your character is -- and you might want to make a note of that if your descriptions don't already cover it -- they have a certain number of stress boxes and consequence slots of each type (physical and mental), which they can use to take damage. As long as they have stress boxes remaining, they can choose to check them off in response to a source of damage that they weren't able to block or evade. Once the stress boxes are gone, or if there aren't enough unchecked stress boxes to absorb incoming damage, they have to take consequences instead.

Healing, Conceding, and being Taken Out

Your stress boxes refresh at the start of each scene. If it's not clear when that is, you can ask the GM, or she may just tell you they're refreshed.

Your consequences can take time to heal, depending on how bad they are. If a consequence is substantial enough, it might even replace one of your existing aspects, and be with your character forever.

You can sometimes avoid taking stress or consequences by choosing to concede a scene or a fight, instead. This doesn't mean that your character dies; it means they're no longer part of the action, whether they're knocked unconscious, buried in snow, or pushed off the side of the boat. It's not always an option (there might be some scenes it wouldn't make sense for), but sometimes it is.

If you concede, you get a Fate Point plus an additional one for each consequence that you've taken in this scene, and you get to describe (within reason) what happens to your character. If, instead, you fight to the last and are taken out, the GM or your opponent gets to decide, and it may not bode well for your character. It usually won't mean being killed, but it might mean being taken prisoner or suffering lasting damage.

Final words

Please post your character concepts in the comments below. (You may have to register for a free Dreamwidth account before you can do this.) They can be as detailed or as vague as you like, but we would really like it if they include at least the three things that we asked for: Neurotype, Phenotype, and starting skills. That's who they are on the inside, what they look like on the outside, and the top three things they are good at. Describing your character's goals is optional, but recommended.

This recruiting thread will be open for roughly a week and a half, until Saturday, August 22. Let us know if you have any questions.

Date: 2015-08-12 01:55 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (rocks)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
How is this?


Neurotype

Catherine Ibbott, a nineteen-year-old female university student from an alternate version of Britain.


Phenotype

Shapeshifter. (Colouring doesn't change with shape. Knowledge of how to move, perceive or fight in the shapes is not innate.)

Default form: female, dark brown hair, thick matte dark green skin, silvery traceries under skin, retractable claws under nails, defined muscles.

Can theoretically take any form, but only wolf, fox, raven and horse come naturally. Healing is very fast, however.


Skills

+2 doing chores
+3 fighting (+4 sharpshooting)
+4 calming/ reassuring people
+2 playing the guitar

Date: 2015-08-12 03:11 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (rocks)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
Catherine's father is a member of PF, the national organisation that does both military duties and police ones, so she grew up moving between semi-communal compounds every few years.

She has a strong desire to help people. She's studying criminology and sociology in order to join PF herself.

Her world has superpowers, which are always induced by trauma and often cause physical alteration, so her first assumption about her body alteration is that she's been seriously traumatised recently and has amnesia. (After dismissing being a victim of the woman with superpowers who was arrested four years ago for "upgrading" injured people without consent.)

Despite being familiar with the concept of body alteration, she's pretty shocked and disturbed by it happening to her. The unusualness of her appearance and the defined muscles/ lack of body fat particularly bother her, because they remind her of self-image issues she already had.

Being in a new, unfamiliar place without explanation is very scary and she has a good idea how wrong it could go. However, she's young and optimistic that she can use her skills and knowledge to get home.

If there's other lost and scared people around, she'll probably fall into looking after them very quickly.



I am familiar with TVTropes, but I don't know any character tropes that are particularly applicable and three hours on TVTropes has got me no closer.

Date: 2015-08-12 04:26 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
I had to read the Fare Core SRD more before I could speak to the rest of it.

I think you might be exaggerating the uses of turning into animals, but it looks like a good method in principle.

For aspects, I'm thinking about:

Guided by the Spirits
Thrilled to Help
Hungry for Affection
Police Afficionado

I assume that's what you were referring to with the TVTropes question?
Edited Date: 2015-08-12 04:28 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-12 08:51 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
Please tell me you got a notification of that. It's a lot to retype.

Date: 2015-08-13 01:05 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
Is the unscreening a problem?

PF stands for Pacification Force.

It's a lot less brutal than it sounds, spending a lot of time teaching people how to de-escalate conflicts, get out of dangerous situations and wage guerrilla warfare.

Guided By Spirits is two traits. Both are overwhelmingly common on Catherine's world.

Looking into semi-transparent or reflective surface unfocused gives visions. They're generally high on metaphor and low on context. Glancing or staring at reflections generally reveals a not-immediately-visible aspect of the truth of what is reflected. Repeated wailing or ringing can distort in a very similar way.

This version of scrying is not, generally, very useful. While it does provide warnings, it is hard to understand them.

You can just say that physics doesn't work that way in our location, if you don't want to be bothered with it.

The second trait is spirit guides.

Spirit guides are, practically speaking, persistent hallucinations that are occasionally helpful. They can look like nearly anything animate and can rarely be touched. The only ones that speak do so in riddles.

Catherine has a magpie, which likes to explore new places and watch people, and a horse, that she has brief glimpses of as it sidles around or gallops toward opportunities for her.

Date: 2015-08-13 02:05 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
The horse heralds opportunities and visions mostly carry warnings or updates on general states of affairs. They appear without Catherine's input, but she can, with a good medium, concentration and a little luck, get a vision about a specific thing that matters to her.

You're more than welcome to use the horse and visions for foreshadowing or not at all. Intentional scrying should probably cost a Fate Point.

The magpie is mostly a feature of how Catherine experiences the world, rather than offering practical aid. It does sometimes put effort into pointing out to her things that it feels she should already know.

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Date: 2015-08-12 09:00 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
That actually sounds very good. The locking a Fate point sound interesting.

Could we switch the fox and raven to sneaking/ investigating, rather than combat?

I was thinking that Catherine's colouring would stay the same regardless of form. It would only be obvious from a distance on the fox and raven, but close up it would be fairly obvious that exposed flesh was dark-green.

Date: 2015-08-14 12:30 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
That makes sense.

Maybe call the skill "Shape Skill" or "Physical Advantage" rather than "Control"? It doesn't seem directly related to control.

I'm not sure what to do about flying, actually. It's a pretty complex process physiologically and requires a ridiculous amount of upper-body strength. I'm willing to handwave the latter, given the size disparity that's already going on, but learning to fly doesn't sound very simple.

The part about "noticing" makes sense. I thought that a raven would be wired to better at noticing things and worse about thinking about them, but the internet tells me that corvid brain development is very analogous to mammalian.

I think that after the initial adjustment period, Catherine would be noticeably less capable at filtering sensory data in animal form, but picking up on things the humanoid senses our group mostly has (so far) would often cancel it out.

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Date: 2015-08-12 03:50 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Oh, this looks fascinating. Do you mind if I use an older character of mine? He hasn't gotten much exercise lately and he'd like to be out and about again.

Here's a few thoughts at a starting build.

Concept:
Formerly a mage for hire, working in the spheres of corporate espionage in a dystopian cyberpunk America, this pseudonym-using spellslinger is about to find himself out of his depth. He gives the name of Rai (sounds like "rye") - almost certainly not the one his parents gave him.

Neurotype:
Rai has spent his life one step ahead of the relevant authorities, and the habits of stealth and mistrust are by now second nature. Mentally fastidious and resilient, he tends to orient on a single goal and work toward it from a number of directions at once.

Phenotype:
Rai is a graceful human male. His coloration is generally pale, from skin to hair to light blue eyes, leaving him both distinct in appearance and vulnerable to sunburn. He's grown his hair out and often leaves it loose. He has average physical strength and flexibility.

The above is his base form. It might be fun to have his alterations be not immediately visible - something under the skin, or something that will activate when the circumstances are right. (I'm not really sure what would be appropriate here.)

Things to be good at:

Lightning Magic: From crawling tiny lightnings over his own skin as a form of meditation all the way up to calling down the thunder. (In source universe, this skill was actually strong enough to be illegal in most places, though it was midway on the scale the system rules permit, requiring a certain finesse in how and when he deployed full power.)

Illusion Weaver: Not as immediately destructive as lightning magic, but valuable all the same - a good illusionist doesn't necessarily need to be a great fighter. Also useful for entertainment, distractions, and sketching up maps.

Social Engineer: Misdirection is a potent tool in the hands of any magician. Rai could make a living as a stage illusionist - and has passed off his more potent tricks as sleight of hand more than once. This skill extends to getting information out of the unwary and lying with a straight face.

Possible stunt: Anti-Tech Mage: The life of a corporate saboteur involves lots of opportunity to shut down surveillance and other types of technology. Doing it magically, with a minimum of discernable damage to the machine, is something of a specialty. For extra points, this can be amusingly double-edged: a magical slip can make something you need abruptly fizzle out on you.

Aspects - Warning, TVtropes timesink ahead!
- Silver-haired Biseinen. This can verge on White Hair, Black Heart in some situations - there is, after all, a reason he fell on the wrong side of the law...

- Grey Hat. His former(?) occupation was well on the wrong side of the law, but that doesn't mean he has no altruism at all. This approaches Hidden Heart of Gold - he's not actually cruel by nature, but for his own safety, presents a cold facade.

Date: 2015-08-12 04:30 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
*Kermit flail* Yay!

Hah, yes - I've spent years playing him, and he's one of the few RP characters who's sort of stuck with me, whether or not he's active in a game.

If you could help by elaborating on the strengths, weaknesses, costs, and limitations of his magic, that would be nice!

Sure!
Rai's a Hermetic mage - he casts via equations and formulae held firmly in the mind, and experiments to find new ones (this requires at the very least a writing implement and something to write on, and at the most, a full-fledged lab with a permanently warded circle). Depending on the complexity and power of the thing he's doing, that can put a lot of mental strain on him.

The way it worked in his game of origin was that he had only a certain amount of mental fortitude, and casting drew on it. If he made a good roll, he could cast small things for free - big things either cost a little or cost a lot. Running out of mental fortitude made it bleed over into physical - he's knocked himself out, given himself nosebleeds, and gone into shock from overcasting, depending on how badly he did it at the particular time.

This may or may not translate well, IDK. ^_^

Strengths:
- The lightning didn't require a stormcloud and could be thrown within line of sight. I usually wrote fluff to indicate he was massively amplifying his own bioelectric field. Zaps the heck out of anything relying on electricity.

- Illusions are traceless. His could fool cameras, which put him in the top 10 percent of illusionists in his base system, because he was altering light instead of creating a sensation directly in the target's mind, but that also made them cost extra.

Weaknesses:
- Sadly, lightning magic is entirely ineffective against shielded circuits and insulated things like vehicles. Shoe soles wouldn't slow it down any more than they'd slow a natural lightning bolt, but anything that stops actual lightning stops his generated ones, too. (Edit: To avoid nerfing this completely, maybe a higher check is necessary to force past shielding, or a side-channel attack like scraping shielding off something before zapping it?)

- Illusion is just playing with light - they had no scent, sound, or physical presence. They could fool a camera, but not necessarily a dog, and could not be moved out of his line of sight.

I especially like the anti-tech trait; that's something that might see a lot of use in this campaign, and that you already suggested a possible backfire is a bonus. ~_^

Yay!
1) that was a thing he did a lot in the previous game and
2) I have some trouble with random technology fails myself and
3) I read something recently with a similar thing that was super amusing, if an enormous pain for the character. *s*

Oh, I'm sure something will come to (our) mind ...

Now that's what I was hoping to hear! *ebil laugh*
Edited Date: 2015-08-12 05:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-17 10:49 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Mm, yeah - I see how it presents some difficulty! I've been pawing through the Fate system as presented online to try and get a better appreciation of how to make this work, but please do correct me if I'm way off base - I have a history of being somewhat slow to learn new rulesets. ^^;

I love the idea of rolling a magic-use skill to cover both lightning and illusion - that gets the right feel really well without being obnoxiously complicated or leading to "squishy wizard" territory. Actually, I like the roll-for-charge idea as well, with bad rolls leading to worse consequences on a given action.

Not sure how to balance conceding (concession? now I'm thinking snacks, lol) but: as a player who likes being in the action, and a character with a generally cautious nature, being knocked out isn't an attractive option at all. Is that sufficient? If not, I'm definitely open to something - such as, unable to concede based on overcasting unless there's already at least one consequence in play.

I like the magic as aspect, flavor as skill thing - that also makes a lot of sense, and seems like it'd be flexible if he learned some other form of magic later on (levitation, frex, or warding). I'm sure we can cook something up for a passive effect - he does have a habit of crackling little lightnings over his hands - and invoking and compelling seem pretty straightforward in a sort of "whoops, your magic slipped and you zotted a thing*" or a "whoops, you sort of got thinking out loud with illusions" sort of way.

Attacking at range seems more likely than clearing a room. @_@ That's an awful lot of raw power to throw around - I'd expect a serious case of owie from even trying it.

Erm, things I'd probably try to do:

- cause electric things to fail (intentionally or not)
- zap opposing characters, from "knock down" up to "lightning strike" - but not likely chaining lightning, unless that's a thing the system does? I'm so not there yet, I'm barely into reading skills. ^^;
- charge self - unpleasant for things holding on, dangerous for caster...

- disguise various people, objects, or scenery with illusion ("wasn't there a door here?")
- distract or play for a response with illusion ("everything is roses!")

*Amusingly enough, source!character actually had a laptop...that he'd warded the ever-loving snot out of.

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Date: 2015-09-08 02:41 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I have another person who may be interested; is it too late to point them toward this link?

Date: 2015-09-14 02:54 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I've passed on the latest news.

Hang in there?

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