Sails Full of Stars
New Skills and Stunts
Use the skill list from Fate Core for this game, but remove the Drive skill and add two new skills: Alchemy and Sail.
Alchemy is the science of combining materials and chemicals in order to produce other materials and chemicals with new properties. Alchemists can produce poisonous gases, potent acids, healing elixirs, luminescent fluids, and other useful mixtures. They cannot achieve true transmutation, such as transforming lead into gold, though many frauds are willing to sell fictional techniques for accomplishing this.
Alchemy is also the study of biological processes, including health, illness, aging, and recovery. All modern medical treatment requires the practice of alchemy. Even the preparation of folk remedies and botanical cures is a basic form of alchemy. Competent diagnosis and treatment of ailments requires specialized study, so characters must have the Doctor stunt if they wish to help others recover from physical consequences.
Overcome: You can use Alchemy to overcome a variety of obstacles where alchemical knowledge would be useful. For instance, you could mix an acid to dissolve a sturdy lock, or you could determine the components of an unknown alchemical mixture. Alchemy is useful for overcoming medical obstacles as well, and it can be used to remove aspects of a medical nature.
Create an Advantage: When you have alchemical supplies and tools on hand, you can create advantages. For instance, you could mix a gas and release it into a guardhouse, leaving the soldiers inside Quite Sleepy. Or you could distill an elixir which gives an ally Liquid Courage.
In addition, you can provide your allies with mixtures, which they can later use to create advantages on their own. When your ally uses the mixture, you roll Alchemy to create the desired aspect. Your ally might need to roll to deliver the mixture, such as Shoot to throw a flask or Stealth to pour a vial into someone’s drink.
If you wish to create alchemical weapons, such as acids or explosives, you can do so by creating an advantage. You or your allies could then use the free invokes granted by the advantage you created to improve their attacks.
Attack: You cannot use Alchemy to attack directly. If you wish to apply your alchemical knowledge and supplies to damage a specific obstacle—for instance, trying to dissolve a sealed metal box—that is better represented as an overcome action.
Defend: You cannot normally use Alchemy to defend.
I’ve Drunk Worse: You’ve grown accustomed to toxic fumes and chemical burns. You can use Alchemy to defend against attacks and aspects involving poisons, toxins, and other chemicals.
Doctor: Your alchemical studies include treating the ailments of the human body. You can roll Alchemy to allow another character to begin recovering physical consequences. Characters who have Alchemy at Average (+1) or higher can provide you with teamwork bonuses on recovery rolls, even if they don’t have the Doctor stunt.
Alchemy in Practice
To create an alchemical mixture, an alchemist needs access to three things:
- Tools: flasks, burners, pipes, and retorts.
- Materials: liquids, powders, metals, and crystals.
- Time: Anywhere from a few minutes (to produce a simple acid) to several years (to produce a breakthrough in alchemical science). Typically, an alchemist can produce a simple alchemical mixture—such as a one-use gas bomb or a vial of antivenom—in less than an hour.
To set the difficulty of an Alchemy roll, consider not only the magnitude of the task to be accomplished, but also the tools, materials, and time available. When a character must work with a limited set of tools, or with poor quality materials, or in a rush, increase the difficulty.
The practice of sailing a ship requires competence in reading navigational charts, using instruments to determine one’s position in the solar system, measuring the local wind currents, and setting the sails to produce the desired course and speed.
Overcome: While you are navigating a ship, the GM may ask you to roll an overcome action to determine how quickly the vessel arrives at its destination. This roll can be modified by stunts belonging to the navigator and by the ship itself.
If you fail an overcome roll with Sail and want to succeed at a cost, you can choose to damage the ship as your cost. In this case you’re pushing the ship past its limits, causing its structure or mechanisms to suffer. By default, a minor cost produces a situation aspect, such as Engine Stalled Out, and a major cost produces a consequence, such as Torn Mainsails.
Create an Advantage: A ship’s navigator can roll Sail to put the vessel in an advantageous position relative to an enemy vessel. The enemy’s navigator actively opposes this roll by using Sail. See Ship Combat for more information on this.
Attack: You can use Sail to try to ram an enemy vessel, as described in Ship Combat.
Defend: A ship’s navigator can defend with Sail against Shoot or Sail attacks made by enemy vessels, or against enemy Sail rolls used to create an advantage.
Superior Tactics: When it comes to naval battles, you’ve seen every trick in the book. +2 when actively opposing Sail rolls to create positional aspects.
Second Star to the Right: Charts and arithmetic mills will never replace the instincts of a good navigator. +2 to Sail overcome rolls to improve the speed of a journey.
Other Skills and Stunts
Several Fate Core skills have additional uses in this game, as listed below. We also give a few sample stunts.
Characters with higher Athletics will have an easier time getting around in zero-gravity environments.
No Gravity? No Problem: While in zero gravity, you receive +2 to any roll to move between zones or to move extra zones in a single action.
Freefall Wrestling: While in zero gravity, you can use Athletics instead of Fight to make unarmed, hand-to-hand attacks against an opponent.
Ship crews use Crafts to maintain and repair their vessels.
A Finely Tuned Machine: When you stack an advantage by invoking one of your engineering-related aspects, and give it to an ally using your ship’s equipment to perform an action, you grant that ally a +3 bonus instead of the usual +2.
Miracle Worker: Once per session, after you succeed on a Crafts roll to begin recovering a ship’s consequence when outside combat, you can spend a fate point to immediately remove the consequence.
The art of deception can be a useful—if not necessarily honorable—talent for a ship’s captain.
Subtle Signaling: By understanding the relationship between lantern signals and the hexagrams of the I Ching, you can construct signals that carry hidden significance. To understand the hidden message, an observer must have the Subtle Signaling stunt or must successfully overcome with Lore, opposed by your Deceive.
The Finest Snake Oil: You’ve learned enough scientific jargon to convince people that the flasks of colored vinegar you’re selling are elixirs of youth or miracle cure-alls. +2 to Deceive while trying to convince someone that you’ve produced a remarkable feat of alchemy.
Though modern weapons have transformed the face of warfare, the insights of past battlefield masters such as Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz are critical for the education of any commander.
Eightfold Formation: From your study of battle formations, you know how to arrange your troops for any situation. During crew combat, you can use Lore instead of Will to benefit units under your command. See the Fate System Toolkit (page 167) for a list of these benefits.
Empty Fort Strategy: Your knowledge of armies and warfare allows you to construct a convincing illusion on the battlefield. You can use Lore instead of Deceive to create a plausible but untrue situation aspect on a zone. Creating this aspect requires enough time before the enemy arrives to arrange the scene appropriately—creating false tracks, propping up rifles in windows, and so forth.
For instance, you might place Well Garrisoned on an empty building, or Bristling with Traps on an otherwise ordinary road. Enemies who see your illusion attempt to overcome using Notice, with a difficulty equal to the shifts of your Lore roll used to create the illusion. Any enemies who fail this action will believe the aspect is true, and will act accordingly.
An experienced commander looking down on a battlefield will see more than blood and chaos. A true strategist will see opportunities, weaknesses, and—above all—the guiding hand of the opposing general.
We Have Already Won: Before a physical conflict begins, if you have advance knowledge of the area in which the battle will take place, and you have the opportunity to discuss tactics with allies, you can use Notice to create an aspect on a single zone without actually being there. This aspect represents the benefits of planning and scouting, such as Coordinated Ambush or We’ll Hold Them At This Pass. You can use this stunt for crew battles and for conflicts between individual characters.
It’s A Trap!: +2 to Notice to detect hidden aspects, such as Concealed Trenches or Snipers Watching, on any zone you can see.
Fear and anger can be effective tools for driving a crew to perform extraordinary feats.
Have At Them, You Dogs!: You keep your troops motivated in combat by bellowing a constant stream of colorful, inventive, and multi-lingual insults. You can use Provoke instead of Will to benefit units under your command during crew combat. See the Fate System Toolkit (page 167) for a list of these benefits.
Iron Grip: Your crew is too afraid of you to keep any secrets from you. You can use Provoke instead of Empathy to detect changes in the crew’s mood or to discover any secrets or plots the crew is hiding from you.
A charismatic leader can remove a crew’s fear, doubts, and fatigue with a few well-chosen words.
Follow Me To Glory!: You are an inspiring presence on the battlefield. You can use Rapport instead of Will to benefit units under your command during crew combat. See the Fate System Toolkit (page 167) for a list of these benefits.
Good Show!: When you show approval of a job well done, you encourage your allies to achieve greater success. Once per scene, if an ally successfully creates an advantage, you can grant another free invoke on the same aspect if you are close enough to issue encouragement or congratulations. This does not require an action.
Napoleon himself started as an artillery officer, and used the firepower of his cannons to devastate his enemies.
Hit Them Where It Hurts: When you successfully attack a ship, you choose—rather than the defender—whether the ship must absorb the attack with ship consequences or crew conditions. The target chooses which specific consequences or conditions to use.
Warning Shots: a well-timed volley of cannon fire can discourage enemy ships. Once per exchange, you can use Shoot to oppose an enemy ship’s attempt to create a position aspect against any ship.
A ship’s captain must be decisive and determined, or else risk losing the faith of the crew.
Master and Commander: Once per scene, when your crew or battle unit performs a single action under your command, you can substitute your Will for any skill the crew or unit would have used. This Will roll cannot be improved with teamwork bonuses.
One With the Ship: Your sweat and blood keeps the ship going in the worst circumstances. When the ship would take a consequence, your character can instead choose to take an equivalent consequence.