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I'm running a roleplaying games club, and I have a rather difficult predicament. We have the capacity to meet weekly, but only for the span of about half an hour to forty minutes.

The problem is obvious: there's barely any time to run a full-scale game. However, the other players have convinced me that they are willing to move fast enough to do so, and that such a game is possible to run. I've picked Fate Accelerated for the game, not only for its ease and speed of use and shallow learning curve, but also for its lower game time requirement.

Nonetheless, I'm a little uncertain going into this. How should I best adapt Fate Accelerated to such a short weekly time window? What do I need to take into account that I, a comparatively new GM, am unlikely to consider?

Finally, if this is not a good idea and will not work at all, in what ways will it fail? Is there any alternative?

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Hey Emracool, Hope things are going well for you with the game. Like promised, I got around to reading the book and I have added a suggestion that specifically relates to the game. I am sure that if I get to play the game I will be able to add more as time goes on, but I am confident you will be able to see where you can trim the fat once you have a few sessions under your belt too! Hope my added suggestion works out for you! –  MC_Hambone Feb 21 at 8:13
    
@MC_Hambone Thanks for the update! Unfortunately, without an actual experience to reference in play, it's hard to support your argument. I think that, at least mechanically, bypassing the rules to the extent your answer suggests may not be the best approach. While it is a valid answer, and it is well thought-out, I don't think I'm going to implement it, and don't feel right accepting it. Thank you for the answer, though! –  Emrakul Feb 21 at 8:26
    
Fair enough mate, sorry i couldn't be of more help... my game group is in the middle of a D&D campaign and have no interest in trying anything else out at the moment, so all I can offer is theory. Still, hope everything works well for you and again, after you play a few sessions you'll likely find places you can save time. –  MC_Hambone Feb 21 at 8:44
    
@MC_ Thank you again, and I hope your game goes well! –  Emrakul Feb 21 at 8:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

With such a constrained game time I have a few general tips that should work with any Table Top RPG.

  • Scenes not Episodes: If you think of the game as a serial television show, most sessions are composed of roughly enough information and tension to fill one episode of the show. Try paring down each session to 1 element of an episode. Examples:

    • Your party is trying to coerce some information about their current objective out of an NPC, focus on a good RP experience for your 30-45 min

    • or if they are going to fight a monster, just fight the monster that night.

  • Allow "Power Attacks": One thing that I have adopted to my table as a house rule is from a game called All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Basically, when you target a specific body part of an enemy, you give the monster a plus to it's defense, but on a successful hit the player does 2,3 or sometimes even 4 times the amount of damage they would do on a normal hit. For example in AFMBE to hit the zombie in the head you add 4 (it's a d10 system so 4 is pretty high for a bonus) to the zombie's defenses but, if you successfully hit, smashing damage is doubled and slashing, piercing, and bullet damage is tripled. This may allow your players to feel more heroic, and also make fights not take quite as long as the extra damage per turn can cut down on the amount of turns/rounds in each combat scenario.
  • Fudge Their Rolls: Sometimes numbers fall in frustrating ways. A player's attack roll is 1 too low, They hit and deal damage but the monster is still standing with 1 hp, the description they give of what they want to do is really awesome*, but the roll was terrible... in these situations, it serves the story to just rule in favor of the players. Let them hit that guy even though they were one short, kill the monster with one hp, etc. (*only allow this if the description is really REALLY good, and try not to make it a habit or it may remove some of the fun of rolling dice.)
  • Alternates to Combat: Combat can take a while in certain RPGs and offering alternatives to combat to advance the plot. Puzzles, obstacle courses, riddles and other skill challenges that are not combat focused might take less time than a full round of combat. (I know in games I have run and participated in (not Fate specifically) a combat scenario takes roughly an hour complete if it is challenging, which sounds like would be too long for your available times.)
  • Do Some Stuff Online: Social media is a great tool for gaming groups that have limited face-to-face time. Start a facebook group and invite the players. Post on the page as different NPCs to give quests/issue challenges, provide information and carry out other bits of the game. Your players might like the roleplaying part well enough, but they may LOVE the combat. If that happens, devoting time face-to-face to combat and things related to the "action scenes" of the "tv show" becomes almost a necessity. A GMs job is to make sure that everyone has as much fun as possible, and that means catering official game time to what they want to do most. Supplementing game time with online interaction can help fill out the brevity of a 30 min weekly session.

Finally, one last tip I won't list as an official tip since I get the feeling this won't work for your group: Try and nail down a non-club time to meet and play outside the time constraints of a 30-45 minute club slot. Possibly meeting at one of the group member's houses would work. Or maybe you can make use of a coffee shop, ask permission first and then make sure to buy things so they don't want to kick you out. They might even like the idea of a weekly group that will provide steady business. Lastly, if you are in College (like me and most of my group) if you can get into a building on the weekend, just go and use the room. My group is an "unofficial" club. Basically we meet in a lesser used building on the weekends and don't technically have permission to use the room. We always make sure that we clean up any mess we make and leave the room as we found it. Janitors have noticed us, but have not said anything. The one time I talked to the janitor they actually thanked me for making sure that we cleaned up after ourselves and putting tables back how we found them.

FATE SPECIFIC IDEA

I think everything I mentioned above should still work for this game but I have had time to review it and I gotta say the system is pretty air tight as far as brevity is concerned. That said, I do have one option that may help your shortened time frame, albeit only slightly.

  • Cut out Aspect re-rolling. After watching some videos on youtube, people that play the game seem to think that when you invoke an aspect that allows you to re-roll a failure, you are highly likely to get a success... Therefore I suggest skip the re-roll. Players only get a set number of times they can spend Fate Points so it wouldn't be too bad to allow them to spend a Fate Point in order to automatically succeed on a botched roll.

This along with the suggestions above ought to allow you to streamline the game time quite a lot. Good Luck running the game on such a short time limit!!

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To add to the online thing, it's very possible to do the setups online and do the combat (whether social, mental, or what) in person for the tension and transparency. –  CatLord Feb 9 at 16:13
    
Thank you for the helpful answer! I hope you understand - I'm going to refrain from accepting this answer to see if someone has a more FAE-specific one, but nevertheless, thank you! –  Emrakul Feb 9 at 17:27
    
Not a problem, I am still reading the Fate Core book to see if I can add anything relevant to this game specifically. I just wanted to put these suggestions out there so you have some stuff to think about in case no one else answers (I hope not!!!) or if it takes me a week or so to read the book. –  MC_Hambone Feb 9 at 20:10

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