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Well, they did it. Your players went head-to-head against an antagonist with Superb Resources, and instead of taking critical social damage and retiring from adventuring, they took him for all he's worth. "Nice to have you as an investor for the quest. We want riverboats, and guards, those wizard experts we met, cash for bribes, could you polish my armor? Oh and a barrel of olives that the Mercenary likes..."

The fiction demanded an outcome like this, and I went with it. But I've never run a scenario where the characters get this much dosh --- and certainly not in Fate. How do you still put your characters through the wringer when they've won a Superb contingent of lackeys and equipment, without doing something cheap like sinking the boat right out of the harbor?

I'd call the genre "Low High Fantasy": the fate of the world hangs in the balance as curséd weather rains literal blood on the land, there are tricky faeries and murderous elves and bizarre forest fauna, however my players are variously drunks, past their prime, or on their very first outing from their castle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you tell us more about the actual narrative your players are exploring, so that we can understand what kinds of challenges they might actually face? What's your genre, for example? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 3 at 17:07
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If you liked it you should have put a Stunt on it.

So the heroes have a retinue and a vehicle that they are currently financially incapable of maintaining. A pretty easy patch here is that when the retinue or vehicle is stressed or damaged, if the heroes repair it using their own Crafts, Resources, or whichever skills are picking up the load Leadership used to carry, then it returns to "full health" but at the quality they're used to sustaining.

You don't have to drop a meteor on the pier in order to do that - you just need to present your party with things that they want to use their new acquisitions to go after, and warn them in advance that they won't be able to repair them back to full at their current skill level. So either:

  • they enjoy them while they last, letting the proceeds of a previous adventure smooth out some bumps and bruises in the current one
  • they put in the time and prepwork to minimize the risk to their new precious things, which is called player motivation
  • someone invests in a stunt that says, no, for purposes of keeping up this wizard college/loyal team of bodyguards/fastest ship in the line, my relevant skill is that high, and now it's part of their character
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Change the Challenges

  • Sure, there is fun in the "optimization" problem of going shopping for an expedition, and pinching every copper piece or credit. Now they don't have to do that, but they will have to manage the hired accountant and the hired quartermaster. Happens that each of them accuses the other of fraud. Who will investigate?
  • And if they didn't do the shopping themselves, surprise them halfway upriver with spoiled provisions and unexpected delays. (If the players did make a point of checking the goods, it will be just delays.) Hired help expects to eat, and they can't eat bonus payments. They want bread and beef, now.
  • Those specialist wizards, are they experienced adventurers? If not, they will still be a net benefit for the expedition, but they will require attention. One of them could wander of at the most inconvenient time.
  • Scale enemies to the expedition. Instead of half a dozen canoes with tribal warriors and the need to fight or talk their way through, there are a hundred boats. Good that they have a company of mercs along with the expedition. The options are still talk or fight, except that now the fight would have them maneuver their troops.
  • And the boss fight at the end, it will be one they couldn't possibly defeat without backup.

And remember, even with a big budget, if they didn't think to bring it upriver, they won't have it. I've once GMed a Traveller game where the PCs had almost carte blanche in an Imperial Interstellar Scout Service supply base. But that didn't make the mission much easier.

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