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5.04.2014

FAE Cat

Due to some scheduling conflicts, the gaming group is unable to meet this upcoming Friday to kick off character creation for the Old Japan Fate Core game.  In its stead I offered to run a one shot game using Fate Accelerated; but the group declined in favor of board games.  Alas, their loss.

I am really interested in the one shot I put together though.  Its based on the likes of Tailchaser's Song, Warrior Cats, Cat: A little game about little heroes, Call of Catthulhu, and Cathulhu.  It is a game where PC stands for Player Cat.  Yes, its a game where you play a cat.

I thought for this game I'd use Fate Accelerated instead of Fate Core.  FAE just seemed to carry the right vibe for the setting.  The standard Approaches work fine as is, and I don't see any reason to modify them.

I like the idea that cats have always been seen as magical creatures throughout the years, as is attested to by the plethora of folklore regarding cats.

The idea I had is this:

 Cat

A game for Fate Accelerated

Cats have been protecting people from bad things since… well since forever.  In ancient times those people who learned magic knew that cats were magical.  And they knew that cats hunted magical things that would cause harm every bit as much as they hunted mice and birds.  This realization lead to the arrangement people and cats have today.  Domestication in exchange for keeping people safe.  Not every cat agrees with the Old Arrangement, and most people have long since lost any sense of it, but the fact remains, true as true:  cats hunt boggins.

In this game, you will all play cats.  Perhaps strays, ferals, or housecats that roam the neighborhoods at will.  You will all be friends, and your clowder, or little group, is one of many in the neighborhood where you live.

Creating a Cat
  
Step 1) Aspects (p.8)

Cats begin play with 4 Aspects.  The first is the High Concept, which should probably include the cat’s breed.  The second is the Trouble, something that makes your cat’s life complicated.  The remaining are open aspect slots to be filled in as you wish.

Step 2) Name & Breed

Name your cat.

Determine your breed.   There are two general types:  The Purebred and the Moggie. 

A purebred is one of dozens of cat breeds that are very specific in looks and temperament.  From Abyssinian, to British Blue, to Chartreux, to Egyptian Mau, the Maine Coon, the Manx, the Persian and Angora, the Russian Blue, the Siamese, the Siberian, the Birman, the Burmese, the Cornish Rex, the Korat, the Peterbald, the Pixie-Bob, and the Scottish Fold.

A moggie is a domestic shorthair, a domestic longhair, a calico, or a tortoiseshell cat without any pure breeding.

Step 3) Approaches (p.10)

Choose your approach.  Approaches are descriptions of how you accomplish tasks.  All cats have the same six approaches:  Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, Sneaky.  Each approach is rated with a bonus.  Choose one at +3, two at +2, two at +1 and one at +0.  Take a look at the generic archetypes associated with an assortment of approaches on page 10 for inspiration.


Step 4)  Stunts and Refresh (p.11)

A stunt is a special trait that changes the way an approach works for your cat.  Generally stunts give you a bonus (almost always +2) to a certain approach when used with a particular action under specific circumstances.  Your cat begins play with 3 stunts.  How to create stunts is explained on page 31.

Your refresh is the number of Fate Points you begin each game with.  By default, your refresh starts at three and is reduced by one for each additional stunt you add beyond the initial three.

Step 5) Everything Else (p.22)

Each cat has 3 Stress boxes.  Each cat has 3 Consequence slots.  Each cat has 9 lives. Whenever a cat looses a life, it has a similar effect as an Extreme Consequence in Fate Core.  When a cat should die, instead it replaces one of its Aspects (except the High Concept) with the new Consequence. 

Final Bits

(The set-up for Cat: a little game about little heroes appeals to me the most.)  All cats can see incorporeal entities which cats call boggins.  These boggins - demons, or ghosts, or spirits – seek to harm the living (usually the Two Legs), and as a result this can affect all animals.  Boggins slip inside the living and compel them to acts of cruelty and violence, and the boggins feeds on the distress this behavior causes.  Cats can harm boggins in one of two ways – either by harming the host of the boggin, or by slipping into the Gloom and harming the boggin directly.

As all cats know harming the host possessed by a boggin is difficult at best.  Two Legs, even young ones, are so much larger and stronger than cats.  Sometimes a boggin will possess a Two Legs infant and the cat can smother the infant, thus killing the boggin – but this also kills the infant.  And as the Old Arrangement states, this isn’t an acceptable solution. 

Boggins live in the Gloom, an alternate reality overlaid with our own.  A cat can enter the Gloom through dreams.  Cats can see boggins in the Gloom and boggins can see cats, but neither can affect the other unless one enters the others reality. 

When cats and boggins fight, it is always to the death. 


The game I had planned

The Player Cats live in a rural town of about 2000 Two Legs.  The clowder are familiar with an elderly male Two Legs by the name of Johnston who leaves bowls of food and water out for cats to partake in.  On warm days old Johnston will set up a canvas and paint the various cats that roam in his yard and lounge in the sun. It is a contented place to gather.

One sunny day while the lot of you are lounging in old Johnston’s back yard a car pulls up and several younger Two Legs get out.  Johnston seems troubled and heads inside with the new Two Legs; and after a brief visit the Two Legs all depart, except for a young girl.  Called Mary, she seems to be staying, and she is delighted to see all the cats in the back yard; as she takes aim with her bb gun, she is very delighted indeed…
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I thought it would be a fun one off, but then I've always had a thing for playing animals - Mouse Guard, Bunnies and Burrows, home brews of various sorts - the idea just appeals.  Admittedly though, it isn't for everyone.

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