I have played Spirit of the Century and I am exited.

There are a dozen reasons why, but the bottom line is that I think this is quite possibly *the* game to use for a regularly-scheduled, everyone-makes-up-a-character-and-whoever-shows-up-plays, campaign.
In quick summation:

  • The Century Club is the easy background that ties everyone together and explains why [random list of this evening’s participants] were called in for [current problem].
  • The adventure setups can easily be resolved in one session.
  • The characters are very very competent (nigh on Amberite-level), so it’s really no problem if only a few people can play that week, or if a bunch can — the opposition can remain the same.
  • Character progression is comparatively slow and applied to everyone (not just the folks who show up a lot), so you don’t need to worry about falling behind if you’re busy for awhile.
  • The episodic nature of the villain-of-the-week, coupled with the fact that half of any GM’s prep will be making up a list of PC Aspects to compel in interesting ways, plus that fact that less-played PCs don’t fall behind means that (a) Anyone can GM if they want and (b) the various GMs can have their own characters to pull out and play when they’re not in the hot seat. It is EASY to switch GMs around in the same setting with minimal fear of stepping on someone else’s uber storyline.

Picture everyone with a character. A wiki full of the NPCs we’ve introduced… a list of all the pulp novels we’ve “written”… and the sure knowledge that, say, “Saturdays are a Game Day.”
I am excited. 🙂


  1. There would need to be some group consensus on (a) what type of Pulp we’re doing, because “Chandler-esque noir” really doesn’t roll with SotC (b) what pulp heroes feel/act like and (c) what pulp action feels like. Wild variation on B and C, especially, can be really… jarring.

  2. For Chandleresque:
    – dump Weird Science/Mysteries type stuff
    – pyramid max is Good
    – same number of Stunts
    – same number of Aspects
    – half the refresh rate
    Sound about right?

  3. Doyce, are you going to write up the session or should somebody make up a synopsis for Dave & Margie (&x)?

  4. Umm… Yeah. I can write it up… as well as I remember it — it’ll be the 9 thousand foot view.

  5. For Chandleresque and Indiana Jones:
    – Pyramid maxes out at Great.
    – You (always) start with Aspects equal to the number of skills you have at “Fair” or higher. (In this case: six. In SotC-standard: 10). Each phase after the first only has one Aspect associated.
    – Stunts AND Stress boxes (always) equal default to half your Aspects. (In this case: 3. In SotC: 5.)
    – Refresh rate rules remain the same (though lowering aspects also lowers your refresh.)
    For Indiana Jones, stop there.
    For Chandleresque: change the way Stress boxes work and Consequences work. (Stole this from Fred Hicks.)

    Make the stress track work like this: when you exceed your stress boxes, you’re taken out. Period.
    Consequences let you reduce the amount of stress you take from a particular blow.
    Take a minor consequence for a -2 to the stress taken.
    Take a major consequence for a -4 to the stress taken.
    Take a severe consequence for a -6 to the stress taken.
    So suppose you have a 3-box stress track. Someone nails you massively, a 6 point hit. Taking a minor consequence isn’t going to do it — that’s a 4, and still beyond your stress track. You have to take a major one, at least, to stay standing, taking it to a 2, and landing inside your stress track. The nice thing about this is it breaks up the predictability of the minor->major->severe consequence path.

  6. Also, alot of folks on the StoryGames boards do this:
    * Five stress boxes for a default (as normal)
    * Make the stress track work like this: when you exceed your stress boxes, you’re taken out. Period. And Consequences let you reduce the amount of stress you take from a particular blow (as above… the -2, -4, -6 thing).
    * Everyone takes stress damage the way minions do. (This is done to speed up the combats — that’s all it does — it does not, in practice, make them ‘more deadly.’

  7. So the direction for the campaign is more Chandlereque? That might influence some character creation stuff.

  8. Not at all, dave. What i meant was that we need to say up front: “this not a noir genre game” before chargen. We didnt do that last week and got characters ill-suited to the flashgordon~rocketeer vibe. That should be avoided.

  9. Ah. Yes. Going into SotC, I wouldn’t expect it to be Chandleresque hard-boiled grim-n-gritty by default. Much more “Pulp” than that, I’d expect.
    That said, you could run that sort of setting in it — I’m not sure that’s the best use of the system.
    I love the SotC rules, btw — both in terms of a good FATE setup, and in terms of all those faboo quotes.

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