Powers That Be (Vault #33)

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The advanced races amidst the stars have embraced technological enhancements that provide a bevy of abilities. Use the 20 ideas for Powers as supplemental abilities, combat round codes to bolster or afflict adventurers, or custom Loot, plugged into the Card Creator for your Future Forays.

  1. _Synthesis_ (#Synthesis) A synth technology for absorbing damaged units into the collective. *The highest Tier foe absorbs the lowest’s health and passive defense. Remove the lowest Tier foe from the Encounter and update the Tier Sum.

  2. _Networked Offense_ (#Networked) They act in terrifying concert. *Deal the adventurer with the highest health +1 damage for each Synth Encounter type in play.

  3. _Power Surge_ (#Surge) A burst of energy allows a second surge. *One Encounter card in play surges again during round 4.

  4. _Networked Defense_ (#Defense) Your foes move in concert to defend each other. *No Encounter card can go below 1 health while any other Encounter card is above 2 health.

  5. _Assimilation_ (#Assimilation) The cutting edge of Quantum computing just changed the game on the ground. *If an ability fails this round, attach it to the foe with the highest tier Encounter card. Next round play it against the adventurers [you still roll to see if it is a success].

  6. _Adaptation_ (#Adaptation) An algorithm modulates armor and shields to resist attacks. *Whenever any ability type is used twice or more, reduce the damage the Encounter card suffers by 1.

  7. _Mimicry_ (#Mimicry) An alogorithm enables mimicry of a recently used skill. *After a skill is burned by an Adventurer, attach it to the highest Tier Encounter card. Use the skill next round against the adventurers at a rating equal to the Encounter’s Tier level.

  8. _Shields Up!_ (#Shields) A nimbus of energy flares briefly around the foe. *After an Encounter card takes damage for the first time, all subsequent rounds it takes -1 damage.

  9. _Damage Control_ (#DControl) Repair systems activate. *All Encounter cards not damaged this round heal 1 health per their Tier.

  10. _Analyze Foe_ (#Analyze) A light pans across you, top to bottom. *Next round the adventurer with the highest health suffers damage equal to the Tier of the highest Encounter card.

  11. _Inhibitor Field_ (#Inhib) A hum emanates from your gear…and it fails to work. *Loot cannot be used this round.

  12. _Quantum Distortion_ (#Distortion) Space bends about the foe. *No attacks of the “Ranged” type work this round unless the user rolls a 20.

  13. _Teleportation_ (#Teleportation) The foe leaps across space. *No attacks of the “Melee” type work this round unless the user rolls a 20.

  14. _Null Field_ (#Null) A fizzle and sparks fill the air where magic should be. *No attacks of the “Magic” ability type work this round unless the user rolls a 20.

  15. _Counter Wave_ (#Wave) A harmonic wave meant to cancel any Song. *No attacks of the “Music” ability type work this round unless the user rolls a 20.

  16. _Psychological Warfare_ (#Psych) The enemy knows how to get inside your head. *No attacks of the “Influence” ability type work this round unless the user rolls a 20.

  17. _Counterstrike_ (#Counter) The enemy’s riposte is perfectly timed. *Each successful attacker also takes damage equal to the Encounter card’s tier.

  18. _Kinetic Absorption_ (#KAb) The attack is less than effective. *Melee ability attacks restore health this round to Encounter targets instead of causing them damage.

  19. _Energy Vampire_ (#EVampire) A chill fills the air as batteries are drained. *Magic ability attacks restore health this round to Encounter targets instead of causing them damage.

  20. _Psychic Leech_ (#Leech) It defies known psy phenomenon… *Influence ability attacks restore health this round to Encounter targets instead of causing damage.

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Forays into "The Future": Locations (Vault #32)

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In this edition of The Vault we bring you 20 locations for your forays into the Future. We recommend skill checks be used to “unlock”/ascertain the answers to some of the questions or potential plot paths offered below. We’ve provided some ideas for Skill resolution in some of the entries. For groups comfortable with advanced role-playing, a Game Master might allow the player who succeeded at a Skill check to direct the course of the shared fiction, providing the answer to the potential plot directions.

  1. _Time Scar/Singularity_ (#TScar) A quantum distortion in spacetime. *Any ability with “Phase” or “Teleport” in the name is played as a 1 (on failure) or 20 (on rolled success).

  2. _Derelict Dyson Sphere_ (#DDyson) Remnant of a superior galactic empire. What caused it to be uninhabitated? Does it function still? Are those humanoid bats hanging in hibernation “above” you?! Oh god….* Adventurers must make a Persona check of 10 or above or lose 1 Persona.

  3. _Space Slug_ (#SSlug) It scours asteroids and small moons clean, and it hitched a ride to your home system. The slug may be a location all in itself, with an infestation of parasites the adventurers may have to battle.

  4. _Solar Sail_ (#Sail) This vast solar sail is a hundred times bigger than any ship in the fleet, and it’s towing something. What is it? How do you change its course? *A Knowledge skill check of 8 or above may yield the answer to one of those questions. A “20” might yield two such answers, of a more specific nature.

  5. _Crystalline Obelisk_ (#Obelisk) Something as big as a space station or dreadnought seems trapped inside. None of your instruments registers any readings from it at all. Did an eye larger than your shuttle just blink? * Adventurers make a Charisma skill check of 10 or above or provoke a “response” from the obelisk that causes 3 damage to any who failed.

  6. _Asteroid Field_ (#AField) When the mining crews cracked that methane giant, they may have doomed the system. Now huge gouts and plumes of fire arc between the deadly debris. Can you save the survivors? Stop the field dispersion? * An Athletics skill check of 12 allows you to save the survivors OR stop the degradation of the field.

  7. _Living Planet_ (#LPlanet) You hear it in your mind…It knows all your fears and dreams. * Make a Persona check of 10 or more or lose 1 skill level.

  8. _Space Prison_ (#SPrison) The icy penal colony of Rura Pente is feared across the galaxy. What did you do to earn imprisonment here? Will you escape or rule it from within? * A Charisma skill check of 7 or above saves you from the ritualistic gang-beating given to all newcomers. Failure costs you 4 health.

  9. _Transdimensional Rift_ (#TRift) Quantum pioneers think it might be a new universe being birthed at the edge of our own. Dark Matter engineers fear it could be a weapon experiment of terrifying power. * Make a Knowledge check to discern a safe approach to the Rift. Failure results in destruction of 1 Loot item per failed check.

  10. _Omega Station_ (#OStation) In orbit perilously near two soon-to-collide black holes, it seems set to harvest the imminent gamma burst. But what could such power be used for, and what structure could withstand such a blast?! The only certainty is that all the galactic governments want it for themselves.

  11. _Helium 3 Refinery_ (#H3) A prize of pirates, the spigot of galactic trade, and the first target in intergalactic conflict.

  12. _Scorched Terra_ (#Terra) A former M class planet blasted clean by a civilization’s nuclear suicide. Are there survivors down there? Tech to be scavenged? * A Knowledge skill check of 10 or above allows you to locate usable tech. Draw a Tier 1 Loot (Tier 2 if you rolled 18 or above).

  13. _Rimworld_ (#Rim) A colony at the edge of known space. Why’d you come here? What is your role? The threats and wonders?

  14. _Numena Nebula_ (#Nebula) Every ship that’s entered it has severed Comms with High Command. They’ve been observed working on something, but what is it?

  15. _Forbidden System_ (#FSystem) A solar system placed on the Galactic Council’s Interdict List long before humans achieved spaceflight. What brought you here against your better judgment?

  16. _Aeon Gate_ (#AGate) Cryptography doesn’t know if the structure allows one to leap across the light-years or through time itself.

  17. _The Planetkiller_ (#TPK) An asteroid inbound to your planet. Only landing on the surface will tell if it’s path is one of accident or design. The clock is ticking…* A successful Athletics skill check of 9 or above will allow you to execute a perfect landing. Failure results in everyone being roughed up (take 2 damage).

  18. _Uncharted Moon_ (#UMoon) It’s not supposed to be here. Wait…that’s no moon!

  19. _Plague Fleet_ (#PFleet) They vanished twenty years ago. You’ve found them, but what could drive a hundred different crews to insanity or death at once? Luckily, you’ll get a vast salvage bounty…if you survive.

  20. _Necro World_ (#NWorld) Communications ceased at 07:34 Galactic Standard Time. What killed this world? What if it happens again? * Require periodic skill checks to resist the effects of whatever killed this world. Rotate through the three different skills. Failure on Athletics results in 2 damage for each failed check. Charisma failure lowers Persona by 1. Failure on a Knowledge skill check causes players to lose a Loot.

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Forays in the Future: Seditious Synths (Vault #31)

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In this edition of Forays, our exploration of The Future expansion, we’ll provide 20 plot ideas for the new Encounter Type found in the expansion. Here are your plot ideas for Synths. We can’t wait to see where you take these adventure seeds. Enjoy!

  1. _Esoteric Explorers_ (#Explorers) You’re the first organics encountered by a race built and abandoned long ago. They’d like to examine your “hardware” and “CPU”s.

  2. _Mining the Homeworld_ (#Miners) The glittering skyscrapers of your homeworld’s surface are easily accessible silos of material.

  3. _Nanomission_ (#Nano) The swarm insists they wish to provide us with an upgrade. Some paranoid few fear we won’t be “us” anymore.

  4. _Lockdown_ (#Lockdown) The government has imposed draconian measures in the wake of losing a democratic election. They’ve placed automated turrets and sentries in the streets. Will you fight with the rebels? Even if you don’t, you’ll be forced to venture forth when food supplies dwindle…

  5. _Virus_ (#Virus) Local automated systems have gone haywire in the wake of devilry by the infamous hacker “El Loco Biologico”. You may have to defend yourself from haywire machines, but the surveillance state ensures you’ll be charged for any property damage…

  6. _Proving Grounds_ (#Grounds) Synths on this planet run gladiatorial games where the finest organic specimens are tested. Victory brings freedom and luxury.

  7. _ Synthesized Life_ (#SynthLife) They printed you in a lab in an effort to restore an extinct species. Your masters debate whether you’ll pass the “Turing Test”. Maybe you can do so by escaping…

  8. _Starjackers_ (#Starjack) They’ve come to take our Star and transport it to their home system. The only advantages we have are numbers and desperation.

  9. _Imperators of Order_ (#Imperators) Established to maintain ecological stellar environments, they systematically decimate civilizations that become too aggressive in terraforming systems.

  10. _The Replacements_ (#Replacements) Command has deemed you obsolete. You can consent to experimental cybernetic upgrades or be ‘“retired”, whatever that means. You’ve noted discrepancies in the vidfeeds from Command…are organics still in charge?

  11. _Total War_(#Total) You’re on a diplomatic mission when total war breaks out between your hosts and an unknown species. Whose side do you take? Will the invaders perceive you as hostiles?

  12. _Regrets of the Flesh_ (#Regrets) In the wake of cybernetic replacements, you must contend with phantom limb syndrome and specters of your biological past. * You may choose between a Persona card or a permanent Loot upgrade. If you took the Loot, anytime you’d gain or lose persona, take 1 health damage instead. If you chose Persona, suffer -1 to all rolls whenever Loot is in your inventory.

  13. _Dystopia_ (#Dystopia) As one of the last surviving members of an endangered species, you’ve been deposited on this lush “zoo planet”. Will you accept your imprisonment? Conspire with the other “preserved species”? Will the zookeepers even let you die?

  14. _Belter Brigade_ (#Belter) You help guard the worlds of the inner system by manning an outpost in the asteroid belt. Your sensors have gotten strange readings, and now a cat-and-mouse game with an unknown force is set to ensue amid the debris.

  15. _Omega Watch_ (#Omega) As elite operatives of the Omega Watch, you investigate the worst of threats—anything that’s killed a planet or solar system. Your task is to discover the culprit of such existential threats, then, if the havoc was caused by an intelligent source, ensure culprits are brought to heel or eliminated.

  16. _Unified Field_ (#Field) The successor to cyberspace has been populated by the shades of trillions of organics downloaded before biological death. There are rumors the denizens of the Darkweb may have found a way to merge digital and physical reality using quantum physics. What if they succeed? What if they are wrong?

  17. _Brainjacked_ (#Bjacked) The captain and the rest of the First Contact delegation have returned from a meeting with the Synths. But they’re acting suspiciously. Will you relieve the officers of command? Then what?

  18. _Synthesization_ (#Synth) During combat with Synths you’ve been injected with nanites. You fear your body and mind may not be yours much longer. * During the initial combat, any adventurers who take damage are injected. If their Skill or Persona falls to minimum, the next ability must be played against the best interests of the party.

  19. _Damage Control_ (#Damage) True AI brought unparalleled societal upheaval. As officers in a law enforcement agency, you’ve been partnered with synthetics in a new war on cybercrime. But who is friend and who is foe?

  20. _Infiltration_ (#Infiltration) Vastly outnumbered, you’ve been dropped behind enemy lines with the mission of uploading a quantum virus into the Synth army. If you succeed, you’ll turn the tide of this engagement.

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Actuating Acronyms: Synth Titles (Vault #30)

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It’s been awhile since we’ve posted some entries in The Vault, noble adventurers! With this addition we’ll be adding a series built for and around The Future expansion, shipped recently to all Kickstarter backers. We hope you enjoy them!

The Synthetics of The Future are often hyperefficient, inscrutable, and chilling in their goals and objectives, especially in relation to organics. Some have been built for use by the biological races, while others have long out-survived (or perhaps exterminated) their fleshly progenitors. Below are 20 Titles to give your Synths some personality and variation. As always, we’ve provided the formatting for you to copy and paste into the Quest Creator, speeding up your crafting.

  1. _EU_ (#EU) The Elimination Units began as an attempt to unify galactic currency, but an error in programming led them to target all currency holders instead. Oops. * At the beginning of combat, each adventurer with a Loot item takes 1 damage per item.

  2. _Alpha Control_ (#Alpha) The central Synth unit, guiding the actions of all others in this place. * While “Alpha Control” is in play, all Synth Encounter types take -1 damage from non-Tech abilities.

  3. _U.T.D._ (#UTD) Built for training purposes, the Unified Teaching Droid seeks to perfect its subjects, though over the millenia it’ has lost the capacity to discern where the line between ‘creative destruction’ and ‘destruction’ lies. * When the U.T.D. is defeated, all adventurers advance one skill one rating level.

  4. _Probebot_ (#Probe) By the stars, don’t let it near you! * While Probebot is in play, if an adventurer with an “Athletic” Skill takes damage, reduce their skill rating by 1. When Probebot is no more, restore the skill rating to its original level.

  5. _M.A.V. Unit_ (#MAV) Bristling with blades and saws, the Multi Armed Vivisection Unit “catalogs” and studies organic life forms, often while they are still (temporarily) alive. * If M.A.V. is attacked with a Melee ability, the adventurer using that ability loses 1 skill rating until the end of combat.

  6. _SLiP U._ (#Freudian) The Semantic Liberation interspecies Psychology Unit assaults you with dirty jokes and disturbing innuendo. * When SLiP enters play, all adventurers make a Persona or Skill roll. If they roll 14 or below, reduce their Persona or Skill level by 1.

  7. _L.E.V.I._ (#Levi) Before the last enemy fizzles into stillness it utters a cryptic message, “You may have defeated us, but LEVI is coming for you…” * The Lethal Emulation Vehicle & Infiltrator attacks with surprise from in your midst. All Adventurers make a Charisma skill roll. On an 11 or below, the first Ability they play this round is played as though they rolled a “1”.

  8. _NIFLM_ (#Nephelim) An assault of laser bursts both disorienting and harmful pulses from the Negative Impulse Feedback Laser Machine. * The 2nd round of combat, deal this Encounter card’s Tier value in damage to each adventurer, minus the rating of that adventurer’s Knowledge skill.

  9. _IU_ (#IU) The Interdiction Unit emits powerful EM fields that inhibit your performance. * While the IU is in play, all skill checks are made with a penalty equal to half this unit’s Tier value.

  10. _”Overlord”_ (#Overlord) The speakers on this synth begin playing a looped message, Bow to Overlord, serve your Master, meatbag!” * Every other round while “Overlord” is functional, add a “Custodian Pod” to combat and update the Tier Sum.

  11. _T.U._ (#TU) Quantum teleportation is the Transportation Unit’s forte. * Whenever an adventurer rolls 5, 10, or 15, they are teleported across the area and cannot use an offensive ability the next round.

  12. _HK-007_ (#Hunter Killer) The ubiquitous presence of such an alcohol-powered unit suggests that science and technology have not made us any less barbaric or any more “humane”. * Deal 1 damage to anyone that plays a Tech ability, unless they roll a 20.

  13. _H.L.P.R_ (#Helper) The Haptic Life Pro Regulator unleashes a burst of healing energy. *All non-Synths in play (including the adventurers) recover 1 health every Surge round.

  14. _UniH8R_ (#Haters) Driven insane by centuries of isolation, this Synth seeks to irradiate any intelligence that crosses its path. * On the first round of combat, deal 1 point of damage/Tech ability in an adventurer’s hand, and 1 point of damage/Tier to any other Encounter card in play (UniH8R does attack itself).

  15. _Lovebot 5000_ (#Lovebot) It wants hugs… * All adventurers without a Charisma skill take 2 damage on the second round of the encounter with Lovebot. Adventurers with Charisma skills can deal automatic “damage” to Lovebot equal to their skill rating instead of playing an ability each round.

  16. _PCU_ (#PCU) The Power Control Unit sends a surge of energy crackling through all mechanical devices. * Synths Surge on round 2 and 4 instead of 3 and 6. On those rounds, any player that successfully rolls to use a Tech ability uses the ability as though they rolled a “20”.

  17. _The Bladed Butcher_ (#Blades) A terrifying metal monstrosity festooned in rotting gore. It smells like an open grave. * Adventurers must make a Knowledge skill or Persona check of 10 or more. On a failure, they reduce the skill or Persona by 1.

  18. _Q.A.E._ (#QAE) The Quantum Anomaly Eliminator seeks to extirpate dangerous threats to galactic Constants. * Any Adventurer using a Magic ability takes 1 damage.

  19. _O.D.I.N._ (#ODIN) Operating from high on the Orbital Stream, the Organically Distributed Intelligence Network boosts efficacy of all cybernetic and synthetic systems. * All adventurers gain 1 to a skill rating while ODIN is in proximity. All Synthetic Encounter cards gain 1 Tier while ODIN is in proximity.

  20. _Stone Age_ (#Stone) Designed to counter the encroachment of self-destructive tech, the entity now known as “Stone Age” suppresses all Tech and advanced Loot. * While “Stone Age” is in play, Tech abilities cannot employ their roll “20” power and Future Loot loses 1 use or buried card.

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The Storm (Vault #29)

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The Great Storm can imperil even the most magically or technologically advanced society or community. Even when the immediate fury has passed, there are life-threatening circumstances that come to the forefront. One or all of the 15 ideas below might face a party when the storm comes.  We've organized them into sets of encounters that go together under a common theme.

The Finger of God

  1. _Tornado!_ (#Tornado) The cone of terrifying wind makes a deadly projectile out of even a stalk of straw. > A Knowledge (Magic) check or Perception (Ranged) check of 13 or above is required to avoid the bludgeoning debris. Take damage equal to half the value of your failed roll.

  2. _The Conflagration_ (#Confl) The high winds have spread flame throughout the village or city. Without swift action, the community may not survive. > An Influence check could be required to rally the citizenry and organize their firefighting efforts. A Magic check (especially with an ice Ability) could put out one of the burning buildings, but which one?

  3. _All Hail_(#Hail) Ice chunks the size of your fist begin pummeling the region. > A Fortitude (Melee) check will of 10 or above saves the adventurer from significant damage. Failure leads to bruises equal to 2 health in damage.

  4. _Mudmire_ (#Mud) The ground is a slippery mess. > Any Ability checks will be made at a -3 penalty. If the reduced roll would be a 1, play the Ability's critical failure.

  5. _Beasts Unhinged_ (#Unhinged) With their pens and fencing destroyed, panicked livestock frantically stampede and attempt escape. > A party member must choose a type of communal animal (horse, cattle, chicken, llama...ostrich/chocobo). They find themselves in the midst of a stampede. Play an ability. If the ability succeeds and deals 3 or more damage, the adventurer escapes unscathed. If not, they take 5 damage.

The Blizzard

  1. _Snow Covers All_ (#Snow) With the region in the grip of a record setting blizzard, the adventurers are sought out to find travelers (or children) who didn't make it back to habitation before the storm. > A Tracking (Ranged) check of 7 or above will allow the party to find tracks leading to the lost.

  2. _Trapped!_ (#Trapped) Those tracks end in what appears to be a recent Avalanche. Only swift and vigorous action will save the victims. > A series of three Athletics (Melee) checks of 8, 9, and finally 10 must be made to dig out the trapped. If any are failed, party members can sacrifice 1 health to succeed instead. Each failure without the health sacrifice results in the death of one of the trapped.

  3. _The Killing Cold_ (#Cold) The frigid temps drop even further. > A Magic or Loot card with "fire" in the descriptor can be spent to stave off the killing cold, or a Survival (Ranged) check of 13 or higher will do the same. Failure results in loss of 3 health and 1 Persona.

  4. _The Crevasse_ (#Crevasse) A hidden crevasse opens, swallowing party members. > Any adventurer who rolls less than 10 on a Perception (Ranged) Check falls in, taking 2 health damage. A climb check of 7 or above is required to escape.

  5. _Avalanche_ (#Avalanche) The mountain slope trembles and shifts. A white wall of death descends...> An Athletics check of 12 or above will allow an adventurer to outrun the deadly snow. Failure results in entombment (go to "Trapped!" for checks to escape).

The Hurricane

  1. _Fearsome Flooding_ (#Flooding) Citizens are stranded. This is a job for heroes. > An Influence check might be required to convince a scared commoner the adventurers are not looters. An Athletics check will surely be needed to traverse the treacherous, flooded streets.

  2. _Looters_ (#Looters) You could almost admire their opportunism, if it didn't come at the cost of the vulnerable.

  3. _Structural Collapse_ (#Collapse) The building you are in groans and creaks...then a wall and ceiling collapse upon you. > A Magic or Ranged check of 9 or above is needed to avoid being struck by sodden building materials. Take 3 damage on failure.

  4. _Dire Diseases_ (#Disease) The waters have proven an ideal breeding ground for molds, bacteria, and mosquitoes. > A Fortitude (Melee) check of 6 or above is necessary to avoid illness. On failure, suffer a -2 to Ability checks for the remainder of the quest.

  5. _Gales Most Gruesome_ (#Gales) The hurricane's winds are the most inopportune condition under which to fight. > Ranged, Music, and Magic abilities fail on any roll less than a 15. Melee abilities suffer -5 to rolls. Enemies cannot surge. Everyone (including Encounter cards) is dealt 2 damage each round.

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A Matter of Balance [Forge #13]

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With Expansion development in full swing, we thought this might be a good time to talk about what makes for a well-balanced quest, Encounter card, Ability, or Loot card. 

As with many things, it's often easier to convey what makes for an unbalanced or broken mechanic than for one that works well.  Here's a short list of what NOT to do:

  1. Make an item or custom Loot card that repeatedly does more damage than many ability cards.

  2. Make a Loot card that can be used to cancel all damage to an adventurer multiple times in a quest.

  3. Craft an Ability with too many conditions to use. Ex. play a Tier II loot and roll an 11+ to play. A good Ability will work 50% or more of the time.

  4. Require a lot of record keeping during the quest. Remember that taking notes can extend length of play, and that unless you have a ton of tablespace, large parties are working with limited real estate.

  5. Introduce a lot of extra rolls to combat. Making an Encounter card that requires all players to roll to avoid a surge effect, then placing 3 such enemies in one battle means that when every 3rd round hits, a party of 6 has a minimum of 24 rolls they'll be making. That's tedious, even if each person has their own die. Heaven forbid you're limited to using the 1 that came with the game!

  6. Create a Loot card that can be used each round (armor, a weapon), but that requires a roll to determine success (ex. roll 8 or above to cancel 2 damage). Your party members probably don't want to roll 3+ times a round. Remember that all other players are waiting while that guy with the armor and sword is rolling to determine success.

  7. Limit healing after combat too much. I (Greg) stand guilty of doing this on the first draft of the first quest I ever wrote. The Boss battle (Tier 5+) is probably going to deal 5-6 damage during the first 2 rounds. If the party isn't at full health, adventurers will be lost early on, and the Encounter is probably unbalanced.

 So what does a balanced Ability or Loot card look like?

  1. It keeps in mind existing cards and strives to match them in relative degree, though perhaps not effect. For example, some of the most powerful ability cards require a roll of 10 or higher to use. Their high power is balanced by the fact that they will fail 50% or more of the time. Remember that on a 20 sided dice, each point equates to a 5% probability. Some of the cards that do a lower amount of damage (2 points) have a high chance of hitting, with a target number of 6 or above (70% success rate).

  2. It strives to keep any one adventurer or ability type from becoming clearly more powerful than another.

  3. It keeps play speedy--this is why most Loot automatically succeeds, rather than requiring a roll for success like abilities.

  4. It enables party members to amplify each other's abilities or compensate for weaknesses.

We hope we've given you some things to consider in your card and quest creation. Happy Questing!

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Dungeons of Despair (The Vault #28)

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The dungeon is a place most adventurers inevitably find themselves, whether after being captured, storming the castle, or springing an important or innocent person from the depths. Below are 20 ideas for your dungeon delving:

  1. _The Escape_ (#Escape) The adventurers have been taken captive and must escape. If only their gear hadn't been taken! > Blind shuffle your cards, then discard half of them. You also suffer a -3 on all ability rolls.

  2. _Screams of the Damned_ (#Screams) The tales of the torments administered here spring to mind as the screams of its occupants reach your ears. You shudder to think what will happen if you fail in your task. > Make a Persona roll of 10 or above. Add +1 for every level of Persona above base. Subtract -1 for every level below base. If you fail, your next ability roll suffers a -5 on the roll.

  3. _Desperate Pleas_ (#Desperate) As the adventurers pass the locked cells, desperate and filthy prisoners plea for help. Will you assist them? What if any are justly imprisoned? What if they are not?

  4. _The Traitor_ (#Traitor) One of the prisoners you released has no true hope this attempt at escape will succeed. > When the next combat event begins, draw a Tier I Bandit Encounter card, update the Tier Sum, and immediately resolve that Bandit's Surge ability.

  5. _The Departed_ (#Departed) It doesn't take supernatural senses to feel the pain and torment that has soaked into the very stones of this place. The souls of some who have perished linger here still. > Draw 2 random Undead encounter cards and begin combat. No Tier 4 or 5 card can be drawn for this battle.

  6. _Fae Shackles_ (#Shackles) The shackles in this cell have been enchanted by a Fae Lord. They begin to writhe and weave light snakes... > Each set of Fae Shackles has the stats of an Aspic Viper (Tier I Beast Encounter card). On surge rounds, the Shackles latch onto any adventurer with an ability roll less than 10. They must lose 1 health if they wish to play any future abilities.

  7. _Diamond in the Rough_ (#Diamond) A person of great worth is confined in the dungeons, unbeknownst to the jailers. You need to win them free. Who are they? A high-ranking noble? Kind-hearted twin of the ruling tyrant? Reincarnation of a hero of old, foretold to do great deeds if they survive to adulthood?

  8. _Prisoners of War_ (#POW) After a recent battlefield engagement, some of the men you've bled and toiled with are interred in the enemy's camp. For the sake of your brotherhood, you must free them or die trying. > Until the men have been freed, on every combat surge round one of your fellows is killed by his captors. If this happens you lose 1 Persona.

  9. _Buried Treasure_ (#Buried) Rumor has surfaced that the recently executed mobster, Errik the Earless, actually hid his most valuable treasure in the cell he last occupied. Are the adventurers mercenaries out to obtain it for themselves, or members of the King's Men tasked with defending the prison from the soon-to-descend horde of criminals bent on obtaining the treasure? What is the coveted item that so many are willing to kill for?

  10. _Torturer's Justice_ (#Just) One of the adventurers' parents has been taken to the most notorious prison in the realm, to be questioned about the adventurer's recent activities. Why? Will the full weight of the monarch's might soon fall upon you?

  11. _Deja Dungeon_ (#Deja) For a week the adventurers have been afflicted with terrible nightmares. Now, they realize this dungeon is the very one in their dreams. It is the place where they will perish. > Each adventurer must choose one of their abilities and set it aside, they must use it before refreshing the discard pile, but may use it whenever they want during the next battle. That ability becomes an automatic critical failure unless they make a Persona check of 10 or above.

  12. _Room of Lost Whispers_ (#Whispers) This room was enchanted long ago to capture the secrets and confessions of those broken and driven mad in its confines. Those who stand in its center sometimes hear secrets of great worth. At other times, they've been driven mad by the revelations. > Make a Persona check of 10 or above. On a failure, lower Persona by 1 level. On a success you may increase Persona or swap out one ability card.

  13. _The Pain Lab_ (#Pain) Dedicated to the science of torture, this chamber is the favorite of the Warden. > Encounter cards battling adventurers in this chamber are experts in dealing pain. All adventurers take 1 point of damage at the beginning of each round.

  14. _Rusted Hinges_ (#Hinges) The compound is suffering from extreme neglect and all cell doors are doubly difficult to open. > Any attempt to break open a door requires an Athletics check of 13 or above. Failure means the door is immovable.

  15. _The Drowning Room_ (#Drowning) This secondary well has been turned into an execution and torture chamber. Victims are chained and submerged until they break or die. Perhaps there is loot still on one of the corpses in the depths. Perhaps an adventurer is knocked into the well and must untangle themselves or drown by degrees.

  16. _The Yard_ (#Yard) Prisoners are allowed fresh air and sunlight in this walled-in, well-guarded enclosure. Still, many plots are hatched right here. The adventurers may have to survive a certain number of rounds before guards intervene, outnumbered by the other prisoners. Or they might have to use distraction and sleight-of-hand to smuggle contraband underneath the watchful gaze of the guards.

  17. _Shadowhold Sanctum_ (#Shadowhold) The souls of many who've died here vow never to give the adventurers peace until they destroy the place. If they don't, the Necromancer who built Shadowhold will continue to siphon souls for his nefarious purposes.

  18. _The Mess Hall_ (#Mess) Whether from deliberate poisoning or rancid food, this may be the deadliest location in the prison. > Adventurers must make a Fortitude (Melee) check of 13 or above or suffer 3 points of damage.

  19. _The Hidden Tunnel_ (#Tunnel) The work of countless prisoners, most of them now dead. > A random Beast (draw the Encounter card) has taken up residence in the Tunnel. Was it put there by the sadistic dungeonkeep?

  20. _The Morgue_ (#Morgue) Why is it so large? And what is that faint scratching coming from the masoleum style doors?


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Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

Using the Vaults [The Forge #12 ]

The Forge Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

We're coming up on a year's worth of "Vault" and "Forge" entries. As you can see from last week's "Index to Forge and Vault", that's a lot of content. 

So how do you use it if you're going App free and using GM Mode?

How can you use it if you're an author? 

View on, dear quest creator or GM...

Let's say we print out our series of Vaults with the Bandit Encounter deck theme.  At the present moment, you'd probably want to do this by copying and pasting into Word, adjusting the margins to 0.5, and standardizing the font.  I was able to get 3 of the 4 Vaults on Bandits to fit on one standard sheet of paper this way. If we're seated with our friends and want to go in GM Mode (no app), we can choose prompts from these Vaults to craft a quick adventure.  If we're very adventurous and our GM is a pro, we can just roll a d20 and improvise. So we rolled on the Bandit Plot Vault (Honor Among Thieves) and got a 12.  "Drug War" it is!  We mark it with a clip and read the intro description...Only drawback of the clips is that they do slightly bend the paper (as you'll notice on the pics). 


Next we'll give some identity to the Boss behind the influx of addictive magical drugs.  We roll on the Bandits' Title Vault (Onerous Outlaws) and get an 8. The crime lord known only as "Sneakhand" is our foe,  and they will try and steal loot from our intrepid adventurers when first they meet. We mark him or her with a clip and move to the next Vault to select some custom Loot items and Locations for our quest... 


Most quests average 2-5 battles.  Our group prefers 3 (including the Boss battle), and it'd be nice to have some interesting new Loot after each of the battles leading up to the showdown with "Sneakhand". We roll two d20s and get a 9 and 20. The "Sneak Shoes" seem apropos to the Boss.  Perhaps they will let us make a "Stealth" check to get the drop on him at the outset of the final battle. The "Marbles" are a risky item to use, but "Sneakhand" clearly isn't paying his employees well enough for them to have any quality gear. Our final Bandit Vault will provide some locations for our adventurers.


We have three adventurers, so it seems appropriate to roll 3 d20s for our locations. This Vault was the only one that wouldn't fit on one page, and the last roll was a 20--the False Wall. Reinforcements will come to "Sneakhand" in the form of two extra Tier I Bandits during the final battle, but only our GM should know this.  Our other two rolls were a 5, the "Toll Bridge" and a 15, the "Forest Hideout". These give us some interesting roleplaying and combat scenarios.  

Do we pay the Bandits' toll at the bridge and follow them back to the Forest Hideout? Do we defy their extortion and do righteous battle? Do we attempt a skill check to sneak around the bridge? So many possibilities...

At the "Forest Hideout" we'll be faced with the choice to take the fight to the high ground or risk the lethal bows of the bandit archers. And then we'll have to face "Sneakhand" in his lair, with it's "False Wall" and reinforcements. 


And it's that quick and easy! If you were crafting in the Creator you could go the Vault pages and copy and paste the scripts, shortening your workload.

If there is interest out there in creating an easily printable and more GM friendly pdf of the Vaults and Forges, let us know in the comment section below.  We could throw something up on DriveThruRPG.   

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.