Metal Gods
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In Metal Gods you play powerful shapeshifting machines from another world, who hide amidst humanity and wage a secret war for scarce resources amongst themselves.

Metal Gods is a Fate hack. You can find the core rules for Fate at their SRD site. License and copyright info are at the bottom of this page.

Setting

The Origin and the End

At the center of the multiverse is the Spark, a pure heart of energy that radiates other dimensions. Each dimension is born at the Spark and expands, filling with stars and life, slowly becoming dark, and meeting its death at the Great Devourer that surrounds and eventually destroys all things.

The Metal Gods are born mindless at the Spark. They ride the worlds as they travel toward the Great Destroyer, changing and learning, transforming their metallic forms into all manner of shapes. They build a network of bridges through spacetime that eventually send them inward to younger universes, extending their lives as they evade the Destroyer, forever seeking to return to the Spark.

One day the first of these great spacebridges will reach the Destroyer, who will rush through the chain of them like a flood of darkness. If it is not defeated, the Destroyer will end existence itself. It was the realization of this fact that split the Metal Gods into warring factions.

Factions

The Metal Gods face danger from one another wherever they go. Wars are waged between the followers of three factions, who disagree on how to best fight the Destroyer

The first faction follows the Path of the Champion. They believe that a single individual who will rise up through adversity and danger to defeat the Destroyer. They speak of individual freedom and the need to act without restriction, but their actions speak differently. Individuals in this faction strive for personal power, so that they might become the Champion - but they use that power to harm and enslave others. They create adversity and danger not only for one another, but for all living beings. Their excuse is that they seek to create a Champion to stand against the Destroyer, a threat that many of them believe will never come.

The second faction follows the Path of Unity. They believe that all living beings must face the Destroyer as one, or all will be lost. Rather than uniting the universe by force, however, those who follow this path believe that all must willingly stand together. They seek to lead by example, and they allow others to choose their path. Your characters follow this path.

The third faction believes in the Path of Fusion. Born as a combination of the paths of the Champion and Unity, the Path of Fusion believes that all shall stand literally as one against the Destroyer, as a single being. They mix their forms into larger creations, and seek to bring all Metal Gods - by choice or by force - into their single massive body and homogenized mind. At the moment they must act in secrecy, so the Fusion still splits into individual beings to pursue its agenda.

There are rumors of a fourth faction that believes in the Path of Shadows. They believe that the Destroyer cannot be defeated. Thus, they seek to destroy the spacetime bridges that link universes. This, they believe, will keep the Destroyer away from the Spark and save a smaller multiverse of worlds. Unfortunately, it would also sentence the Metal Gods to eventual death as the universe they live in expands, cools, and dies. If this faction exists, its members remain secret.

You may wish to give these factions names in your game.

On Earth

Earth is but one of many worlds on which the Metal Gods war with each other. Inhabited worlds contain a potent resource: a condensed form of energy infused with the resonance of life itself. The Metal Gods collect this resource with an almost spiritual reverence. They use it to power themselves and to construct many pieces of incredible technology, including the bridges that send them from one planet to another (and, after millions of years of collection, from one universe to the next).

Those of the Path of Unity try to work with the natives on their worlds. Those of the other paths often attempt to subjugate or destroy them. Unfortunately, on technologically developed worlds such as Earth, the Metal Gods often face armed resistance. Therefore, the Metal Gods disguise themselves, attempting to seek out life-energy without making their presence known.

Character Creation: Metal Gods

Special Note

When you create your robotic character, you will also create a human character that is the robot's companion. This person may be an eager ally, an annoying tagalong, a fear-driven servant, or the two may have some other sort of relationship. You will not play this character - instead, someone else in the group will play the human while you play the robot. You may want to collaborate with another player when creating that character.

Fate Point Refresh

Five points at the start of each episode.

Skills

There are six Skills. Your character will have one +3, one +2, three +1s, and one +0 to assign.

Each skill can be used with any of the four basic actions: Attack, Defend, Create an Advantage, or Overcome. They may not be able to take every action in every situation - for instance, you can't attack someone in a battle with Empathize, but you could use it to cause psychological stress during an interrogation.

  • Impress - which you use to inspire or berate others into taking action. Leadership and intimidation are common uses of Impress.
  • Empathize - which you use to gain the trust of others, earned or not. You might share your true feelings, or you might lie and wheedle.
  • Investigate - which you use to examine the world and its people. Scientific research falls under Investigate, as do police procedures.
  • Sprint - which you use to move quickly or evade others. Races, chases, and hide-and-seek use Sprint.
  • Build - which you use to create devices and structures, from a simple house to a life-energy-powered spacetime bridge.
  • Destroy - which you use to break, burn, or otherwise ruin things… and people.

Your skills work on a larger scale than that of human beings. While your Lead and Empathize skills are not affected by this, other skills are. Investigate and Build are size-limited - if you work in your giant robot form, you often miss smaller things and have difficulty creating devices with fine detail or small parts. Sprint and Destroy, on the other hand, are size-enhanced - you can move much faster and destroy much more as a giant robot than a human being might.

The GM is encouraged to compel your current form Aspect to account for the negative effects of such things, or compel the Puny Human aspect on your opponents (or both!). If you wish your improved Destroy rating to cause more injury to characters (rather than just cinematic damage that knocks people around and trashes buildings), take an appropriate Stunt.

Aspects

Each of your skills should have an associated Aspect. Your +3 skill will have your Ruling Aspect, which should be primarily helpful to you. Your +0 Aspect will have your Omega Aspect, which should be primarily negative. The rest should be descriptive - the best are positive at some times and negative at others.

When you use your Aspects, you don't need to limit yourself to the skills with which those Aspects are normally associated. For example, you might have an "Terrifying Field of Darkness" Aspect for your Destroy skill, but you might also use that for some Impress rolls sometimes.

In addition, you have two other Aspects:

  • Shapeshifting Machine, which helps you in situations when taking a new form would be beneficial, and impairs you because people typically don't trust a shapeshifter.
  • {Current Form}, an aspect that you choose to describe your present shape. You can change this aspect by taking an action to to create an advantage with Shapeshifting Machine, rolling against +1. You can choose which skill you use, but it should be appropriate to the type of form you're trying to take on - a jet might use Sprint, a tank might use Destroy, and Empathy might let you take the form of a human being. This aspect persists until you shapeshift again, or until you resume your native form, in which case this aspect becomes Giant Robot.

You cannot just take on any arbitrary shape. Shapeshifting Machine only allows you to take on forms that you can see around you. Your shapes can be of any size between a cell phone and a space shuttle. You have an extradimensional mass reservoir that you can pull mass from or push mass to when you shift. You always look exactly like the object you mimic, down to scratches, dents, or hair color. If you take on human form, your skin will be soft, and you will have a human heat signature, but you will feel cold to others, as your body is still made of metal. If your current form is small, you tend to be heavier than people expect.

Your Current Form aspect is explicitly allowed to let you do things that a giant robot normally couldn't do, such as fly or burrow or fire tank shells.

All of your forms have a radio transmitter so that you can all keep in contact with one another at a distance.

Stunts

Metal Gods begin with four Stunts, and can pick up more as the game progresses.

Skill Stunts:

The canonical skill stunt is as follows: "Because (reason), I get a +2 bonus when rolling (Skill X) for (Action Y) in (Situation Z)."

For example:

  • Because I love being a muscle car, I get a +2 bonus on Sprint rolls to Create an Advantage while I'm in that form.
  • Because I'm built for infiltration, I get a +2 bonus on Empathize rolls to Overcome if someone tries to detect me while I'm in disguise.
  • Because I'm young and impulsive, I get a +2 bonus on Destroy rolls to Overcome if I ignore someone's commands.

Rules Bonuses:

The canonical rules bonus stunt is as follows: "Because (reason), I get a 2-point change to (Effect X) in (Situation Y)."

Another variation is, "Because (reason), I get a 2-point change to (Effect X) but can't use (Skills Y and Z)."

For example:

  • Because I'm tough as nails, attacks deal 2 points less damage to me when I take on an armored form.
  • Because I never give up, attacks deal 2 points less damage to me when I'm fighting to protect someone who is present.
  • Because I have an enormous gun, I deal 2 points more damage when I'm in a form with a weapon.
  • Because I find the cracks in your armor, I deal 2 points more damage when I'm in a small form fighting an armored opponent.
  • Because you shouldn't make me angry, I deal 2 points more damage when I have a Complication that indicates I'm ticked off.
  • Because I have afterburners, the difficulty to catch up to me is 2 points higher when I in a flying form and have room to fly. (Note that this is very similar to a Skill Stunt. That's ok.)
  • Because I have a cloaking device, the difficulty to spot or hit me is 2 points higher, but I can't Inspire or Sprint without breaking the cloak.

Rules Exceptions:

These stunts fall into one of three categories:

  • Using the "wrong" skill in a particular situation. "Because (reason), I can roll (Skill X) instead of (Skill Y) when I'm trying to accomplish (Action Z) in a particular way.
  • Ignore any negative effects of aspects, complications, or penalties. "Because (reason), I ignore things that would prevent me from using (Skill X) to (Action Y) when (Situation Z).
  • Use particular forms to become unstoppable in a limited way. "Because (reason), I am absolutely (More X) than my opponents, letting me Overcome them automatically with (Skill Y) on contests of (Thing Z) when I spend a Fate point."

For example:

  • Because I'm good at percussive maintenance, I can substitute Destroy for Build when I'm trying to overcome a failure in a piece of equipment.
  • Because I'm a compassionate commander, I can substitute Empathy for Impress when trying to create an advantage with an ally.
  • Because I have a reinforced frame, I can substitute Sprint for Destroy when I'm attacking someone by ramming them in a dangerous shape.
  • Because I love Earth and its people, I ignore things that would prevent me from using Sprint to Overcome when I'm rescuing human beings.
  • Because I refuse to blow my cover, I ignore things that would prevent me from using Empathy to Create an Advantage when I'm staying in disguise.
  • Because I have reinforced hydraulics, I am absolutely stronger than my opponents, letting me Overcome them automatically with Destroy on contests of strength when I spend a Fate point.
  • Because I'm a signals expert, I am absolutely better at radio operations than my opponents, letting me Overcome them with Build to punch through or break jamming when I spend a Fate point.
  • Because of my history on the racing circuit, I am absolutely faster than my opponents, letting me Overcome them automatically with Sprint in races when I spend a Fate point.

Two characters who both are "absolutely better" in the same way (e.g. both of them win Sprint tests) roll normally against one another if they both have a Fate point to spend.

Robot Form Note:

If you want to use a stunt that depends on your form, but you're in Giant Robot form, you can spend a Fate point to activate the stunt anyway. Explain how your form partially changes to accomplish this.

Stress and Complications

Remember that if you take any damage that isn't absorbed by stress boxes or complications, you are at your opponent's mercy.

Stress Boxes

Stress boxes are rated +1 through +6.

You have only one type of stress box. Getting beat up emotionally is just as bad as getting beat up physically. The final Attack action that pushes you over the border is the one that determines how you're taken out - a final punch might knock you out, or a final insult might send you packing.

All characters have one +1 and one +2 stress box. You might get a +3, +4, +5, and +6 stress box if the following things are true:

  • Characters with +2 in Destroy or Impress get one more stress box for each of those.
  • Characters with +3 in Destroy or Impress get one more stress box for each of those.

So if your character somehow had +3 Destroy and +3 Impress, you'd have all six stress boxes: +1 through +6.

You can only use one Stress Box each time you get hit. Using it reduces the damage by the bonus of the box.

Personal Complications

You can use one or more complications when you would be harmed in a conflict. They absorb damage equal to their rating. Complications can be repaired with an Overcome roll equal to their score (with +2 difficulty if you're trying to fix yourself). This changes the Aspect to one that indicates eventual recovery, and the Aspect will heal after the time indicated below.

Personal complications are rated +2, +4, and +6 for minor (scene), major (episode), and severe (arc) complications.

Companion Complications

Sometimes your actions put your allies in danger. Rather than taking a wound yourself, you can take minor (+2, scene) or major (+4, episode) complications that affect your human companion. Note that these are not the same set of Complications that your companions use for their personal Complications. They're two separate sets.

Collateral Complications

Sometimes you avoid damage at a cost to your surroundings, your reputation, or your cover.

Collateral complications are rated +2 (minor, scene), +4 (major, episode), +6 (severe, arc), or +8 (extreme, series).

Milestones

In addition to the typical Milestone actions, you can use a minor milestone to "memorize" a shape that you have taken on recently. This removes the need to roll or take an action when you shift to that form. You can have as many memorized shapes as you like.

Sample Characters

Skyhook

  • Impress +2 (Hot-shot Pilot)
  • Empathize +1 (Hidden depths)
  • Investigate +1 (Eye in the Sky)
  • Sprint +3 (Afterburners)
  • Build +0 (Damaged Manual Sensors)
  • Destroy +1 (Burning Laser)

Other aspects:Shapeshifting Machine, {Current Form}
Stress Boxes: +1/+2/+3

Stunts:

  • Flyby Rescue - Because I watch out for my allies, I get a +2 bonus when rolling Sprint to overcome when rescuing a friend.
  • Barrel Roll - Because I love stunts, I get a +2 bonus when rolling Sprint to create an advantage during a dogfight.

Groundpounder

  • Impress +1 (Frightening Grin)
  • Empathize +0 (Because I Hate You)
  • Investigate +1 (Shaded Sensors)
  • Sprint +1 (Heavy treads)
  • Build +2 (Resource-hungry Nanofactory)
  • Destroy +3 (Punishing Pistons)

Other aspects: Shapeshifting Machine, {Current Form}
Stress Boxes: +1/+2/+3/+4

Stunts:

  • Demolitions Expert - Because I was trained to see weak points in a building, I get a +2 bonus when rolling Destroy to Overcome when knocking down structures.
  • I Think You'll Agree - Because people don't want to make me mad, I can substitute Destroy for Empathize when trying to overcome, as long as I'm intimidating people into saying what they think I want to hear.

Character Creation: Humans

Special Note

Human characters are secondary but important. They provide a balance and an emotional connection for the Robot Gods as they wage their war across Earth. Those Metal Gods who follow the Path of Unity often have human companions or allies; those who follow other paths might have slaves or resentful servants.

It is commonplace to "split the party" in this game. The assumption is that every player will still be involved: some will play their robotic characters, and the rest will play their human characters.

Fate Point Refresh

Five points at the beginning of each episode.

Skills

Use the same skills as for the Metal Gods, but on a human scale. You have the same ratings (one +3, one +2, three +1, and one +0), but they operate on a human scale rather than the scale of giant robots.

Aspects

Each of your skills should have an associated Aspect. Your +3 skill will have your Ruling Aspect, which should be primarily helpful to you. Your +0 Aspect will have your Omega Aspect, which should be primarily negative.

In addition, you have one other Aspect:

  • Puny Human, which is primarily used to compel you when you're facing off against a giant robot. You're going to get plenty of Fate points from this aspect, and not a lot of direct benefit out of it. Go put yourself in harm's way and cause a little trouble so that you can get those Fate points!

Stunts

Humans begin with three Stunts. They can have Skill Stunts, but not Bonus or Exception stunts.

Stress and Complications

Stress Boxes

All humans have a +1 and a +2 stress box. You might get +3 and +4 stress boxes if the following things are true:

  • Characters with +2 in Destroy or Impress get one more stress box, but only for one.
  • Characters with +3 in Destroy or Impress get one more stress box, but only for one.

So a character with +3 in Destroy or +3 in Impress would have all four stress boxes (+1 through +4), but a character with +2 in each would have the +1, +2, and +3 stress boxes because only one of those scores count.

As with robot characters, there's only one type of stress box, and any damage not absorbed by stress or complications puts you at your opponent's mercy.

Personal Complications

+2/+4/+6 for minor/major/severe, healing via Overcome actions in scene/episode/arc time.

Companion Complications

These affect your character's robot companion.

+2/+4 for minor/major, healing in scene/episode time.

Collateral Complications

+2/+4/+6/+8 for minor/major/severe/extreme, healing in scene/episode/arc/series time.

Milestones

No extra uses for Milestones.

Mechanics

Using Life-Energy


Metal Gods is licensed CC-BY.

This work is based on Fate Core System and Fate Accelerated Edition (found at http://www.faterpg.com/), products of Evil Hat Productions, LLC, developed, authored, and edited by Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks, and Rob Donoghue, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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