Sonic Manipulation, A Venture City power


Sonic Manipulation

You have control over sound.  With it, you are virtuoso, a one-person orchestra, or the greatest hunter anyone knows.


Basic Sound Manipulation: Choose one skill from Notice, Empathy, and Decieve: you have the ability to redirect, generate, or silence sound in a zone.  Whenever you try to control where a sound comes from, you make a Notice check to control how sound works in the zone.  To create sounds in the zone, you use Empathy to call up the frequencies and shape them to have the desired effect on the listener. If you are trying to silence a zone, you use Deceive to mask the sound or completely stamp it out.




Master Sonic Manipulation: You’re highly skilled in acoustics.  You gain a +2 to your sonic rolls when playing with sound.

Sonic Virtuoso: You know different techniques to change how sound works.  Choose another skill to manipulate sound.

Dissonance: You are well-versed in the ways sound can debilitate, you can attack with your power so long as you can see the target and they are no more than one zone away.

Beacon: You flood the zone with a sound that can be heard up to three zones away, attracting attention and affecting targets as if they were in your zone.


Common Power Synergies


Telepathy: The sound is in the character’s head, like an earworm that won’t go away.

Influence: You do more than invoke a mood with your music, you implant suggestions.



  • You’re hyperaware of sounds to the point that it has left you with a constant ringing in your ear. The result is that you Can’t Hear Well.
  • The reason you can mimic any sound you wish is because your body is a tuning fork. You have a Unique Frequency that can be detected with the right equipment.


Collateral Damage Effects


Wall of Sound: You can throw up a sonic barrier between you zone and the outside world. No sounds can traverse the barrier and anything trying to cross must make a Physique roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle or take a moderate physical consequence related to the disruption the vibrations have on the body—especially the sensory organs.

Cacophony: If you do not care about the destructive power your mastery of sound entails, you can blast out windows and rupture delicate objects. Anyone caught in the devastating blast of sound must make an Athletics save against a fair (+2) obstacle to avoid the shards and protect the ears or suffer from a moderate physical consequence from aural damage or the shrapnel.


Learning by Design – Tools and Games for Ages 13+


From the age of thirteen and beyond, the interests of the individual diversify into so many avenues that there is no way to classify the myriad skill combinations a person can develop.  This is also the age at which the most complex ideas for game design become attainable as they require a high level of abstraction and/or moving parts to work properly.  Not coincidentally, these are the same design tools used for modern video games with their branching paths and use of multiple strategies to solve intricate puzzles.  This makes it difficult to focus on any one design structure, but it does increase the level of sophistication that can be brought to bear on an idea.

Despite all of the ways game design begins to diversify with interest, there’s a few thematic elements that traverse the range of design at this point.  Most of these come down to the individual’s skill set and design processes that inform each game developed.  What they have in common is how the games explore skills in different applications while still retaining those core skills and how they translate to varying situations.  Given this desire to hone skills, it should come as no surprise that the core design tools for this group tends towards the abstract and narrative play.  These are both areas where meaningful production arise.

Creating game with meaning is trickier as the idea of conscious decision has to balance with the need for chance to play some role in the game.  Rather than being arbitrary, every choice should be driven by individual agency with decisions favoring one or another participant decided by an outside arbiter.  This is where the dice, cards, etc. determine outcome.  This isn’t to say that games that use random chance as the start point aren’t valid designs, but rather that their inclusion should make use of individual choice to plan against or utilize that random element for the possible strategies players can employ.  Thus designers from this point on have been exposed to subsystems, synergistic effects, complex storylines, and a full modularity of a game’s assets, which may be represented in expansion sets, adventure modules, or add-ons.  The design tools for this group include:

  • Decision tree/branching storylines
  • Mini-games, and other puzzles that enhance game play but are optional
  • Optional rules and components that extend the life of the game
  • House rules that modify an existing set to adapt the games to the usage of the usual players, in computer terms this is akin to “modding”

Postcognition, a Venture City power



You can see into the past, making history alive and at your viewing pleasure.


Basic Postcogniton: While touching an object (which can include the ground of the zone), you can look at the past.  You can see the object’s immediate past without penalty, but the further back you go, the harder it is to glimpse what happened.  You get a +2 to Notice rolls.  The further away in time or geography the object is from the event you wish to view, the greater the difficulty.

The time limits between the present and the desired event are left deliberately vague.  This takes into many factors, such as how much of a connection the object has to the event either through use or as passive element of the scenery, the distances involved, and even how much the character knows what to look for.  As such, the more an item is connected to the event, the more research conducted, and the like, the smaller the obstacle and less confusing the results.




Master Postcognition: Your ability to sift through the shadows of time is most impressive.  Gain a +2 to Notice rolls when attempting to view the past.

Sympathetic Histories: You not only can view the past through an object, you can view the past through sympathetic connections between people, places, or events.

Are You Experienced?: You do more than see the past, you experience the sensations present at the time.  Choose Notice or Investigation.  You a better understanding of what happened and can act on that information either to gain some (extra)sensory awareness in the now of a target’s presence or uncover crucial clues.  Either way, the roll gets a +2 for that specific piece of knowledge.


Common Power Synergies


Item Summoning: Those items you grab from nowhere?  They’re actually “lost” objects snatched from the past

Influence: Your powers are really a form of post-hypnotic suggestion inserted after you need them to know, but before you met them.  Confusing but effective.




  • You’ve experienced more in a lifetime than many people will ever dream of and you’ve only lived the one. So much so, You forget What Year it is
  • For some people, nostalgia is a thing that gives them rose-tinted glasses and a loving fondness of the past. You can experience it whenever you like, and You Love Living in the Past.


Collateral Damage Effects


Your Worst Nightmare: With this effect, you can cause some severe mental anguish on everyone in the zone as they catch a glimpse at the one thing in their life that has scarred them the most dredged up and forced to relive once again.  Characters must make a Will roll against a Great (+4) obstacle or suffer a -4 to attacks.  This lasts for a few minutes or until you decide to end the effect.

History Repeating: You can target any zone up to one zone away.  Anyone within that zone falls back on tried-and-true methods, only problem is you and your allies have seen these tired moves before.  Opponents who fail a Will roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle suffer a -2 to their rolls against you and your friends.  This lasts for a scene or until you decide to end the effect.


Gravity Control, a Venture City power


Gravity Control

You determine where the force of gravity lays.


Basic Gravity Control:  You get a +2 to Will rolls to change the direction of gravity in your zone.  Anyone not near a surface for the new direction makes an Athletics roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid taking stress damage from falling, including you.



Increased Weight: You can target one object or person.  Their weight is instantly increased by the pull of gravity on them.  Characters must make a Physique roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle or take two stress while fragile objects break while ones that survive the increased become Fair (+2) obstacles if someone attempts to move them.

Buoyancy: You can make objects float by weakening the hold gravity has on them.  Using this effect, you get a +2 to Physique rolls to overcome obstacles, whether people or objects.  If the object is placed in water, it won’t sink.

Single Bound: Your manipulation of gravity is so precise that you can leap over ground-based obstacles and ignore them.  You can use Athletics to overcome obstacles and move into zones without the penalty associated with aspects that hinder movement if they don’t affect aerial movement.


Common Power Synergies


Super-Strength: You lift very heavy objects with ease.

Illusion: You don’t change gravity, you change a person’s perception of where it is and leave them disoriented.

Spatial Control: You bend, warp, and create gravity wells to shape the world to your liking.


Improved Special Effect


Zero-Gee: You render a target weightless; it moves with ease.  Characters affected by this have to make an Athletics roll against a Good (+3) obstacle to overcome the problems of weightlessness.

Singularity: You create a black hole that winks out of existence almost as soon as it’s created.  This only affects one target and you make a Shoot roll with a Good (+3) obstacle to pinpoint it precisely.  If the target does not successfully defend with a Physique roll, the singularity causes a minor consequence.




  • Gravity is a fundamental force and your control of it leaves you feeling Perpetually Exhausted.
  • You know how easy it is to change where someone’s center of gravity is that you Trod Heavily wherever you go.
  • Falling doesn’t scare you, you are so sure of your powers that you Take Unnecessary Risks around precipices.


Collateral Damage Effects


Kinetic Smash: In a sudden fit of power, you can lay waste to an entire zone by changing gravity to pull things up and then reversing it to slam it back into the ground.  Glass shatters; wood splinters; bricks, rock, and concrete crack under the onslaught.  Nameless NPCs are crushed to death while Named NPCs and PCs make a Physique roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid a moderate physical consequence.

Singularity Shotgun: If you don’t care what carnage you can cause, you can unleash a devastating by perforating the fabric of reality with an inordinate number of tiny black holes.  The damage caused by this effect collapses structures, killing nameless NPCs while Named NPCs and PCs make a Physique roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle or take a moderate physical consequence.


Hope everyone had a great holiday


Hey, all.  I know I’ve been quiet, but that’s because of not just doing holiday activities and family things.  It’s also because I’ve been nose to the grindstone to release a few items as well as getting some more projects going as the old ones go out the door.  I’ll be updating my bibliography page over time and talking about the new releases as well.  Also, there will be more puzzles.


Clairvoyant, a Venture City power



You can view the world, one location at a time.

Basic Clairvoyance: You can view a location you cannot physically see.  By making a Notice roll with against a Fair (+2) obstacle, you can see what is happening in a zone you cannot see into.  While you can observe the room like a camera, you cannot interact with it.  Any attempts to Investigate are against a Great (+4) obstacle since you cannot thoroughly examine objects in the zone.  If the subject of your observation leaves the zone, you must make a Notice roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to maintain the connection and move to the new zone.


Master Clairvoyant: Your ability to view remote locations is spot on.  Gain a +2 to Notice when using your power.

Through Her Eyes: Instead of anchoring your clairvoyance to the zone, you can instead view the world through the eyes of your target.  Doing so is a Good (+3) obstacle, but if the target leaves their current zone you do not need to roll to stay focused on them.

Home Movies: You don’t just see what’s going on, you can hear it as well.

Common Power Synergies

Shielding: You know how to prevent people from psychically surveilling you.

Machine Control: You are the ultimate universal remote control.

Improved Special Effect

Sight Beyond Sight: You can let others see what you see.  You must touch the recipient of your sight and make an Empathy roll to establish the connection.

Incorporeal Sleuth: You can examine objects for virtually any angle.  You gain a +2 to Investigate remotely.


  • Your sight can only be in one place at a time. When you use Clairvoyant, you are Temporarily Blind.
  • Knowing that you can spy on others, you are aware that someone might do it to you. You can’t shake the feeling that Someone’s Watching Me.

Collateral Damage Effects

Shifting Perspective: If you want to do some serious damage to another person’s sense of self, then unleashing this effect will have some seriously unintended consequences to everyone but you in the zone.  Everyone’s eyesight is through someone else’s eyes every exchange.  Everyone stumbles about and is in danger of injuring themselves, taking a moderate physical consequence if they move around.  Nameless NPCs are taken out while named NPCs and PCs can make an Athletics roll against a Great (+4) obstacle to leave the zone without injury.  This effect lasts until you end it or the scene ends.

Shattered Worldview: You can force people up to one zone away to see the world through the eyes of another.  Everyone in the zone has their sight replaced with someone else’s.  The effect is so dizzying that everyone makes a Will check against a Good (+3) obstacle to avoid being stunned while in the zone until you turn off this effect or the scene ends.


Change Size, a Venture City power


Change Size

Your body grows or shrinks.

Basic Change Size: Choose either growth or shrink.  You are able to grow large enough to treat adjacent zones as the same zone you are in or shrink small enough to ignore obstacles that impede your movement.


Master Change Size: If you grow, you gain a +1 to Fight attacks against opponents in another zone.  If you shrink, you gain Armor:1 due to your small size.

Any Size: You can shrink and grow.

Change Another’s Size: When you physically touch a target, you can make their size change.  If they wish to resist the change, they make a Physique roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle.

Common Power Synergies

Gadgeteering: Your power is a ray gun or other portable defice.

Super Strength: Your great size provides you with prodigious muscles.

Phasing: You bypass obstacles because you’re small enough to slip through the cracks.


  • Unfortunately, being so large means you Can’t Grasp Things as they tend to slip from your fingers.
  • You’ve spent enough time in a miniaturized state that even at normal size You Feel Small.

Collateral Damage Effects

Size Shock: If you wish to change your state in a hurry, you can displace the air mass in the zone like a concussive burst.  Everything in your zone is pushed into adjacent zones, named NPCs and PCs can make an Athletics roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to remain in the zone.

Shrink Wink: Through sheer force of will alone, you cause everything to miniaturize and return to normal in the blink of an eye.  The effect is devastating to the physical form and rips apart objects to send debris flying around the zone.  Anyone within the area makes an Athletics roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid taking two points of stress from the detritus.




I’ve been working behind the scenes on a lot of material for a game program for my library.  I’ll be throwing up more of the material in the upcoming weeks as I’ve gotten the bulk of the rules ironed out.  The rest of the zones for the Fate game will consume most of the development time and, who knows, I might have enough to release it as a product using the SRD material for Venture City as the springboard.  In that vein, here’s the first full write-up for one of the setting’s villains.


Dr. Christopher Hernandez, like most villains, didn’t set out to become what he is.  He’s a brilliant psychologist who approached his studies the way he did life: he fought for them.  Dr. Hernandez wasn’t born well-off, but his perseverance and tenacity paid off.  Growing up in Angelwood meant having to deal with the normal problems of adolescence combined with the flak he caught for being a bit scrawny and so studious.

Dr. Hernandez devoted a significant part of his time to helping out people in his old neighborhood because he understood the problems the community faced.  There were a handful of particularly tough cases that he tried to crack so his patients could move on with their lives, but underlying issues proved too difficult.  He threw himself into the problem and desperately wanted to help his patients find relief.  Up until that point, Dr. Hernandez hadn’t experienced failure, only setbacks.  The more he worked, though, the more the answers eluded him until he suffered a mental breakdown.

Christopher Hernandez still runs his practice, but isn’t like other psychologists.  He isn’t interested in helping you recover.  Once, maybe, but not now.  The doctor’s mind didn’t heal the way he hoped.  Something in the research or the intensity of his search awoke a sleeping portion of his brain.  When he came to, he found that he had reached a height other psychologists only dreamt of: the ability to know exactly what others were thinking.

Dr. Hernandez can’t escape the thoughts and got more than he wanted since what he found is that most people’s thoughts are horrible and those who’ve suffered psychological trauma are worse.  The constant amongst all the minds he’s encountered: pain.  In his broken condition, this has led him to adopt the persona Catharsis.

As Catharsis, Dr. Hernandez has turned to helping end his patients’ suffering through reinforcing not just their pain, but preparing them to embrace a final exit.


Aspects: Psychologist by Trade, Manipulator by Choice; Well-versed in Psychoses; Nondescript Appearance; Driven to Prove Himself; Observes What Others Don’t



Superb (+5): Rapport
Great (+4): Investigate, Empathy
Good (+3): Will, Contacts, Lore
Fair (+2): Resources, Deceive, Notice, Provoke
Average (+1): Drive, Burglary, Athletics, Crafts, Stealth




Face in the Crowd (Fate Core, page 126)

Best Foot Forward (Fate Core, page 121)

Psychologist (Fate Core, page 109)



Suppression of Will: Catharsis is a master manipulator because of how intimately he knows what people are thinking through Telepathy using Investigate rolls.  He uses this to read opponents and dominate them by attacking their minds with a +4 to Rapport to get them to do what he wants and he gets a +2 to Deceive to ensure they are none the wiser that it’s his choice and not theirs.


Power Breakdown

  • Influence

o Master Influence

o Convincing

  • Telepathy (Investigate)
  • Intensive Training

Special Effects: Mental Recovery, Inflict Condition

Drawback: Deeply Haunted by Living Nightmares

Collateral Damage Effect: Catharsis can create havoc not through affecting a mass of people, but by selecting one victim and truly preying on her fears.  He does this by getting the character to relive their worst psychic traumas all over again.  Anyone witnessing this display makes a Will roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid one mental stress.  The victim makes a Will roll against a Good (+3) obstacle to prevent inflicting a fatal wound.  Success means the victim takes a moderate physical consequence and a mild mental consequence.  Catharsis takes a mild mental consequence for using this ability.


Mental Shield: Catharsis has learned to ward his own mind from the manipulations of others.  He can use his Investigate skill to defend against mental attacks.  Catharsis has no defense against physical attacks as a result.


Power Breakdown

  • Telepathy (Investigate)
  • Shielding

Special Effects: Extra Movement, Extra Action

Drawback: Psychologically Distant

Collateral Damage Effect: Catharsis has the ability to create a sense of pure disquiet in a zone up to one zone away where everyone feels completely isolated from the rest of the universe.  The effect is so unnerving that most fly into a panic attempting to escape the sense of unmitigated solitude.  Nameless NPCs are taken out, while named NPCs and PCs make a Will roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid a moderate mental consequence from feeling so isolated.


Physical Stress: □□                  Mental Stress: □□□□



Arcane Power, A Venture City Power


Okay, so other than last week’s release of my book Archetypal Roles, I’ve been working on some materials for a game I’ll be running at my library.  Here’s a sneak peek:

Arcane Power

You understand how the fabric of reality is woven and can change the weave to suit your needs.

Basic Arcane Power:  You recognize the use of magic whenever it is used.  Just by observing an effect, you can tell what sort of magic was used.  In addition, you gain a +2 to Notice to determine who cast the spell.


Master Arcanist: You gain an additional +2 to Notice when examining magical effects.

Arcane Might: The world need not terrify you.  You can conjure using Lore as an overcome action to create a spell in the moment.  If you succeed with style, instead of gaining a boost you create a situational aspect with one free invoke.  The spell fades at the end of the scene, even if you didn’t use its aspect.

Nothing up My Sleeve: With the flick of the wrist and a few words, you can pull any number of useful items from somewhere else.  You can spend a fate point to create virtually anything that could be hidden on your person.

Common Power Synergies

Mystic: Your power comes from the hidden forces of the world and you can conjure up virtually anything from the energies underpinning reality revealed by your inner sight.

Intensive Study: Your powers are a result of mastery of obscure and occult texts few have ever laid eyes upon.


The magical world is invisible to those who do not know what arcane power looks like.  Thus, Everyone Thinks You React to Imaginative Figments.

Magic, like fire, behaves its own laws.  You’re Not Always in Control of the power you wield.

The source of your arcane power has a steep cost.  To maintain your power, you occasionally Must Make Unpleasant Sacrifices.

Collateral Damage

Tearing of the Weave: You reach with and grab hold of all the threads in your zone and shred them without concern.  Anyone within the zone suffers agonizing pain that prevents them from taking any action.  Nameless NPCs are knocked out while Named NPCs and PCs must make a Will check against a Good (+3) obstacle to prevent succumbing to the pain and taking a 2-point stress hit.

Primal Scream:  If you do not care who gets injured, you can unleash the full fury of the unseen power of magic.  The energy rips through you, dealing you a 2-point stress hit and wrecks the zone you’re in.  Anyone or thing in the zone must make a Physique roll against a Great (+4) obstacle or take a moderate consequence, nameless NPCs are killed instead.


Had a health scare


I’m a diabetic and I had something crop up that essentially ate this month.  At times, despite my best efforts, it has caused a few issues, like not updating this site or keeping up with some of my personal projects at the rate I (and likely you) would prefer.

The good news is I’ve been given a clean bill of health and I bounce back rather quickly.  When you throw in the work I’ve been doing to prep Archetypal Roles to get the PDF version ready and have the print-on-demand version nearly in the wings, the results have been to slow down other items.  Expect to see more regular postings and releases.