Shadow Ops: Covert Ops in the Sixth World is a fan tribute to the Shadowrun franchise, using a mash-up of Covert Ops and BareBones Fantasy by DwD Studios. Inspired by the streamlined mechanics and tactical play of the PC games in particular, it only seemed fitting to mix one of the biggest and best settings in the RPG industry with the fast-playing d00Lite system.
Revised Intro: 5/10/2016
What follows is a set of house rules I originally came up with to run The Strange by Monte Cook Games using Fate Accelerated by Evil Hat Studios. At the time, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about the Cypher System. Since then, I’ve ran quite a few games using both The Strange and the Cypher System Rulebook. It’s grown on me, and it’s one of my favorite new systems.
That said, there’s still a lot that merging Cypher and Fate can provide. The biggest advantage is how Fate handles Aspects, and relies on the narrative to define the rules. As long as you and your GM agree on what a descriptor on your sheet means, you can rock it. On the flipside, I think Cypher has the strength in allowing newcomers to cherry pick descriptors, types and foci to build a character in a somewhat “Mad Libs” fashion. My only gripe is then you’re stuck with an ability progression that is somewhere between d20 Feats and a Diablo-style skill tree.
This homebrew mashup sort of takes the best of both worlds, and allows you to quickly get to playing. It allows the fluid flexibility of Fate Accelerated with the options and guided concept building of Cypher (as well as Cypher’s effort system) with minimal adjustments.
Note: This was originally written for The Strange, prior to Cypher System Rulebook coming out. I also hadn’t played or read much Numenera at the time. Even though I reference The Strange heavily, I think any Cypher game could convert using these pretty easily.
Here’s the deal: I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Fate Core and FAE. I love fast playing mechanics, adaptable systems, and the philosophy of “Emulate Fiction, not Simulate Reality” really won me over. I’ve spent a huge chunk of my time in the RPG hobby playing games like World of Darkness, High Valor and others that focus on the story telling over the rules crunching. But I’m also a sucker for fantasy crawls, especially OSR “Sandbox” games and open world style adventures. This past year I’ve fallen in love with games like ACKS, played in an awesome polynesian-themed Lamentation of the Flame Princess campaign, and continue to enjoy game products put out by Sine Nomine (Stars Without Number, Other Dust.)
Talking with my girlfriend last night, it dawned on me that Fate is an awesome system to plan a sandbox in. To me, the appeal of Open World/Sandbox gaming isn’t that there’s “no plot,” but that there’s lots of plot hooks for the players to take advantage of in making their own story. While what I’m about to share is a bit more planning than what Fate Core advises, I think it still hits a sweet spot in leaving some “flex” room for the GM and players to develop in-game.