Today began my campaign of Fates Worse Than Death. Yes, unlike the one-shot, it's a campaign now!
it was a short session, and two of the players were missing. Well,
actually, one of them came, but mostly to tell us he's not feeling well
and hasn't had the time to read the system. Of course, the former was
far more of a problem.
So he created an Otaku shut-in to see the
system, and left him as a NPC. He's going to play something else since
the next session. I think I've got the NPC somewhere, though.
Shut-ins are the only "career"* that actually become more powerful for
switching to the Addict "career". But let's tell it everything since the
Milford, better known as Speedy, was contemplating gloomily his
non-existing love prospects. Women tended to see him as their friend,
That's when he heard about a power outage in a part of Freaks
territory, not far from where "his" Black trader was
located. He reasoned it's a good opportunity to maybe get some
shut-in to talk to him and becoming a client.
After all, they needed some way to order their food.
He passed a hot Freak in a latex costume who-like a good Freak -
broke the norm and winked at him. He chose to ignore what he assumed
was teasing, but she intercepted him.
"Aren't you a Runner?"
Yeah, he wore every distinguishing mark he could think of in order
to advertise. So he nodded.
"I need you to deliver a letter."
The address was a shut-in in the area under power outage. It was a
short note, not even closed, saying "Ha-ha-ha, who's out if Net
Thing is, Dorotheya was a troll, always had been, and didn't plan
to change. She had left her shut-in family to join the Freaks, where
her trick was based around her near-legendary abilities to keep the
people under sway, and to make the visitors believe a higher power is
addressing them. So, shut-ins were behind her, but she kept in
contact with a few from a forum she had been logged on. She even had
a phone number of one of them, an Otaku. Needless to say, she teased
the poor guy at every moment.
Why? When they had met, they were on even ground. As far as she
knew, he was still virgin, and she was getting better and better at
the Freak sexual skills. To her, that was reason enough to tease the
guy. And she knew he's almost dependent on the Net.
She had sent him an SMS earlier, with the same text. But since he
didn't answer, she started to suspect his battery might be down. And
she had 50 cents to spare for some gentle trolling. OTOH, Speedy was
more than willing to take money in order to go where he was heading
So, he went to the block where the shut-ins were getting restless,
and rang on the guy's door. The poor Otaku wasn't expecting anyone,
and was rightfully suspicious.
"Got a delivery for you, mister. Bringing you a letter from a
"I ain't got friends sending me letters".
"She said her name is Dorotheya."
Thing is, the guy had just received a message from her, and didn't
see why she wouldn't send another SMS.
"BS. Go away, you're not tricking me into opening that door!"
"Listen, I'm gonna push the letter under the door! Got to
deliver it, that's all."
The otaku was kind enough to open the cat's door for him. When he
read it, he actually saw the same words he had just read.
His conclusions were that 1) D. is a troll, and 2) someone who's
bringing stuff around was waiting in front of his door, while he was
getting hungrier by the moment...
Long story short, he hired him to go the a pizza place and bring
him one of their pizzas. He didn't know their phone, so lacking
Internet had severely restricted his ability to keep himself fed...
And, he noticed, employing this guy was actually cheaper than their
(Typical for Runners, and that's the kind of job Speedy was
looking for from the get-go).
So, he decided to give him money to buy a family-sized pizza.
Before risking the cash, he sent an SMS to D.
"Do you trust this guy?"
"Yes", she answered, then added emoticons with hearts on
whim. Of course, our Otaku got the wrong conclusion. Again.
"Hey, you should've told me you're her boyfriend!", he
called to Speedy, and actually opened the door to give him the money.
The Runner was a bit surprised.
"Me? I've only known her for a day!"
"That's been rather fast, then", agreed the Otaku, somewhat surprised
himself by how fast D. had hooked up with that guy. Then he looked at his athletic frame and sighed inwardly.
On the way from the pizza place, though, the Runner heard a scream
from a dark alley, followed by someone falling. Confident he could
handle it, he went and saw 3 kids. They looked like 6, 8 and 15 yo,
and the biggest one was pressing the head of a man to the ground with
some cloth. The other two had grappled him by the feet.
"Hey! Leave the man at peace!"
OMG, I thought.
"Hey", the smallest one turned to him. "Get lost.
Sure they were. They had to bring the guy to the mental
"Let go of him, or I'm going to slap you", Speedy
answered and went to cuff the boy to teach him some manners.
The boy pulled out a shif, and stabbed him under the ribs.
A quick explanation for those of you not overly familiar with
FWTD. There's a serial killer in the setting that takes people alive
in order to download his mind over theirs. Guess who the three boys
were? Yes, they all would respond to the name Colin.
Speedy had basically got a wound that could kill some more frail
people before he had pulled his knife. Worse, he seemed almost as
good as him, and the other two were pulling out knives.
So he ran away, and only then realised he had met a Colin.
The serial killer chased him, but didn't manage to get him.
Besides, they/he were in a hurry to get the guy to the mental
installer. After all, to properly reproduce, Colin needs to check his
victim's relatives, habits and so on, in order to avoid a too brisque
change. That's an investment of time and energy he/they didn't want
to go to waste.
Speedy managed to get to a Black med, who stitched him up ("Man,
this guy was trying to kill you!", "Yeah, I ran away!").
And then he went to deliver the now-cold pizza. There were shut-ins
assembling in front of the house, and one of them wanted to buy it.
Speedy refused, feeling honour-bound to deliver it (and yes, he has
managed not to drop it, being at the top of your running skill
The hungry otaku only started complaining when he was halfway
through the food. When Speedy got out, he only noticed a crowd
marching through the streets towards some tent. So he followed.
Dorotheya had passed around. She saw a crowd forming, ready to
So she started talking to them. The city's officials should hire
her - she told them life is good, there ain't anything to be scared
of, and that there's an amazing performance about to begin in that
tent over there. They listened, enthralled, and thought they're
hearing voices telling them it's all right.
Some turned around and went home, most followed her. This was the
group Speedy had seen, and he followed as well.
Once inside the tent (because "I know her" worked once
again), he felt under the influence of her voice. Life was good, as
she had persuaded everybody already.
And, she claimed, we should all love each other! Before people had
questioned how, a couple Freaks went to the stage and showed them the
In short, an orgy began, with even Speedy getting some action. So,
the group of shut-ins actually…got into it, and had fun, as
Sounds harsh? If she wanted, Dorotheya could have made them
believe they’re on LSD. Which she did, kinda, making them feel that
this is a suggestion of higher beings.
Speedy had some fun as well. D. didn’t, preferring to watch the
I wonder whether she had helped create some new pairs of shut-ins.
Probably yes, said the dice. And they had a good time. But most of
all… at least some of them were likely to gain enough confidence to
actually start going outside.
Besides, when they went out, they learned there has been a riot,
it just started elsewhere and has been more localized. Because many
of the potential rioters were either at home and thinking it’s not
so bad after all, or having fun.
The Day Shift and the National Guard squashed it. That was the
most immediate gain for the participants in the show – avoiding the
teargas is always nice.
Meanwhile, however, Speedy had been exhausted. Actually, he
managed to notice he’s feeling even weaker than he should. So, they
concluded he’s been developing an infection.
(Well, they were right…the guy’s got Endurance 5, so he blew
his save vs. disease progression. What else can I say?)
What he did was kinda uncharacteristic for him. But then, so was
getting stabbed by a kid. He told her what had happened, and his
Together, they went to see “his” Black Trader. The guy is in
his early 40ies, wearing a turban to hide his death borg. Meaning,
there are protrusions on his head, which would explode if he ever
died. Standard security measures. Well, that, and paying the Saints
of the Corner for 24/7 protection.
Sure, he could fix him with some antibiotics, no issue… by the
way, have you got money?
Here, D. tried to bargain. He wasn’t likely to bulge. So she
inquired about his intimate life. Nah, he didn’t have much of this,
as he explained – a business needs lots of a trader’s time.
So she got the antibiotics quite cheaply when she struck a date
(Later, she explained that her PC felt excited by the death borg.
I wasn’t even surprised).
So, Speedy went to his shack to heal, reaching it without
incidents, and planned to participate in a metro-circling from the
next day on, in order to alleviate the efforts he needed to do. But
before, he hugged D. awkwardly, and promised that if she needs him,
she only needs to call him. For whatever.
Meanwhile, D. got a call from her otaku friend.
“Help! Someone’s breaking my door!”
He had already called the police. The Day Shift was, as always,
slow to respond – not to mention still preoccupied with dispersing
groups of young people to prevent riots, and to feel important.
So, she rand there, and found his door broken down, and him
looking in a single point in the nothingness while clenching his
Yeah. He had been forcibly injected with Chomper. Nasty pusher
gangs, she could even hear them breaking another door upstairs.
Not being much of a fighter, she just dragged him to the nearest
“Well, gal, it’s Chomper”.
“I know that much. I want you to help him, damnit!”
He looked at the latex:
“Weird. You seem like an woman that’s got her own handcuffs.
Why don’t you shack him to the wall in your own apartment? Because
that’s what I’d do.”
She didn’t want the bother, so he got paid to make the otaku go
“cold turkey”. Another round of haggling later (food and $0.50
per day until he doesn’t ask for Chomper and starts asking for food
and water by himself). So the otaku ended up shacked in a Black Med’s
He was in for quite a bit of pain. But he was going to survive.
Most likely. I still haven’t thrown the dice.
Funny enough, Otaku and VR addict are about the only career where
becoming an Addict might have been an improvement. But she was more
than willing to have her friend missing on useful skills – like
stealing – in order to give him improved life expectancy.
And we ended the session at this point. D. had called the Night
Shift when it became dark, in order to tell them about the pusher
gangs getting active. She didn’t mention the Colin activity,
Meaning Colin strain would get a few days to pick a few people off
the streets, if it had a mental installer…
*Yes, it's a career, despite the book calling it a "class".
FWTD claims to be class-and-level-based. In reality, AFAICT, it isn't a class-and-level based game any more than GURPS can be called one. And whatever you think of GURPS, I'd hope you know it's like
the grandfather of point-buy classless games.
Actually, FTWD is much more like RuneQuest or Traveller, but
neither of these is class-based, either. Let's focus on GURPS.
Consider this: FTWD has "classes" that raise the cost
for certain skills and lower it for other skills, because of the
people you hang with. That's all a class does, beyond maybe opening
up some exclusive skill nobody else knows! Maybe. Not guaranteed. And
the "class" changes if you run to another gang. Yeah,
sounds like a Career to me!
Now compare it with your temple training you in the skills of your
chosen deity in Runequest...
Or compare it with getting on-the-job training during Traveller
character generation, before switching to another career...
At the end, compare it making a GURPS character using a Template
that tells you to spread X points between skills A, B and C, taking
each. Also use Y points to buy some Advantages from the list
containing advantages D, E, and F, but you can only take D and E or
F, not all. And then you must pick disadvantages amounting to Z
points from the list containing G, H and I disadvantages. Yeah, I
don't see it as meaningfully different from a FWTD "class".
And whether in GURPS, FWTD, Traveller or Runequest, this kind of
mechanics is used for the same reason. Namely, such templates help
you tying the PC to the setting from the get go. IME, it works
splendidly! It's simply not what I call a "class" system.
Same thing with FWTD being level-based, really. Your skills don't
go up because you gained a level, you gain a level because your
skills went up! If you've gained 100 points in one class, you've
gained a level. The XP is used for point-buy advancement, so levels
are just a rough indicator of how good you're at what you've been
doing. Point totals have been used in GURPS for the same purpose for
Keep in mind, I don't really like the "classic" classes
and levels, and actually tend to avoid games that have them. So this
was a strike in the system's favour, actually!