I got myself a copy of "The 3 Rocketeers" the newest World of Adventure for Fate RPG, by P K Sullivan. I thought it my offer some diverting reading over the Christmas break. How wrong I was! It was so good, such a cool premise executed so engagingly, and so tickled my fancy that I read the whole thing over the weekend, before my holiday break even started! Now I cannot wait to have a chance to play it.
The setting is a combination of two major tropes. First the swashbuckling adventure and heroic thwarting of nefarious conspiracies portrayed in the novels of Alexander Dumas. Second space-age adventure, with rocket-packs and interstellar travel. Instead of musketeers, we have rocketeers as PCs and they serve to protect the young Queen of Gallia from interstellar, yet familiar rivals. There is a Britain, Germany and Spain equivalent, and even dastardly Cardinals and a Star Pope. Enough background is provided for setting the scene for CharGen and for sparking a host of stories. The swashbuckling style of The Musketeers is maintained because melee weapons and duelling are still commonplace (for the usual sci-fantasy sci-fudge reasons). I am not usually that keen on crossing-the-genres games, as they often extend towards "the gonzo" which often seems only suitable for one-off games. But this is one that feels to have some depth right-out-of-the-book, and that I think could support some extended play. By presenting a setting based on the spirit of an adventure book set in 17th century France, but transposed into an interstellar hi tec setting the game is able to be fully equal ops, and inviting to all, avoiding those perils for fully historical settings where massive gender and racial inequality permeates the cultures presented. I would have liked a star-map (just because I love them!) but it certainly is not needed.
The rules are an interesting twist on Fate core, with skills ratings replaced by a simpler (but subjective) totalling of +1 for each of your 6 PC aspects that are relevant. NPCs use the 6 approaches of FAE. There is a system for fencing stunts, which seems perfectly appropriate given that it is clear that the game's intention is that there will be a lot of duelling. Other new rules include a simple system for quantifying the attributes of the conspiracy that our heroes face, and how that impacts on play. I cannot yet comment on how any of these will work in play, but nothing is so complicated as to offend my simple tastes.
Almost a third of the 40 page book is taken up with an introductory adventure "Battle for the Gallian Throne". I havent studied this in detail but after a quick read looks to be a well crafted and exciting romp, that might take several sessions. With the insertion of a few extra NPCs, detours and red herrings could easily be the become a longer adventure and possible foundation for a larger campaign.
All in all, a great package and one which P K Sullivan and Evil Hat should be very proud of! If I could make a criticism it is only that because my enthusiasm for this is so great, I want more than such a small world book can deliver! I have a whole bunch of questions about the setting, unanswered in the limited space available in the book, which I'd love to have illuminated.