GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Tim Sanders, David Schmidt, James Lawton, and my two littles.
System: Do:Fate of the Flying Temple
Mark Diaz Truman is making a Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) version of Daniel Solis’s great game Do:Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Beyond using the FAE rule-set, Mark has also made a change to the setting, namely that the pilgrims arrive home to find the temple is missing, and it it’s place is a dragon egg. When the egg hatches it’s their responsibility to raise the dragon, and in turn it aids them. Now, instead of letters being delivered to the temple, they somehow, are sent to the dragon, who burps them up.
EndGame has started a new monthly game day called Square One where GMs are asked to come bring any game their excited about running. Old games gathering dust on their shelves. New games they’ve never tried. Wacky play-tests, you name it.
I’m the project manager for Evil Hat, very invested in making our games successful, I love EndGame and want to contribute as a GM, and I had my kids this weekend. My solution to all three was to run Do at Square One. It was peachy!
Characters – Setup
Each player made a pilgrim first by naming them. The names have two parts, an Avatar and a Banner. These names get fleshed out into aspects on the character sheet (effectively becoming the Pilgrim’s High Concept and Trouble respectively). We had
Pilgrim Small Monkey – A tiny monkey, like, really tiny. She could fit in the palm of your hand tiny. Small monkey helped by swinging through the trees to deliver things, but got in trouble because winds (even gentle ones) blew her away.
Pilgrim Fierce Cat – A small tiger that helped people but sometimes scarred them too.
Pilgrim Quick Deer – Quick always got places quickly but sometimes didn’t look where he was going!
Pilgrim Sleeping Dancer – Elegant and friendly, but he fell asleep all the time!
Pilgrim Impulsive Cheer – Always saw the bright side of things, but did’t think things out too far ahead.
When the arrived and found the Dragon, floating in a green cloud where the temple used to be the Pilgrims went after the egg, but they found that they were suddenly aware they were flying. And of course once you realize you’re flying, then you fall! Quickly the bounded from cloud to cloud, caught winds, and sailed safely to a very small island with a single palm tree. All fell safely in the palm, except Cheer who feel safely in the water with a giant sploosh!
When the egg cracked, the dragon was revealed. Each pilgrim declared one aspect about it:
- Radiant in the sunshine
- Playful dragon
- Perpetually hungry
- He can fly!
- He’s really strong
From those we decided he was a golden dragon and shined like the sun. They named him Shiny!
Letter to the Pilgrims
Once safe and secure, Shiny started coughing, making a hacking sound, and then spit up a scroll! When they unrolled it, it was a letter from a young girl named Miko:
Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple…
Hi, Pilgrims! I hope you’re having a great day at the Flying Temple. I’ve heard it’s filled with birds and fish and cats and dogs and all kinds of animals! I bet it’s lots of fun.
I wish I lived with you! I’m on a little world that doesn’t have any animals at all. Even though my family brought two cats and three dogs with us when we first moved to this planet, they’ve all vanished! All our animals are missing and no one knows where they went!
I’m writing you today because I think you can help us. Our animals have to be going somewhere, and I bet you can help us figure out where they went. The adults on my planet don’t like it when us kids ask questions, but they will have to pay attention when you come!
Anyway… you should come soon. I’ve got games we can play and we can play tag on the beach and we can look for animals together. And you can tell the adults that they have to listen to us kids for once.
P.S. I think that maybe something in the woods is keeping the animals from coming home. I’ve got a flashlight and sandwiches and a backpack all ready to go if you want to go into the woods to look for them.
Afraid that whatever happened to their temple, must have been what happened to the animals, the set off to go help Miko. Shiny carried each of them in one claw, except Small Monkey who was small enough to ride on Shiny’s back (Shiny is still a baby dragon but really strong).
Saving the Animals
When the arrived, the pilgrims found a peaceful town. There was an emerald green river that flowed through the village, a blacksmith, a school, a fountain, and many happy people. Everyone was healthy and everything was orderly. A bit too orderly though. Children were to listen and learn, not to be heard. Disruptions to the towns happiness and peacefulness was an office that the Mayor Kuge would not abide.
Game aspects: Temple is Missing, Animals are Missing, and Adults Don’t Listen to the Kids.
After causing a ruckus from their arrival the the Pilgrims set off to find out what was going on. Sleeping Dancer was a kid himself, so he started going to school, and learned the teacher Shokunin was new to the town and very kind to the children, but also did not let them explore. Small Monkey got blown by a strong wind and was rescued by fierce cat, but in doing so landed in the fountain. Soon after, both of them got horribly sick! Impulsive Cheer investigated the doctor and found that she gave the sick animals to some swarthy looking men with a cart. Quick Deer raced up the mountain to find there was a big factory on the river, making the water green.
When the all looked further they found goblins! Very orderly goblins that were making sure the humans were healthy and that the animals, who got sick when they drank the emerald water were cared for outside of town. But they wouldn’t let them go. The animals wanted to go home!
The pilgrims freed the animals and revealed that the mayor himself was a goblin in disguise. After that the town agreed to have fewer rules and listen to the kids (who knew something was wrong all along) more often! They also had sympathy on the goblins who wanted pets and let them still take care of the sick animals, as long as they could go home when they wanted to!
Props and Pretty Things
I didn’t give myself a lot of time to prepare props for this game, but I do have the beautiful game Tokaido, which seemed very appropriate to the game. I taped a few of the cards to index cards, used some replica Ch’ing Dynasty coins as fate chips, and printed out the letter itself. While we were walking to the game, my little one saw a cherry blossom tree, so we pick a few of those as well.
The exciting part for me though, was getting a chance to use my own Dragon in a game! He protects every home I’ve lived for the last 20 years and now he got to come with me to a game!
Thoughts on this game
This was not one of my best games. Partially this is because I don’t have a good feel for creating challenging and fun “young adventures”. I find myself treating young characters (and players) as miniature adults, which isn’t a good solution. Geoff McCool noted that in my Boxcar Children game, that he was terrified about the idea of children wading through cold water that was crashing into rocks to find a secret cave, getting drenched and then sick. It worked out okay, but I did really allow those kids to get into some pretty perilous situations (and that was my youngest daughter who’s character got sick).
The other reason I was a bit down on myself was for scripting too much ahead. I wanted to have an idea of what the goblins were doing, but really as I kept revealing their plans (instead of letting them evolve from play) the idea in my head started sounding worse and worse. Were the animals slave or pets? Why would the goblins be hurting them if they wanted to care for them? A lot of inconsistencies started cropping up (at least in my mind).
Finally, I feel like the opposition was pretty week. The mayor didn’t really have any way to threaten or impose his will. Even should he win a roll, about the worst he ever did was make the townspeople not like the pilgrims. Which is fine once, but as the antagonist I felt he was a one trick pony. He really felt like weak opposition to me.
One the plus side, playing wacky anime characters that can do amazing wuxia acrobatics is cool! And we didn’t have a single physical fight, which I was very proud of (as that is not what the game is about at all).
The dragon was one thing that worked really well in this game. Both causing complications for them, and mirroring their behavior back at them. He got confused when told he should follow the rules and then saw the pilgrims break them, which I thought was a great (in game) teaching moment.