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Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core Pay What You Want
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Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Gustavo C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2016 08:17:58

I loved reading this setting, as it came alive with so much more in my mind while doing so. As every Patreon World of Adventure, this has a really good world description, some special rules (the teamwork/morale are top among them) a sample adventure with sample characters and plot hooks for further GM interaction.

I've seen in Patreon and here that the wheelchair is getting bad reviews for it's inclusion, but after seeing Sue Austin amazing TED talk, I must agree that most blocks aren't in the sub dimensions, they are in the peopl'e heads. Nobody says he can't access ALL the submarine in the Wheelchair. But he can access most of it. Just remember that these are subs that don't resemble ours at all, designed for very deep exploration and with futuristic tech. If he needs access to any other part, he can control a repair robot or drone.

Another thing to remember about the cast is that it may seem biased, but if you look at character creation, you'll see that everybody in the crew has a powerful reason to leave the surface world behind. And who has more powerful reasons to do so that exploited minorities? In this, the seting is great, a little nihilistic and tecnopunk without reaching full ciberpunk. And it's because all those things that people don't like are included that this point of the setting is driven home better than anywhere else.

It makes for a really claustrophobic setting, not only you are in the sub, you are limited to sub life, in submarines or submarine stations. Your life will be forever limited by those enclosed spaces, and even the deep sea suits are designed that way. And the deep sea is unforgiving and full of greed and misteries.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Kris S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2016 21:16:52

The good: This short book contains interesting mechanics for applying undersea exploration and combat to Fate. There are rules for various types of submarine and how to treat damage in terms of conditions (specific problems like damaged life support) rather than consequences or generic stress. There are three pages of write-ups for several locations in a near-future setting where ocean mining and undersea bases are common. I like the suggested skill list as a good starting point for science-fiction Fate in general. The book also has interesting rules for applying teamwork/morale to a crew's performance, which encourages the character interaction that makes a ship-based SF story like Firefly or Star Trek so interesting.

The bad: There's not a whole lot of material to go on, either in terms of "fluff" or "crunch". For instance, we get lists of specific damage conditions, but the rules for the rest of sub combat are half a page long. Combat aboard subs gets two paragraphs and a nice illustration. No suggested seabase/sub layouts even in the deliberately vague Fate style. There's basically two pages of setting backstory and three about specific sites. To use this book I'd need to do most of the work in designing the setting.

The character writeups and sample adventure deserve special mention. There are six pages devoted to a sample crew of six, not counting two more half-page illustrations. The adventure is eleven pages long, of which seven pages are also full-page character sheets consisting half of illustrations. This total means that most of the sample adventure and a large share of the whole book is just a list of characters -- which your players won't want to play as, since they typically like making their own. I would have liked, say, another three pages about places to go and things to see at the cost of losing some sample crewmembers, cramming two descriptions onto a page without pictures, or taking the D&D/Pathfinder route and describing a few people in terms like "5th level Lawful Good paladin of Soandso".

Are these really great characters, then? No, there's a weird focus on filling in diversity checkboxes. The adventure's villains are a white man, a white woman, and a maybe-white man. The heroes are a Hispanic woman, a Hispanic man, a biracial man (explicitly stated for two of them because it's important, apparently) and a "petite, nonbinary-identified person who uses they/them pronouns". The sample crew is also diversity-focused, including an Asian woman (?) in a wheelchair. Trifecta! Now, Fate rules are about having interesting character aspects that can be good or bad, so this last lady has an aspect like "Wheelchair-Bound", right? Nope, it's nowhere on the character sheet. So either the writer and artist didn't talk, or somebody said, "We must promote maximum political correctness by including a differently-abled person where this has zero effect on their physically demanding job in a confined space!" If you're going to have characters' tribal identity and appearance be so prominent, write that into the setting and mechanics like an RPG like "World Tree" or "Hc Svnt Dracones". Instead, this kind of design goes beyond inclusive into just plain silly.

So, there's some merit to the book, and it's cheap, but you could also get much of the benefit just from looking at the Fate System Toolkit (free online).

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Brian R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2016 17:31:30

Deep Dark Blue was very timely for me, as it came just as I was planning a submarine-based campaign. Its mechanics for building characters (and campaign) around the ship and crew was a great way of getting players into the mindset of being a crew rather than just a party.

I also appreciated the way in which crew cohesion is designed to be a mechanically significant factor in the success of the ship during missions; it both gives the players incentive to role-play as a group, and gives the GM a focal point for telling a good, character-driven story.

Like most Evil Hat products, Deep Dark Blue is far more focused on setting than mechanics. The "crunchy" elements of the manual make up a small portion of the whole, and I appreciate the depth of material that their work offers for inspiring the GM as a writer.If you are looking for a major expansion to the game's mechanics, however, you may be disappointed.

If I have one gripe about Deep Dark Blue, it is that they have a huge number of characters that break old gender, sexualiy, or cultural norms. I appreciate their choice to be inclusive in principal, but it comes off as overdone and fetishistic - it appears to be more of a cynical marketing ploy or tokenism than inclusion.

All-in-all, a great module / expansion, well worth the $4 I ponied up.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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