Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold 3: Eagle and Crow

The Center Cannot Hold is a series of vignettes and musing on a setting in my head for Pathfinder.  Crux: The City of Curses.  Its a attempt at Napoleonic Fantasy.  Let's see how well I do. 

The Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow

Even in its earliest days, the Marshals and Knights of the Twin Orders of the Eagle and the Crow was famous for its focus on hunting monsters, saving the innocent and creating justice had made it the target of a slew of political enemies.  The Eagle and the Crow is loyal to no one Flag, and in current age, that is political liability.  Or outright lethal in a few places.

The Eagle and the Crow ultimately began as a religious order, a knightly outgrowth of the Church of the Twins.  But the Order itself explains its origins and operation through a parable.  The parable of the Eagle and the Crow explains the story of a dark day where noble Eagle faced a nefarious enemy whom he could not defeat without the skullduggery of the Crow.

Hence, the two Orders: The Eagles, and the Crows.  The Eagles are honest, upright individuals who devote themselves to fighting the good fight through righteous means.  Paladins, Cavaliers and variety of others who seek to work within the law for the greater good are part of the Eagles.  Often they are those born of above average means, who often sacrifice their own inheritance to instead work to stop monsters and help others.

The Crows are their opposite numbers and more than a few are guilty of the same kind of crimes they work to fight.  Crows use the shadows and dishonorable means to help their fellows toward the same goal.  Where Eagles walk in day, Crows stalk at night.  Crows steal, lie and kill when Eagles's moral stances won't let them.  Rogues, Rangers and those who want to advance the greater good no matter the cost join the Crows' numbers.

Illegal and Going Underground

Although not made illegal in Crux, in many places throughout Ith and Ainesia have put severe legal restrictions on the Eagles and Crows.  Some communities ban any assemblies of Eagles and Crows, seeing their practices as illegal acts of vigilantism.  In the City of Crux, the Othebean Embassy has long been able to keep the City Council from enacting such bans.

The Senate of the Ithic Republic continues to push for further anti-Eagle-and-Crow laws.  The more risky their lack of National allegiance to Ith and closer associations with Othebea, the more citizens of Ith view Eagles and Crows as propaganda for another Nation-State.

Eagles and Crows have come to lean more and more on their Crow brethren, in some cases creating a third, secret order of Eagle-Crows who ignore their traditional lines of operation in order to survive.  For those in the order who refuse to give up the fight to protect innocent lives, it may be a choice they'll have to make.

Back Themes

Monday, June 23, 2014

Find the Path: Adapting Aspects for Pathfinder

I like Fate a bit.  And I want to use Aspects, but I find myself not certain that adapting them wholesale to Pathfinder.  If you want to run Pathfinder-y setting stuff in Fate, do that.  Or vice versa I suppose.

But I want to borrow the mechanical flavor of Aspects, in that they are unique components of a character.  In this way, I think of how Backgrounds work in 13th Age.  So, let's riff on that then.  I also don't want a lot of time spent creating these, considering all the other time spent in character generation in Pathfinder.  Besides, its remarkable how much a little addition adds so much more flavor.

Variant: Aspects

I'm keeping the name, by the way.  I'm going to tie Aspects into previous idea of mine, the idea of the Chosen as an explanation for explaining Feats and other d20 mechanics as metaphysical concepts in-setting.

Only Chosen can have Aspects.  This isn't meant to be a mythic thing.  But it means Chosen beings carry metaphysical weight.  Like everyone else, they can use Feats, Spells and learn Classes.  They also can create new Feats, Spells or Classes that haven't existed before, once in a great while.

So Chosen carry metaphysical weight.  They aren't Mythic.  Just that that they are nexus points, somewhat unique and opportunities waiting to happen.  Player Characters are intended to be Chosen.  NPC who are Chosen should be (this includes Pets, Cohorts, etc) rare compared to active PCs.  After all, ruins the fun if everyone gets nifty stuff.

Aspects are descriptive, and are what they are in Fate: Phrases representing a object or catchphrase or something core to a character.  I'm not going to go into how to define Aspects.  Fate has plenty of material on the explanation of how to create one.

Instead, here is how Aspects apply in this variant: they are a +2 Aspect bonus.  Whenever that Aspect could apply to a d20 roll, the character can add their aspect bonus.  If that Aspect could apply, like in a particular place or situation.  Most of the time, this will be a sort of GM fiat thing,

I decide to remove the Fate point economy, but this is more of a attempt to lower the potential complexity of adding more points and things to d20.  And, well, the flavor of this is intended to be somewhat unique.  I'll be blunt: I don't want to pollute the system of Pathfinder and remove part of the point of playing it.

Besides, this just adds two lines to character sheets.  I think it'll be a great addition, as it gives players an point based out without the necessary points, and the GM can reward them for roleplaying, in a fashion.  If I can think of a better name for them later on, I'll do so, since I am sort of stepping away from Fate a bit with this.

The Rusted Codex 1

July 1988.  On An Island North of the Arctic Circle.

Bill Lodge panted hard.  Then he helped lift his younger brother Don up to top of the cliff edge beside him.  Both Lodge brothers had exhausted themselves climbing up the cliff.  Don and Bill paused.  They sat there for a moment, admiring the amount of effort it had taken them to get this far.

Even in summer the arctic cold was harsh even for both of them.  They were clad in thick orange parkas and furs.  That had made the climb surprisingly difficult.  Don pulled out a flask, took a swing and handed it over to Bill.  Bill nodded and took his own swig of the celebratory whiskey.  They'd made it.

"Jeez, this island is taller than what the survey said."  Bill began to scan the ground they'd ascended.  He looked for any sign of the sites they'd come here looking for.

"It matches all we known about the other Old Ones' sites.  Built in an extreme environment, off the beaten path."  Don replied.  The younger Lodge brother had a thick black beard, his glasses thick and somewhat squarish.  The skinny brother, Don stood a bit taller than Bill.  He scratched his black beard.  "The Old Ones really wanted these places to be hard to get to.  We don't even know how they managed to survive the trip here using Paleolithic technology."

"I still wish we could have a better name for them."  Bill finished pulling up their packs.  Bill was shorter and stockier than his younger brother.  His chin had rough blond stubble on it.  Bill also was far more athletic than his younger brother- a trait that help the two of them work well as a archaeological team.  "Sounds like something out of Lovecraft, not a genuine Archaeological mystery."

"I don't know."  Don had pulled out a surveyor's notebook.  Thick with notes about the area, it was part of the only survey made of the island.  "The Old Ones is kind of the best name for them at this point.  Hopefully we can manage to find something to help us figure out how their language works.  Or if they even had a language."

Both Lodge Brothers were academics.  They were eager archaeologists.  Don had become certain of his own hypothesis about the Old Ones.  Bill, just as ambitious as his brother, helped him make it so far.  They had no real support.

No one wanted to fund them.  To most, the Old Ones weren't a real mystery.  Just a series of coincidences.  Subjective interpretation.  The Lodges were on their own.  But both were convinced that Don had uncovered a pattern.  The chance to be the first to unravel the mystery of the Old Ones.

"We both think this trip was suicide, you know that."  Bill lit up a cigarette.  "No evidence beside your hypothesis, Kiddo.  No one has been out here since the Canadian Government twenty years ago."

Don pulled out the map.  He'd already marked the old topographic map.  Purple lines crisscrossed over the map's original elevation and terrain lines.  In the center of the island, where the height increased the most, the purple lines crossed one another.  At the center of the lines Don had put a red 'X.'

"We get to the site, confirm it, and then we're published."  Don gestured at the map, pulling out a compass.  "Its just north of here."

Bill nodded, but part of him still fretted a bit.  "All the other sites were notoriously hard to reach and even confirm.  The only other Old Ones site to be confirmed is the one near the Isle of Man."

"Avalon."  Don confirmed.  "But that place has little to nothing.  Just structures that clearly have iron-worked stones and tools, but carbon dated to the early Stone Age."

What Don said was sort of true, Bill knew.  He also knew that most scholars disregarded that site because of such a contradiction- too many other parts of the site had been infected with artifacts from other eras.  Interference by the UK government and tourists who trashed the site repeatedly made almost all scholars consider the Old Ones hypothesis to be either subjective or the subject of some global conspiracy.

"Your leyline research says its north of here.  As long as that holds true, well..."  Bill shrugged.

The Lodge Brothers began their hike across and up the rocky arctic permafrost of the island.  It looked bleak, and despite the bright sunshine, the arctic winter still felt pretty cold to the two of them.  Bill kept an eye out, looking for polar bears and other possible dangers.  Don, on the other hand, kept smiling like he was on holiday.

"Oh, New Agers are going to freak out when we get published, Bill.  Imagine all their ideas on ley lines being necessary to figure this out?  Cross-referencing the paths of known lines from across the Earth's surface, and each line meets up here.  To this exact place.  They'll think someone confirmed their crazy theories, you know?"

Bill puffed out some cigarette smoke.  "As opposed to our own, you mean?"

Don just flashed him a smile.

"Don, we can keep going, but we gotta keep aware of things up here.  This time of year, the sun doesn't set.  We'll check out the possibility of the site, but then we got to get camp set up.  We don't want the midnight sun to drive us apeshit, ok?"

"I think things are going to work just fine, Bill.  Look at those over there."  Don pointed at tall spires in the distance, poking out of the permafrost ahead of them.  "We might have something over there."


Hours later the Lodges were able to make it close to the tallest of the spires.  Twenty feet tall, it was covered in permafrost and ice.  It sat atop the ridge, at the highest point on the island.

"Right where you marked the site."  Bill shook his head.  "I don't believe it.  Exactly where you marked it."

Don nodded in agreement.

"I wasn't expecting my guesswork to be perfect, either.  But are these it?  Just rocks and things?" Don looked a bit worried.  He rubbed a hand on the spire.  He turned back to Bill.  "Just rocks?  Nothing that looks man-made-"

Bill swung a rock hammer at the spire.  Permafrost and ice shattered as the statue buried underneath rang out like a bell.  Debris fell in tatters from the statue, which stood as tall as the spire had.

Both Lodges exchanged looks.

The statue depicted a humanoid figure in robes.  It wore a totemic mask.  The shape of the figure kept the identity of the statue's gender vague.  It held a short sword in its hands, sheathed.  The mask it wore depicted that of a wolf.  The iconography of the wolf was primitive and flat, almost expressionistic in style.  On the wolf mask's brow was a crescent moon.  On the crescent moon's shadowed edge opposite its crescent was a four-pointed star that overlapped the crescent moon.

Both eyes under the mask looked mournful.  Twenty feet tall, the statue was composed of one solid chunk of granite.  Light green dots seemed to littered the surface of the statue.

Don rubbed his hand along the surface of the statue.  "Bill.  Its covered in them.  God damn, we lucked out.  Feel them."

Bill looked at where Don had been looking.  His eyes widened.  "The entire statue is covered in their language.  Wow.  Each little dot is a copper... letter?  Rune?"

Each symbol looked arcane.  Neither brother could see a pattern in their layout.  But each symbol was different.  It etched into the granite and filled with copper.

Bill then glanced at the base of the statue.  He looked back at his younger brother.  "This isn't all of it, I think Kiddo."

"What do you mean?"  Don had taken out their camera, snapping shots out as fast as he could.

"The base of this extends down further into the permafrost.  Shit Don, I don't think most of this is rock or cliff or even ice.  We're standing on the top of a ziggurat.  An island-wide Ziggurat."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold 2: Letters to Othebea

My Dearest Angela.

My love, my dearest Angela, I hope I haven't sliced my throat yet by the time you read this letter.  I don't know if Crux will drive me to suicide.  Or if it'll kill me with the its own dark temptations and sins.  I am reminded of how you warned me not to come to this place.

I remember holding you that night, in our room.  I remember the warm Othebean rain.  I remember the smell of Roses that night.  Those sweet roses.

I should've listened to you, Angela.  Instead I will make the most out of your letters.  Othebea seems a bit closer when I read them.  It drives Crux away for a time.

For the next three months I will remain in this godsforsaken city.  By the twins, I regret agreeing to the contract to lecture at Crux University.  But signing that contract has guaranteed us gold and wealth for the next little while.   At least the lectures provide a distraction from the tedium of this place.  It gives us our chance to stave off my Father's debts a little bit longer.  I have no choice in that matter.

The University itself lies atop Crux's most well-known landmark, the Skull of the Forgotten God.  The massive hollow rock is the center of the City.  It is also the center of a myriad of local superstitions and mumbo-jumbo.  Walking to and fro are the poor Ithic trying to chisel out coin from anyone who'll listen.  Each of them promises to know some secret path under the university.  Ugh.  Charlatans.  Everytime they try to ask a coin of me.  Everytime I walk by them.

Worse, I know my coin isn't enough for them.  They stink of despair, Angela.  The poor of Crux have no jobs.  If they lack magic, they aren't considered to be citizen either.  The Ithic are staunch believers in Capitalism.  They make the poor suffer, thinking a bit of an advance in this world will outweigh what is waiting for them in the next.

Worse is the smog.  This misbegotten city thinks of itself as progressive?  It stinks of constant oil and smog.  Its factories never stop churning.  Almost every inch of every building is smokestacks and factories.  Their brackish smog makes the sun look green at midday.

Oh, and the Androids.  You would think the Ithic would tire of their magical slaves, but no.  They find new and fascinating ways to use them instead of focusing on their work.  It boggles the mind at the sheer absurdity of it.  The Ithic own Androids as a sign of wealth, the more the better they think their station must be, the poor things are so common here.

We don't have them back home.  But Androids seem to be a cornerstone of society here in the Ithic States.  Crux's dirty streets are littered with Android work crews.  They work their factories.  They patrol their streets for any sign of Ainesian Revolution.

I've seen the occasional Android corpse picked up along all the other trash.  Their poorest human citizens lie in alleys, unable to get work- why pay when you can just buy another Android?  If it breaks down, they discard them like a piece of clothing.  The Ithic think this progress.  Ugh- the Twins forbade slavery long ago for good reason.

In other matters, a cabal of professors at the university tried to obtain my expertise for a absurd project of their own devising:  A delve into the catacombs and undercity of Crux.  An academic endeavour, they have invited me to go along with them.  In the stinking sewers and refuse of this city of factories, slaves and misbegotten curses they make up stories about.

The appeal of finding evidence of any knowledge known only to healers of bygone ages did entice me.  I was curious, but had refused on account of finding any exploration of the City of Curses distasteful.  But their leader, Maxmidan, he seems the most shady of characters, still approached me.

He works in the Necromancy department of the University, dealing in all sorts of post-mortem studies.  His work gets more gruesome- he seeks to find ways to release the old prohibitions against animating the dead.  His experiments on Androids seem to skirt the Old Agreements.  Animating dead Androids seems perfectly fine to the Mages.  Their sinful magic continues to flabbergast me.

Maxmidan approached me, in a friendly matter about it.  Perhaps he knew about me, Angela.  Enough to know how to best convince me to come along.

"Perhaps you might get enough gold to stop worrying your Wife hmm?  Perhaps finally afford to free your Father from his Ainesian Prison?"  Maxmidan smirked as he made that offer.  He knew far too much about me.

So now I prepare for a journey with Maxmidan and his Cabal into Crux's stinking bowels.  If this doesn't kill me, I suppose, I might find a chance to leave this damnable place once and for all.  If it does kill me- well, my love, you will at least have a letter to read.

Although I imagine you will berate me for being so verbose and melodramatic.  It won't go completely unexpected.

Your Loving Husband,
Doctor Lyam Kyringer of Othebea

PS- Please remind our Son of me.  Perhaps he might have better memories of his Father than I do of mine.  One can hope, my love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold 1: 8511's Mirror

8511 shuddered.  It stank.  Her wax-flesh shuddered from the cold water.  She trudged through it.  8511 did not want to come down here.

She tugged subconsciously on the cast iron collar around her neck.  The Android didn't notice it.  She just scratched at the mark of her enslavement, something the Android had only known over the five years she'd been a conscious machine.

"No choice.  Do what they say."  8511 muttered to herself.  The Android had the shape and form of a young woman.  But the eerie blue glow to her eyes made her look anything but human.  Lines and runes along parts of her body glowed blue as well.  Nuts and screws met at her joints.  There were seams, very hard to see, but they were still there.  8511's flesh shimmered.  Made of wax, it had a color and softness like human flesh, but magically reinforced.  Under that wax one could hear the thrum and spin of tiny cogs and gears.  Each driven by arcane energy that sustained the Android girl.

The ragged servant's dark grey clothes 8511 wore were soaked with the stinking sewer water.  A bandana kept her bedraggled hair down.

8511 kept on trudging.  She tried to focus on the shape and image of the necklace.  The Android girl had been ordered to find and retrieve it.  A plain, useless necklace.

It didn't matter why she'd been ordered to retrieve it.  8511 hadn't lost it exploring Crux's insane labyrinthine sewers like her master had.  Her master, Professor Maxmidan had lost it.  He insisted making her go retrieve it.  8511 tried to move quietly.  For the same reason why 8511 didn't have a real name, just her serial number.

Perhaps she could make it out of this alive.  Part of her wondered about how much of a relief that could be.

The undercity of Crux had its own myriad sets of dangers.  Centuries of construction had left old catacombs atop even older catacombs.  Tribes of all sorts of feral things dwelled deep under the City of Curses.  Worse still, even though 8511 knew her kind were mostly immune to them, were the Ancient Ones.  The Vampires, who didn't take kindly to trespassers in their old dominions.

The tunnel before her opened up into a cavern.  8511 gazed at the ruins of a long buried and forgotten neighborhood of Crux.  THe place the Professor had spent the better part of his last few weeks.  She sighed.  Time to get to work.

8511 took her time.  She searched each room and ruin.  One by one, she examined tiles and sifted through piles od debris.  8511 didn't need to sleep.  She didn't need to eat or drink either, although she still liked to do the later.  8511 spent the better part of a day there before she came across it.

The we android paused when found it, studying the mirror before doing anything with it.  The glow of her blue runes illuminated the mirror, causing it to reflect blue back at her.  The antique mirror looked valuable and perfectly clean.  Not a mote of dust blemished its silver surface.  Inlaid emeralds and sapphires glimmered from its frame.  8511's glowing blue eyes widened.  She felt some sort of power thrum within it.

8511 touched it.

The mirror rustled at her touch.  It took up a sinister glow.  Black energy coursed out of it.  The black energy crackled out of the mirror toward her.  8511 screamed.  She fell down.  8511 felt certain that this was her ending.  That some sort of nightmarish thing would devour her here.  All because of a stupid necklace.

A demonic form emerged from the crackling energy, within the mirror itself.  Purple fire collesced into claws and horns. On the other side of the glass, black teeth glistened with black ichor.  It made 8511's wax-flesh shiver with fear.

"Make a wish, Mortal."  A darkly feminine voice hissed.  The demon smiled up at 8511 from the mirror trapping it.  "Break my mirror and make a wish.  Anything you desire, Toy-Girl.  Anything, just break me free of this mirror."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gaming Materials: Cosmic Encounter

Gaming Materials is a series of reviews/opinions I spout on games I play.  Essays of a gaming sort, although I never get too deep with them.

I love multiplayer games.  Especially those games that have a political bent to them.  I also enjoy any game that is chaotic to a large extent.  Enter a game that satisfies both these itches at the same time: Cosmic Encounter.

Cosmic Wackiness

First published in 1977, Cosmic Encounter has won its own fair share of awards.  It combines a variety of elements: diplomacy, card management, prediction, and even a bit of role-playing too.  Cosmic Encounter is one of the big influential board games.  Sort of an admirable goal to aim for.  And an inspiration to those of use with a creative bent too.

I first learned about Cosmic Encounter through youtube reviews (Click here if for a 'how-to' review of it).  I had not yet heard of a game that could allow everyone the chance to win simultaneously.  Or to have one person take the victory through sheer political machinations.  When I acquired it, my group more or less took it up as one of our main 'go-to' games.  Everyone who spends enough time with us eventually gets roped into a game of it.

Cosmic Encounter, when fully unleashed (at least the 2008 version of Fantasy Flight I own) is a chaotic beast.  Its a grinder of random effects flying all over the place, with abilities up to the gills all interacting and clashing.  Things can get downright absurd with the level of chaotic mess the game generates.  I feed off that kind of chaos.  Its my jam.

The absurdity of the chaos gets better with the art and themes going on in the game.  Players don't get to pick who they have encounters with- thats completely arbitrary.  Sometimes an Alien's power never goes off.  Other times, it feels like players are part of a intergalactic bargain bin campy sit com.  The humor in the absurd mechanics and whimsical art- that makes the chaos even funner to participate in.  Cosmic Encounter is a zany ride and one can't help but enjoy the fun things the game is throwing out.

The replayability is Cosmic Encounter real charm.  No two game sessions are the same.  Never.  Throw in people who get into roleplaying their Alien powers or making silly demands during Alliances. Then the game turns into a hour-long roleplaying session of politics and general mayhem.  The part where I get to act like a insane Alien race and make my fellow players laugh.  That makes it worth it for me.

The Chaos True

Perhaps that is why I love it so much.  Cosmic Encounter is a wacky crazy batch of chaos.  That is actually important for improv and roleplaying in some ways.  Sometimes one needs unplanned events and chaos to throw ideas one didn't consider into the mix.  It feels like a real experience.  Not something so out of control that some can't participate.

And it's Fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Find the Path: d20 Metagame Theory

What if feats and class features were the metaphysical bricks of the universe?  What if they were like Magic Items or characters with their own histories?

Before I get into it, I'm going to be brief on the nature of rules in RPGs and other games.  Rules are their own sort of flavoring.  They help to encourage players' behavior.  They can be important.  Of course, if you don't the behaviors they encourage in your roleplaying... go ahead and change 'em.  Experimentation is one of my favorite principles, so long as fun isn't sacrificed for it.

Although... this has nothing to do with variant rules.

A Treatise on d20 Metaphysics

I've been playing in a Pathfinder game lately, Wrath of the Righteous.  Our group, the Silver Blades, have been having a rather Mythic time.  But I also have done something I always do... I dreamt up yet another setting/idea/thing to work on.  I ended up here.  A musing if you will (the Setting is called Crux: the City of Curses.  More on that later.)

In White Wolf's World of Darkness or Scion, a lot of game mechanics also are in-flavor in-world concepts for that game, as well as character components.  In Werewolf: the Apocalypse, for example, each power (A Gift, as they are wont to call them) is taught to the individual Werewolf.  Werewolves know they can learn them from spirits or through training.  Gifts alter the nature of a werewolf's spiritual half- they are a metaphysical change, something that is both mechanical and flavorful.

Gifts are something characters can refer to, in-character, like one can refer to any item.  They are tangible resources of a sort.  And werewolves call them Gifts.  They are mini-stories, little tales each character has collected.  They are mechanical effects borne of raw flavor, they can be as powerful for Roleplaying as any other purpose they can be put to.

d20 has a mishmash of things, tied together to represent a character.  Metaknowledge-wise, players know the feats and class features of their characters. They don't do what Gifts do.  They lack story. And characters can use these abilities as part of "who they are", but what is the story explanation for that?  The Why?  Could we add a bit of metaphysical meat to this stew that doesn't change a thing on the character sheet?  Can we make them flavor generators?

Lets set down a basic assumption in-world.  Feats, class features, spells- these are all known to exist.  They have their own common myths and misconceptions- perhaps one nation refers to Power Attack as "Bear's Strike", while a more intellectual society frowns on it, calling it "Fool's Power."  They are fixed, known rules of the universe.  They can be learned, discussed, theorized and so forth.

In a way, feats and classes become metaphysical bricks on the foundation of the universe.  They come out of fixed rules or laws that can be learned and exploited.  No one is sure how, but that is the Why of them.  Feats, Spells and Class Features are something everyone acknowledge exist, in-world.

The widely accepted view is that these rules can be created at fated moments.  Chosen Moments.  Chosen entities create the rules that Feats, Classes and Spells are based on.  They alter reality based on the choice they made at a critical moment.  This means that feats have histories, classes and their archetypes have founders and discoverers.  And it means that sometimes Player Characters can create something New when their character makes a Choice.

It also means that others can create new Feats, or that some worlds might not have discovered or created the rule that some feats are based upon.  They can become new Chosen in their setting.

Inworld it means that NPCs, PCs and etc can discuss feats and the like in-character.  Each Feat should have their own mystic story to them, explanation for why they Are what they Are.  An origin story or history, if you will.

Not Mechanical, I think

This isn't really a mechanical variant.  Just an idea for a set of metaphysical ideas for use in a d20 setting.  Its part of an idea I have for a setting.   To help provide some ideas for flavor.

I imagine this would be paired with some other flavorful changes. IDK which or how.  Whenever I run into d20, I want to alter or change it.  I don't like the base implementation as a player or GM, but I don't have good set of changes I'd force into use.  Sometimes other rules like Fate Core are just better for what I want to see, instead of what I think I want to see.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about all this.