Actual Play: a|state (part 1 of 9)

I produce a lot of content almost every day at the Indie Game Reading Club Slack. This is a collection of my actual play reports from our big a|state campaign I ran earlier in the year. I’ve already written a deep dive of the game — my favorite FitD based game so far in fact — but if you want some insight into how our game evolved, and enjoy a rip-roaring tale of adventure and heartbreak, keep reading.

This is part 1 of 9. I’ll post another every few days so you have time to catch up.


Man … setup for a|state is involved for a FitD game. It’s good, just way more DIY than I’m accustomed to for this kind of game: most of the factions in the game we need to come up with. That includes tier, hold, claims, notable personalities (mostly coming from the friend/foe relationship stuff on the character sheets). Where are my five premade neighborhoods and four stretch goal neighborhoods written by high profile guest writers who didn’t even pretend to understand the game?

That said, gosh it feels good to deploy ye olde r-map skills. Already I’m seeing gaps I need to figure out and implied relationships that only pop out when I can see everything at once.

Enjoying the very street level, low stakes setup: the troublemakers themselves, a small competing gang, slightly larger local government and religious groups. Just one present-ish Tier V on the map for now. Lurking. Waiting. Couple others on the horizon which, lol, I forgot about until I put them on the map!

Looking through the starting situations at the back of the book, we’re going with…Factions at War! Quick, tense, obvious. This is where our spread of starting factions came from, starting with the “two gangs who operate around the corner” scale. They’ve chosen the Confront approach from the mission templates. Let’s see how long the confrontation stays civil. 

Mission 1: Welcome To Mire End

First full mission in a|state: started Desperate, ambushed by the guys they thought they were gonna ambush, all three characters trauma’ed out and got got by the police. The villain they thought they were gonna kill got away and is mad as hell. Sky high Noise. Just a general disaster. And I did not make them look foolish! But when literally every roll misses, what can you do?

I have one player still conceptually struggling with the no-planning/flashback structure of the game but he did pull off a sweet play that he would not have concocted as a “plan,” so I’m hoping the positive experience sticks. I have another player entirely new to the FitD thing and just loves the Risk/Reward system, stress, resisting, flashbacks, all of it. Nice!

It’s actually a really good narrative start to our campaign despite things going so badly. They’re gonna owe so many people for not rotting in a jail cell. Gaol I suppose, given the writers and source material.

We’re easing into the setting’s weirdness real slow to start. Mostly the session was to roll dice, do flashbacks, feel out clocks. What I emphasized was the dreary Mire End vibes (flooding everywhere, ruined buildings, their Corner a green rooftop-farming oasis among all that) and that Guns Make Everything Worse, a terrific feature of the game I didn’t want to overlook.

I even used Cartel’s “fucking shot” as a condition, which went over well and really sent the message home. Our Sneakthief went to jail with a bullet in his leg!The weird stuff I want to start dropping heavy hints on once they’ve moved to downtime is the Shift business (unexplained, supernatural weirdness in the setting, sky’s the limit) and dingins just kind of…everywhere. Computing. Mikefighters zooming through the sky off to do god-knows-what. I’m pretty sure the audacious Noise of this first mission will kick up Attention, which means I can introduce a new faction and I’m thinking about who that might be. Probably a big’un, one of the Trusts. They’re deeply weird.

Part 2 –>

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