This may well be the strangest “spam” I’ve ever gotten at the Evil Hat inbox. And I’ve seen some strange in my time.
Credit goes all to my wife for this one.
Set rack 6 inches from broiler and turn you oven to high broil.
Wash asparagus and pat dry, snap off the bottoms.
Then toss in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Arrange on a cookie sheet (we cover with foil for easy clean up).
Broil for 5 minutes, then flip/stir them on the pan (shake it back and forth to get them to settle semi-evenly afterwards).
Then broil for another 3-5 more minutes depending on thickness.
You want some toasty brown edges, but not too much/too dark.
Plate ‘em up and start eating. They won’t last long.
Over on Google+, Casey McGirt asked this:
“Not sure if this is feedback or wishful thinking, but I would like to see a sidebar on “absolutes”. How do you use FATE to model a setting that uses them? What happens when two opposing absolutes clash (such an the irresistible force and an immovable object)?
This came to mind with the discussion about Invulnerability, but Amber and In Nomine are two popular settings where they come up. Example: if you stop midway through a Pattern walk…you die. Period. End of character.
Advice on dealing with absolutes, and keeping GMs from boxing themselves into a corner would be helpful. However, I’m not sure if that should be part of FATE Core, or a different book.”
Hm. Absolutes are either exits, walls, or hurdles, in fiction. By which I mean:
Exits: Here, you exit. You encounter the absolute, therefore it’s time to leave. You’re done (dead or otherwise removed).
Walls: Here, you must turn aside. The way you thought you could go, you couldn’t. Go a different way.
Hurdles: Yeah, it’s “impossible.” But you can climb it if you really try hard enough, and are the exact right person to do it (hello, protagonist). It may cost you.
Here’s the thing. When folks express concerns like Casey’s, I suspect they’re mainly thinking about absolutes as exits. Maybe they’re thinking of them as walls. They’re almost never thinking of them as hurdles.
Exits live deep in the land of pass/fail, where fail typically translates to the end of the line. This is the classic, old school chasm: roll to get across it on the rope bridge. Oh, you failed that roll? Okay, you fall to your death. Time for a new character.
For seven years in Fate we’ve been telling folks to envision success and envision failure and only call for a roll if both are interesting. If that character death seems interesting to you, great, but it doesn’t to me, so that says you shouldn’t be rolling to cross that thing in the first place. Dig?
But with Fate Core (and thanks to the inspiration of other games that got us there), there’s another option besides failure: success, but at a cost. This takes you out of the land of pass/fail and, importantly, turns the absolute from an exit into a wall or a hurdle. (You can also do a wall by reinterpreting failure as stopping short of actually trying the task, instead of trying and dying; but more on that in a bit.)
Back to the chasm. Since we know failure, true failure, is an exit, we avoid taking it; that’s not particularly interesting to us. On success, you make it across, on time and in good shape. On “failure”, you still succeed — you make it across — but maybe not in time, maybe not in good shape, maybe not in a good circumstance. You reach the other side only to find that the Duke’s men have gotten there before you and you’re surrounded.
That’s a kind of a wall; you thought that getting across would take you to where you needed to go, but now that you’re there, the path you thought you were on must turn another way. Or it’s a hurdle: you make it across and now things are more difficult than they were before, but you haven’t been stopped nor necessarily turned off your path.
Either way, these options are more palatable from a story perspective than the rather dull fall to the death.
So, Amber. You’re setting foot on the Pattern, an experience that grants incredible power and lets you go anywhere in the multiverse you want to go if you complete the journey. If you fail, you die. That’s the story they tell the get of Oberon.
Then your Pattern walker fails her roll.
If this is an exit, then yes: your walker goes up in flames. Pift. End of her tale. This can be a real interesting plot point if it’s happening to some other guy — typically an NPC — but a lot less interesting if it’s someone’s PC. So meh on the exit option.
If this is a wall, then the traversal of the Pattern doesn’t really happen in the first place. (Maybe this is the option taken if the GM and/or the player knows ahead of time that her character is not of the blood of Amber and will in fact go up in flames if she actually takes the walk.) There are ways to turn the path aside: Benedict leaps from the shadows and tackles her, keeping her from setting her foot first on the path, and revealing that he knows of her true origin — or that he has other strong reasons to prevent her from the effort. The Pattern winks out of existence, or for the moment resists anyone approaching with some kind of strange force-field effect. The cavern collapses suddenly — chaos mines! What have you. What’s going on here is a twist in the story that removes the absolute as an option — for now.
If this is a hurdle, then congratulations! You failed your roll, but traverse the Pattern anyway. But it’s at a cost. You were wounded, and your blood has dribbled upon the Pattern as you walked, fouling or erasing it for others afterwards. You get to the center and you really try NOT to think of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Shadow, but you can’t help yourself, and BAMF, off you go to a gooey predicament. You make it to the center wreathed in flame and almost unmade but you manage to push on and teleport to the place you wanted to go, where you arrive exhausted and too drained to face the challenges there… and maybe everyone else saw you go up in flames and thinks you dead, so no rescue’s coming.
At the end of the day, absolutes are the rocks in the stream. They can change the course of the stream, and sure, if you have a TON of them they can stop the stream — but typically the stream just goes right on flowing around them. So don’t look at the rock when you’re encountering it in your story. Look to the sides. Look over it and look under it. That’s where your flow’s going to go now instead of smashing into the rock … and that place is way more awesome than that.