Thinking About Fate Accelerated Approaches

While I prep a dinosaur adventure for my Call of Cthulhu game, I've also been spending a lot of time going through Fate Accelerated - you can blame the recent prerelease of Dresden Files Accelerated for this. However, I've also been giving a lot of thought to how Fate Accelerated would handle Star Wars.

While Fate Core quantitatively stats out a character using skills, Fate Accelerated makes use of approaches. Approaches define how your character does things. The default approaches are Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky. A character starts off with one at Good (+3), two at Fair (+2), two at Average (+1), and one at Mediocre (+0). When your character does something you use an approach. Now one might think you'd always use your best approach, but sometimes your best approach is not practical - for example, if you need to outrun a boulder chasing you down a tunnel (like in Raiders of the Lost Ark), you'd have a very tough time convincing a GM that you are being Sneaky.

It's worth noting that something like Forceful does not always mean you are strong - for example, a barbarian wielding an ax might have Forceful as his best stat, but so might a wizard who always uses fireballs. Indeed that wizard might be quite weak, with an Aspect like "strong of mind, weak of body" which could be used to penalize weapon attacks and get bonuses for mental ones (via using compels, advantages, etc.)

One could argue in Star Wars that both Chewbacca and Chewbacca have Forceful as their best approach. But they use it quite differently - Vader using it to use the Force to choke people, smash foes with his lightsaber, etc. However, Chewbacca uses Forceful to smash people - and even in a repair attempt, at the end of Empire Strikes Back as he futilely tried to repair the hyperdrive.

One thing I'm wondering is how much of a point there is to improving approaches. I'm debating in my game having a mechanism which enforces a mechanism to keep a bit of a spread between the best approach and the worst approach and I'm also thinking about slowing down the pace of improving approaches and giving what the Atomic Robo RPG termed as experiences after every significant milestone. An experience is something you learned from an adventure that gives you a boost when you spend it in a later adventure. I'll need to work out the math - it's not that I see an 80-adventure campaign such that I'll need to slow down the approach improvement rate, it's more that I'm not certain it's as appropriate for showing an improving Fate Accelerated character a refreshes which give more stunts.

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