Fate Lessons #3: Star Wars Campaign Evaluation
Last night we wrapped up our Fate Accelerated Star Wars game, at least for the time being. We ended at a good breaking point, with our heroes escaping from Alderaan as the Death Star destroyed it and broadcasting footage of this act of terror across the galaxy. Sure the Empire initially wanted to be very public with the Death Star, but after its destruction they'd have preferred keeping it hush-hush. It's hard to intimidate the galaxy with a weapon you no longer have. A write-up of the adventure itself will be forthcoming but since we decided to try something else next game (with the option to come back to it at a later point) this is a good time to reflect on our first completed Fate campaign, albeit a short six-session one. I've played and run Fate games in the past but this is the first time we kept on to a conclusion.
To begin, and this is related to the Fate Accelerated variant, the size of the rulebook was quite an adjustment. The rulebook is very short. Now as the folks at Evil Hat have pointed out, Fate Accelerated is not really a separate game from Fate Core. Anything in Fate Core can be used in Fate Accelerated. But I made it a point to keep to just Fate Accelerated. I found myself as a result making an awful lot of stuff up on the fly. The rules of Fate Accelerated provide a framework, they don't come close to covering every possible situation - nor do they even attempt to. An example of needing to make things up was the need to make up my own starship combat rules. We got to try them out last night and they worked rather well. There's certainly many other ways starship combat could have been realized, but the rules we used definitely worked.
One thing that required a bit of adjustment was the realization you could do anything but you needed to use common sense. There are no rules for weapon damage in Fate Accelerated. You simply take an Attack action to attempt to hit a foe. However, common sense became important. If, for example, you've no ranged weapon, you simply can't attack a foe some four meters away without closing. This also makes created aspects more than just something that can be invoked - one must remember they are also true. For example, if you have a disarmed Aspect after a Sith Lord Created an Advantage against you, it isn't just something that can be invoked against you. Also, you can't do anything that would require your weapon. You'd need to Overcome that Aspect to get your weapon back. It might be a trivial action if no one is trying to stop you from picking up your weapon. On the other hand, if you are in a large barroom brawl, getting your weapon back might be quite tough.
This all required a fair amount of discussion at our (virtual) table as we decided what made the most sense. It was actually a fun part of the game as we discussed various options.
If I were done it again I'd probably have done something like the Dresden Files Accelerated (DFA) mantles - essentially, templates that have their own set of stunts (and unique stress tracks, though I don't think I'd have needed that for Star Wars). I found that, especially early on, things felt a little too open-ended as we felt our way around. One of the things I like about DFA is that those mantles help provide direction without putting a large crimp on creativity.
We also neglected character advancement for the most part. I'd long been worried that advancement was too rapid in Fate Accelerated which makes this doubly ironic. That said, doing it again I'd probably have pushed for more focus on advancement. When we ended the characters didn't yet have their full allotment of Aspects and Stunts, something I'd like to remedy in the future. I think after each adventure it'd make sense to discuss if any new Aspects are appropriate, if any should probably go away, etc.
For the most part I think it was fun. I'm not 100% what we're going to play next. Most likely it will be Dresden Files Accelerated, something I've been wanting to play for ages and something that would allow us to take advantage of what we've learned in this game. There's also the possibility of some Call of Cthulhu or perhaps a Gumshoe game like Trail of Cthulhu or Timewatch.