Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #4 - Fate


Fate was a way harder game for me to "get" than I thought it would be. I suspect if I'd never gamed before it would have been a lot easier.

There's a ton of blogs and reviews that can give you all the details of Fate. I'm going to talk about the Fate Accelerated version where I finally grokked the game. Fate Accelerated and Fate Core are officially the same game, but there are some definite differences.

Fate uses Fate dice - six sided dice with two plusses, two minuses, and two blanks. You roll four of them and add them together - adding various modifiers as well, but the dice give a range of -4 to +4. You're trying to beat some difficulty. It sounds pretty traditional.

Here's where it diverges. Fate Core gives your character traditional skills like shooting, piloting, etc. Fate Accelerated goes for approaches - how you do something, Are you forceful? Are you sneaky? Both a wizard and a warrior can be forceful. But your aspects and stunts give more definition.

Aspects basically describe something. It can be as simple as "strong", but that's a pretty lousy aspect. "Strong and dumb as an ox" on the other hand works pretty well - a good aspect has positive and negative aspects and helps form the picture of who you are. It also can be something temporary - attached to a scene or a character. For example, "warehouse floor on fire" is an aspect. So is "I've got you covered". Aspects can also be a permission to take some action. For example, with the aspect "Dark Lord of the Sith" it would be reasonable to use the Forceful approach to yank blasters out of the hapless rebels' hands.

Stunts are mechanical exceptions - bonuses you get under certain circumstances being the most common.

When you play you are throwing aspects, fate points, stunts, etc. all over the place. Invoking an aspect typically gives you a +2 bonus. But unless you create that aspect, something that takes an action, or have some other way to get a free use, you need to spend a fate point. Lousy stuff happening to you is a great way to get more fate points.

I've talked about the mechanics. They're pretty simple, but it took me a long while to get the hang of how best to use them. It's a very narrative system, designed to tell stories of exceptional people. I used it for a team of Star Wars rebels and it worked great. But I also had previous so-so attempts at using the rules. You really need to buy into the game. But when you do, it is fantastic at telling stories of exceptional people.

Like everything else on this list, I'd not use it for everything. But I did finally get to see how powerful a system it can be. Still got Dresden Files Accelerated on my bucket list....



Blog note - updates this month have been near-impossible. Lots of family activities, grad school, etc. I'd been planning on going to North Texas RPG Con next month but that's looking less and less likely as the semester progresses. Just one and a half classes left...

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