The FATE thread

Nobby-W

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Wherein the original poster starts such a ruckus that he gets kicked off the board.

Apropos of the FATE tangents on the Trends of the Decade thread, here's a thread in which to have a civilised discussion about the whys and wherefores of the system. FATE gets a bad rap from its fanboys but as there doesn't appear to be a rabid FATE fanboy contingent here at the pub, we might have a fighting chance of making that happen.

I've used FATE a bit and concluded that I like some of the core features of the system. It seems that there are a few myths about FATE that merit clearing up, but at least we're past the days of fanboys crashing threads with 'If you want a rules lite system, I'd just use FATE Core and ...'

Although FATE is often presented as rules-lite, I don't really think it is as such - the core rulebook is 300-odd pages long, although it's a lot more verbose than it needs to be. From my experience, the main cognitive hurdle is designing aspects (and consequences as @Mankcam pointed out). These are free-form but have specific mechanical interactions. FATE is the poster child for meta-currencies, and the FATE point economy is an integral part of the system. It definitely takes a bit of practice to learn how to use it.

I won't do a let's read at the moment - unless folks really want a blow-by-blow deconstruction of the system. The SRD and FATE Core rulebook are both available online. The Book of Hanz is a well-regarded set of essays that discuss the system from a philosophical perspective, written by the eponymous Robert Hanz.
  • For those who've played FATE, what are your experiences?
  • For those who haven't, what are your questions?
  • For those put off by the fanboys, do you want to have a civilised discussion/critique of the system
 
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Mankcam

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Great idea for a thread. I like that you want to discuss this rpg objectively, as like all rpgs, Fate definately has its weaknesses as well as its strengths

"Wherein the original poster starts such a ruckus that he gets kicked off the board." heh heh that's a great thread opener :grin:

No doubt I'll show up in this thread soon when I get time to collect my thoughts, and find a good time to banter - now is not one of those times
Consider this post to be a placeholder, I'll be back, heh heh :thumbsup:
 
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Nobby-W

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Very broad:
What does it do well and how does it do it?
That is quite a big question to ask. I'll start with my thoughts on this.

The system is quite abstract - the DM and players are left to describe the specific consequences or specific effects of aspects, consequences and other game items. The abstract mechanics facilitate this by allowing narrative descriptions of the specifics to go with the mechanical effects. The down side is that this requires a bit of thought.

First a little segue into the game mechanics

The dice mechanics in FATE consist of rolling 4 fudge dice. These are cubic dice with either +, - or 0 (or blank) printed on the sides. there is an even chance of rolling any of these. You add the dice together for a result of +4 to -4. The probability density function is quite thin in the tails - the chance of getting more than +2 is about 6%. This article discusses the probabilities in more depth.



As the probability of rolling in the tails is much lower than (say) D20, taking steps to goose your rolls becomes more important. The game system has mechanics for collaborative play (e.g. create advantage actions), and using aspects or stunts (discussed below) to build up bonuses for a roll.

Characters are pretty free-form. There are no stats, only skills and some derived values (will and stress). You select skills within rules (one at +4, two at +3, three at +2, four at +1). Fate characters are supposed to be 'competent, proactive and dramatic', so it is intended to support that style of play. Given the narrower range of 4DF (+4 to -4) than D20 or even 2D6, these bonuses are quite significant.

Aspects are free-form attributes that you can design for the character. They have mechanical effects, including two key metacurrency mechanics.
  • Aspects can grant your character 'permission' to do something - an ability unique to the character. The example given is 'Brother of the King.' This means your character can get an audience with the king and perhaps various other privileges. The Player and DM would negotiate the mechanical effects, such as 'spend a FATE point to see the king and ask for a small favour.' Other 'permission' aspects might include skill with magic, membership in some organisation or some other special ability. Note the free form nature - it's up to the DM and player to thrash out the specifics.
  • You can invoke an aspect to get some advantage. Perhaps your character might have a 'prone to berzerk rages' aspect that can be invoked to give a bonus to attack.
  • An aspect can be invoked against you. This is important for the FATE point metacurrency because you get a FATE point if this happens. In the 'prone to bezerk rages' example above, prehaps it could be invoked against the character to catch them off-guard.
  • An aspect can be compelled; essentially this consists of bribing the player with a FATE point to do something that is in character but gets them into trouble. This is one of the more powerful mechanics in FATE - essentially you use the FATE point economy to induce the players to get into trouble, which helps cut through paranoia and make the game interesting. In the 'prone to bezerk rages' example, perhaps a compel could be use to make the character go into a rage at an inappropriate time, causing trouble.
Discussion on invoking and compelling aspects https://fate-srd.com/fate-core/invoking-compelling-aspects

Aspects are quite free form and can be tricky to design so they work well. When you're designing aspects, take a look at how the aspect can be used for each of the four mechanical interactions above. Not all aspects need to be suited to all of the mechanics, but you need a portfolio that does lend itself to all of the usages.

There are also stunts, which are like feats or aspects with no downside. You could have an 'expert sniper' stunt that gives you a bonus to shoot a rifle from a prepared position at long range. Stunts are discussed further here.

Getting FATE points

Characters get three FATE points per session; in order to earn more you need to get into trouble. FATE is quite specific about the means to earn FATE points:
  • Having one of your aspects invoked against you.
  • Accepting a compel (you can pay a FATE point to ignore the compel)
  • Conceding - this is where your party accepts a temporary setback (perhaps getting captured or having something important taken by the enemy).
This means that go get additional agency in the game the character has to accept trouble or bad things happening to them. It promotes a process where characters experience setbacks or gets into trouble as an integral part of the adventure cycle.

And now back to what the system is good at

FATE is designed to encourage stories where the party fails or gets into trouble first (building up FATE points) and then goes on to an epic climax. Its home turf is pulp action, but you can do other genres. There are, for instance, quite extensive mechanics for social combat, so it would lend itself to court intrigues or an anime high school drama if you felt that way inclined.
  • It is story-first in that it has mechanics to encourage creating and getting into trouble. Mechanical effects are specified but it encourages a free-form approach to coming up with the descriptions. Characters take consequences (discussed here in more detail) which are made up narratively but with specific mechanical affects.
  • It encourages teamwork through mechanics like 'create advantage'. A discussion of the task resolution system, covering the create advantage action is here.
  • The FATE point economy encourages the party to get into trouble. Between that and some coaching to not be so paranoid, it's a good way to get overcautious players out of their shell. FATE games are supposed to get the characters into trouble and then build a story about getting back out. Arguably this is my favourite feature of the game.
  • The abstractness makes the system easy to port to different settings. Evil Hat publish loads of settings in supplements for FATE. Their material tends to have a comic-ish quality to it, but that's more of a function of their house style. I've done a space opera setting for FATE.
  • It does encourage a more collaborative style of play beyond 'how do you want to do this?' However, the DM really has to get into the groove of this and it requires players to be a bit proactive.
It's not really much good on gritty, tactical combat. Mastery of the mechanics is less of a big deal for tactical combat, although you do really have to understand aspects in order to use the FATE point economy.
 
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dokel

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It has, in the past, been my go to system for games based on well-known IPs. I've run a couple of Star Wars games using Fate and also a couple of Dr Who games. I have found it, in these instances, to be fantastically low--prep. Also, where the tropes of a setting are very well established it becomes a lot easier (imo) to come up with aspects.

One Star Wars game I ran was an all-Jedi game using FAE. I would say that FAE, with its Approaches, is a good choice when you have a party of characters who all have broadly the same skill set and you want to make them feel different from each other. So, yeah all Jedi, or all Colonial Marines or all Financial Consultants or whatever. Something to watch out for with FAE is that players will be tempted to try to use their highest Approach for all actions - "I Forcefully punch the goblin", "I Forcefully grab the sandwich", "I Forcefully sneak past the guard" etc. Maybe not quite that bad but I've found that players often will jump through narrative hoops in order to try to justify them getting the better +DM. This can end up being quite entertaining but can also get a little convoluted.

Also I would say that, as Fate is focused on engagement at the narrative level, it's actually quite bland mechanically. My experience of conflict resolution in Fate games is that it basically follows a pattern of: Create an Advantage then stack bonuses so that you get a good result on your Attack or Overcome action, rinse, repeat.
 
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dokel

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Aspects are also used to establish facts within the fiction. If my character has the Aspect 'Jedi' (although something a little more elaborate such as 'Jedi Guardian student of the Living Force' might be better) then she can do Jedi stuff. Want to try to use mind trick on that stormtrooper? Well you're a Jedi, give it a go. No need for a laundry list of powers and special abilities.
 

Mankcam

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I started playing tabletop rpgs back in the mid 1980s, so most of my rpg gaming tastes are fairly mainstream and traditional. My first step towards more narrative play was back in 2000 with Hero Wars, then HeroQuest. It was okay, but I never really got it. I also had Nobilis, and couldn't make head nor tail of it. This was before the term 'Storygame' was coined, so I wasn't trying to be indie or anything, I was just curious about different game mechanics.

I backed the Fate Core kickstarter as I liked Fudge, and was looking for something using the fudge skill ladder. I had seen earlier versions of Fate and was a little confused at times, and when Fate Core was published I let it sit in my bookcase for a year or more, as I was heavily entrenched in several BRP campaigns at that time.

By the time I read Fate Core it had been out for a bit. It annoyed me to an extent with how the concepts were often portrayed with their own terms rather than general rpg-speak. However once I gave it a good read, I eventually saw it's potential and was blown away by it's versaiity when it came to portraying genres. This game certainly wasn't El Dorado, but it has given it a fighting try in many ways. It's not the only system I run, but I do like it quite a lot, and I can see how I can portray quite a number of different genres with it.

Ok due to my time constraints tonight, I'm just jumping in quickly then going again, checking on this a bit later. I'll just repost what I wrote earlier in the 'Trends' thread, as it probably got overlooked in that conversation, and may be of more interest here to add to this discussion:

For those who just see the Fate books and not play the game, it would be easy to think that it is only for pulp cinematic games, like 1930s Indy Jones or stuff like that. That's not the case, although it's easy to see why as Evil Hat pushes that angle with the artwork all the time. Which I think is one of the biggest problems with it, as people think it's only something like Savage Worlds and put it in that box (not dishing on Savage Worlds here)

Fate can do that pulpy action genre quite well, but it really has much wider scope, as the big thing is really getting a handle on the descriptor mechanics of Aspects & Consequences. Once the narrative of these descriptors fits the setting, then it can do a wide range of things. I can easily run Middle Earth or Contemporary Action just as well as Game Of Thrones or even a Poldark/Jane Austin period drama.

It's not so much about 'doing a genre' as it is about getting it's flavour and atmosphere right. A good Middle Earth Fate game uses, amongst other things, Tolkienqse language with it's descriptions for Aspects etc, and that's why it feel's like Tolkien's game.

Likewise descriptions for Consequences are just as important.
In Fate, a list of physical consequences in a fast-paced action game akin to 'Die Hard' could have broad terms like 'Rattled', 'Bruised', Injured' etc.
Whereas physical consequences in 'Game Of Thrones' would be more grim, using more terms like 'Slashed Forearm' or 'Vicious Gut Wound' or perhaps even 'Ruptured Spleen' etc. These would all have very different narrative consequences.

Whereas using Fate to play a Poldark/Jane Austin setting would probably hardly have any focus on physical consequences - they would obviously exist, perhaps vague descriptors like 'Hurt', 'Injured,' and 'Wounded' would cover everything up to being incapatitated. Combat probably would be handled by the Contest rules rather than the Conflict rules, indicating that it would be resolved reasonably quickly.
The focus in a Poldark/Austin setting would be more on descriptors sustained when taking mental stress, and these would probably be played using the Conflict rules, which would extend the scene quite a bit, with the social consequences receiving the most emphasis. Examples of these Consequences might be descriptors like ' The Subject of Local Gossip', 'Loss of Credit Rating', or 'Dishonoured Reputation' etc; stuff like that.
A very different game due to the focus of it's descriptors.

So that's why I find Fate very versatile. It's also tricky to do, and can take a bit more mental headspace at times, so that is often not what people want when they want to play a simple game (which is often an assumption about Fate). However it can be very rewarding when it pays off :thumbsup:
 
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Gabriel

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For those who haven't, what are your questions?
I don't even know where to begin. I bought the core book years ago, and I find it an impenetrable enigma.

I see all the jargon about aspects and invokes, and my eyes glaze over. It seems absolutely alien to me. I see systems which appear dedicated to determining when and who has the right to contribute something, and I wonder if I'm misinterpreting things or if I'm not and why anyone would want to conduct things that way.

So yeah. I'm totally lost to the point where I can't even ask a coherent question to help clarify things.
 

Faylar

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Eww FATE! hate hate hate... burn it with fire!

Just kidding. Thought a little ribbing was appropriate considering recent threads.
Honestly though there are some elements of Fate that are appealing, but I'm not sure I would have much fun with it as a core system. That being said, the Dresden files RPG is Fate based, I believe, and its a well done book.
 

Necrozius

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I have several Fate books and I love them, despite the fact that the 3 times I played it I was disappointed by the GMs' interpretations of the system. The philosophies behind Aspects have made it easier for me to run other games, especially D&D 5e (I use the PCs' backgrounds and character traits as aspects of sorts).

It took a while for me to get it, though.
 

Nobby-W

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I don't even know where to begin. I bought the core book years ago, and I find it an impenetrable enigma.

I see all the jargon about aspects and invokes, and my eyes glaze over. It seems absolutely alien to me. I see systems which appear dedicated to determining when and who has the right to contribute something, and I wonder if I'm misinterpreting things or if I'm not and why anyone would want to conduct things that way.

So yeah. I'm totally lost to the point where I can't even ask a coherent question to help clarify things.
I think the jargon doesn't help FATE at all, and in combination with quasi-religious fanboyism it can be difficult to make sense of.

My earlier posting here goes into this a little bit, so I won't exactly repeat it, but I'll try to come at it from a different angle.

You're not misinterpreting things. The FATE point economy is set up to encourage players to get into trouble and gain FATE points to buy agency with down the track. This is by design - the game system is set up to get players out of their paranoid shells and into the swing of a dramatic storyline (pulpy and melodramatic is good, the more the better, really). Basically, these mechanics are there to allow the DM to bribe the players to get into trouble.

Because the 4DF distribution is thin in the tails, the FATE point economy becomes important to goose dice rolls at important points. Aspects are free form attributes with specific mechanical effects. You have to put some thought into designing them and negotiating their effects with the DM; it does require a fairly collaborative mindset to make it work.

Aspects interact with the FATE point economy in that they may require FATE points spent to invoke them (less powerful effects may not need FATE points at the DM's discretion). However, there are mechanics where an aspect may be invoked against a character, giving them a FATE point and (usually) putting them at a penalty for some action. The other major mechanic is compels, where the DM can bribe a player with a FATE point to take some in-character action that gets them into trouble or disadvantages them in some way. These two processes (plus conceding, see below) are the only way to get FATE points. You have to let your character get into trouble or have weaknesses exploited to get more FATE points.

This paying for agency process is what the FATE point economy is about. It's intended to encourage players to let their characters get into trouble and build up a reserve of whammy for a climactic ending. It also means that you need to take care to design some aspects that provide scope for invoke-against and compels. Fate characters are supposed to be flawed in order for these mechanics to work.

Having said all this, it does tend to make FATE adventures follow this pattern - characters get into trouble or have setbacks (see also concession) early in the adventure, building up FATE points to goose their rolls in a climactic scene. That is a legitimate criticism of FATE but whether it's a big deal is really a matter of opinion.
 
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robertsconley

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My view of aspects are that they are in one respect the same things as a character class or GURPS template except written more naturally. Because of that one can be more flexible about their effects.

The other part of aspect that more general is they describe important elements of something. Not everything only the things that are important to the adventure or campaign.
 

robertsconley

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Having said all this, it does tend to make FATE adventures follow this pattern - characters get into trouble or have setbacks (see also concession) early in the adventure, building up FATE points to goose their rolls in a climactic scene. That is a legitimate criticism of FATE but whether it's a big deal is really a matter of opinion.
I find the mechanics distorts the behavior of PCs. They focus more on playing the Fate Economy game.

I realize that I am not giving much details but it boils down to the jargon that @Gabriel talks about. For most it doesn't flow naturally with the players describes what they do, the referee describe the result cycle of most RPG campaigns.
 

Caesar Slaad

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  • For those who've played FATE, what are your experiences?
I started playing Fate with Spirit of the Century, which went well enough, but I sort of found that the lack of real progress mechanics really hampered long term interest in the game.

I eventually started running a Fate/SotC conversion of Iron Lords of Jupiter (D20 Modern sword-and-planet setting) I called Rocket Corps that I ran at GenCon and local gamedays. It was super-popular and illustrated the zany pulp feel the system can deliver. But playing with a variety of different players, I sort of learned that some players just don't get aspects.

I played some Dresden Files, and found it a bit clunky. It was the first indication to me that the system is best without baroque subsystems attached to it.

After Fate Core came out, I liked it but mostly used it for shorter games.
I ran a short well-received Tianxia campaign. Despite it's success, it sort of reinforced my opinion about adding too many mechanics to the system.
I ran Masters of Umdaar both for one shots and for my home game, and had good experiences with both.
I two mini-campaigns of Shadow of the Century twice, plus a few one-shots. I loved the NPC generation sequence and borrowed it for Mutants & Masterminds.
I got "It's Not My Fault" and it has sort of become my go-to quick RPG toolkit. Though I never use Fate Accelerated outside of this (and MoU, if you count that). Too lite for my taste.
I got both editions of Bulldogs for Fate. I really like it, but Space Opera is hotly contended in my headspace, and Scum & Villainy sort of forced it out.

To me, the hidden treasure of the better Fate Setting/World books is the content generation stuff. Though Fate is very flexible, it's creatively demanding and having something to feed that is a real boon and a strong indicator of how well that particular Fate instance flies for me. Though this stuff is all non-standardized and thus YMMV.

Of late, it's been largely supplanted by PbtA and FitD on the lighter end of my gaming spectrum, but I still would happily play it, and see intriguing content come out for it all the time. Right now I am reading through the Fate of Cthulhu stuff and frantically looking for a place I might be able to fit it into my gaming schedule.
 

Mankcam

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I guess one of the things that is different with games like Fate Core (often termed as 'Storygames' these days) is that you are following a bunch of characters, with the players having a birds-eye view of the situation, much like reading a story. Whereas more traditional rpgs, especially old school games, are much more 'player-facing', where the players are looking out through their characters eyes.

This impacts quite a lot on how things are played out in Fate Core. The most prominent issue is that of welcoming use of the Trouble Aspect for a character.

In a more traditional game, having a character Flaw of Alcoholism would be a disadvantage, something that requires a willpower roll to resist, and being intoxicated may have detrimental effects on the ability to perform actions effectively and such.

In Fate Core however, this is an interesting story arc, as we follow the character off on some side quest related to the Flaw, which in turn yields Fate Points that the player can use with their character later in the story.

In many ways it is just like watching Sherlock Holmes go off on his opium-jaunts, or Jim Morrison perform completely out-of-his-tree. We are not compromised at all, and it makes the characters more interesting, thus yielding Fate Points that the player can use later to edit the gameplay to their advantage and the betterment of the story itself.

This 'watching characters' vs 'being characters' thing can be a big deal to get your head around if you have come from years of playing more traditional rpgs. I first saw this concept way back with WoD characters, but not to the extent that it is in Fate (and other contemporary 'storygame' rpgs). So this takes a bit to grok, and it is only when this is truly humming along that the game makes sense.

I think the jargon doesn't help FATE at all, and in combination with quasi-religious fanboyism it can be difficult to make sense of.
I think this pretty much sums up the two main barriers regarding getting people into Fate Core these days.

People have been, rightfully so, put off by the apparently relentless sales-pitch approach that some of the more vocal online fanbase has pushed, and I guess if I had experienced this in its intensity then I wouldn't have opened the cover of the book either.

So that's a shame, considering how good it is. Some other game will come along and reinvent or just repackage the prominent concepts from Fate Core and get lots of glory for it. The irony will be many of those new fans will probably say they hate Fate Core, yet like the rules lifted from it for their new darling ruleset. I think Fate Core's impact is more influential than it gets credit for.

The other issue raised here is the wording of the rulebook itself. Yes it's written in a friendly, casual manner, and that part works well. However when it comes down to describing the nuts'n'bolts of the system, it tends to use it's own terminology to repackage many things that have been in rpg lexicon for years under other names.

For example, the two main actions: 'Overcome Action' and 'Create Advantage Action':

Why isn't an Overcome Action just referred to as a Standard Roll or something similar?
It is the default roll of the system, like rolling the D20 in D&D, or D100% in BRP/WHFRP etc. Saying 'Make a Standard Roll" works much better than the GM saying 'Make an Overcome Action".

I refuse to do it, it just sounds confusing.

'Creat Advantage Action' is possibly a bit better, but telling the players to make an 'Advantage Roll' or a 'Set-Up Roll' works so much better, even just saying 'Make a roll to see if you can get a Bonus on your next action' works pretty good, and so much less confusing.

Again, looking at Milestones, it gets confusing as you think of all the Milestones as an analogy for Experience Awards.
The Moderate and Major Milestones are certainly just that, opportunities to gain an increase in a stat or skill etc.
However the Minor Milestone...it's really just Downtime. The term 'Downtime' has been in rpg-speak for over 30yrs, so why did they feel the need to try and repackage it. Again, another example of Fate terminilogy not synching with general rpg lexicon.

I think the authors may of done it to try and portray Fate Core as a brand new experience, rather than introduce it to the current rpg community as a new game with a novel twist on how to bring narrative concepts to the fore.

So in many ways, the perceived pushy online posters and the insider-lexicon has backfired on Fate Core, as it now seems that it has a bit of distance with many in the rpg community, rather than being welcomed.

Which is a big shame, it really is.

I am an rpg gamer from way back, and I can see what Fate can add to my gaming experience.
It certainly has enriched the storytelling part of our games, as well as made my GM life much easier with simple record keeping (only a few stats for NPCs). Aspects have been a good way of summarising things without getting fiddily, and the scene-pacing rules have also worked really well. These days I do tend to run a game based heavily on the 'fiction' of a setting, and these rules often fade into the background to support it. Great stuff.

The core rulebook is all that is really needed to run great games, and it's very easy to mod once you know how.
If my house was burning, and I only had enough time to swipe one rpg book from my bookcase, then the digest-sized Fate Core would have to be it (although I would likely grab D&D 5E and my trusty BRP BGB as well :thumbsup:).
 
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Voros

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A good review by Pookie of Reviews from R'lyeh of The Fate of Cthulhu.

Pookie does an excellent job of explaining the Fate ruleset in his review as well.

At first I wasn't too interested in this as I figure there are already lots of good Cthulhu based games but the imaginative grotesque details and pulp action adventure nature of the campaign is intiguing.

Making PCs become corrupted by the Mythos instead of insane is a distinctive twist I think and fits several of the stories where the servants of the Mythos have been seduced into serving it via delusions of power and reward.

I assume future releases will better detail the post-apocalyptic setting and present a wider range of campaign options, too bad some of that couldn't have been included now. At the same time I can see the advantage of presenting a clear campaign for GMs and players new to the ruleset or Mythos.
 

Necrozius

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The core rulebook is all that is really needed to run great games, and it's very easy to mod once you know how.
If my house was burning, and I only had enough time to swipe one rpg book from my bookcase, then the digest-sized Fate Core would have to be it (although I would likely grab my trusty BRP BGB as well :thumbsup:).
I agree. Of all the games that I own right now, Fate is probably the most flexible, even more so than Savage Worlds which is really very focused on action and combat. Fate would allow me to adjust to more styles. I would miss my other games though (especially Savage Worlds).

The only thing, as others have pointed out, is that it is a bit more of a "3rd person" perspective game, rather than the more "immersive", "1st-person" perspective games out there. Frankly, that's fine with me, because I have an easier time narrating my character doing some things in 3rd person than in 1st person when it comes to my "discomfort" zones (eg. seduction, technical stuff beyond my knowledge etc...).

"Tis heresy to say that in some parts, but whatever, those critics are thousands of miles away and don't know where I live so they can go choke themselves on their punditry.
 

TheophilusCarter

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Fate is a toolkit, much like the BRP family, and so it's difficult to talk about "How do I do the thing in Fate?" without looking at a particular iteration or table. As with other toolkits, the answer is often "However you want to, within a certain range." As a result, different versions of the rules and different gaming groups will look quite different, which certainly contributes to some confusion. When I have run Fate, it is largely a very traditional game. Players control their PCs, I (as GM) control the rest of it. They say what they want to do, I tell them what happens (and whether they need to roll the dice first).

Aspects and Fate Points seem to be the biggest issue for some people. To my mind there's nothing particularly odd about Fate points: they operate in much the same way as bennies in Savage Worlds or Luck Points in Mythras. Aspects are simply the in-world facts about the PCs, NPCs, environment, etc. that allow the use of Fate Points through in-character actions. To my mind this makes them far less meta- or OOC than bennies, etc., and has in no way caused a problem for my otherwise very traditional players: no one has ever complained about a lack of immersion, and no one has ever thought we were playing anything other than a standard RPG, etc. FWIW, YMMV, etc.
 

Mankcam

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Yeah these tales regarding lack of immersion in Fate Core are really weird.
In our games things start off 3rd Person, but soon move to a seamless mix between 1st Person and 3rd Person, depending upon the situation.

The players often say "I do this", just as much as 'My character is doing this"

So I don't see the issue. I started way back with RQ2 and Call of Cthulhu, and they both implied this mixed 1st Person/3rd Person approach at times.
Fate Core has just stated it a bit more clearly

In addition to this, the Fate rules often fade easily into the background, allowing the narration to be quite rich.
Lack of imersion has never been an issue with my group, and we have really enjoyed most of our Fate games :thumbsup:
 
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TheophilusCarter

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And just to make sure I'm clear and not misunderstood: I'm not denying that some folks might reasonably find Fate immersion-breaking. Immersion in a very personal thing. I'm simply responding to the idea that there's something objectively anti-immersion about Fate, and I don't believe that's true, or at least any more true than a number of other games (which those people might also reasonably not like). My players act completely IC, and sliding the Fate points back and forth don't seem to bother them any more than picking up and rolling dice, or looking at and writing on their character sheets. Again: YMMV, etc.
 

The Butcher

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Aspects are simply the in-world facts about the PCs, NPCs, environment, etc. that allow the use of Fate Points through in-character actions.
This is one the things that really confuse me.

What is and isn’t an Aspect?

And what actions require the use of Fate Points?

If an environmental Aspect favors a PC’s action and said PC is all out of Fate Points, does said PC gets no benefit from the Aspect in question?

e.g. sneaky PC wants to ambush an enemy and can only get the +2 from the “Foggy Night” Aspect by spending a Fate Point?
 

TheophilusCarter

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@The Butcher It's legitimately confusing, because of the toolkit thing. Different groups use Aspects in different ways for different things.

What is and isn't an Aspect: at my table, players choose their character Aspects; I chose the rest. More on that in a bit.

None of the four basic actions require the use of Fate Points; FP are spent to improve the rolls, etc. Some Stunts or Extras (e.g., super powers, magic spells) might require spending FP; it depends on how they're built.

Aspects can still have mechanical effects even without spending FP; e.g., Aspects can be used by the GM to set passive opposition. Here's something I often cut and paste into discussions like these:

Take a dark room (e.g.); there’s more than one way to treat it, and it doesn’t have to be an aspect. For one thing, it could just be descriptive (“It’s dark … ”), but if you do want to do something mechanical:

1) It could grant or deny permission: “Yes, you can attempt to hide, since there’s cover of darkness” or “No, you can’t read your book right now, because it’s too dark in the room.”

2) It could be an obstacle requiring an overcome action against passive opposition: “It’s dark, so you’ll need to get your bearings; roll for a Notice overcome action against Fair (+2) opposition.”

3) It could be a passive opposition rating when the GM doesn’t feel like rolling active opposition: “You want to sneak past security? They’re alert, but it’s dark: make a Fair (+2) Stealth roll.”

4) It could serve as a floor (i.e., minimum result) for a roll against active opposition: “You want to sneak past security? Roll Stealth against the guards’ Notice roll, with a floor of Fair (+2) for your result, since the dark serves as passive opposition to the guard’s Notice roll in any case.” (This is basically just taking the better of the character’s active opposition or the default passive opposition.)

5) We could also invoke the Bronze Rule (aka, “The Fate Fractal”) and treat the dark room as a character, assigning it skills (“Obscure +2”) for active opposition, stunts (“Adds 2 to the Stealth roll of anyone moving through it”; by the way, this is the easiest way to replicate traditional situational modifiers), extras (which can literally be anything the GM wants them to be!), stress, etc.

Notice that most of these are very traditional ways of handling something like a dark room. However, let’s say we decide to make the darkness an aspect. Remember that an aspect is always true, whether or not it’s invoked. It makes something a fact, just like any non-aspect fact, and so could work in all the same ways as the above. This is the part that people often seem to miss. All those other things don’t suddenly become unavailable just because something is an aspect, and you don’t need to invoke the aspect, spend a Fate point, etc., for aspects to continue to work this way. However, making it an aspect also adds a layer of narrative and mechanical importance to the fact:

6) It signals your desire to make the fact more important to the story, to make the description more vivid, to make a better narrative. Rather than just “Yep, it’s dark,” it’s now “And then the Cat-like Grey Mouser sneaked through the dimly-lit room, leaping silently from shadow to shadow!”

7) It can now be invoked: a player can spend a Fate point to improve her PC’s roll (“I really want my PC to get by those guards, so I’ll spend a Fate point to say that the shadows are perfectly placed to get her through.”), and the GM can do the same on behalf of an NPC. (There are other things one can do with an invoke, and there are compels too, but I’ll leave the details to the rulebooks.) Note that there’s nothing mysterious about this. Many games since the old days have had similar meta-resources. The difference is that there must be a narrative justification by way of an aspect. This may not be to one’s taste, but that’s hardly an objective flaw of the game design, and it’s arguably more “realistic” (that is, it functions within the game, rather than completely “meta”), and arguably more immersive (that is, it references in-game facts rather than purely out-of-character decisions).

At the end of the day, the core of Fate is just regular old RPG design (1-5 above); aspects add to those (via 6 & 7 above), they don’t negate, replace, or abandon them.
 

TheophilusCarter

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BTW, happy to continue talking about this, but I have to go mow the lawn before it rains. :smile: FYI, I'll be limiting my responses to good-faith inquiries and criticisms; I do get frustrated with a lot of the bad faith criticisms that the h8trs trot out on other forums (the most common is "I hate Fate because X" when X just isn't true of Fate and they damn well know it, or X is true of Fate but also true of another game that they claim to love). I'm sure we're all too cool here for that to happen anyway ... ;)
 
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Mankcam

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This is one the things that really confuse me.

What is and isn’t an Aspect?

And what actions require the use of Fate Points?

If an environmental Aspect favors a PC’s action and said PC is all out of Fate Points, does said PC gets no benefit from the Aspect in question?

e.g. sneaky PC wants to ambush an enemy and can only get the +2 from the “Foggy Night” Aspect by spending a Fate Point?
I'm probably the not the greatest person to articulate this, but I'll give it a go :thumbsup:

Aspects
are just Descriptors, they are no biggie, except you can utilise a game mechanical advantage from them.

Generally we play it as a default that you need to do a set-up roll before you can use the Aspect's mechanically advantage - called' Create Advantage' - this does not cost a Fate Point

So if player-characters want to do an ambush in a foggy night', then the GM can ask them to describe how they are sneaking etc, calling for Stealth rolls first. If successful, then their subsequent action get to use the Scene Aspect (Foggy Night) as a bonus to their attack rolls; so Shooting +2.
No Fate Pt cost necessary

If the players don't want to spend an action trying to Create Advantage, then they can just spend a Fate Point to immediately get the bonus associated with the Aspect.' So it's like a bit of story editing - instead of spending part of the scene sneaking and building tension, the scene just skips to the bit where they are seen instantly kicking in action and shooting from within the cover of the Foggy Night, getting Shooting +2.

I'm not sure if this helps or not, and like every game, things may play a bit differently between GMs.
But I play it light and loose, and this is how I would approach a scene aspect like "Foggy Night"

There are other ways to go with Aspects as well, such as simply increasing or decreasing the difficulty associated with a task.
This works pretty well, I tend to handwave things a fair bit by doing this, and it has nothing to do with Fate Points being used or whatever.
@TheophilusCarter has gone into this in much better detail than me

Again, it is the lexicon and jargon in the Fate Core rulebook that often trips me up. During an actual game things seem to flow pretty smoothly, it's mainly when trying to articulate it in a forum thread that I find it seems clumsy. I think it is the way the lexicon is referred to in the core book, it's just a little out of synch with the usual rpg lexicon. Also the fact that the book is generic, and trying to cover a wide range of situations also makes it feel a bit bland.

I find if I have a rich setting to bounce off, the rules just fade into the background. Aspects and such are just parts of the general descriptions that help frame a scene or character. In that sense, all they are is parts of descriptions that are highlighted.
 
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Voros

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I think Pookie does a good job of quickly explaining Aspects in his review:

Investigators in FATE of Cthulhu are defined by their Aspects, Skills, and Stunts. Aspects describe elements of a character and to work effectively, they need to be double-edged, that is, each should be both an advantage or a disadvantage. For example, the Aspect ‘An eye for the ladies’ could be used as an Advantage to spot a particular woman in a crowd or a bonus to seduction attempts, but as a Disadvantage, it would mean that the character would be easily distracted in female company. Each investigator has an Aspect each for his High Concept and his Trouble, plus two free Aspects. In play, an Aspect is Invoked by the player to gain an advantageous bonus or a reroll, but Compelled to trigger its disadvantageous elements. It costs a player a Fate point to Invoke an Aspect, but he will gain a Fate point if the Aspect is Compelled. (A Compel can be resisted by a player, but this costs him a Fate point). Stunts provide advantages or bonuses under certain circumstances, usually to skills, and they can be Corrupted by exposure to the Mythos. Skills simply provide a bonus to skill rolls, there being a limited number of broad skills in the game, one of which is Lore, expanded here to cover knowledge and its application of the Mythos.
...
Mechanically, whenever a player wants to undertake an action, he selects a skill and rolls four Fudge dice—FATE having originally been derived from the Fudge RPG mechanics—special six-sided dice, each of which has two faces marked with a ‘+’ symbol, two faces marked with a ‘–’ symbol, and two faces left blank. The ‘+’ and ‘–’ symbols cancel each out and the blank faces add nothing, so the results range simply between +4 and –4. The result is added to the player’s skill, aim being to beat a target set by the Game Master, an Average target being +1, a Fair target being +2, and so on, the targets matching the skill values in terms of progression. Should a player’s result match the target, then he succeeds at a cost; if the result is one or two points or shifts above the target, he simply succeeds; and if the result is three or more shifts, he succeeds with style. In combat, shifts usually represent damage inflicted upon a target, but should a character succeed with style, then he can place a temporary Aspect in play, that can either be used once and then it is lost, or used once for free with subsequent uses requiring a Fate point to be expended.

Aspects like this can be set up on locations, objects, on NPCs, and on player characters, and then during play both the players and the Game Master can interact with them, Invoking and Compelling as necessary. Similarly, the Game Master can design and create places, people, and things all with the simple use of Aspects that get to the core of anything that he designs and creates, and again these can be Invoked or Compelled as part of FATE Core collaborative play between the players and between the Game Master and the players. Unlike FATE Core there is less of this collaborative effort involved during character creation, primarily because FATE of Cthulhu does not involve the worldbuilding that is part of the core rules
 

cranebump

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I have had nothing but good experiences with FATE so far. I have used it primarily to introduce noobs to TTRPG's, with age ranges as low as 12. Almost everyone immediately grocks the Aspect system and FP economy. I used FAE for the youngest group (and after school cadre of 6-8 graders), and FATE Core, by RAW, and have also used a modified (read slightly truncated) skills list. I have made my own hack for it, using some ideas from FATE Condensed (smaller Stress values, for instance).

Observations:
*It can do literally anything, and do it passably well. I've specifically run: straight fantasy; swords and "saucery" (an alien invasion in a fantasy world); and pulpy occult. The times are numerous when I've been musing about various types of genres, to include doing some of my own designs, and I always seem to end up thinking, "...or I could just use FATE."

*I've yet to have a player tell me they didn't like the system. Bear in mind these are mostly noobs, though. That said, my last group of 6 had 3 members who
were mainly 5E players (and one who had played a lot of PF/3.5). No complaints. Might be different with grizzled vets, I dunno.

*It's easy to create threats, NPCs, Organizations, what have you, using the FATE fractal.

*I enjoy the interactive nature of campaign building with the players (which is how the "swords & saucery" thing came about). That said, a GM preferring to whip up their own stuff completely on their own is welcome to do it.

*I really like that you can take social damage. It really opens up avenues for characters to get mental. I can only imagine Hannibal Lecter's skills in this area (not that I particularly WANT to imagine Hannibal too much, because, well...he's an evil bastard).:-)

*Combat is interesting, thanks to the creation of aspects, including scene aspects, which encourages creative thinking (use of terrain, for example).

*I like the dice.:-)

The downsides:
*Generally difficult to find players. Especially hard to pry people away from 5E/PF.

*As much as I've enjoyed the system, I'm not entirely on board with FP economy. I'd really rather have a set # of FP's/player/session. That said, I roll with it, and it works as intended.

*I'm not a super big fan of stunts. Not sure if it's the specificity, the fact you have to spend points, or what. Just not entirely my favorite thing. This is also the area where I have to coach players the most (stunt creation). FATE Condensed does a better job of explaining how this is done. Most of the time, new players rely on the "Because I _____________________ I can _____________________ when I _______________ ." Beyond that, players tend to fixate on stunts too much (in my experience), which can interfere with simply reacting organically.

What I'd like to try:
*I've written up a hack that uses Careers in place of Stunts. If the Career is applicable to a check, you can invoke stunts/bonuses on the spot. Haven't playtested it yet, though, because downside reason #1 (hard to find players).

Overall: I've had lots of good experiences with it, and would happily run it again. Though I might use my Careers hack of it next time.:-)

P.S. With regards to FATE and immersion, I don't find it to be any different from any other system I've run. And since the characters tend to be truly unique (i.e., no races, classes, codified feats and so on), the players really do get into their characters,
 

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I don't even know where to begin. I bought the core book years ago, and I find it an impenetrable enigma.

I see all the jargon about aspects and invokes, and my eyes glaze over. It seems absolutely alien to me. I see systems which appear dedicated to determining when and who has the right to contribute something, and I wonder if I'm misinterpreting things or if I'm not and why anyone would want to conduct things that way.

So yeah. I'm totally lost to the point where I can't even ask a coherent question to help clarify things.
The reason FATE completely boggles your mind is that it’s not the same kind of Roleplaying game you’re used to. You’re not Roleplaying a character in a Living World, you’re telling a story about that character in that Living World, and Roleplaying inside that story. It requires you to take part in authorship of what’s happening and make decisions the character has no way of making.

If you read the posts by Robert Hanz linked above, you’ll see “Fiction, not Physics”. Han Solo doesn’t blow away the Stormtrooper because his stats and skills are high and he’s using a customised blaster that does 5D+2 of damage. He blew the Stormtrooper away because you narrated something that gave you Create Advantage, and you had the Aspects Gunslinger and Custom Blaster.

It’s a fundamentally different mindset, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Some people can switch back and forth between the mindsets effortlessly, others just will never get FATE because what it offers is not why they play Roleplaying games to begin with.
 

CRKrueger

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Yeah these tales regarding lack of immersion in Fate Core are really weird.
In our games things start off 3rd Person, but soon move to a seamless mix between 1st Person and 3rd Person, depending upon the situation.

The players often say "I do this", just as much as 'My character is doing this"

So I don't see the issue. I started way back with RQ2 and Call of Cthulhu, and they both implied this mixed 1st Person/3rd Person approach at times.
Fate Core has just stated it a bit more clearly

In addition to this, the Fate rules often fade easily into the background, allowing the narration to be quite rich.
Lack of imersion has never been an issue with my group, and we have really enjoyed most of our Fate games :thumbsup:
First Person/Third Person is much more than ”I” vs. “My character”. It’s the definition of whether you are thinking and speaking about the character or as the character. When you’re negotiating Invokes and Compels, there’s no way you could be doing that as the character. By very definition it’s 3rd person, and not being immersed in the character. Some people define thinking in 3rd person about the character (Like talking about what you’re going to buy at the market) as Roleplaying, and to an extent, it is, you’re even thinking what the character wants. But, Roleplaying in the abstract is not immersive.

Making choices your character couldn’t make doesn’t bother some people, nor does a very loose system where the reality of something depends on the spending of a metacurrency.

Others just can’t wrap their head around it at all.

Others understand it, it’s just not their cuppa like PbtA isn’t their cuppa.
 

CRKrueger

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One thing.
Just like PbtA, I don’t see why FATE couldn’t be used for anything. They’re both narrative engines, not physics engines, so as long as the names of the stats, stunts, aspects etc. are created to work within the setting, they’ll support and push the Narrative for Sam Spade or Vietnam Grunts just as well as they do for Gorilla Scientists and Zeppelins.
 

cranebump

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Well even the fellows over on Nerdarchy tried out Fate and liked it. Not all experienced players are closed off to 'new' rulesets as much as the net may give that impression.


That's true! I watched that vid, as a matter of fact. I only meant to say I hadn't experienced it with more experienced gamers, is all. Well, outside myself.:-)
 
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Mankcam

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First Person/Third Person is much more than ”I” vs. “My character”. It’s the definition of whether you are thinking and speaking about the character or as the character. When you’re negotiating Invokes and Compels, there’s no way you could be doing that as the character. By very definition it’s 3rd person, and not being immersed in the character. Some people define thinking in 3rd person about the character (Like talking about what you’re going to buy at the market) as Roleplaying, and to an extent, it is, you’re even thinking what the character wants. But, Roleplaying in the abstract is not immersive.

Making choices your character couldn’t make doesn’t bother some people, nor does a very loose system where the reality of something depends on the spending of a metacurrency.

Others just can’t wrap their head around it at all.

Others understand it, it’s just not their cuppa like PbtA isn’t their cuppa.
For my group the only initial issue with Fate Core was getting used to how the Fate Point currency worked. After a few sessions it faded into the background, just as seamlessly as rolling dice to resolve actions. So it didn't end up being a big deal, it's not like 2D20's meta-currency, well not for us in any case.

(But I can see how initial sessions may find Fate Points clumsy).

We also find it's really no problems jumping back and forth between 1st Person/3rd Person, we've done it for years, so it's nothing new to my crowd.

But there is definately some polarised thinking that some games are firmly 1st Person whilst others are firmly 3rd Person

Which is true - the old "You Are The Adventurer!" tag that was on Fighting Fantasy books and D&D boxes.

We assumed that it was mainly adolescent players who stuck rigidly to these notions (but in recent years I have realised that this is not always the case)

I remember doing things with Rolemaster, RuneQuest, Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu, and Classic World of Darkness characters that were often poor choices, but it keeping with how we thought those characters would behave for the sake of the story. So it's not all that much a novel concept for us.

My old BRP group was typically 70% 1st Person/30% 3rd Person - perhaps a bit more with WoD - now when we play Fate we reverse that, or maybe go more 50/50, something like that

I now understand that some people find it difficult, but it seems unusual to me as it's never really been immersion-breaking for us :thumbsup:
 
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Trippy

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I don’t think there are barriers for older gamers - speaking as one - as usual, its just whether you like the conventions of the game or not. If you find it mind boggling or too unfamiliar, its more to do with your own personal mode of play I guess.

Curiously, at the table, my main feelings are that the Fate dice tend to come up with the same middling results more often than I am used too. I prefer the D6-D6 method - but you have to adjust the scores a little to get it right, mathematically. The freeform traits can leave some players at sea, although I like the option of choosing traits in play as you go, which works. The ‘economy’ play of fate points can be dependent on who is running the game, I have found - if the GM is liberal or stingy with their distribution, it can make the gameplay feel more or less ‘meta’. I probably wouldn’t use it for games where the genres are supposed to be more unforgiving, like horror.

Beyond that, I think its a useful, generic game system - which is well supported with lots of interesting mini-settings.
 

Mankcam

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I never really got into many of the published settings for Fate Core, but I have always found it no dramas to adapt any setting or genre to it.

It's been great for homebrews, so much so that it superceeded my beloved BRP BGB as a generic rpg rule set.

I think the main drawback for me is the feeling of a limited range of results with rolling 4DF all the time. That does get a bit bland at times.

I greatly prefer rolling a D100%, or a D20 + Skill, but that's just my personal preference.

On the flipside I enjoy the simplicity of Fate character sheets, and the list of Aspects being descriptors takes a prominent place on the sheet, which is really good for helping form a rich mental picture of the character

I run BRP (RQ, CoC, Mythras) and D&D 5E, but tend to use Fate Core for alot of my other homebrew stuff these days.

Recently I ran a very successful Middle Earth campaign using Fate Core, and also an occasional contemporary Action Flick style game with Fate Core. The system supported both settings and genres quite well, and I think its great how it faded into the background so well. We barely remember what system we were using, we almost just remember playing different settings, so it has worked quite well.

My friend is currently trying to figure out whether to use Fate Core to run us through a Star Wars game, or to come up with an Arabian Nights homebrew.

So Fate Core is getting used quite a bit with my group, it's been great for our homebrew games :thumbsup:
 
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dbm

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I really like Fate, I think it is a really elegant system. Unfortunately my group doesn’t really enjoy it.
This is one the things that really confuse me.

What is and isn’t an Aspect?

And what actions require the use of Fate Points?

If an environmental Aspect favors a PC’s action and said PC is all out of Fate Points, does said PC gets no benefit from the Aspect in question?

e.g. sneaky PC wants to ambush an enemy and can only get the +2 from the “Foggy Night” Aspect by spending a Fate Point?
The way I look at it, is that an aspect is something that might make a difference, or it might not. The difference in Fate is that this ‘might or not’ is in the control of the player, not the GM.

As an example, let’s say you are playing GURPS and are in a room which the GM describes as dark. In GURPS, the penalty for illumination is between -1 and -10. Let’s say you’re in that room and trying to hide whilst a security guard walks past. You are going to need a skill contest between your Stealth and their Perception to remain hidden.

So, how dark is it in the room? The GM would have to decide, and there is a set of guidelines in the book, which 95% of GMs would need to look up to do it accurately. That’s dull and slows things down, so the GM says “Just do the test, and if it makes a difference we’ll look it up.”

What happens next is the player and GM both roll, and we work out the margin of success, or more importantly in this case, failure. If the player has made their roll, no checking of the modifiers is needed. If they failed by more than 10, you don’t need to check either. It is clearly a fail.

In between is the interesting bit in terms of how GURPS and Fate do a similar thing by different means. Let’s say the PC failed to hide by four. If the darkness penalty is -4 or bigger, they are hidden. Whilst the book has guidelines it will (1) take time to look those up, (2) there is still an element of GM decision making which can in practice mean choosing whether or not the skill is successful and (3) there may be negotiation between the GM and player as to whether the GM assessment is ‘correct’ or if the darkness mod should be higher and so let them succeed.

In short, sometimes the level of illumination makes a difference, and sometimes it doesn’t. The GM decides whether or not it does make that difference.

In Fate, a very similar mechanic would be used, with the players rolling their ‘stealth’ skill against either a static target or the skill total of the NPC. The room would have the aspect ‘dark’.

The player rolls, and if they have succeeded all is good. If they have failed by one or two (and keep in mind the tight bell curve that 4dF generates, meaning that is quite a big proportion of results) then invoking the aspect would mean they pass. Here, there is no table lookup needed, so it is quick to resolve. And to stop the players always deciding that circumstances favour them it is ‘rationed’ by requiring a Fate point to be spent.

Again in short, sometimes the level of illumination makes and difference and sometimes it doesn’t. Now the player gets to decide, however, and this is metered by Fate points.

That’s it, in my mind. Aspects are like any other situation modifier except for how they are operated.

Now, the implication of this is tasks which are officially the purview of the GM in ‘traditional’ games are shifted to the player. In my opinion, this is how some people are shifted out of an immersive perspective.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this. Most of our players also GM, so they are used to thinking about the rules. And we move fluidly between first person, third person and more ‘game‘ level modes (e.g. when the battle map gets set up for combat) in play. As I mentioned at the top, Fate didn’t work for our group but that was more that it felt ‘too same-y’ (i.e. homogenous) in terms of how the game played, in contrast with more differentiated systems like GURPS, D&D etc.
 

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With Fate, I prefer to focus on Aspects that related to characters. I find that more intuitive and given the role of Aspects as "spotlight managers" and that there is only ever a limited amount available in session, it makes sense to place it on the characters rather than the scenary.

Leaving Aspect to characters was pretty consistent with Fate 2, was still largely consistent with Fate 3 but it started to feel swiming against the stream with Fate Core.
 
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TheophilusCarter

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For my group the only initial issue with Fate Core was getting used to how the Fate Point currency worked. After a few sessions it faded into the background, just as seamlessly as rolling dice to resolve actions. So it didn't end up being a big deal, it's not like 2D20's meta-currency, well not for us in any case.

(But I can see how initial sessions may find Fate Points clumsy).

We also find it's really no problems jumping back and forth between 1st Person/3rd Person, we've done it for years, so it's nothing new to my crowd.

But there is definately some polarised thinking that some games are firmly 1st Person whilst others are firmly 3rd Person

Which is true - the old "You Are The Adventurer!" tag that was on Fighting Fantasy books and D&D boxes.

We assumed that it was mainly adolescent players who stuck rigidly to these notions (but in recent years I have realised that this is not always the case)

I remember doing things with Rolemaster, RuneQuest, Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu, and Classic World of Darkness characters that were often poor choices, but it keeping with how we thought those characters would behave for the sake of the story. So it's not all that much a novel concept for us.

My old BRP group was typically 70% 1st Person/30% 3rd Person - perhaps a bit more with WoD - now when we play Fate we reverse that, or maybe go more 50/50, something like that

I now understand that some people find it difficult, but it seems unusual to me as it's never really been immersion-breaking for us :thumbsup:
That's been our experience as well. It hasn't required anything remotely like a different approach or experience than all the Savage Worlds we played. IME, YMMV, but I do get rubbed the wrong way when I see all the rhetoric from fans and detractors alike about how incredibly different it is from other RPGs. (Not you, obviously: I just mean throughout the Interwebz in general.)

I never really got into many of the published settings for Fate Core, but I have always found it no dramas to adapt any setting or genre to it.

It's been great for homebrews, so much so that it superceeded my beloved BRP BGB as a generic rpg rule set.

I think the main drawback for me is the feeling of a limited range of results with rolling 4DF all the time. That does get a bit bland at times.

I greatly prefer rolling a D100%, or a D20 + Skill, but that's just my personal preference.

On the flipside I enjoy the simplicity of Fate character sheets, and the list of Aspects being descriptors takes a prominent place on the sheet, which is really good for helping form a rich mental picture of the character

I run BRP (RQ, CoC, Mythras) and D&D 5E, but tend to use Fate Core for alot of my other homebrew stuff these days.

Recently I ran a very successful Middle Earth campaign using Fate Core, and also an occasional contemporary Action Flick style game with Fate Core. The system supported both settings and genres quite well, and I think its great how it faded into the background so well. We barely remember what system we were using, we almost just remember playing different settings, so it has worked quite well.

My friend is currently trying to figure out whether to use Fate Core to run us through a Star Wars game, or to come up with an Arabian Nights homebrew.

So Fate Core is getting used quite a bit with my group, it's been great for our homebrew games :thumbsup:
Yah, that's me too. The simplicity of the character sheet and the ease of home-brewing makes it good for my group. There are other games I'd be happy to play as well that I just won't get the buy-in I need from my players.

With Fate, I prefer to focus on Aspects that related to characters. I find that more intuitive and given the role as "spotlight managers" and that there is only ever a limited amount available in session, it makes sense to place it on the characters rather than the scenary.

Leaving Aspect to characters was pretty consistent with Fate 2, was still largely consistent with Fate 3 but it started to feel swiming against the stream with Fate Core.
I like aspects mainly for characters as well. When I introduced Fate (and ICONS, which is similar in this "aspect" ... ), I started with character aspects, just treating them like free-form edges and hindrances from Savage Worlds, with the twist that any aspect can be an edge or a hindrance depending on the situation, and that's worked really well. Then I let my players know that NPCs have aspects as well, which they (the players) can also tag when relevant. Last, I use aspects for environments and other things, but I tend to use that sparingly, as flavor for very specific things, not as something to spam in every scene. Again, all very traditional.
 

Nobby-W

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This is one the things that really confuse me.

What is and isn’t an Aspect?
An aspect is free-form from a narrative perspective, but has specific interactions with the mechanics. It's a sort of second order abstraction, in that your players are expected to design the aspects but they interact with the mechanics in specific ways. However, rulebooks do a poor job of explaining how to design aspects, which makes them quite confusing for a lot of folks. Basically, an aspect is a conceit about your character (you can make up anything within reason). To design one that works well, you need to come up with how it should be used. Aspects may have effects that don't require FATE points to play if the GM/Party is down with that, but the basic mechanics go like this:
  • Aspects grant permission, for example special powers (perhaps your character is a wizard, has super powers or is a psi sensitive) or status (King's brother). Invoke the aspect by spending a FATE point to do something that is special to the aspect. It may also have passive effects if the DM allows it.
  • You can invoke an aspect to gain a bonus on something through the aspect. Normally this costs a FATE point, so one would expect the effect to be a bit more dramatic than just a skill roll.
  • You can have an aspect invoked against you - this allows the DM to bribe you to take something adverse happening through the aspect. When this happens you get a FATE point to use.
  • The aspect can be compelled - this allows the DM to bribe you to do something that gets you into trouble in exchange for a FATE point. You can also self-compel.
Designing aspects is really about coming up with ways they can be used for one or more of the above. If an aspect can't be used for a mechanical effect then it's not going to pull its weight.

There are also stunts, which are a bit like feats. Depending on what's agreed they may or may not cost FATE points to use. It's more usual for them to only apply in specific circumstances, such as a sniper getting a bonus when shooting an aimed shot from a distance.
And what actions require the use of Fate Points?
Invoking aspects, amongst other things. You can also use FATE points as bennies to goose your rolls.
If an environmental Aspect favors a PC’s action and said PC is all out of Fate Points, does said PC gets no benefit from the Aspect in question?

e.g. sneaky PC wants to ambush an enemy and can only get the +2 from the “Foggy Night” Aspect by spending a Fate Point?
Situational aspects may have free invokes. It's up to the DM. You could also use it through the 'create advantage' mechanic.
 
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Winterblight

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Its been a while since I've ran FATE. I've ran it exactly twice, different groups. When I first read the the rules, I could see the potential of it for running different genres. Unfortunately, on both occasions, it fell kind of flat. Some of my players really struggled, I struggled. Where I really struggled was helping the players understand. I thought I understood - but no plan survives contact with the enemy as they say. I've read the rules several times since, but my brain just doesn't work in the way FATE needs it to. I've played another game, Ingenero, that has narrative mechanics and my group's struggled with that also.

I've never really been able to explain why It didn't work. Lots of folk play it, It reads well.

I think perhaps its the level of abstraction and the fact that there is a design factor that the players have to actively engage with. My groups are definitely the kind of folk that would visit an abstract gallery and then demand their money back because all they could see is paint splattered on the wall. The one guy in the group that I would have thought would have really engaged with abstract concepts such as aspects, wasn't interested. He turns up to sessions to disengage, he just sits back and his character goes with the flow as the story unwinds around him and rolls dice from time to time.
 
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