No, this is not a Terminator homage. Actually it's a post about what is exciting me mightily about the FATE RPG system.
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For those of you who don't know, FATE is a FUDGE-derivative RPG system which is currently in the throes of a Kickstarter campaign for the latest (and greatest!) edition: FATE Core (by Evil Hat's +Rob Donoghue and +Fred Hicks). BUT... that's not all!
Another FATE-based game, the excellent Nova Praxis (written by +Mike McConnell), has also recently been funded via Kickstarter. This is an awesome Trans-humanist setting and has been long gestating in the mind of the author.
It's the combination of the two releases that's particularly exciting me.
Those who know me best are aware that I am somewhat addicted to collecting and reading RPG systems. So it was that, several years back, I first came across FATE. To be honest, I wasn't impressed at the time: the "skill pyramid" and the narrative style of play didn't fit with my own approach to roleplaying back then.
Over time, however, I kept bumping into FATE. There was Spirit of the Century. Next was The Dresden Files. More recently there was Diaspora. And Strands of Fate. We even played that last one... used it to introduce my Dark Reich setting to the Friday Night Group.
A couple of months ago +Mike McConnell started the Nova Praxis Kickstarter and, frankly, he hooked me to FATE. When the funding was completed, Mike released the Beta Playtest to the supportive fans. Yesterday he released a second update. It's good stuff... very, very good.
But that's not all. Hot on the heels of McConnell's product has come Evil Hat's FATE Core. It's this last product that, as I began to collaborate on our new SF setting, got me thinking that I'm fated to play it.
What's so good?
I liked FUDGE
way back when, before the turn of the century. I liked it because, at least for me, it was the first narrative game that made sense to me. Most of all I liked the use of descriptive terms to quantify things: your hero is a Good Fighter, not a fighter with Fighting 12 (or whatever).
FATE is narrative gaming all grown-up and mature. Descriptive play is to the fore and the FUDGE-dice are rolled. Yet... it adds the wondrous dynamics of "Aspects":
Aspects are phrases that describe some significant detail about a character. They are the reasons why your character matters, why we’re interested in seeing your character in the game. Aspects can cover a wide range of elements, such as personality or descriptive traits, beliefs, relationships, issues and problems, or anything else that helps us invest in the character as a person, rather than just a collection of stats.
Aspects come into play in conjunction with fate points. When your aspects benefit you, you can spend fate points to invoke that aspect for a bonus. When your aspects complicate your character’s life, you can gain fate points back—this is called accepting a compel.
(FATE Core, Kickstarter Preview Dec 4th)
Aspects define pretty much everything in the game, from heroes to terrain features. It's an immensely simple idea and a very powerful application of simplicity.
For me, I get the freedom of narrative writing and creating whatever I want, however I want it to be, while being able to connect to the game system in a quick and easy manner.
Today I realised that I have lots of FATE tools in my box.
We are building an SF setting, which in itself is exciting. To help, however, we have FATE Core to get us started. But that's not all...
We have Diaspora to inspire the creation of a sector of space. We have Nova Praxis to inspire technology and the futuristic feel of humanity. And we have The Dresden Files to fuel our magick.
We actually also have the excellent Strands of Fate (and Strands of Power) to help us model the various amazing powers and abilities that might be present in the future.
In short, we are not short of tools. Just short of spare time to pick them up and use them. The future, it seems, is filled with FATE. All I need to do now is accept it.
Labels: Fate, GMing, musings, roleplaying, SF