Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Initial Thoughts: FATE Accelerated

FATE Accelerated is a newer version of FATE, which in itself is a variation of FUDGE.  You don't have to know the difference or the history... though I might do a history piece of on it one day; gotta have that blog fodder, you know?

Evil Hat Productions are old hat at doing genre specific versions of Fate.  Their releases garner almost universal acclaim and they have even got awarded top honors a few times for new RPG.  I initially was very skeptical of these honors, because I had a prejudice against Fate.  I wondered if what amounted to "setting" or "campaign" books should be considered different games altogether.  I still haven't shaken that thought, but it might be due to my ignorance of the system.  Lately they have gotten away from Genre or licensed property games and have been trying to produce universal "works for everything" systems.

So I came across this dilemma.  I love 3x D&D and I love Savage Worlds, but if I was ever going to make a Harry Potter Universe game for my girlfriend, it would require SOOO much work and research into the spells.  Then, at the end of the day, the game would not feel like Harry Potter because they don't care about how many times you can cast a spell, or knowing specifically the distances and all that.  The game SYSTEM would care, but the characters should not.  Then I read about Fate Accelerated's stat system.

Fate Accelerated was a Kickstarter project.  They have the PDF for free on the website.  Really, its there, all legal and everything, go grab it and have yourself a read(link at the bottom if I remember to put it there).  It was designed to be a quick version of Fate so that you and your friends could just decide to play, and get characters and a world going in less than 20 minutes.  This "group together" thing is emphasized by the fact that its almost impossible to finish a character without the group's input into relationships and stuff.  The game is geared to make NEW stories right when you all sit down.  This is not a game for those that like to create self contained characters and GM's that like to create a novel for the group to play through, this is not that kind of game.(the GM could easily keep a list of settings and even scenes though)

Fate's stat system is a system of "approaches" instead of physical/mental attributes.  They describe how your character approaches a problem or situation.  Instead of muscle and wisdom, your approaches are: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, Sneaky.  That's your stats and basically your "skills" all in one go.  In my example, you do not make a huge list of spells you know; you simply say "I use my exspeloramus(spelling, I know) spell to cleverly knock the wand from their hand".  The GM can argue that's force, but in the end the group settles the discussion and there ya go.

You do get some stunts, but they just augment your abilities instead of being something you'd use as a spell list.  Again, taking Potter, you might list "Petronus materialization" which means that when you cast your expecto Patronus spell, instead of being a cone of force(like Early Prisoner of Azkarban), you summon the spirit creature(like in Order of Phoenix), giving you a +2 to things it would help with.  Harry might also have that summon spell that, but his stunt is that he can call his broom from insanely long distances.  You get the picture... I hope.

The Fate points and how the game works is really neat too.  It gives the players a bit of "GM'ing" ability while playing, so that they can create their own parts of the story.  They can create problems so that they can get Fate points, or they can create advantageous conditions to help during a challenge.  Someone can just say "its raining" and there it is, raining.  Someone can say "I check under the doormat and find the key" instead of going through what the GM planned.  That might scare some GM's, but its not quite that easy to alter the world, you'll have to learn the system to find out.

My girlfriend said its like playing a dream where all the players are lucid dreamers.  Since I'm a lucid dreamer, I think this analogy fits really well.

I'll do some more Fate related posts later.  I want to talk about the differences between Bennies and Fate Points, and I might give some better examples on how the players create the world.

Fate Accelerated Official site

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