Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FATE Core -- Initial Impressions

FATE! Boom! Right there, baby!
I helped Kickstart Fate Core, and my copy of the hardback came in yesterday! Yay! I love the Fate system, and I've gotten a lot of fun out of Spirit of the Century and The Dresden Files RPG. It mixes mechanics that are at the very top of my "crunchinesss" limit with enough soft story-game elements to tweak that part of my gamer brain. Aspects are wonderful things that I've successfully tacked onto things like BECMI D&D.

So I was excited to get a new, cleaner, meaner, easier-to-grok version of Fate. And now I have it in my hands. Sure, I've had the PDF for a while now, but I really hate reading PDFs of any great size. I waited until I got the dead-tree copy before trying to absorb the game.

The physical book just looks great. It's 6x9 inches, which is my favorite size format for RPG books. The hardcover has a nice matte finish with a satiny feel to it. The pages feel good and sturdy (better than the print-on-demand paper I'm used to these days) with very dark blacks. The illustrations throughout are nice, clear grayscale and not muddy at all.

The new version of Fate isn't too different from the old version. Most of the major changes seem to be to terminology, getting rid of a lot of jargon and replacing old terms with more intuitive names. What used to be called a "Tag" is now a "Free Invoke." "Invoking for Effect" is now just called "a player compelling their own aspect." The number of  Aspects has been reduced to five, and the skills list has been trimmed down. Some old skills have been combined into one skill. For instance, Fists and Weapons have been combined into "Fighting." "Provoke" combines the elements of several old social skills.

Blocks, Assessments, and Maneuvers don't seem to be a thing any more. They're all are more or less absorbed into what's called "Creating an Advantage."

Good, clean step-by-step guidelines for creating stunts are here, too. We've also got helpful guides for creating game settings. It's very similar to City creation from The Dresden Files RPG.

I'm still making my way through the book, but I love what I see so far. It's got me excited to start a Fate game. I'm not sure how easy it will be to retrofit the new rules to our existing Dresden game. It probably wouldn't be too hard, but I'm very eager to see what Dresden Files Accelerated has to offer.

I've been hoping to run some classical fantasy once my home group is done with Stars Without Number. It might be easier to talk them into some Fate fantasy rather than Labyrinth Lord or LotFP. Some light heroic fantasy inspired by the 8-bit and 16-bit video game RPGs I loved back in the day? Perhaps...

Actually, a Fate Core version of Funkadelic Frankenstein sounds really damn tempting.

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