Saturday, 15 June 2013

Musings on Fate Accelerated Edition

I've been recently considering using some version of the FATE system to run the God Machine Chronicle World of Darkness game that i'll be starting in a week or twos time (i'll be putting up a post about the GMC game separately at  some point in the near future); having become increasingly non-plussed at the more complicated rules systems inherent in many roleplaying games and given my recently switch to using a slightly adapted version of FATE core rules for my Rogue Trader game (there is a post on that here and my FATE hack is available for download here) I started considering using some version of FATE to run a world of darkness game.

Obviously a world of darkness game involving the various supernatural strains that populate the game world would require some sort of consideration for the various powers and abilities of the different creatures; luckily for me my GMC is a short-term (4 or 5 sessions only) that is going to feature entirely mortals and so this isn't a hurdle that I need to handle at the moment (although several individuals on the various G+ communities have been extremely helpful). Adam Boothroyd suggested that I might want to have a look at Fate Accelerated Engine, a streamlined version of the FATE core system.

Size
Looking at FAE the most immediately obvious difference between it and FATE core is the size of the two PDFs, with Core weighing in at 300+ pages and FAE only being about 50 pages in length; skimming through the book it seems that a lot of the stuff that has been trimmed is the abundance of GMing advice that has been provided in the Core book, this is understandable and the FAE book itself isn't shy about pointing out where you can locate stuff in its parent tome. 

Approaches
Another major difference is that, unlike Core, FAE eschews the use of the more common skills present in most RPGs, instead positing the use of six approaches describing the manner that characters approach an action with rather than a specific skill (for example, instead of looking at your Fighting skill you might look at your Forceful approach).

The six approaches described in the game are:


  • Careful
  • Clever
  • Flashy
  • Forceful
  • Quick
  • Sneaky


    They are rating from 0 to +5 using the FATE ladder in the same manner as skills in the Core.

    Aspects
    Aspects work pretty much in the same way as the Core system with one Aspect being chosen as the 'High Concept' to sum up the character and the other representing some sort of 'Trouble' that throws up challenges in the character's life. Aspects can be invoked by the player by expending a fate point to either give them +2 to a roll or to completely re-roll their original result, as long as the action fits in with the Aspect in question; for example if the player had Aspect 'Crack shot with a pistol' then he could invoke it to give him an advantage when making a trick shot with a pistol.

    Players and other people can also compel Aspects to add complications or twists in the game plot; this is the main way of earning fate points within the system.

    Stunts
    Stunts work similarly to the way that they do in the Core game with the exception that skill swapping stunts are no longer part of the picture. Two types are stunt are posited in the game system:

    • Stunts that give you a +2 bonus in certain situations
    • The second type of Stunt allows you to make something true, do something cool or otherwise ignore the rules in some way.


      The explanation of what Stunts can accomplish is extremely clear in FAE and should be easy to explain to people unfamiliar with the rules.

      Gamemastering Advice
      The Gamesmaster chapter that is offered in FAE is extremely concise, but very useful; the advice on creating opponents suggests giving them a +2 bonus to things that they are good at and a -2 penalty on things that they are bad at, a couple of aspects and a couple of stress boxes, this is an extremely simply way of defining the opponents that can be done without the GM having to agonise over Skills and Stunts.

      There are some other differences, such as FAE only using one stress track but the majority of differences have been covered by the points above.

      Overall I think that FAE is an extremely worthy addition to the FATE school of products and it is certainly one that i'm planning to use for my God Machine Chronicle; I think that FAE would certainly be a good alternative for a game where you want to get started quickly or have to introduce new people to the FATE rules system. The two systems are also very compatible and, with a little tweaking, I find it hard to imagine how anything designed for FATE Core wouldn't be usable with FAE.

      A highly useful RPG that I look forward to trying out :)