photo 4I’ve been playing Fate off and on for about four years, starting with its earlier incarnation: Spirit of the Century. I’ve now started playing the new 3.0 version of Fate, an OGL and Creative Commons licensed version of the game expressed in both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition.

First, the core elements of Fate, and why I like it:

  • Puts the focus on roleplaying and the story side of the game.
  • Works best without miniatures since you are sharing narrative control with the players, and they can actually create elements of the scene (an overly detailed map sometimes can get in the way of this player agency).
  • Has ‘Aspects’ which are phrases such as ‘Lady’s Man’ which give you rewards for roleplaying.
  • Pulp-style mechanics (for example, characters are ‘Taken Out’ rather than dying after exceeding their wound thresholds).
  • Point-buy system for skills (Fate Core) or approaches (Fate Accelerated Edition) mean players are well balanced.
  • Allows mega-quick NPC and ‘mook’ creation.
  • The ‘Fate Fractal’ allows you to stat out anything from ships, armies or planets using a simple common mechanic. Essentially you treat everything like a character, and give it flavor with Aspects.
  • Has the best genre emulations of any system I’ve seen. I’ve emulated settings such as Watership Down, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars — each is a breeze to set up and run with the flavor of that setting captured perfectly.
  • Has templates for easy stunt creation (stunts are like feats in D&D or edges in Savage Worlds).
  • Has mechanics called ‘dials’ to customize the rules to match custom settings.

  • The most hackable game system I’ve every seen. Fate Core and FAE are basically ‘toolkits’ from which you assemble your own game.
  • Both Fate Core and FAE are ‘pay what you like’, even free, from Evil Hat Productions or DriveThruRPG.
  • Comes in hard copy, eBook (MOBI or ePub) and PDF.

Both Fate Core and FAE ‘versions’ are simply amazing. I put ‘versions’ in quotes because, as Fred Hicks (from Evil Hat Productions, which puts out these products) will tell you, Fate Accelerated Edition (or FAE for short) is simply a build of Fate 3.0, and compatible with Core. Of the two, Fate Accelerated Edition will be my go-to edition. In my next post I explain why.