FAE or FATE Core?

Over on my personal site, I have had a number of posts in recent weeks on the two recently released versions of the FATE game system from Evil Hat Productions: the detailed FATE Core version and the FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE) version. Let’s talk about the changes and why I love them.

The Importance of FATE

Add FATE Points and Stir

The previous article talked about setting up and testing a basic Monte Carlo model of FATE combat. This one tackles the task of introducing FATE points to the model. Most of the article covers testing and optimizing the model. Readers not interested in finicky details of model building are really encouraged to skip to the Results section at the end. Seriously, it’s ten pages of details, just look for the picture of fudge dice.

FATE point mechanics

While different versions of the mechanics change things up a bit most FATE systems use FATE points. FATE points are a limited pool of points that can be spent for a number of different bonuses. However, in order to spend a FATE point the character not only needs a FATE point but needs an appropriate Aspect.

Aspects are character abilities that are usually a phrase or description like “Veteran of Normandy” or “World’s Greatest Mechanic”. In order to use a FATE point in a situation the character has to have an Aspect appropriate to the circumstance. So a “Veteran of Normandy” could spend points on combat rolls or getting along with other veterans while the “World’s Greatest Mechanic” could spend points repairing things or to have a special gadget rigged up in their car.

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Coming to terms with FATE

This series has taken a number of looks at the FATE system in various of its incarnations. One thing that I have diligently avoided is looking at the use of FATE points in combat results. The reason for this is the difficulty of the FATE point rules. They offer a number of choices for a limited resource and their use is situationally driven. However, they represent a very important part of the FATE system and a full understanding of the system requires taking a look at FATE points. In order to bite the bullet and take a look at how FATE points change combat, I first needed a model of FATE combat. Previous articles have looked at Spirit of the Century and FATE 2.0 but I’m not really a fan of those particular versions of FATE. I prefer the overall layout of combat in Starblazer Adventures or the Dresden Files.

This article describes building and testing a Monte Carlo model of an entire fight between two combatants, not just a single roll of the dice, using the Dresden Files FATE combat system. I have used these types of models frequently and the goal here is to take a detailed look at what I’m doing when I put one of these models together. Those uninterested in the model and wanting to cut to the chase should just skip to Table 1. Once I have a functioning basic model I then intend to incorporate FATE points. The actual results of incorporating FATE points will be in the next article.

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Fighting FATE: combat in FATE 2.0

In commenting about his FATE 2.0 game Mark mentioned that his combat was much easier than anticipated. While there are some decided differences, FATE 2.0 mechanics are related to those in Spirit of the Century (SotC). Those following this series will remember that combat in SotC is heavily dependent on skill level and, barring the use of FATE points to change the outcome, a single point of skill difference can pretty much guarantee victory in a fight. So fights will usually be incredibly easy or impossible. This begs the question, how skill dependent are fights in FATE 2.0?

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Variance Supplemental 2: SotC (Wonkish)


This is the second supplement to the Variance and Game Design article. While there are some new observations, it covers much the same ground as the first supplement but for a different system, Spirit of the Century. So if you haven’t read the first supplement you should do that. If you have and are a glutton for punishment then this article is for you.

The System

For my first test I chose a system I was familiar with and had some old questions about. For the second test I chose Spirit of the Century (SotC) because it is a game I haven’t played but really want to, due to some cool sounding mechanics. My biggest reservation about the game, however, was that combat would be heavily influenced by skill level compared to non-combat rolls. So, I looked at SotC mostly to satisfy my own curiosity. Continue reading

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