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Fate Core

Veteran's Guide

This is a new version of Fate, which was developed by Evil Hat Productions to update and streamline the system. Here’s a guide to the major changes to the system from previous versions like Spirit of the Century and The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game.

Game and Character Creation

  • Game creation is a variant of Dresden’s city creation, but very pared down. At minimum, you only make two aspects called issues to define your game, with the option to drill down if you want to add aspects to faces and locations.
  • There are fewer aspects in this edition than other Fate games. The number of phases was cut down to three—a significant adventure, and two guest appearances. It’s easier to come up with five good aspects than seven or ten. And because there are game aspects and you can make situation aspects, you shouldn’t be short of things to invoke or compel!
  • If your game is going to use a lot of extras, or you have specific elements in your game that you want every character to describe with aspects (such as species or nationality), you can raise the number of aspect slots. It is not recommended that you go higher than seven character aspects—after that many of them don’t tend to pull their weight in play.
  • If you’ve played The Dresden Files RPG, you know that skill columns were used for that instead of the pyramid. In this build of Fate character creation was built to be as quick and accessible as possible, using a Great (+4) pyramid as standard. If you want to use the columns, go ahead—you get 20 skill points. The skill column didn’t completely go away. It’s just reserved for advancement.
  • 3 refresh, and 3 free stunts. Stress boxes work exactly like The Dresden Files RPG.

Aspects

  • In other Fate games, free invocations were called “tagging.” This was one bit of jargon too many. You can still call it that if you want—whatever helps you and your table understand the rule.
  • You might have seen player-driven compels referred to as “invoking for effect.” It is clearer to just call it a compel, no matter who initiates it.
  • Free invocations now stack with a regular one or stack together with other free invocations on the same aspect. Further, an aspect can hold more than one free invoke at a time.
  • Invoking an aspect attached to another character gives them a fate point at the end of the scene.
  • Compels are subdivided into two specific types: decisions and events. This isn’t a change in how compels work, so much as a clarification, but it’s worth noting.
  • Scene aspects have been renamed to situation aspects, to clear up some confusion over how flexibly they can be applied.

Actions and Stuff

  • The list of actions has been greatly reduced from previous Fate games down to four: overcome, create an advantage, attack, and defend. Movement is now a function of the overcome action, create an advantage subsumes assess/declare/maneuver from previous games under one banner, and blocks can be handled a number of different ways.
  • The game is no longer based on a binary pass/fail. Now there are four outcomes: fail or succeed at cost, tie (succeed at minor cost), succeed, and succeed with style. Each outcome now has a mechanical or story-driven effect, based on what action it’s attached to. Succeeding with style is basically taking spin from previous versions of Fate and applying it across the board.
  • Challenges and contests have been greatly simplified and redesigned.
  • Zone borders have been replaced by the use of situation aspects to determine if it’s even worth rolling for movement. Moving one zone with an action is always free if there’s nothing in the way.
  • On that note, supplemental actions and skill modifiers are completely removed from the system. Either something is interesting enough to roll for, or it isn’t.
  • Teaming up is greatly simplified from previous games—everyone who has at least an Average (+1) at the same skill adds +1 to the person with the highest skill level.

Scenario Creation

  • The advice is way better.

Extras

  • These exist. Whereas each previous Fate game had a specific way of dealing with powers and gadgets and stuff, now there are a variety of options for you to choose from (as befits the toolkit nature of the system).