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The Book of Hanz

Missing rules in Fate

There's a lot of rules that Fate "doesn't have". In many cases, these seem to be rules that are derivatives of the core rules, may be different based on a particular setting, often are variable in nature, and can easily be agreed upon at the table if you have reasonable people.

Take the eternal example: "on fire". Many games say "being on fire means you take some amount of damage per turn."

That's one interpretation. Fate allows for that, with the fractal (though it's usually framed as an attack, not an automatic damage. Close enough.)

But being "on fire" could mean lots of things, everywhere from being fully engulfed in fire to having a couple of flames on your sleeve. Is one answer really correct here? One single mechanic? If not, how many mechanics would it really take to cover all the possible situations? Do we just handle the mechanical, physical effects? What about the instinctual terror that something like being on fire tends to cause? I mean, get me around a wasp, and I guarantee I don't act in any kind of rational manner!

And that's assuming a single genre. A similar cause (say, having your clothes on fire) might have very different effects in different genres -an Action Movie Star might just blow it off, while someone in a horror movie could totally freak out.

Fate Core's model (figure out what you want to do, then apply the rules) handles these variations incredibly well.

There's disadvantages to this approach, of course. The lack of explicit mechanics means that there's room for negotiation and disagreement. If you can't come to some kind of an agreement without Appeal to Authority, Fate isn't going to work for you. If every bit of judgement call is going to result in an hour-long argument with flying dice, Fate definitely ain't the game for you.

Personally, I prefer to game with people that can compromise, accept judgement calls, and don't have to argue about every little thing. So in that way, this weakness is actually a feature, as it's a great way to detect people that I probably won't enjoy gaming with long term anyway.

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