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Props (from Return to the Stars)

Return to the Stars was possible because Evil Hat released an SRD for the core rules of their game. To pay this forward, I’m releasing Props rules listed in this post under a Creative Commons attribution licence, so other designers can build on it.

Props rules by Mark Sabalauskas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Fate is a game about people who are not defined by the stuff they carry. Still, loot makes players happy. Props are gear that you can have fun collecting, but which are only used a single time for a dramatic effect. Like an intriguing prop in a well-made science fiction movie, it provides a moment of cool that shakes things up and advances the story, and then you don’t see it again.

Props can only be used once and then discarded afterwards. However, if a GM has an NPC use a prop against the PCs, it should still be available for players to loot if they defeat this foe—turning a resource against the antagonists is a staple of pulp fiction.

Props are found during adventures, they are never purchased.

A PC can keep as many props as they have refreshes—if they exceed that limit, they can give a surplus prop to another player or discard it.

Players always know what the props they’ve acquired do. Sometimes props come with FAQs, or sometimes the characters just figure it out. Struggling to identify what your cool new toy does isn’t fun, so we don’t waste any time on such tasks.

Props often work in a manner similar to stunts, but will often have a more dramatic effect. If a prop seems really in character for a PC, you might decide to make it a more permanent part of the game by converting it into a stunt. But this may require that both
player and GM have a conversation about potentially reworking the text to bring the power in-line with other stunts. Alternatively, you could consider translating the prop into an aspect or extra.

Here are some examples of props you can add to the game:

Cos-Med-Kit—use this as a free action in combat to clear all stress, remove a minor consequence, and reapply your makeup.

Neo-Tape—get +3 to a single attempt to repair something

Self-Destruct Sequencer—use this prop when you concede a conflict. The Self-Destruct Sequencer forces your opponents to take a major consequence. Discard this prop after use.