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The Book of Hanz

Some advice for new Fate players

Character Creation

  • Choose your aspects wisely: Remember, aspects are more about your character's story than anything else. Feat/Advantage equivalents are in stunts.
  • Choose your top three skills carefully. It's a tendency in many games that hyper-specialization is the way to win. This is less true in Fate, where skills tend to be more "complete". Think of a variety of scenarios you think you'll be in, and try to have a skill that will be useful in each -Remember that the advice for GMs, for solo enemies at least, is to have their peak skill at the PC peak 2. When encountering an enemy like that, you'd better have something that can target one of their weak areas.
  • Remember that nothing on your character sheet is permanent. Skills, stunts, aspects, they should all change over time.
  • If you can, don't set all of your stunts at first. See what situations you find yourself in frequently, and tailor your stunts to that (and your character).
  • Seriously consider the stunts outside of the typical "2 to skill when " mold. They can be surprisingly effective.
  • Make sure you and the GM have an understanding of what your stunts and aspects do -when they come into play, how they can be used, how they won't be used.

Basic strategy

  • The number one "strategy" in Fate is to get a good skill matchup. Try to find a way to bring one of your better skills into play.
  • Against any opposition, it's more important to have a higher relative skill than a higher absolute skill. 2 vs. 0 is better than 4 vs 6.
  • Don't get too paranoid even by imposing opposition. It's nearly impossible to be Taken Out in a single hit.
  • Create Advantage is your friend.
  • Teamwork is also your friend. You may not be able to get a good Attack matchup, but you can definitely pass along those free invokes (if narratively appropriate) to someone else on your side, who can use them to clean up.

Playing the Game

  • Play "fiction-first". Think of what you want to do in the "fiction", and then work with the GM to translate that into game mechanics. Frankly, Fate doesn't really have enough "crunch" to play a mechanics-first game.
  • Prepare to fail. Fate is a game where occasional failure is encouraged. Don't fear it. If you're playing Fate "by the book," a failure of any sort doesn't end the game or the story, it just pushes it in a different direction. Don't feel you have to "win" every encounter/scene -save the Fate Points for where you really, really want the story to go a particular way.
  • Conceding is your friend. If you're getting your butt handed to you, Concede! It's a lot better than being Taken Out, and you'll even get Fate Points for it!
  • Self-compel whenever you can. The GM will complicate your life. That's his job. By self-compelling, you at least get a Fate Point out of the deal.
  • Be proactive. Call for scenes. Figure out how you want to drive the story forward. A good Fate GM will work with this -after all, your characters are the protagonists and should drive the story, not just react to what happens.
  • Think in terms of goals. Your actions should be geared to drive the story forward. Figure out what "amazing success" looks like, and make sure the GM knows what you're after. Fate is less about probing the existing scenario, and more about driving a story forward. Even if your "amazing success" doesn't make sense for some reason, the GM can at least give you something similar.
  • Negotiate with the GM, but accept that some things won't go your way. In Fate, the GM has a lot of power. And sometimes you'll disagree with him. Fate also recommends bringing things up to the table, and so a good GM will do so when there's a dispute. Sometimes, though, you'll still disagree with the final answer. Deal with it. If it's not happening all of the time, and isn't just completely ruining the game, let it go. Think about it after the game, and if it still bugs you, take it up with the GM -away from the table.

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