Fate Core preview first impressions on a read through
I have had a chance to read through (or at least skim, in parts) the build of the Fate Core preview given to backers of Evil Hat Productions’ very-successful Kickstarter campaign. For those that are interested, I thought I would share some of my thoughts here.
This is still the Fate roleplaying game system
Whatever that statement means to you, good or bad, this is still the same Fate system, more or less, that you have come to know over the years. It’s all Aspects and Fudge Dice until the cows come home. In fact, it feels like something of a greatest hits from the previous Fate efforts, taking the parts that worked well (cooperative city building is adapted for use here and shared adventure character creation is still around) and coalescing it into one big game. Zero-to-hero style advancement is also never going to be what Fate does well. So, the truth is, this is still the game that you knew from the last iteration at its core (do you get it?).
A lot of effort has been made to streamline and clarify
This seems to be a big focus of the Evil Hat team and it looks to be a big success to me. Terminology that just made things unnecessarily complicated has been dropped, terms that meant the same thing have been consolidated and – in typical Evil Hat fashion – virtually every rule is followed by an explanation of how that rule works. I don’t mind a little ambiguity and hand-waviness in my rules, for the greater part, so I was never much bothered to begin with, but there is no doubt that this is the clearest iteration of the Fate ruleset that I have read yet. The rules for Extras, in particular, do a good job – in my opinion – of showing you ways of expanding the game by nudging things in a different direction.
That said, there is still some of that squishiness
Look, whatever RPG you believe has absolutely air-tight rules, Fate Core (and previous Fate iterations) uses Aspects that allow things like letting players get some minor narrative control. This means that the rules cannot be perfect. Things are up to GM fiat or table agreement or whatever. Can a player say that they have X object on them after using a fate point? I guess that’s up to you. It’s not going to be in the rules and – honestly – with Fate – it probably never will be. That hasn’t changed in this edition and I think it’s something endemic to the system.
It’s a pretty hefty book
I mean, it’s probably not the biggest RPG ever, and much of the thickness is taken up with examples and clarifications, but it’s right around 300 pages and covers a lot of ground including the aforementioned Extras section and a nice chunk on how to create and run scenarios. There’s nothing I can think of (I’m sure you’ll tell me I’m wrong down in the comments) that I really wanted in that I didn’t find.
I’m a fan of the system and I strongly like this book
This is my final thought and – I suppose – should serve as a bit of a disclaimer. Fate is, essentially, my default system. Oh, I’m a strange duck in that I love learning systems and there are a bunch of them that I enjoy because they do interesting or clever things that I would have never thought to do. I’ll buy rules systems just to read them, to see the cleverness of these authors at work and how they model rules to create a world. But, day-to-day, for running the style of game that I usually like to run, with big heroics and heroes that do interesting things from the start, I tend to default to Fate, so consider this article with that in mind. If you would like more information about Fate Core, you can find it over on the Kickstarter page.