Sunday, March 9, 2014

Playing with Fate Accelerated

Fate Accelerated and Fate Core

I see a number of games coming out that offer an expansion to meet Fate Accelerated, but I am always reminded of a post by +Fred Hicks on how the two are not different games. Fate Accelerated tones down some of the options, but not by actually toning them down. Instead, it says if you want to know more about this or that, check out the thicker book (i.e., Fate Core). I have been wanting to try out Fate Accelerated for a while now and I finally got a chance the other night. I ran a game.

Now, not to blow my own horn or anything, but it sucked. I didn’t hit on a lot of the Fate-esque things. We barely touched aspects, compels, setting up advantages, etc. But, I did do what I set out to do. I got to see how approaches work. Now, admittedly, I do one thing a little differently. And, in talking with +Robert Hanz , it is probably better this way. The book for Fate Accelerated talks about players choosing which approach to use based on their description of the action. I submit, however, that the GM should be able to declare which approach is best based on the description of the action. Sure, players can and should suggest what approach they believe is best, but it should be finally decided upon by the GM.

As an RPG, Fate Accelerated allowed me to do some things that I’ve been trying to do for some time now. Take, for example, the modern espionage or GI Joe type role playing game. There are actually a lot of ways to do it. However, even with Fate Core, players are left having to play with modified rules or fewer options than usual, because you would expect characters who are all part of an elite military force to have certain skills and abilities. Want to try d20? Look at all the feats and levels one would have to acquire. Even the d20 spin-off Spycraft leaves you wanting as you could spend 10+ levels and never be able to make Snake Eyes. Savage Worlds has the same kind of flaws, but isn’t too far off, especially with rules modifications built into the system. Cortex Plus comes in as a close second.

Fate Accelerated, which still the same game as Fate, makes a difference with approaches. Here, the descriptors (or aspects) you give your character encompass a wide variety of skills and abilities. Where we would normally have skills and traits, we instead have approaches, which equate more to how our characters go about getting things done rather than what they can accomplish. This allows me to run a game of paramilitary specialists without having people feel like they are playing anything near the same character or spinning their wheels in an attempt to create the character they really want to play.

For fun, I’ve even created a handful of GI Joe RPG characters using FAE below.

Mutt & Junkyard

G.I. Joe M.P.
Which one is Mutt again?
Junkyard is meaner than Leroy Brown
Jungle warfare training
Spec Ops security specialist
Careful Superb  (+5)
Clever Good (+3)
Flashy Fair (+2)
Forceful Great (+4)
Quick Average (+1)
Sneaky Good (+3)
Because Junkyard is meaner than Leroy Brown, Mutt gains a +2 when creating an obstacle with his loyal companion.
Because Mutt is a Spec Ops security specialist, once per session, he can easily work around one security checkpoint or piece of security equipment without having to roll.
Stress X X X
Mild (2)
Moderate (4)
Severe (6)
Refresh: 3

Mercenary frequently allied with Cobra
If you can tell who did it, it wasn’t me
The Faceless Master
False Arashikage, true Koga
Always a way out
Careful Good (+3)
Clever Great (+4)
Flashy Fair (+2)
Forceful Average (+1)
Quick Good (+3)
Sneaky Superb (+5)
Because Firefly is the Faceless Master, he gains +2 to sneakily create obstacles whenever others are trying to discover his identity.
Because Firefly knows there is Always a Way Out, once per a session he can concede a conflict and manage to escape without further penalties.
Stress X X X
Mild (2)
Moderate (4)
Severe (6)
Refresh: 3