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The Horrors of Fate Stunts

We asked some Fate players things they found confusing about Fate and below are the results.

Fate Survey Stunts

Aspects and fate points can be challenging to understand, but with some patience and an understanding group you can usually get past the challenges with some easy rulings. Something like “I see what you want to do, but it doesn’t really make sense for the story right now,” can simply bypass a confusing situation all together.

Stunts, on the other hand, can’t really be bypassed. Once they are created, they are there. Once a player takes it and pays for it, it is a real part of the game. If it is too powerful, a GM cannot bypass it so easily. If a player doesn’t know how to use it, it becomes a waste of their refresh. And since stunts are persistent, any problems they cause will not go away after just one session.

Probably the MOST confusing thing about stunts is the open-ended invitation Fate Core makes to design your own with a pirate’s code analogy of guidelines. How can players and GMs judge what stunts abilities will fall in that sweet spot of “limited enough in scope to feel special when you use them, but not so narrow that you never see them come up?” Especially with a game like Fate Core where everyone works together to driver the story.

We’ve touched a bit on making stunts before, and we probably will again soon. But for now let’s take a look at 3 rules when dealing with stunts, three things that you must never EVER do.

No Bright Lights

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Real Life Examples #1: Complications and what to do

We recently asked some people who enjoy Fate Core what parts they found confusing or complicated. We have already covered the most selected response, Aspects and Fate Points here, and here. We plan to also look at Refresh and Stunts in the near future, but right now we wanted to cover a more general area of just complications in general and how they were dealt with.

I guess we are doing a whole series of things on this poll.

Fate Survey

So today we are going to look at some examples of Fate Core situations that got very complicated. It gives me a chance to walk down memory lane, and more importantly it gives us the chance to look at how the rules handle some of the crazy madness that comes from actually playing the games.

So let’s dive right on in.

The Dragon’s Tragic Death

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Simplifying Fate: Aspects and Fate Points

While we work on our next subject of Stunt Myths, related to this poll, we thought we would add something else about simplifying Fate points and Aspects.

Fate Core is a simple streamline system, but that does NOT mean it is always easy to play. The folks at Evil Hat designed it to handle everything, and sometimes figuring out how to cover that within the rules can give you quite the headache. No matter how much I think I know about the rules, there’s always something new to learn or something I assumed to be true that is not.

The trick with understanding how Fate works is to approach it like you would math (ugh) or maybe building with Legos (yay). You have to understand the very basics, and then put those basics together in order to make a complicated structure that looks like what you want. Things go wrong when you miss one of the basic elements, and it affects the large structure as a whole.

So today we are going to take another look at the rules of Fate Core and see how we can keep things simple.

Three Ways to Use Aspects

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Lute and Toot: Ep.1 : Fantasy Adventure

Medieval Fantasy 1shot.  Join Trammil and Rolan as they embark on their first adventure where someone totally doesn’t accidentally kill an innocent person.

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Joshua = DM
Don = Rolan
Taylor = Trammil

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Hacking Fate

We love Fate Core here at Burn Everything Gaming. It is an easy system to learn that can handle very complicated circumstances. New and experienced players can have a lot of fun with the mechanics, which are well balanced between them and with the GM. But my favorite thing about Fate Core has to be how easy it is to make your own custom rules and settings.

I’ve personally been doing this with the Fate game since before the Core rules came out. I have an old Avatar Fate-bender game that was based off of Dresden Files mechanics. I have gigs of custom settings for other games I enjoy (DnD, L5R, Shadowrun, etc.) with Fate conversions. There’s a huge list on the Fate Core official website with a lot of fan-made rules and settings for pretty much everything now. And of course we have the wonderful Star Trek Fate RPG that we use for the podcast.

So today I thought we could take a look at how and why one goes about Hacking the Fate system to make wonderful new game settings (like the amazing NIHM game we mentioned in a previous post). We’ll take a look at the 3 main areas changed to make Fate Core more setting-specific: skills, stunts, and extras.

Skills

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Pets in Fate

I once ran a campaign where one of the players had the goal that their character’s pet goat would kill a dragon. It came from a long discussion about how there were always goats around dragon nests in Skyrim so they were probably the secret guardians of humanity that…well, I’d probably better not try to explain it actually. That would take a whole other post.

For this post I would like to talk about pets, specifically having a character pet in Fate. We love them as players, we agonize over them as GMs, and we talk about them years after the campaign is over. Fate Core actually does a very good job of making sure that you can build a variety of pets depending on what you want them to be able to do, mechanically.

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World Building for a Fan Fate Game

FATE Core is often used to play games based on preexisting worlds established in anime, book, movies, or television series. Sometimes we as gamers make the mistake that this means we don’t have to establish our game world because a rich one already exists.

Now I am not saying that traditional methods of creating the gaming world as you go, or just having the GM create the world for that matter, are always bad ideas. And perhaps the task sounds too daunting, and you would much rather delve into a dungeon right away then figure out how many air nomads are married in the Eastern Air Temple or which type of starships are available in a certain sector of space.

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Creative Challenges

FATE Core is a wonderful system for creativity. It encourages GMs to create fantastic worlds and encounters, and it grants a lot of freedom to players to do whatever it is that they want to do. In fact, the scope of possibilities is so vast that it can be daunting.

If you’ve been playing any FATE games for a while with the same group, you may notice that everyone tends to get comfortable in a role after some time. I am not saying this is a bad thing. A good game SHOULD get easier to play with time. The less you stress, the less you mess.

But just in case you are looking for a chance to experiment with the FATE system and possibly stretch your imagination a bit, here are some challenges to think about trying in your next game.

Challenge 1: Create a Key Advantage

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Thoughts on Running a Political Adventure in FATE

As a GM, I am constantly trying to push myself to try new things with planning encounters, adventures, and campaigns. Sometimes it works out great (opera house). Sometimes it turns out terrible. But every time I try something new, I feel like I get a little better at running games.

This week I have been working on a FATE political campaign, which has always sounded fun and has never looked easy. The adventures I run are usual story challenges with combat scattered here and there as necessary. Political campaigns add multiple levels of plot complexity, with choices having long-reaching consequences.

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