We asked some Fate players things they found confusing about Fate and below are the results.
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.
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.
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.
Recently we conducted a survey asking players what part of Fate they found most confusing or difficult to understand.
Below is our attempt to answer some of the questions in comments received in this survey.
Where to begin
Today we are going to try to tackle one of the more unique mechanical features of Fate Core, and often the most confusing for new and experience players alike: Aspects. In Fate Core, everything has aspects: characters, scenes, locations, and even the campaign itself. They are a wonderful tool, though complicated and often difficult to explain in words.
But not only can aspects be difficult to explain, they can be downright monstrous to deal with. Trying to come up with the perfect wording. Trying to remember how long each type is supposed to last. Keeping track of a growing number of them. It can be really frightening for GMs and players alike.
But like any monster we face in game, this challenge can be overcome with the right skills. Rather than write a book of our own to explain everything about how aspects can be used, I’d like to address a few myths and assumptions about aspects that really seem to be causing a lot of the confusion. Hopefully these will help make your gaming experiences easier.