Previously, Joshua had talked about starting a game in a Dark Room. The basic premise is you start with literally nothing and everyone creates a story from that. I (Taylor) wanted to work with that idea and come up with my own version and give you all the tools you need to make a good story. As with his example, I will be using the Fate Core system but this could just as easily be used with FAE.
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.
I do not enjoy killing player characters. I have a lot of NPCs get killed, as you probably know if you listen to the podcasts. Player Character deaths are a lot trickier to manage. They are easy to do, sure. But they are very hard to make meaningful and even harder to get the players to celebrate.
In my experience, the only way to kill a PC and not lose a player over it is to make sure no one thinks it is your fault the PC died. Get them to believe that the game just worked out that way, that the dice roll was bad, or that someone in the group made a bad choice that led to their death. Of course, as the GM you really are the one that set them up to die, but so long as they don’t know it you can get away with it.
Here are a few tricks I’ve used over the years to get away with PC Murder. They do not all work for every occasion, but hopefully you can find something that will work for your campaign or at least inspire you to think.
The first game I ever ran with a Fate based system was a little Dresden one-shot I put together where the characters were shipwrecked onto a magical island. The system was new, and I had several people wanting to play, so I figured I would give it a shot. I think it actually took us 8 hours to play.
Now this was a build-your-own-adventure of sorts, which I often do on the fly now for games with my kids. I ‘borrowed’ the player characters from the Night Fears adventure and actually had the players help be build the island as a quick introduction to the city-building mechanic for the game.
For this blog I am going to try and summarize as much as I can remember of how I ran that adventure. Hopefully it will spark some ideas for you in your own game.