Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rethinking Fate

I was not kind to Fate Core the first time I read through it, comparing it unfavorably to Fate 2 from years back. Something in the back of my brain tugged at me, telling me I hadn't given the game a fair shake.

I started another read through of Fate, and I find that I'm liking it a lot more this time. It may be because I experienced some of the aspects of the system while playing Icons and found that they added to the game in ways I enjoyed and hadn't anticipated. It may be because I am a fickle bastard when it comes to gaming. All I know is that I think I might be willing to give it a shot, if I can wrap my brain around how it actually runs.

See, Icons has some Fate-esque narrative stuff draped over a rules-lite but solid system. With Fate, the narrative stuff is placed squarely in the lead. Whereas everyone has a Coordination stat in Icons, Fate characters don't have anything about their attributes in the fashion of a typical rpg. Your character would only have something about his or her strength, for instance, if it factored into one of their aspects. Maybe you're The Strongest Dude in the World or a Spaghetti-Armed Weakling. Compare this to World of Darkness or D&D, where every single character has a strength score.

I seem to understand the concept of a game that eschews a standard attribute format in lieu of highlighting what's important about a character, but I keep trying to imagine how I'd run it and coming up short. It's hard to create test characters to run, since part of the character creation is game/world/setting creation.

Another aspect of Fate that I was hung up on was the narrative collaboration bit. Fate encourages group say not only in game setup, but also to a lesser extent in play. I thought this was absolutely not my jam, but I had so much fun co-creating an Icons universe with Meghan and James that I'm willing to give the concept another shot.

 I can see players, especially less experienced ones, having difficulty with the kind of off-the-cuff thinking that Fate encourages. I had a similar experience when I tried to run Mage: the Ascension for a group of Vampire and Werewolf players back in college. They had trouble with the freeform Sphere system in Mage, having been accustomed to the clearly defined Disciplines and Gifts of VtM and WtA. Still, I'd like to give it a try. I have no idea when... perhaps between this Deadlands campaign and the next. Perhaps after my Icons game. (Though first it has to come back from hiatus...) So many games, so little time...


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