Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fate 2nd Edition, Risus, and Fudge

About 11 years ago, I came across the 2nd edition of Fate (back when it stood for Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment, a moniker that I'm not sure Evil Hat still uses.) The rules are pretty similar, but the game's Fudge influence is more pronounced and Aspects are slightly different- and more to my liking.

The Aspects in Fate2e actually remind me much of the Cliches in Risus. The text lists "Knight" as an example of an Aspect. The current iteration of Fate would pooh-pooh such a simplistic Aspect, instead opting for something like "Disgraced Knight of the Cross" or "Sworn Duty to the Kingdom of Alecar" or something florid like that. Aspects also had a rating that determined how many times you could use them in a session. If you have Knight at 3, you can invoke it for a benefit up to three times per session. While I find it better than an arbitrary and oft-murky Fate Point economy, it still feels fairly inorganic; why would my being a Knight only come up a maximum of three times per interesting thing that happens in my life?

I feel like I understand this older edition of Fate better...perhaps "understand" isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, but I find the edition much easier to wrap my brain around. I find that it starts to look very Risus-y in addition to being Fudge's bastard child.

Suppose we take my ever-nagging WoD rewrite idea and combine it with the above concepts.

At creation, you define five Aspects:
-Previous human life (Bartender, Drifter, Corporate Drone)
-Supernatural type (Vampire, Werewolf, Mermaid)
-Specialty (Manipulator, Muscle, Scientist)
-Wild Card (Well Connected, Highly Intuitive, Breathtaking Beauty)
-Weakness (Lecherous, Fear of Heights, Entitled)  

**Note that the Weakness is meant to be a character flaw, not a supernatural weakness...those are "baked in" to the supernatural Aspect.

Characters then have five levels of "stuff" per Aspect. These will be Skills or Gifts for Previous Life, Specialty, and Wildcard, Powers for Supernatural Type, and Faults for Weakness.

Powers would be somewhat limited by Supernatural Type, whereas Skills and Gifts would be a bit more open for the other Aspects.

Putting it all together, we might have something like this:

Lorenzo "Lucky" Lozano, Merman
Previous Life: Bike Messenger -City Knowledge (San Francisco) Good, Urban Survival Fair, Alertness Good

Supernatural Type: Mermaid- Water Breathing, Lure, Luck, Unearthly Beauty, Resist Cold

Specialty: Barfly- Fast Talk Good, Carousing Good, Nightlife Contacts

Wild Card: Scrappy- Dodge Good, Brawl Fair, Athletics Good

Weakness: Overconfidence- Short Man Syndrome, Lothario, Reckless, Egotistical, Doesn't Know When to Quit

Looking back over this, it seems like I've created something similar to Five Point Fudge, and maybe I need to look at blending the two approaches. I'm also not sure I'm 100% in love with taking Skills and Gifts from the same Aspect. I would also have to figure out if some powers cost more power slots than others... after all, is breathing underwater as useful as regeneration? Is carving your weakness up into five "sub-weaknesses" too much? I have to confess like I felt I was splitting hairs when trying to come up with them.

I'll continue working on this. I think maybe it's time to take a second look at Five Point Fudge and see if that structure works a little better.


  1. Out of curiosity, have you ever read (or played) any game using the TriStat System? It's similarly focused on character traits as opposed to numbers, but it's designed to scale up or down in range for different genres (so a modern crime game like Ghost Dog uses 2d6, a heroic fantasy game might use 2d8 or 2d10, and a DBZ-like game of gods would use 2d20). I know the core rulebook was a free PDF, but I never sat down and read through all of it.

  2. I have, actually. I have Tri-Stat DX, BESM, and a few of their older anime games in my basement. I haven't played anything Tri-Stat in probably 13 years or so, though.