Thursday, January 09, 2014

Loving Fate/FAE despite the Fudge

I'll admit it. I'm a huge Fate Core and FAE fan.

I remember back early last decade, hanging out around the Forge, working on a game that I was calling Fate. Then the boys at Evil Hat released their game, Fantastic Adventuring in Tabletop Entertainment. Spirit of the Century was released. Fate 2.0. The Dresden rpg. And then Fate Core along with its system on nitro, FAE.

Once my hurts went away over the name - I was intrigued by the system. As Fate has gone through its iterations, it has become cleaner and more streamlined.

What has always blown me away with Fate are Aspects. Aspects to me are and always have been the heart and engine of Fate. They let the core of one's character shine, for good or bad. It's what blew me away over a decade ago and continues to do so today.

Skills have become more stronger with Fate Core's Four Outcomes, and a stronger synergy with Stunts. And while Skills have become better, I think the system actually become more sublime with FAE's Skill replacement, the Approaches. I love how knowledge/perception skills can actually affect the game through the outcome of Creating Advantages.

I appreciate that Fate Core brought in failure choice - but it does feel like the first iteration of rules that will become more refined with time.

In play, the economy of Fate points actually helps create proactive characters and narratives. I admit - this doesn't work for every genre BUT most rpg genres claim this even when their systems might interfere. And for groups used to playing in more "traditional" roleplaying methods, compels take a while to get used to. I love watching the switch go off in a player's head.

Yet what I always stumble over is the Fudge dice.

I have a theory why. My gateway rpg was Shadowrun, just as the system went from first to second edition. From there, in the early nineties, it was Amber Diceless Roleplaying and World of Darkness. Both Shadowrun and the Storyteller system used dice pools, and counted successes.

I never really learned DnD or other systems that added a stat to a dice roll until a few years ago. It is constantly a struggle for me to intuitively understand this type of dice mechanic. I fell like with a stat & di(c)e mechanic, I roll, look all over my character, and then have to do some math. I want to look at the dice and just know.

And Fudge dice, with their pluses and minuses, just make me cringe. Fate's adding skills and stunt modifiers - ugh.

It's irrational. I play Fate despite my loathing of the Fudge. I'm not certain if I'll ever really get over it. I've seen some Fate hacks that use dice pools rather than modifiers...but the Fudge dice alone grate on my nerves.

I feel like I have my favorite system right in front of me - but I just can't get over the core dice mechanic. And it makes me sad.

Luckily, there are other systems out there, and I can take a lot of what I've learned and love from Fate with me.

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