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Fate Core System Pay What You Want
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Fate Core System
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Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/08/2019 13:39:41

The following review was originally published in Mephisto 66 and translated from German (find original German review below).

Fate Core System

The Fate Core System is a universal role-playing system - and a quite unusual one. According to Fate, the focus is on the characters, which many role-playing systems would claim for themselves. But here, the players have a more considerable influence on the overall storyline of a Fate game than for other role-playing systems.

But let's start at the beginning: The central element of Fate is the so-called fate points. Fate points can be used by players to repeat dice rolls and to improve the result. To receive them, players must accept their own character's weaknesses or act as the character concept dictates (which may not always suit the player at the moment).

This approach quickly leads to Fate's next central concept, the aspects. Aspects are descriptive attributes that can be applied to anything: characters, places, situations, or even an entire game world. For example, the aspect of a character could be: "Nobody stops me." On the one hand, such an aspect means that the player can improve his dice rolls by spending Fate Points when it comes to not being stopped. However, the descriptive formulation also allows this aspect to be used differently, i.e., when the gamemaster demands that the character cannot be stopped in a situation - even if it might be wiser in this situation not to charge onward. In this way, the aspects are quite central character elements, which can be adapted to a certain extent in the later course of the game. Fate even goes so far that players can influence the game world by choosing an aspect. For example, in a fantasy world, if a player chooses the aspect of being a "Mage of the Black Circle," that means that this circle must become part of the game world.

At the beginning of character creation, there are two central aspects, the high concept, and the trouble. The high concept describes what the character is. The trouble is a problem, a difficulty, or a dark side. While the trouble seems to be a weakness, it is often an excellent way to generate fate points. Besides, each character gets three more aspects that are developed by interaction with the other players. The first common adventures and encounters of the characters are described, and character traits and the relationships between the characters are developed.

There are actual game statistics in the form of skills (Fate does not use attributes). The distribution of the skills is very simple and follows the so-called pyramid. Each character gets one great, two good, three fair, and four average skills that give him a bonus of +1 to +4. Fate uses four fate dice for every roll: six-sided dice with three symbols of plus, minus, and blank. By adding these values, the result ranges from -4 to +4. Depending on the roll, either a fixed difficulty or an opponent's roll must be exceeded. Skills can be used to overcome obstacles, create advantages, attack, or defend. Of course, not every skill is suitable for each of these test types. The tests become more dynamic when aspects are used in the situations to get advantages and bonuses on the rolls (accepting disadvantages of aspects again brings fate points).

Even though the basic system is comparatively simple, the book takes a lot of time to explain the subtleties and the somewhat unusual concept. Damage is also dealt with in an unusual way. If a character takes damage, he can either check off stress boxes, of which he has very few, or he can take consequences, which again are aspects affecting the character negatively. If neither is possible anymore, then he is put out of action. Thus the combat system, which also applies to verbal conflicts, is kept very simple. The use of game statistics for weapons and equipment is an optional rule that also remains abstract. As with other tests, this is more about a descriptive approach than a detailed record of the game world in numbers.

This idea is refined with stunts and extras. Stunts are specialties for using skills to perform unusual actions. In the beginning, the player can choose a limited number of stunts. The term extra is used for all the unique things a character can possess. Possible extras include magic or superpowers, but also special equipment or vehicles. In the example for magic, the extras depict basic magical traditions, whose aspects tell you what you can do with them. However, there are no long and detailed spell lists.

The core set of rules provides the universal game system and some examples, but no ready-to-play game world. Fate is a good system to create your own game world. The rule mechanisms are abstract enough that not every detail has to be determined technically. Even if the use of the aspects seems unusual at first, this descriptive approach can allow for a quick start. Basically, this approach fits well with characters from books or films, namely that specific basic characteristics define them, and they behave consistently within these definitions - even if it is to their disadvantage.

A good part of the book is also devoted to game master topics and not only deals with Fate's specialties but also gives general tips on how to build storylines or put together entire campaigns.

Fate is an interesting role-playing system, but certainly not for everyone. Players who value complex rule mechanisms with many game statistics won't have much fun with the abstract system. In fact, game statistics often almost fall behind the aspects. Based on an aspect, a character can be a feared swordsman, but that doesn't say much about his skill value in combat. In fact, the aspect is even more important than the game statistic. If you interpret it correctly, it can also mean that the character is not a good fighter, but still has a certain reputation because of his aspect.

The small-format rules book is well presented, even though the drawings are black and white. Fate takes a lot of time to introduce the reader to the different facets of the game. Personally, however, a short summary would have helped me at some points to get an overview instead of getting to know all parts of the game in detail. But especially with the good and entertaining examples, it is not difficult to learn Fate.

What is also missing from the book is a scenario or a game world that introduces some of the game concepts and gives the game master a concrete approach for his first test of the game. Without the drive and the ideas to develop your own game world (or to adapt an existing game world) an essential element for starting into the game is missing.

When I started reading Fate, I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, because many concepts of role-playing games are very different from other role-playing games. But if you look at the whole system, you can see that Fate's ideas and rules are well built on each other and entirely consistent. This certainly doesn't make Fate suitable for every player, but players who do not want their characters to be reduced to numerical values and who are interested in telling stories get an excellent approach to role-playing with these aspects.

If you compare the Fate Core System with Fate Accelerated, then Fate Core System seems to me to be the more balanced system. If you're unsure whether Fate is for you in general, Fate Accelerated will give you a very quick start. Nevertheless, the Fate Core System seems more interesting, while Fate Accelerated seems primarily suited for spontaneous one-shot rounds.

(Deutsche Version)

Fate Core System

Das Fate System ist ein universelles Rollenspielsystem – und dazu ein recht ungewöhnliches. Den Fokus setzt Fate nach eigenen Angaben auf die Charaktere, was allerdings sicherlich viele Rollenspielsysteme für sich behaupten würden. Was auf jeden Fall gilt, ist, dass die Spieler bei Fate einen größeren Einfluss auf die Gesamthandlung haben, als bei anderen Rollenspielsystem.

Doch fangen wir vorne an: Zentrales Element bei Fate sind die sogenannten Fate-Punkte. Fate-Punkte können von den Spielern dafür verwendet werden, Proben zu wiederholen oder das Ergebnis zu verbessern. Um sie zu erhalten, müssen sie ihre eigenen Charakterschwächen akzeptieren oder so handeln, wie es das Charakterkonzept vorgibt (es aber vielleicht dem Spieler gerade nicht passt). Dieser Ansatz führt schnell zum nächsten zentralen Konzept von Fate, nämlich den Aspekten. Aspekte sind beschreibende Eigenschaften, die sich auf alles anwenden lassen: Charaktere, Orte, Situationen oder auch eine ganze Spielwelt. So kann der Aspekt eines Charakters beispielsweise lauten: »Mich hält keiner auf«. Einerseits bedeutet ein solcher Aspekt, dass der Spieler durch Ausgabe von Fate-Punkten seine Proben verbessern kann, wenn es darum geht, nicht aufgehalten zu werden. Durch die deskriptive Formulierung kann dieser Aspekt aber auch anders genutzt werden, nämlich wenn der Spielleiter in einer Situation fordert, dass sich der Charakter nicht aufhalten lässt – auch wenn es in der Situation vielleicht klüger wäre, nicht mit dem Kopf durch die Wand zu gehen. Auf diese Weise sind die Aspekte ganz zentrale Charakterelemente, die sich in gewissem Rahmen auch im späteren Spielverlauf anpassen lassen. Dabei geht Fate sogar so weit, dass Spieler durch die Wahl eines Aspekts die Spielwelt beeinflussen können. Wenn ein Spieler in einer Fantasy-Welt beispielsweise den Aspekt wählt, »Magier des schwarzen Zirkels« zu sein, dann bedeutet das, dass dieser besagte Zirkel Teil der Spielwelt werden muss.

Am Anfang der Charaktererschaffung stehen zwei zentrale Aspekte, nämlich das Konzept und das Dilemma. Das Konzept beschreibt, was der Charakter ist. Das Dilemma ist ein Problem, eine Schwierigkeit oder eine dunkle Seite. Während ein Dilemma eigentlich als Schwäche erscheint, ist es häufig ein guter Weg um Fate-Punkte zu generieren. Zudem bekommt jeder Charakter drei weitere Aspekte, die im Zusammenspiel mit den anderen Spielern entwickelt werden. So werden die ersten gemeinsamen Abenteuer und Begegnungen der Charaktere abgebildet und Charaktereigenschaften und die Beziehungen zwischen den Charakteren entwickelt. Konkrete Spielwerte gibt es in Form der Fertigkeiten (Attribute kennt Fate nicht). Die Verteilung der Fertigkeiten ist sehr einfach und folgt der sogenannten Pyramide. Jeder Charakter bekommt eine großartige, zwei gute, drei ordentliche und vier durchschnittliche Fertigkeiten, die ihm einen Bonus von +1 bis +4 geben. Gewürfelt wird bei Fate mit vier Fate-Würfeln: sechsseitige Würfel mit drei Symbole, nämlich Plus, Minus und Nichts. Das Ergebnis reicht so von -4 bis +4. Je nach Probe muss damit entweder ein fester Wert überschritten oder der Wurf eines Gegners übertroffen werden. Grundsätzlich können Fertigkeiten zum Überwinden von Hindernissen, zum Erschaffen von Vorteilen, zum Angreifen oder zum Verteidigen verwendet werden. Natürlich eignet sich nicht jede Eigenschaft für jeden dieser Probentypen. Dynamisch wird das Ganze dadurch, dass in den Situationen Aspekte eingesetzt werden, um Vorteile und Boni auf die Proben zu bekommen (Nachteile von Aspekt in Kauf zu nehmen bringt wiederum Fate-Punkte).

Auch wenn das Grundsystem vergleichsweise einfach strukturiert ist, nimmt sich das Buch viel Zeit, die Feinheiten und das etwas ungewöhnliche Konzept zu erklären. So wird auch Schaden deutlich anders abgehandelt als in anderen Rollenspielen. Wenn ein Charakter Schaden nimmt, kann er entweder Stresskästchen abstreichen, von denen er nur sehr wenige hat oder er kann Konsequenzen auf sich nehmen, was wiederum

Aspekte mit negativen Auswirkungen sind. Geht beides nicht mehr, dann ist er außer Gefecht gesetzt. Damit ist das Kampfsystem, das auch für verbale Konflikte gilt, sehr einfach gehalten. Die Verwendung von Spielwerten für Waffen und Ausrüstung ist eine optionale Regel, die ebenfalls abstrakt bleibt. Wie auch bei anderen Proben geht es hier eher um einen beschreibenden Ansatz als um eine ausführliche Erfassung der Spielwelt in Zahlen.

Verfeinert wird das mit den Stunts und Extras. Stunts sind besondere Anwendungsfälle für Fertigkeiten, mit denen der Spieler dann besondere Aktionen durchführen kann. Am Anfang kann der Spieler eine begrenzte Zahl an Stunts auswählen. Extra ist die Bezeichnung für alle besonderen Dinge, die ein Charakter haben kann. Möglich sind Extras wie Magie oder Superkräfte, aber auch besondere Ausrüstung oder Fahrzeuge. Bei den Beispielen für Magie bilden die Extras grobe Magierichtungen ab, deren Aspekte sagen, was man mit ihnen machen kann. Lange und ausführliche Zauberlisten gibt es jedoch nicht.

Das Kernregelwerk liefert das universelle Spielsystem und einige Beispiele, aber keine spielfertige Spielwelt. Tatsächlich ist Fate gut dafür geeignet, eine eigene Spielwelt abzubilden. Die Regelmechanismen sind abstrakt genug, dass nicht jedes Detail zumindest spieltechnisch ausgewertet werden muss. Auch wenn die Verwendung der Aspekte zunächst ungewöhnlich erscheint, kann diese deskriptive Herangehensweise einen schnellen Zugang ermöglichen. Im Grunde wird hier ein Ansatz gewählt, der gut zu Charakteren aus Büchern oder Filmen passt, nämlich dass diese durch bestimmte Grundeigenschaft definiert sind und sich innerhalb dieser konsistent verhalten – auch wenn es zu ihrem Nachteil ist.

Ein guter Teil des Buches widmet sich auch dem Spielleiten und geht nicht nur auf Spezialitäten von Fate ein, sondern gibt allgemein Tipps, wie man Handlungsbögen aufbaut oder ganze Kampagne zusammenstellt.

Fate ist ein interessantes Rollenspielsystem, aber sicherlich nicht für jedermann. Spieler, die Wert auf komplexe Regelmechanismen mit vielen Spielwerten legen, werden mit dem abstrakten System nicht viel Freude haben. Tatsächlich treten die Spielwerte häufig fast hinter die Aspekte zurück. Vom Aspekt her kann ein Charakter ein gefürchteter Schwertkämpfer sein, was aber nicht viel über seinen Fertigkeitswert in Kämpfen aussagt. Tatsächlich ist der Aspekt sogar wichtiger als die Spielwerte. Wenn man ihn richtig interpretiert, kann es auch bedeuten, dass der Charakter bei einem niedrigen Spielwert zwar kein guter Kämpfer ist, aber aufgrund seines Aspekts trotzdem immerhin einen entsprechenden Ruf hat.

Das kleinformatige Hardcover Regelwerk ist gut aufgemacht, auch wenn die Zeichnungen schwarzweiß sind. Fate nimmt sich viel Zeit, den Leser in die verschiedenen Facetten des Spiels einzuführen. Mir persönlich hätten an einigen Stellen aber kurze Zusammenfassung geholfen, um einen Überblick zu bekommen, anstatt Teile des Spiels gleich im Detail kennen zu lernen. Insbesondere durch die guten und unterhaltsamen Beispiele, ist es aber nicht schwer, Fate zu erlernen.

Was mir außerdem an dem Buch fehlt, ist ein Szenario oder eine Spielwelt, die noch mal einige der Spielkonzepte vorstellt und dem Spielleiter gleich einen konkreten Ansatz für seine Spielrunde liefert. Denn ohne Eigeninitiative und die Fantasie, eine eigene Spielwelt zu entwickeln (oder eine bestehende Spielwelt zu adaptieren) fehlt ein wesentliches Element für den Start ins Spiel.

Als ich mich mit Fate beschäftigt habe, war ich am Anfang etwas skeptisch, weil viele Konzepte des Rollenspiels deutlich anders als bei anderen Rollenspielen sind. Wenn man sich aber das gesamte System anschaut, stellt man fest, dass die Ideen und Regelprinzipien von Fate gut aufeinander aufbauen und konsistent sind. Damit ist Fate sicherlich nicht für jede Spielrunde geeignet, aber Spieler, die sich nicht auf Zahlenwerte reduzieren lassen wollen und denen es um das Erzählen von Geschichten geht, bekommen mit den Aspekten einen hervorragenden Ansatz fürs Rollenspiel.

Vergleicht man Fate Core Sytem mit Turbo Fate, dann erscheint mir Fate Core System als das ausgewogenere System. Wer sich unsicher ist, ob Fate allgemein was für ihn ist, der bekommt mit Turbo Fate einen sehr schnellen Einstieg. Trotzdem wirkt Fate Core System interessanter, während Turbo Fate aus meiner Sicht in erster Linie für spontane Spielabende und One-Shot-Runden geeignet ist.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2019 01:24:33

Fate Core is currently my favorite roleplaying game system! It really can handle just about any setting. We've done postapocalyptic, pulp, space epics, superheroes, steampunk, and so on (I still have a hard time running horror, but that may just be me). The ability to handle any scene without looking up some peculiar rule (I'm looking at you grapple) is a godsend! The game really sings if you get buy-in from everybody at the table and they push the system to its fullest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Dean H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2018 15:48:45

Fate is a really neat system, but the biggest issue I have with it is that it seems to take a group of active fairly experienced roleplayers to pull off well.

The Fate system needs the players to have a ton of input into the world and be driven. This tends not to work well with a group that is experienced and timid. I struggled as the GM to get players to contribute and unfortunately the FATE system kind of falls apart if that is the case.

If you have a group that like mechanics-lite, story driven roleplay and you have players who love to regularily contribute to what is happening in a more impactful way, then FATE could be a really good system for you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Great points, Dean. And honestly I tend to agree with you. If folks aren't comfortable putting their own ideas forward at the table — an act that Fate celebrates right down to its bones, and indeed, depends upon — it's gonna dud out for them. Thankfully there are plenty of highly motivated players out there that Fate works great for. :) Thanks for the review!
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by trace l. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2018 17:42:59

While I can't say I adore the system after trying it, I believe that to be a matter of taste. The quality of the material provided within the manual is solid, though. It's very clear throughout and gives reasonable examples. The fact that it consistently shows the same material as is available elsewhere in the text can be a good or bad thing depending on perspective, but I appreciated it.

Like I said, after playing with it a bit it wasn't exactly my cup of tea. That being said, for the price it's well worth a look if it's of any interest. If nothing else, it has fun ideas you can put towards campaigns in other systems if you fancy. Definitely worth a purchase if it seems of interest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Mike S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2017 15:03:44

I enjoyed the feel of this system. It took some getting used to and the changes, though a challenge, were a nice addition to the current landscape.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by brian w. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2017 12:18:57

I'd been hopeful about FATE ever since I heard about "a game that uses FUDGE dice." I backed the kickstarter at the hardcover level, and was impressed with how its creators maintained transparency, produced professional work, and kept backers updated.

But even slick layout and consistent design and organization wouldn't mean much if the game is not on-point. Fortunately, FATE is both clearly organized and fun to play.

My gaming group has run several sessions, and we've loved it since our initial session of setting up the campaign world. It's been a great ride so far, and we're looking forward to more FATE in the years to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2017 14:36:34

Very dope. I started with the free pdf, and now I have the hard cover for core and the toolkit. There are lots of examples, and it's pretty easy to grasp. So far my group has enjoyed it. Infact, one of the members enjoyed the simplicity and versatility so much that went out, bought dice, and is starting up his own games! Fate Core has budded!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Andrew D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2016 10:39:27

I am currently in a campaign of Fate Core System with some friends of mine and i absoultely fell in love with the game. So much so that I decided to start my own campaign of it. I had only previously played DnD in terms of RPGs and the thing I hated about it was how insignificant charcater development was. So when I found Fate, I loved how you literally can't play the game without developing your character. I also love how open-ended it is with genre. My friend's game is a fantasy theme with a "Game of Thrones" feel to it while my theme is a fantasy-steam punk crossover. My only critique of it is the manual doesn't explain how damage works very well. Other than that, I highly recomend this RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/03/2016 06:53:39

FATE seems to have inspired a loyal set of pretty fanatical fans, to which I account for by very effective marketing. For me, however, I have tried but simply cannot get traction on the game's appeal. Character's are presented in a rules-lite manner, and the core mechanic is pretty simple. However, the whole book just seems to go on and on about rules, rules discussion and then some more rules discussion. I don't really see where the massive innovation in the game is, as most of the ideas have already been done in much older games if you are prepared to look for them. It's neatly packaged, supported and comes at an appealing price - but, ultimately, I just find it a boring read and a so-so game to play in or run.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Jan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/09/2016 16:39:17

For me this was the very first time where I have tried a pen and paper based game. I knew some of the general rules but had no clue on how to play,what to do or how to start and end. Fate gave me a front to back explanation on how I can play a good game and gives you all the freedom you want to have if you fell like you need this . So, its great. Dont regret a thing



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Allie G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2016 07:13:46

We haven't really played this yet, just test-drove it a little, but I think I love the rules system. But Holy moley they needed to take some of their Kickstarter money and hire a technical writer and an editor! The rulebook is is desperate need of editing. In several places the exact same paragraph is repeated within a page of the same location, and the whole book is so poorly organized that it's next-to-impossible to sift through and find the actual rules. This rulebook reminds me of a Depression-Era meatloaf: I can tell there's meat in there somewhere, but there's so much filler it's not possible to identify it. Did we really need pages and pages explaining the difference between game time and real time? Couldn't all the stuff having to do with skills be under one heading in one place instead of fifteen headings scattered throughout? Did the errors make it into the print edition, or is the problem with repeated pages limited to the electronic edition?

This seems like an excellent system for a mature group of experienced players. For a group of teens or drama queens, it could be a recipe for disaster. Player characters gaining power the more time they spend role-playing their personal problems... I envision entire sessions spent trying to coax emo pcs out of the bathroom, with the night ending with everyone taking new aspects entitled something like, "Is so over Jane and her issues." This system seems to have been designed for taciturn fighters who need to be encouraged to interact, not for my usual group who drive GMs insane by refusing to stop futzing around in character and get to the action.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Content repetition is part of the teaching text philosophy that informed the editing of the book. Very few have had problems with it proportionate to the magnitude of your objection. I\'m sorry it wasn\'t to your taste. :)
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2016 07:52:57

I paid something around 2 and a half dollars for this product. In hindsight, I should've bought it for more, because it is a fantastic one. I thought I would need the system toolkit to fine tune and help work out details for particular takes with Fate Core, but just this book already has so much.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Michael J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2015 12:38:25

I got both Accelerated and Core. Fate is a different enough system you really need the explanations and examples from Core. But once you understood the terminology and mechanics, Accelerated really took off and worked better and faster.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Matt D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2015 22:37:41

I found this clunky and bland. Just another 'universal' system that other rule sets did better long ago. Did this need to be created? Not really.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. Obviously we disagree on whether or not it needed to be created, but that\'s fine. Gaming is big. :)
Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Thomas W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2015 04:49:38

A nice update to a brilliant system. Easy to use for pick up and play story-driven RPGs. Very open to inexperienced players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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