First Thoughts on Fate Core

Some of you may be looking at the title of this post and thinking ‘what took you so long?’cover fate After all, versions of the Fate RPG have been around for years and – according to a recent Examiner article – is currently the 5th most popular RPG around.

Well, it’s not like I’ve never heard of Fate before. I’ve thumbed through it occasionally over the years, but just couldn’t get a good handle on the rules. Possibly this is because I come from a dice-heavy as opposed to narrative/story-heavy gaming background, or possibly because I find the rulebook’s layout confusing.

There seem to be a lot of undefined terms or new terms for the sake of new terms (effort, magnitude, shifts…) and concepts thrown at me in the wrong order. I took me lots of internet and book searching to determine whether the term ‘effort’ means your dice roll + skill rank, or just the dice roll alone. Also, I quickly understood how the skills work, but had trouble finding the section that tells me how many skills a new character gets. That kind of thing. Maybe this would have been easier with a print book instead of trying to read it online; I’m not sure. Or maybe it’s just me.

I find it interesting that so much of what I’ve read from players online, and in the early pages of the book, weighs heavily on ‘aspects’. In the designer notes that I’ve read, however, there seems to be a preferred focus on each part of the rules as having equal weight, with aspects being no more important than the rest of the ruleset. Maybe that’s an incorrect interpretation. What do you think?

I’m toying around with ideas for a Fate conversion of Corporia, and if I follow through on that, then I think I’m going to stick with that interpretation. I feel like a minor change in the order of how the rules are presented may make it easier for the dice-heavy player to latch on to. We’ll see how it goes.

Any thoughts?

4 thoughts on “First Thoughts on Fate Core

  1. Bucyrus Eerie

    Truth be told, it’s not unheard of newcomers to find FATE somewhat difficult to grasp. For all appraisal it gets, it must be noted, that it is far from being a well written book.

    “Learn FATE by studying some different game based on it”, or simply “ask someone experienced to guide you” are two solutions most often given o this problem.

    Corporia FATE version? Interesting combination indeed. Wouldn’t FATE Accelerated fit the idea a little better?

  2. plebotamus Post author

    Based on what I’ve read of Fate Core versus Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE), I think the Corporia rules set is closer to Core than to FAE. FAE relies more heavily on aspects, and would require more work to change Corporia’s skills into FAE “approaches.” I know that Bulldogs! is a few years old now, but I like how it uses (an older version of) Fate Core, so I’m thinking along those lines. Also looking at other ‘builds’ of the Core engine to see what other designers have done with it.

  3. The Emerald Sage

    I picked up Fate recently in hardback form and I’m loving it so far. The aspects themselves can write a lot of content for you – it’s very character driven but all good story hinges on character so that’s probably a very good thing.

    It can be complex and there are some subtle differences in etiquette that need to be learned, e.g. I pay a Fate point right now if I compel your aspect in this scene but if I invoke an aspect on another character sheet I pay that Fate point after the scene is over. Little things like that.

    It’s fiction first, aspects should be flexible without being abused by players otherwise they lose their potency.


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