Zag24
 supporter, 591 posts
Tue 3 Sep 2019
at 03:02
Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
I know that the Fate system (no longer the FATE system) has moved on to Fate Core and Fate Accelerated.  (And isn't there one more?)  These are (I understand) quite a bit simpler in terms of skill sets than the old FATE system.

What do folks think of these changes?  I was a big fan of Spirit of the Century, and I can't say that I like the simplification.  Perhaps I'm out of step, but I like to have a whole lot of skills and lots different ways to put them together.  There should be enough variety that characters can be really different, and all characters will be forced to have areas of serious weakness as well as impressive strengths.

What I really liked about FATE (or, I guess, about FUDGE) was the FUDGE dice, in which almost all rolls are between -2 and +2, with a very occasional -3 or +3 and an extremely rare -4 or +4.  This means that the skill (plus your use of FATE points, aspects, etc.) matters a lot more than the randomness.  A d20 is just way too much randomness when an expert is maybe +15.  This means a complete beginner will outperform an expert 3 or 4% of the time, which is ridiculous.

I also am a big fan of the story-telling style that seemed to go hand-in-hand with the FATE system.  The players were expected to narrate their own actions, dramatically, and not just roll whether or not they hit and how much damage.  They also had more freedom to make up part of the scenery -- a description of a building, a mention of a passerby.  As a GM, I find it more fun if the players are as engaged in the world as I am.

So, three main points:
1. a more complicated skill system is good
2. FUDGE dice are way better than d20 or, frankly, any other skill randomness I've seen
3. Players should engage in the storytelling, and have more power than they typically have in most RPGs.

Convince me otherwise.  :-)
horus
 member, 870 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 3 Sep 2019
at 06:19
Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
I have the Spirit of The Century SRD (it came with my PDF copy of Bulldogs!)

FUDGE dice are just d3 with a bit of rescaling.  Rolling 4dF, since their sum is taken as a result, will yield a normal distribution that centers around zero as a norm.  Something like:

+4, -4 --> only one permutation yields these results
+3, -3 --> four possible permutations for these results (each)
+2, -2 --> ten possible permutations (each) for these results.
+1, -1 --> sixteen possible permutations (each) for these results.
0      --> nineteen possible permutations for this outcome.

There are 81 total permutations.  The odds of any outcome on a given roll:  1/81, 4/81, 10/81, 16/81, and 19/81, respectively.

A d20 seems more random because it is more random:  it yields a uniform distribution from 1 to 20 in which any result has an equal chance of occurrence on any given throw of the die.  Each outcome has a probability of 1/20 (or 5%).

So much for basic Statistics.

The copies of Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition I have in hand still use FUDGE dice (FUDGE, FATE, Fate - potato/potahto so far as the dice are concerned).  Where Fate Core and FAE seem more simple, that's because the system is more open-ended.  That's why more development work has to go into a game (especially for Fate Core) to create Aspects and the like that are suited to the game a given group wants to play.

The storytelling side of Fate seems less evident in many of the derived games that I've seen, but I take that more as a reflection of design decisions made for those derived works than of any flaw in the Fate systems themselves.

Fate is definitely not for those who just want to get started playing some medieval fantasy (just an example) right away, but it is capable of accommodating a medieval fantasy setting with richness and versatility limited only by a group's imagination.  That group has to be willing to do the hard work of building the game.

In the barest sense, Fate is a toolkit for designing games to play, and a pretty good toolkit, at that.
Zag24
 supporter, 592 posts
Tue 3 Sep 2019
at 17:47
Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
Thanks!

Yeah, I knew all that (about the dice).  I was summarizing.  The steep Bell curve is exactly what I like about it.

I disagree, though, about Fate Core just being the same thing.  It got rid of the skill pyramid, which I rather liked.  Over the past 10 years, I've gone to a fair bit of work to create 'After the Collapse' a FATE-based game that does still use the skill pyramid.  ... only to find that the basis for that work has been left behind.

I'm still trying to grok the new approach.  (Admittedly, I've only skimmed it so far.)  What I'm looking for is someone who knows both to tell me why it is better.
MalaeDezeld
 member, 114 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 00:28
Re: Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
Zag24:
I'm still trying to grok the new approach.  (Admittedly, I've only skimmed it so far.)  What I'm looking for is someone who knows both to tell me why it is better.


I've only glance at Spirit of the Century srd I found online, and most of my impression come from the veteran guide (p. 294 in Fate Core, or at https://fate-srd.com/fate-core/veterans-guide in the online srd).

My impression is that they didn't change much about how the rule works (except for the four outcomes instead of a binary fail/pass). But, they do have changed the dials (number of Aspects, number of skills) without really presenting them as that, dials, until the system toolkit (also available in the srd). In some of the World of Fate Adventures, they changed the dials: characters with more aspects, not the same skill lists as Core.

Zag24:
It got rid of the skill pyramid, which I rather liked. [...]  only to find that the basis for that work has been left behind.

The pyramid is there in character creation (but topping at +4 instead of +5). I think they didn't go with the pyramid for advancement because their default skill lists isn't big enough (only 18 skills, 10 are already on the character sheet after creation) for it.

If you keep Spirit of the Century skill lists, the pyramid would still fit in Core as it did in SotC.
Zag24
 supporter, 593 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 01:24
Re: Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
Awesome link!  Thank you!

However, I disagree with them that skills were binary.  The number of shifts of success was always important (as it is with my game).
horus
 member, 880 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Fri 6 Sep 2019
at 16:40
Re: Old style FATE, like Spirit of the Century
It appears the Fate Corebook I have must be of a somewhat older edition, then?  Let me check... it appears to be from 2013.