Fated to play FATE

SBA During the last weeks I have felt the pull towards Evil Hat’s FATE system getting continuously stronger. I have always thought that FATE was one of the most elegant and ingenious RPG systems designed, but for some reason it never made “click” for me. I read almost every FATE-powered game I could get my hands on, but some aspect (no pun intended) of the game always kept me scratching my head. While I liked very much what I read I was not sure how these games actually play and more importantly if I as a GM can handle it.

Recently I have been listening to some actual play recordings of people playing the Dresden Files RPG and one thing intrigued me the most: the players were actually thinking more about who their characters are than what they can do. In the majority of games I’ve run people usually created their LoAcharacter with their abilities in mind. I’ve also noticed that coming up with Aspects in a group is much easier than doing so when you are all alone imagining how it could be to actually play FATE.

Listening to people actually playing and discussing the game was actually an eye-opener for me. Suddenly the things I have been struggling with made much more sense. For some reason I never had these issues with more traditional games.

DFRPG Rereading Starblazer Adventures’ “How Do I Play This?” chapter actually helped me to realize that at the core FATE can be described in just 10 pages. Everything else might help to give you more details, more examples, more stuff to use for your game. But in the end it boils down to just these 10 pages. And still this allows you to play almost in any genre you can think of. Wow! I can’t hide it, I am extremely excited.

Alas I am suffering from a terrible gaming dry spell at the moment. I haven’t played or run a game in quite a while. Hopefully this will change in July and I think this might be the right moment to finally run a FATE game. Since I am still longing for some SF, I might actually give Starblazer Adventures or Bulldogs! a try. But there’s also a copy of Legends of Anglerre lying on my bedside table which is also a lot of fun to read and probably even more fun to play…

I have to admit that while I wholeheartedly love the Dresdenverse, I am not sure if I can properly run a game in it. I need at least to read a few more novels before I have a better grasp of the game world before I will dare to run this beast. But one day, I will…

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

7 thoughts on “Fated to play FATE”

  1. Ok mate – this kind of settles that we really have to organize something reasonably close to the border so you can join in on a Dresden game with Brian and I (especially since it looks like Brian may end up joining us sometimes in our game in Copenhagen).

  2. I have been dying to get a Starblazer Adv. game going. I’ve read through it several times and think I like it more each time. Of course I’m lucky if I can get more than 2 systems from my group. I can get them to play 2e, but they keep wanting to play Pathfinder/3e. Maybe later this summer before we go back on hiatus.

  3. I too have been feeling the pull, and for GenCon I am going to run some SotC for some friends, as a way to learn and experience the system.

    After that I will look at some of the of the FATE flavors and see what grabs me.

  4. I’ve been enjoying running a FATE-based space opera for almost a year now. Before that, I had tried the system in a couple of one-shots, and “Dresden Files” and “Legends of Anglerre” are beautifully produced! Because the system is relatively rules-light, it’s easy to mix and match flavors.

  5. I love the idea of FATE, and would love to give it a try, but it may be simply too indie for my players (They may yet prove me wrong, but that’s the feeling I get). However I have friends who run FATE games, and I have and love the Dresden Files game books (Congrats on the Origin awards) and I hope to sneak in a game with them.

  6. FATE has been a shy little mistress of mine since I discovered Spirit of the Century but I finally really got to come out of the closet with it when my group all clamoured to play Dresden Files when it came out. We were all big fans of the novels and so, even though none other than myself had ever even read about FATE as a system, we dove in. The game has been a real treat thus far and though the GM is doing a fine job, I find that the whole experience has me chomping at the bit to run a Dresdenverse campaign of my own.

    The experience of collaborative character creation in Dresden Files resulted in PCs (mine included) that were far richer and more interesting than any of us could have conceived on our own. My character (an Emissary of Power) began conception as pretty cliche and mediocre and quickly turned into one of my favorite PCs.

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