Recently I decided to switch to Free FATE for my current FATE games. This has mainly three reasons:

  1. It’s free. We used Starblazer Adventures before, which is an awesome FATE game, but I just can’t expect all my players to get the book.
  2. It’s short. With just 48 pages is much more compact than most other version of FATE. Of course it doesn’t genre-specific rules, but I can easily use what I need from other FATE games.
  3. It’s available in German. One of my players don’t speak English at all, so I had to translate everything for him. Especially when it comes to stunts this can become quite the task.

Some people might say that my first reason is moot, since not every player needs a copy of the rules. That’s of course true, but some players are interested in reading the rules themselves – which I support if possible – but I just couldn’t lend them my book because I needed it to prepare for the next session. And SBA with it’s 600+ pages is not what I would consider “light reading”.

Free FATE deutsch Free FATE is basically the shortest version of FATE I could find that doesn’t oversimplify things. I especially like the way stunts are handled. Instead of listing dozens of individual stunts Free FATE provides you with guidelines for your own stunts.

From what I’ve seen so far the rules presented in Free FATE are 100% compatible to Starblazer Adventures. So the switch from SBA to Free FATE should be pretty painless.

By the way, Free FATE is one of the few games where the German translation is actually better looking than the original one. While R Grant Erswell did a great job collating, modifying and augmenting the FATE rules, he’s layout skills are not up to par. It would be awesome if Kathy Schad, who did the layout for the German translation, would give the English original a facelift as well.

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.

6 thoughts on “Free FATE”

  1. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for listing this. I’ll now update my version of free Fate!
    I’m similar to you in my use of Fate. I started with Legends of Anglerre and then began using The Dresden Files rpg for character and setting generation. Now I’m back to the original Fate rules which are much slimmer and easier for players to understand and use. They’re also useful for my upcoming Forgotten Realms Fate and Dark Conspiracy Fate!

    I’m looking forward to the release of the core Fate system by Evil Hat!

  2. Free Fate was the first version of Fate I actually understood. It’ll be the version I use to introduce my friends to the system.

  3. I hadn’t heard of Free FATE0 glad to see the pointer to that. I’d agree that some versions of FATE have been easier to get into than others. At least in our group, most players have migrated away from buying rule books. We’ve mostly gone with easier, streamlined approaches.

  4. This version has concrete rules that I don’t believe I’ve seen in any other version (e.g., starting gear). I feel more comfortable tweaking this version than the more general FATE documents, so thanks everyone who made it.

  5. Hi there! I am glad you are finding Free FATE useful, and I comepletely agree with your comment re my layout skills not being up to par, alas Free FATE was produced simply in MS Word 🙂

    Just so you know a v0.5 is now out, though there is very little change from v0.4 (cover has changed slightly and a clarification on the Conscious gadget improvement).

    However I have also just released a magic supplement and welcome any feedback:


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