My thoughts on Fate Core after playing it a few times...

So, I have played the updated Fate Core a few times lately, and wanted to give a few thoughts on how it plays.

Now a lot of people have read the pdf by now, but there are some changes from some of the older versions of Fate.  A few of them are:
-You only start with a health and mental track of two. Yes, if you choose physique or will, it increases but since everyone doesn’t always choose those skills, the game seems a hell of a lot more dangerous for your character.
-When a player (or npc) take a consequence, it can be used as an advantage (what tagging used to be) for free.
-You get 20 skill points only, which comes up to 10 actual skills.(1, great, 2, good, 3 fair, and 4 average). This makes it really important for you to choose which skills work for you in the game.
-You start out with 3 fate points, and if you want a stunt it subtracts from that (but the first stunt is free). So, you start out with usually 1 or 2 fate points to start.
-You can now invoke an aspect to make the npc (or another player) overcome an obstacle. This basically is replacing the block action on a turn. I haven’t done this one yet, mostly because it is hard to remember to do it. It is an interesting idea.
-One cool thing I really like is that if you fail a roll, you can actually still succeed but at a cost. This is a very cool thing and since you don’t start out with that many fate points, it gives you another way to succeed.  Also if you tie, you can succeed, but at minor cost. Nice.
-They have created a boost. It is basically like tagging an aspect, but it is free and you can only use it once and then it is gone.
-If you (or the npc) succeeds at an action and get 3 or more shifts, you succeed with style. You actually get bonuses and/or extra advantages when creating them.

There might be a few more, but that is what I am remembering at this point.

So, what I got out of this was just how dangerous the game is now. I played a Star Wars game last week and someone almost died in the first scene. It was a bit brutal. With a smaller health track, it means you will be taking consequences pretty quickly if things go bad. Combine that with the fact that those consequences can be tagged for free, just intensifies that.

The other thing you get is that is just written so much cleaner. Everything they changed seems to speed the game along. Which has been one of the few issues I have had with the system over the years. Sometimes conflicts could take a while to resolve. Now, they seem to go at an almost super human speed.

Also, since it is a blank slate, people are going crazy with coming up with their own scenarios. If you want a Star Wars game, you make it. If you want a game set in the civil war, but with werewolves, you do it. It is very easy to create the world with this game and is kind of fun to see what everyone is making with it.

So, Fate Core is awesome. They took everything that was great about the system and cleaned it up a bit. It is decidedly harder for the characters to survive, but I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. Not to mention, you can still tweak it how you want and give them more skills or a higher health/mental track if you wish. The game yells flexibility.


  1. You can twiddle the dials to make things less lethal. As the defaults are currently presented, they're in support of that low fantasy setting used throughout the examples. Star Wars might need a little more fate point juju, a bigger stunt budget, and maybe an extra stress box. :)

  2. It sounds super awesome. I have downloaded the PDF, but haven't had a chance to look at it yet.

    I'm a little leery about how few FP you get. I'd likely want to bump that back up to something like 5 - stunts.

    So, my group had a big challenge grokking FATE from the SotC rules. But, they also really want to play Dresden. I'm hoping that this rewrite will help make things cleaner and clearer. My question is, is it worth converting Dresden to FATE Core, or should I leave it as is?

  3. The funny thing is you know with the smaller health track that the game could be harder. But on the first fight a combination of a bad roll by the player and a good roll by the gm, resulted in a 7 shift attack. Now, I don't know why the player did not pay a fate point or two to offset it, but they ended up with a one hit and a severe consequence, five minutes into the game. Damn.

    The Fate point thing doesn't bother me, Marshall. in the DF you can start out with very few as well. I am also someone that self compels myself like crazy, cuz I like to fail in the game and make it interesting. But as Fred said, there are certain genre's that may require just a bit more of a stunt/fate point bump.

    It would take some work to convert dresden to Fate Core. For my group, I am just going to implement a lot of the little mechanical changes into the game.

  4. Stacey, thanks for this overview of FATE Core! I am hard at work on my own publication for Starblazer, Diaspora, and Bulldogs! so I haven't really been able to give the FATE Core pdf a thorough read yet. Hopefully I will be able to squeeze in some writing breaks to do so over the holidays! It sounds like the new system will enable many different kinds of games, which is a good thing in a universal system. ;)