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jameson (ST)

[Review] Fate: Accelerated Edition

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Fate: Accelerated Edition

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Vitals: Published By Evil Hat Productions, LLC • 50 pages • $ pay what you want • B&W PDF (color covers only)

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Fate. Maybe you backed the KS; maybe not. Maybe you've played prior versions; maybe not. Perhaps you've gotten sick of hearing about it of late; hopefully not.

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Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) is the stripped down, bare-bones, almost-but-not-quite-the-same version of Fate Core (FC) that reduces the rules down their absolute simplest. The only real change between FAE and FC is the use of Approaches instead of Skills. Otherwise you are getting all of the essentials of FC in a tiny little package.

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For those of you not familiar with it, Fate uses a heavily narrative approach to role playing. Characters are built using a collection of descriptive phrases called Aspects that describe who and what your character is. A small handful (six unless you make up your own) of Approaches replace skills entirely. Approaches are adjectives like "Quick", "Flashy", and "Forceful" that you rate from +0 to +3. When you try to do something during the game and the GM feels there is value in seeing how well you do it, or if you fail to do it, you pick an approach and add that to the result of your roll.

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Nearly any Aspect can be used so long as you can describe the action in a way that makes sense. A character could use Quick to complete a task that another might do with Careful. The Approach dictates how the action is completed and suggests how it might fail (should that be the outcome). Quickly disarming a bomb might result in an explosion if you fail, while Carefully doing so might mean you get another chance, or have time to try and flee (which would then be a good time to use Quick).

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In addition to a handful of Aspects and Approaches you might have a Stunt or two. Stunts are things that either augment your Approaches or allow you to do special things. You might be "Quick with a Blade" and gain a +2 to your rolls when using Quick to use a blade in certain ways. Or you might be "Really Darn Charming" and once per game you can dictate that you get what you want from somebody through force of pure charm. In addition to your Aspects and Approaches these Stunts help to define and differentiate your character.

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Once you get a hang of the basics of the system game play moves quickly with players taking a much more active role in narrating their characters' actions. The actions themselves are minimal as well; attack, defend, overcome, and create an advantage/aspect. The first three are pretty self explanatory. The fourth allows you to add temporary Aspects to people, places, or things. Aspect like "Off Balance", "On Fire", or "Gut Punched" can then be invoked for a bonus on rolls by you or others.

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Invoking Aspects, be they your own, somebody else's, or ones you create allow you to either re-roll your dice, or add +2 to the result. You can invoke multiple Aspects during a single roll, allowing you to take your time preparing for an action by creating a number of temporary Aspects and then invoking them all to create exceptional successes.

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The flip side of Aspects are Compels. Compels are the GM using your Aspects to complicate play for the characters by asking them to make in-character bad decisions or story turns that will amp up the drama and adventure. A character is "Curious as a Cat" might be compelled to check something out against their wiser instincts. Compels and Invokes form the two sides of the Fate Point economy. Fate Points are gained via accepting Compels and spent for Invokes, and to resist/cancel a Compel. In this way there is a back and forth, rise and fall of the character's fortunes during the story.

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I've had the chance to run two sessions of FAE via Google Hangouts and play in a third and though there is a bit of a learning curve once the GM and players get comfortable play becomes fast, easy, and extremely fun. If you are willing to not sweat the small stuff you can run all kinds of genres with these rules. The one drawback is the learning curve. FAE might take a session or three to really get your head around.

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Rating: 95% - Really a very well done rules lite RPG. It's not for everybody and its not for everything, but it has a lot of potential and is a great deal of fun.

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In other news, Granny Smith apples are green, Ravi is a total manther, and the Lantean is crazy.

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Fate Core / Fate Accelerated is totally kickass.

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I took a chance to read this myself. The book that is.

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I would say this review is dead on, and a great way to introduce people to the FATE system without tossing too much at them. Also, and this is through my read-through, this version of FATE allows the ST/GM/DM/Host to add things they feel is needed. Not just bringing in stuff from Core, but from their own ideas as well.

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I have to say, for a universal system, FATE is doing it right.

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Thank you for the review, James.

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My first gut reaction was that FATE is -already- pretty stripped down from normal RPG rules...so I questioned the need for a further reduction.

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That said, having played a bit more, I am starting to understand better now the value of it. It's more complex than it looks at first. The lack of big tables of numbers and gear belie some of the interactions between skills, aspects and FATE points.

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Thanks, Jameson for the well-written review!

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That said, having played a bit more, I am starting to understand better now the value of it. It's more complex than it looks at first. The lack of big tables of numbers and gear belie some of the interactions between skills, aspects and FATE points.

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Frak it all I knew I forgot something: Compells and Fate Points ... *sigh*

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I'll try and update later when I get time.

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Updated.

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